Q: Evan Kidd what is the most important thing which you have learned about filmmaking?
A: By far every single time it always comes back to story. You can use the most high tech equipment in the game and if you don’t have a cohesive storyline attached to you film it suffer 100% of the time. Just look at the early successes of filmmakers like Lena Dunham and Kevin Smith. Their early work was shot on “low grade” equipment by the industry’s standard…but so what? They had great stories that were compelling. And at the end of the day that’s what an audience member actually cares about. What will keep them in their seats.
Q: Tell us about your film Displacement Welcomed
Displacement Welcomed tells the story of a young girl named Skylar who returns home after the disappearance of her father. Upon returning home she comes across a homeless woman named of Norma. At first theres tension between them… what could either of these women have in common? But as the story progresses, we see each character peel back the layers. Theres a general need for two isolated people to connect with each other. To find out they may have more in common than a first glance may warrant.
Q: Displacement Welcomed is a story of
Redemption and family at the end of the day. Each character carries their own respective baggage. During the writing process I constantly asked myself… “How can these two characters relate when they each have so much going on in their own world?”. Eventually that became the answer. They needed to share the load. It’s easier to keep moving along with someone else there to help.
Q: What processes do you go through to try and capture each theme on screen?
Any time I make a film I try to put not only myself in the shoes of each character I create during the writing process, but my actors as well. I give everyone time to come up with their own versions of each character. They bring their ideas back to me and we create. We take a character and make them into something that is living. Someone.
It’s also extremely important to me to remain respectful to the material and subject matter of any film. This film goes to a few dark places, and in doing so it’s essential that everyone on set is 110% into what they’re doing to create the best essence possible in which the film can unfold. Remaining truthful to whatever you are trying to create is just as important. People can see through something that seems TOO fictitious. My hope is everything feels raw, real, and grounded in people that we may know or see in our own lives.
Q: Who are the main characters and what journey are they on?
In this film there are two main characters. Two women named Skylar and Norma. I’m a big fan of skewing the traditional narrative structure every so often in my work. Just when you think you know who the main characters is it’s actually someone else’s story… Or at least for a little bit. Then it’ll shift back and so forth. Theres a little of that present here in Displacement. However at the same time there is also main character who clearly represents the viewer. Both Skylar and Norma are on a unique journey that is just as much different as it is the same. They both want to connect. And both don’t really know the best way to go about it.
Q: Are mainstream movies not portraying events and people accurately?
I’d say it depends on the film. Currently the vast majority don’t really portray certain groups of people correctly, or even at all. And thats sad. For me there were two big things I wanted to accomplish with Displacement Welcomed. A) To represent the homeless population on film in a way that shows they are not all the same cookie cutter caricatures that most media portray them to be. B) Create a film with two strong female characters in a time where most films don’t feature one female protagonist let alone two. It’s important as an artist to challenge not only yourself, but what is already out there.
Q: Who are three film makers which have had a significant influence on your film style?
Thats a tough one to answer. Mostly because I constantly shift a lot of what I’m watching. However I’ll say that Peter Jackson, Christopher Nolan, and Destin Cretton are who I’m most into lately. I’m drawn to stories that build worlds. Thats a term that gets used often with big scale films such as Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings, or Nolan’s Inception. And each of those guys craft such a large scale world that feels lived in, and believable. Even though they are pure fiction, and we as an audience know that. That is just so cool to me, and they are masters at it. Then you have someone like Destin Cretton who makes a film like Short Term 12, about a group of workers at a foster home for kids, and the day to day lives and challenges they face running the home. Thats something that is real. We know this. Yet he takes it to the next level of believability. There are times where the direction, set design, and acting feel so flawless you feel as if you must be watching a documentary. Creating something from nothing is purely fantastic and that is why I love it so much. It’s an integral part of the filmmaking process.
Q: Where to next for you? Are you making more films, writing screenplays, producing, acting? 😀
I’m doing several of those things actually! At moment, I’m focusing hard on the distribution of Displacement Welcomed. Everyone talks about the three phases of filmmaking (pre-production, production, and post) but there is a fourth and often times overlooked phase. Promotion. You worked hard making a film, and now you gotta make that commitment to stay with it for several months… (maybe years!) and get it out there. We just released the full film on Vimeo which you can check out now and it’s also playing the Viewster Film Festival which is based out of Zürich, Switzerland. We’re all REALLY excited to be playing there.
However when it comes to filmmaking its something I truly love to do and not a day goes by where I’m not thinking of the next project at least a little. Currently, I’m in production of a yet to be announced feature length documentary film. It’s a project that I’m super excited about and the team working with me is fantastic. More info on that will be launching very soon on my RockSet Productions website. Additionally I’m actually in the middle of writing my first narrative feature length screenplay as well. All I can say about that one is that it has to do with clowns. And it’s not a comedy. Or a horror film. Finally when it comes to acting nothing currently, but it’s always something that I’ve paid close attention to because as a director you have to know what goes into a good performance and how to get there. Perhaps it’ll happen at some point… never say never right?
PS: For all those wondering, I did “act” for about three seconds in Displacement Welcomed during the opening montage. If you look closely you’ll see me walking out of focus in the background of a scene where Skylar is walking down a road with cars driving by. I always wanted to make a Hitchcock styled cameo. So I did.