TF- Well, I went to college at the University of Texas in Austin which is a very film-centric city. There’s a big independent film scene there and it’s also home to a lot of movie-geeks — I am very much one of them and have been since I was a little kid. I majored in Film and made a handful of films while I was there – I also got the reputation of being “the guy who will AD.” ADing, or assistant directing, is usually the least desirable job on set because you have to be the one who cracks the whip and keeps everyone informed of how far behind schedule you are. So the AD is usually the most-hated person on set. I started off being a real hard-nosed asshole because most of the professional ADs I had observed were all assholes, but then I had trouble sleeping at night so I decided to be a nice AD – which made me more pleasant to work with. So I got a lot of work after college being an AD. I eventually went to work for a post-production house in Austin and I did that for a couple of years. It helped me learn a lot about after effects so I soon became “the guy who knows after effects and also ADs nicely.” Surprisingly, there are a lot of filmmakers who shy away from visual motion effects in their projects because they think after effects is a such a mystery. So I got a lot of work since I knew how to work within that realm.
I eventually went to grad school to study film at Chapman University in Orange County, CA. There I learned a great deal about storytelling and met a lot of great people. Again, my reputation as an AD and an After Effects/motion graphics guy followed me, so of course a lot of my friends wound up throwing work my way. Film school is a really great way to develop a strong network of friends and potential collaborators.
ED- You’ve held a number of positions behind the camera. Tell us about them and how they added to your experiences.
TF- Learning how to edit was probably the first thing that really made filmmaking click for me. To this day, it really informs what I do as a director and teaches me to be mindful of my coverage. These days with digital filmmaking, I feel that it’s very possible to have too many options in the editing room. There’s a tendency that digital filmmakers have to over-shoot their scenes, and being an editor helps me curb that tendency. (more…)