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Sean Baker: ‘Tangerine’ How to Shoot a Sundance Hit on Your iPhone
I’ve recently been looking and studying alternative shoot methods to shoot a feature film. One name that keeps coming up is Sean Baker. His ground-breaking film Tangerine made more noise at the Sundance Film Festival than the winner that year. The film was also produced by the indie film legends, Jay and Mark Duplass.
Tangerine was shot completely on an iPhone. Yes, an iPhone. The great thing was that after his Sundance screening no one in the audience or at the film festival knew that the film was shot on an iPhone.
What I respect about Sean Baker as a filmmaker is that he didn’t focus on the technology when promoting his film, he let the story, actors and film speak for itself. If you haven’t seen Tangerine you are missing out. Take a look at the RED BAND trailer below.
I wanted to put together a post that highlighted what can be done with minimal filmmaking tech and a great story. Sean Baker has definitely what can be done in today’s filmmaking world.
Below are a ton of videos explaining the process Sean Baker and his director of photography Radium Cheung, HKSC went through making Tangerine, as well as a bunch of videos explaining tips and tricks on how to turn your something you shot on an iPhone into cinematic gold. Enjoy my conversation with Sean Baker.
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- Tangerine – Amazon
- Sean Baker – Twitter
- Tangerine – Twitter
- ASC Magazine — Tangerine
- ProSound Web — Tangerine
- Radium Cheung
- Tangerine – Official Website
- Prince of Broadway
- Four Letter Word
- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business
- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: FREE AUDIOBOOK
- Indie Film Hustle TV (Streaming Real-World Film Education)
- Rev.com – Closed Caption Your Indie Film ($10 off Your First Order)
- Alex Ferrari’s Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Filmmaking Story)
- VideoBlocks.com – (IFH Discount SAVE $50)
REAL-WORLD STREAMING FILM EDUCATION
- Indie Film Hustle TV (Streaming Real-World Film Education)
- Hollywood Film School: Filmmaking & TV Directing Masterclass
- Filmmaker in a Box – Learn How to Make an Indie Film – 18 Hours+ of Lessons
- Storytelling Blueprint: Hero’s Two Journeys
- The Dialogue Series: 38 hours of Lessons from Top Hollywood Screenwriters
- Filmtrepreneur® Podcast
- Bulletproof Screenwriting® Podcast
- Six Secrets to getting into Film Festivals for FREE!
- FreeFilmBook.com (Download Your FREE Filmmaking Audio Book)
Filming A Movie On An iPhone
Lessons from TANGERINE Filmmaker Sean Baker
The Tools Sean Baker Used to Make Tangerine:
Moondog Labs 1.33x Anamorphic Adapter for iPhone 5s (this gave them around a 2.40:1 aspect ratio from the original 16:9)
FiLMiC Pro App (this helped lock exposure, focus, white balance, but also gave them better compression)
Steadicam Smoothee for iPhone 5/5s
Take a look at this ASC article about how they decided on the amazing look for the film:
It was during prep that Sean Baker discovered another key component of the movie’s look: its saturated color. Sean Baker says.
“The sort of films I make have this urban social-realist thing. What I normally do is drain the color because for some reason, that adds to the reality.”
But after trying that with test footage in Final Cut Pro, he thought about other options.
“Because these women are so colorful, I decided to try going the other way, and I tried pumping up the saturation instead. Almost immediately, I was sold. One movie critic called it ‘pop vérité,’ and that was exactly the combination I was looking for.”
For the 22-day shoot, cinematographer Radium Cheung, HKSC brought only three battery-operated Rosco LitePads — 1’x1’, 6”x12” and 3”x12” Cheung says,
“Just to be able to fill in and add some eyelight every now and then.”
Bounce material picked up at a 99-Cents Only Store was used occasionally.
“We had no C-stands, no conventional movie lights. We staged our actors with existing light on locations, to some degree, and I turned those existing lights on and off selectively.”
Shooting with Only iPhones on the Sundance Hit Film ‘Tangerine’
An interview with Director of Photography Radium Cheung, HKSC about his work on the film ‘Tangerine’ and what it was like to shoot on the iPhone 5s.
iPhone 6 Filmmaking Tips and Tricks
Behind the scenes look at my iPhone 6 video demonstration with some tips and tricks for mobile filmmaking.
How To Get Cinematic on a Cell Phone
You don’t need an expensive camera to get cinematic shots. Check out these techniques to help you get movie-like shots on your cell-phone.
You don’t always need a Red Camera, in fact, we shot this only on the Red and the iPhone 6+, some shots on each look great, some don’t. That’s because it doesn’t matter which camera you use, it matters on how you use them.
Turn your iPhone into a filmmaking machine!
Here is a quick review of the AWESOME iOgrapher Filmmaking Case. by MobileReviewsEh
The iOgrapher Filmmaking Case for iPhone 6/6S is a case for your iPhone that comes with multiple attachment points for tripods, lights and microphones. With this entire setup, you could easily replace your DSLR’s with an iPhone. I’ve been doing it for the last week and I can tell you its definitely worth it. Check out the video below.
Shoot a Film With an iPhone and FiLMiC Pro!
Today we create a short sketch using an iPhone as our only camera! Then, we show you how to get that kind of quality from your cell phone!
Also, check out KENZO “Snowbird” a movie by Sean Baker
KENZO presents a new film by the acclaimed writer/director, Sean Baker, entitled “Snowbird”, featuring the KENZO Spring-Summer 2016 collection from Creative Directors Humberto Leon and Carol Lim.
“Snowbird” stars Abbey Lee in her latest role since appearing in the blockbuster “Mad Max: Fury Road”. Abbey Lee plays ‘Young Theo’, a young woman living in a remote desert community.
Sean Baker wrote and directed this original short for KENZO and shot the film entirely on iPhone.
If you liked Sean Baker: ‘Tangerine’ How to Shoot a Sundance Hit on Your iPhone, then you’ll love:
How to Shoot and Sell Six Feature Films in a Year with Joe Swanberg
Enjoyed Sean Baker: ‘Tangerine’ How to Shoot a Sundance Hit on Your iPhone? Please share it in your social networks (Facebook, Twitter, email etc) by using social media buttons at the side or bottom of the blog. Or post to your blog and anywhere else you feel it would be a good fit. Thanks.
