Down the Drain: Shooting the Shat with Bobby Miller
October 6, 2010 1 Comment
It’s a frightening time we live in. Violence is up, drugs are overtaking society, and men are impregnating their bathtubs. Wait, what?
I’m talking of course about Bobby Miller’s apparently wonderful (I haven’t seen it, I mean shit, have you read the synopsis?) little short called TUB.
It’s been making it’s way around the festival circuit (Sundance, SXSW, A little get together called Festival De Cannes) and now he’s here today to speak with us about his little monster.
In retrospect, what would you say was the biggest factor in the success of TUB?
Well, I think the fundamental concept of the film has something to do with it. It is an out there concept. But, I hope the filmmaking behind it backs it up. I think most people will expect a certain type of film when they read the synopsis, but get something a little different. I had tried to make the film for years and by the time I was actually on set making it, there was a lot of emotion and heart behind it. I hope that its success lies in the fact that it’s not just a comedy/horror, but that there are layers of other things going on within it.
What would you say is the most important part of a successful independent film?
I’ll call you when I make a successful independent film.
But, seriously folks. I don’t really know. I think this question relates a lot to how I’m going to answer your next one. In that, I think people respond to a film that has a voice.
What’s the biggest turn off you see when you watch short films? What really ruins a short more than anything else?
The biggest turn off for me are short films with no voice. Generic short films. I’ll take a film with a voice with shitty production value over a really slickly produced film with no voice. And it’s not like we all don’t have a distinct voice. I just think people are afraid of using it. (Insert corny dramatic music here.)
You’ve successfully created a popular short film about a man making a flipper baby after jacking off into a shower. Do you receive counseling? If not, why not?
Y’know it’s weird…I was at a small get-together and people were showing films and someone was like, “Hey, you should show TUB!” And I kept thinking…man, this really isn’t a “let’s party!” film. It’s got a weird tone to it… Anyways, I ended up showing it and someone came up to me after and was like, “Where did that come from? You must have been in a dark place.” Etc. etc. It was like she wanted to psychoanalyze me right there. I think it’s weird for people to assume that just because you’re making something off-kilter or dark that you’re necessarily going through issues.
Having said that, I’m bat-shit crazy.
What have been the most important lessons you’ve learned in your relatively short (yet rather successful) film career?
You’re kind to say it’s been successful… Well, I think it’s safe to say that if you make a short film, that you probably want to make a feature. I think the biggest thing is for people to have that feature script written. Or have several feature scripts written. Because if you do have any interest in your short from managers, agents, producers, etc. The first question they will ask is: Do you have any feature scripts? I honestly feel like if you’re end game is to make features and you make a short and don’t have a feature script. You might as well just stop. I think it’s very rare to be offered to direct a feature film off a short. I had a few feature scripts under my belt when TUB was finished, but even so: I wish I had more! You really can’t have enough projects ready to go.
What is the main difference between the film industry and cannibalism? Explain.
I don’t think there’s any difference. I think there’s probably less depression and despair in cannibalism though.
Lets play a game: Take a shot for every film you’ve made that you deem a ‘failure.’ How Shit-hammered are you right now?
I’ll be honest with you, when I did that first cut of “TUB”…I thought I failed. I think every time I make a film, I think I failed. I’m usually very hard on myself in regards to my work, which I think in a way propels me into the next project. “Well, I have to do better than that last one.” I think it’s good to surround yourself with people who you respect and trust. I was lucky to have my DP, Matt Sanchez co-edit with me…and after that first cut, he was able to go in and change stuff around and make it better.
After making a short film, what’s your favorite way of getting it out there and seen? Do you have any favorite festivals you prefer to submit too?
Y’know. I’m gonna get some flack here. Since this is an online film competition’s blog…but damn it. A film festival. You can’t beat showing your film on the big screen in front of a crowd. Especially a film festival crowd. They’re so much more eager to see new and different films. More so than any other crowd. I mean, I lucked out with Sundance. I remember getting that call and be like, “Huhhhh????” But, definitely those first Sundance screenings…they’ll always have a spot in my heart. I remember that first screening I was so mixed up inside, part of me wanted to cry! It was really something. And I’m really lucky to have been there and to have done it with people I really respect and love. Is this interview getting too emo?
A film as “artistically progressive” as yours has surely received some criticism. How do you deal with this soul crushing verbal abuse?
I lucked out with TUB. The “press” seemed to like it for the most part. But, y’know…when I screen it, sometimes people are silent afterwards. My dad still hasn’t told me what he’s thought of it. And that’s fine. I remember hearing that some people at SXSW were “really creeped out” after they saw a midnight showing of it. I’m sure there are a ton of people who don’t like the film, and that’s their right. I think we all knew we were making something that wouldn’t appeal to everyone. The key thing is to always be respectful about how someone reacts to your film. Just because they don’t like it doesn’t mean they’re “wrong”. I’ve met people who get hyper-defensive about criticism and really, I just try to embrace it and improve where I feel I need to.
Finally, what’s your number one piece of advice for young filmmakers?
There are no right answers. And follow your gut.
Words of wisdom indeed. Also, check out this exclusive trailer for the special edition, graciously provided by Bobby.
Well, that’s all for now. For more information on Bobby, check out his website at http://thebobbymiller.com/.
For more information or to pre-order TUB, check out the film’s site here .
Hope you enjoyed the interview and remember to submit to Film Fights!
Until next time, I’ll see you guys around.