citylog
The E-
Edition:
CW
page
by page

Tumblr.jpg Google_Plus.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Gavin's Underground

SLFS's Open Mic Winners: Eric Fisher & Andy Baker

by Gavin Sheehan
- Posted // 2009-06-14 -

A few weeks ago the Tower Theater held another of the Open Mic Night film festival events for local filmmakers to showcase their work. At the end of the evening two brand new winners emerged from the competition. Walking out with the Audience Choice award was Eric Fisher with he horror piece “Leftovers”, while Andy Baker and his film On A Street, In A Town” received the Critic's Choice award. I got a chance to talk to both men about their films and thoughts on filmmaking, along with pictures from both sets.

Eric Fisher
me.jpg

Gavin: Hey Eric. First off, tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you got into filmmaking.

Eric: I'm a Utah native... I spend most my time in the mountains, at the U, or thinking up weird stuff at home. I probably got my taste for film from my grandmother and uncle. My grandmother was a semi-professional actress in the 40's and 50's, I think, and a writer. We'd watch a lot of movies whenever I'd visit her, and my uncle was a pretty big film buff too. Plus, I made a lot of videos and stop-motion animations for fun when I was younger. So I've always been into film, but for some reason it didn't occur to me to be serious about it until a year and a half ago. I realized the types of media production I had been learning and working in didn't afford me the type of creativity film would. So I'm just starting to get into it. "Leftovers" was the first project I was in charge of outside of the university.
4339_1047979413589_1648827228_160803_5906217_n.jpg
Gavin: How are things going for you over at the U?

Eric: Great! The film program's a lot of fun, and I've managed to fool them into thinking I'm a decent student. I should manage to graduate before they get wise.

Gavin: Do you think of yourself as more of an independent filmmaker or do you prefer to work with a group?

Eric: Everything I've done so far have been more or less collaborative efforts, but I see the appeal in being more independent. I definitely will take that role in certain projects in the future.
4339_1047980333612_1648827228_160826_7553500_n.jpg
Gavin: How did the concept for “Leftovers” come about?

Eric: We made it for the 48 Hour Film Project. Every team had the same required elements: Dan Bridges the roommate, a certificate, and the line "Whoa. I didn't see that coming." Then everyone drew different genres. We got horror. Initially I think the debate was between a zombie movie and a slasher movie, and the compromise somehow ended up being that we would make a movie about a girl who had murdered her psychologist/lover, but still spoke to his severed head for advice. The process was really fun, but very slow going. There were about 10 people with a bunch of crazy ideas, most of which got scrapped because of the time constraints, or because our budget was about $100, which mostly went to food, anyway. Caffeine and booze had a small role in formulating the concept, too.

Gavin: What was it like on set during filming? And how long did it take you to film and then edit it up?

Eric: Mostly really fun, sometimes really bizarre. It was surreal hanging out in a bedroom covered in plastic wrap with our actors, one in sexy lingerie, and the other covered in whipped cream, chocolate, and fake blood. I hope that alone makes people want to see the movie. But regardless of the final product, there are few better ways of having fun and learning filmmaking than the 48 Hour deal. We were probably shooting 13 or 14 hours. The rough cut took maybe 8 hours, I think. I was sleeping for part of that. Then I spent a couple more tweaking it, and scoring and mixing it the day after we handed it in to the 48 hour people. A shocking amount of time goes into short films.
4528_1150616251298_1404367486_378632_7882493_n.jpg
Gavin: Any difficulties come up along the way or was it pretty smooth going?

Eric: Ileana, our actress, was at an audition through the early afternoon and didn't have her phone. We started getting nervous she wasn't coming. I can't say it was entirely smooth going after that, but I can't recall any major difficulties in the process. It was really difficult to stay awake towards the end. A swig of the prop wine seemed to wake us up a little, but in retrospect, probably made things worse in the long run.

Gavin: When you finished the film, was 48 Hour or Open Mic the first time you showed it to a group? And what was the general reaction to it at first?

Eric: It was the first time we showed it. The reaction was very positive. Silence when there should be, laughter when we wanted... sometimes it was unexpected, though. Certain things we thought were really funny only got chuckles, and some things we only chuckled at got bigger reactions.
4528_1150617491329_1404367486_378645_845237_n.jpg
Gavin: How did you hear about Tower's Open Mic Night?

Eric: Through Tsuyoshi Ishida, another burgeoning young filmmaker.

Gavin: What was your reaction to seeing it there and hearing the audience reaction?

Eric: Relief. I got really nervous going in.
4528_1150618691359_1404367486_378658_4592742_n.jpg
Gavin: At the end you won Audience Selection award. How did it feel knowing you had won?

Eric: Winning it felt nice. Yes, it felt nice.

Gavin: Going local, what’s your opinion of the local film scene, both good and bad?

Eric: On the plus side, there's a lot of great talent. I was particularly blown away with the quality of work at this last Open Mic and at the 48 Hour deal. And there seems to be more and more opportunities to showcase local films, a trend I hope continues to grow. On the down side, where's the support?! There were at least 12 films showing at the Open Mic, and there were loads of empty seats.
n1404367486_378634_4200108.jpg
Gavin: Anything you think could be done to make it bigger or better?

Eric: Beyond making bigger and better films, self-promotion will ultimately be what drums up competition and new audiences.

Gavin: Any local directors you feel are at the top of their game?

