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What if you were given permission to shoot most of your film in one of the busiest and iconic streets in the world, Times Square. Well, today’s guest did just that. He shot most of his new film Rapid Eye Movement.
In the heart of Times Square, radio DJ Rick Weider is driven to the edge of insanity as he tries to break the 11-day world record for staying awake, under the threat of a deranged caller who will kill him if he fails. In his quest to stay awake, he endures a harrowing physical, mental and emotional ordeal while summoning the will to survive against all the odds.
Rapid Eye Movement was given unprecedented access to Times Square by New York City to shoot the majority of the film right in the heart of the “crossroads of the world”. This included closing a lane of traffic for several weeks to accommodate the placement of the main set – Rick Weider’s mobile radio broadcast booth where he takes on the 11-day struggle to stay awake. No film has ever had this extensive shoot in Times Square.
The mandate of the film was to create absolute authenticity. A custom-made soundproof windowed booth was built to allow live audio recording, eliminating the need for ADR. Literally thousands of “extras” were always on hand to give the film scope and realism. The majority of the film was shot using an ultra-fast 18mm Zeiss lens, creating a much bigger visual space within the confined setting. No green screens were used for any of the Times Square scenes. It is a true New York film.
Canadian-born actor François Arnaud takes the lead role of radio DJ Rick Weider. He embraced the challenge of shooting on location in Times Square, having to undergo a difficult emotional journey in the middle of the intensity of New York’s famous landmark area. We always strove to be authentic and nothing is more real than portraying mental and physical torment in the midst of thousands of real people, the cacophony of the city and the dazzling neon lights all around.
With the cooperation of New York City’s Mayor’s Office, The Times Square Alliance, a band of determined filmmakers, an exceptional cast and the enthusiasm of thousands of passersby who clamored to appear in the film, Rapid Eye Movement has become a unique and thrilling movie experience about pushing the limits of human endurance.
Peter Bishai wrote and directed the epic true-life saga Colors of Heaven (aka A Million Colours). It is the winner of two South African Academy Awards, Best Foreign Film at the WorldFest Houston Film Festival and was the Opening Night Gala film at the Hollywood Black Film Festival. He also directed the comedy-adventure The Dueling Accountant, which won Best Comedy Film at the Philadelphia Independent Film Festival and Best First Feature at the Long Island International Film Expo.
It is profiled in the book Fervid Filmmaking: 66 Cult Pictures of Vision, Verve and No Self-Restraint. His newest film is the psychological thriller Rapid Eye Movement. He lives in New York City.
Alex Ferrari 0:02
Now today on the show, we have director Peter Bishaim, who made the movie rapid eye movement. Now, one of the reasons why I wanted to bring him on the show is because how he made it, he shot a film in one of the busiest places on the planet. in Times Square in New York City. He literally set up right in the middle of Times Square with permission from the film office in New York City. And I wanted him on the show because I had 1000 questions about how he was able to not only do this, but like, how about all the faces of people in the in the public that are going to be around because there's just tourists everywhere. How he was able to get sound, how he was able to work with his actors, how he did the whole thing. I mean, he was there for a handful of days, shooting major parts of his film. And he did not disappoint. Peter came in and talked all about how he did because I thought I had an experience shooting at the Sundance Film Festival with you know, crowds and crowds of 1000s that I couldn't control. But this is a whole other level. I mean, he's in a very confined small area, Time Square is not a monstrous place. If you've been there, it's not like five or 6,7,8,9 blocks, you know, where he was shooting was literally in the middle of Times Square. So I wanted him on the show to kind of pick his brain on how he did this. Because I know a lot of filmmakers out there want to make low budget or micro budget films. And a lot of the questions we're going to answer in this episode will help you on your journey. So without any further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Director Peter Bishaim. I'd like to welcome to the show Peter Bishaim man, thank you for being on the show. Brother.
Peter Bishaim 3:24
Pleasure. I'm very excited to be here. Thank you.
Alex Ferrari 3:26
Nah, man, thanks for coming on. And you reached out and told me about this insane movie that you've done. And
Peter Bishaim 3:35
We had to hustle to make and this is what it's all about. So who better to go to the master of hustling?
Alex Ferrari 3:40
I appreciate that. We're gonna get into a rapid eye movement, which is your movie? because anytime I invite a guest on, it's generally because I want to ask them questions that I want some answers to. And you definitely have you checked off those boxes without question. So before we get started, how did you get into the business?
Peter Bishaim 4:01
Okay, well, I mean, it started when, like a lot of filmmakers, I was 1213 in love with movies and made the small movies with whatever technology was available kind of thing. went to film school in Toronto, came from Canada originally. And and that was okay, you know, but they got out of film school undergrad and and tried to make my own films didn't do so great at it in the first year or two. And then I said, You know, I need to just get into the business somehow. And learn I said need to learn more. So I wound up going to the UK actually I wound up kind of being mentored by a guy over there who is kind of a sort of the under the radar script, doctor, and he had this little boutique company out there and invited me to join their team. And for a few years I was developed I was on this team doing what we called script clinics and and filmmakers, directors, writers, producers from all over the world would come to this this beautiful English estate and hold up for three days in this converted barn. And they would come and they would take this we would take their screenplays and and you know, they had been developing for a long time, having a lot of trouble, they came to us because they had trouble, they couldn't solve their problems, and we would, this little team of four of us would would deconstruct the thing and you know, and and rebuild it. And it was an amazing so while doing this, uh, I was also learning at the same time you learn by doing you know, and and so that that taught me a lot about about story structure. And, and I was kinda like the resident brainstorm or, you know, to kind of like, what about this? What about whatever?
Alex Ferrari 5:44
And that sounds amazing. I want to go
Peter Bishaim 5:46
Oh, yes, absolutely. I would like to resurrect it here. Because it's, it's an amazing, you know, because, inevitably, inevitably, the first day, people would come very reluctantly, you know, they were there, because they had in their mind had failed at some level, right? They just couldn't get the script past a certain point, they couldn't get the right financing. They couldn't get the right act, whatever. And, and usually, they were sent by whatever company was, was paying for the script. And they would come really, really against their will, you know, and say, Where are you people telling me what to do kind of, you know, that was the sort of subtext, right. And by the end of the first day, it was kind of like, okay, yeah, you know, maybe Yeah, okay, let's talk, let's talk any second ad. All right, this is okay, let's go, let's more and more and more, by the end of the third, they didn't want to leave, because it just was this incredible thing. You know, so it, there's the, and I think, because we approached it from the perspective of service, you know, we're here to serve you. We're not here to tell you what to do. We're not here too. We're here to tell us what your vision is. And let's make it work. Let's Let's work together and let's serve How can we serve you, you know, and by bringing in, and that was fantastic. So I took what i what i was a few years learner, and then I said, You know what, I need to get back to what I really set out to do, which is direct and make my own films. And that's when I came to New York. And, and really committed to making independent films and writings been years writing and that kind, I still continued a little bit of the consulting on the side script consulting. But then I went all in for that I made the dueling accountant, which was my first feature
Alex Ferrari 7:25
Which looks fantastic. By the way, I saw a lot of fun. It's It's It's what it's like basically about an old an old, you you tell it better than I do.