I welcome thoughts and remarks on ANY of the content above in the comments section below…
Stuff You Need in Your Life:
IFHTV: Indie Film Hustle TV
Book: Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business
Book: Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Filmmaking Story)
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Alex Ferrari: Welcome my Indie film hustlers to another episode of the indie film hustle podcast; I am your humble host Alex Ferrari. Today’s show is sponsored by video blocks. Video block is a subscription based stock media company that gives you unlimited access to premium stock footage everyone could afford. If you’re looking for like extra exterior shots or things that you might want to incorporate into any of your projects be it a narrative, documentary, music videos, commercials, these guys got you covered, they got unlimited daily downloads from a library of over one hundred fifteen thousand H.D. video clips, as well as a huge selection of after effects templates for like opening credits, motion graphics, titles, company logos as well as motion backgrounds as well, it’s pretty amazing and on average a subscribers pay less than a dollar per download in a course of a year and the content does not get stale they’re constantly adding new content to the library every month so it keeps it very very fresh and you always have something new to look forward to and everything you download is one hundred percent royalty free even if your subscription is canceled, you have unrestricted usage rights for anything you want to do including personal projects and commercial projects and you keep whatever you download and maintain the usage rights for ever. Now video blocks is offering the tribe a yearly subscription for 99 bucks that’s 50 bucks off the usual price tag. Just for you guys, just for the tribe. That’s less than 10 bucks a month so to get this deal just head over to www.videoblocks.com/hustle for this exclusive offer. Don’t forget to head over to www.filmfestivaltips.com to download my free guide and I’ll show you how I was able to get into over six hundred international film festivals free to cheap or free.
So guys today on the show I’m really excited to have this guest on the show Sean Baker the director of the Sundance darling tangerine. The man who shot a movie on an iPhone and that was a big event he made more noise and I think the winner did at that year’s Sundance which is 2015 and his ability to make a movie look amazing, great story, very energetic. If you guys haven’t seen tangerine you’ve got to watch it and he shot it on an i Phone and it was remarkable to watch and I really dug in deep on how he was able to do what he did, all the technical stuff as well as like ‘did he have permits on the shoot’ all that kind of stuff and the story behind the movie and what happened to him after Sundance and so on. And it’s really an exciting interview to have with Sean and I wanted to bring him on the show so I can show you guys that look it’s all about the story, it doesn’t really matter if you have the latest read or the rated select or latest alexa or whatever, the next big 15k camera is about a story and is about using the camera that is probably going to use be used to tell that story and he chose the iPhone, that wasn’t a no budget movie, it was it wasn’t like he just ran out with five grand and made a movie. He had a budget but he decided to shoot with the iPhone because it was the right tool for the right story at that time and the next movies shooting right now it will talk about being shot on 35 millimeter. So that’s something that as filmmakers we have to understand we have to choose the right medium and the right camera or in the right format for the kind of stories we’re trying to tell like Darren Aronofsky did with Black Swan and The Wrestler which you saw in Super sixteen millimeter and how Christopher Nolan shoots IMAX on a lot of his movies because that’s the format that he likes to use for his storytelling.
So I wanted to bring him on the show to really kind of show you guys what’s capable of being done and Sean is amazing, he gives a lot of great knowledge bombs in this episode. So sit back and enjoy my conversation with Sean Baker.
I am very grateful for our next guest I’d like to introduce Sean Baker to the show. Thank you so much for jumping on the show man, I appreciate it.
Sean Baker: Thanks for having me.
Alex: Thanks man. First of all, I’m a huge fan of Tangerine and Greg the Bunny but we’ll get to both of those later.
First of all, I know a lot of people like to say that you were an overnight success which is wonderful to say but you’ve been actually doing the hustle for about fifteen years if my math is correct right?.
Sean Baker: You know it’s a little longer actually I don’t want to give away exactly how old I am but it’s over twenty years actually. So it’s yeah easily over twenty years because I actually shot my first feature ‘four letter words’ in ‘96 which is twenty years.
Alex: What did you shoot on when you shot that movie?
Sean Baker: We shot that on 35 millimeter.
Alex: What is this 35mm you speak of?
Sean Baker: (Laughs) it almost makes me cringe. Actually, it was weird because at the time I had purchased the short ends off of ‘twelve monkeys’ the Terry Gilliam film and that must’ve been like two years prior that like ‘94 I think.
Alex: They were sitting on a refrigerator for two years.
Sean Baker: Yes, on my parents’ freezer or something. But they were all totally good, we never lost, we never had one problem and two years later we shot the film. But then it took me a while post-production is always a problem for me. Post-production either beats me into some sort of spiral whether mental, physical whatever but basically that took me over four years to figure out the proper way of cutting that film and but I was in my 20’s and you know time is definitely a different thing. Twenty years goes by way too fast and you don’t even realize it. And it was during those four years actually that ‘Greg the bunny’ was established and discovered and sort of fell into my lap. So that was happening at the same time. But anyway, I just ramble but it’s been over twenty years. And overnight success thing, I think it’s such an incredible rarity if that really is ever really does happen to somebody, I don’t think there is. Even Terence had a film before ‘Reservoir Dogs’ you know like everybody is an overnight success.
Alex: I think the only guy that I can say that was an overnight success was Robert Rodriguez because he literally just busted out with ‘El Meriachi’ before that he was doing short films on V.H.S. at home so I think he literally is almost an overnight success. He’s 23, can you imagine that man? Twenty three and I know that kind of pressure and attention and you know the whole town chasing you. I mean how he’s survived is beyond me.
Sean Baker: I know it’s very inspirational, it just shows that it’s that hard working, proactive mentality that’s very important and that’s what leads to ultimate exposure. Even if you have to just keep on knocking on the door of the industry for twenty years eventually they listen.
Alex: And that’s what I preach in the film most all the time, like guys this not a short game here man, this is a long game.
Sean Baker: It’s literally the last man standing. It really is
Alex: It is. You’re right, you’re right
Sean Baker: It’s crazy it’s crazy and so your lifestyle and your quality of living can suck for twenty five, thirty years until you finally you know and a lot of my friends who I went to high school with are almost retiring if not already retired and I feel like my career is just beginning while they have made enough money over the years and banking or whatever to retire and it’s really crazy.
Alex: we are scaring the hell out of everybody listening to us right now (laughs)
So how did you get into business and why did you want to get into the business in the first place?
