We’ve had the chance to interview Scott Goldberg a couple of times here at RC, but it’s never dull and it’s always informative and interesting. Brian had the opportunity to sit down again with this young filmmaker to talk about his movies, his documentary about making the world a better place and, generally, what’s new with Scott.
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BM – First, let’s talk about what’s ongoing. Tell us about Loss of Hope.
SG – Loss of Hope is about a man who reminisces on the past memories he had with his family after all hope is lost due to nuclear war. Paul Kratka, whom I am have worked with on several projects before had expressed interest in working on another film together, and it’s always a pleasure to work with Paul. He plays the main character of the film who grieves his wife’s death after she had died in a nuclear explosion in New York City. The only real form of communication for him is a radio in the basement. We shot the film at Welwyn Preserve and we were on a tight schedule so things were pretty stressful. We shot in this creepy, abandoned basement and we had an issue with the heat. We had to shoot with the heat off, which made it a little uncomfortable for Paul since he is used to the California heat. If we turned on the heat, it would have made sounds within the plumbing pipes which were above us, and I wanted to use the sound from the location and not have to redo the dialogue in Post Production. We didn’t know how long they would make sounds for and if the sound would go away or not, so we were forced to shoot without the heat. This was also in the beginning of January 2008 so the weather outside was maybe 30 degrees. We were shooting inside a building that had heat, but the basement had no heat. I think overall it added to Paul’s performance in the film.
BM – I can’t wait to see it! Now, what’s going on with your doc, Dying For Change.
SG – Dying for Change is about organizations, groups and individuals whom are making a change for what they believe in. Very recently I’ve been focusing on this Public Access TV Station in New York City, MNN. I met a lot of interesting and unique people there, many who are into alternative ways of thinking and usually you wouldn’t hear or see about these people since most people do not go to these places that I have been documenting. That is what intrigued me as well. I wanted to show the audience something they would not normally see. I feel that information is crucially important, especially if it can help expand the mind and create a better understanding of this world. I have been documenting this wonderfully energetic and bright woman, Paula Gloria (Rabbit Hole Central), whom to many might seem a little off-the-wall but she is truly an inspiring woman who is very knowledgeable. She is involved in one of the segments and then you have more of a health awareness type aspect to the documentary with segments on veganism, fitness and raw food. Paul Kratka (Friday the 13th Part 3) is featured in the health awareness segment of the documentary in which he talks about his film career as well as many different aspects of health and healthy living.
BM – As a filmmaker, how is it different approaching a documentary as opposed to a scripted film?
SG – For every filmmaker it’s different. Not one filmmaking things exactly the same as another filmmaker. I think what one must do before shooting their documentary is to research about the subject they are documenting and to pick an angle to shoot it from. For example, one filmmaker can document a horror movie location set from an angle of how horror films are a bad influence to society and another angle can focus on filmmakers and what they go through making a horror film (i.e.: Chris Garetano’s documentary, Horror Business). Chris took a few years to make his documentary and he worked hard on it and kept on shooting and knew what he needed more and more as she shot footage. His documentary eventually got distribution and is now out in stores. The thing is, you cannot just document for a year and then edit a documentary and put it out there so fast, especially if it’s about a big subject such as people making a difference, so as long as the filmmaker understands that a documentary will take a while then I feel the documentary will come out well. A fear of mine was that I was going to die so soon, and that I wanted to get the film out there because I was afraid of passing so early due to tackling on such a big subject. I wanted to rush out the film and get it seen. Chris talked to me and he made me understand more about documentaries and how especially if you’re tackling such a huge subject as change, that it’s going to take a while for the story to unfold. A filmmaker learns every single day of their life. It doesn’t matter how old or how young you are, you’re always going to learn something new. It’s also up to the filmmaker to put their own stamp and style on the film. A documentary doesn’t have to be any specific way or shot any way. It should feel free to the filmmaker. I feel as long as someone loves what they do and that it’s what they want to do with their life, then it’s a pure and positive experience. If you’re doing it for the wrong reasons, then it’s going to really show sooner or later.
BM – I find it interesting, the change from horror to a doc about people making the planet a better place. What gave you the idea for the doc?
SG – I heard about this group, We Are Change, whom were located in New York City and protesting the war. Their group had formed because they wanted answers to what they believe happened on September 11th and felt that they were being lied to by the government. What really intrigued me to document them were the videos of them online confronting politicians and asking them questions about their corrupt policies. I documented the group for about two months and then the documentary branched off onto other subjects such as health awareness, political awareness, alternative news, animal rights, etc. The documentary was originally to be just about the 911 Truth Movement but it has become something much bigger than that as time progressed. My hope with the documentary is that it helps people see what other people are doing to make a change and perhaps they might want to change something or fix things in their life that they may be unhappy about. The most important thing we can do as people are teach each other and show each other things we may have never seen or thought of.
