Interview: Francesca Mylod-Ford

Today we’re joined by Francesca Mylod-Ford. Francesca is a wonderfully talented author who is currently working on a fantasy trilogy aimed at a YA demographic. It sounds like a fascinating story about life and death. Aside from writing, Francesca plans to study film and hopes to be a full-time film director in the future. She clearly has a very bright future ahead of her, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am currently writing a book trilogy called The Thanatology Series. I have finished the first installment (The Trials of Mr. Reaper) and am now coming to the end of the second novel, On Behalf of the Universe. The third book is in planning stages, and I will begin work on it soon. Although I am currently unpublished, I am seeking agents and if all else fails, I plan to self-publish the first book to gather interest, before sending it and its sequel to a new set of publishing houses.

The Thanatology Series is, to be blunt, a story about Death. It’s a fantasy novel, aimed at an adult and YA demographic. The story commences as a comedy, but as the book progresses, it turns to a darker narrative altogether, exploring the true nature of life and death … and where we go when we die.

Death – a harassed bureaucrat with a scythe – has only two desires: to be able to get on with his job, and for people to stop asking stupid questions. But life (or death) is never that simple for the Grim Reaper. From stubborn ghosts to the Demon Nicotine, everything in the universe seems to be out to get on Death’s nerves. The other three Horsemen of the Apocalypse have forgotten his birthday, the Seven Deadly Sins have proven to be incompetent beyond belief, and on top of everything else, Life is determined to be friends with him again. As Death continues to carry out his duty, he must consider this: What really happens when you die? And once Life is gone, what will happen to Death?

I am currently studying Film and Television Production, and in the future, I hope to be a full-time film director and write in my spare time.

What inspires you?

I have always preferred creative arts to academia, and being able to write and film allows me to express my creativity productively. One of the key things that inspires my writing is wanting to understand the universe around us; to take it apart and try to put it back together again. What if Death did have feelings? What if Life isn’t quite the way we imagine it to be? I think that the best part of writing (and filming, for that matter), is taking a trope and flipping it on its head.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

As it happens, I never wanted to be an author. I thought that you had to write the way they taught us to in school: beginning, middle and end, carefully preceded and followed by meticulous planning. When I got older and began experimenting with my writing, I realised that structured writing belonged where I was taught it: in the classroom. Now, if anyone asks, I tell them that being a full-time author is my dream job choice.

My uncle is a director, and that’s pretty much what got me into the film business. From the day I first picked up a disposable camera to now, enrolled in film school, I have been falling down the magical rabbit hole of movies and film. One of my favourite aspects of film-making is the power to make simple ink and paper leap off the page and into real life. It’s like having a magic wand.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

In film, I have a very particular lighting style I like to use, but if I told you then I’d have to kill you! Seriously, though, most of what makes up my work is just pure, solid research. Nothing gets done without a bit of good-old fashioned book-bashing, I’m afraid.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice! It doesn’t matter what you’re making or how bad it is at first, the more you make, the better it gets. When I first started writing, it was absolutely awful. But now I write nearly every day, and my skill increases the more I practice. Be prepared to put the work in – research is a bitch but trust me, it’s so worth it in the long term. Finally, you need to learn to accept criticism. If you argue with everyone who tries to help improve it, it’ll just make you look like a bad sport. There’s nothing wrong with receiving pointers!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I have never experienced sexual or romantic attraction – I just prefer to have platonic relationships.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I have been asked how I can expect to write/direct sexual or romantic scenes if I have never experienced either. My answer is this: have you ever been shot? Fallen down a cliff? Had a concussion? If not, then you RESEARCH IT. I don’t experience sexual or romantic attraction, but I have plenty of friends who do, and I’ve seen more than my fair share of rom-coms. Research is the key to literally every artistic problem.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

Since I’m quite sociable and enjoy making friends, people often have trouble understanding that I don’t want to seek any other kinds of relationships. Many people believe that asexual/aromantic people are antisocial, or that we’re closeted gay people (not true!). I’ve also had people tell me that it’s just “a phase” or that it’s a medical issue.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Seek out other asexuals! We’re here, we’re queer, and we’re always ready to talk to anyone who might be struggling. Although some members of the LGBT+ community may be somewhat exclusionary, the asexual/aromantic community is welcoming and friendly, and there’s always someone ready to talk about dragons. Don’t be shy about who you are, own your asexuality! And remember, it doesn’t define who you are: only you can do that. Stay ace, friends.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

Feel free to check out my Tumblr (burnt-confetti), or my Twitter account (at burntconfetti). Hopefully when I’m published (or when I release my first film!) you’ll be able to see what I’ve been working on! Have a good one xx

