In production: Firesale

By Katherine Sweetman

Last weekend I spent a couple of days on the set of Firesale, a new short film directed by Josh Krohn of Jaydeekay productions.

Again and again I realize that working on a film set is demanding. Not that I did any of this work myself. I didn’t have a role in this picture, I just took photos and tried to stay out of the way. Yet I returned home exhausted at the end of each day. On set I watched the crew work like a machine. Each cog important to the dream of completion. Today, as the film is being developed (yes shot on film), the director had a few minutes to answer some questions for me about his film, his career choice and the film industry in San Diego.

Interview with Josh Krohn (JK), Interviewer KS

KS  You seem like an honest, law abiding guy, yet your main characters are both crooks, what’s the idea behind making the audience relate to main characters that are essentially “the bad guys”?

JK   From Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver to Leonard Shelby in Memento, I’ve always loved watching horribly flawed characters struggle to pull their lives together. Characters with a strong moral code are boring, predictable and let’s face it, unrealistic.

KS  Have you ever stolen anything?

JK   Nothing I want to cop to here… but my early films probably made the viewers wish they had their 5 minutes back.

KS  What types of films are made in San Diego?

JK   There’s not a whole lot of feature films being made here that I’m aware of, with the exception of local filmmaker Destin Cretton‘s new film.

KS  Can you live in San Diego and work in the film industry? When are you moving to LA?

JK   Absolutely. It seems like LA is so inundated with production, it has become overwhelmed. Here in SD, people are more inviting and open to the idea of a film crew moving into the neighborhood for a night. I enjoy working outside of the craziness and under the radar. That being said, moving to LA does seem to be inevitable at some point. I will be finishing up my master’s degree in film at SDSU early next year and I will most likely be headed to the cinema beehive.

KS  What is the ultimate goal of making short films, like Firesale (film festivals, getting recognized to direct a feature..?)

JK   Short films are calling cards for filmmakers, an example of your control of the medium, storytelling skills and style. If you can tell an engaging story and get an emotional reaction from the audience in a few minutes, investors will have faith you can do it on a larger scale. Film festivals are a great way to get your film recognition and exposure to help find those investors.

KS  How many people does it really take to crew a film? How many people did you have on set on an average day?

JK   For this film, we had a crew of 35. Throughout the 4 day shoot, we typically had 20 people on set.

KS  Why did you choose analogue over digital? 35mm film? Who does that anymore? Why did you go that direction?

JK   35mm film seems to be going the way of the dinosaur, which is sad. Most films that you see in the theater today are still shot with film, and it still looks much better than any digital camera out there… so far. But a major problem with digital filmmakers today is they let the camera roll, capture an endless amount of footage, and figure it out in the editing process. With actual film, you must be very precise and methodical because you are paying for every foot of film. Film forces you to be a more specific filmmaker and understand the importance of rehearsal and preparation.

KS  Your film is about 8-10 minutes in total length, is that right? Can I ask you the budget on something like that? What if you had to get all the gear rented/paid out of pocket? (3 days shooting)

JK   This film’s budget will be right around $4,000. That is with everyone involved working for free and all free equipment (thanks to SDSU Media Center!). A large percentage of the budget goes towards the film stock and processing and food to feed the crew. I would estimate the real world cost, if everyone was being paid, plus gear rental, the budget would be closer to $25,000.

KS  A typical 8 hour + day of filming. How many minutes of edited film will that get you? (use this film as an example).

JK   8 hours, ha! We averaged 12 hour days on this shoot, and we were hustling. That yields right around 2 minutes of edited film a day. We shot at a 5:1 ratio, so that means we shot about 10 minutes of total footage a day.

KS  Making a film is such hard work. Why do you do it?

JK   Filmmaking is a collaborate effort; I love the process and satisfaction of working as a team and the tangibility of the end product. When it’s finished, we can sit back and see all our hard work on the screen. The cherry on top is when the audience enjoys the film.

A ZOMBIE FILM : Point of Infection

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