Thursday, September 29, 2005

Interview With Filmmakers Paul Osborne and Scott Storm

-----------Writer Paul Osborne (L) and Director Scott Storm (R)

FS: Tell us about your background. How did pursuing this business come about for you?

Scott: I started in clay animation when I was about 11 years old and made countless shorts in the Super-8 format. Over time, I found that I didn't have the patience to work so hard and so long for so little results and started doing live action when I was 15. It was a rather ambitious and prolific time for me and I ended up making about eight or nine live-action films, two of them feature length, by the time I was a college sophomore. Bryan Singer and I became friends during freshman year at the School of Visual Arts, and we collaborated on a few projects in which he was my lead actor. After he moved on to USC and myself to NYU Tisch School of the Arts, we worked together again later on his first feature, PUBLIC ACCESS. I've been in the business ever since.

Paul: Mine's a pretty standard story. Like Scott, I also started when I was 11, but I made bad action movies in Super-8 instead of claymation. I began writing scripts as a teenager, a hobby capped with winning a state-wide competition, then headed to the University of Miami's film school. I won a few minor awards, then graduated and continued writing screenplays in obscurity. Until now.

FS: Paul, how many screenplays have you written? Any that have been produced?

Paul: If you count from college, I've written maybe two dozen feature scripts. About half of them I would probably never show anyone for any reason. But the other half I feel strong enough about to have let them make their rounds. I've had nibbles and options in the past, but TEN ‘TIL NOON is my first produced feature screenplay.

FS: Scott, how many films have you directed? How many have gained distribution?

Scott: As previously mentioned, I've directed in the neighborhood of 12 films altogether, if you count the shorts and Super-8 features. Professionally, I have directed two features here in Los Angeles. BURN, my first film, premiered at the SLAMDANCE FILM FESTIVAL and won the Special Jury Honor Award, and played across the country at other festivals, including Seattle and South by Southwest, before crossing the pond to Europe for a few festivals there. Lakeshore Entertainment came very close to buying the film, but the sad truth is it has never received theatrical or DVD distribution. Several of those involved have gone on to much bigger things, however. I think it's my turn, now. TEN ‘TIL NOON has just been completed and we're shopping for a distribution deal presently.

FS: What is the premise of your latest film, "Ten 'Til Noon?"

Paul: The film takes place entirely within the same ten minutes, which we cycle through in real time, over and over again, each time progressing with a new character or set of characters. And with each ten-minute segment, another layer to the story is added. It opens with a young man, Larry Taylor, who's awakened by two unseemly types that've broken into his home. A lot of the plot itself we've had to keep under wraps, because every ten minutes, there's a new twist that spins the narrative in a different direction. "Ten 'til Noon" is a thriller, and so much is predicated on the audience's surprise.

View the Movie Trailer for "Ten 'Til Noon" here, Ten ‘Til Noon MOVIE TRAILER

FS: How did this idea originate for you?

Paul: I gotta admit, it all started with the time gimmick. It seemed like an interesting way to tell a story. I was driving home one night and it just struck me as a fun thing to take a stab at. I sat in a traffic jam trying to figure how long the segments should be - "One minute? No, way to small. Thirty minutes - no, too long." That, coupled with a long-gestating idea I had of a man facing off against two well-dressed intruders, formed the foundation of the script.

FS: Did you know while you were writing it that this one was going to get made?

Paul: When I'm writing something, the feeling as to whether or not it'll get made constantly shifts. Sometimes I'll think, gee, there's no way someone won't want to make this, and other times I'll just feel like I'm wasting my time on some piece of crap no one'll even be able to get past page two of. I felt this one had a better chance because it was so intimately scaled and cost effective. But there was no deal in the offing when I wrote it, nor had I any plan to show it to Scott. It actually became a chore to write, because of all the simultaneous action. I gave up working on it twice.

FS: Scott, when you read the script did you know you had to make this movie?

Scott: Paul is very prolific and he put a stack of scripts on my desk. They were all really good, which is very rare in this business. TEN ‘TIL NOON was really fascinating and I took to it immediately. I had never read anything quite like it and I found myself shooting and editing in my head as I turned each page. Not only was it the best screenplay of the bunch, but it's unique structure also lent itself to being produced on a limited budget.

