FILMMAKER Q&A – Ken Holmes – Writer, Co-Director, Producer

GS: What was the inspiration for your film?

KH: I originally wrote this to be performed by Audrey, my co-director, and with me as Chatter. Then I decided to make it more about someone with a rich imagination (or a tumultuous mental state) having an argument with her own mind. I do feel like as a creative sometimes our greatest asset can also be our greatest enemy. As a dancer, Jasmine is a creative. But a voice within her is telling her how to dance. Is the voice giving good advice or leading her astray? That was my intention in writing this. Kind of a commentary on our own instincts and the voices within and how they can clash.  

GS: When did you conceive the idea for your film and how long did it take before it was realized?

KH: I conceived it while sitting with a gathering of writers who get together at a local bar. I wrote the first draft in one sitting. It went through different versions, and the idea of incorporating a doll didn’t come about until we actually started filming. We filmed in a storage unit, so in addition to Jasmine letting her mind tell her what to do, she is also letting her material items dictate her. 

GS: What was the most challenging aspect of working in a short film format?

KH: Getting my ideas out there in a short period of time is the most challenging aspect. Fortunately, while I have my own intentions behind my stories, I am also open to audience interpretation, and if an audience doesn’t see what I see or makes up their own interpretation, that is fine by me. So that makes it somewhat easier.

GS: What was the most challenging aspect of your production?

KH: Figuring out where the ideal location should be. Pre-production took months, but the shoot itself was only a few hours. It was written as a warehouse. At one point I wanted to film at my house, but that didn’t look right. Finally we decided on the storage unit and it was perfect. 

GS: Do you have any advice for first-time filmmakers?

KH: Don’t tell people about your ideas. Don’t talk about your films. Work in secret. Talking is a substitute for doing. Also, if you have limited means, do simple films that don’t require many actors or a big crew. You can do larger scale films when you have the budget. For now, think of it like an episode of “Chopped”…telling a story with a few ingredients and making it work as well as possible.