Peter Bishaim 7:34
It's about 100 Hungarian 100 year old, Hungarian, multibillionaire. He's one of his very last legs. And he said in a board meeting, he's got two companies bidding for pieces of his company and suddenly had this huge boardroom table. And he's not interested in their money. He says, when I was five years old, in a little town in Hungary, I saw two men pick up sores and fight a duel. And so when I saw that, I knew what the meaning of life was, life is a duel. And he says to the two companies, you can each pick one man to fight a duel. So Linux can have my entire Empire the whole bloody thing. Oh, that's brilliant. Yeah. And and that's his dying wish. Right? And he's married to this beautiful, very young sort of gold digger. Yeah. And and when she finally she kind of inadvertently meets, so so one company, who's has got a lawyer on their team, and he thinks this is an opportunity to make a lot of money. And he's a very evil kind of guy. And he's volunteers immediately. And the hero of our story is this reluctant accountant who has a little bit of stage combat experience, you know, he did some Romeo and Juliet in college, so he knows how to handle a sword. So they, they force him into it, and he's a dud. And he says, a mild mannered guy, you know, and and now he's suddenly drawn into this world of intrigue and adventure. And he meets this beautiful woman when they had this connection, and then we realized this is the wife of the guy, though, the billionaire, and when she finds out that he's going to give away the entire Empire, in this nutty sword duel. Now she goes into overdrive, to save the money that she wants for herself. Right. And of course, you gotta have a tribe of gypsies in there who got a vent a blood feud with the billionaire, and they have their own reasons for wanting to keep testing, right. Yeah, it's a blast. It's a blast. It really is.
Alex Ferrari 9:29
Now you shot that movie in New York. Correct. That was kind of a threat. That was your first taste of New York,
Peter Bishaim 9:34
New York. Yeah, micro budget. You know,
Alex Ferrari 9:37
What was the budget of that film?
Peter Bishaim 9:39
That was about 100k.
Alex Ferrari 9:41
Okay. Yeah. And now how is it shooting in New York? Because I've shot a lot here in LA and it's it's fun here. Yeah. It's, you know, there's issues. Yeah. The red carpet is not really laid out for us filmmakers here.
Peter Bishaim 9:56
When I did, the duly accounted. I knew nothing about about filming in New York, you hear the immediate the kind of conventional thinking is that well, it must be incredibly expensive. And you know, because you walk down the street, of course you see, you know, all the trucks and everything lining up for blocks and blocks, studio films and TV shows, or anything. Well, it must be crazy expensive. And then then you dig a little deeper and you find is the exact opposite. So New York City has a Film Commission, which gives the permits for shooting and it's run out of the mayor's office. And they are literally the most filmmaker friendly place to shoot. I mean, it's unbelievable. What people don't even realize is that permits in New York City are free. Like free. Yeah, in fact, when I showed it to the candidate was like, literally free Not a penny now it's, it's $300 for the total for everything. It's just an administration fee. So you're not gonna pay no, God. Yeah, except for everything. Okay. And not only that, like we did the dueling accountant. We wanted to shoot in the West Village and you know, old cobblestone street and there's a scene where that where the, the this band of gypsies kidnap the accountant, you know, and they literally pull up in this 1962 Cadillac, and they grabbed me throw in the car, and they write and they race off down and burn rubber and those kinds of, well, guess what? The city closed the entire block down for us. And they and they put police at one end at each end of the block.
Alex Ferrari 11:23
Which you have to pay for of course,
Peter Bishaim 11:25
Alex Ferrari 11:26
Oh, come on.
Peter Bishaim 11:27
I'm not even kidding. I know. It blew my mind then it still blows my mind.
Alex Ferrari 11:30
Okay, you, you, they they give you police,
Peter Bishaim 11:34
They give you police, they'll shut it down and keep the thing organized. Unbelievable. Okay.
Alex Ferrari 11:40
I know people here in LA are listening to this.
Peter Bishaim 11:42
I know. I mean, like in LA, you've got to pay the permits to choose someone's house right inside someone's house. I mean, it's like
Alex Ferrari 11:47
You literally here in LA if I want to shoot in my own house. Yeah, you technically need to get a permit. I mean, the and I've actually heard of people who have been ticketed for shooting inside their own house because a neighbor called Yeah, yeah. And I'm like, yeah, and they weren't going crazy. There wasn't like 1000 things going on. It was just like, I know. Yeah, really. I had to go to court and it's a thing and oh, my God, that's Um,
Peter Bishaim 12:15
I think a lot of it is just his legacy and and culture. So I mean, I think, you know, LA is historically this a studio town. Right. It's your start extra star. And it still is, to a large extent, even though the it's a globalized industry now. But I mean, it's, it's that that mentality is as a studio, you know, huge conglomerate town kind of thing. New York City has always been the rebel right. It's, it's a it's and but but somehow the the, the city itself has the powers that be have it embrace this. And, and, and, and then of course, we did rap, whatever that says a whole other layer to which we'll get to, but I mean, so that, so yeah, absolutely. And then. So just to go back to your original question, you saw, after I did that, then that was kind of my calling card film. And through that, I wound up getting the next film, which is called colors, which was originally called a million colors, also called colors of heaven here, a shot in South Africa, that was a big eye kind of just jumped from the hunt the micro budget thing to an epic film in South Africa, you know, hired to do that. And I had 800 extras, it was period piece, it was, you know, 5065 location. I mean, it was a huge thing. And it was a big important film for South Africa and was a Canadian, South African coal production. And that that's an that was an incredible experiment. Because my whole life, you know, that's what I dreamed of doing. International epic filmmaking and that I got to do it, you know. So that's a whole nother story.
Alex Ferrari 13:51
But how do you go from $100,000? micro budget, comedy, basically, yeah, to an epic international production in South Africa, because I saw the trailer for both. Yeah, and we don't connect. I mean, there's definitely talent there, but they definitely not something that you would translate into an epic. You know, I was just curious on how that happened. Because I'm sure everybody else would be curious as well.
Peter Bishaim 14:16
Yeah, it well, it's a long story, but I mean, I essentially I was going back to my England experiences a script doctor, right. I was this young kid doing this. Right. And, and, and one of the people that came through was this producer at from South Africa. And he used to be in Hollywood back in the 70s. All right, he was he was the vice president of MGM, you know, he worked with David lean was my hero. And, and, and Cooper, I mean, it was the craft. So and maybe in four years, you've been back in South Africa and and had been out of the film business and was getting back in. And he was going to and he had this and so he had this it was a different script at the time that I was helping the with, and I was like the bad guy, right? Because I was, I was tearing apart the work they had been doing for six years, whatever. And, but then I kind of rebuilt it for them. And what started off as this very contentious relationship in England or in this script setting suddenly became, wow, this kid is actually maybe gave us some hope to make this movie kind of thing. So that's how a lot a lot. Yeah. And the last day, you know, after a fight after fight after fight, he's driving as you're driving to the airport, I said, Sure. And he starts telling me the story about this kid in South Africa at the time was a kid in the 70s, who was the most famous movie star of the time, a black kid from the townships, who was embraced by the entire country, black and white, because of this incredible movie that had come out at the time, was about the friendship between everybody and he said, I'm going to, but he has what people don't know, is his true life story, which is even more incredible. And because one day, I'm going to tell that story, and I want you to do it. I say,
Alex Ferrari 16:03
Great. And we've and I know everyone listening has had those conversations with Peto they're like, Oh, yeah, yeah, one day when I you know, when I, yeah, I want you to make this movie about this Iron Man guy, because I like I like you, kid.
