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TOP > LOUNGE TOP > INTERVIEW/COLUMN > LA interview / Interview with Lance Larson


LA interview / Interview with Lance Larson

Lance Larson

Lance Larson is an editor for Universal and also a commercial director. He participated in SSFF & ASIA 2008 with a short film “Bloom”. He is currently preparing new shorts and also some feature projects.

“It’s a huge confi dence booster to be selected.”

How many short films have you made?

Mr. Larson: I made four shorts. Jas Shelton (DP) and I made a senior thesis film in college and it was nominated for a student academy award. He is preparing 15 million dollar movie, but still called me about our short film project. We are still like kids. We both have families to support but this is our first love. You can make money doing it, I may have to edit some things or shoot some commercials while I continue to develop feature and short film scripts.

Did “Bloom” help your career?

Mr. Larson: “Bloom” got me close to making features twice. You can jump from a short fi lm to a feature easily. The festival circuit is so huge. Even to be selected and then to win at say Sundance, or Hollyshorts, or Short Shorts Film Festival in Tokyo, I got calls from agents. Underground called me after Short Shorts and I signed with them. They’re a great management company. There’s an elite group of festivals that make the Academy list and that actually means something and if you win them, then you’re talking about possibly making a feature. That’s the beauty of festivals. They serve such a purpose. It’s a huge confidence booster to be selected. It’s good to know that even in Tokyo, across the world, people appreciate what you do. That’s a great feeling. The festival circuit, it gives you confidence.

What do you think of “Short Films” as a business?

Mr. Larson: Because of the internet, people like their information quickly, so there’s going to be a very secure home for them (short films) in the future. We don’t know what that is yet, maybe it will be these webisodes? Is that where short filmmakers are going to get big? And are webisodes going to become bigger than TV? People just don’t have time anymore. Shorts can be 7 or 20 minutes long, even 30 minutes long like the one I saw on line from Germany, what a great film! So the time will come for short films on the internet and mobile phones, and that kind of technology. I’m curious to see because the model for movies to me is still based on the star vehicle. Name (famous) talent is what sells movies in every country. That’s what I’m trying to figure out, where do those star vehicles come into the short films. Stars will eventually gravitate to doing shorts and there will be a market for it, it’s all money.(Because of YouTube where everything is free)There are interesting ways to make money, advertising, product placement in shorts but once again there’s no real venue for shorts that everyone will go to. That’s the key and that’s where the industry is going, commercials themselves are dying out with TIVO. Commercials are gone in 5 years and the industry is going to have to find a different way. Either commercial become so funny or so great that you have to watch them, that’s where the short filmmakers come in. Now they’re looking at not a 30 second commercial but a 90 second commercial. Commercials will have to develop into short films. That’s where it’s going. Advertisers know it. Commercials have TIVO toppers now where the brand name comes up on the top of the screen like for car commercials like Mitsubishi, Toyota or Ford. At least the name of the brand, the message will get out. Eventually, probably they will have something that will skip or edit out the commercials and when that happens, commercials are done.

What is the most important part of making a good short film? (Script, acting, etc.?)

Mr. Larson: That’s a great question! And the answer is there’s no one thing more important than the other. The second you skimp on one, it sticks out like a sore thumb. If you have a great script and bad actors, the great script is no good. A bad script with good actors is a little better, because some actors are so likable. A (good) story and an actor make a pretty strong combination. As a director, it’s a combination where one is not stronger than the other. If it’s a good movie, you can shut the sound off, but still follow the film visually. That’s what movies are, you should come out feeling something. What is important in making a short? It’s such a collaborative effort. It’s not me, me, me… I completely disagree with that. On this new short film, it’s a total collaboration, there’s no ego. My DP Jas Shelton and I, we’re both writing this short and I’ll direct it, but I’ve been talking to David Elliot, who is a great writer (GI Joe, Four Brothers, etc.) and I told him you should co-direct. I don’t care. I want to do good work. I learned so much doing “Bloom,” I’d be a fool not to do it again and hopefully gain more recognition, hopefully get a feature next time but I’ll still continue to make shorts. There’s a feature I really want to make, it’s a graphic novel, super-hero movie. I’ll make a short fi rst though. It will help to sell the feature and also give me a practice run to refi ne what I’m doing to make the feature better. You know it’s funny, I’ve been editing for 15 years and it’s been so long I think I can’t learn something new. Usually when I think that, that’s the day I learn something new. That’s what’s so great about this business, the learning curve is never ending. It’s always a collaborative effort. The older I get the more I want to learn from other people. It doesn’t matter what the medium is – a short or a commercial or editing a trailer. This new short I’ve already written 3 drafts, it’s nowhere close to being ready, for Bloom I wrote for 12 drafts. David and I work together and we’re always open to new ideas. I see the whole film and I know it’s gonna be great. It’s a process and it’s learning and I love it. It’s storytelling, the oldest thing for man, sitting around the campfire telling stories. 

Advice for young filmmakers.

Mr. Larson: As far as advice for making short films go, it’s the story. You have to feel the story in your heart. How you submit your work to a film festival is the next step. The story that you feel like you have to tell is going to find an audience that can relate to it. That sincere stance is going to lead to someone, including a film festival, that’s going to find your film compelling and worthy. Filmmaking is a passionate business. You have to believe in yourself on your project and when that the audience feels it, that is the greatest moment of your life.

Lance will go to Columbia in South American in July to make a short film. He spoke with passion from start to finish about the importance of the story. In a social suspense, the ending of a story should be left to the audience’s imagination.