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An Interview with Rob Dimension, Writer, Producer and Star, and Jeffrey Scott Gould, Cinematographer and Editor of baggage

by Mike Haberfelner

August 2013

Rob Dimension on (re)Search my Trash

Jeffrey Scott Gould on (re)Search my Trash

 

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How did baggage initially fall together, and how did you all come on board?

 

Rob Dimension: I had met Jeremiah Kipp [Jeremiah Kipp interview - click here] at a film festival that we were both attending. I had become familiar with Jeremiah's work and style at least a year earlier when I had seen Crestfallen, and truly felt that it was one of the best short films I had seen. It was beautiful to watch and just created an atmosphere that is a rarity today. Really captured emotion.

Jeremiah and myself sat and had a really good discussion about film making and I told him about a script I was working on. He immediately said "I'm in" and as simple as that, we had a director on board. Jeremiah really brings a leadership quality that points the process in the right direction. I was extremely happy to have some credibility from the starting line.

As for Jeffrey, we had worked on a film together about a year earlier and stayed in touch. Jeff came onboard and had really been a saving grace for a prior project. He had a great poise about his style. He takes his time, really looking to make each shot the best it can be. We had a meeting of the minds, if you will, and baggage was underway.

 
Jeffrey Scott Gould: One of the best parts of working on a film is meeting other professionals: directors, actors, special effects/make-up artists, etc... and you never know where those connections will take you. It’s basically a networking event of creative individuals. I worked with Rob on another independent film and he saw something in my work, dedication and team-player attitude that prompted him to contact me and my production company Action Media Productions (actionmedia.tv) to work on baggage.

 

Rob, what were your inspirations when writing baggage, and how much of yourself can you find in Benjamin?

 

Rob: The idea for baggage came from sitting in a restaurant and eating lunch with a friend of mine, Sal Valente. We started to question our surroundings and notice how in today's society you really don't know who is next to you or what that person is all about. Two years later, I had finished my short film No Clowning Around and wanted to move on to something different and I took the idea and ran with it.

The two main factors that I wanted in this film were to keep the camera moving the entire time, and really paying homage to the classics. I've been a fan of The Twilight Zone ever since seeing it as a child and really remember week to week, wondering what was next. I wanted to create beauty even though what you were seeing was disturbing.

Benjamin is a really difficult character to deal with. When you write something you aren't necessarily a part of it yet... it sort of exists on paper. When the time comes to BE that person, that's when you see the ugliness in reality for some. I think everyone deals with loneliness and being a social outcast at times, so I think I just thought about those times from my past.

 

... and since you play the lead in baggage, what did you draw upon to bring your character alive?

 

Rob: We had about three months of time before we filmed and this really gave me a chance to develop how I saw Benjamin. I watched a lot of Taxi Driver, I watched One Flew Over the Cookoo's Nest to use as a starting point. I wanted to see subtle insanity. I wanted to see the slight nervousness that people have. I watched some documentaries on people like Aileen Wuornos and really seeing the darkness in her eyes. I just think it's completely possible, as we see every day on the news, that we are blind to how inane people can be.

I wrote a backstory for Benjamin including a military background and even wrote some notes about what he saw and did while serving. For some, the downward spiral can be a long process and I feel that is what happened with Benjamin. Once in the head of madness, it's a scary, dark place.

 

Please talk about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?

 

Rob: The cast was really an ensemble of people that Jeremiah, Jeffrey and I had worked with in the past. It was like hand picking our favorites to work with. Each person was chosen and discussed to make sure we had the right fit. Everyone came together with their A-game and really played their roles great.

 

What can you tell us about the look and feel of your film, and could you also talk about your aesthetic choices for a bit?

 

Rob: The feeling I get from the film is dread almost from the beginning. The weather was something that was out of our hands and it ended up being our biggest asset. In the script, I had a few other scenes that would have played differently based on weather, Jeremiah and discussed the location change and it really ended up for the best.

I really credit Jeremiah and Jeffrey for creating the feeling of claustrophobia I think you feel when watching. As I said earlier, one thing I felt strongly about was constant camera movement and that feeling like we are always over Benjamin's shoulder. That was brought to life by Jeremiah and Jeff always asking the question "How can we make this look awesome?" I really credit a solid crew and team as why I feel the beauty shines through.


Jeffrey: When Rob and I first met to discuss working on baggage, he saw my Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents DVDs and asked me what I thought about shooting baggage in black and white and I replied “I’d love it”. As a fan of film noir, I always appreciated the look and feel of black and white, there’s a rawness to it, that forces your audience to pay attention to the photography and the acting as there are no distractions. When we shot it, we actually turned the saturation off the monitors, so we could see what the audience will see, which really helped create the mood. Rob, Jeremiah and myself, all have an appreciation for Taxi Driver and Psycho (ironically, the same composer, Bernard Herrmann) and we certainly paid homage to those films.

 

Please do talk about the actual shoot and of course the on-set atmosphere! And what was your collaboration like, actually?

 

Jeffrey: When I’m producing videos for my corporate clients, I usually have a stress-free set and try to make the experience a positive one for the crew and for the client with a mix of levity and diligence. I knew baggage would be different due to the subject matter. We had to maintain a certain level of seriousness and like Jeremiah, I need a controlled set, with minimal talking and joking - it was this mindset that dictated the environment. Regardless of the atmosphere and respect for Rob to remain in character, shooting baggage was one of the best and most rewarding experiences in my 25 years in the business. I would work with each and every person in the cast and on the crew if the opportunity arises.

 

Rob: I think the set was very serious, as the film's content was serious. The first weekend was much looser than the second. Once Benjamin got down to his reveal, I think I became quiet and really felt what he would've felt. Jeremiah runs a tight ship, and I credit the film's quality for that. Jeff was always working on one step ahead and was really in the zone behind the camera.

The collaboration was great. We had a meeting last week and we sat and reflected on the good and the trying times you typically have on the set. For us, we dealt with bad weather and long days. Our 4th of the 5 day shoot was 18 hours long. As a credit to everyone involved, no one gave up or complained. The focus was always to make the best film possible.

 

As the film's only about to be released - anything you can tell us about critical and audience reaction yet, and any idea and where when we all are getting to see it?

 

Rob: So far, we've been fortunate, the reaction has been very positive. I've shown it to reviewers and some close friends and everyone has made some really great comments. It's always extremely nerve-racking when you start to bare your soul and show your work.

The film releases on DVD on August 16th. I'm a guest at Monster-Mania Con in Cherry Hill, NJ that weekend and will have plenty of copies plus, people can visit www.YouveBeenRobbedFilms.com and buy a copy. The DVD contains my award winning short film from last year No Clowning Around and also has a Behind-the-Scenes package that Bill Wilusz put together.

baggage will be entered in film festivals and we are just waiting to hear back on some already. I expect some news soon.

 

Any future projects beyond baggage?

 

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Rob: For myself, I'm currently working on a independent comic book series based on the lead from No Clowning Around titled Mumbles with artist Kevin Spencer, hopefully launching first quarter of 2014. The Mumbles character makes his comic book debut in the Living Corpse comic series that is available worldwide on Aug 21st.

I did send Jeremiah two script ideas for future projects; it's really just a matter of time before we work together again. I would like to add one more short film under my belt and tie them together as an anthology. A feature is in my future... someday.

 

Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

Thanks again for taking the time to watch and have an interest in this project, it means a lot.

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD

 

 

Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...

 

Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!

 

Bauliche Angelegenheiten
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