Peter Bishaim 16:17
Well, I proven myself on the script side. Right. Right. Right. And but then, but I had to make the Dooley account had to show a couple of years went by until the real opportunity, you know, until he was ready to do it. And that became a long process, the financing and the cocoa national version. But yeah, but but but I had made this movie. And what was most important from the producers perspective on the delian accountant was not that it costs $100,000. But that I took $100,000 and made it look like a million dollars. And that was that was the key. Right? So. So he knew what I could do from a story structure and script perspective. But every every It doesn't matter what budget level you work at. Everybody wants your budget to be stretched to the as far as they can. And I think that was the goal here. So it's nice. So but it was an opera, it was a great opportunity. And it was an incred I could write a whole book on making that movie, because it was very complicated on so many levels, but it was an incredible experience. Yeah.
Alex Ferrari 17:19
And I think that's a lesson for people listening is is if you can, if you can always make $1 look like $100 right, then you're always gonna have work. I think Robert Rodriguez coined that phrase when he was first coming up. He's like, Look, I don't know, I'll always work because I can make things look amazing. So I'll always have a job. And if you're able to do that you can bring high production value at low cost. Yeah, someone's gonna hire you.
Peter Bishaim 17:43
Yeah. I think, you know, filmmakers, we've all got to remember this, which is that the, you know, we think we need tons of money to get things to play a movie, right? But in the day, the, your frame is this big, right? It's got it's got edges on it. And it's only what goes inside those edges that that are going to determine what it looks like. And that you can have a lot of resources or very few resources, you're always going to have things like composition and color and location, you know, and if you play those cards, right, you that's how you kind of take it to the next level. Right? So yeah, that was amazing. Pretty, but but then after, you know, it was such It was a five year ordeal to make that movie in South Africa. And can we did all the post production in Canada, and I had to fight unbelievable battles. With Purdue when you're a hired gun. You didn't you gotta you gotta fight you know,
Alex Ferrari 18:38
Even worse, even worse. So when you're a hired gun, yeah,
Peter Bishaim 18:42
When you're a filmmaker, you're always gonna have headaches, right? If it's your own film that you're in charge of, then you've got the headache of making it successful and making your money back and all that kind of stuff. When you're a hired gun, you've got the headache of having to fight for your vision and and, you know, getting everyone else's fingers off off the thing because we had some epic battles on that. So that's a fascinating story. But that's for another time.
Alex Ferrari 19:05
What would you agree though, that every single project is it's just opportunities for you to gain shrapnel and and to gain scarring and thickening of that it's kind of like almost forging yourself with a fire with the fires of the of the, of the projects that you're on. And in every single project, it's every single situation. In this business, you you are chiseled, just a little bit tighter. Just a little bit to the point where when you're someone like Spielberg, who's been in God knows how many, you know, battles in his life and so many projects and also levels that you and I can't even comprehend. Right, right. You know, you know, they walk on set like these old battle hardened.
Peter Bishaim 19:52
Generally, what I've what I've discovered, I actually discovered this going back to when I was this young script consultant, kind of, you know, It's, we had filmmakers come in writers screenwriters from all over the world, right? including some from Hollywood, some, like a list writer. And I actually found that the bigger they were, the more humble they were. It was it was something about it, you know, they were in the had been in the battles for a long time. And they're still trying to make it like anybody else, even though they've got the Oscar nominations, and they've got the big, big, and it's like, they want to keep getting better, you know, not everybody, but I mean, but but overall, I found that was really amazing to me. And I remember I not too long ago, I think it was was an angle, he had an interview. And he said, You know, I'm still learning. I'm still learning how to and and those battle scars you're talking about? That's what's it about, you got to keep learning keep getting better, because every honest filmmaker, or artists in general looks at their work. And it's like, yeah, I could do it better.
Alex Ferrari 20:54
Well, as I say, I forgot I forgot who said that. I forgot. It's a famous artists, but he's like art is never finished. It's abandoned. Yeah, it's very, very true. Now let's, let's talk about your movie rapid eye movement, because that's the reason why I invited you on the show that the please tell the audience what the premise of this is. And then we're going to get into how you forsaken made this thing.
Peter Bishaim 21:21
So rapid eye movement is a psychological thriller. About a New York radio DJ, Rick weider, whose job is on the line, his ratings are going down, and he needs to pull off a publicity stunt to to keep himself in the game. And he comes up with an idea to do a sleep deprivation, marathon awake athon in a booth in the middle of Times Square, extensively to raise money for charity, you know, but he's really out to save his job. And he just very callously picks a disease to raise money for you know, not realize that he's that this unleashes the interest of a killer who has a vested interest in finding a cure for this disease. And he tells them, if you don't raise $5 million in this wake athon, before you fall asleep and break the record, I will kill you. And so now he has the incentive, you know, to stay awake as long as he can. And to break the record, the only way you can make anywhere near that amount of money is to go all the way to go the distance. And so the movie is really this. And the record for staying awake, by the way is 11 days, right and Twitter in 64 hours. So the movie is this kind of Odyssey psychological, physical, mental and emotional Odyssey through this 11 day journey to stay awake against all the odds. And if he doesn't do it successfully, he's going to die. At the beginning of the film, I like to say that he's the stakes are for him to save his job. Right? By the end of the first by the end of the first act, he gets this in this life threatening thing from this killer and now the stakes are raised yes to save his life. As we entered the third act, he realizes that it's about saving his soul stakes are even higher. And because what he goes through in this journey is is a complete breakdown physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. In other words, the complete human experience is just like disintegrating as he's trying to stay awake and as to summon whatever it takes to do this. And, and it's just this wild ride, you know, and, and the fact that it's, it's I like to say it's a it's a small movie and a big movie at the same time because on the one hand, it's it's a contained thriller, you know, he's in this broadcast booth. But it's the middle of Times Square, and he's got it's the crop we call it the crossroads of the world. And he's surrounded by 1000s of 1000s of peering eyes, you know, into what he's doing. And it's it's, it's both intimate and epic at the same time. And that's what I loved about it. Yeah.
Alex Ferrari 24:01
So, okay, so there's a lot to unravel here. Yes, yes. First and foremost, we understand now that the the New York Film Commission they walk on water and then low filmmakers and they just throw whatever you need at them. But to shoot for so many days on Time Square, which is arguably the biggest area in New York and the busiest area of New York on a daily basis day in day out basis. How the hell did that happen? How did you first of all, how did you get how did you convince them to go I need to be I need to shoot in Time Square For how many days?
