Interview: Kris

Today we’re joined by Kris. Kris is a phenomenal filmmaker who specializes in short films. She has done both narrative films and documentaries. Currently working on a feature length script as well as a webseries, Kris is an enthusiastic and dedicated filmmaker who has an incredibly bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a filmmaker. These days that is mostly writing and directing, though when friends have projects on the go sometimes I’ll produce or be director of photography. While most of my films are fiction, I do the occasional documentary when the right story presents itself. To date I’ve done exclusively shorts. I do really enjoy the medium of short film, the challenge of getting an audience hooked, engaged, and happy with the resolution all in 10-15 minutes is very satisfying to me. Lately though I’ve been branching out. I’ve got a feature length script that I’m working on, and also a 9-episode web series that I recently started to write. I also do a bit of photography, but that is much more as a hobby to entertain myself.

What inspires you?

Life. The world. When I first started taking photographs as a teenager it was all about looking at the light, looking at the world and thinking, “wow” and wanting to capture it. When I became a storyteller, it was sort of that, but with people. I love being out in the world – at a coffee shop, at a museum, at a park – and just watching people, listening to how they talk to each other, seeing what kinds of things make them go “wow.” I love playing the what’s your story game. Seeing someone, especially when they do something unexpected, and thinking who are you, and what’s going on with you that made you do that. And because I make fiction I can just make up an answer.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I always wanted to be behind a camera. I can remember the first time I ever took a photograph. It was with my Dad’s big heavy SLR shooting slide film. I still have that slide in a box in my attic. There was always art going on in my family when I was a kid, but I can’t draw so it started out as a way to make a picture. But then it became a way to capture a bit of the world and share it with people. And then I went from photography to video in college because it seemed like a better way to make a living.

I have always been creative, but I don’t think it’s accurate to say I always wanted to be an artist. I loved having a camera in my hands, I loved making things. But for 20 years the things I was making professionally I didn’t consider artistic. I was making training videos and other corporate/industrial stuff. But after a while I thought, I want to tell my own stories. I started doing film as a hobby. Getting my friends together and goofing off in my back yard, or making silly videos of my dog. The more I did it the better I got until I thought, you know maybe I could do this creative stuff for real. Now I’m a professor and it’s part of my job description to keep making films. It is possibly the coolest thing ever.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I went through many years where my dog would get a role, or at least a cameo in most of my films. Usually one of the extras would be walking her. She died while I was in film school though, so in my thesis film there’s just a photo of her. My new dog isn’t trained well enough yet, so for the time being it’s likely to still be pictures of Blue hiding among the set dressing.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Ira Glass has the best advice, which is to make a lot of work, especially if you feel like the work you’re making isn’t good enough. It will never get good enough without a boatload of practice. And that’s true no matter what kind of art you do. Also, it’s important to get out in the world and have a life. My students often ask me if they should go to film school and I always tell them not right away. Go and experience a bit of life first because that’s what’s going to give you your stories to tell.

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Sarah and Esther working on the step afternoon

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual and aromantic.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I haven’t. On set we’re busy working and it would be unprofessional to be discussing our sex lives. And it’s really easy to be invisible as an asexual, which is both good and bad. I am unlikely to get harassed on the street because you can’t tell by looking. I’m not holding hands with the wrong person or whatever. People will assume you are like them until proven otherwise (about all sorts of things) so if I don’t bring it up it doesn’t come up.

Lately I’ve been realizing that invisibility is also bad. That it has a lot to do with why I spent decades trying to be something I’m not. Why it wasn’t obvious to me that there was nothing wrong with me. So I’ve started kind of coming out at work, identifying myself as a queer filmmaker. Universities tend to be supportive of that kind of thing though so nobody has given me a hard time about it. Maybe it would be better to battle the ignorance if I identified as an asexual filmmaker, but a) I don’t really have the energy to have to define it every time I say it, b) it’s not actually my colleagues’ business what flavor of not-straight I am, and c) I would really like to broaden the definition of queer film and queer filmmakers. We shouldn’t have to only tell coming out stories or dying of AIDS stories. I should be allowed to tell whatever stories I want and still be free to be myself.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

