For the month of May, we will be bringing you the stories and career highlights from the filmmakers of last year’s WMM Screening Series. Check out our revamped PROFILED series…
Film screened: ALDO (feature film)
Role as filmmaker: Director, Writer, Producer, Cinematographer & Editor
Getting to Know Ross…
WMM: Where are you from, what is your background, and how do you think that informs what you do as a filmmaker?
RK: I’m from Scottsdale, AZ by way of Chicago, IL. I was raised by Jewish Chicagoians in a vast desert environment which probably caused me to dive into my imagination.
WMM: What films have made an impression on you? How? Why?
RK: Dr. Strangelove / Stranger Than Paradise / Killing of a Chinese Bookie / Mean Streets / Blue Velvet. Each of these films has a unique voice that cannot be replicated so don’t try, just let them inspire you.
WMM: Did you study anywhere in your field? Where? Any notable stories/experiences/peers/teachers?
RK: I took two years of film classes at Scottsdale Community College. It was great because they just put a 16mm camera in your hand and had you make terrible student films so you can learn everything not to do and how to create a story as well as save a story due to errors and other mistakes.
WMM: What is the lowest budget you have worked with?
RK: Lowest = $0, highest = $50k (my brother and I co-directed a short for Pepsi). The movie for the screening series was approximately $800.
WMM: What aspect of filmmaking fuels you the most? What stresses you out? What do you find find most rewarding?
RK: There are three things in filmmaking that fuel me the most. #1 When writing the script, when you make that discovery or write that line of dialogue that makes everything fall into place and it’s this magical moment where you’re like “OK this could be a movie now”. #2 When the cameras are rolling and the actors are performing the scene and you see sometimes for just a brief moment a single emotion that you know nails the scene perfectly and in your head your like “that was it”. #3 When editing the movie and you are putting a series of shots together and you fine tune them to the exact number of frames and you play it back and it nails the beats exactly as you want, this might be the most magical because I feel it’s the only time that you as the filmmaker can experience what the audience will feel when they see that same sequence and you’re the first to see it. What stresses me out is having to convince people to help out when you can’t pay them. Most rewarding is probably being done with the movie so you don’t have to keep falling asleep at your computer each night with Premiere open.
WMM: Who are your biggest influences?
RK: Tom Waits / John Cassavetes / Martin Scorsese / Stanley Kubrick / Jim Jarmusch / David Lynch
WMM: What was(were) the inspiration behind your last project(s)?
RK: It was a mix of the French New Wave of the 60s, The Blank Wave of the late 70s/early 80s, and American Independent movies of the mid 60s – early 70s. Overall it was let’s make a movie with available resources, and we just started shooting.
WMM: What are your current projects? What inspired them?
RK: Currently I just started shooting a new movie which could be categorized as a Desert-Noir Comedy. It is another self funded personal project meant to be somewhat of a step up from ALDO. I’m also developing a couple of short films, an animated series with my brother, and another new wave style movie with my girlfriend. These are all inspired by the mentality “I got an idea, so let’s make it”.
WMM: What would you change if you could, about your career trajectory? Any advice for other filmmakers?
RK: I wish I made more movies. I always would hold myself back from making the ideas I had for one reason or another, mainly from over-thinking them. My advice is make every movie idea that comes to you, even if they end up sucking. Just move on to the next one. None of them are special flowers, they’re just movies.
WMM: How would you like to be described as a filmmaker?
RK: I’ve never really given any thought to that. All I can do is make movies and let them interpret me as a filmmaker.
For Shits & Giggles:
WMM: Your favorite things to do in LA are …
PD: People watching
WMM: Three things you always have on set are …
PD: Coffee, Pants, and Coffee
WMM: You just finished reading …
PD: Sam Fuller’s autobiography
WMM: You’d love to have lunch with …
WMM: The website you can’t live without is …
PD: Well it used to be Grantland but those assholes at ESPN shut it down.
WMM: What do we not know about you that would surprise us? …
PD: I live in a house with my girlfriend, 2 cats, and my friends who are identical twins (one co-created this movie, the other starred in it).