Peter Bishaim 24:37
So the total shooting schedule was 23 days. You didn't shoot days in Time Square What did you know we shot 12 days into it and
Alex Ferrari 24:47
Peter Bishaim 24:48
Yeah. And 12 days and nights right. And so so come back to what I said before, yes, the permits and everything you can shoot anywhere in New York pretty much for free and and And easily right? With Time Square, there's one proviso there, okay? If you want to go into Time Square like anywhere in New York with a camera and your handheld and you want to run around and no problem, you can, you can do that right? In our case was different because we want to we had a set, and we had to build a set and we wanted the set to exist there, okay. And Time Square is is mostly now, pedestrian walkways, right you've got you've got Broadway and Seventh Avenue to cut through it. But the rest of is all this. So there's masses of space for special. And so my idea was initially, you know, let's put, we want to put down our booth there and and shoot for whatever amount of time we needed. And then we went and met with the commission Film Commission to save us. And the more we said that he goes, the moment you put a set down, you put it any structure down. Okay, then you're not talking about a regular permit. You're talking about $40,000 a day. You Right, right, right. And as we said, you said no weeks. Yeah. Now, let me backtrack a little bit. There's a lot of technical challenges here, right. So the initial there was, there's three approaches to doing this movie, right, which is, one is two and this has come the original idea was we do a little bit of shooting in Time Square, there's some exterior stuff, get the wide shots, you know, guy thing, and then we go into a studio and we'd green screen every chair, okay? Of course, that has all of its pitfalls, right? And it and it never quite looks the way you want it to look. And there's a lot of issues in what you can and can't do with reflections and and smoke I mean atmosphere or anything like that. So then I began to research using rear projection as an art as an option, where we go into studio and we would project Time Square, behind the booth a glass. And, and again, do a little bit shooting and touch and, and I did tons of research on how to make that work and studied the guy really pioneer that the best was Kubrick 2001. All that stuff over can count as events. Yeah, using rear projection techniques and is is really interesting. But again, your rear projection that skill works, when you're the backgrounds are not very clear. And that kind of thing. When you're dealing with very intricate detail at times for which you want to show all that the projection becomes a real nightmare. It's hard just to move the parallax when you move the camera looks really weird. And so anyways, so then we go to this meeting, hey, we're going to this meeting with the Film Commission to tell them what we're doing. You always want to go there and just tell me hey, here's, here's what we're doing is the kind of premise we're looking for. And right away to shuts down, you put a set down, you got to get special permission from the Time Square Alliance, which is this company that basically in monitor administers all of Time Square everything. And any event that takes place there any any structure or whatever, it's it's they're the ones that are in control of it, that the the Film Commission gets the permit, but Times Square Alliance runs the show, right? And they're the ones that say yes or no to everything. And if you put a structure down, big, big money, then the guy goes, you kind of lose money goes, Alison. Because you saw a bid on Sky, right? I go Yeah, you've ever been on the sky? The Tom Cruise movie
Alex Ferrari 28:22
course? Yeah, they shut down Time Square.
Peter Bishaim 28:24
Well, so there's, there's two or three shots in that. Right. So the famous one where they they shut down test for half an hour, where it takes that Ferrari Ferrari and, and and, and the whole thing is that they did it on a Sunday morning, I think from you know, they set up at 3am. And they had then at the moment the sun came up they shot for like 20 minutes was like that. And they and that was it on a Sunday when there's almost no traffic anyways. But if you if you go to the end of that scene, then it cuts to Tom Cruise's is kind of got his arms out, and he's standing up and the camera does a 360 around them and he starts to scream, right? He goes, he goes, You know what Tom Cruise was standing on the back of a flatbed truck. And they had the camera really low. And he said if you just tilt the camera down, you'd see millions of people in Times Square they did he did the all that right there. So he said, if you put your booth on the back of a flatbed truck and drive it in, okay, not on the pedestrian area but on the street, then we would totally just need to give you a parking permit. And I'm like, What? Got me He told me he was his idea. He thought Wow, so now okay, but now he's thinking when we were talking about this in his mind, it's like we're gonna do that for for one day. We know we're gonna we're gonna have the booth drive for one day, do or even sell you know, you know, get your wide shots and then and then you go into the studio, do your green screening and then you got to Okay, we leave that meeting, right? And I said, What? Let's do the whole movie like that.
Alex Ferrari 29:56
Of course, of course like a psychotic filmmaker would
Peter Bishaim 29:58
Right why wouldn't mean one We just drive in and just do the thing. What are you talking about? Let's just do it.
Alex Ferrari 30:05
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Peter Bishaim 30:16
So the next step now is, we have to go to the time score Alliance, because they're the ones that get the permission. Okay? So we set up a meeting. And the guy was amazing. He's just like me. So we sit we sit there is he's got this, like, Mission Control kind of thing of times where you get your monitors everywhere, you can see like every nook and cranny of Time Square, right? Yeah, cameras everywhere. It's like this huge NASA operations. I mean, and and we're sitting there, my producing partner and and it's like, we tell we're going to do what we want to do. When I shoot the whole movie, this thing in touch with this booth, and he just starts laughing. It's like, What are you talking about? I just thought it was Tommy,
Alex Ferrari 30:59
We want to give Tom Cruise that Why?
Peter Bishaim 31:01
Exactly. Tom Cruise said 20 minutes, right. 20 minutes. All right, we need two weeks. With a set Tom Cruise gonna have a set, right? They just had, you just stood there with a camera running around. Okay, so so then we start methodically explaining, and by this time, we went in there armed with some of the technical aspects of it, right. And, and the pitch to them was that the set is going to be on the back of a truck, flatbed truck, the set itself is going to be have all the lighting is going to be built into the set, okay? It's going to be self contained practical lighting, the entire movie is going to be handheld. In other words, the whole operation is going to be on the back of this flatbed truck. And we literally need to drive in and drive out everyday parking permit every day or every night, and we're not going to bother anybody and no one's even going to it's like, the more the more we talk about he's intrigued. Right? Like, why wait a second. And, and and he kind of became like,
Alex Ferrari 32:08
I want to see this happen.
Peter Bishaim 32:09
Yeah, exactly. It's like, can you can this be? Is this really what this has? He thought it was cool. It was the cool factor, right? And the audacity factor, you know, when you go in there with some audacity, and that's very new york also, in fact, he even told me, he said, You know, he said, Look, I don't care if you're Warner Brothers or independent. We treat everybody the same here. Everybody gets the same shot, right? It's just about making it. Okay. So then he said, All right. He says one thing he says he didn't say Yes, right away. But he said, but he's now he's negotiating a little bit, right? And he said, Now, well, we can't do I can't give you two weeks in a straight shot. Right? He says, He says, but could you do two days at a time, three days at a time here and there kind of thing? And I said, Yeah, absolutely. Because we have some other locations like to set up the film, and then the radio station, the beginning and there's like a chase at the end. And, and I said, Absolutely, we could do that. He said, Alright. Let's reconvene. I look at my schedule. You look at your dates, you figure out what can work for you? What can work for you. And let's compare notes in a couple of weeks. Right? So we did we got back in the same office, and he pulls out his calendar, we pull out our calendar, and we just made it work the days right. And it just happened. I mean, it literally just wow. And now the funny thing is the word that he used was unprecedented. Right? So he said anyway, and it was what is it turned out and he told us this he said his real concern was not that the actual shoot would be disruptive or, or whatever, he was worried that we would be setting a precedent that other makers would want to take advantage.
Alex Ferrari 33:49
I was about to say, I'm already writing a movie in my head. Yeah, exactly. Right.
Peter Bishaim 33:55
And I'll see that movie. I locks and now I just love times, I mean, the Time Square, I feel like it's part of my blood, you know? And, and so, and the funny thing is, not only do they give us the permission, oh, by the way, so then he said, I said, Get the permits permits from from the film office, right. So he said, Okay, let me let me talk to him. He said, this is the test where Alaska let me let me talk to him. And so he had called, he told me later, he said he had called the guy and he said, Okay, yeah, these guys, you know, their plan actually makes a lot of sense. They want to get the deal in the truck and they got it. They're gonna shoot the whole film there and the guy goes quiet. What do you mean total thing I said they could shoot for a day Really? And he goes, Well, no, but it's cool. And they can do the whole thing on a truck. And it's like, and, and, and he said, Well, are you okay with it? He goes, Yeah, we're okay on It's okay. I'm okay with it. I'll give him the permits, right? That's fine. So they just gave us the permits, right. And again, and they and they, they moved a few. So what they really did was they shut and they actually shut down a part of a traffic lane for us. They they literally just shut it down. Like again, this shutting down, you know, and we had that whole section
Alex Ferrari 35:02
today absolutely stare the entire time.
