Ollie Anderson was born and raised in San Francisco. He has an extensive background in sports, edu-tech, and in motion pictures.
During college he earned his S.A.G./AFTRA status from guest starring on CSI: LAS VEGAS (suspected serial killer). He also co-founded the fastest growing student non-profit in the California State University system called the Environmental Business Society.
One of Ollie's notable achievements was becoming a patent-pending inventor of the first gamified golf fitting system in the golf industry.
As a side passion, Ollie created a micro-influencing social media account called @SanFrancisco_Toys on Instagram. He has grown a cult following for his extreme toy photography worldwide and innovative storytelling on a social media platform. San Francisco Toys has raised significant donations for 501c3s, like the San Francisco Fire Fighters Annual Toy Program.
When he's not working, Ollie loves to rock climb, surf, play tennis, golf, garden, play PS4 games and watch martial arts movies. "Ghosts of Tsushima is my favorite PS4 game in 2020."
"Bunkers" is Ollie's first short animation which has won many awards in independent film festivals in the past year.
It was our pleasure to interview the director of Bunkers for Chicago Movie Magazine.
What draws you to filmmaking and the cinematic language?
I’m attracted to the cinematic language because of the storytelling varieties. Filmmaking feels therapeutic because I can share more stories than just the top level log-line. There are infinite ways to inspire and be inspired, to create magic and to build community.
Do you believe in film schools or does making a film teach you more than film school?
Absolutely I believe film schools provide value. Film school is great for a lot of people but not everybody because everybody is different. We all learn in different ways. Film school can fill knowledge gaps for filmmakers.
Like most things, you get out what you put in. Learning by doing is the most common way people get measurably better. I can’t say that one route is better than another because it depends on the school and the learner.
What makes cinema stand out more than the arts for you?
I value almost all art equally but cinema saved my life. I was born with disabilities and I had a hard time being in and out of hospitals for the first 10 years of life. Watching cinema helped me escape from my cage and everyday pain. When art can change my thought pattern and help me feel differently - I become engaged.
Did you choose a certain directing style for making this film based on the script?
The script and style I chose was based on the current situation we were facing in February-March 2020. We were quarantined with no end site. So many of us were asking, what can we do to help others? Creating a stop motion animation short was going to be that path. It offered a way for people to escape their pain with laughter.
There is something very tangible, tactile, and homemade about stop motion with clay. When you see finger prints on a character, you can feel the touch of genuine authenticity. You feel more connected with that film. The script showed me the notes to play but I chose the instrument of stop motion animation.
How did you choose the cast and the crew of your film?
Because in San Francisco we had government restrictions banning travel that required us to quarantine and shelter-in-place, I did not have a cast or crew. I made this stop motion animation mostly by myself from Feb - June in 2020. I got a lot of love and emotional support from my wife (who also made the flagstick). When I got a chance to work with Peter Lau for my art poster, logo and marketing collateral, the production became infinitely better. I thrive in environments where I can transfer energy with others to deliver magical experiences.
I’ve been a member of SAG/AFTRA for over 20 years and I felt confident I could deliver the character voices needed in this short.
Working alone wasn’t something I wanted to do but it was my responsibility as the director to set this film up for success and help it achieve it’s goals. The global pandemic has required us to pivot in unusual ways and transforming this into a DIY project was critical to deliver this first short in a timely way.
How did you fund your film and what were some of the challenges of making this film?
I made this film with less than $5,000. I’m eco-conscious so I used whatever materials were around me. For the artificial grass, I recycled pet wee wee grass. (It was unused). I didn’t have a slider or a rail, so I used a skateboard. To create the special fx bunker, I used a litter box and hoses from laundry machines. The biggest added cost was energy. Lighting increased my energy bill by $500 per month!
The biggest challenge was working alone, but if you’re making stop motion animation, then you probably love discovering all the ways you can solve a problem. I was surprised at how much energy it took when I would switch roles from DoP, to animator or to lighting and then back again. Each role has a conscious and unconscious list of different things we look for. So my to-do lists became vital to prioritize focus.
Do you consider yourself an indie filmmaker and what would most be the most difficult thing about being an independent artist?
I would use “indie filmmaker” as an adjective to describe myself. The most difficult thing about being an independent artist is having a steady stream of work while having enough funding to put food on the table and take care of the family.
What is the distribution plan for your film?
The target distribution platforms are Netflix, hulu, amazon prime, and youtube. Based on the data, it looks like Bunkers will be an episode in a series about the rules of golf. Bunkers probably won’t be released publicly (other than films festivals) until all three episodes are completed and tested (Before end of 2021).
What is your cinematic goal in life and what would you like to achieve as a filmmaker?
My goal is to continue to work on making more films throughout the world. I hope to build communities and exchange knowledge about the craft of creating stop motion animation films. But most of all, I hope to bring a smile to someone who is in pain and to create more love, laughter and play in this world
What kind of impact would your film have in the world and who is your audience?
My audience is mostly 18-44 year olds who love (stop-motion) animation & comics, are gamers, sports fans, buy platform and designer toys, enjoy adventure comedy, and films that an entire family can watch.
The data is showing that you don’t have to like golf to love BUNKERS but the audience is getting more interested in golf. I haven’t had to target a golf audience because it’s organically dripping over to the 450 million golf fans who make up the $80+ billion golf industry. There has been a lot of support from North America in LA, the Northeast of the US, Canada and Mexico as well as countries in Latin America. The UK and European countries such as Austria & Italy have shown a lot of love and support.
There are two areas I hope to impact: If this film can help the golf industry grow, then the world will grow too. Not one sport contributes more to charities than the golf industry. It employs over 2 million people. It’s amazing to see how the money funnels and helps disadvantaged communities all over the world. You can come from no money, be of any gender or race, or even have missing body parts and still participate in all forms of golf. My hope is that more people take up the game.
When Netflix aired “Homemade,” a series of shorts that were homemade during this global pandemic, it’s proven that homemade films can be very entertaining. I hope this film and the BTS stories on my instagram accounts (@sanfrancisco_toys and @bunkers_movie) inspire people to create more art and share it. Sharing “failures” and “how-tos” creates more community and knowledge than I could have ever guessed.