Film Fighter Spotlight: Amir Blumenfeld

Amir Blumenfeld is a pretty rad guy. Between his hilarious writing skills for CollegeHumor and his role in the eponymous Jake and Amir, Amir has a large following, and for good reason. Today he joins us to talk about Film Fights, video, and any other awkward questions I throw his way.

Hello Amir! Thanks a lot for joining us!  What got you into comedy?

  • I just wanted to keep doing it until it didn’t make sense anymore… I still haven’t gotten to that point yet.

    Oh baby.

Do the chicks like the glasses or off? I totally think they are sexier on, not that I think you’re sexy or that I would want to run my hands through your beautiful mane, which I wouldn’t, because I don’t.

  • I need my glasses. To see that is.

How long does an average episode take to make? Is Jake and Amir your full job, or is Jake seriously trying to get shit done while you scheme?

  •  Takes about an hour to write, an hour to shoot and two hours to edit. It’s a big part of my full time job which is to be a SENIOR WRITER for COLLEGEHUMOR.COM

 Were you funny in High School? Or did nobody laugh at your jokes, and you just want to make people laugh and had no self-esteem until you wanted to murder everyone with a spork. Which I know nothing about, by the way.

  • Yeah I was kind of a class clown in high school. But I got good grades so not all the teachers hated me… some did though.

How did you discover Film Fights? Has it taught you things you still use today?

  •  My buddy Justin Johnson started the site, I think I won the first week. Or maybe it was the second week … I can’t remember now. It taught me that practice makes perfect. The more you make the better you’ll get! It was also inspiring to see so many other internet filmmakers back in 2003 or 2004 whenever that was.

 Do you write your own dialogue? I quote the “Zark Fuckerberg kickbacks” line almost daily.

  •  Jake and I write each episode together, so I’d say I write about 50% of my lines. I can’t remember who thought of “Zark Fuckerburg” though… we should start taping our writing sessions to give credit where credit is due!

Are you a big nerd? If so, what’s the nerdiest thing you absolutely love?

  • I’m a sports nerd. And a Simpsons nerd. I know a lot about TV show’s and basketball from the 90’s. Go ahead ask me ANYTHING.

What would you like to say to all the young filmmakers on Film Fights that look up to you?

  • I meant ask me anything about sports – nevermind. I’d like to say keep making videos! Stop talking and start DOING! MORE!!! MORE!!! Okay tone it down, you need to have a life outside of filmmaking. NOW MORE!!!

Thanks a lot! It’s been fun!

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Film Fighter Spotlight: Smooth Films

Hey all! Today I’m interviewing Smooth Films, who won our 3:30 Fight with their film 3rd Floor.

1. So, what inspired you to make this film?
Our friend (and writer) actually got the inspiration from his personal life. He says his father would keep his brothers and him in the backseat of his car and do drug deals all night because he couldn’t find a sitter. He says most of the time his little brothers crying would keep him awake so he remembered most of it. Ted was 17.

 2. Anything you wish you could change, or do differently?

Just the audio and certain jumps. We didn’t think we had time to sync.

3. What would you say the biggest influence on your film would be?

The abuse of alcohol

 4. What are your favorite films?

Too many to list but “A Bittersweet Life” is one of the best films I’ve seen this year. It didn’t have the English subtitles so we had to have our Korean friend translate as we watched.

5. On a scale of 1 to WINNING!, how would you rate Film Fights?

We’d say you guys were full of tiger blood.

Motherfuckers.

6. What was your rig for shooting this?
These contests are rigged?

7. What the fuck is up with those Gogurts!?  It’s like yogurt in a tube, for like, 8 dollars. Seriously, I mean, in this consumer market, what are they thinking?

Alot of my friends like to do ecstacy. I prefer taking ecstacy without taking ecstacy, so pass me another go-gurt.

8. Woah, I’m finished. Was it good for you too?

Best 3 and a half minutes of my life.

9.Well, I have to run, I have work in the morning. Thanks for answering our questions! Hope to see you around Film Fights!

Cheerio!

Down the Drain: Shooting the Shat with Bobby Miller

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.

 

Creep.

 

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 is this, I don't even

 

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.

 

Don't look at him kids, you might catch something

 

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.

 

Bobby's Impressive Art Skills

 

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.