the something borrowed interview: jason gilmore
intrepid's prodigal filmmaker tries to talk some sense into himself
by jason gilmore
Something Borrowed is the latest short film by Jason Gilmore, who served as its writer, director, cinematographer and editor. After wearing so many hats on this project, he had no problem sitting down to interview himself about the making of the film. He spent too much time alone as a teenager.
Intrepid Media: How are you?
Jason Gilmore: Good. Very tired. But good.
IM: So tell us, what is Something Borrowed about? And why should we watch it?
JG: Something Borrowed is about a young man who is about to get engaged but runs into ex-girlfriends from his past on the way to his proposal. He learns a lot about himself and why those other relationships didn't work. It's kind of surreal. And.... you should watch it because I asked you to.
IM: I see someone didn't eat his Flintstone vitamins today. So where have you been? This is your first Intrepid article in a year. What have you been doing in the meanwhile?
JG: Chillin'. Rewriting my novel. Trying to attach mercurial A-list actors to my screenplays. Chatting on Facebook.
IM: Fascinating. So what inspired the story, from the screenplay angle, but also in terms of how you shot the film visually?
JG: Several things. Usually the ideas that break through, that I actually finish, originate from a bunch of different things. I had been watching a lot of British films from the 60s several months ago and I like how freewheeling they are. They look very uncomplicated. Deceptive I know, but they look like someone just went and grabbed a camera and started shooting on the street. And I realized I didn't necessarily have a film in my body of work that looked like that.
IM: Could you name some of the films that inspired you, so that you don't come off sounding like you don't know what you're talking about?
JG: Absolutely. Blow-Up was one.
IM: Blow-Up was made by Antonioni.
JG: I know that.
IM: Antonioni wasn't British.
JG: What is your point?
IM: You said British films, so I kind of assumed that the films you mentioned were going to be, you know, British.
JG: (rises and hurls a trash can) THE FILM WAS SET IN LONDON AND EVERYBODY IN THE FILM WAS BRITISH!! IS THAT BRITISH ENOUGH FOR YOU?
IM: You almost hit me with that.... Sit down. There's no reason for you to shout.
JG: It's just that I'm really tired. I was up till 3 in the morning trying to put together this rough cut. My Pistons are playing like crap. My life is stressful. The last thing I need is you trying to contradict me.
IM: (shakes head) And you call yourself a Christian.
JG: Anyway, as I was saying. Blow-Up, a lot of the Tony Richardson and Lindsay Anderson stuff. Early John Schlesinger stuff, like Billy Liar and Darling. But the single biggest thing that spurred the script was this montage in this wonderful film I stumbled across called The Girl With Green Eyes.
IM: Were her eyes really green?
JG: I don't know. The film was in black and white.
JG: There's this montage in the film that I loved so much, I bought the DVD and watched it, like, 20 times in a row.
IM: Stop exaggerating.
JG: Okay, more like 12.
IM: That's better.
JG: There's a conversation that is happening between the two main characters in real time, but visually, locations are changing, wardrobes are changing and it was just so cool and elegantly done. Then I ran into the Albert Finney-Audrey Hepburn movie, Two for the Road, which pretty much does the same thing. So I became intrigued by the idea of real time conversations that happen in constantly changing locales. And I should also add that Michel Gondry's "One Day...." inspired me too, even if it just reminded me that I don't have to always do these 5 minute takes all the time.
IM: What else inspired you?
JG: How people bring emotional baggage from their past relationships into their current one. I thought it'd be nice to show the effects of that quite literally, or visually.
IM: Aren't you kind of worried that that new Matthew McConaughey movie, The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, or whatever it's called, might steal your thunder? Seems like kind of similar ideas.
JG: No. And I wasn't aware that we had any thunder to steal.
IM: You wear a lot of hats on this film. You're the writer and director and editor and cinematographer and producer. You even have a couple of lines at the end. When will you get a handle on your egomaniacal tendencies?
JG: I wouldn't say that I'm an egomaniac--
IM: Is it that you don't trust anyone else? You're just the best at everything, huh? You don't need any help. Why didn't you just play the girlfriends too?
JG: I'm an independent filmmaker. I do everything I do out of necessity. And I really was attracted to the idea of just going out and shooting something. No crew. Random stolen locations. Quick set ups. So the sound isn't the greatest on this film, I know. Even now some of the cuts look a little weird to me. And my oft-maligned Elura 50 isn't the most beautiful camera in the world, but my next short, IEP, will be the one where I get the crew and bigger cast and have a budget and secure locations and dot all my i's and cross all my T's. This was the head-clearing film.
IM: Let's talk about your cast, because clearly, they carried you through this film.