Peter Bishaim 35:04
Well, there's police anyways, that's true. Yeah. Yeah, this time square, there's the security everywhere. But when we were setting up initially they came in and they were just looking at and
Alex Ferrari 35:14
they're like, What are you guys doing?
Peter Bishaim 35:16
Yeah, no, no, they're supportive. They were amazingly supportive. You know, I'll tell you what was the weirdest thing here. This is one of those fluky things. Okay, of course now to pull off. So to get the location to get the set, and also the settings, we should have this set, because that was also a very particular thing that we needed for sound. But the whole thing was predicated on getting this flatbed to this 12 or 16 foot flatbed truck and building the thing on there. Okay. So we had reserved a flatbed truck, way in advance of our shoot, right? And we put the money to add the whole thing lined up for one of the big rental companies
Alex Ferrari 35:55
to two days before the shoot, of course,
Peter Bishaim 35:58
there's no truck, of course. All right, give us another one or so they don't have any. So we go to the next rental company, they don't have any they go to that we got we went to every single rental company. And nothing. They started looking outside of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore. So when we started doing the whole eastern seaboard, there was not a single flatbed truck anywhere. It was like what is this like some kind of cosmic joke that's being played? And and the whole movie was going to literally fall apart because we couldn't get a stupid truck. Right? I said, that doesn't make it How can you get all of Time Square, but you can't get a truck. You know, it's like, it's like Murphy's Law to the to the nth degree kind of thing. What my one of my partners just he just was running around every every garage in New York City, he spent those two days and at the last minute, you found one, you know, but it was too long. It was longer than it was like an 18 or 24, or something like that instead of a, because there was a kind of a space between sort of two walkways where you can park the thing right in the middle, you're right in the middle. And by the way, the guy in the title Alliance guy said, Well, you know, where would you want to set that thing up? And he says, Well, you tell us, you know, what's the best way to get there? No, no, you just Just give me a Just tell me if you can shoot any right? Where would you guys so we'll be right on this corner. You know, right here, you know, Broadway and 44th. You know, right in front of the ABC studio. They did a good morning america, because that gives you the whole the entire 360 of Times Square, you know, and that's what we got, you got that. But there was a kind of narrow space between the the walkways, we thought we thought we couldn't block those until we get this one truck, you know, and was too long. So we sent we're building the thing on the truck. And we sent we were we were in Brooklyn, where we had our production office. And we sent one of our guys down two times for the measuring test and go and measure that spot that we have, because if it's just and he went down, we're just waiting for the phone call. Okay, we were like, oh, and we were within one inch of the FDA. I get strangely common those moments when you have no control over anything. That's that's all you do is pray. All you do is pray. That's it? That's all you can do. Because Yeah,
Alex Ferrari 38:08
so I so have a couple questions. And so now I we figured out how you were able to do this impossible feat, which I'm curious to see how many more movies are gonna try to do this after you. Yeah, but that's not your problem at this point. But because you've already set the the you're already unprecedented. Sell, right? So I always had this question for filmmakers. And since your film has been sold, and it's being sold around the world, how do you deal with logos? How do you deal with pedestrians and people's faces and things like that in a public environment? And I think a lot of people would like to know that I have my theories, because I shot an entire movie at the Sundance Film Festival right now without anybody at this festival, knowing that I was doing. Yeah, so I'm curious what you think? Well, yeah,
Peter Bishaim 38:52
big question. We had to get that sorted out ahead of time, we didn't want to make the movie and find out that we can't show it, you know, so we had to look into that. So. So the first thing is the logo, so of course Times Square is riddled with logos everywhere. Yeah. And, and the basic, basic rule of thumb is that if you show any kind of branding or logo or anything like that, in the way that it was intended to be shown or used, then you're within safe grounds. Okay, so other words, if we're shooting at Time Square, and there's Coca Cola in the background on the big huge thing is how square and we just show it as it is. It's advertising coke. It's there for advertising coke in our movie, in a sense, right. And so it's being used in the in the intended form that it was designed for. So it's kind of like around with it, then then you can maybe get into trouble, you know,
Alex Ferrari 39:46
Peter Bishaim 39:47
Yeah. It's a second factor though. Okay.
Alex Ferrari 39:51
Real quickly, so what I always used to do, and I always tell people as well as like, if you drink a bottle of Coke, like there's a bottle of Coke, in a scene with a bunch of actors in the house. And you drink that coke and you just talk and do everything you should be okay. Now, if there's a murder, you hit the bottom, somebody over the head with that bottle of Coke, that's a problem. Even if there's something really awkward going on in the scene, you might have a problem because you don't want a coke might not want to be involved with a threesome. That's because the coke bottle was not intended to be a weapon was intended to be you know that. So that's tend to be inside of a threesome. So. But if you use it in the way it's intended, you're good.
Peter Bishaim 40:34
Yeah. Also, there's a secondary factor I read about which was that in television advertising, you can run into trouble if, if you show coke in your film, and Pepsi is sponsoring the show. Yeah, that's a conflict. And they don't want to have that. So then you can limit right. That's becoming I think, less and less of an issue the way advertising works better, but but it's like, Yeah, but that's something to consider.
Alex Ferrari 40:56
Yeah, that now. Yeah. And then how about people and faces,
Peter Bishaim 41:00
there are scenes in the film where we actually wanted, we would typically hire an actor or an extra, depending on how big the thing was. And we actually wanted to use people more than just sort of way off in the background kind of thing. And in those cases, we had our pa standing by with release forms. And if they were going to be features sort of probably doing something in the film, as opposed to just standing observing, then we would we would get them to sign a release. And so
Alex Ferrari 41:30
is this kind of just kind of a cover your butt, but generally speaking, if there's someone walking in the background of a scene, or in front of a camera, and it's kind of like walking behind a character, you're kind of you're okay. It totally okay. Okay. If they say a word, absolutely. You need to release.
Peter Bishaim 41:47
Yeah. And there's, there's a scene in the film where, where he has a big, there's a impromptu dance party, you know, in front of the thing, just to keep the energy and it's this big salsa thing, and it's a blast. We just roll people in for that. And so they're actually performing in a way, you know, but but again, you get them to sign releases. Yeah,
Alex Ferrari 42:04
it's so fat. It's so fascinating that you're doing this in Time Square. Yeah, it's pretty. It's pretty fascinating. Now, what was the budget of your film?
Peter Bishaim 42:14
So the budget all in was about 250. k, which is it's about I would say, with the production was about two, I think it was 227 is the actual number. Sure. And then post production very tight, but I did a lot of the post production I
Alex Ferrari 42:30
was gonna say 25 grams, pretty cheap. A lot of
Peter Bishaim 42:32
I did a lot of myself and a small team, but we have 30 CGI shots in the film, we have an amazing Saturday actually mixed it one of the top Sam, stages here in the city, we got an incredible deal there. And again, you just have to hustle to get the best deals you can get kind of thing but but a lot of is just just, it just takes the you know, blood, sweat and tears to do it. Yeah.
Alex Ferrari 42:55
Now, what are some of the struggles that you had to deal with in an uncontrollable environment? Because you had somewhat control of your specific area? Yeah, but you really it is madness. It's you're, you're literally in the center of a hurricane, you're in the eye of a storm? What are some of those struggles that you have to deal with as a director just trying to get your shots? I mean, you are up on a flatbed, but that I didn't know that part before I thought of the question, but it's still a thing.
