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With Rootclip, you started quite a revolutionary way of
(independent) moviemaking. Could you please explain the concept behind Rootclip?
Think Choose Your Adventure meets YouTube. Rootclip is a
collaborative short film website, where Erik and I start a story, develop
plot and characters, and leave the rest of the story up to The World.
Users submit and vote on chapters 2-6 and we give out stuff to the
winners. Frankly, it's all pretty sweet.
website, mySpace, whatever else?
have a facebook group and fan page too. You can't really directly
link to those I think.
How did you originally
come up with the Rootclip concept?
Well, Erik and I
had some time to kill in a confined environment, so the conversation went
all over the place. We started talking about how cool it would be to
make a movie from one minute clips, all submitted by different people. Rootclip in it's current form is 12 minute short films, in 2 minute clips,
but that conversation sparked the planning that led to Rootclip in its
Have you ever
got a finished movie in mind when you shoot the first episode/rootclip?
and I have an idea, but it never turns out like we think it will.
We've had action movies end up as comedies, and unlikely hero type
stories go sci-fi, it's really cool to see people's creativity come
through on Rootclip.
do the inspirations for your first chapters usually come from?
Seriously though, the three (Erik, Nick and myself) of us will usually
block out a weekend and on Friday night we go out for drinks and start
trying to come up with an idea. We meet back up on Saturday morning,
to continue to think of an idea then writing down dialogue and a general
direction for the story. Saturday night and ALL day Sunday are for
shooting and rewriting. We do ALOT of it on the fly. In
writing, we have to think of ideas that could go somewhere ... along with a
story that is intriguing enough for people to want to continue.
which criteria are the films judged?
Overall awesomeness is
really taken seriously at Rootclip. It has to be awesome. On a
less serious note, we do have a panel of qualified judges that work in the
industry. Each judge likes different aspects of creating film, and
they obviously judge to what they like. We have quite a few college
film professors, and a couple people that run production houses. We
even have a YouTube star. Even our judges are awesome.
How many entries do
you approximately get per episode?
Historically, it's been
anywhere from 3-10. Lately it's been 7-10 each round.
Do you have regulars
who send in clips for every other episode or something?
We have 4-5 regular groups of submitters that we interact with on a
regular basis. The users run the site for the most part (from a
content standpoint), so we regularly hit them up for suggestions. It's been great!
the general audience reaction to Rootclip?
positive. I admit Rootclip is a little hard to understand at first,
but the users and visitors that get it really do love it and tell us how
much they love Rootclip regularly. Maybe the people that hate
Rootclip were raised by mothers that said to "not say anything if
they don't have anything nice to say". Probably.
far, you have two finished films. First, a few words about Good Luck,
which did go into quite an unexpected direction I imagine?
that was the unexpected hero that went sci-fi story I had eluded to
earlier. The guy who ended the story has been on board with Rootclip
from the VERY beginning. He actually uploaded the first video during
our beta phase of the site, and he has crazy skills. I really loved
his twist on the story.
few words about Chance Encounter?
Asking me to pick
a favorite is like asking me to pick which kid is my favorite. Oh
wait, you didnt ask me to pick a favorite ... well I like them both
equally. The story progression was very good in Chance Encounter and
I liked how it all turned out. The new characters that were
introduced made sense and were played well. There was even a musical
clip in there, which was totally awesome.
Santa Claus pops up in both of these films. Any explanation for that?
been drinking again! Santa is the unofficial mascot of Rootclip, so
if we ever get a football team together, Santa will be in the endzone
doing cartwheels when we score a touchdown. The Santa character
appeared early on in Good Luck and stuck, in a totally awesome
way. Sometimes the stories adopt an inside joke that gets carried
through, and Santa was definitely it during Good Luck.
few words about the stories that are currently developing?
currently are working with the University of Tennessee's School of
Journalism and Electronic Media and they are working on a story of their
own. Professor Legg has been very gratious and forward thinking in
allowing us to basically take over a class for a semester. The films
are improving every week as the students are becoming more familiar with
the system and the tight deadlines. I think they are *gasp* LEARNING
something! It's really pretty cool to see.
The other running story is based on a fictional Doctor who lives in his
apartment with his sidekick conducting half-assed experiments. Dr
Frank is pretty awesome and we actually had a user put that clip together
for us. He had an idea and some inspiration and we let him run with
it. It's really turned out well and has garnered the most
submissions to date for story continuation. Again, it's awesome.
you ever planning to take Rootclip to the next level - and
what would that next level be?
I think the next level may
be a full length movie. The clips would have to be longer and the
editing and filming a little more advanced, but it could happen. We
also really like where this college project is going, so we may need to
look a little farther down that avenue as well.
plans for Rootclip, and besides Rootclip?
world domination. That would be the besides Rootclip part of the
answer. As for Rootclip, we are growing audience everyday and we are
getting our feet into more and more doors and the whole process has been
really fun. We'd like to be able to operate Rootclip on a full time,
all of our attention, basis ... right now it's still a side project for
both Erik and myself.
filmmaking experience besides/before Rootclip?
and I don't have a ton of film experience under our belts at all.
Filmmaking has been a new and interesting challenge, something I've always
been interested in but never really had a good opportunity to do anything
with until now. Nick on the other hand, has worked in production
houses and currently handles web video for newspaper dotcoms. He
makes the magic happen.
views on the current state of the American film industry?
as though a lot of money gets thrown at really bad movies, or the prospect
of generating a lot of money allows for really bad movies to be released
kind of movies are you into, and your favourite movies?
Movies that have obviously been well thought out are always tops on my
list. Most of the Coen brothers movies come to mind immediately.
For me it's more about the writing than the acting that makes a good
movie, but if you can find both done well in a movie then you're golden.
Some of my favorites include Memento, Seven, The Departed and
Hunting. I really like Superbad lately as
well, eerily similar to a typical night in high school for me. I'm
just starting to get into older films, for whatever reason I have never
really watched a lot of movies pre-1980 until just recently.
some movies you really deplored?
Ugh, TOO MANY. Most
Big Budget films are garbage, especially lately. Too many special
effects and not enough good writing. All of the Spiderman movies,
that Matt Damon movie where he is attached to the other guy, and that
movie where Robin Williams is a woman. Those are all really bad.
Oh yeah, and most movies that Dane Cook has been in, with the exception of
Dan in Real Life. That movie was decent.
Directors who inspire
Well the Coen brothers really make me jealous. I
wish 90% of my movies were really good. They really know how to put
together a story and cover all the bases in terms of making sure the story
makes sense and all the loose ends are tied up. Quentin Tarantino
and Guy Ritchie know how to pull off the this is a cool movie and your
friends will like you more if you see it-thing, and their movies are
usually fun to watch.
Anything else you are dying to tell us that I have
just forgotten to ask?
This interview has been great,
actually. I am honored that you asked me to do it. I just
encourage people to come and check out http://rootclip.com
and get involved with the community we have growing over there. It's
awesome, I promise.
Thanks for the interview.