BM – How did the change come from just the 911 Truth Movement to a more all encompassing doc?
SG – The change for the documentary was not because I wanted it to change, but because it was forced to. There was an issue and it was an ongoing issue where I felt uncomfortable since I was being asked by the leader of the organization for full unedited tapes, and at the time I was very iffy about just giving out footage that I shot for my own documentary especially since I did not want it to get into the hands of other filmmakers and for them to call the footage their own. A filmmaker’s footage is sacred and his film is like his/her baby and they must protect it. Unfortunately they didn’t see it like that. This was quite a learning experience because it made me understand that while an organization like We Are Change was promoting freedom and change, they ultimately decided to ban a filmmaker from documenting them. I am still by law allowed to document them since they are protesting and handing out flyers and information in public, but I decided to close the chapter on documenting their organization since I did not want to stir up anymore bad blood. It was quite upsetting for me because I was really interested in going deeper into what their beliefs were as well as many facts that are not told by mainstream news. The documentary branched off shortly thereafter into other organizations and after a few months of documenting anti-war organizations I started to document individuals and it’s all an ongoing adventure. You definitely grow and learn from your mistakes while making a documentary.
BM – I don’t think you’ve ever told us about how you started working with Paul Kratka (who’s become one of your regulars), tell us how you two met and began working together.
SG – I had contacted Paul in late 2004 concerning a project I was planning on shooting entitled, The Day They Came Back. I had also contacted a few other actors who were in horror films such as Ken Foree, Gaylen Ross and Larry Zerner but they all had declined. Paul had responded and we scheduled a trip out to Long Island for the shoot and shot his scenes.
BM – As an indie filmmaker, who’s been pretty active on YouTube, I’m curious to hear your take on the on-going Writer’s Guild strike. Do you feel, as they do, that the medium is moving toward the web?
SG – The thing with the Internet and video-hosting websites such a YouTube, is that there is over-abundance of people trying to get recognition and promote their work. That is something I have learned while researching for my films on YouTube. Everyone wants to be looked at and discovered. Everyone is doing it. I like sites like VeOh.com, which seems to have better quality with their video hosting. I think it’s great however for filmmakers to put their films up online because so many people are able to view their films, comment on them and contact the filmmaker.
BM – Was Loss of Hope the first time you worked in a collaborative way with others to write a film?
SG – I had worked with Chiko Mendez on The Day They Came Back and other projects were collaborative in certain aspects… I had asked one of my friends Jennifer Baltusis to write the story, and then I e-mailed it over to Paul Kratka to look over and to revise it, since he was playing the main character in it. Then he e-mailed it back to me and I updated it and finalized it with my style and take on it, which was about the world ending due to nuclear war. More and more I am collaborating with others in different ways. When you meet people in the industry or people who are interested in making movies, you start to see that their ideas and your ideas can match up well and the end result can be something really interesting and unique. Right now, I am planning to collaborate with Bridget Davis of the Pocono Mountains Film Festival on an upcoming film project about racism that I think can be a very dark and creepy film.
BM – What’s the most important thing you personally took away (so far) from Dying For Change?
SG – Every time that I was documenting with my camera, I was capturing history in a way and recently when I was looking back on the footage, I realized that never again will that moment ever happen again. That is why filmmaking is so interesting to me. You are capturing memories and moments in history. This is why digital video is crucially important if we want some type of filmmaking revolution that will make a difference with what many independent films can be. Let’s face it, a lot of independent films lack in many ways, but this is why we have digital video that is so affordable to the consumer. Digital Video tapes are much cheaper than film stock and there is more room for mistakes.
BM – Any new or exciting upcoming projects you would like to tell us about?
SG – Back in February, we shot two music videos for the band Blameshift and I am currently researching and writing a draft for an upcoming book I am working on. The Forest Hills will be released online soon and is in final stages of being scored by composer Brian Phraner. I am planning to start production on two possible short films that will be filming this Spring and/or Summer 2008. There are also a lot of potential projects and collaborations that may be coming up, but until they are official I’d rather not say anything about them.
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Scott may be one of the most eclectic filmmakers we here at Rogue Cinema have ever had the pleasure of speaking with. Anyone who can go from horror movies to saving the world is alright in our book! You can find out more about Scott and his movies by heading over to Scott Goldberg Films.com.