Peter Bishaim 43:26
Yeah. Well, the schedule is always the toughest, right? Because I think you're having to there's a lot of film in this film, right? There's a lot of it's a lot of complex stuff happening. It's it's a very layered, detailed script, a lot of action, plot twists and everything. And, and it's a very tight schedule, and you've got to stay on schedule. And that's, that's all time is always your number one enemy. And so you've got to come in there being really, really a highly organized, everyone's got to you got to have a cohesive team, you know, so that was that's always a struggle, but it was it worked out pretty well here. I would say, you know, I didn't it was actually just really it was a lot of fun to be honest with you. I mean, it was it was the Time Square that the the chaos is actually good for the film, because that's
Alex Ferrari 44:22
a real part of it's part of the it's part of the whole exactly,
Peter Bishaim 44:24
that's the story. And so, we maybe weather was you helps to think about weather because, you know, we didn't have any covered weather covered opportunities, really. So it was a bit of a gamble. However, I mitigated that by looking at the script and how we broke down the script in terms of the schedule, so that every I made sure that every single scene in the film was shot within one actual there at one half day right where the weather would be consistent. Within that half day. You don't want to shoot part of a scene one day in the Other part of the scene a different day and therefore have completely radical weather. So in other words, whatever the weather was, for that particular scene, it doesn't matter if it was good weather, bad weather raining, not raining, it would be contained within the actual scene it'd be it would be consistent. And in fact, it only rained on one day. And it was the perfect day because it was it was day seven of the wake athon where he's really goes into this very deep, depressive kind of soul searching speech on the air. And we just had the raindrops on the glass. And it was just it was perfect, you know. So that was one bit of serendipity.
Alex Ferrari 45:29
Now do you do I mean, I again, on a much smaller scale, I mean, on a different scale, I did this with with the Sundance Film Festival, and there was 10s of 1000s of people, and you kind of run around with it. The difference? This is what I always say. And I'd love to hear what you say is that when you're in an environment like that, you're in an uncontrollable environment, which is unlike normal filmmaking and filmmaking, as a director, you need to control everything in the kitchen, lights, actors, environment, everything completely. But when you're in an environment that you can't control you, you will lose your mind, if you feel that you need to control everything. Right, you won't survive, right? So what I did is I just kind of flowed with something just showed up, it now became part of the story, or became part of the scene. And if it didn't work within the narrative, I was trying to tell I would adjust it or maybe pivot here or there, because we were on time and we didn't have the time to do things. And we were flowing so hard. Would you agree? That's the kind of the way you went around? Oh,
Peter Bishaim 46:31
yeah. And I think what you're talking about is, is staying cool, you know it, you got it, you got to stay cool. That's the key thing because filmmaking is problem solving. Right. And it's, it's every problem that shows up is an opportunity to come up with a creative way to solve it. And And oftentimes, it's a better thing that you wind up with, but your mind, you've got to stay calm. And you got to look at it as this this is the job right? This is this is not this is not an aberration of the to the job. This is the job when you're when you're doing this kind of filmmaking. That's what you sign up for. Right? And so you embrace it, and you got to stay cool. And of course, if you got a crew, and cast, they're looking to you as the director to maintain that tone, where we can solve this and we can make it work. So yeah, I think was great. I mean, it's, it's, it's, it's really, you know, the hardest job was not my artist job is our actor, our lead actor, Francois are no. So he because he has to go nuts and lose his mind and expose himself emotionally in the middle of Times Square, like, you know, it's, it's, it's this huge thing, you know, and so it takes a lot of courage. And he's an amazing actor. So he he, he said, from the very beginning, he was scared, this is a scary proposition to do, of course, and, and that this being scared of it is well, also the attraction because a great actor wants to be wants to live on the edge of his craft, and go for it. And he went for it all the way. Cuz you don't
Alex Ferrari 48:01
know, what was what, how did you direct performance in an environment like that, like as a director? How do you, you know, again, in my scenario, it was it was really complex, I just, again, got to kind of roll in, you have to trust your actors, implicitly, in an environment like that, because you don't have the opportunity to pull a Kubrick or a Fincher where you're taking 50 or 60 takes at the same thing and kind of like working out the nuances. That's not what this film, at least from what I'm seeing was like, Well, how did you do it?
Peter Bishaim 48:31
Actually, kind of, we didn't do 50 takes but we did you know, like those guys, but we did you know, on average, I would say four to six takes I would say that still but that's Yeah, yeah, of course, I was rude or it's not well, here. The first thing is, is the space itself, okay. So the set is, is is a diamond shape. And it's about the equivalent of seven or eight square feet. Okay. Now it's so it's very tight. Now, initially, my thinking was that you'd have the actors in there with the camera operator. And that's it. And then I would be outside on a monitor of some some type. And with whatever else crews out there, okay. As soon as we showed up there, I said, That's not going to work. Day one. I've got to be in there with them. I've got to be I've got to direct I got it. We Got it. Got it. Got it. Yeah, it's got to be Yeah, it's got to be exactly just going in and out of a door would literally pick up half the time. Okay. So, so that so then it became a question of it took blocking and staging to a whole new level because the and that's the part I love the most about directing this film, which was just the actual physical movement of actors, camera and me. And so every edit was it was kind of like I called the human Tetris directing, and because it was like, you know, I would move this way. You move that way that I go this way the camera goes here. We're literally having to choreograph every single movement. There's just no room to move and we're just dancing around each other for the Shoot, and it was really a lot of fun. And as soon as we said, cut, boom, the doors are open, we get air pumped in there, and it was just people can, you know, just step outside for a second. And, and so that so the directing was really the number one job was was the staging and blocking had to be worked out to the very, very fine level of detail. And that was a lot of fun. And then the second thing was, but that is, uh, I insisted that the that every scene looked different. I didn't want to, you know, I didn't want to set a camera up, some people would say, Oh, you just set some GoPros up you know, like and just shoot this that said get the whole capture the movie like that. I said, No, this is going to be a movie movie, this is going to be shot. If as if we had flyaway walls kind of thing, but we don't right so so that's so that was really important to be extremely everything was was planned every shot, every camera movement, every actor movement, everything. And then you look at some ways to the more like you're talking about your son. So maybe the more planned you are, the more you can respond to accidents, things like that. Right. And that's, that's what happened here. We didn't we didn't deviate from the script. There's very little ad libbing going on occasional thing here but but it was it was it was a very tele control thing. The second thing is is the the lens camera and lens choices very important lighting. Yeah. So we shot it in the red dragon, small cap, small camera pack on the small camera it was all handheld. But more importantly camera is the lens right so in order to get the make the space work, it had to be in a very wide angle lens. So the vast majority of the film was on an 18 millimeter Zeiss of vintage Zeiss classic camera lens and it was the mark three which is a beautiful lens 18 millimeters gives you a massive field of view but it has very little distortion so it doesn't look like a you know crazy weird push I think it was it's a beautiful thing. And then and then we kind of stayed consistent with that. So the lens plotting was inside the booth shooting the characters, it was 18 millimeters anytime we switch the point of view where it's him looking out into Time Square we would switch to an 85 millimeter and that gives you a kind that kind of brings the people outside closer to you and then occasionally we would switch for a closer to maybe to a 35 or a 50 millimeter very rarely but then 18 millimeter lens and then I wanted to shoot wide open okay meaning that that a very very shallow depth of field to give it a very cinematic creamy feel. So the combination of using a vintage lens in 6k with shooting wide open gives you a look now but it becomes a big challenge for the camera operator because and the focus pulling because you have very shallow depth of field and you you know if you're off by an inch or two you'll lose focus and so he was basically doing his own focus the DP was also operating whereas then the first AC would come in and do other things were set up but he was literally you know had one hand on the lens and he's bragging focus as as as the way around it. Yeah, it constantly moving camera you know in this in this tight space so that was a lot of I love the technical challenge of it. And the lighting we built into the set you know that we use but we put Kino flows into the actual set, which is that
Alex Ferrari 53:20
now you've you've now the movie has been released and it's been sold and it was sold to vertical from a mistaken right.