FS: How long did it take to make this film?

Scott: We shot over several months, for one week or so at a time. This way we could keep our day jobs.

FS: What wass the budget? What was it shot on?

Paul: We can’t really discuss the budget at this time. The money was mostly raised privately, as has been previously reported, but that's all we can divulge on that front as well. For now.

It was shot on Super-16, then finished via an HD digital intermediate and back to 35mm.

FS: What was the shooting schedule like? How large was the cast and crew?

Scott: The way the screenplay was designed enabled us to shoot at one location, with particular cast members and be finished with those actors when the location wrapped. That way they could go on to other work and we could concentrate on the next location and the next group of actors waiting in the wings. So we shot a week in October, a little over a week in December and a week in February. This strategy also gave us time to solve the logistical problems at each location. That was a big help.

We had about twenty in the cast, though the main action revolved around ten principals.

FS: What were the toughest obstacles to overcome in making this film?

Scott: Well, we chose to start shooting during the wettest winter in California history. So rain was often a problem. Luckily, we were blessed more than cursed, although there were certainly times when we were outdoors, shooting with a steadicam and wondering if the sky was going to open up on us. At one point when we were shooting indoors, rainwater started leaking into our hair and wardrobe room...THROUGH the light fixture! We had to move the whole set up to another room. It was also a little tough at the beginning just finding LOCATIONS that would allow us to shoot in the first place. At the 11th hour we would find what we needed, but there were times when we feared we'd have to push the shoot until we found what we needed. Our producers, friends of friends, and even wives made it all happen and they did an outstanding job.

FS: We have read your press release, we have been to your website, we have watched the trailer, looked at your cast, etc. and must admit we are excited about your film. When are we going to be able to see it? Which festivals are lined up for you?

Scott: We have only just begun to apply to film festivals all over the country and in other parts of the world. Within two months or so, we'll have a better idea of where we're headed regarding that.

FS: What is the word from distributors at this time regarding your film?

Paul: Unfortunately, that's other thing we can’t discuss that right now, either. It's too soon and too sensitive. All I can say is that we've had a lot of attention.

FS: There is the movie that happens in your mind, and there is the movie you actually make. With the film now complete, how do feel about it? Are you satisfied? Did you make the film you set out to make?

Scott: Speaking from the director's perspective, no director ever really gets 100% of what he visualizes. That's simply an unrealistic way to approach filmmaking. You can plan every last detail and communicate your vision to your cast and crew to the best of your ability, but still...things happen. Equipment can be faulty, an actor has a bad day, YOU have a bad day, the list is endless. But I must say that TEN ‘TIL NOON has been one of the most creatively satisfying experiences I've ever had. And I'm one of those people that feels that with creativity, comes conflict. You pick your battles to get what you want. It's an incredible challenge, but I'm incredibly proud of the final result. Though I've had to watch the movie countless times in recent months, I am more proud of it every time I see it. We were extraordinarily fortunate in putting it all together and very lucky with the cast and crew we were able to assemble. I very much feel that I made the film I set out to make. Of course, there are times when you look at it and a certain scene plays out where you remember what you could have done if you had more time or more money...but those feelings pretty much go away once you sit back and just look at the big picture.

FS: You are in an exciting phase right now. After putting tireless energy into creating your movie, it is done and it is time to showcase your work. What are your hopes and aspirations with this film? What does your gut tell you will happen with this project?

Scott: Naturally, we'd like to see our baby play in theaters. The film is targeted very clearly toward a young audience and I personally feel that if we can find the right avenue with the right company, TEN ‘TIL NOON could do very well. It's such a refreshing take on the crime genre, and a welcome break from the formulaic that floods the multiplexes every month. I like to think that there are lots of people out there who are as bored as I am.

FS: What will you be doing over the next year? Where is your focus? Are there other projects you are working on?

Scott: As always, in addition to marketing and promoting your current work, the next project is always the main focus. I hope to start another project by this spring. Paul's got several other screenplays he's working on. I have two scripts being written simultaneously, and I've optioned a third from published novelists back East. Let's just say that it is very "timely" given our current political climate. There was also video game that came out last year that I'm very interested in developing into a big-budget, sci-fi action picture. It's always wise to have several irons in the fire, because getting any independent film off the ground is a mammoth task in itself.

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