Sean Baker: All the way back to first grade. Quite honestly I was as one of those kids, I was going to be a fireman and construction worker and the next day my mother brought me to the local library where they were showing I think from what I remember of course it was first grade. So I’m not sure whether I’m just making some of this up or whether that memory is really there but I think they were showing 16 millimeter short scenes from the Universal monster films. So I remember sitting through this scene in which the mummy rises and gets stabbed there was the you know dracula rising for the first time and then there was a course Frankenstein the burning mill sequence at the end of James, Wells Frankenstein and that just stuck with me, it just right down to my you know prefrontal cortex and this is like the frontal lobe, I was like ‘oh my God’, that image of just the Boris Karloff looking through that spinning mechanism of the of the mill. I just remember going home that night and saying I want to be a filmmaker. And so my parents were you know they had the super eight equipment around because of family movies, home movies then a few years later V.H.S. kicked in and I was like one of those kids like what you mentioned earlier with Robert Rodriguez like making tons of those like a real like and they were most of them were re-box you know like remix,
Alex: Of course that’s what you do when you’re starting out, you literally copy completely but then eventually you find your voice
Sean Baker: Right. But there was like space wars instead of Star Wars you know yes I think some of them we didn’t even like retitle them, we just see ‘Red Done’ and we say OK we’re going to make our own ‘Red Done’ (laughs) which is an incredible.
Alex: I would love to see that, I love that you should actually post that somewhere shots seriously that must be amazing.
Sean Baker: It’s a time capsule because it shows the way that kids growing up in the eighty’s, how nuclear war and how the threat of a war with Russia at the time was actually a real thing and how it was actually in our nightmares and that was something that today watching it, it’s mind blowing to see a little 13 year old going you know calm, it’s really amazing. Anyway, throughout my junior high and high school I did a lot of that, I was living out in New Jersey my parents were in New Jersey so I actually got to go to like film courses at school visual arts during my high school years. And then I got into NYU and I spent four years there making some decent films 16 millimeter. I was proud of a few of them, I actually didn’t make a senior film because I was still sort of editing my junior film instead of making a senior film I actually produced somebody else’s senior film but during that whole time I was just sort of being very much influenced by the European and the cinema because I did not know much about it going to N.Y.U. Of course I knew the biggies, I actually was even a projectionist and a theater manager in a small little cinema that’s now closed in New Jersey and during the days they show Disney films and at night they showed whatever the new foreign film was. And so you know I got a little taste of that stuff but it wasn’t truly….I don’t think it was a focus until I was at N.Y.U. and I discovered the French New Wave, I mean of course they knew about the French New Wave but I and I had seen the classics but I never really like it was like diving into Eric Rohmer and then really discovering that stuff and that opened up the world to like. Where are you based?
Alex: I’m in L.A
Sean Baker: You’re in L.A. Ok, in New York and L.A. is so great right now in terms of different cinemas, and retrospectives. Oh it’s so great. It’s wonderful.
Alex: I just saw Lawrence of Arabia in seventy million the other day.
Sean Baker: Oh where?
Alex: I forgot that damned name of the theater but it was down the street and they were showing like vertigo the next week and I was like ah I couldn’t make but they do that all the time here. I’m from Miami originally so there was nothing like that down there really and here like every week there is something new like a whole Brian De Palma retrospective
Sean Baker: Yeah it’s great, it’s great. And thank God now you have all of these archivists and all these Blu ray labels who are making sure that the original negatives are being restored and re-scanned in Four K, it’s a great for you know making sure that you know you can see all these old classics in the proper way. But anyway in New York, New York was wonderful as well and it still is. It’s changed a lot but at the time that I was at N.Y.U. you had like Kim this video was like the big thing where you could see almost anything you wanted to see and then there were of course all these retrospective houses and that was a cinema village and Bleecker Street Cinema which was at the very end of its run when I came to N.Y.U. but it was still there and you still had 42nd Street if you wanted to take advantage of that the last year or two of the deuce and then there was anthology film archives and that’s where I discovered I got to see like Rocco and his brothers on 35 millimeter. So that was really like OK I’m going to pay attention now to the Italian neo realism that brought me back to seek. And then I think that by the time I graduated I was really… and Richard Linklater was out there and Sonberg and I was like you know what I’m going to try to make one of these small personal films. And I happened to be lucky enough to land a job at a small publishing house right out of N.Y.U and that allowed me to cut my teeth on some of their Industrials which in one or two happened to be like a nice commercial like a slick commercial. So I was able to put money aside and that’s what allowed me to buy that raw stock for ‘four letter words’ and then that happened and so yeah that’s really the way that it started up that.
Alex: Now you talk about Greg the bunny, that was such a fun show Man. How did that come to being?
Sean Baker: During that time where it was Dan Milano, Spencer and I were just basically waiting for things to happen. You know the next few years after N.Y.U. and we didn’t know exactly, I had this film that I didn’t know how to cut, I wrote it in a non-linear style which was the sort of like a Russian Mystery Train thing going on but what happened was that, it wasn’t working. So it was taking me all these years to figure that out and then we’re all doing our odd jobs in our temp work and I remember one night. It just happened to be that there was this Dan Milano had a little puppet sitting around his apartment in the east village and I think it came from like a short film that Christopher Ghosh who I co-wrote tangerine with and started with. He’s like the fourth unofficial member of Greg the Bunny because he’s actually the one who found the bunny puppet back in the day. And so Dan Milano picks this thing up and starts riffing on it with it and I have the V.H.S. camera and I just pick up this V.H.S. camera and we just start documenting him and he just starts improvising like you wouldn’t believe, we already knew Dan was like this comic genius but to see him put up make a voice and you know create this voice and just start riffing we’re just in awe. And we thought why don’t we put something up on Manhattan neighborhood network which was a public access here in Manhattan?
Sean Baker: (laughs) that’s awesome
Alex: Yeah it was just pretty You Tube where you got exposure back then and the next thing Will Morris was actually watching this stuff time, that’s how they look for fresh talent you know going to film festivals and watching public access. So we next thing you know somehow through Gil Holland who is a independent film producer who you know look him up East, he’s done a lot, he’s helped bring a ton of movies together over the years, he actually was the one who I think connected us with I.F.C. And they asked us to do these ‘Greg the bunny’ interstitials which were basically just us making fun of independent film, you were carrying it on film so be able to do like five to ten minute little parodies we did a Lynch parody, we did everything you can imagine. Even the Godfather somehow wound up on there even though it wasn’t only independent but you know we just parody these movies and then that just started rolling and a few years later you had Neal Moritz and bring it to Hollywood and we had one year in which it was on Fox and that year that it was on Fox was both our best and worst year. It’s best because it got us our fan base and we were able to have Seth Green on the show, Sarah Silverman, Eugene, Levy and it was like the year that just basically said OK at least the public knows we exist. I feel as if it was creatively terrible, I mean it wasn’t our vision but it gave us the opportunity to then continue after Fox. We went back to I.F.C this time with even longer parodies with bigger budgets and we did that for a nice two year run in like 2005 and 2006 and then after that in 2010, Shout Factory actually put out a D.V.D. of both seasons and then M.T.V. gave us a spin off in 2010 I guess it was while six years ago. And that was a spin off with the other character by the name of Warn the 8. So basically we had like this thing that kept me afloat and kept us afloat over the years, it was a great way of having fun practicing with improvisation; calm, comic improvisation which is something that because I learned how to do that I think, how to work with my actors that way with Greg the Bonnie led to the way I work with all my actors today in these in these features. And it was a way of paying rent which we didn’t have to get a 9 to 5 say it was a way of just you know we weren’t getting rich but it was basically just keeping us afloat keeping us. And also just allowing us to experiment and own our craft you know.
