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Guests: Amanda Dreschler, Michael Livingston; Topics: Amanda and Michael discussed their highly acclaimed independent film produced during the most intense days of the pandemic lockdown in Los Angeles plus additional topics.
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We welcomed Amanda and Michael to the show to discuss their recently completed indie film, "We Can't Go On" plus the very unique way they produced this film during the pandemic lockdown in Los Angeles. You can see the film at this Vimeo site:
https://vimeo.com/447406368. You can also see the behind the scenes film that shows and explains how this film was made during the lockdown. Check it out here: https://vimeo.com/447583028. Both films have been posted on the blog for this program.
The interview started with Amanda and Michael talking about the overall film industry shut down due to the Covid pandemic, the isolation of the lockdown and their wanting to make a film about it. They did not want to do the usual type of lockdown film so they decided to have the film track what was going on in their lives. They were waiting for an email regarding acceptance of a script they had written. The pandemic and the lockdown had thrown everything off schedule and off track so that became the focus of the script which they wrote in three days. They planned on a ten day shoot but that soon turned into 25 days. Shortly into their description of their film, the first listener question showed up.
The first listener question was from Jacob in Denver. He wanted to know the significance of the bird in the film which was either a crow or raven. Both Michael and Amanda talked about am actual crow/raven family living adjacent to their apartment and this one bird continually flying to their window. When they tried to interact with it food, off it flew. They continued to put out food and other stuff to entice the bird to hang around so they could get pictures of it and use the pics in the film as they wanted to use it as a metaphor in their film. Listen to the detailed explanation of this bird as provided by both our guests in their own words. By the way, there is a difference between a crow and a raven. The raven is larger and one is more group oriented than the other. The raven is about the side of a red tail hawk which you will hear about as our guests continue their story. For those of you interested in the detailed differences with a crow and a raven, here you go: https://www.audubon.org/news/how-tell-raven-crow. Our guests said that these birds were on par as being as intelligent as a chimp. He also said a red tailed hawk, a common bird in the Los Angeles area, arrived on the scene so they don't see their black bird friend so much anymore.
Listener Linda asked Amanda what the story was behind the empty boxes. Since many of you have yet to see their short film, I don't want to be a spoiler so if you have not yet seen their film, stop here, don't go any further without seeing the film and the Behind The Scenes additional film. Amanda did answer the empty box questions but again, I suggest you first see the film.
Given that our guests were on The Space Show, I asked them about making the film in isolation and those working them doing it all by Zoom. Nobody made a house call of any type. I asked them if they thought this might be a similar type of experience with astronauts going to Mars inside a Dragon capsule. Michael talked about their instant feedback with their Zoom helpers and directors, something they would not have on their spaceflight given communication delays. He said that would be a challenge were they setting up a scene, doing lighting or needing prompt technical assistance as most of that requires real time feedback. Our guests had more to say about their isolation filmmaking experience to what they might expect a filmmaking experience would be like on the way to Mars. Don't miss their comments. Michael added that a huge challenge for them were the night shoots they had to do. Once again, listen why those shoots were a challenge. Hint: Lighting has everything to do with a film shoot. Shooting the film in the microgravity inside their Mars bound spacecraft would post many challenges with very creative and unique solutions needed to get the job done.
Listener Alan in Houston wanted to know about film festivals and their film. Our guests said most festivals were shut down due to the pandemic though there were a few virtual festivals. Their plan was to release the film as quickly as they could to get the distribution going as they did not want to hold off waiting for virtual festivals. Toward the end of the program, a listener asked Amanda to explain her "stopping the world" comments and the significance of her doing that.
One of the last scenes of the movie was a dramatic special effect involving an iPhone. I asked our guests how they filmed that shot. Listen to how they did it but again, I urge you to stop here and see the film before continuing. That said, you will hear how it was filmed but it will mean more if you see the scene before you hear the details behind it.
Listener John wanted to know if they planned a sequel of a Chapter 2 of the lockdown film. They did not think so but listen to what they said. What do you think? How about posting your thoughts on our blog. Changing gears, Michael said they were working on a feature film in development that would be for a TV series and a horror film. I asked why a horror film. You might be surprised like I was by what both Amanda and Michael said about horror films. Don't miss this commentary.
Another question for our duo was how they acted and directed at the same time. Don't miss their answer. Paul in NY wanted to know if when they were with their friends space was ever the topic. This was expanded to the topic of SpaceX and Elon Musk, SpaceX, the Boring Company and Hyperloop. You certainly don't want to miss what our guests said in response to these questions.
Michael and Amanda were asked about Griffith Park Observatory in LA which they said was still closed. Amanda was asked if anything was left out. She said she was surprised nobody asked her what the third thing was. Once again, to understand this watch the film. I suggested they make a contest out of guessing the third thing. If they decide to do it, I will post it on the blog. As we were coming up to the end of the program, listener Alan asked what they thought the future of theaters would be given the pandemic, the shutdown, and the advent of lots of alternative streaming and viewing options. Both our guests said the smaller neighborhood theaters would have a very hard time surviving. They thought some of the huge chains would be ok but maybe they would close many of their outlets. They said theaters were struggling before the pandemic and this has worsened their operating environment. Also mentioned were the planned ticket and concession price increases to make the theaters Covid resistant and more. Before ending the discussion, Michael pointed out that there had been a resurgence in drive-in theaters due to the pandemic as people could stay safely isolated in their own cars.
Please post your comments/questions for Amanda and Michael. You can reach our guests through me or their production company.