Your new movie Oliver,
Stoned. - in a few words, what is it about?
is about a down and out stoner thrust into a wacky heartfelt
Oliver, Stoned. is
a stoner comedy - is that at all a genre dear to you, and to what extent
can you identify with/have you researched stoner culture as such?
The stoner comedy
genre is totally dear to me. It takes me back to my early teens and
growing up in the late-late 90’s. We had these totally wacky stoner
comedies like Dude, Where’s My Car
and Half Baked that everyone at
school would be taking about. That and American Pie were the risky must watch behind your parents' back to
be cool type of movies.
researched stoner culture throughout my entire life. I grew up in Northern
California, in an area that was specifically hit hard by the “Green Rush”. Naturally you experience your surroundings.
sources of inspiration when writing Oliver,
Stoned. - and to what extent can you identify with title
for inspiration when writing Oliver, Stoned.
came from all over the place. Most characters are based off of
some of our friends smashed together. We could take a bit of personality
from someone I grew up with, and we could mash that with one of Tom's skate
park buddies. We wrote and shot the movie in Oxnard, California. Oxnard is
really a magical place and it inspired a heck of a lot of the movie.
What can you tell us about your
co-writer and director Tom Morris, and what was your collaboration like
both during the writing process and during the shoot?
Tom Morris is a machine. The kid eats, sleeps, and
breathes filmmaking. During the writing process we would wake up, write 5
pages each, have lunch, clean up each other’s pages, mess around with a
basketball, and then read the ten pages we produced that day. We did this
for about a month, maybe less, and decided to go shoot the movie.
During the shoot Tom and I would communicate constantly. He would be directing
one scene, as I’m helping all our fantastic departments with the next
set up or location. Our budget was micro-micro, and our crew size was just
a dozen or so. It’s all hands on deck at that point.
talk about Oliver, Stoned.'s
specific brand of humour for a bit?
we were writing Oliver, Stoned.
we took the stance of it being a mumblecore film with a very open story to
allow the characters to be as free as possible. We wanted to shoot a movie
over time with no budget, and then luckily we found some money and
structured the film a bit more. Some of the mumblecore elements remain,
and I think allowing the story to be loose and free really broadened the
comedy. I love subtle dialogue jokes and I think the movie is ripe with
You also acted as
producer on Oliver,
Stoned. - so how much of a say did you have/demand in the making
of the movie, and how hands-on or hands-off were you during the shoot?
did act as producer Oliver, Stoned.
and I also acted in Oliver, Stoned.!
I am one half of the Indian painter duo. Elliot Feld, also a
producer on the film, and myself handled everything hands on as possible.
Elliot took care of all of the financials and made sure we we’re on
track. I did more of the ground and pound logistics. We were already
spread thin as far as crew is concerned, so him and I both had to wear a
lot of different hats. For example, Elliot had to AD for the pick up shoot
days. I was in a handful of scenes so I would basically stay in costume
those days while dealing with the public and logistics all over town.
can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
atmosphere on set was amazing to say the least. We had a very very small
crew, essentially just department heads, so it felt like a small family
working together to make a movie. Most of the crew stayed at my house in
Oxnard, as did Seth Cassell who plays Oliver. I gave Seth my room and
slept on the floor in our guest room, which was also where Tyler the
editor was staying and editing in, for the entire shoot.
$64-question of course, when and where will the movie be released onto the
movie will be available on August 4th on video on demand on all
platforms. That includes Xbox and the Playstation Network for my fellow
gamers out there (Level 34 Hunter in Destiny here!). It is also available
for preorders via iTunes.
Any future projects you'd like to share?
are currently working on a really awesome horror/thriller called Tragedy
Girls. Here is the short form synopsis:
narcissistic teenage girls kidnap a local serial killer and set about
terrorizing their sleepy midwestern town.
got you into screenwriting in the first place, and did you receive any
formal training on the subject?
went to film school at The Brooks Institute in Ventura. We had a great
screenwriting teacher there named Brian Price who really taught me how to
structure a movie. The character development came from reading a few books
on the subject, and reading other scripts.
What can you tell us
about your filmwork prior to Oliver,
Oliver, Stoned we shot an indie feature called General
Education. It had a small theatrical run in 2011 and wasn’t very
successful. I wrote and produced that film along with Elliot Feld and Tom
Morris right after graduating film school. We raised the money for that
one privately as well. Oh how much I’ve learned since making that film.
I would definitely give it an extensive rewrite if I were to make that
movie again today.
How would you describe yourself as a
think I’m still finding my style as a writer. Luckily the company I work
with right now allows me freedom to write more when we are not shooting
commercials or music videos. I like to write comedy that is fast paced,
and visual. I think the attention of the audience is shrinking, and to
make up for that I like to write quick jokes with visual elements built in
to hold that attention.
Writers and filmmakers who inspire you?
think my biggest inspiration for making films is Wes Anderson. I have
always rated his films very high in my heart. Writer directors are always
my favourite. I really enjoy screenplays from Charlie Kaufman. He tells
unique stories that are very different than anything I see at the movies,
and that to me is refreshing. From
the visual style of Oliver,
I think it’s a bit obvious that we’re Edgar Wright fans as well. And
of course Quentin Tarantino fills my heart with joy anytime I tune into
one of his flicks.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
favourite movie of all time is The
Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. The mix of drama, surrealism, and
comedy with an ensemble cast is just really fun to me. It’s a film that
makes me feel all ranges of my emotion, that that is just fantastic to me.
I also really like the film In
Bruges and have been watching that a bunch lately. In
Bruges provides for great dialogue and situational comedy.
... and of course, films you really
much as I love video games, I don’t like movies based on them. I hope
someone does a video game movie right!
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
The Twitter is @_OliverStoned
Facebook is www.facebook.com/oliverstonedmovie
Thanks for the interview!