Alex: I mean seriously that’s like the filmmakers dream right there, like you’re able to do what you love. Sure you’re not living the entourage dream as I like to call it but you’re literally making a living. And you’re making your living doing what you love to do you get the play you get to experiment I mean Fincher did it in his way with commercials so it’d be great and all those and Spike Jones and those guys. And that’s how they made a living, but if you can find a way to make a living creatively my God that’s like a dream.
Sean Baker: Exactly and I feel as if of course there were those years where I had to resort to doing, between seasons and I would go and do you know industrial type stuff at it and but I always tried to keep in the industry somehow, I didn’t want to like just go off and do something completely outside not even related to film and T.V. at all. I always tried to stay even if I was editing other people’s stuff or shooting stuff, I always tried to stay within the industry just so that I felt like I was just keeping my practice up you know.
Alex: Keeping your skills sharp. So how did tangerine come to light? How did you get the idea for tangerine?
Sean Baker: Really quickly, I’ll just do this in thirty seconds. After ‘Greg the Bunny’ came about, I still said I want to make cinema and I co-directed this film called ‘Take out’ with Shih Ching Zhou which was a tiny little, standard definition almost like a Dogma ninety five film in here and Lorber put it out. And it was like a real neo realist little slice of life about an undocumented Chinese worker in Manhattan. That led to the saying I like this this realm I’m working in I like even did there you know that there is humor still in here but I’m talking about serious issues here and I think that that’s where I want to go, that led to Prince of Broadway. Prince of Broadway got me a little more noticed, got me some festival circuit recognition, we got to travel the world with that film, that got released eventually. Daniels helped us get it out there by presenting it doing a special presentation thing. So then I had to take out and I had Prince of Broadway and I think what really helped me there is that those two films got nominated for Spirit Awards and they sort of competed against one another in the same year. And yes that’s what it looked it made it look to the outside that it was like a one two punch thing but it actually wasn’t. Take Out was made a couple years before it just took forever for it to get exposure so you know it was released the same year as Prince of Broadway and I think that those two films together got me attention and then at that point thank God you know Ted Hope came on board and helped me find financing for Starlet. And Starlet did its whole, got released through music box, got its nominations and everything like that and that actually is what led me. That was a weird period of time there because I thought that starlet was going to open all the doors I needed to have opened and I was in a place where I was like ‘oh no I don’t know what’s going to happen here’ because I couldn’t find the money for a bigger budgeted film and Mark and Jay do plus were told me ‘hey if you ever want to make a micro budget film with us, we love Prince of Broadway and if you can give us like a Prince of Broadway’. We would be more than happy to finance it and to find you know the co-financer and I and I said ‘oh I don’t want to do another micro budget’. These are too hard, they suck the whole life out of you and they’re really just I thought I made too many, I’ve already made three why do I have to make any more? I already have made four at that point. Why do I have to make more? But life just dictated that I have to make another one. You know so we well I remember calling Mark and I said something like I guess I’m ready to make another one. I can’t believe the budget is going to be like less than like a third of what I did starlet or but OK here we go and he was like OK what’s your idea? And I said this and the corner of Santa Monica and Highland and he was like oh yeah excellent All right there you go let’s do it. And I said OK but now I have to start the whole immersion process because with all these films I do I spend a lot of time in the environment that I’m shooting because I feel it’s the only way to do it. So there’s that whole immersion thing I have to do and that takes months. So Chris and I had to go and just start like literally pounding the pavement and going up to people and asking them what they know about the area etc. and eventually we found Maya, Taylor and Kiki Rodriquez.
Kiki was introduced to us by Maya and it was just spending time with the both of them and their friends and hearing a ton of different stories, and finally there was this story that Kiki told us that was semi based on a real experience which is the main plot line of tangerine in which a transgender sex worker finds out that her boyfriend has been cheating on her and she’s off to find this sis-gender woman who is part of the affair. And that was really what just stuck with us in terms of the out that dynamic and it also has a lot to say and there’s so much to read into there so let’s do that and that’s really how it came about as we got closer and closer to production and realized that unless we truly ask people to work for free completely, I would not be able to shoot on any high end camera. So I can maybe shoot on one of the D.S.L. Lars. But everybody was doing that at the time, I wanted to look different and then as we got closer and closer and I realized wow if the iPhone has now gotten to the point where it has totally acceptable video quality and with a few other tools involved I can really elevate this to a cinematic level and then that’s really where it was like OK and then it will help us also with working with all these not first time actors and some of the nonprofessionals and people off the street and they won’t be intimidated by an iPhone. So I remember that was one of the deciding factors and I called up Mark and we started talking about this and Mark was very supportive of it and he was like Yeah man do it ‘Let’s do this’ and we shot some tests so that we knew it would look good in Technicolor actually gave us a wonderful favor and allow just to put it on their big screen over there. So and when we saw that it was holding up on the big screen, we all were excited and said ‘Yeah let’s move forward with this’ and I remember going to Sundance that year thinking we were going to be one of many on an iPhone and it wasn’t and we were like the only one which was really strange to me. So I’m not saying we were the first film to be shot on iPhone but that year at Sundance we were the only film on the iPhone and I think that’s really just our first screening in the Eccles library we were in the next section.
Alex: OK. But you won Sundance didn’t you?
Sean Baker: No
Alex: You didn’t win Sundance? I thought you won Sundance. Oh, you usually made the most noise.
Sean Baker: I guess we made noise. But I mean the next section looking back now at that year, I’m so happy that we were in the next section.
Alex: Explain the next section.
Sean Baker: I guess it’s just like a section the way they can has their main competition as all these other side bars in a way. I guess it’s just considered a side category that focuses I guess the way that somebody can look it up but basically, I think the way Sundance describes it is that they’re focusing on like innovation and the future of film. You know Luke Cornel has that section too they call it ‘Filmmakers of the future’ or something. A lot of the festivals have these sections and this was a year in which James White was in competition and I think Next was really strong that year. So I was really honored to be a part of that section.
Alex: And you had never been inside that before.
