ED- The Eerie Digest would like to introduce Film Makers Eric Schumacher and Robert Linden to our readers.
ES/RL– Hi ED thanks for interviewing us.
ED- Eric and Robert, tell us how you two came together and what interests you have in common.
RL– I lost a leading role to my buddy Eric here but fortunately the director and producer felt that I was good enough to stay in the film as fight coordinator.
ES- We laugh about that a lot although I think Rob was peeved at the time. They wanted a Clark Kent type, I fit the bill fairly well, in fact I actually have a phone booth in my house for changing clothes… Kidding. This was a short sci fi film called “Darkness” (© Toretti Films) directed by a film school student, Joe Toretti. There was a 6 hour drive to the Yuma California desert where we originally shot a climactic battle scene (the footage was lost due to high winds and sheets of sand blasting us all day so the scene was later reshot at a different location). Rob and I sat in the back of a van with the crew and chatted for a solid 6 hours there and 6 hours back and, and became instant brothers. Rob brought up the idea of writing a movie together during that conversation and we started brainstorming. The short version is that that led to the formation of RobEric MEDIA, LLC. We write frighteningly well together and have similar philosophies about filmmaking and the kinds of stories we want to tell.
RL- As to what we have in common, I believe we have a lot in common: our writing styles, favorite movie genres (ES-Except I’m not a big fan of horror movies and Rob likes them RL-I’ve acted in a couple of them) and our background in the martial arts.
ED- Is there a particular genre that appeals to the both of you?
RL- If anyone knows us they know we both Love the martial arts genre, hands down. We Love Sci Fi, personally I can go for musicals and classic movies, westerns comedies EG: “Space Balls”, “Blazing Saddles”.
ES- We both Love all of those genres. Screwball comedies are high on the list and we’re both huge Mel Brooks fans. I think the top 2 we have in common are good solid martial arts based action films and good thought provoking Sci Fi. I feel it important to add that, that I am a huge fan of what is commonly know as “chick flicks”. In other words a good, passionate, heart felt, tear jerking, funny, romance. I get teased for that a lot, but startlingly, not by Rob… Hmmm closet chick flick fan Rob?
RL-Yes…No…Well it depends on how you ask the question…What?
ES- We seem to write a lot of comedy together. It just sort of happens that way. I do like a good epic too and one of these days we’re gonna make one.
ED– Tell us something about your backgrounds.
ES– Well I’m originally from the San Francisco bay area. I’m from a family of actors. I’m classically trained through a somewhat unique system designed by my dad, who had teachers from all over the world. Kind of a blend of the full Stanislavski system and British theater technique and several other methods, blended with his own experience as a master actor. He’s REAAALY good. My mom is a voice coach for the actor and has trained me in a variety of dialects. My dad and I used to recite parts of Hamlet while dueling with plastic rapiers in Roxbury park in LA when I was 6. I Loved every minute of it and I still do. I studied a very deeply philosophical system of martial arts for quite some time. I essentially live eat and breathe acting and film. I’ve done a fair amount of stage work as well and a bit of voice over. In fact I really started with stage and only recently made the transition to film. I Love a live audience but what you can do with film is compelling. I have a rather entrepreneurial nature so I get into designing processes that will create good film. I’ve been married for 11 years to the most wonderful woman I’ve ever met. I’ve really been blessed actually with the roles that have come my way. Not a huge amount of exposure so far but folks are starting to hear about me little by little and a lot of my work is available online.
RL-I grew up in one of the worst parts of Tucson, AZ, so when I was 7 I decided I wanted to take up the martial arts for self defense purposes and to keep myself out of trouble. I’ve been studying ever since. I didn’t pursue my acting career until I was 14. I’ve done a good amount of theater work and a good amount of film work. At the age of 18 I started training in professional wrestling. Now that was a wild and crazy career choice for me, but it was fun. I’ve been married for 3 years to whom I consider the perfect wife and I have 2 of the most adorable kids. I’m also a juvenile diabetic. I was diagnosed when I was 3. If any diabetics are reading this, don’t let the disease limit you. If you take care of yourself you can do anything you want.
ED– Tell us about some of your past projects and what you have planned for the future.
RL– As a company we just started off so no completed projects yet.
ES- Rob and I as it happens have been in a feature film together, and 2 shorts and Rob was the fight coordinator for Melissa Banczak’s screwball comedy “Crewing Up” the web series (© 2009 Fried Egg Films, LLC) in which I played a principal role. We have paid careful attention to folks we were working with on the production end and did our best to grab the cream of the crop locally for our first project as RobEric MEDIA, LLC which is, not surprisingly, a comedy science fiction web series. More of a dramedy really with lots of twists and turns. We expect the series to premiere at the end of the first quarter of 2010. We grabbed the director of the last feature film I did (a romantic comedy called “Writing Fren-Zee” © 2009 Holbrook and Kowoski Productions, LLC) and his writing partner to help us develop the series and it’s coming a long very, very well. We think folks will Love it, because we sure do.
ED- What course do you see for the future of films, and what do you think of the current trends?
RL- Well we’re going to set a new trend. We’re going to show Hollywood that smaller cities do carry great actors. I see trends nowadays with actors being CG’d (3d animated version of actors) and it just doesn’t make for a good movie. People go see a movie to see an actor and follow their careers, not to see the CG version of that actor. Using CG is great if you want to add special effects to an actor but we want to use real, home town actors that audiences can really connect with.
ES- Thanks to recent advances in film technology, it’s a lot easier and less expensive to make a decent film these days. Not that it’s cheap, and you still need a lot of skill but in some cases where you needed a gigantic crew to make something that was watchable, you can use a smaller crew and get something that works. That means that the little guy or the medium guy can play ball in the marketplace. I think that indie film is going to advance to the point where it’ll be hard to tell the difference between a small indie film and a major release. Thanks to the internet, small companies can make content that folks really click with and get it in front of fans without a middleman. TV has the largest exposure at the moment, and the immediacy of television is still exciting to audiences, but it won’t be long until the internet becomes TV and vice versa and then it’ll be a whole new day in the TV world. We’re very close to that now with on demand viewing, etc.
RL- With that being said, be on the lookout for small things making a big impact in the film industry.
ED- As you know The Eerie Digest Magazine is offering a program to students in eight Universities to promote writing in our magazine. What can you tell them to offer them confidence and support in their endeavors?
RL-Keep pushing along, on whatever you start. Never give up on any ideas you have. If you’re in a race and you start off first and finish last, at least you didn’t give up the race. You will hear negativity on whatever you do but take that and use it as motivation.
ES- Motivation is I think the trickiest thing. With any career in the arts you will find that a lot of people simply won’t understand you or why you have chosen a career in a field that seems like a fantasy to folks with an office job. You have to make sacrifices. You have to stay focused and while it helps to turn the negativity that others hand you (often simply because they are afraid for you) into motivation to succeed, it’s also important that you do not despise those who are naysayers. Compassion for yourself and others is key. Several very successful actors have given me the same advice and I think it applies to writing, acting, filmmaking and all of the arts: “If you can possibly imagine doing something else with your life and being happy, go do that. But if you must act (write, etc) give it everything you have. One of my greatest teachers used to say, don’t be that person sitting on their porch near the end of their lives on Earth wondering what it was all about. Seize the day.
ED– Eric and Robert, we at The Eerie Digest look forward to hearing more about your current project. We would like to hear back from you as it progresses so that we can do another interview when you are ready. We all wish you the best of luck and look forward to working again with you again in the near future.
ES– Thanks ED you write an amazing yarn and those university students are quite blessed to have you helping them. We’ll be in touch and we’d be honored to interview with you again.