Cinematic Shrimp: Dustin interviews Daily Fiber's Ryan Gould about BFF from the LA Comedy Shorts Film Festival!
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here to introduce you to my buddy Dustin Hucks who checked out the LA Comedy Shorts Film Festival and wanted to present his interview with one of the filmmakers. It felt right to place it in Merrick's Cinematic Shrimp column, so I told him to go ahead and send it over. Below you'll meet Dustin, see the short in question, called BFF, and read Dustin's interview with Ryan Gould. Enjoy!
Hey folks, some dude you don’t know here.
My name is Dustin, and I’ll be guest contributing on Cinematic Shrimp with a short I had an opportunity to view at the 2010 LA Comedy Shorts Film Festival.
Over four days of organized short viewing combined with my searching via the interwebz after, I learned something about comedic short film. The ones that are doing it right get in, get out, and leave very little behind but laughs. That is the hallmark of a solid short comedy, and I’ll submit that only a small handful of filmmakers manage to execute that recipe without some difficulty.
The fellas at Daily Fiber Films seem, to me, to have managed to find that comedy short equilibrium I speak of. Director/writer Ryan Gould and actor/writer Raymond McAnally have worked together to give the viewing audience something fun, concise, and easy to digest in their short film, BFF.
I’ll jump in after the video with my thoughts, and an interview with Ryan about the origins of Daily Fiber Films, his views on the world of short filmmaking, and the role of the internet in the future of entertainment.
I won’t go into it in depth now, because I cover it at length during the interview, but one of my biggest issues with shorts covering all genres…is knowing how to end. It’s not even when so much as how. In feature length fare, you can almost forgive a jarring or anticlimactic ending if you were also given a spectacular ninety or so minutes beforehand (see: Repo Men). Short films are not afforded this luxury, as their window is, by design, so brief. It’s all so immediate, and thus – filmmakers and writers have to end on just the right note or it’s an effort wasted.
BFF wasn’t a gut buster, though I didn’t feel like it was meant to be. It’s cute, funny, a little slapsticky (new word), and most importantly – it hits the lights on the way out the door right when it needed to. I think a lot of what made things fun were the little touches; Kevin smelling Christie’s hair, the bewilderment of poor David. BFF isn’t a technical marvel; it’s just a good short worth watching.
Dustin: So, tell me a little bit about Daily Fiber. What was the impetus for getting into comedic short film?
Ryan: We sort of felt like we had no excuse not to. We met during a short drama I was doing (Penance - here). He (Raymond) was cast because he could pull off the drama, but there was also a lot of humor to the part. It was a pretty heavy subject we were dealing with, but we both ended up laughing all the time between takes. When we finished the film together we decided we really wanted to work together again, but wanted to do something funny this time.
Dustin: I see.
Ryan: Yeah, so…Raymond had a couple of scripts sitting around, and one of them was BFF. He gave it to me and we were like, “Okay…let’s just do this. Let’s not wait for the ideal time; let’s just get it done.” So, we got an actress we knew, found a bar, and filmed. So we picked the script up, we rehearsed, we made some changes, and then we shot it. We worth both just hungry to do something fun and simple, and that’s what sort of happened with BFF. Once we got that down we said, “Hey, it worked, let’s do another one.” Eight months later we did Sex Ed (also very good – watch here), but this time we gave ourselves a deadline. We worked on the script, filmed it, and went, “Holy shit, this worked again.” After that we decided to come up with a bunch of deadlines for ourselves, keep it simple, let’s just rock this for a year and at the end of that year something will happen; something will come about. We’ll have met a shitload of people, collaborated with a bunch of people, and have gained some exposure. That’s sort of where Daily Fiber began.
Dustin: How long have you been creating films?
Ryan: For me it’s like, almost one of those cliché answers of, “Since I was able to get my hands on a camera, “sort of things. My dad brought home the office VHS camcorder on weekends when I was like eight years old, and I was making videos all of the time. Then when we got a family camera, I pretty much took that over; did that all the way up until high school. Finally I went to film school, and now I’m just making it on my own.
Dustin: Do you believe as far as comedy shorts are concerned, it’s quality over appearance? You know, as long as the writing is really crisp and the acting is solid, that it doesn’t matter if the film is pretty.
Ryan: Um…that answer’s sort of complicated to me. Yes, the bottom line is – yes. It’s content over visual quality, I think. Particularly comedy, especially for the internet where you sort of have to shout to be heard. You’re working in a medium where there is a shorter attention span, a smaller screen, the speakers are really shitty – a lot of things are piecemeal. You’re injecting little snippets into that world, and on the internet it’s just got to work, and it’s got to grab you, and it just has to go. It’s great to have production value, but you can also throw production value out the window. You can worry about being aesthetically pleasing when your film is on a big screen in a dark room. For the internet, it’s sort of like, “Just grab me, quick,” you know?
Dustin: Right, it doesn’t matter if you’re working with the Red One if the content isn’t worth filming.
Ryan: We’re interested in making these projects a little more intricate as we go in the future though. We’re trying to do something a little more involved, kinda for the sake of just doing a few more things; not because we think we’re lacking anything.
Dustin: Right, and I thought the filming for both shorts worked great. They were very straightforward, and so the actual content was what was really on display. It’s not necessarily necessary to throw in a lot of bells and whistles, but after a point it would be a lot of fun to get into some higher production value just to see how it works out.
Ryan: Absolutely. I think we’d like to do that for the sake of variety, and see what it brings to the experience to do comedy in sort of these different visual forms. Going back to the other question, I do think production value is important if you can pull it off. They do work together if you know how to do it. I don’t think, even though we shot with a very low maintenance camera system, that…you know, I think what we did still looks good. They worked for what we were shooting. I would hope that nobody would ever watch the film and go, “Well…it’s good for as simple as it looks.” We did everything working toward the end experience, from the look to the script.