Sean Baker: No, no, no. It was weird because we were on their radar. I think what happened was that starlet was given to them too early and that’s a lesson by the way you asked me to think about like lessons learned, that’s a big lesson. I learned that early on actually you really, really have to make sure your film is 100% presentable when you’re presenting it for the first time to anybody. I think that I unfortunately gave them starlet at like almost a two hour cut. And it was just like it should. It was like ‘this is way too long’ and they didn’t know whether or not this film would be good or not they had no idea, but they did at least I think I kept on their radar and then of course Mark and Jay helped out tremendously. I mean they’re just there, their names on this film alone helped get the thing you know exposure.
Alex: Sure of course.
Sean Baker: And Magnolia they were the most excited about it at Sundance and I love Magnolia, they put out a wonderful films, they put out my two favorite films from the previous year. Force mature and Nymphomaniac. And Lars von Trier is one of my favorite directors of all time so the very fact that my film is being put up by the same distributor as his stuff’s meant everything in the world.
So we were very excited about Magnolia and they said that they would give us a theatrical run which was very important to me because with all my films except for my first I’ve had the theatrical run and I want this to continue. You know I’d even though I know we’re really getting close to cinema in the theaters dying, I feel as if there’s still magic there.
Alex: Now can you explain a little bit about the tech that you used when shooting Tangerine.
Sean Baker: It’s not complicated in any way, shape or form. It was literally the iPhone 5s at that time right, shooting 10 E.T. with an app called filmic pro which is a great app, now it’s advanced along with the phone so you can shoot 4K… lug on your new 7 if you want. But at the time we were shooting 5s with filmic pro there, they had this wonderful feature on there in which you can actually change the compression quality, so you can up the quality of the compression. So it actually looks better than the stuff you would normally get from just going into camera mode on your phone. So anyway so there’s that app that we used then we used an anamorphic adapter; not a lens because you have to use the iPhone lens. But it’s an adapter that shoots over the lens and allowed us to shoot in true scope. So we were shooting in 235 we stretched it out in post. Filmic pro allowed us to shoot it 24 frames a second and we colored it in while I cut on final cut and then we colored unresolved. So basically it was a very simple process, it wasn’t as you know quote unquote pimped out as everybody likes to think it was, it was very very simple.
Alex: You know I actually did some research on how you did it because I was very curious when I saw the movie, I’m a colorist I’ve been a colorist for over twenty years as well. And you know I was really curious when I saw it I was like ‘wow it looks really good’ and it’s a very unique look it’s not something that you would get from other digital format. So I was really curious and how you did it so I did a lot of research on how you put the whole thing together and everyone thinks is like always like you know you spend you know five thousand dollars pimping I’m like ‘no it was a few things’ like you just said. And this is one thing a lot of filmmakers… since we talked a lot of filmmakers are like oh you know you should you know that you know tangerine was just an i Phone like yes tangerine was just on an i Phone but Sean, that was his fifth movie and he knew what he was doing you know and it’s not like a bunch of guys just grab the phone and they just got a film school and like hey! Let’s go make a movie. You have to know what you’re doing, it’s not like you just grab the phone. Like you said the adaptor, proper app, things like that. So that’s the thing that doesn’t get explained a lot and people just say iPhone, Sundance feature and that’s all they hear but there is a lot of other stuff that you did to get what you got.
Sean Baker: Yeah I mean you know I guess that I just wanted to make the film look as good as it could look as unique as possible and shooting those tests really allowed us to find a look. And also you shooting in Los Angeles, Los Angeles has a certain look, it really does no matter what anyone says. Every place has its own look and it almost dictates a style and Los Angeles dictated this Orange style on us, it just simply did because we’re shooting a lot of magic hours stuff we’re shooting towards, so we took advantage of the Low Winter Sun. That Low Winter Sun is enhanced by the pollution in the air that gives us this beautiful orange sunsets and so we just kept shooting that stuff thinking ‘okay cool man, are we overdoing it’?. No not really. And so just kept moving forward with that and it gave us this Tangerine look and part of the reason that we actually settled on the title Tangerine.
Alex: That’s awesome. And how many people are on your crew?
Sean Baker: It was tiny and it was really just like my really close team had Derren Dean, Shih Ching Zhou, both of whom I’ve worked with before, Christopher Gush
Alex: and what where they?
Sean Baker: They were both producers. But then Shih Ching was also costume designing continuity and she was also acting and she also was the woman behind the counter at doughnut time. And so she had to do continuity while acting, pretty insane. Then you had Christopher Ghosh who was the co-screenwriter but he’s a type of writer who was present on set all the time, I mean we were rewriting stuff as we were shooting. So it was important to have him there and we all had to be production assistants you know we all had to like go and get meals. And then you had Irene Strauss who was specifically sound and then Radium, Chong and I shot it. And that was literally it I mean I’m trying to rack my brain, the actors of course were always helpful, you had Carold Gillian who played Rouse. Mick coming in and helping us, you had U.J. and you had of course the girls. Kiki helping us out in terms of navigating through their neighborhood and their world, Dallas really Ed I mean like and Mark and Jay were incredibly hands off in terms of executive producers. Marcus and Carrie Cox who also put money into it were extremely hands off, it was it was almost when you’re in that mode of like almost desperation where you’re like this is this one has to get recognized you’re in this weird bubble, you’re just like it felt like making some of those V.H.S. films in high school you know there is this to say just making it up as we were going along and just not making it up in terms of the story but just like trying to figure this thing out with the very little money that we had.
Just really quickly, part of the style actually just came from the energy in that area. I mean you can look at my other work and you can see it’s much slower and it’s not as hyperactive and this film was I think part of it was iPhone and part of it was the energy of the area. It was just telling me to move the camera more and more and so I had my little bicycle on set and that was sort of the dolly. So I’d be on my bike and with my left hand on my handlebar and my right and holding the little stabilizer which I forgot to mention by the way. That was the other tool, it was like it the Tiffin smoothie made by steady cam and made by tips and basically it was this little. This was before there was the internal stabilizer in the iPhone so you needed this in order to shoot on under five hours. And it actually looked really good and allowed me to get a lot of different angles and get on my bike and just go do 360s around my actors and be very free with the camera. So yeah that’s really how it happened.
Alex: I know you just recently moved back to the east coast right.
Sean Baker: Only to do post-production on my new film. We’re here in New York we’re taking advantage of the tax incentive here for post and my girlfriend Samantha Kwan is actually in a play ‘yet gone’ which is part of the Manhattan Peter club. So it’s because we both need to be here at the same time.
Alex: so I don’t know if you knew or not that Dawn of Time is closed.
Sean Baker: I did. I was very upset to hear about that.
