Aaron Harvey, Hollywood Director & Producer, will be showing his short film at PUFF 2013
Here’s our exclusive interview with him on 11th March 2013
PUFF reporter : Mr Harvey, as a major studio producer/director , could you say a few words about underground film festivals, PUFF or any advice to indie filmmakers ?
Harvey: well, i would say that i don’t really consider myself a studio filmmaker by any means – considering that the last film i made (CATCH .44) was set-up and financed completely outside of the studio system.
even though there were some big actors and a great crew that came from the studio world, the film itself was actually a relatively small independent film that was privately financed by several investors that the producers had brought to the table. so in saying that – i still don’t know particularly how the studio system itself works, other than the fact that i try to avoid it as much as possible, because i feel as an independent filmmaker – if you want to remain autonomous and regain as much creative control as possible – then the studio system isn’t set-up to help you.
it’s not like PUFF or any of the other interesting, accessible festivals that offer creative people an outlet for their work – without fear of any commercial stigmas or backlash. in that sense, the independent film world is a much more free and creative environment and one that i personally would much rather work in. in today’s film landscape, remaining as independent as possible, in my opinion, yields the best work and the most creative satisfaction. there’s definitely a blend in the studio world, if you manage to become a filmmaker as big as christopher nolan or ben affleck, where they studio will finance your pictures and give you full autonomy – but unless you’re at that level of filmmaking, keep sharpening your skills and honing the craft in the independent world. then make the studio system come to you, versus trying to knock on it’s door.
in terms of advice to aspiring filmmakers – create honestly. write what you’d want to see. direct what you’d want to see – then let others get on board with your vision, instead of trying to pander to everyone else. people recognize honesty and will get behind something that they feel has a direction. in the case of my last project, i wrote a script that i didn’t think anyone would want to see, but i wrote it honestly – and that attracted the attention of the producers and actors who ended up getting involved in the project. but i had no intention of it getting any bigger than it did, it just took on a life of it’s own after i wrote (what i perceived to just be a fun little genre) script. again, i would say, create work that appeals to you first and foremost and with a little luck and timing, you’ll attract the pieces you need to create your vision.
also- don’t turn down opportunity. be opportunistic. i’ve made things for $200 and i’ve made things for several million dollars. but i’ve never passed on an opportunity – because it’s very hard to get someone to finance your art. and film isn’t painting – it’s not singular. you need multiple people behind you, weather it’s actors, crew, producers, etc. – generally speaking, that will cost you something. so if you have the opportunity (i.e. someone gives you the money) to do it, don’t hesitate. run with it and make whatever you can the best you can with what you’ve been given. let the talent rise above the limitations.
the last thing i would say is don’t be concerned with making your masterpiece right away. no one’s a genius right out of the gate. even our favorite filmmakers who we all emulate have made shit films, or films that no one remembers at the beginning of their careers. martin scorsese made 3 or 4 films before he made MEAN STREETS. jonathan demme made CAGED HEAT, CRAZY MAMA and FIGHTING MAD before he ever made MELVIN AND HOWARD. william friedkin made GOOD TIMES before he made THE FRENCH CONNECTION. they all made films just to make films because they were passionate about it – they took the opportunity to make a film and ran with it, versus worrying about weather or not they were making their opus pictures. sharpen the craft and keep learning and stepping up with each project you make, and before you know it you’ll be filming your own masterpiece. but it all has to start somewhere – so just get out and do it and create. don’t worry about the social pressures or what everyone else is going to think about you or the film.
PUFF reporter : Could you tell the China audience about your film ?
Harvey : my current short film – IDIOT. – is really a disparate love story. it’s also a film that thematically i wanted to make because it creates a character blended from this ‘lonely man’ archetype that i love in some of the old films that i love. i wanted to create my version of travis bickle and forrest gump mixed together. the main character is a lonely, isolated man who’s just looking for love however he can find it, and becomes infatuated with a woman who works at the local magazine stand. in a completely mis-guided way, he ends up stalking her and one day following her home, only to realize the hard way that socially it’s not acceptable to do what, in his mind, he thinks to be the right thing.
i wanted to create a character who is also ambiguous to a degree – is this guy a bad guy, or is it just a sweet introverted guy with no clue? does he really have dangerous intentions, or is he just innocently in the wrong place at the wrong time? i wanted to end it with those questions still raised as well, hence the ending that throws his world on it’s head. i also felt like he embodies the frustrations of a lot people today in the world, looking to make connections and shed the loneliness of their own existences – without knowing really how to do that. and to embody it in a character who’s so animated (the wonderful actor pj marshall), just seemed like an interesting thing for me to shoot at the time, so we went ahead and did it.
this film was made for almost nothing – just a few friends and a weekend. again, taking an opportunity to go out and create something in the moment, that felt right, was what we did. hopefully you like our little film as much as we do and can take something away from the film after you watch it.
thank you, Mr Harvey.
Thank you PUFF !
Bio : Aaron Philip Harvey. Born Oct 28 1980, lives in Santa Ana, California, USA