JG: I can't deny that actually. Any director worth his salt knows that if you cast well, so much of your work is already done. And something I didn't mention earlier was that I have some great actor friends that I really wanted to work with. Or work with again, in the case of Trenekia Danielle and our lead, Jaimyon Parker.
IM: When did you work with them the first time?
JG: Well, I'm always working with Trenekia. But I worked with them both in How Shawn Parker Fell in Love.
IM: Never saw it. Who was in it?
IM: Once again, it's all about you. Let's talk about your wife. If for no other reason than that it will stop us from talking about you. Friggin sociopath. Is it difficult to work with your wife?
JG: It's easy. There's a lot of shorthand with us, obviously, and she's very inventive. She'll always have a role as long as I'm around because she's just that good. I feel like she can do anything.
IM: Jaimyon really holds it down as a leading man. His job was so difficult, working with all those beautiful women. What was it like working with him?
JG: I really do think he's brilliant, although I never tell him that. I think I subconsciously wrote the role with him in mind. It sounds like a cliche but I really saw what actors mean when they say that so and so is "such a generous actor" from watching Jaimyon work. Just how he was always available and always trying to find a common bond with all the actors he worked with. And even with me, he pushed me to really stick with what I had written, when my Chicken Little tendencies were starting to take over. But everyone in this cast did anything I asked of them. I was excited that they were so excited by the script.
IM: But I heard you had a little trouble finding the second ex-girlfriend, Hayley.
JG: Yeah, and I thought that'd be the easiest role to cast. A good actress who's funny and happens to be strikingly beautiful. In Los Angeles. Piece of cake, right? But I had one actress who completely wasted my time, another who ignored me, and two others who really wanted to do it, but had schedule conflicts. I was tapped out. But my girl Thesy Surface came to the rescue and introduced me to Kamela Byrd, whom I think is perfect. She found the location that we shot the beach scene on. It was this secluded beach in Malibu. Took us forever to get there but it was worth it.
IM: I heard you got a parking ticket at that park.
JG: I did. It was bogus. But I'll pay it.
IM: Trenekia told you not to park there.
JG: Mind your business.
IM: Back to Ms. Surface, how did you manage to land a girl who had a recurring part on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia?
JG: Something good was bound to happen to me eventually.
IM: Her sequence seems kind of anti-religion.
JG: I don't think it's anti-anything. I think we're just taking an honest look at why each of these relationships didn't work. If anything, it's anti-hypocrisy. If that's how you want to take it, then fine. But there's bigger issues here.
IM: Tell me about the 11-year-old girl in the movie.
JG: That's Sapphyre Price. I met her when my wife and I were teaching a youth class at one of our sister congregations. We had to do skits and Trenekia and I kept looking at each other like, "This girl's a natural." Found out later her father, Steven, is a casting director. There's no accidents in LA.
IM: Were you mindful of the child labor laws while you were shooting?
JG: Child labor laws? It was just a little film.
IM: Tell it to the judge. Did you at least feed her?
JG: You're really getting on my nerves.
IM: So I'm supposed to condone your sweatshop?
JG: Your mother.
IM: Umm..... wouldn't that be your mother?
JG: Good point. Sorry Mom.
IM: You are beyond forgiveness. I love the scene at very beginning with Jaimyon and Trenekia.
JG: What do you like most about it?
IM: That it's interesting. Your movies usually start slow. Especially your screenplays.
JG: I'm aware of that. Working on it.
IM: So what's next?
JG: Back on the fund raising trail for IEP. Finishing the last rewrite of the novel and sending out to agents before September. Finishing an original feature script that I was writing that I just kinda dropped back in February.
IM: Best of luck to you. Oh and one more thing.
JG: Don't say it.
JG: Don't say it. The joke's old already.
IM: (with gusto) I hate your guts.
JG: I need to get out more.
Something Borrowed Reel 1
Something Borrowed Reel 2
Jason Gilmore is a film director, screenwriter, novelist and unrepentant Detroit Pistons fan. Track him down on Facebook.
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IF YOU LIKED THIS COLUMN...
4.21.09 @ 7:44a
I wish more funny people would interview themselves. It's so much better than the interviewers they usually get. I really loved your film. You're right about the sound, though, there could have been a little less ocean wave-sounds. It was difficult for this old, half-deaf lady to hear the dialogue. You were also right about the actors: they were just great. I certainly hope we hear a lot more from Sapphyre Price. So when are you gonna do a full length film? I'll pay ten bucks to see it.
4.21.09 @ 11:15a
I hope I hear a lot more from Sapphyre too. Working on the full length film. Thanks for commenting.