Alex: Yeah I drove by the other day I was like ‘oh no’
Sean Baker: I actually was trying to get the signs but we could not contact the owners and then on top of that if I had all the money in the world I would definitely make that my production office.
Alex: That would be awesome! (Laughs) wow. Yeah people who don’t know that corner, like I’ve driven I know a million times and like the energy in that corners pretty insane.
Sean Baker: Yeah it’s weird. With Prince of Broadway I caught the end of an era. The film is about the West African hustlers who sell counterfeit goods in the wholesale district. Well, the wholesale district is really now like Ace Hotel and like all this gentrified section of the city. They’ve all moved down to Chinatown. I caught the very last bit of that era, it looks like I did the same thing happened with Tangerine because that area is completely changed. You have you know ‘Dawn a Time’ has closed, galleries moving in there. It’s a very different than it used to be. I mean for three decades it was almost like an unofficial red light district which was not only focused on you know transgender sex workers but also gay hustler Is and cross dressers and that lasted all the way up to maybe like two years ago.
Alex: This is a question I’ve been dying to ask you. Did you have any shooting permits or did you just go really the whole thing?
Sean Baker: Actually we did. We permitted different corners and we tried to blanket permit up and down Santa Monica. And of course we permitted it when we were shooting in the interiors of locations we always had permission. The only thing that we stole was the bus in the subway.
Alex: OK because it was just too expensive to get the permits (laughs).
Sean Baker: Yes. We didn’t have the insurance would not handle that. Yeah I guess that these few years later we can admit it that we have stuffs. But I also always want to emphasize that as an independent filmmaker, there’s a responsibility I have to tell other filmmakers you really have to do what’s safe. So it’s about safety. You know what I mean?
Alex: Yes specially so that’s why I was I was dying to ask you because it’s one thing to kind of like shooting in someone’s house that’s really controlled and not to get a permit maybe, but like right on the street, on that corner or anywhere within a two mile radius of that area, I was just what I was wondering on like did they really just run and gun it or did they actually do it.
Sean Baker: Yeah. It was a just a combination I mean you know we didn’t let people know we were shooting. So therefore you had a lot of people in which were would have to chase them down after the fact get their release is because that’s required in the United States. It’s not required in another country or some other countries you know that right?.
Alex: I don’t
Sean Baker: Yeah, you can go to Taiwan you can go to you can go to Korea and you can shoot on the city street and not have to get anybody’s permission because it’s a public space. That’s the way it should be but we have a very litigious society and we’re all looking to cash it’s just ridiculous to me, it’s absolutely ridiculous.
Alex: Unless your documentary kind of opens it up a little.
Sean Baker: Right. But then of course then there we reached the point where we’re blurring the line. You see I’d like to say that I make hybrid films which blur the line between narrative and doc used. So where do you then how do you then say ‘well this day I’m shooting in a doc used style so therefore I think I should be allowed to get away with certain things and you know what I mean I just basis with my with my new film in which was a union film and which changes everything by the way. But when you’re shooting and then you see somebody on the street and you’re like that person looks amazing, I wonder whether that person is a character and you start talking to that person and if that person like is interesting enough, you’re like ‘oh wow I should just improvise a scene right now with this guy or this girl’ and then you do it. But if you’re doing it under SAG rules or under union rules you have to Taft Hartly that person you have to suddenly pay it before you even turn the camera on and if you agree that you’re going to be shooting that person that person is going to speak, you have to give that person whatever the day rate is which is like $900. That would be an impossible way to make the films I’ve made up to this point, you simply can’t do that. There should be another way of working in which people can you know you almost can test the waters and then agree whether or not, if that person makes it into the final cut then that you Taft Hartly that person. That’s the way it should be there has to be a way now that we’ve actually moved into a place where we are making these Hybrid films, we have to figure out new ways of you know making them like the legality of making them and the logistics of making them, that has to change, it really does because it was incredibly frustrating on my last film where I suddenly felt as if I was unable to do what I’ve done before and the whole reason I’m making this film and have the opportunity to make this film is because of the films I’ve made before. So suddenly I’m in a place where I’m like ‘thanks for me, give me so much more money but I can’t give you the same product because we are now you know…
Alex: (cuts in) you’ve handcuffed it, no I agree with you one hundred percent. I just finished doing my first feature and I tell you know we kind of ran and gunned it. You had to! There’s no way like you know when you’re at a bigger level and you have bigger budgets. Yeah I’m all about it man but when you’re just so hustling and from the street level up literally with Tangerine from the street, you kind of just have to have some sort of freedom and I know the unions are start to work a little bit more with indie filmmakers because so many of them are just leaving, they’re just like you know what I’m screwed I’m just going to go elsewhere to make my movies and all that runaway productions happening especially here in L.A. there has to be a balance man! You can’t expect there has to be that you can expect guys like you and me to have to pay the same thing that Avengers does. It just doesn’t make any sense but now with which we can we brings up a good point. Did you do any improv in tangerine or was it all scripted?
Sean Baker: Oh no there’s a ton of improv, there always is. With everything I do I ask for improv takes so some scenes will be very tightly scripted but even if they are by the second or third take I’m saying ‘hey why don’t you put it in your own words’ you know what I mean like don’t memorize this stuff as long as we are getting the point across and we’re hitting the beats that’s all that matters where it’s like if we get from point A to Point B that’s all that really matters. So yes there was improvisation.
Alex: How much of it made the final cut in your opinion percentage wise that was improv.
Sean: It’s really hard because after a while I was intentionally telling them don’t learn this line but basically what you’re saying is that you have to you know you’re mad at this person because of this reason you know so it’s giving them the general sense. I have to say though that Kiki and Maya, they delivered some of my favorite… well the entire cast Mickey played you know Dinah in the film. Each one of them has a diamond you know each one of them has gold in some of their improv. Kiki, one of her lines was ‘she comes from the hills’; she’s a hillbilly, that was her that was her. Maya Taylor saying you know me so well. That was an improvised or you see right through me don’t you. And that line is so important because critics have picked up on that and the trans community actually has picked up on that line as being very important line for the film because it’s for once the exchange is being seen through the sex worker instead of the customer and so therefore it’s a line like that that I just have to say thank you so much to my actors because they brought something to the table that elevated the entire film. You know and I mean the entire experience. So that’s why I love improv and it all goes back to Greg the bunny. You know it all goes now to Dan Milano being such a freaking genius and me being like how do we capture this genius? How do we work? And so over the years I’ve figured out a way of working with my actors where I’m basically part of the conversation I just cut myself out you know so you’ll sometimes like in Starlet where they’re all on the couch smoking weed and just talking about whatever, I’m sort of like the fourth part of that conversation but I’m just behind the camera and I’m sort of like if I hear something that I think could develop into something into a one-liner or something funny, I’ll say hey let’s go in this direction and then oh can you repeat that line but this time give me this at the end of that line. Right. You know so we’re basically helping one another figure out the best way of delivering the material and I think that that’s really just like improv is what makes me the most excited especially because I’m a city editor, I’m the editor and editing is so monotonous and it puts me into a really bad state.