The common problem is that it’s not a word your average straight person knows. We come so far down on the alphabet soup of the acronym that people give up trying to figure out what all the letters mean before they get to us. So if I use the word then I’ve got to explain it and then you get that little head tilt of “huh, I didn’t know that was a thing.” And if I don’t actively explain it then the misconception is she’s just single and eventually Mr. Right will come along and solve that problem. Or, among my sister and the rest of the lesbians in my home town, then Ms. Right will come along. But nobody ever thinks she’s single and that’s how she’s happy being.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

There is Nothing Wrong with you. Many people won’t get it, but they don’t have to. You just be you and they can figure themselves out. For me the best part of being asexual is that nobody else really has to get it. The only people who need to understand the details of my sex life are the people involved in it, which, by definition, is nobody. All the well-meaning but annoying people who insist that there is someone out there for you, you can feel free to ignore them. Unless you actually want that, some asexuals do and that’s fine, you be you. But be unapologetically you. You don’t owe anything to anyone else.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

If you’re interested in my work my company website (https://heronmedia.wordpress.com/ ) is the best place for that. New work has images and trailers, when things are on the festival circuit I keep that up to date on screening locations and times, and when they finish the festival run I put them up entirely.

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Thank you, Kris, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Electrospectrum

Today we’re joined by Electrospectrum, who also goes by Chase. Electrospectrum is an incredible videographer who specializes in Cosplay Music Videos (also known as CMVs). He’s also a dedicated cosplayer. He is an incredibly passionate artist and the love for his medium of choice shines through in his work. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a videographer from the UK who mainly makes Cosplay Music Videos (or CMVs for short!). I started this back in 2013 at MCM Comic Con in May and haven’t been able to stop since.

I love capturing the details and hard work that goes into every cosplay, the characters that people have so much fun portraying and the different atmosphere each event I go to has.

Cosplay is for everyone and I want all sorts of people to feel like they can be included in epic and fun CMVs!

What inspires you?

The cosplayers I film, mainly. I’ve been lucky enough to film some amazing and highly skilled people from all over the world, as well as the EuroCosplay finals a couple of times now and the level of detail that cosplayers put into their work never ceases to amaze me. Also Beatdownboogie has always inspired my work and my great friend Littlegeeky. They both make such fun and unique CMVs that I would definitely recommend watching.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I was really into Media Studies at GCSE and A-Level and wanted to get into the Film Industry for a while because of it. My friend Littlegeeky started making CMVs back at the end of 2011 and since I was already well into cosplay at the time, I thought that would be a great way for me to fuse my passions, plus I had a friend to give me tips from the start.

I’ve always wanted to do something artistic and whilst I’m not as interested in getting into Film anymore, this is definitely the art I want to create.

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Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I think I have some fairly unique features to my CMVs! Or at least ones that I’ve only seen a few other videographers add in.

I like to put in close up detail shots of costumes, fun shots from around the event and candids of people enjoying themselves as I think it really shows how fun the hobby is. My favourite ‘Electrospectrum feature,’ as some of my friends have called it, is planned out scenes that capture an interaction or scene with a few characters (Check out the Borderlands shot at 0:19 from my London Comic Con video from this May!). This is usually intercut between a few separate shots to create a nice flow and plus I just think it looks cool. I always want to create something visually interesting for people to watch.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you want to get into videography or film work of any kind, don’t be afraid to just try it. So you don’t have expensive equipment? That’s fine, I started out on my family’s handheld camera, just try it. You don’t have any equipment at all? Make videos of your phone, people are telling visual stories and jokes through apps like Vine and Instagram everyday! You’re worried no one will watch what you make? We all start somewhere and building an audience is part of that! It’ll be OK, just keep making what you love and people who love it too will find their way to you.

I fully believe anyone can get into videography with a bit of hard work, determination and an eye for shots. If you want to ask me anything personally, my ask box is always open!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Sex-repulsed asexual!

