I had the fortunate pleasure to interview both directors and screenwriters of Hospitality, Mr. David Guglielmo and Mr. Nick Chakwin. Both of them will express about their experiences with Hospitality and a bit about themselves.This is their second collaboration as their first writing/directing debut was the crime thriller No Way to Live. So, take this time to get to know the duo and why you should seek out their latest feature film.
1. How did you come up with Hospitality?
David: Hey Mike, I have Nick here with me so we'll be answering these together. For me it starts with character. We had the idea of Donna a while ago -- her backstory-- and Jimmy and someone coming by that might be his dad, etc, and that idea just sat for a while, percolating, until one day it was ready to be written. Once words hit the page it happened very fluidly. Didn't have to force it at all.
Nick: We had some of the ideas for Hospitality kicking around for years. Stephen King calls them “cups without handles”. They are the old ideas that never quite get figured out. We write them down and keep those notebooks close because you never know when an old idea will become relevant again. Hospitality started by combining two of those old ideas and then as David said, after that it just clicked.
2. What is your writing habit?
David: I like writing in the morning. I find I write best when I do a little every day, even if it's just going over what I've written.
Nick: I like morning as well. Ideally before looking at my phone or the news. There is also another sweet spot after dinner, which doesn’t always work, but when it does I can get another hour or two in then.
3. What research did you do when writing Hospitality?
David: It's entirely fictional, so I don't think anything...
Nick: That’s not entirely true, I remember we did a little bit of research about the flooring business once we figured out that the Boss was from that world and that he was going to talk about it.
David: Sure. Sure.
4. List three adjectives to describe your directing/writing partner Mr. Nick Chakwin?
David: He's right here so I'll let him describe himself.
Nick: Let’s see… Smart, Brilliant, and Genius
David: Joking aside I found a really great partner in Nick. It's a tough thing that 99 times out of 100 does not work, but we are best friends, have a great short-hand, and tend to complement eachother's personalities nicely. We also like all the same stuff, so that helps a lot. We rarely disagree on movies.
5. Did you know how Hospitality would end or did it come to you while writing the story?
David: I never know how the stories are going to end. That's the fun!
Nick: What David said. Even if we have an idea of where it’s going, it always changes. I think we both feel that if you’re dead set on how your script will end, then you limit it in a way when you make sure it goes that way. Instead we like to let the script tell us where it wants to go.
6. Could you give an interesting, fun fact about your experience working with Emmanuelle Chriqui, Jim Beaver, JR Bourne or any other actors in Hospitality?
David: Sure. Let's see...Jim Beaver is a film historian. He knows as much as anybody about film, so we really clicked in that regard. I think Emmanuelle's favorite movie is OUT OF THE PAST, which is cool and appropriate to this film, so we got her the poster as a wrap gift. We wrote the role for Sam Trammell. I think it's pretty special that we ended up with him.
Nick: JR is an Aries. Conner’s favorite drink is milk, and his favorite actor is Katherine Heigl
7.What is your favorite line from Hospitality?
David: I like when Cam says "People go missing all the time", and then Zane says "they do, don't they" to which Cam replies "I think so..." That always gets a laugh.
Nick: My favorite line from the script is from a scene that we cut from the movie! But I’ll say this, there is a line that Jimmy says “Do I have to clean it up?” It’s not a stand out line or anything, but I love it because it plays differently depending on how you watch the movie. A friend of ours watched the movie alone at home and he said that line was very sad, and then when he saw the movie in a theater with a crowd, he and others laughed at it. So that’s kind of cool. I like the idea that a movie can give you different reactions based on where you’re coming from when you watch it. I know I’ve had that experience with movies as well.
8. Which filmmakers do you admire or inspired your work?
David: I watched a good amount of Roman Polanski before shooting this one, because he's so good with confined spaces, and he's such a stylist but in a smart, subtle way that I thought would be appropriate to this film. My list of favorite directors can go on and on. Lately I've been very into Almodovar.
Nick: My wife just bought me the new Ingmar Bergman box set from Criterion that has something like 40 of his movies, so I’m currently neck-deep in that world and loving it. His productivity alone is such an inspiration. I think he made a movie a year for most of his career. Sometimes two a year.
9.What do you love about directing in general?
David: I love it all. I love thinking visually. I love working with the actors. Just seeing it all come to life is such a joy. Making those unique idiosyncratic decisions that you know someone else wouldn't think to do. Getting specific with production design or curating what music to play and when. Those are the choices that aren't necessarily on the page and they put your stamp on it. Every day I want to surprise myself, or elevate it in a certain way that keeps people on their toes.
