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Brandon Willer: Writer/Director, THE RACKET BOYS

February 20, 2013

securedownload (4)1. Tell us a little about the origins of The Racket Boys, from concept to financing.

 The Racket Boys came about after a few years of frustration in the film industry. I had tried to break in as a writer for a little while working at a coffee shop and was having trouble finding any real success. After showing what I determined was my most ‘Hollywood’ ready script to a few friends around town and still having no luck, I decided that the only way to guarantee anything ever coming of your film was to go out and make it yourself. I studied film in college at The University of Michigan and I always loved the spirit of French filmmakers in the 60s. They couldn’t make Hollywood films like the directors they worshipped, so they just picked up a camera and played around with Hollywood conventions with whatever money they could scrape up. I loved that and tried to duplicate it at every step of the process. I had heard about Kickstarter from a random internet search and I decided to give that a try. We put together a short video, asked for some money, and about a month later we were shooting.
2. It appears that the film has been screened at other festivals. Do audiences respond differently at some festivals than they do at others? And do you ever stop being nervous?
We’ve only really screened at one other festival, the Santa Barbara IFF, but we screened a few times for friends/family at my agency, and yes, I feel audiences respond differently every single time. I always find it interesting to note when people laugh during the film. There are a few spots that stay the same, but for the most part, I’m always surprised by a random chuckle or two. And to answer the second part of the question, no. I don’t think I’ll ever stop being nervous until the film actually starts. The build-up (or, in some cases, lack thereof) is terrifying.
3. What was your best and/or worst experience while making The Racket Boys?
The best experience was two fold. First, it was great getting to drive up the California coast and see some of the lesser known shit along Highway 1. Second, we only had a seven person crew, so we all become really close while crashing on the floors of various hotel rooms along the way. I was definitely left with a couple lifelong friends when it was all said and done. The worst experience had to be the night shoot. I wrote the script knowing that we couldn’t film much after dark because we didn’t have lights, so there is only one night scene. The trouble was that it was scheduled near the end of the 18 day shoot. As you can imagine, with seven people moving from sunup to sundown for two weeks, we were exhausted and struggling to film late into the night. On top of the exhaustion, we were all sick, and our DP hurt his back during, so we had to take turns working the actual camera. It was tough, but we all laugh about it now.
4. Festival audiences often have to make hard decisions about what to see, and the catalog describing sometimes run together. In your own words, why should people see your film?
First, I don’t think people get too many chances to see a film like this, unless they are really into 1960s French/Italian cinema. Our goal with the film was to make people think, but never forget that they came to have fun. The movie had to be light and it had to move fast. I think we accomplished those goals, so it shouldn’t be too much of a pain to sit through. Second, the story behind our cast and crew (7 people) is pretty interesting. I’ve known Paul (male lead) and Jon (composer) since middle school. Plus, any feature film made with only seven people, that isn’t horrendous, is one that I would be curious to see.
5. There are now so many different ways in which to distribute a film; each has pros and cons. What are your hopes and plans for future distribution?
I really don’t have too many hopes or plans. I just want as many people to see this film as possible. Whatever happens, happens. It’s on to the next one.
Buy tickets to see THE RACKET BOYS at Cinequest!

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