Writer, Director & Producer
1. What inspired you to become a writer? A director?
It began with photography for me when I was thirteen. I always had this desire to capture moments and make them last. I began making videos relatively late, in university. At that moment, what inspired me was Truffaut, Charlie Kauffman, The Mexican New Wave and like any young guy, Tarantino. I still thought it wasn’t possible, though, and it was my sister, Deborah, who really pushed me to go for it.
2. What is the best part about what you do?
I get to tell stories for a living.
3. Who do you admire?
People who persist in doing what they love, even though everyone around them is telling them they can’t. Xavier Dolan, for example.
4. What is your favorite film? What is the reason?
That’s a really tough question. In different stages of my life, I’ve had different favorite films. Growing up, it was ET, because it inspired me to dream and to believe. In my experience, that’s what every little boy wanted to do. NETWORK is always near the top of my list, as is BOOGIE NIGHTS, JULES ET JIM, PICKPOCKET, PULP FICTION, Y TU MAMA TABIEN, AWAY FROM HER, WALL-E and oh my, it continues…
5. Do you have a favorite book or play? What is the reason?
I’m a fan of Tennessee William’ work, which I discovered through Film (Streetcar Named Desire) for its raw emotion and incredible voice. Authorial voice is a big thing for me when it comes to writing, whether in books or in screenplays or stageplays. Joseph Boyden is a Canadian Author I really admire for his ability to capture voice so well. (Through Black Spruce is one of my favorite books). And Jonathan Swift is great, as is Dickens and Shakespeare… all people I look to for inspiration when writing. Contemporary playwrights: I like Tracey Letts and Zach Helm (though I believe he’s only done one play, but I really enjoyed it!).
6. What motivates you as a writer? As a director?
Seeing great contemporary films still coming out and reading great stories.
7. Can you tell me a little bit about what your inspirations were for the ‘Red Song’ music video you did for Hey Rosetta!?
It started with an idea I had for a present to my friend who was getting married. I thought I’d make them a really nice wedding video, pretending it was just the two of them off for a wildly fun day. Alas, that never worked out, but a year later when Hey Rosetta approached me, I thought the idea could be melded quite well, with a little more story involved, to the ‘Red Song’.
Noah Pink’s ‘Red Song’ Video won 2009 Best Canadian Music Video – CBC Radio 3 People’s Choice – check it out!
8. How do you generate themes for your films?
Lots of thinking things through, usually. For ‘Red Song’, it percolated for a year.
9. What do you admire most when working with an actor?
Collaboration, and when actors can bring a performance out in a character that one cannot put into words.
10. What key advice would you give to a beginning actor?
Practice, study and don’t give up. Too many people do.