Dustin: Well, I think as much as a film created with incredible production value is worth noting, it’s just as much so when the actual filming doesn’t take you out of the experience at all. BFF was filmed just as it needed to be, and the general consensus from the people I talked to was that it was a good fun.
Dustin: We talked about this at the festival , and I’ll mention it again – a lot of short film just don’t know how to end. Everyone that’s writing shorts wants to be doing a feature, and they have trouble letting that go. You end up getting these short films that end up getting absolutely stuffed with everything they can possibly put into them because in the mind of the writer, they’re thinking feature film. That sort of ends up making a mess. To me, both of your films ended just right; there was nothing superfluous, and that’s what made it fun. I think that’s sort of the key to making shorts – you get in and get out.
Ryan: Yeah, well that’s great to hear. You know, it’s taken some trials to get to where we wanted to be, and if we’re doing that, that’s really great.
Dustin: So, what are your plans for Daily Fiber Films? Are you keeping it online, is Daily Fiber going to concentrate exclusively on shorts, or would could you see yourself jumping to features someday under the Daily Fiber name?
Ryan: Um…yeah, our intention is really to stick with the online forum. I think both of us have feature film aspirations, but Daily Fiber is meant to be a collaboration built around online content. I mean, if something happened where we got an opportunity, we’d both jump at it and call it a Daily Fiber production. Still it’s really meant to try to embrace and grow with the online venue, and sort of whatever that becomes as it evolves. We just want to be involved. People are watching, you know, so we want to really learn this form and take part, and just help this grow.
Dustin: Do you feel like the internet is going to be the new incubator for great future screenwriters and actors sort of like theater and television have been in the past?
Ryan: I wouldn’t say I see that replacing theater, but it’s already become such a big outlet for a lot of people. There are so many of us out here already who have skills, and the actors who are distributing their work online. Is it becoming the next breeding ground for filmmakers and actors? Well, you can sort of already see that happening in a lot of ways, but theater is theater. It’s a place where actors go to hone their skills. It’s always going to be that. Each of this form is going to sort of have a place, and you’re going to get certain things out of each one. But, yeah…a lot of us are sort of turning to the internet as an outlet for our work. It’s sort of turned into a jumping off point for people to get television viewers and to get shows picked up, pilots produced, and eventually we hope it’s not just a jumping off point but an end unto itself. Someday I hope there will be enough money and enough viewership that getting an online series and maybe online channels that are built around sketch shows are a reality; I feel like that doesn’t seem far away, and you know -- people are watching.
Ryan was a great interview, and it’s nice to see someone invested in the internet, and seeing it grow into a legitimate medium that can contend with the media vehicles we’re so accustomed to as a society. I realize that the internet is a huge part of our lives, and many of us have already transitioned into a web-centric entertainment situation with Netflix, Hulu, and watching our favorite shows via the internet – but those are still television and screen offerings jury rigged for the net. I agree with Ryan – at a point we’re going to his a media crossroads, and the internet is going to catch up with the rest of our entertainment outlets with a quickness. If you’d like to see more awesome shorts from the 2010 LA Comedy Shorts Film Festival, you can check out the fest winners here, but don’t forget to check out the rest of the site as well. There were plenty of funny offerings that didn’t get a final nod. Finally, keep an eye out for Raymond and Ryan at Daily Fiber, as I’m sure they’ll have plenty of quality stuff to look for in the near future.
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May 19, 2010, 5:21 p.m. CST
May 19, 2010, 6:18 p.m. CST
by bat fastard
May 19, 2010, 7:22 p.m. CST
May 19, 2010, 9:48 p.m. CST
by frank cotton
that BABIES has not been mentioned hereabouts?
May 20, 2010, 1:18 a.m. CST
Elegant, elaborate response. Not that I wouldn't be nervous in the presence of... who the fuck is Dustin?
May 20, 2010, 1:20 a.m. CST
We only do obscure shitty comedy and the same movies over and over again here (HEY GUYS ANOTHER GHOST WRITER STORY).
May 20, 2010, 2:18 a.m. CST
I'm the fuck is me.
May 20, 2010, 4:13 a.m. CST
Badly lit! Badly writ! Wholly original and completely unlike 6 thousand _other_ 5 minute youtube "comedies"! Yes! So special and unique it deserves its own column on AICN! What the fuck, Ain't it cool.... what the fuck. This filmmaker is buddies with someone on this site, isn't he?
May 20, 2010, 4:05 p.m. CST
Was 'The Raven' mentioned on this site anywhere? That was a short that seemed to get notice on every single movie news site except this one. It was derivative and a bit light on story, but it looked amazing and was done for like $5k... apparently the guy got a lot of notice from agents and is in the game now. To me, that's exactly the kind of shor that should be featured in cinematic shrimp and I would have liked to read an interview with the guy that went more in-depth on budget and how he got the effects done... did making the ships and robots a bit like D9 and Robocop make it easier? Or how the hell did he shoot in broad daylight in Downtown L.A. and still spend only $5k? You can barely shoot a home movie in L.A. without permits, and that would mean insurance, and how did he do all that for $5k?.
May 20, 2010, 5:14 p.m. CST
Or music you had obtained permission to use? Or does the LA Shorts Comedy festival not care?
May 20, 2010, 5:24 p.m. CST
Instead of its special effects for once.
May 20, 2010, 5:25 p.m. CST
May 20, 2010, 8:49 p.m. CST
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