This week’s featured Zoopper, Chase Smith, hails from Southern California where he has been making films since he was 10 years old. Chase and his brother Garrett are frequent Zooppers, check out their winning submissions on their Zooppa site. We had the opportunity to interview Chase recently, read our conversation with him below!
- Tell us about yourself, personally and creatively.
My work is normally a 50/50 collaboration with my identical twin brother, Garrett. He’s been the cinematographer, colorist, and VFX artist for all of my Zooppa video submissions to date (I typically tackle the writing, directing, editing, and sound design). We’re basically a two-man production company at this point, and I’ll often trick my girlfriend into production designing for me.
- What brought you to the Zooppa community?
I used to produce videos through other crowdsourcing sites but didn’t find Zooppa until recently. The number of open projects lured me in and I’ve been hooked ever since (the fishing metaphors stop here, though).
- What do you like most about crowdsourced film contests?
The creative freedom! Producing a project with just a skeleton crew feels like a throwback to my childhood days. We might not be shooting on a hi-8 camcorder anymore, but we’re still a small group of friends with a camera and a handful of ideas. And I’m all over any brief that allows me the chance to inject some of my weird humor into an ad.
- Name 3 films/directors that have influenced your work.
I think I’m more often influenced by individual moments or shots than by entire films, although 13-year-old Chase’s answer would definitely be Pulp Fiction. I do have to say that I admire directors with a strong command of the moving master (Steven Spielberg; Martin Scorsese; Rian Johnson; Michael Cuesta and his work on season 1 of Dexter; etc).
- Where do/did you go to school? How has your education influenced your filmmaking?
Garrett and I both went to Chapman University. It was great, since I got to emphasize directing and focused specifically on telling others what to do.
- What is your favorite genre of film to create?
This is going to sound really broad, but Drama, I guess? I’m open to anything as long as the story is compelling. I tend to like more serious narratives that are punctuated by dark comedy.
- Where can we find you on a Saturday afternoon?
Lately? Locked indoors and slaving away in front of a computer monitor, grinding away at the post-production stage of a number of projects. Summer’s nearly over and I haven’t seen the sun. It’s gotten really bad.
- Choose 5 words to describe your art.
Sleep. Depriving. Films. And. Photos.
- What projects are you currently working on?
I’m currently pulling an all-nighter to get my 2XU MCS spot done in time! Garrett’s finalizing the color grade as I multi-task this and sound design. I’ve purchased a lot coffee from Costco this year.
- What are some key points that draw you in to participate in the campaigns you choose?
I honestly couldn’t say, since many of these campaigns have been vastly different! It’s always a relief when a brand can clearly articulate what they’re looking for – I love creative freedom, but nothing’s more worrying than an overly-vague brief!
- What is one piece of advice you would give to your fellow Zooppa community members?
Mix your audio! Cameras, gimbals, and drones are getting cheaper and cheaper, but audio mixing is free! And don’t use your onboard camera mic for voiceovers; go find a shotgun microphone. Check Ebay.
- Ten years from now where will we see you and your films?
The Oscars. Or the Razzies. Any publicity is good publicity, right?
Learn more about Chase and his work at his website, chasesmithfilm.com.