JOSHUA KENNEDY Man of the Arts
1) When did you saw, for the first time, the movies as a medium that you could become involved with?
Film has always been a part of my life; I always joke that I came out of the womb holding a camera.
I remember going to see the animated film THE PRINCE OF EGYPT and being upset that Charlton Heston wasn’t playing Moses. I was four when PRINCE OF EGYPT came out… which means that I had already seen Cecil B. DeMille’s THE TEN COMMANDMENTS in its entirety by that age. I was one weird kid.
I made my first film not too long after called IT CAME FROM THE BATHROOM, about a giant monster that emerges from the toilet and kills all of my toy soldiers.
2) What was the attitude of your environment toward the movies? (did your parents liked filmmaking?, did they encourage you to make your own movies?)
I have been extremely blessed with an incredibly positive environment regarding my filmmaking. My mom is a huge movie fan, and my Dad is wonderfully outgoing and expressive in everything he does. In short, my life was a perfect melting pot to create in.
3) You like making a particular kind of movie. Did you experience an inner struggle before accepting the kind of movie you like?
Oh, no, I’ve never experienced that type of struggle. I like what I like and I’m going to make what I like. I had many teachers in school tell me I should write something like a family drama, and my answer always would be “When I am interested in family dramas, I will make a family drama. Right now, I am interested in vampires.”
4) Why do you like the kind of movie that you like to make?
I love fantasy because it is so far removed from every day life. I love seeing how an ordinary person would react when confronted by a giant squid, or a woman who turns into a snake… it just intrigues me.
5) Obviously, making your movies take time, effort, and resources. Are you satisfied with the results?
Yes, I am very happy when I complete a film. Of course, as time goes on and I grow, I look back at certain films and cringe! But I think that is with any artist…
6) Right now, do your movies recover the investment?
I really haven’t had a budget before – so – yes! They do recover an investment of $17!
7) If you had financial freedom (up to 10 million dollars) to make a feature film, what kind of movie would like to do? Do you have a pet project right now?
I have a habit of not letting my pet projects percolate in the future: I end up doing them immediately.
There was an entire summer where I was obsessed with the AIRPORT films of the 1970s. I wanted to make my own version, but everyone kept telling me to wait until I had a budget for an actual plane.
I threw out that idea and made it anyway – transforming a hallway at my school into a cockpit.
8) What is your attitude toward the monetary aspect of making one of your movies?
Awful. I’m not a businessman and I never intend for my movies to make me rich or famous. Of course, an actual budget would be ideal to pay my volunteer actors… and to have actual sets and the like…
9) How do you gather your production team and the actors? Do you pay them? Do they work for free?
I’ve been constantly blessed to be surrounded by friends who are WILLING to be in my productions and be paid in food, experience, and an IMDB credit. It helps that most of them are actually actors, themselves. If I had a budget, they’d be the first to be paid.
10) How long does it take to edit one of your movies?
This is a good question that I probably don’t have an exact answer for! Haha. I edit while I am shooting, so there really isn’t a period of “Pure Editing”. A month? A month and a half?
11) Do you use storyboards to shoot the movie according to the images inside your head or you adapt the camera viewpoint to the circumstances? Or are you imitating the images from other movies?
A bit of all of those, actually!
For action sequences, I think it is vital to have storyboards.
I’m inclined to see what the scenes present themselves in rehearsal – maybe an actor will come up with an idea that didn’t even cross my mind while writing, and then I can adapt from there.
And yes, some scenes of mine pay tribute to films that have come before and so I replicate certain shots in my own way.
12) How long do the actors practice the lines before shooting? Do you organize collective readings?
Preferably I like to have the entire cast together to read through the entire script at least once, but this is very rare. The hardest part for me as an independent, low-budget filmmaker is that my actors are purely volunteers and are giving up their free time to work with me: having them all show up on time to film one scene is a miracle so I try my best not to waste time.
Ideally, I will tell them the scene(s) we will be shooting a few days beforehand and they show up with their lines memorized. Of course, sometimes the actors called for that day have last minute change so their schedule and I am forced to shoot other scenes with the actors who do show up! When that happens, those that did show up are forced to learn their lines in a hurry, and I am forced to come up with shooting ideas for a scene I was unprepared for.
13) Do you admire specific movies or filmmakers? Which ones?
It really takes a lot for me to dislike a film. I love science fiction and fantasy.
I adore the Hammer Films of the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Terence Fisher is my favorite director along with (off the top of my head) Billy Wilder, Hitchcock, James Whale and Howard Hawks, among many others.
From the modern filmmakers I’ve been most impressed with the films:
Birdman, Rogue One, The World’s End, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,
14) How do you see yourself in the filmmaking world in 2,022? Do you have specific goals to achieve?
If I could continue making films, I would be entirely happy. If I could be making money from them: all the better.