Your new movie Soul
Mates - in a few words, what is it about?
The logline ó When an elderly couple learns one of them has only six
months to live, they must decide how to spend the rest of this life and
how to recognize each other in the next.
Now how did the project fall together in the first place,
what drew you to it?
I have had the honor of working with writer & executive
producer Jim Sea on other projects, so when he texted me about directing
this one, I said yes before even reading the script. Once I read the
script, I fell in love with the story. I love the hope that the story
brings, that maybe we will recognize each other the next time around. It
reminded me ever so slightly of What Dreams May Come with Robin
Williams, which is my ultimate number one favorite flick. I brought in
line producer Terry Futschik, as Iíve been working with her on other
projects, including the 501c3 New Mexico Film Foundation, and she brought
us the gifted crew you see in our credit list.
Your personal thoughts on re-incarnation, and did you do
any research on the subject prior to the shoot?
anything is possible, so why not reincarnation? What does it mean when we
meet someone it feels like weíve known and loved for several lifetimes?
What does it mean to connect with a twin flame or a soul mate? Does this
sort of connection exist? Itís not that I did research, per se, as I am
familiar with the concept. Iíve had experiences in my lifetime with
personal deep connections where I was led to believe that maybe I could
have known this person in another lifetime. These experiences informed
some of my directorial choices.
you tell us about Soul Mates'
writer Jim Sea, and what was your collaboration like?
is a brilliant human being. I am a big fan of his storytelling from both
his writing and acting standpoint. He is also a kind and compassionate
person with strength in vision. I am blessed to work with him. Weíve
known each other roughly five or six years now, and we started out as
acting coach and actor. When Jim created the narrative podcast Frijoles y
Arroz, he approached me to be his casting director, and from there we built
a great foundation of working together in this way and have become friends
talk about Soul Mates's
approach to the romance genre!
The idea of never ending,
all encompassing love that you want to make sure you come back again and
reconnect is a beautiful and inspiring thread to pull! I love that these
characters are so dedicated to each other in a deep and meaningful way.
Itís a refreshing approach to romance storytelling, in that this is
about that mythical ONE soul mate that stays and the unconditional love
that follows for lifetimes.
Mates uses quite a few green screen shots to take the lead couple
around the world - now what were the challenges with those?
Everything was a challenge with those, starting with the fact I have never
used a green screen. Not as an actor, not as a director. I was wicked
nervous about it until I had in-depth conversations with our editor Tom
Ragan, who is also the point person at Studio at Wesst in Albuquerque, the
studio where we shot on green screen. Between speaking in detail with Tom,
our visual FX supervisor Coby Dax, and our cinematographer Orlando
Skidmore, I felt a lot more confident. Itís an odd thing to direct
actors around a plate that they cannot see and I learned a lot from the
experience. Thereís also the bit where our lead actress is going through
an intense amount of emotional grief as time is passing and that was a
beast to pull together for the technical side. Thankfully, we had an
few words about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?
am a big fan of prep. After locking down locations, we had several
meetings about shots, look, feel, and color. Every morning of production,
I got everyone in a circle and we held hands. We took three deep breaths
together, and stood in silence for a few beats. Deep breaths calm the
nervous system and doing this started the day out in unity and strength.
happens due to the prep because then everyone has the freedom to bring
their own creative flair to each frame shot. Magic also happens in
assembling an incredible team to tell the story. Line producer Terry
Futschik assembled good talent, Jim and I booked the right actors, and we
all worked well together.
talk about Soul Mates'
cast, and why exactly these people?
Casting was an
incredible experience. Jim and I both had various ideas of who we wanted
for Poppy. We knew she was going to be a tricky character to cast and we
didnít have a ton of time. We held auditions and Sydney Carvillís tape
came in. Her work was exquisite and her essence was a dead match for the
character. We booked Josh Horton off his self tape and held our breath,
hoping for chemistry between him and Sydney during their zoom callback.
Josh brought this grounded sense to the scene in a subtle and nuanced
performance. Ian A. Hudson brought a wonderful humanity to Jaime - he
created Jaime to be both approachable and abrupt on the turn of a dime and
that helped propel the story. Jim and Kristine Isom, our leads, were attached
to the project as soon as the script was done. Kristine is a first
time actress, and I was BLOWN AWAY at her emotional range for Abby.
Kristine dropped into the depth of Abby on the first take, giving me room
to take her a little further and a little deeper in subsequent
What can you tell us
about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
on-set atmosphere was filled with professionalism and fun and a few tears
during the emotionally deeper scenes.
$64-question of course, where can Soul
Mates be seen?
Itís hot off the press, as one
might say, and has started to be submitted to film festivals. I will be so
bold to say coming soon to a festival near you! :)
Anything you can tell us about
audience and critical reception of Soul
My PR friend Joe Williamson has sent Soul
Mates to film reviewers, such as yourself, and so far there has
been a very kind response and positive feedback of our work. Hopefully
that remains the case, as itís a very special project with a message of
hope that I think we can all use right now.
In the past you've mostly been known
as an actress, but you have increasingly switched to behind the camera of
late - so what prompted that move, and which side of the camera do you
actually prefer, and why?
Directing has been an organic
evolution, and I am loving it and still have so much to learn and
experience. I also very much love acting - there have been far fewer
opportunities for acting as the ebbs and flows of acting tends to go. I am
following the flow of what presents itself to me on my journey and staying
out of the idea that I am in control of these opportunities. I love our
industry. I love coaching and teaching actors. Thereís always gratitude
flowing through me for this beautiful life.
Any future projects you'd
like to share, in whatever position?
Yes! Thank you for
Iím attached to direct the feature film Portales,
written by Tish Miller and produced by Michael Miller. Itís a family
friendly dramedy that we intend to shoot in Portales, NM.
I am also attached to the feature film The Penny, written by Donald
Davenport and Harry Musselwhite. The Penny is a poetic morality
tale and will also be shot in New Mexico.
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results?
The links below
will take you
I am also helping develop a rom-com that I will direct with an up-and-coming
screenwriter that takes us back to the late 90ís.
Your/your movie's website, social media, whatever else?
My site: http://MichelleTomlinson.Net
Facebook: Michelle Tomlinson
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
far as projects, we are covered! I would love to remind your readers: Please
do the thing that sets your soul ablaze. If you are in love with a
creative endeavor, pull that thread for yourself and see where it takes
you. The journey is so worth it.
for the interview!