Alex: I’ve been a cutter for twenty-five years so I know (laughs)
Sean Baker: So anyway when you’re there though you want to be excited and you want to be entertained. When I get when I have like five takes and they’re all slightly different because of the improve, that keeps me thinking and keeps me awake, it’s not just about oh there’s the continuity work on this shot? No it’s about like where is the best material and it’s actually like rewriting while you’re in post-production because you’re giving a lot more directly, so giving like five ingredients instead of the one ingredient being repeated five times. You know what I mean?
Alex: Absolutely. I love working with actors who improv and that his storytelling process. Absolutely, it makes it much more fun and lively keeps you awake like you said it does keep you awake because I’ve edited movies that are like the same five takes of the same exact lines being said just with different infant. You know like how to say slow to this and that and that just becomes monotonous but when you have five different takes and then trying to cut those by the way, trying to cut those with other coverage when they’re not the same, that’s what becomes even more fun (laughs)
Sean Baker: Yeah that’s the hard part, very hard. But you know what? You figure it out and thank God that audiences will accept like jump cuts these days they’ll accept jump cuts and there’s a certain style of filmmaking that leans towards the docu style which will allow you to get away with a lot of more stuff than you would in just traditional lockdown camera stuff. Even though I do have a lot of lock down camera I really do have a lot of lock down camera on the new film but I had a lot of lock down camera. It’s just you don’t think about it but I actually do have lockdown camera in Starlet and Tangerine. And these days you can actually use matting and comping to help you fix problematic scenes. You know by splitting the screen in half and using the earlier part of the second take on the right side and using another part of another take on the left side. You know that sort of thing?
Alex: If you have a lock on camera you can do that.
Sean Baker: Yes and I’ve been doing a lot of that stuff and actually that opening scene of tendering is actually a lot more complicated than just a shot reverse shot. It’s actually there’s a lot of that stuff going on in there. You just don’t see it, I had to play with the traffic because the traffic’s going in every which direction if I just you know but on that corner, in order for it to work continuity wise I had to do a lot of that shitting in post.
Alex: That’s awesome. Now can you tell me a little bit about your Sundance experience because I know a lot of people listening it’s that is the holy grail that is the top of the mountain for a lot of filmmakers and though I know you know the reality it isn’t but that is such a notch on the belt like how was your experience going there? Because obviously this is first time you were there sure you had Jay and Mark’s name on the movie which got you a little bit of attention but at the end of the day if the movie is not good, it doesn’t really matter. So before the first screening and after the first screening I love to hear your experience because I read that Steven Soderbergh prior to Sex Lies and Videotape in 1989, he literally was sitting alone at that one diner that’s on Main Street that everyone has that and nobody even knew he was in the second it was really he was just an just everybody he was a rock star, he became a rock star all of a sudden.
Sean Baker: Yeah, well I don’t know if that act might…listen, I’m neurotic I’m crazy, so it’s like the whole time it was actually not the best experience in the world in terms of there’s a lot of babysitting going on because you know you’re looking after your crew and your actors and you’re hoping everybody is having a good time and not freezing and you know there’s a lot of that just logistics of going through the week.
I actually you know you don’t want to party too hard either because you have business to do. So a lot of it was just about anticipation of who’s going to buy the film and for how much. And then for me looking back at that time, it is a little bit of a blur but I do remember the most significant part of the of the whole week for me was being in the room with Magnolia, with Mark, with my agent and with Josh Braun from submarine which is a sales agent agency and just listening to Magnolia give us their pitch about what how they would release the film, hearing Mark and the others talk about what we would like and doubtless really like ‘OK good, I’m learning something here’ I mean I’ve been in the industry for over twenty years but this is fresh to me I’m learning how a film is acquired and how the relationship is formed between. Even though I had done this before this was the Sundance one, this is the Sundance experience. Because you know I sold Starlet on a vimeo link. It showed at South by Southwest did all right there critically. But music box didn’t even see it there; they saw it on a vimeo link. So this is a very different experience and that was the takeaway where I’m like ‘this is very interesting to see the way that Mark two plus works the way that things are negotiated’ that was really great. And so the rest of the time was really just about doing all that press which is… you know it’s fine, it’s fun you’re getting exposure and yeah…
Alex: and it opened up some doors for you. Obviously
Sean Baker: It did. It actually led to me being able to find financier’s for the newest film which is the first time I’m working above a million dollar budget and it also allowed me to work with a movie star. You know like Willem Defoe is an incredible actor.
Alex: So will you tell us about your new project?
Sean Baker: It’s called the Florida project, that’s what it’s literally called it’s not the working title of the project. Some people didn’t even know that until like the wrap party they were like ‘what are you going to call this’? And I’m like ‘what are you talking about? It’s called the Florida project’
Alex: (laughs) did you shoot at Florida.
Sean Baker: Yes we did.
Alex: Where did you shoot?
Sean Baker: OK well, here’s the crazy and very sad part. We started shooting less than a week after the shooting at Paul’s, the club, we were shooting in Orlando and Kissimmee and so we had that going on that week we had the little kid who was unfortunately killed by the alligator, I mean it was a very strange summer there then they just got hit by the hurricane last week. So that way that area is like not had a break.
Alex: This is what it left. Yeah a lot of stuff happens in Florida unfortunately
Sean Baker: Yeah Florida really is. I mean looking back it was like a trauma for us. I mean we really had a very traumatic experience. But we were shooting, we also put ourselves in the situation, we put ourselves in the dead You know in the in the middle of an incredibly hot summer in the middle of Central Florida, we are shooting 35 millimeter, we are using most primarily kids because it’s like a little rascals movie. So you have like kids 35 millimeter you know and then plus all the other craziness going on, it was just like set ourselves up for just an incredibly hard shoot. But in the end I think we got something I’m in post-production now so we’ll see, I mean I know that the performances are incredible, I’m really very happy with my cast.
Alex: Director to director now. How would you direct William Defoe? Like how do you do that? How does that conversation happen?
