Thursday, June 25, 2015

Cole Walsh on "Audition Secrets"

What was your filmmaking background before making Audition Secrets?

COLE: My love of movies began at a very young age.  I would act them out around the house.  At 3, my favorite movie was The Princess Bride, at 4, it was Kramer vs. Kramer.  I was in plays at a very young age.  I acted, directed, wrote music, did just about every job you can do in theatre.  In high school I continued to do theatre, but got involved in acting in short films.  I was in a lot of plays and short films in college.  While there, I directed a few short films, produced some plays and acted in a couple feature-length movies.

Where did the idea come from and what was your plan for arranging and shooting the interviews?

COLE: I’ve always loved the theatre, and I’ve always loved auditioning, but I was becoming increasingly frustrated by it.  As an actor you always want to go up to a director and say, “Just tell me what you want, and I’ll do it.”  It can feel restrictive when you’ve got so much experience as a performer and as a person, and you are asked to compress all of that into one page and a two minute performance. 

I thought, “I know I’m not alone here.”  So, I decided to interview a couple theatre directors I knew and attempt to get answers to some of the questions that actors never really get answers to in an audition.  The first couple directors I asked were so enthusiastic about the idea, I decided to ask a few more, and it just grew from there.

Can you talk about how you raised your budget and your financial plan for recouping your costs?

COLE: I asked for a very small grant from a small foundation and a put up a Kickstarter campaign.  The foundation went under and my Kickstarter campaign did not raise the amount I had hoped for.  So, I had very little money, but a handful of very enthusiastic supporters.  As soon as the Kickstarter was finished, I got a part-time job to help cover some of the post-production costs.

As far as recouping costs, my hope is that actors coming out of school will pick this film up, and find it a helpful, insightful viewing experience—one tool of many in their arsenal.

What kind of camera did you use to shoot the movie -- and what did you love about it and hate about it?

COLE: The interviews were shot on a Canon EOS Rebel T3i 600D digital camera.  It was very user-friendly, easy to set up and take down, etc.  The only downside (which probably isn’t really a downside at all) is that camera is very small, and to anyone might just look like an ordinary point-and-shoot camera.  So, whenever I would set it up for an interview I wanted to tell the other person, “No, trust me, it’s a really good camera.  I am actually making a movie.  Really.”  In truth, I think that came from my own insecurities.  I don’t think anyone else actually cared all that much.

What was the smartest thing you did during production? The dumbest?

COLE: The smartest thing is definitely picking a subject I was passionate about.  There were a lot of times throughout the making of the movie I experienced snags, and certain tasks took a lot longer than was previously thought.  It takes a lot of stamina to see a film through from conception to completion.  My real love for the subject matter and the people in front of and behind the camera gave me that.

Checklists can be incredibly helpful.  You can never have enough of them!  I learned this because I did not have enough of them.  When I started the movie, I thought I was going about it in a very organized fashion.  Throughout the process I was constantly being surprised by all the little things that come up when making a movie.  I learned one can never be too organized.

And, finally, what did you learn from making the film that you have taken to other projects?

COLE: There’s never a right time.  You just have to do it.  Write the script, direct the movie, make the phone call, send the e-mail, ask for help, whatever it is.   Surround yourself with people who are both excited about the idea and can also do great work.  You can usually find someone who is really good at the job they do.  You can find someone who thinks your idea is great.  Finding a person who falls under both categories is more difficult, but essential. 

Most importantly, you should always try to work on something that is important to you, personal to you.  It doesn’t have to be important to the world at large, or so personal that you are exposing your soul warts and all; but whatever it is, if you can find something important and personal about the work you’re doing and pay your bills, that’s the best way to go.

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