Eric: Matt Pool and Yoshi Ishida are some great directors... fellow U students and Open Mic-ers as well. Andrew and Troy with Toy Soup make some pretty funny stuff. And Neil Larson makes some really nice films. But there's a lot more.
n1404367486_378649_6202547.jpg
Gavin: Putting you on the spot, what would you say are the top films that have had an influence on you?

Eric: Maltese Falcon, 28 Days Later, Easy Rider, Peurs Du Noir, Big Lebowski, Life Is Beautiful, Brick, and Dirty Work.

Gavin: If you had to pick one, what director would you say was most influential on you?

Eric: I think the Coen Brothers make consistently amazing films.
4528_1150619291374_1404367486_378664_4676120_n.jpg
Gavin: Do you know what you’re doing for your next film, and what can we expect from you going into next year?

Eric: Chris Larsen and I are filming a short documentary in Japan this month, and we also have a couple of shorts we'll be making throughout the year with Yoshi. So expect a short documentary, comedy, and maybe a drama/suspense, and hope for success and acclaim.

Gavin: Anything you’d like to plug or any final thoughts you wanna voice?

Eric: Hmmm... you can get a hold of me at
fish7044@hotmail.com.


Andy Baker
Picture_4.png

Gavin: Hey Andy, first off, tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you got into filmmaking.

Andy:
I was raised on movies. I've always loved them, but never considered pursuing filmmaking until college. Halfway through an animation degree, I took an acting class and decided to switch to film.

Gavin:
Do you think of yourself as more of an independent filmmaker or do you prefer to work with a group?

Andy:
I like working with a group of friends and other filmmakers. If I could clone myself over and over, that would be nice, although I do value collaborating minds.

Gavin:
How are things going for you at SLCC?

Andy:
SLCC is great. I'm just about to finish up there. With Channing Lowe heading the film department, it's an excellent program. He's a great instructor, and has really helped bring in the funding for quality equipment and resources for the students.
Picture_5.png
Gavin:
How did the concept for “On A Street, In A Town” come about?

Andy:
It just popped into my head when I was trying to think of something to make for the five minute short film contest that Darren Aronofsky was doing on YouTube during Sundance. Just the idea of a blind man getting mugged and then immediately helped by the same person. I thought it could be interesting. I didn't try to make it in time for the contest, but kept it in mind for a future project.

Gavin:
What was it like on set during filming? And how long did it take you to film and then edit it up?

Andy:
It was fun! Bryce Chamberlain was so awesome. He's what made this work. He was perfect! I wanted an old man, but realized that I didn't want to actually hurt some old person, so I was worried I wouldn't find anyone for the part. But I found Bryce, who's in amazing shape for his age, and was such a good sport about everything. We shot it in 3 days. It took me about a month to edit. It ran at 12 minutes, so I had to cut it down a bit for Open Mic Night 10 minute requirement.
Picture_1.png
Gavin:
Any difficulties come up along the way or was it pretty smooth going?

Andy:
I was not originally going to play the part of the younger character, the mugger. I had an actor and we had done several rehearsals, but he ended up not being able to play the part at the last minute. So I had to step in, which was okay and probably made the whole thing more smooth because I knew the lines, having wrote them. We also hadn't found our interior location until about a day before shooting.

Gavin:
When you finished the film, was at Open Mic or SLCC the first time you showed it to a group? And what was the general reaction to it at first?

Andy:
Open Mic Night was the first time it was shown to a group. I guess the reaction was good. I was really glad to actually hear it get quiet and tense. You could feel the audience's involvement.

Gavin:
How did you hear about Tower's Open Mic Night?

Andy:
A friend invited me to it a few years ago.
Picture_3.png
Gavin:
What was your reaction to seeing it there and hearing the audience reaction?

Andy:
I was all sweaty. But it was cool to see it with people who knew nothing about it. It's impossible for me to see it like they do, so I'm always interested to hear how different people interpret it.


Gavin:
At the end you won Critic’s Selection award. How did it feel knowing you had won?

Andy:
It's pretty cool. It makes me feel pretty good about continuing with film.

Gavin:
Going local, what’s your opinion of the local film scene, both good and bad?

Andy:
I'm not that familiar with the local film scene. As far as student films and 24 and 48 Hour Film Festivals go, they're usually pretty terrible. Either because they don't have the time, the resources, or the talent to make something decent. There are some good ones in the bunch, but not many. Not that my film is that amazing. It's funny, the 48 Hour Film Fest was happening the same night as Open Mic Night, and I saw lots of short films, and noticed that about 70% of them had something to do with death. People killing people, or committing suicide. It seems to be the most popular theme amongst young and amateur film makers. That, or comedy.
Picture_2.png
Gavin:
Anything you think could be done to make it bigger or better?

Andy:
Just more available resources. I was only able to make this because of SLCC. It would have been a lot harder and more expensive without their film program. Then again, I'm paying for the class.

Gavin:
Putting you on the spot, what would you say are the top films that have had an influence on you?

Andy:
Hmm, That's hard. Too many to count. I'd say from “Pulp Fiction” to “Wayne's World” to “Stalker.”

Gavin:
If you had to pick one, what director would you say was most influential on you?

Andy:
Paul Thomas Anderson!
Picture_6.png
Gavin:
Do you know what you’re doing for your next film, and what can we expect from you going into next year?

Andy:
I have an idea for about a one minute short that I'd like to do this summer and then for sure, something else down the line. I'd love to work with Bryce Chamberlain again.

Gavin:
Any final thoughts you want to say?

Andy:
You can watch the 12 minute version of my film on Vimeo.com by searching 'Andy Baker On a Street, In a Town'.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Post a comment
 
 
Close
Close
Close