Peter Bishaim 53:26
So vertical entertainment picked up the North American distribution rights. Last week, they did a damn date theatrical release 10 cities around the country 10 major markets and then simultaneous release on all the major VOD platforms cable on demand. And so that's happening right now. Anyone can get the film, Amazon, iTunes, VUDU wherever. And then we've sold the film overseas as well through a sales company. Yeah.
Alex Ferrari 53:57
And you're doing and you're doing well overseas. I mean, financially, these numbers are coming out. Our
Peter Bishaim 54:01
cameras are coming in, numbers are coming in and decent. We're still going we still got another you know, every few months is the next market whether it's con or
Alex Ferrari 54:09
AFM. AFM is coming up.
Peter Bishaim 54:11
Yeah. Then Berlin after that. So yeah, it's going it's great. We've sold to Germany, South Korea, other places Middle East, I mean,
And it's gonna end it's going to end because of the you know, the star of the movie in a lot of ways as Time Square.
Yeah, that's a big slow you know, what the and this is what the sales company came on board for that release that they love the concept. It's when you're looking at I knew going into yet the thing of what is their distribution strategy going to be you know, what is who's going to buy this summer will see this film. And so I was really counting on two things. Because it's a high concept, genre film thriller that has more value overseas in foreign markets than say, a straight comedy or a straight drama, that kind of thing. So, so right away that gives us something advantage. And then secondly, for casting, we cast Francois our know who is the star of the borders on Showtime. And he just finished on midnight Texas on NBC was a star that and he has a very loyal fan base. He has like a very, you know, passionate passions, this small but very passionate fan base around the world,
Alex Ferrari 55:29
I found that TV actors have a lot of times more Yeah, yeah. And then movie star, like movie star actors because of because they're with them longer. There's more episodes, there's more connection.
Peter Bishaim 55:42
Exactly that's a really good point. Yeah. And, and, you know, he's, he's just an amazing guy, that everybody they love him, you know, and they swoon over him. And, and so I knew, you know, that was going to be our, our base for, for the for VOD, and for digital on this, because, and he's been great, cuz he's he, you know, he's on his Instagram, it was 1000s 10s of 1000s of followers. And he's talking about and there can't wait to see. And so that's been really, really, really good. And so, like, you know, it's, it's, it's, I mean, you you've talked about this so many times on your podcast about finding and building your own audience, you know, and to tap into his audience, it was the kind of the key thing for us. So we'll see how that keeps going. But yeah, and
Alex Ferrari 56:28
But having the location of New York Times Square in New York City Times Square internationally, I have to believe Yes, that is a selling point.
Peter Bishaim 56:37
Right. It's right on the poster, you know, the big lights and the neon and exactly, right, exactly. I
Alex Ferrari 56:43
mean, it's the same thing. I mean, for for my film, Sundance is Park City is the star, you know, it is one of the stars of the film and bright one, see that experience and to be there. And that was very, obviously strategic on my part to be able to do that. Yeah.
Peter Bishaim 56:58
So you have to want to go the Google can't get there. They want to experience the through your film, right? So that's what it is.
Alex Ferrari 57:03
Exactly. So now I'm gonna ask you a few questions. I ask all of my guests, what advice would you give a filmmaker wanting to break into the business today?
Peter Bishaim 57:13
Okay, um, I would say, I would say it's two things. One is, is to is to do a lot, if I were starting again, you know, I would do more shorts, I would do a lot, I would do a lot of a lot more. So I would just say keep doing a lot. But the second thing I find the most important is certainly for me, this is the most important thing is is to be ambitious, and not just not ambitious, in terms of success, or money or fame. But be ambitious in your filmmaking. You know, yes, you can get some friends together, and you can get a house and you can film in there. And you can do a lot of great things. But I feel like every filmmaker should challenge themselves in some way to find at least one thing in the film you want to do. That's just hard, you know, just as hard because if it's hard and you pull it off, it will. it'll pay dividends in so many ways, you know. And so I say, be ambitious. Try do something, come up with a story, come up with an idea, come up with a location, come up with something that's that if you can, if you can make it work, it will be great. And don't just take the easy path. It's never easy to make films, but challenge yourself in some way creatively. So that it's so when people see what you've what you're doing. They're like what? You tried that even if even if you don't totally succeed at it, it doesn't matter. Exactly. If you become a better filmmaker, you'd become even stronger than you were before. So that's that's what I would do. Definitely.
Alex Ferrari 58:47
Like I've said, I've said this before in the past is all all film. All filmmaking careers, are forged in the failures that we have. Yeah, it's the truth. Like you know, even if you don't, even if you don't succeed all the way, man you aim for this. You aim from the for the with the sun and you land in the moon. Yeah, most people don't even walk out of their house. No,
Peter Bishaim 59:10
I take it a step further wishes that that you actually have to fail physically. You actually Oh, no, you have to you have to you have to fail and fail often fail loft. Exactly. You get stronger and stronger. And it's you know, just no way around it. Definitely.
Alex Ferrari 59:23
Now, can you tell me what book had the biggest impact in your life or career? What book had the biggest impact? Is it still in filmmaking? No matter whatever book either it's a filmmaking book or another book. Okay. Okay, let's, let's say
Peter Bishaim 59:41
I, when I was a teenager, as a birthday gift, I got the history of Warner Brothers, which was a man I was I was, I became obsessed with Humphrey Bogart. And he's great, you know? Yeah. For days he and I were for door I was only kid a word for door at the high school.
Alex Ferrari 59:58
You were very popular I'm sure
Peter Bishaim 59:59
yeah. And I I became really obsessed with the history of film, cinema history. And that was that was a way before I went to college and film school that had a huge impact on me. I think a little later on I send you limits book on directing. Directing, is essentially a good book is so good. It's so good to so many levels. Yeah. That that had a big impact on me. Um, I read novels. There's a my favorite novels and all the called soldier of the Great War by mark halperin, which is this epic, beautiful about beauty and in this grand scale that that was that had a huge impact on me. All right. Yeah, that's good.
Alex Ferrari 1:00:51
Now what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life light at the hardest lesson? Um, ego? Oh, my friend. Yeah, you're tapping into something I talk about on a daily basis now?
Peter Bishaim 1:01:11
Yeah, definitely. That's that's the albatross. You know, when I was younger, as a teenager and into my 20s, I was like, Oh, yeah, I'm going to be six I'm going to have this is gonna happen, that's going to happen and, and, and, and just waiting for the phone turn, they're gonna you know, Spielberg is gonna call me and say, Come on, you're the best, you're gonna have nothing to show for it. You know, why would they? But I would wait.
