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Why hello, Zooppsters! Congratulations on getting halfway through your work week! Now how about taking a moment to celebrate by kickin’ back, relaxing, and taking in the video stylings of an inspired filmmaker? Do it.
Our latest Member of the Week is a man who has lived and breathed film projects since in Middle School. Filmantopia has graced Zooppa with some outstanding videos in a handful of contests, and his recent award for the awkwardly hilarious submission “Boogie” caught our attention even more. This filmmaker has mastered a variety of approaches to his work, and is driven by a deeply-rooted passion to achieve new roles in the industry.
Well you’ve made it this far reading this week’s post, so you might as well stick around for the good stuff! Take a look at a couple of filmantopia’s videos, and check out his refreshing insights in the interview below!
“Boogie,” $2,000 (Are You Interested)
“Finkerton,” $1,000 (Superpages)
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a filmmaker based in Brooklyn, New York. I grew up in Florida in the small town of Homosassa (population 2,300, home of the manatee). I studied Social Science at the University of South Florida, but had my guns set solely on filmmaking since high school. There’s clearly more work in the field out in LA, but you know, it’s like that Woody Allen quote: “I don’t want to move to a city where the only cultural advantage is being able to make a right turn on a red light.”
Describe your film-making background. What got you started?
Back in middle school, a high school friend showed me something he’d made in a TV Production class. I remember seeing how he cut together two different shots of someone running from one place to another, and that moment kind of blew me away. In a simple way it demonstrated the power of video-making, and that it was something I too could do if I wanted.
I took that class, which had us mostly making news-type videos, with the “special”, i.e. “anything-we-want” video on occasion. My special video was a spy-movie parody which I became so excited about that it was all I could think about, when I should maybe have been studying Geometry or something. When it finally aired to the school on our closed-circuit network, it received such a positive reaction that the TV teacher allowed me to only make special videos from then on, which was basically the birth of my filmmaking obsession.
Some of my favorite ideas tend to bubble up when I’m lying in bed at 3am, unable to sleep. I like to push myself away from my comfort zone on a regular basis, because as counter-intuitive as it sounds, I think people like to feel at least a little uncomfortable when they watch something– it keeps them involved.
At one point I fell into this thinking that I needed to appeal to certain types of people first and foremost with my work, but I’ve found that things tend to turn out better when I follow my gut instincts and just make what appeals to me. I like making videos for Zooppa because as long as I stick to the brief I can pursue what interests me on a given topic, and whether or not I get awarded, at least I’ve made something I can be proud of.
What are you hoping to achieve in the future?
Right now I’m writing a screenplay for a feature I want to eventually produce and direct, which would be my first. If I could just live a cycle of writing, directing, editing, and screening repeatedly for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t have much to complain about.
People who are successful in the business of directing seem to have a deeper understanding of this– that it’s not only about going through the motions. I think it’s about channeling a certain understanding of people, internally and externally. It would be the ultimate achievement for me if audiences walk away from my films with the feeling that they have an improved perspective– another tool in their kit of dealing with life’s little problems.