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Not particularly as it doesn’t really come up much. Passively though, there’s a few things I’ve noticed, such as the cosplay videography field mainly being taken up by straight men. There can be a bit of a ‘sex sells’ mentality in some people’s work that I don’t agree with, but my asexuality has never been targeted.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That ace people are broken. It’s a horrible thing to think about someone that just because they don’t experience the same level of sexual attraction, or any at all, that they need fixing. People have made me felt like that before, but they’re wrong and I’m a-okay just as I am! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being on the ace spectrum and you’re not broken at all.

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What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Just take it slow, please don’t stress yourself over things and your sexuality is valid. I know it’s hard to find where exactly you fit in as not all safe spaces feel entirely welcoming, but you’re still valid and it’s okay to be ace. If you know anyone else on the ace spectrum, have a chat with them as they’ll be more likely to understand what you’re going through. If not, there are plenty of people online that I’m sure would be more than happy to talk to you about what you’re feeling (or not, as it were) and give you some more detailed advice on the subject.

But overall I think you just need to think it through without stressing over it. There’s no need to force yourself into a label, but if you’re comfortable identifying on the ace spectrum, then you’re most likely on the ace spectrum.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I have plenty of social media links!

Naturally my blog here is electrospectrum ( http://electrospectrum.tumblr.com/ )
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC07LOm9dv-lQDFHZF0KJCmQ
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/electrospectrum
Support me of Patreon – https://www.patreon.com/electrospectrum
Twitter – https://twitter.com/electr0spectrum
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/electrospectrum/

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Thank you, Electrospectrum, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: James Hastings

Today we’re joined by James Hastings. James is a phenomenal filmmaker who also dabbles a bit in music and comedy. He’s a freelance cinematographer, though he has a wide range of interests (and also happens to be a fellow fan of the great Buster Keaton). James is also working on writing a feature. It’s always fantastic to see aces in film. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Oh man, I do all kinds of stuff. My main bag is my work as a freelance cinematographer, but I also do covers and write comedy music for fun. I run a sketch-comedy YouTube channel called Cinema Wagon on which I do videos with my improv and industry friends, and in addition to all of that stuff, I’m currently in the writing phase of a feature film that I hope to produce independently in 2018.

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Bagman, Production Shot 1, photo by Chris Ertman

What inspires you?

A lot of my sketch-comedy work comes from the mildly obsessive way my brain works. An idea or an interaction that I had will get stuck in my head for a while, and I’ll replay the situation that created those ideas over and over again in my mind, but with something going differently each time, and it either becomes really entertaining or I just stop thinking about it until it pops up as part of another cycle of that process. That, or I’ll see a cool shot or think of a visual, then knock out a story to fit around that shot so I have an excuse to try it out. The people that I’m friends with also bring really good, creative stuff to the table all of the time as well.

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Bagman, Production Shot 2, photo by Chris Ertman

My visual style is really informed by the works of Julian Smith, Edgar Wright, Ciaran O’Brien, the Kids In The Hall, The Coen Brothers, Charlie Chaplain, and Buster Keaton. I think the Edgar Wright and Julian Smith influences come through a bit more in my visuals than others. I’ve also been trying to look at and learn more from renaissance art and how the visual composition of those pieces worked.

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Bagman, production shot 3, photo by Chris Ertman

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I initially wanted to be an animator. I grew up watching cartoons from the 50’s-90s, and I thought that it would be super cool to make things like them. As time went on, I got more into the theatre world, and that lead me to an interest in special effects makeup. Because of this, I found the Indie Mogul YouTube channel back when they were doing Backyard FX, and as I learned more about the rest of the filmmaking process, I went from wanting to be a special effects artist to wanting to direct my own films. Around that time, my dad gave me his old Mamiya ZE Quartz film SLR, and I started learning to take pictures with old photographic lenses, and I realized that I really love the process of working with a camera. I also finally accepted that I’m a terrible animator around that time, and my career trajectory was pretty well set.

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Bagman, production shot 4, steadicam, photo by Christina Estillore

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I have a prop zombie head named Thomas that I made in my time learning FX makeup that I like to hide in the background of the occasional shot. It’s not a consistent gag, but it pops up in most of my indie projects. There’s also a running joke amongst my peers about my propensity for shooting with wide-angle lenses. (12mm and 28mm are two of my favourites.)

