29 Jul 2015

Question from a fellow filmmaker

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“Dear Mr. Rashidi,

I’m getting to be an old man, having worked in the film and television industry for close to 30 years, but when I was in art school, studying film,  I was always intrigued by what were known at the time as “experimental films”. Especially the ones that were made just for the sake of art exploration and not for soapbox preaching or for political sermonizing.

Eventually, after having studied for “live-action”, I went the way of animation and ended up working in Los Angeles for about 20 years. Of course, working in that particular climate for Disney, Warner Bros., etc., there was not much room for experimentation.  Even within the confines of narrative film making, they all ready had their story pipeline in place. In fact, for the last 15 years, I’ve mainly worked for the story departments, scripting and storyboarding.

When I suggested to several friends that I would like to go out, just film different things, different ideas and then attempt to treat the post production as the story process and develop it there, of course, they thought I was nuts. One friend though, sent me an article about a few different filmmakers and some of their inspirations. Your name was on that list, and two of the inspirations you had struck me as interesting because other filmmakers on the list did not name them, and also, because one is a most definite inspiration to me (Yasujiro Ozu), and the other is a guilty pleasure from which I also learn (Hammer Films).

I then saw a interview in which you were speaking about your most recent film “Ten Years in the Sun”. You began talking about Jack Arnold and his films, and I felt that here was someone that didn’t necessarily make narrative films but seemed to take some influences from classical cinema. I love Jack Arnold’s movies from the fifties. I also have to begrudgingly admit that “Gilligan’s Island” which he produced and frequently directed in the sixties is a big inspiration of mine.

And then, when that same friend sent me your site link and I saw that you had a small post on Charles Coburn (one of my favorite character actors), I had to contact you.

After being so long winded, I really only have one question, although it’s a tough one, I think. 

I would love to be an experimental  or underground filmmaker, leaving the industry behind. How do you, as well as other filmmakers of this kind, support yourselves? Having a family, this is a question that always comes up, but to which I’ve never found an answer. If you have time, any information on this would be greatly appreciated.

I hope that I am able to see more of your films soon and wish you all the best. Thank you very much for your time!

Regards,

D W”