Nick: I love every part of the filmmaking process, and directing allows me to be a part of each step along the way. I love it because I don’t think I’ll ever run out of ways to improve. I think it’s a job that attracts those who thrive on challenge, chaos, and uncertainty. But you also get rewarded with such great surprises in the form of seeing the images for the first time after they were just words on a page, seeing magic human chemistry when you put certain actors in a scene together. I love that I am able to bend my little corner of the universe and create an offering of art and entertainment.
10.What were your hobbies as a kid? What are your hobbies now?
David: Reading and watching movies. Listening to music. Going to museums. Art art art. That's what I live for.
Nick: I got a camcorder when I was young, and I loved filming little videos with my friends. That’s where it all started for me, shooting all day with friends, and then taking the footage home and editing it into something I could show them. Now for fun I shoot a lot of film photography. I’m not serious about it really, but it’s so fun and it keeps me working on compositions and learning more about lighting. Plus, there’s nothing like getting a roll of film back.
11.Which novel/novella/short story have you read that you would like to see a film adaptation?
David: I love a book called VIOLENT SATURDAY which was made into a movie with Lee Marvin (which I've never seen). I think we'd do a really great job with that material.
Nick: I’m going second David’s answer. We would knock that one out of the park! There is also a suspense novel called SACRIFICE by John Farris that I think would make a good movie.
12. If a self-published author is seeking a screenwriter, how would one get you to read his or her story to see if it would make a compelling movie?
David: We're not hard to find. If it's a good pitch and the person seems to get what we do, I'd take a look. Nick is known for being a good reader. He'll read people's stuff for notes, etc, whereas it takes me a bit longer, but I try! I think the most important thing is the sense that they're coming to us for a specific reason. They're not sending 100 emails, but they singled out our work because it has qualities they want to see in theirs.
Nick: We’re pretty good about answering emails. Send the email -- that's a good place to start.
13. What would it take for you personally to be interested in translating a self-published story into a screenplay?
David: It would just have to speak to us. I prefer to write my own material, but you never know. It could end up being VIOLENT SATURDAY.
Nick: I think as directors, David and I are very conscious about our voice, and making sure the movies we make feel like ONLY we could make them. That doesn’t mean that we aren’t open to looking at existing material, but as David said, the material has to speak to us in a way where we believe that WE are the best people to bring it to the screen.
14.Which fictional character (besides yours) would you like to sit down and chat with?
David: I don't know if I'd want to chat with any of ours! I really like the guys in Rio Bravo. Chance, Dude, Stumpy, etc. That movie comforts me. I put it on when I'm feeling down and it lifts me right up.
Nick: This is such a hard one! I think at my dinner party I’d have to invite The Dude (from Big Lebowski... different than David's "Dude” played by Dean Martin), Willy Wonka (Wilder duh), Lucy Ricardo, Hermione, and maybe Norman Bates and Hannibal Lecter to spice it up.
15. What can you talk about for hours?
David: Movies and books, but only ones I like. I don't like to talk about bad ones.
Nick: A movie I loved, a place I loved visiting, a person I love
16. If you had to be a teacher of something, what would you teach?
David: Film History, but I'd make it genre specific. History of the western or history of noir. Something like that. Lately I'm into pre-code stuff, and I think that would make a great class.
Nick: In film school at SVA we had production class each year that worked sort of like a home base. You’d check in with your teacher about whichever step of the process you were on with your current project, so it was a little bit of everything. Developing ideas, writing, shooting and then editing. I think I’d enjoy something like that. Also I would make my students call me “teach”.
17. Last question, what childish thing do you still do as an adult?
David: I love cartoons.
Nick: I still count using my fingers! Oh well.
All in all, i'm very honored to have both of them (not just one of them) answer my blog questions. Major thanks to David Guglielmo for making this possible. It was quite fun as well as you can tell by reading their answers. You guys should undoubtedly see watch Hospitality. It's now available on VOD that includes Amazon, Vimeo, and iTunes. Thank you for visiting my blog and reading another amazing interview. Take care and I hope you come here again.
We all love to imagine what we'll do if we can time travel. Well, Mr. Andrew Bowler-- the director and screenwriter of Time Freak--will take you on a trip like no other time travel movie have done before. From an amazing, Oscar-nominated short film comes the feature-length movie, Time Freak, that stars Asa Butterfield (Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Journey's End ) , Sophia Turner (Game of Thrones, Dark Phoenix), and Skyler Gisondo (The Amazing Spiderman, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb). So, take this time to know Mr. Andrew Bowler and definitely watch Time Freak as soon as you can.
1. Congratulation on your short film Time Freak being nominated for an Oscar. Could you explain how the genesis of the project and how it got a nomination?
My wife, Gigi Causey, and I had been talking about making a short film together for a while. I wrote a few short scripts that were just okay and then I wrote the Time Freak short in just one night and when I showed it to her, she instantly started planning how we would make it.