On the post-production end of things, I have a set of “woosh” sounds that I recorded at the age of 14 in my bedroom that I have used in almost every project on which I have been in charge of the sound mix. Sometimes, it’s subtle, sometimes it’s very noticeable.

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Bagman, still 1

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

This one is tough since I’m still pretty young myself, but I have two pieces of advice that really helped me.

The first one is specific to cinematographers. It is not your job to make the images of a project look the way that you want them to. It is your job to help the director get what’s in their head onto the camera’s image sensor. You’ll be bringing ideas of your own to the table for sure, but at the end of the day, unless you’re also the director of a project, you don’t get the final say. The sooner you can learn to collaborate effectively, the sooner you’ll start to get called back to work on more projects.

The second one is a little more general, but it was important for me to hear. If you’re just starting out, you probably suck at what you do. That’s okay. Everybody sucks at first. The important thing is to power through that sucking and never stop trying to learn how to be better. As long as you’re trying to improve, you will. It may take a long damn time, but it will happen, and you won’t even notice until you look back at your old work and see your progression.

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Contract Killer, frame grab

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a grey-romantic, sex-repulsed asexual.

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Dead End Town, 2012

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

It really depends on the crew that I’m working with.

Some of the older, more established people in the industry aren’t really familiar with the concept of asexuality, but it also never really comes up when I’m working with them. If it does, I tend to blow it off by saying something like, “I care more about my craft than relationships.”

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Relentless, on set, photo by Dan Chomistek

Younger crews that have been coming up at the same time as me have been far easier to explain asexuality to if it comes up, but again, it’s pretty rare. People hire me because of the way I make things look, not the way that I feel (or don’t feel) about other people.

It’s probably easier for me as a white, cisgendered man in the industry to deal with it than other groups of people, though.

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Pee Break, frame grab

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

I think the most common one that I’ve encountered has to be the idea that asexuality is just a lack of maturity. I’ve also heard a lot about it, “going against human nature” as well. Standard stuff. It got old fast.

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Realistic Musicals, frame grab

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

I actually had a pretty easy time coming to terms with my asexuality, so I don’t have much advice specific to asexuality.

I was a bit of a social outcast when I was younger, though, and when I finally did develop a group of friends in my high-school, it turned out that I had a lot of other stuff to work through. It really helped me to talk to them about those things. If you can find an outlet like that in real life, great! If not, there are all kinds of resources about asexuality for you to check out.

If all else fails, just know that you’re not broken. You’re valid, and there’s a veritable crapload of people like you. We’ve got your back. Take care of yourself.

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Recalculating, frame grab

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I take set-photos on Instagram,
http://instagram.com/jawmsie

I tweet about all of my finished projects, as well as the occasional BTS schennanigans,
http://twitter.com/jawmsie

And I release all of my comedy sketches on the Cinema Wagon YouTube channel.
http://youtube.com/c/cinemawagonvideo

Thanks for checking out this interview, and I hope you enjoy my work if you do check it out.

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Bagman, still 2

Thank you, James, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Jonah S

Today we’re joined by Jonah S. Jonah is a wonderful artist who specializes in film and music. As a dedicated filmmaker, they enjoy making short films and do a lot of editing and directing. When they’re not working on film, Jonah also enjoys creating music and plays a variety of instruments. They have an admirable amount of enthusiasm and love for art, as you’ll read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My favorite medium to work in is film. I love editing and writing, but I have also directed a few short films. I’m still working to develop a distinct style of film, but I pay a lot of attention to the color palettes of my work, as I feel they are just as important as the story itself to the work as one cohesive unit.

I have played classical piano for quite some time, but I have recently gotten into writing electronic songs in Ableton Live. This past summer I released my first album, Songs For Summer Days, in which I sampled sounds from commonplace objects and made a song out of them every day. I also play ukulele for the band Maniac Foxy, but we’re still working on writing songs to perform.

What inspires you?

