I can barely remember what I was doing when I was twelve years old. I was certainly eons away from any major projects, Kickstarter did not exist, and I was kicking back with my old school PC rocking games like Neopets. Kian, on the other hand, had his sights set on something a little bigger. Working with director Justin Zimmerman of Bricker-Down Productions he got the chance to flex his acting muscles and experience a real film set.
MADE YOU LOOK is a short monster movie filmed in Portland, Oregon with a host of amazing creators bringing it together. It is currently looking for some extra support through Kickstarter. Thanks to a lot of dedicated fans, the project has already met its initial goal and is now pushing full steam ahead into stretch goals that will land it in film festivals across the country. We sat down with star Kian and director Justin Zimmerman to discuss the project.
What’s your current project?
Kian: It is called MADE YOU LOOK and it is a film we made. We shot it here and in my house in St. Johns.
How did that whole process get started?
K: Well, [Justin Zimmerman] needed to test the camera for his film Gone in a Flash, and you don’t want to test out the camera in a boring way just filming stuff, so why not just make it a monster movie in your garage? So I came over and we filmed a monster movie in the garage and it turned out really good so we decided to add words and make another part, make more to it.
How much of the writing and creating of it did you do?
K: I helped with some of the initial idea. Justin wrote the dialogue and stuff, but I feel like I helped some, maybe convinced him [to change things].
Justin Zimmerman: Kian and I have known each other for a while now and so we’ve actually done some camera tests ‘cause as soon as I heard he was into acting we did some camera testing-
K: That was forever ago!
JZ: Yeah, and his folks said, “Will you work with him on this stuff?” So when it came to this idea I said, “Well, does Kian have the chops to pull this off?” And so we discussed a bunch of stuff we were thinking about playing around with and this film came together. But when it came to the actual kind of script, while I wrote the script, we worked on the whole thing, we workshopped it, we worked on it with his family, came back, rewrote it from there. It was really cool to have Kian be so involved in it because I think he really did help bring the script together in a neat way.
How has the experience been for you?
K: It has been really fun. I’ve always wanted to be on a set and I remember the first time we filmed I had just come back from the first thing I ever did – I was on Portlandia – and that was super intense and overwhelming, and we came back and filmed [MADE YOU LOOK] and it was really fun. It was a great experience. I have always just made films with my friends and stuff but I had never been somewhere where we had actually nice equipment, film that wasn’t shot on iPhone. It was really cool.
And what would you say has been the biggest challenge for you?
K: Crying on command, or not laughing. I know we’ve had a couple [moments] of me laughing in-between takes, but I think, I feel like we’ve had some kind of bumpy parts but overall it has been smooth.
JZ: What did you learn, or what did you actually have to work on when we were in the garage? Remember that?
K: Oh yeah, I dropped my flashlight. You shouldn’t drop your flashlight. I accidentally dropped by flashlight but it worked, so.
JZ: I’m talking more about what you learned about set etiquette, what you learned about being on a real set.
K: Don’t talk, really. Be there, talk when someone talks to you but don’t like, start conversations and stuff. Be there.
JZ: Yeah, one of Kian’s biggest things was figuring out that people on a set have a job to do so you have to spend some time with yourself getting ready rather than being part of it, which you did really, really great, but that was one of the bigger lessons that you learned. And yeah, always make sure your props are safe and sound. Did you learn anything when we were working with Tory?
K: Oh yeah, the basement. I feel like I kind of learned some stuff from that, from the first shoot. Shooting the second shoot, I had a lot of lines and stuff and a lot of it is just a whole take and I had to kind of be able to go up and down in emotion and not drastically change… but drastically change. It’s weird, but I had to like go through a monologue without sounding too happy or too sad, but then when it was time I needed to quickly change emotion from being sad to angry to laughing and all these different things.
Have you had any formal training helping with the acting or has it all been stuff you pick up as you go?
K: My grandpa is an actor so he’s showed me stuff and I’ve taken acting classes and done theatre and stuff. I haven’t done a lot of film, so that’s different from theatre. Theatre you’re trying to be energetic and loud and in film you’re a little more constrained, you know? I’ve taken classes but Justin and me, [doing film together] is where I really started getting decent at it. I also go to an art school.
What has surprised you the most during this experience?
K: You know, I didn’t think I was bad at acting before but I didn’t think I could do something. I didn’t think I was at the point where a director or editor could edit enough to make it look like I was decent. It surprised me how good it turned out, I had no clue, for all I knew it was just going to be test footage but now we have the Kickstarter and we’ve passed our goal already… the fact we have passed our goal already in a little over 24 hours is what surprised me the most.
Finally, speaking of your Kickstarter, what’s the one thing you want potential pledgers to know about the project?
K: I think that even though we’ve reached our goal, the extra money will help us get into film festivals and will let us get to go see it at film festivals and I just think they will enjoy seeing it. A lot of cool people worked on it and you should support those cool people. I just think you’ll really like it and I think it is a good cause.
Kian is right, MADE YOU LOOK is a project created by a lot of talented people dedicated to producing fantastic short indie films. Supporting the Kickstarter means supporting the talent behind it. The project is already funded and your rewards are guaranteed from here on out, so check out the Kickstarter page and pledge today!
All our thanks to Kian and Justin for sitting down to talk with us.