Thursday, August 6, 2009

Teddy Gersten on "Rope"

What was your filmmaking background before you made the film?

TEDDY: I'd say I had sort of a mixed background when it came to filmmaking. Rope was the first film I actually made myself. Meaning I directed and edited it. In the last few years I have worked an an editor on a couple short film and an independent feature. But before that I didn't really have much of a filmmaking background.

In college I studied film theory and I worked for the school TV network where we would shoot and edit news segments here and there. But in terms of any film production, there wasn't much. I did work as a Production Assistant on a few commercials and a couple films, but I'm not sure that counts.

Where did the idea come from to make Rope?

TEDDY: Rope was originally a short story which was written by my mother, Kres Mersky, who stars in the film. She wrote it a few years back and would occasionally preform it at different venues where people just fell in love with it. So one day decided decided to try and make a short film out of it.

What was the process for writing the script and how involved were you?

TEDDY: Turning the short story into a film script was pretty straight-forward. Since the story is basically a woman talking to camera for ten minutes, in order to make it somewhat interesting, we went through the script to try and find the most interesting pieces we thought we wanted and would be able to shoot. In terms of the dialogue we didn't lose anything before we started shooting. Once it was all put together we decided in post what we thought needed to be cut.

How did you fund the film?

TEDDY: All the equipment was put on my credit cards. The locations were either my parent's or friends houses. And the crew and actors were either friends or family.

How long did it take you to shoot the film? And how long did it take to edit it?

TEDDY: We shot the entire thing in two days. One day for the dialogue and a second day for the all the pickups. It was a pretty scaled down shoot, to say the least. It was basically me with a camera, a light, a bounce card and some actors. I would edit the film when I came home from work at night, so the whole process took about 2 weeks.

What obstacles did you have to overcome to make the film?

TEDDY: The whole process was pretty stress free. The only frustration I'd say was not having enough money to do certain things (better camera, lighting, etc.) But I'm sure that's something sure every independent filmmaker must face.

What did you learn from making the film that you can take to other projects?

TEDDY: I learned that things go a lot smoother when you admit to yourself upfront that you have no idea what you're doing. And not to be afraid to ask questions.

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