As a current environmental science major, I’d have to say that nature is a big inspiration for everything I do, from film to music to (the very occasional) visual art.

For each film project I work on, I seek out usually one or two specific genres or artists to sort of guide the visual development of the film. I usually end up using this music to score the film in the end! For example, my first film “La Vie En Rose,” is inspired by French new wave films, so I scored it with some avant-garde jazz, which I thought is pretty much the musical equivalent of the new wave’s freeform-ness. Another project I directed, “Run For Your Life,” has politics at the center of the narrative, so it draws heavily from anarchist folk-punk music like Defiance, Ohio.

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Cliche

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I work in film because it’s an intersection of basically every art form, so I don’t have to choose one to work in! There’s really no more to that, I’ve just always been interested in film.

My interest in music is more complicated than that, but I think that it stems from the fact that my grandmother is an extremely talented soprano singer who used to perform in operas and the Houston equivalent of Broadway. As a result, I’ve grown up surrounded by quite a lot of music.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I’ve tried to have an extra wear my red hoodie that says “Vampire Weekend” in the background of every film I’ve made. I haven’t kept up with it but it’s there sometimes!

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you’re entering film, don’t compromise your vision to accommodate the limiting standards that the film industry has put in place. Retain a clear divide between the art that you do for yourself and any professional film experience (internships, PA jobs, etc.). That way, you’ll gain a lot of experience while not succumbing to the limitations of mainstream film.

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Mercury Bob

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual and I prefer not to specify a romantic orientation (I’m like almost aro though).

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I haven’t encountered any in the film or music scenes, but that would be because I’m just not that involved publicly. I do know that there’s a lot of pressure on writers to introduce romantic subplots into their screenplays, and I tried that a few times, but eventually I was like “I am never doing this again”.

Additionally, there is a severe lack of asexual representation in mainstream media (along with nonbinary representation), so I hope to help remedy that.

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What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

I’ve heard a lot of really nasty rhetoric coming from aphobic people on Tumblr who post about “ace discourse” but I don’t really want to go into that.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Someone once told me that if you think you aren’t cis then you probably aren’t to some degree and I think this definitely applies to the asexual and aromantic spectrums as well (and to some extent pretty much any LGBTQ identity). There’s nothing wrong with “questioning” and there’s nothing wrong with deciding not to identify as anything in particular.

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Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I have put together a film portfolio here: jonahshaukatfilm.weebly.com
The good ones are at the top and they get progressively worse as you scroll down.

Also, here is a link to the album I released this past summer: https://maniacfoxy.bandcamp.com/

Should any of y’all wish to drop by and say hi, my Tumblr is http://topitmunkeydog.tumblr.com/.

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Thank you, Jonah, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Janina Franck

Today we’re joined by Janina Franck. Janina is an incredibly versatile artist. She has just published her first novel entitled Captain Black Shadow, which is currently available on Amazon. It’s a fantasy adventure involving pirates and it sounds like a great read. Aside from writing, Janina is also a filmmaker and website designer. She’s incredibly dedicated to her work, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I make films, design websites, and write.

I’m a bit of a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to film at the moment, but I’m trying to specialize. It’s a lot of fun working on something like that with a team.

Writing isn’t something I’ve ever been able to stop. It doesn’t matter if it’s a short story, poetry, or a novel – I’m constantly writing something and there’s not really a day that passes without me even putting a single sentence on paper. I also just published my first novel: Captain Black Shadow. It’s available on Amazon in both hard copy and e-book.

I also have a writing blog with a friend where we both write a short story a week based on a common prompt.

What inspires you?

Honestly this is going to sound cheesy, but I’m really inspired by the reactions of others when they see or read something I made for the first time. It’s incredibly motivating and it keeps me going and gives me faith in what I do.
Aside from that, long walks by myself can also do the trick.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve always been writing and making up stories, but I rarely ever thought of it as being an artist. I started writing my first novel when I was 11 and finished it when I was 16. It was never published though, because let’s face it – your first work is never great. I sometimes look back over it and cringe before making some adjustments to make it slightly more bearable again.

