Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Interview with filmmaker Ken Carlson

Penny Palabras will be screening at the Straight Jacket Guerrilla Film Festival

*How did you get into making films?
Just always had a very deep love of telling stories, ever since a child. Writing, drawing sequential art, playing with still & video cameras, spoken word. It's like answering a call from deep in our past. Like the most human thing we can do is tell stories. That's it, it feels like fulfilling a biological imperative. I have to do it because I'm alive. 

*What inspired you to make your movie?
Penny Palabras seemed like a great opportunity to take an established property with a built-in audience and play around in someone else's world for a while. It was going to be more challenging than the previous project I'd worked on, and I always like each project to be more challenging than the previous. It was fun to play around for a while in the world that James Willard created. It was also nice to adapt a work that wasn't something I had written. I think that let me have a bit more objectivity when it came to approaching the script, the characters, the arc, what worked, what didn't, etc. It was a nice change for me, as I usually work on stuff that I've written myself. 

*How has your style evolved?
In the very early days, we were doing sketch comedy out of high school, and we didn't give a shit about the quality of the camera, the sound, lighting, etc. It was all about the material. It's still all about the material, but now I have an understanding that people don't care about the material if it isn't presented in a palatable fashion. So the quality of sound, light, cameras, etc, has all gone up. No one is going to laugh at a joke they don't hear. 

*Tell us any strange or funny stories while making the film?
My favourite anecdote from the set of Penny Palabras was the night we were filming the final scene with the two devils and Penny, outside of our "Library." Deena and Alyssa had some phenomenal chemistry in that sequence, I think everybody felt it in the air. It was one of those times where I got so caught up in what we were doing that I didn't want it to end. I just wanted to take the scene over and over again. Anyway, during the middle of a take, while Alyssa was delivering her lines, I see a coyote wandering past, about 20 feet away from us. Alyssa was killing it, so I didn't want to stop her, so I started waving my arms trying to get everyone to look at the passing coyote. It was a big one, too. Gray, it sauntered by, full of lupine confidence, leering at us all the while. Unfortunately no one got a picture of it. 
*The Misrule Film Movement & Pink8 manifesto bring what to mind?
I don't know what either of those things are. 

*What can we expect from your next film?
Our next project is a dark/vulgar comedy series, we're shooting the pilot this summer. At this point our next feature film is tentatively a Christopher-Guest style mockumentary, but that's a ways out, summer/fall 2019 and subject to changes in the wind and tides. We might find something before then that strikes our fancy and change course if we think it will be a fun journey.