I'm a Swedish filmmaker and started making films as a DOP more than two decades ago. I then learned the craft of directing, writing and editing and I made tons of shorts including commercials, corporate- and music videos. All that became my learning ground as a Film Director.
I have always combined film work with different day jobs outside the film business, mostly within sales, to give me more freedom, instead of desperately seeking film jobs every week just because the sake of it. The advantage of having a foot in each camp is tons of experience of your own personal filmmaking and also personal growth outside film, but of course the disadvantage is less spare time because filmmaking is extremely time consuming.
As one says; limitations increase creativity and I have mostly done movies from around the resources I've had. With this approach to filmmaking, you are forced to find other ways around occurring problems, such as financial limitations and camera gear.
For me, having a hand in many areas within filmmaking is not about personal ego, it is about having fun, and that’s why I do most of it all (directing, editing, writing, camera-operating etc) I always put my own ego aside as much as possible, and that’s the kind of people I always look for when I gather cast and crew for my projects - people that go the extra mile without complains, limitless in their mindset and unafraid of new things. If you put fear aside, then things are so much easier. A better explanation of what I mean would be:
1% of filmmakers succeed of their talents, 1% on pure luck and the rest 98% succeed of persistence – simple by not giving up.
If you do something long enough and with passion you become good at it and I have had tons of failures in my life, but I have never given up. That has always been my motto in life, and it has put me where I am today. What they don't teach you in film school is mental toughness. You can have all knowledge about film history or camera gear - but without your mental state or even health in balance, all that film stuff doesn't matter. Mental toughness should be in everyone’s bag and prioritized before anything else.
Finally, I must share a funny association; I sometimes feel like the Tim Robbins-character in Shawshank Redemption. He had a lot of preparation time and for 20 years he methodically planned his prison escape and did it exceptionally well. I mean, we independent filmmakers only have one thing for free and that is time. Lots of time. So why not put all our time in what we do and not rush into things - patience and passion have always been my two best friends. As everyone knows, it doesn’t take 1 year to become a master chef.
2. How did you come up with the story for Last Man Down?
Me and my production partner Daniel Stisen sat down in Mars/April 2020 and decided to make a feature film that same summer. We saw an opening because of the Covid-situation and the only country with open borders was Sweden, so this gave us the opportunity to produce a feature film here in Sweden with great cast- and crew talents. We attached the Norwegian screenwriter Andreas Vasshaug to write the screenplay and it took less than 1 year from idea to a sold product. This is something we are very proud of.
3. How long did it take to film Last Man Down?
28 shooting days, spread out on two occasions. For an action film it is a very short amount of shooting days, especially with both special effects and 15 stuntmen.
4. What kind of routines do you tend to have filmmaking? How does a typical day (for you) begin?
I love storyboarding and I always do that as soon as the script is finished, mostly in 2D on my Ipad, but sometimes in 3d as well. My shooting days (and actually all year round) starts with ice-cold showers and Wim Hof-breathing, then a healthy breakfast and a long high-paced walk.
5. List three adjectives to describe your writing partners Daniel Stisen and Andreas Vasshaug.
brave, persistent, dedicated
6. Could you give a fun fact about your experience working with Daniel Stisen (John Wood), Olga Kent (Maria Johnson), Daniel Nehme (Commander Stone), or any other cast members of Last Man Down?
Olga who is from Moldova, is fluent in Italian so we used that in one of the scenes to mix things up a little.
7. What’s your favorite line from your favorite film?
”You just brought a lot of problems to my cabin.”
8. What movie have you watched over and over again?
I never get tired of watching Aliens, Once upon a time in the West and Terminator 2
9. What’s your idea of a downtime?
Cooking food, long walks, listen to music and watch films.
10. Which director/s inspired you to make films?
Robert Rodriguez, John Woo and James Cameron.
11. Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents?
I am a huge martial art fan and former practitioner in Wing Chun Kung Fu.
12. If you could direct a film-adaptation of any novel/novella/short story/article which one would you like to do?
The comic book “The Phantom”.
13. If a self-published author is seeking a director, how would one get you or any experience screenwriter to read his or her story to see if it would make a compelling movie?
I would start by sending an email with a one-page synopsis which would be enough to know if it has potential or not.
14. If one was to visit Gothenburg, Sweden, what meal should he or she try over there? Is there any place he or she should check out as well?
The amusement park Liseberg is great to visit, and crayfish is a must to eat in Gothenburg.
15. What do you wish you had known when you were starting your career as a director?
That show business aka film production really is a business and marketing is just as important as the craft.
16. Last question, if you were to make a film about yourself, what would you name that film?
”Life Hacks for Film and in Life”