I also always wanted to be involved in films, but that desire wasn’t quite as pronounced when I was little.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I animated a signature that I can put at the end of the films I direct, but I’ve only applied it to one short film so far. Though I am considering adding it to my books as well.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Never give up. Be stubborn. Don’t make it for someone else or with the intention of selling it and becoming famous. Make it for yourself and then see how it goes from there. But the most important part is to keep going. Don’t lose courage if you haven’t worked on your art for a few weeks or months – it’s never too late to go back to working on it, and you should do it. No one else is going to create it for you, so you have to make it happen.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a pan-romantic asexual which can be tricky at times since there are so many people who don’t really get what it means to be asexual.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Oh yes, very few people I speak to in real life have any idea what it means to be asexual, unless they are ace themselves. I’ve been broken up with because of it as well.

Usually I just explain what asexuality is and they at least begin to understand on some level. With narrow-minded people I just avoid bringing it up, because they’re not worth the agitation.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

Most people seem to think that asexuals simply won’t have sex for any reason. They also seem to think that being aromantic and asexual is the same thing. Aside from those, I have encountered plenty of people who point-blank refuse to acknowledge the existence of asexuals, so I guess that means I’m not real?

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

You’re not broken.

You’re fine just the way you are. There is nothing wrong with you.

There are a lot of us. You’re not alone.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I have a Tumblr, please feel free to message me about anything! http://xilaya.tumblr.com
Here’s the writing blog I run with my friend: http://twoforonewriting.tumblr.com
And a Facebook page for my books:  https://www.facebook.com/chroniclesofthebat
As for my short films, there is my YouTube account: https://www.youtube.com/user/Njurana
And I just finished my Master Thesis project which is an ARG: http://glimmer.men

Thank you, Janina, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Devyn

Today we’re joined by Devyn. Devyn is a phenomenal up and coming screenwriter, who also occasionally directs. She writes the scripts for films and mostly focuses on short films. Devyn is interested in independent filmmaking and is currently growing a production company with a friend. Judging from the passion and enthusiasm in her interview, we’ll be seeing a lot more of her in the future. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, I’m a screenwriter. So, I write screenplays. I focus mainly on short films, so far the longest thing I’ve written is ten pages. I’m not sure if I want to do the Hollywood thing and write features for studios. I’m pretty sure I’m going to stay in the independent market with a friend of mine. We’re growing our own production company as of right now. We have a pretty sweet deal set up actually haha. I write the movies, I get a say in casting, then she directs. I’ll never have to be on set, which is what I greatly prefer. Although we might end up co-directing a lot of things, which I could learn to be okay with.

What inspires you?

This seems like it would be an easy question, but it’s actually somewhat complicated. I draw different kinds of inspiration from different things. My story ideas can come from anywhere. My latest film, Just the Usual started as a fanfic. Another script I’m currently working on is based on a dream I had a while ago. Ideas for characters more often than not come from my friends, and other people in my life. Sometimes they’re based on random people I’ve passed on the streets.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

Alright kids, buckle up! It’s story time!

Art is basically in my blood. That can happen when you have strong Italian roots like I do haha. My great-grandmother was a dancer, singer, and huge supporter of theatre and opera, my grandmother and great-aunt were both in choir and theatre in high school, and my mom danced for a good portion of her life. So it was pretty much assumed that I would be some sort of artist.

Originally, I thought I was going to be an actor. I fell in love with musical theatre in high school and that’s what I wanted to pursue. I started in the theatre program at my old community college. However, after two years, I ran out of acting classes to take (including a summer workshop where we got to build a small demo reel). Still needing financial aid (once you enroll at SBCC, you can never leave SBCC) I decided to try my hand at film. The demo reel workshop taught me the basics of video editing, which I liked and seemed decent at, so I figured, why not? During that class, I came to like editing more and got into screenwriting.

