Interviewing to shoot with filmmakers you don’t know is challenging. I’ve done lots of it. The problem is, I’m a quiet guy who would much prefer to hear about someone else’s accomplishments than talk about my own. I don’t have the gift of gab to rely on, just the strength of my reel, recommendations from colleagues, and a genuine interest in hearing about new film projects.
Generally speaking, I try to leave a first interview with three pieces of information:
- Do the director and/or producers have a vision for the project as a film (and not just a script)?
- Are they people I could work with 14 hours a day for weeks or months on end?
- And do they have the time and resources to make the kind of film they want to make?
In short, I want to know whether I’m a good fit for the project and whether the project is a good fit for me. A location feature with a $25,000 budget and a director who says he is “intense” on set and insists on hiring crew “who can do a bit of everything” is probably not for me. A two-million dollar indy drama with someone who has a notebook full of ideas and is seeking a creative partner, not just a technician? Now I’m interested.
Notice in the above list of questions that I don’t care what films the filmmakers have shot in the past. Sure it’s good information to have, but I’m more interested in whether or not they know what they want, whether they are capable of admiting that there are things they don’t know, and whether they’re smart enough to surround themselves with a team of people who can help them. We’re all nervous going into production. Anyone who says they’re not is either lying or isn’t reaching far enough.