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.