Fast forward a year and I’m applying to my current school. Obviously, I was interested in their musical theatre program, but I also decided to apply for the film school because I liked film as well. I had everything for my film application and portfolio, so I submitted that first. A few days later, I got an email saying I was accepted into the program, I just had to get into the school. So which program I went to depended on whether or not I got into the musical theatre program. Well…by the time I got everything together for my video audition, it was like three days after the submission deadline. Film school it was! I became a film student and never looked back. So far, it’s totally worked out haha. I do still act every once in a while, though.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

Not yet. I’m still just starting out and trying to figure out what my “signature” is.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Allow yourself to make shitty first drafts. No matter your art, it doesn’t matter if your first attempt doesn’t turn out how you want it to. That’s why it’s only your FIRST attempt. It’ll get better. But you have to let the first one be bad. If you get lucky and your first try is amazing, that’s awesome! But more often than not, the first try isn’t going to be great. And that’s just fine!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Biromantic Asexual

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?

To be honest, not very many people in my department know, with the exception of a few friends haha. I guess the one sort of thing that upset me was something that happened last year.

I was talking with a friend (we are no longer friends and this is a small part of why) and we somehow got on the topic of relationships and stuff. She told me she was bisexual, but she usually just told people she was gay because that was easier for them to understand. I told her that I was asexual. The first words out of her mouth were “Oh I could never date an asexual person.”

Like, okay, I understand liking sex and yeah, someone with a high sex drive should probably think twice before dating an ace. But I don’t think that should be the first thing you say to someone who comes out as asexual to you. I can guarantee that’s already a thought in the back of their head. Anyway, it really upset me but I didn’t really do anything about it either. It just left a bad taste in my mouth and after that it was hard to be around her. Especially since I had a crush on her at the time. Let me tell you that ended real quick haha. Anyway, I’m rambling, I’m sorry.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

“It’s just a phase. You’ll change your mind when you meet the right person.” Ugh!

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Don’t worry too much about putting a label on yourself. If labels make you feel better, great! If not, then don’t label yourself. But if you do decide you want a label, try it out first. Say it to yourself in the mirror. Keep trying things until something feels right. That’s what I did.

Also, YOU DO NOT NEED TO COME OUT IF YOU DON’T WANT TO! It is nobody’s business who you are (or probably in this case, aren’t) sleeping with! If there’s only a handful of people you want to come out to, only come out to those people. If you want to be out and proud, be out and proud! Whether or not you come out and how you come out is entirely up to you.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I don’t have a lot of work out right now, since I’m still starting out. I do have some stuff on my YouTube channel though. If you look up the user TheWickedMizfit, you should be able to find me. I made that channel when I was in high school OK? Cut me some slack haha. It’s only 4 videos and they were made a few years ago when I was still at my old community college. I am in a MUCH better school now and, thus, will turn out better work haha. Though I am actually kind of proud of the Axe commercial. I came up with the concept, someone else actually put it on paper, then I edited it. I WISH I could take credit for the music choice, but I cannot. Also, with Memories (the other one I wrote), we had a checklist of all these different shots, lighting techniques, and sound effects we had to incorporate into the film. So, if something doesn’t make sense, assume it was on the checklist haha. The other two I just edited.

Now the biggest thing I have going is my short film, Just the Usual, which I wrote and directed. We hope to submit it to several film festivals so that over the summer and in the fall, we can get a decent festival run. So be on the lookout for that!

If you want to know anything about my videos on YouTube or any other projects I’m working on, or you just want to say hi, feel free to contact me on Tumblr: http://ace-spiringscreenwriter.tumblr.com/

Thank you, Devyn, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Malgorzata

Today we’re joined by Malgorzata. Malgorzata is another first for Asexual Artists: she’s a cinematographer. She has a unique insight into the language of film, which makes for an absolutely fascinating interview. Cinematography in unique in that it’s both the technical side of art and the artistic kind. Cinematography is part of what allows the audience to get lost in the film. It brings the story on screen to life. Malgorzata is a phenomenal cinematographer, as you’ll soon discover. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a cinematographer, which basically means that I get to create the visual language of a story in a close collaboration with a director. It’s a great combination of artistic expression, understanding of emotions and technical knowledge about equipment and light.

Apart from that I still from time to time work on personal projects in photography, where I focus on human body, trying to catch those little moments of vulnerability and intimacy.

What inspires you?

