For the entire month of May, we will be bringing you the stories and career highlights from the filmmakers of last year’s WMM Screening Series. Check out our revamped PROFILED series…
Film screened: JES AND LORA Role as filmmaker:Director, Producer, Writer, Editor, Post Sound Mixer
Getting to Know Patrick…
WMM: Where are you from, what is your background, and how do you think that informs what you do as a filmmaker? PD: Louisville, KY. Louisville was home to one of the greatest regional theaters in the country, the aptly named Actor’s Theatre of Louisville. The first live shows I saw featured actors like Michael Gross, Ken Jenkins, Barry Corbin, Kathy Bates and Jeffrey Tambor, just to name a few. I was also part of a Youth Conservatory Theater called The Walden Theatre which presented Shakespeare and Kentucky Folk plays in rep. It gave me classical training with a sense of my Southern and Hill Country roots. It was also a time of racial unrest. Hunter S. Thompson called Louisville, “The Southern City with Northern Problems.” It made me a fierce progressive and advocate of Civil Rights for all.
WMM: What films have made an impression on you? How? Why? PD: “The Graduate” and “Harold and Maude” for their use of comedy to prime you for the tears. They both tackle the deepest subjects with laughter. Also their use of pop music to narrate, like a Greek Chorus. Just beautiful to be informed of the internal life of a character with song instead of incidental music that you are not supposed to notice. I love that.
WMM: Did you study anywhere in your field? Where? Any notable stories/experiences/peers/teachers? PD: Studied playwriting at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX with Suzan Zeder. Wonderful person and teacher, she really taught me to take responsibility for what I put on a page. She knew how I fought with putting personal experience into writing. She gave me an “A” after having said she rarely to never gave that grade to anyone.
WMM: What is the lowest budget you have worked with? PD: $50.00 for “A Mock Time: A ‘Star Trek’ Wedding.” Highest? Probably over $20,000.00 for “So What’s In Jericho?” (yeah, I know, but it was a different time). Where does the Screening Series project fit? “Jes and Lora” was $200.00. It is the 2nd least expensive film I have made.
WMM: What aspect of filmmaking fuels you the most? What stresses you out? What do you find find most rewarding? PD: All and ALL. Not a cop out. It all drives me crazy and I love every minute of it. When Sam Peckinpah was asked, “To what do you attribute your success as a director?” He said, “It’s my punishment, it’s the only thing I am any good at and I hate it.” So, a little of everything please. 🙂
WMM: Who are your biggest influences? PD: Actors: I love DeNiro, Spacey, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Jack Nicholson. Directors: I love David Lynch, Mike Nichols, Hal Ashby and Martin Scorcese.
WMM: What was(were) the inspiration behind your last project(s)? PD: “Jes and Lora” was a story told to me by a friend. A verbal pitch that excited me like a campfire story.
WMM: What are your current projects? What inspired them? PD: “CONTROL.” The inspiration? sex … Sex …. SEX and how we are basically in its clutches.
WMM: What would you change if you could, about your career trajectory? Any advice for other filmmakers? PD: No regrets, it has all lead me here and that is a good place if I decide to make it so. Advice for filmmakers trying to get into Hollywood … Take Fountain, not Sunset.
WMM: How would you like to be described as a filmmaker? PD: Nice to work with … that and sexy. We all want to be sexy. This is Hollywood.
For Shits & Giggles:
WMM: Your favorite things to do in LA are … PD: Karaoke. I go to Ground Control in Glendale on Monday. OH, and Wednesday night at We Make Movies. It saved my life.
WMM: Three things you always have on set are … PD: Cast, Crew and Food.
WMM: You just finished reading … PD: My article on Film Festivals. BRILLIANT!
WMM: You’d love to have lunch with … PD: Sapna Gandhi. I so enjoyed the last time, let’s do that again soon. 🙂 [Editor’s Note: PD was handsomely paid for that endorsement.]
WMM: The website you can’t live without is … PD: Facebook
WMM: What do we not know about you that would surprise us? … PD: I love Bigfoot documentaries and I also used to be a ventriloquist. There, now I have no more secrets.
Sapna Gandhi (sapnagandhi.com) is an actress and content creator who loves words and is thrilled to be able to integrate her passions and contribute to the filmmaking community. Although her roots are on stage, she enjoys working in television and film. In an effort to negate being typecast, she co-wrote/co-produced/co-starred in Broad Strokes (5 Days. 5 Themes. 5 Directors. 40 Comedic Micro-shorts) and is looking forward to telling more stories through her fledgling production company, Elegant Grotesque. Gandhi was born in England, raised all over The States, holds degrees in English and Women’s Studies, and trained at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.