Alex Ferrari 1:01:34
But inside your own mind, you were huge. You're a legend in your own mind. Exactly. Exactly. And it
Peter Bishaim 1:01:39
was it was soul crushing when I actually realized that, you know, my calling, but it's like, I'm not even close to where I want to be. I'm not even I'm not even like in the ballpark.
Alex Ferrari 1:01:48
I can't even pa on a Spielberg's
Peter Bishaim 1:01:50
No, exactly. I can't even insert it's like, what am I you know, and and it's kind of like, so that was a bit and then when I went to England going, but not going back now to the beginning, you know, the script that my mentor name is Bart gavigan, an amazing guy. He he just introduced to me the whole concept of service, you know, that, that the opposite of ego is serving, right? You have to serve other people's needs. And I thought and he presented the idea of, of screenwriting, and filmmaking as a service professional, where you're actually serving the audience. Yes, you're actually serving their needs their their need to have stories told their need to learn about lead their need to have an emotional experience. If you see yourself as a servant, you know, humbly, that transforms my writing and transformed how I direct transfer how I deal with crew and cast and and it's like, it's like, I'm not the guy in charge. I'm, I'm here to serve, you know, and the more you serve the better leader you become. Yes. And and, and so that took me a while to figure that out. And, and I'm glad I've learned that lesson. Yeah, preach.
Alex Ferrari 1:03:02
Preach my friend preach. I'm in the middle of the book. Ego is the enemy by Ryan Hall. Right, right. I read I read. But yeah, the obstacle is the way was his first one. And then ego is the enemy. And then now I think is stillness as the way is the start coming out soon. It's a trilogy of his books on stoic philosophy, and Oh, yeah. So it's, those books are amazing. Now, what is the biggest fear you had to overcome with making this film?
Peter Bishaim 1:03:32
Okay, the biggest fear is that it's not going to be as good as it is in my head, right? I mean, that's
Alex Ferrari 1:03:39
Every every film everything.
Peter Bishaim 1:03:42
But I was more so in this case, it was more I think, with the other film, like the first one to the accountant. That was if I failed, it was a while I'm learning how to do this. And it was, you know, with the million colors of heaven in South Africa, it was it was so big, and that was at the mercy of other people, you know, and so if it didn't work out, there was other there's, I could explain it away, you know, but in this case, rapid eye movement, it's, it's no, it's and and that was, but again, it just embrace it. And whatever happens happens, you know, so, yeah,
Alex Ferrari 1:04:13
And three of your favorite films of all time.
Peter Bishaim 1:04:16
Ah, number one, Lawrence of Arabia, okay, like, by far, number one. Number two, which was a big influence, and this one is Hitchcock's rear window. This is self contained. That was the inspiration self contained. thriller, you know, with a lot of humor. And by the way, the rapid eye movement has a ton of humor because it's, it's a, as he gets into day three, day four, day five of this sleep deprivation, you just start to lose your mind and the behavior becomes more and more erratic, and he doesn't create he starts to hallucinate bizarre things. And the way he reacts to it the way he deals it's, and it's really and that was Hitchcock. What I learned from Hitchcock is the nexus of suspense and humor. If you don't see that much of these days,
Alex Ferrari 1:05:02
You should have more of it because it's an examination, so wonderful that it totally, totally started and it started. Yeah, it's like dark humor too. Yeah, get out. Exactly.
Peter Bishaim 1:05:11
Exactly. And so rear window. And in fact, this funny memory when I was 13, trying to make movies, I said, I'm going to mount a remake of a window in my backyard. And I tried to build an entire front of a we had my parents, we just recited our house. We had all this old siding. I said, let's let's build this into a huge apartment building in front of apartment. It didn't work at all.
Alex Ferrari 1:05:36
But you've learned something, I'm sure.
Peter Bishaim 1:05:38
Yeah, exactly. And third, I would pick I would have to pick at least one Spielberg. So and that could change on any given day. So I'll go with a go with Raiders loss or get the right now, but that could change tomorrow. Yeah,
Alex Ferrari 1:05:56
like I'm trying to think like, what would be my favorite Spielberg movie? Like I think God man. Yeah. It's like it's so like, jaws never never gets jaws. You know, because jaws.
Peter Bishaim 1:06:09
Yeah. jaws jaws is perfect. You know? This this product, you're seeing these these guys that are on YouTube that do analysis of Spielberg's directing. I'm sure there is all this incredible jaws is that when you actually hear where he was? It's it's maddening because it's like, he was 28 when he made this perfect anyway. Oh, it's like half depressing. Half inspiring.
Alex Ferrari 1:06:32
Oh, no, that movie. Oh, if we could wait, that's a whole other Oh, yeah. Now where can people find you and more? where they can they find rapid eye movement?
Peter Bishaim 1:06:41
Yes. That'd be great. I rapid eye movement is available pretty much on every VOD platform, iTunes, Amazon, VUDU. Google. Yeah, Google Plus or Google Play. Definitely. They can get me peterbishaim.com is my filmmaker website. They can contact me there. I would love to hear from anybody
Alex Ferrari 1:07:00
Careful what you wish for.
Peter Bishaim 1:07:03
Bring it on
Alex Ferrari 1:07:04
Careful what you wish for. I experienced I've, I've had I've had I've had other guests. They said the same thing. I've had other guests put their emails on. On the show. I'm like, Don't Don't just yeah, just be careful. And they just call me back weeks after the podcast gets released. Like Alex started like he gets on you, man. Yeah, you're the one that said it's on you. So if that's the case, make yourself
Peter Bishaim 1:07:29
I'll send them your way if it gets to much.
Alex Ferrari 1:07:31
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. I listen, Peter, it's been an absolute pleasure talking to you. Yeah. I mean, it's interesting to see, you know, I really wanted to get into how to shoot an impossible location and how to shoot an impossible scenario and shooting in time scores pretty much the definition of that. So I really wanted to see how you did it. But it is an inspiring story. And it does. I hope everyone listening really gets the idea of that audacity is something that is a very powerful tool and filmmakers like if you just would want to do something so like crazy, like shoot a movie in Times Square, or shoot a movie at the Sundance Film Festival while the Sundance Film Festival is going on with nobody understanding what's going on.
Peter Bishaim 1:08:13
Alex Ferrari 1:08:14
That audacity got me my crew, because they're like, I kind of want to see what how that turns out. Yeah, and same thing. I'm sure there was a lot of people who signed up for it. Like, I just want to see how you do this. Yeah, that's a great feeling. I've had that feeling many times in my career. It almost almost all my projects, I try to do something that's a little bit just like, this is great.
Peter Bishaim 1:08:34
Yeah, it's crazy. Crazy. But organize if you organize organized chaos is fantastic. Yeah.
Alex Ferrari 1:08:39
So thanks again for being on the show. Brother.
Peter Bishaim 1:08:41
My pleasure. Thank you so much. It's great talking to you.
Alex Ferrari 1:08:44
I want to thank Peter for coming on the show and dropping amazing knowledge bombs on the tribe today. If you want to get links to anything we spoke about in this episode, and check out his movie rapid eye movement. This he how he did what he did, head over to the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/381. And if you haven't already, please head over to filmmakingpodcast.com. Leave a good review for the show. It really helps us out a lot and getting this information out to as many filmmakers as possible. Thank you again, for listening. I hope you're all being safe out there. I know we're going through a very stressful time in the world with the pandemic going on. But this will pass and please take advantage of this time to better yourself. educate yourselves, writes, do things that you would not normally have the time to do. So when the opportunities do present themselves. You'll be ready. Thank you again. As always keep that also going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.
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