One of the best things about Twitter is that you have access to people around the world who share your interests and passions literally right at your fingertips. All you need to do is type in a keyword or search for a hashtag and suddenly you can see every user who’s ever tweeted about “filmmaking” or “fitness” or “dancing elephants.”
I routinely search for new filmmakers and artists through twitter, both so I can find out what other people are working on right now and so I can (hopefully) expand my network and meet other talented filmmakers in my area. I’ve reached out to a number of people on twitter with private messages, but I can count the number of times people have reached out to me on one hand.
So when I received a message from “The Production Bunch,” I was intrigued. When they followed up later that day with an e-mail, I was really interested in getting to know them.
The Production bunch is a group of artists based in Los Angeles who volunteer their time to make movies together. I had the privilege of speaking with Kristen and Allison this week to discuss their films and their filmmaking group.
But first: the review!
WRITTEN BY JOEY CORPORA (@JOEYCORPORA)
I asked The Production Bunch to send over one of their favorite projects for review and they sent me a link to Kill Millie, a short little comedy about a husband and wife visiting their crazy Nana Millie in the old folk’s home.
Millie is convinced that the new man at the home is killing all of her friends, and she records all of his comings and goings in a notebook. Hilarity ensues because everyone in the story seems to want something different and nobody can seem to get along.
But when the head of the retirement home tells our married heroes that Millie is out of money, they realize they can’t afford to pay for her bills – and there is no way she’s coming home to live with them and ruin their lives.
Their only choice is to hire someone to kill her.
There is a great twist at the end, giving a satisfying finish to the 10 minute short.
The film was well made and the actors were very engaging. The character development and script were both excellent, and all of the actors fit their roles very nicely. There were a few instances where the sound was a bit quiet, almost like the mic was pointed in the wrong direction, but let’s be honest… it happens to the best of us (*hangs head in shame*).
Overall I was very satisfied with the film and I look forward to seeing more from the Production Bunch. Now on to the interview!
Joey: You guys seem like a fun group. How did you all get started working together on movies?
Kristen: Thanks! We started as an actor’s scene study class. I would coach my actor friends once a week on different iconic movie scenes. After a few months of that class we realized that we should be making movies! So we put together a five week plan where every week we would meet to write a short film based on a location we have, cast the movie from members in the group, have rehearsals, shoot, then edit the projects in that five week timeline.
Allison: I joined in January at the start of this feature film project (Transgenisis) and was so happy to find a group of other filmmakers who believed in creating their own work and not waiting around for "their turn" as it were. I've had a blast so far! I found out about the group through a friend whose roommate I met while volunteering at a play festival. It really is about who you know! And about getting out there and meeting people. I'll let Kirsten take the rest :)
Joey: How many films have you guys worked on together? Do you plan on turning filmmaking into a career?
Kristen: We produced 6 short films, the pilot to a webseries, and a few commercials as the Production Bunch before we decided to take on a feature film. The idea is to bring each other up as we make our careers in film. So yes, we want to make movies, but more specifically, we want to take the time to focus on quality features instead of rushing through short films for practice. Ultimately, we want to transform our group into a professional studio and make features for the rest of our lives (at least, that is my goal).
Joey: Tell me about Kill Millie. How did this movie come about? Why this story out of the thousands of stories you could have chosen?
Kristen: Kill Millie was written in one weeks’ time for a location we had available to us. This was how we chose all our short films - write for the location then chose the script that was most interesting and best met everyone’s needs. It's an unconventional way of making movies, but it got us a lot of practice. Ross, the writer, is an established screenwriter and it was a joy working with him. He came up with a remarkably fun script in that short time period, and it was the clear choice for filming that month. But we did have another short film written by a woman named Britten, which we later short as a pilot to her sic-fi webseries, called Interrogation - Kalvin.
Joey: Working on any exciting projects you'd like to share with our readers?
Kristen: This year we are working on a feature film called Transgenesis. It's a near future sic-fi horror where mutated GMOs infect the nation. The news reports all say that this is not a zombie apocalypse, that these people are alive and well, and that only a few exhibit cannibalistic tendencies. However, we're not so sure. The news has proved untrustworthy in the past. So we'll see what happens.
We plan to have this feature film shot by the end of the year and released in theaters summer of 2015. You can learn more about the project at http://www.transgenesisthemovie.com.
Thank you guys so much for taking the time to meet us and review our projects!