I have a background in fine art, so majority of my inspiration comes from classical painters, especially Danish ones, like Hammershøi. But in the end everything visual can inspire me, whether is a photograph, a movie, or an observed moment from real life, when light was so exquisite and memorable that it just stays in your mind, waiting to be used, recreated.

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What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I always laugh that I got into photography because I couldn’t draw so I started taking pictures in the need of trying to express myself. After I’ve finished my degree I got slightly bored with still picture and got into creating a moving one. The workflow in cinematography is so much different that being a photographer. You get to collaborate with great people, you are never alone, the artistic dialogue and spirit keeps you going. In the end we are trying to tell a story, whether it’s through sound, image or acting. It’s the working spirit of feeling alive on a set, that got me hooked. So, in the end, there was always something like a creative streak in me, that now I got to channel through working with other amazing creators.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

My style and approach to the work usually depends on a story and how the director wants the portray it, but I have my little quirks, like an extensive usage of negative space and emptiness in a frame or an approach to shoot emotional moments in profile close-ups to give an audience a feeling of closeness, but still not to reveal too much, so the moment is not becoming overbearing. In photography I do a lot of artistic nudes/semi nudes but my subjects are never portrayed in a sexual way. Nudity through photography for me is completely asexual, a body becomes a geometrical play of shapes and shadows. It’s intimate, but never erotic.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Stay true to who you are. Don’t even change that. There will be people looking upon you, because you don’t fit into their limited universe, times that you might think it might be easier to change yourself or pretend. But never yield to that. Being yourself makes you special and that’s what uniquely is represented in your work making it honest and real.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a Gray-A. Sometimes I can overthink who I am in the need of trying to fit in or understand, and it’s OK. Being slightly confused and searching is somehow a natural state and I’ve learnt to accept that.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

In general film industry is a tough environment for women especially in camera or other technical departments, mostly because it’s still considered as an ‘alpha male’ job. Adding being ace to that sometimes feeling like an overkill. Because of that working in my field my sexuality usually doesn’t come up, I don’t feel the need to share it. But when it does come up it’s met with massive ignorance. But mainly on the same level that in other aspects of my life.

They only extremely negative experience I have ever had was not coming from fellow crew members but from a subject of a documentary I’m working on. Irony of this encounter is that we are in the middle of shooting a documentary about prejudice against sexual minorities in a seemingly accepting and liberal country like Denmark and my own sexuality came up in an offscreen conversation with a married, gay man who is a drag queen, so he represents a variety of minorities himself. I was met with highly judgmental approach, ignorance and prejudice. Starting from the fact that he (and other drag queens that joined) had no idea that asexuality even existed(!) to the borderline offensive comments (when I tried to explain what it means) that he can “sacrifice” himself and fuck me, so I will know what it feels like, because he couldn’t imagine being able to live without sex, ending with the note that he might accept who I am, but he can’t respect that. Irony of that whole evening hit me so hard that I still can’t process what happened. Here I am, working to give a minority a voice, to reveal that acceptance doesn’t meet respect and I am facing the same prejudice form a fellow LGBT+ member. If they don’t understand, than who will?

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What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

“But you are not repressed!”, “But you had girlfriends/boyfriends!”, “You are just getting through a phase, because you haven’t met anyone special yet.” Probably three the most common reactions I’ve heard. If I had a dollar for every disbelieving reaction that I’ve encountered over the past two years, I would be financially set up for life.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Don’t let other people get into your head that who you feel you are is not true. I’ve been struggling with the disbelief from even the closest friends for I while now and I’ve learnt that even as much as it hurts me, I have to ignore that. Because I know myself and what I feel, how I see the world, the best and there is no one know has a ground to say it’s wrong or different. They don’t live in my head or in my heart.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

For the films I have been working on, they are circulating around festivals in Europe, that’s why it’s impossible to publish them online before two years mark (weird rules). Hopefully one day you will stumble in the cinema and see my name in the credits (haha).

But in general I have a website with samples of my work, that I use as a portfolio.

http://malgorzatapronko.com/

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Thank you, Malgorzata, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.