INTERVIEW: filmmaking insights from an XRAY TV creator

To celebrate the launch of XRAY TV we talked to Doc Collins the creator of not one but two different series (Fair Use and The Party) about Filmmaking, the trickier parts of convincing artists to get along and the craziest party he’s ever been to.

Tell me a little about yourself, how long have you been making films?
I went to film school with a focus on screenwriting and then spent ten years writing my first novel, Quitting The Grave. In the last five years, I’ve refocused on film, writing some short films and web series and producing commercial video content for a variety of clients.

Artem Ponomarev is a talented Portland cinematographer with a background in graphic design and animation, who helped come up with the story for the Party and was the DP on the production. He’s currently working on some music video projects and starting up a production company here in Portland.

Anna Smith, co-producer of Fair Use, is a community-minded advocate who’s interested in giving voice to marginalized communities. What especially appealed to her about the Fair Use project was being able to document the process of collaboration between diverse Portland artists and giving them a platform to showcase their talents.

Where did the idea for The Party come from?
Pono and I were brainstorming one day, and we started thinking about how funny it would be to do a series that is sort of a parody of party movies. Instead of the traditional version, in which the story builds to one, very out-of-control house party and the consequences afterwards, what if we had an ongoing series that was set entirely within a house party. So the focus would switch away from the party itself and instead deal with the characters and their individual dramas at the party.

What’s the most out of control party you’ve been to?
It is not an exaggeration to say that my college experience was very similar to the fraternity in Animal House.

Fair use seems like a logistically tricky show. Was it ever difficult to get everyone in the same room at the same time?
Yes, the logistics of getting the artists to find a time to work together that could also coincide with the film crew has been very challenging, especially without a budget to work with. We’ve had to scale back our ambitions for season one, but we still believe that the project has a good future.

Were you worried at all about two artists not clicking creatively or worse than that outright disliking one another?
Well, I guess we were being naive, but this kind of creative conflict was what we were hoping to document. How would two artists from very different disciplines find a way to work together. Unfortunately, for our first attempt, the two artists we selected to collaborate were unable to find any common ground.

How did you decide what Portland artists you wanted to approach to do the show?
Anna and I were committed from the start to finding a diverse group of artists working in interesting, unexpected disciplines. We wanted artists in different stages of their career, from just starting out all the way to having decades of experience. We wanted artists of various ages, genders, and ethnicity. And of course, we wanted talented artists who are creating interesting, compelling art.

What made you want to get involved with XRAY TV?
I think the biggest thing about working with XRAY has been being able to tap into this fantastic community of filmmakers. We wouldn’t have been able to do any of these projects without their support. Of course, access to all the great equipment at PCM was also super helpful.


Interview by Adam Devries

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