What was the inspiration for your film?
The band Girl Colors approached me about doing a music video for them, and their only request or guideline was that we shoot it in a Wes Anderson sort of style. Given that as their only stipulation, I had a lot of creative freedom to come up with the storyline of the video, and I knew right away that I wanted to do something of a “quirky love story”. It started out as a simple pitch; “A pirate is seduced by and falls in love with a drag queen.” From there, it gradually became about a celebration of everyone’s unique individuality and of love in it’s most unconditional form. The inspiration was mostly my desire to fit that message into a very fun, quirky, and mildly absurd kind of world.
What is one thing you’ve learned from making your film?
I think this particular project better prepared me to work with performers in music videos in the future. Often, the band was too worried about their musical performance while playing along with the song. I had to try and coach them that it didn’t matter if they were playing everything 100% correctly because we’re obviously not going to be hearing any of those mistakes in the actual music video. Despite my best efforts to get them to remain straight-faced or dead-pan, there are a couple of shots in the music video where you can catch them looking down at their instruments. On future music videos, I would make it a point to the band to avoid that at all costs.
What is the future of trans/gendernonconforming filmmaking?
There’s no way of knowing what’s around the corner, but my hope is that we continue to see more Trans/GNC related themes and stories in mainstream media, and more visibility for those stories as Trans/GNC artists are given a shot to work in the industry and tell their stories. Given the political climate, there’s certainly an urgency amongst our community to make our voices heard, and I think one of the best ways that we as filmmakers can perpetuate that is through exactly that; Filmmaking. Hopefully this leads to people who are not only willing to listen to our stories but who are moved by them and understand the value of letting diverse, marginalized voices be heard.
What is a highlight or a favorite memory from working on your film?
There’s a big wedding scene at the climax of the music video, and my favorite memory from this project was staying up the night before prepping for this scene on location. Our entire crew was in that auditorium prepping lighting, discussing camera angles, putting together our set design. It was a big collaborative effort between the entire crew, who gave up their Friday night to make sure everything was prepped to run efficiently on the day of shooting. The band was based in Indiana so they drove down that night before shooting, and came by in the evening to check out the set and meet some of the crew. It was this exciting moment of finally seeing everything come together, and everyone who worked on the project getting together all at once to sort of understand and conceptualize what we were doing. And of course we were all in a big rush to get through it so we could all get a good night’s sleep before the shoot. Al these months of prep and talking about it, and this was the moment where it all became real and everyone was suddenly zoned-in. It was a very special memory that I’ll never forget.
Name 3 of your all-time favorite films
JAWS, Inception, Her.
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