Sean Baker: You know most of the time just letting him do what he does best. He brings his masterful instincts for the table. So 99% of the time we’re on the same page where he already he understands the character, understands the scene and it’s more about just tweaking. And when there was something that I thought we were on the same page about, it’s simply a conversation and the great thing about Willem is that he’s such a nice guy, he’s like the nicest guy in the whole world. Of course I was intimidated but it wasn’t that much intimidation and plus on top of that it was just such an incredibly hard shoot that there wasn’t a lot of time. He was like we got to get this right now so let’s just figure it out and we disarm would figure it out and move on. He was just you know just an incredibly nice guy who was very easy to work with and who wanted to experiment and I bet he almost wish we shot it on the iPhone so there was more experimentation (laughs). But I know we’re shooting on 35 we’re suddenly like you’re almost down to two setups an hour. When you have an iPhone which is one hundred setups an hour if you want it to be so it’s a very different way of making a film.
Alex: Why did you choose 35 by the way?
Sean Baker: Because ultimately I feel it’s a project by project. It’s on a project by project basis for this film I felt because of the subject matter and because of the environment that I really wanted that Soya Lloyd look I mean I love the way that tangerine looks on the iPhone and I feel that there’s no other way we could have made that movie for that budget and even if we had a multimillions to make tendering and I still feel as if the iPhone was the proper way of doing but that doesn’t apply to this Florida project. I mean the Florida project needed a slicker Look, I truly feel as if you knw the organic nature of Soya Lloyd is so incredibly beautiful and that I wanted to capture that I wanted to capture the Floridian colors etc. Plus on top of that there is another thing that I think a lot of filmmakers aren’t talking about lately, we really should be talking about this stuff more like the way that Nolan does and Torrentino you know is that we have to hold on to this medium, we’re letting business tell us how to make our were to you know we’re having the industry say oh it’s easier and cheaper to shoot on digital so therefore guys do that. Well that’s horrible. I mean that’s not we’re filmmakers first and foremost we should choose our Cambus you know what I mean this is not we shouldn’t have it dictated upon us and I think that you know we cannot Soya Lloyd I mean we should have that choice to shoot on it if we want to and if we have the money to do it and I think that we have to fight to do that and there are there filmmakers out there like you know James Ponsoldt and Ty West who are saying look I’m shooting on thirty five or I’m not making the movie and that’s how I’m that’s how I’m starting to go where it’s like, there will be reasons for me to shoot digitally but if I can shoot on 35, I’m going to because ultimately the image is an incredible image that you really cannot… no matter what anyone says you cannot imitate with digital. You know that’s one of the reasons and then also there’s that archival thing that nobody’s talking about either that you know even if you shoot digitally. I feel as if you should do a film out. Now you can say well where will I find the fifty thousand dollars. I don’t know I don’t know I’m trying to find fifty thousand dollars to do a film out on take out because I feel the take out is a film that deserves it and it would look the way we really wanted to look if I was able to do a film out. But film out costs so much money. You know it’s this weird sort of this is just a dilemma that we’ve always been having to face that we’re working with the most expensive platform which yes you know.
Alex: So last two questions I asked my all my guests the same two questions. What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in life or in the film business?
Sean Baker: The longest to learn… Oh God that’s a hard one. One of the lessons that I learned early on but I’m still having to come to always remind myself is just to do it just to be proactive and don’t wait for anybody to tell you when or when not do something and I think that that’s the lesson that even to this day I have to remind myself that that’s how I got to make my last couple of films because I made those first three on my own even when people told me ‘oh you should wait until you know you get a backer’. And I didn’t wait and because I didn’t wait because and that’s why I’m you know able to finally make somewhat of a living in this industry. So I would say that’s a lesson that you’re always going to be shot, people are going to pressure try to pressure you out of it. So that’s a lesson you constantly have to you know keep me learning and keep you know being on top of that. You just really have to be your own motivator and really your own cheerleader.
Alex: No question about it. I couldn’t agree with you more my friend. One of my guests said this, and it was actually Robert Rodriguez I was listening to an interview he did or lecture he did and he says that ‘the universe conspires to help you once you become active’. Thinking about it, when sitting down, there’s no opportunity for the universe to give you anything. Like you know Mark Duples is not going to knock on your door and go here ‘here’s the money let’s go to Sundance’ it doesn’t work that way. Like you have to get that momentum going and just do whether it’s good or bad that’s indifferent just do it because something good will come out of it.
Sean Baker: Exactly.
Alex: And what are the three of your favorite films of all time in a particular order.
Sean Baker: Oh gosh. This is funny because I get asked out of a lot and the list always changes, so I realize that like it just happens to be in October of 2016 I guess the films that mean the most to me right now, I would say Lars von Trier’s the idiots that really hasn’t changed actually for quite a long time. When people say ‘wait a minute you’re talking so passionately about 35 millimeter’ that film is a standard definition video still you know it’s like that’s where I’m also at the same time I always have to remind myself that ultimately it is not about you know the format it’s about the content. That’s a lesson that probably I will never learn (laughs). So yes it is that film and then I would say March of the wooden soldiers the Laurel and Hardy comedy back in the day. Also Babes in Toyland I just love the film so much and I consider that comedy it’s hardly aged at all and the most under years old and oh my gosh this is so hard I can’t believe. I would have to say Harold and Maude.
Alex: Oh yeah that’s been on that’s been on the list of many of my guests. Yeah it’s hard to deny it Harold and Maude is an awesome movie.
Now where do you know where can people find you online.
Sean Baker: I’m on Twitter. Let me see what my handle is….
Alex: I’ll put a link in the show notes so don’t worry about that. Thank you
Sean Baker: Yeah and I have one of those professional pages on Facebook, if you want to want to find me there but most of my stuff that I get out there is through Twitter and it’s really just a lot of like it’s pretty geeky (laughs) it’s me talking about like what the race I’ve watched recently.
Alex: Well we met on Twitter as well. So you it works, it does work. You know am shocked at who I can connect with on Twitter, It’s fascinating, I’ve gotten amazing guests and talked to people and just connected with people that it was Twitter, it’s just through tweets.
Sean Baker: I actually think that social networking and just the internet in general is such an amazing new way of work, also if you can figure out a way of you know using it, exploiting it to too much as you can in film. I did a lot of casting with tangerine through things like Instagram and Twitter and the snap but the new film Florida project has one of the leads who I cast through Instagram.
Alex: That’s insane. But it’s great.
Sean Baker: Yes, she never acted before but I knew her personality was incredibly interesting and she had the right look and she was funny and next thing you know she’s holding her own against Willem Defoe.
Alex: And that’s the way the world works my friend.
Sean man thank you so much for of that taken out your time of your busy schedule I know you’re in post right now, so thank you for a jumping on the show and dropping some knowledge bombs man.
Sean Baker: Oh thank you so much