Being originally from North Carolina what influence did this have on your film making?
Being a North Carolinian was a huge factor towards the creation and overall tone of ‘Son of Clowns’. And of course shooting it here instilled it with quite a bit of local NC flavor and culture, which I just so happened to love.
When it came to the actual production, being an independent filmmaker creating a micro-budget film here made us really look around and see what we were working with. Luckily North Carolina gave us access to everything we needed in terms of locations. The film required everything from suburban houses, urban downtowns, and a sweeping scene on a beach. All of which we found in-state, which was fantastic. Not to mention the amazing resource that was our cast and crew. All of whom resided in North Carolina as well.
What was the first film you ever shot?
Not counting childhood exploration pieces and silly school projects as a kid, haha? A documentary project called ‘Musically Bound’ which sort of morphed into another film entitled “Spazz Out!” a year later.
So far I believe ‘Son of Clowns’ is the strongest piece I’ve created yet. And it’s also my first narrative feature. I’ve put more work into it than anything else I’ve done. I did several shorts and documentaries over the last few years even going back into my days at film school in East Carolina University. My 2014 short “Displacement Welcomed” was probably my first “serious” narrative in terms of not just making it but getting distribution for it and touring it on the film festival circuit. That process taught me a lot about what being an independent filmmaker entails and opened my eyes to the rigor of it. However it just made me more excited for doing something else. My thought process afterwards was simply: “I’ve made several shorts, each of which took 1 to 3 days of filming. What if I just did that… expect on a larger scale. And thus Son of Clowns was born. After all what is a feature film except for a long short?
Several of your films put emphasis on character development and the human aspect of film. Can you explain this?
I see it everyday. Almost a sixth sense for me. Anytime I happen to meet someone I always begin to wonder. What is their story? How did they get here today? What are they dealing with? Even someone you speak to in passing. I guess you could say I have an inquisitive nature and overall desire to connect.
With my films its really just a way to elaborate on that.
For example in my short “Displacement Welcomed” the main character, Skylar, meets a homeless woman, Norma, in passing and wants to know her story. Not out of pity, but out of a simple human desire to connect. In my new feature film. ‘Son of Clowns’ our main character, Hudson, is a struggling actor dealing with a pretty traumatic life change. He is not as quick to connect as Skylar in Displacement, but he still wants that human interaction and support from his fellow man. He just wants it to come to him as opposed to being the one to initiate. Either way is totally human, and very interesting to explore for me as a writer.
I feel we all have that desire to connect. It’s just in today’s world of technology and general sense of hustle we seem to bury it a little further down.
Explain some of the challenges of being an indie filmmaker and how you overcome them.
It’s a combination of support and funding which can actually be fairly interchangeable. At the end of the day, regardless of what you are struggling with in indie filmmaking, it all comes down to you. You are the decision maker and it’s pretty damn overwhelming to be honest. But you must be decisive and act. Doing nothing gets you nothing.
Being postive but realistic is my best advice to other indie filmmakers out there. It’s never easy, but it’s not impossible either. Set one achievable goal for yourself each day, that way after a year you can look back and say that you’ve move the “needle of success” of whatever you’d like to call it a little further in the right direction for you.
You seem to work with a close cast and crew. How does this help production?
It’s imperative. Especially with the nature of having a micro-budget feature film. Everybody pitches in. Often times you are doing more than one role and things become challenging. When you have a close cast and crew, people tend to look at their phone and sit down for coffee breaks less and pitch in to help making your vision come to life more. It’s a true blessing and something I wish all filmmakers can experience. Show your cast and crew that you see them a people and do more than just make the film. And in doing so, your film will grow stronger on all fronts.
Tell me about your upcoming feature ‘Son of Clowns’ and the motivation behind behind this?
‘Son of Clowns’ is the combination and realization of a lot of things. I wanted to firstly make a feature film and obviously this is a big benchmark to set out to achieve, especially at the age of 22. (My age when production started). It was also written by me as well as directed so it was a chance to tell a very personal story with some fiction blended in there as well. I also wanted to challenge myself to write a comedy/drama hybrid with a complex lead character. Hudson Cash isn’t someone most people will love right off the bat when they watch ‘Son of Clowns’.
And that’s okay. I want folks to take this journey with Hudson so see some of what’s under the hood with him so to speak, and to explore why he is the way he is. It all leads back to my fascination with backstory. I think with the writer/director relationship the best way to truly tell those films you make is to do so independently. To truly let your voice shine.
What film makers have inspired your work?
Richard Linklater, Ryan Coogler, Kevin Smith, Destin Cretton, Jim Jarmusch, and tons of others. I draw influence and inspiration from so many filmmakers and other artists too outside the medium. Really at the end of the day I go for filmmakers who tell personal passionate stories. Director who love actors, and backstory. People who don’t get too caught up in the industry and choose to instead just make good work.
What do future Projects look like for Evan Kidd?
Well it’s pretty multifaceted right now and I’m really excited about that! Currently my next film is a documentary I’ve been shooting under the radar for the last three years entitled Run of the Picture. About the life of olympic runner/filmmaker Johnny Dutch. It’s a very enticing story about someone with extreme talent that is divided between two passions. We’ll launch more on that film shortly so stay tuned.
Meanwhile I am also writing my next narrative feature film, which is about dreams. It’s pretty experimental, and I couldn’t be more excited to get that one off the ground. Otherwise I’ve got an idea for a book I’d like to write if I can find some time too. More immediately, my team and I are staying committed to screening ‘Son of Clowns’ at several film festivals all over the world before we launch the film on VOD later this year. Stay tuned and check us out on social media for more.
More info on Son of Clowns screenings is available at http://sonofclowns.com
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