Monday, January 18, 2010

Indie Filmmaker Interview--Seattle's Own 4D4Films

Will and Valerie, tell us about why you established a film company?

We are fans of great stories and characters. Whether it is books, TV, or the movies, there is nothing like a well-crafted story based on interesting characters. I (Will) had been complaining about movies and “if we had their budget we could do something better” for many years. Finally one day, Valerie said “let’s do it, let’s make a movie.” I (Will) had done some video production stuff back in the day, real basic stuff, but Valerie hadn’t been on a set, so we volunteered behind the scenes on a couple of local films to get some much needed experience. We asked as many questions as we could and walked away with a better understanding of the process. While we were getting our “real education”, we formed 4D4Films with the primary goal of producing the best no-budget films we could utilizing the talent, locations and resources of the Pacific Northwest.

What is it like trying to get films made?

Aside from finding and making time, it’s been a fairly easy process. Locations have been pretty easy to find, it’s amazing how excited people are just to be a part of the process and willing to welcome you into their home. As far as casting goes, there are plenty of talented people in the area who are willing and interested in participating in local films. We like to keep things pretty simple on set and usually shoot with only a couple of crew members and have our cast help out when they aren’t in a scene. They like being a part of things behind the scenes as well and it makes it much easier to manage the set.

What's your take on the filmmaking community out near Seattle?

There are far more productions going on at any given time in the area than most people realize. It’s a very active area, with a wide variety of subjects and styles. I think the Seattle area attracts artistic people and this really shows in the films that getting made. There are also some great festivals in the area that treat everyone very well, even those of us that aren’t trying to make a career out of filmmaking. There are also a lot of resources for those pursuing it as a career and some great indie screening venues as well.

Tell us about your documentary. How did you select your subject?

It’s a story of one man’s 20 year journey as an independent record store owner. He’s seen and survived it all from CD’s, to illegal music sharing, big box stores selling CD’s for less than cost (a common practice most people don’t know about), and the economic collapse of the last couple years. I (Will) have known him since college and he’s always been an interesting character and a great human being, a real stand-up kind of guy. We’ve been talking about doing a documentary on his story and with his 20th anniversary coming up next summer; it seemed like the perfect time.

What's the most difficult part of being an indie filmmaker? The most rewarding?

The biggest challenge is time – shooting, editing, marketing, and promoting our films. We’ve been really fortunate in having the creative material, talent, and locations, but time is always a challenge. We are huge Vancouver Canucks hockey fans so we try to shoot during the summer and edit in the fall/winter.

The most rewarding part is seeing it play on the big screen at festivals. Sitting there watching along with the audience and getting their feedback when it is over is a truly amazing feeling. To get to share that experience with people in those settings is great. When they watch it and get what you were trying to do, nothing can beat that feeling. Winning awards are fun too, but that is really icing on the cake – the screening is where it’s at.

You can reach Will and Valerie at:

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