Dealing with his cancer diagnosis, Giovanni learns that his family is struggling with the financial burden of his treatments. Wanting to help his father financially, Gio teams up with Sara for a drug heist.
This is a short developed by Ten Yards Media & Alden Productions LLC, as a precursor to a limited series currently in development.
We interviewed the director of 624 days regarding his film for Chicago Movie Magazine.
What draws you to ﬁlmmaking and the cinematic language?
At ﬁrst it was something we did with our friends. Get whatever camera we could ﬁnd and go ﬁlm. We tried to make each other laugh on camera and have a great time. It was never about making art or expressing ourselves. We just wanted to have fun. Then over time as we kept making ﬁlms the collaboration was what kept us going. Working with new people on every project and building a community. It was like being on a sports team, needing to trust everyone and creating this bond. Then as we made more ﬁlms and started developing our craft, we realized that in some way, we’re leaving our legacy behind. Years and years from now people can go back and watch the ﬁlms we made and hopefully feel something and understand who we were.
Do you believe in ﬁlm schools or does making a ﬁlm teach you more than ﬁlm school?
Jumping from student, indie, and bigger budget ﬁlms helped us learn how to manage a set. The more you do, the more you learn. Film school wasn’t bad! But it really depends on who you are. If you’re a go getter and get things done, just go make ﬁlms. But if you need guidance or somewhere to start, go to ﬁlm school.
What makes cinema stand out more than the arts for you?
Film/cinema is our favorite part of the arts. When you look at “the arts”, it’s basically a group of mediums that are used to tell a story. Filmmaking is one of the more direct ways to tell your story.
Did you choose a certain directing style for making this ﬁlm based on the script?
We approached directing the same way as we do with all our ﬁlms. The story and script are the most important thing and once that’s locked for us we ﬁnd the right people. Actors who can relate to the story the most and bring stuﬀ to the table and then we get out of their way. We’re keen on the dialogue and there’s a reason why each word is said but we light our sets in a way that allows physical room to improvise and play with movement. We love getting ideas from everyone on our team and like to keep the cameras rolling and throw things in on the ﬂy to get the most out of our time ﬁlming.
It’s important to give the actors room to explore the space and play with the beats between lines. We can spend all day debating on which idea is the best or spending all day getting all our ideas and making our decisions in post.
How did you choose the cast and the crew of your ﬁlm?
A lot of the crew were people we’ve worked with in the past. We love that familiar, even more so when it comes to the crew. That chemistry is there and we understand each ones of our styles. We believe casting is the second most important part of ﬁlm making so we take each character seriously. We write a lot of characters with the actors in mind. The main character was played by one of the directors and the other director played his best friend.
That chemistry was there. For the Dad character we reached out to someone we’ve worked with in the past. We knew he was right for the part. Some of the group therapy members we used actors we knew and then we auditioned for the rest. The character of Sara is the most important character of the story. Even though the script, story, log line is based oﬀ Giovanni’s decisions. 624 Days is about Sara. We auditioned a lot of people and we know this is going to sound cliche but the moment Erin walked in the audition room. She was the one. She brought so much to the table and really made that character pop.
How did you fund your ﬁlm and what were some of the challenges of making this ﬁlm?
Funding is the biggest challenge of any ﬁlm and it’s no diﬀerent for us. As independent ﬁlmmakers we are still trying to get our names out. Nobody is giving us money. We avoid crowdfunding because we don’t want to be those people constantly hitting up people we know for cash, so right now we fund our projects ourselves. When you pay for it yourself you get to make any creative decision you want. You get to make the movie you want to make and you have to be creative with the little money you have. We believe it makes us better storytellers.
Do you consider yourself an indie ﬁlmmaker and what would most be the most diﬃcult thing about being an independent artist?
We just consider ourselves ﬁlmmakers. The most diﬃcult thing about being an artist is the money. You want to make things and express yourself and have an audience but you need to make something. Rent and food isn’t free so you have to ﬁnd a balance in life. We believe you need this balance in life early in your careers. Find a job to pay your bills and you set aside your free time to focus on your art.
What is the distribution plan for your ﬁlm?
624 Days is a short ﬁlm to be developed into a TV series. We have the whole series outlined and we know how we want to end this series. We don’t currently have a distribution deal in place yet and we’re excited to see where this goes.
What is your cinematic goal in life and what would you like to achieve as a ﬁlmmaker?
Honestly, just a career as producers/ directors. We want to be able to tell stories that make people laugh. We don’t want awards or massive amounts of money. We want to be surrounded by people that push us and share the same ideas that want to leave something behind when we’re gone.
What kind of impact would your ﬁlm have in the world and who is your audience?
We just hope that were providing an engaging story, and that it brings entertainment to the audience.