The short showed at a lot of great festivals during that year but we won the Seattle International Film Festival and if you win what’s known as a qualifying festival, you are then eligible to submit you film to the academy for consideration.
2. Were there other titles you came up with before Time Freak (when making the short film)? If so what were they?
I don’t know, I think Time Freak came to me pretty early and stuck. I don’t think we ever considered anything else.
3. Could you give us an interesting fun fact about being interviewed on CBS This Morning (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCoJAqjpraY) about your Oscar nomination?
That all started because the husband of my wife’s friend was a cameraman on that show and he pitched the story. So we owe it all to Dave Cabano. Thanks Dave!
4. Any word of advice for aspiring young directors who are trying to make their first short film?
The advice I always give is, be nice to yourself, be hard on the work. It’s really hard to make a good movie. Harder than most people realize. So probably are not gonna get everything perfect the first time around and you will most likely have lots of stops and starts in your career so try not to sweat that too much. But also, the best way to really move your career along is to be honest about when your work is working and hitting the mark and when it’s falling short of what you want it to be. The people who can be honest about that I think go the furthest. It’s hard to do but it’s important.
5. What was your writing process like with the feature-length movie of Time Freak?
Hard. Time travel movies bend your brain. Writing is hard enough just on it’s own and adding in the layers of time travel logic while still trying to explore new territory emotionally is a real challenge. And then of course, even when you finally get all the time travel stuff worked out, it’s still really just the set up because making the lives of the characters feel real and compelling is still the most important thing.
6. Did you have writer’s block on the Time Freak screenplay? If so, how did you get over it?
I get it all the time but to me it just feels like not wanting to write or not having any good ideas. The best way I know how to get out of it is to write something, anything. Just move those fingers on the keyboard and make the letters into words. You can judge the quality another time, just be active, not passive.
7. Growing up, did you want to be a director or screenwriter first? Who inspired you to become either one?
I wanted to be director first but only because I didn’t really know what it meant to be a screenwriter. I didn’t really start to learn about that and develop a respect for the craft til film school. I was 80s kid so Steven Spielberg was the first name I remember being aware of as a filmmaker. It seemed like he made everything from our childhood so everyone looked up to him.
8. Did you have to deal with rejection on the journey to becoming a director or screenwriter? If so, how did you handle it?
This business is full of rejection or really the way it works is that people are either really excited to speak with / work with you or you don’t hear from anyone. No one really says no, you just stop hearing anyone say yes.
I like to tell people to act like this business is a meritocracy, even if it’s not really. Just focus on the idea that if your work is good, you will be successful and if it’s really good you’ll be really successful. The rest is just distracting noise.
9. What was your experience working with Asa Butterfield and Sophie Turner?
They were both dreams to work with. They are such pros, always prepared and with a great point of view but also willing to pivot to something new if the scene needed it. Asa is in every scene in the movie, except two. That is a tall order and very hard to do on a smaller movie. And it’s a pretty dialogue heavy movie which can be a challenge for any actor but it was pretty rare that either of them went up (forgot their lines). And when they did, it was always funny because neither of them take themselves too seriously so they would usually do something silly and then slide right back into character .
10. What is your favorite line from any of your favorite movie?
Whenever I get scared and really nervous about something I can hear Doc Brown in my head. There is a moment in Back to the Future just before Marty goes back to 1985 when Doc lays out all the things that have happen and how the car has to hit at precisely the right time, and the tracks back with him and then he stops says “…everything will be fine.” That’s what I think of to bring me some peace when I need it. “Everything will be fine.”
11. If you could direct or write a film-adaptation of any novel/novella/short story which one would you like to do?
Boy would I love a crack at The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. That is just a masterpiece that I think people want to see as a movie at some point. And of course I am anxiously awaiting Dune, one of my all time favorite books. But I don’t know that I would have wanted to take on that challenge. I’ll just be first in line when it’s done.
12. If you have one chance to travel back through time to ask someone a question who would it be? What would you ask?
I think I would to hang out with Lord Buddha. I put a line about that in Time Freak cause I think that would really be my first trip.
13. If you could choose a movie title for the story of your life what would it be?
Are Those Cookies for Everyone?
14. Would you like to share any special moment on set while making the feature-length of Time Freak?
I have a picture(timefreak.jpg) from the morning of the first day of filming. Gigi and I got their super early and I took a picture of sign pointing us in the direction of set. It has been six years since she and I started this journey and to be walking onto that set together on that first morning was pretty special.
15. Last question, in one word how did you feel when you saw the complete feature-length of Time Freak for the first time?
Thanks again to Mr. Andrew Bowler for accepting this blog interview. I'm glad to see that his noteworthy short film is made into a feature-length film. No doubt the film will be absolutely remarkable. Time Freak comes out today, Nov. 9th 2018, so check it out:). Take care and I hope your day is going great so far. Thanks for stopping by as well.
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