Thank you, Francesca, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Dominique Rea Parent

Today we’re joined by Dominique Rea Parent. Dominique is a phenomenal filmmaker who edits shorts. She has had two short films screened at the Digi60 Film Festival in Ottawa, Ontario: Follow That Melody and Something Beautiful. Both are available to watch online. Dominique is an incredibly passionate artist who loves film, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, cinema is a very collaborative art in which I participate as an editor. It’s a lot like cooking, nothing comes together until you add 3 spoonfuls of garlic or you know, a star wipe here and there. In all seriousness though, I really like making people cry and laugh and shiver with fear.

I have participated in the Ottawa Digi60 Film Festival twice. The Digi60 gives you 12 days to create a 3 minute short film based on a theme. It’s a really fun process and a very satisfying goal to achieve.

Our 2016 short Something Beautiful was shot in one night and I edited it in 4 days. I had fun playing around with masking and pacing. Delivering an emotionally complex story in 3 minutes was very tasking as well as the night shoot. Thank the film gods for the pizzeria that was open at 2am when we were wrapping production. For this year’s short Follow that Melody my co-filmmaker and I decided that we wanted to centre the plot around happy lesbians and that we wanted it to be visually sound and easy to understand without any dialogue. This short pushed me further into colour coding and 3 dimensional tracking. Not gonna lie, I awed a little while editing.

What inspires you?

Cult films about a team of ragtags coming together as a family, but honestly so many things. Comic Books for when I am storyboarding, music and musical theatre for pacing and delivery, other movies and series for when I am looking for new ways to tell stories. LGBT stories and documentaries are always inspiring. The mixed tracks and moodboards that my co-filmmaker makes for me are super inspiring when I edit. Also baths . . . whenever I am feeling unproductive and need inspiration 1 hour luxurious baths do the trick, shout out to Lush.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

So there are three movies I can thank for getting me into cinema™ and those are Alien, School of Rock and Back to the Future. But really what got me into making movies is kind of ridiculous. I was about 10 and obsessed with Nightmare on Elm Street and I had just been introduced by my brother to Windows Movie Maker. Tiny me decided that my hyperfixation could not be satiated with the existing fan content for Nightmare on Elm Street in early YouTube, specially not after Dream Warriors. With that mindset I decided that I would rewatch every movie, mark down the usable clips and make a music video of Nightmare on Elm Street to the beat of Wake Me Up Before you GoGo. The moment I finished I knew this was my true calling.

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Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

It’s all pretty gay for the most part. Very non-sexualized relationships and horror are big parts of it. Heavy colour coding because messing around with colours is fun.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Other artists are your friends and you should always try to connect with them and treat them with respect. Much like business networking and community are very important to success. Don’t undermine your own work, exposure doesn’t pay rent so don’t work for free, especially because this also undermines the work of your peers. Volunteer opportunities and internships very rarely pay off and unless you are in a position where living expenses are paid for you I would strongly advice against them. Be presentable when meeting clients. Have a contract ready, even if you are working with friends, this protects the both of you. Practice every day, eat your veggies.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual and bi

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Not really, in my experience the few people who know I am ace were just curious and asked pretty general non-intrusive questions. My co-filmmaker is also ace so I am lucky in that way that we are always in tune.

If I did come across prejudice I would try to work it out with that person, most likely they are oblivious as to how they are being offensive or rude. If they were being malicious in any way I would bring it up to a superior or refuse to work with that person. If you are an artist in any workplace you are protected by worker rights and harassment laws protect you from prejudice.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

I haven’t really gotten all that many misconceptions to be honest. I feel like mostly people are confused as to whether I actually want a relationship or not or if I like people romantically or not. How does it work? or How does it feel? is the most common question I get.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Nothing is set in stone. Labels are here to help you and if they fit that’s great you have a community here for you. If they don’t fit then that’s okay too, you really don’t have to explain anything to anyone about yourself. If you’ve perceived yourself as someone different your whole life, but this new identity seems to suit you, well there’s no one here to tell you who you are but yourself.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I have a Vimeo www.vimeo.com/domreapar a Twitter at DomReaPar and also an Instagram at domoonyque.

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Thank you, Dominique, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Kris

Today we’re joined by Kris. Kris is a phenomenal filmmaker who specializes in short films. She has done both narrative films and documentaries. Currently working on a feature length script as well as a webseries, Kris is an enthusiastic and dedicated filmmaker who has an incredibly bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a filmmaker. These days that is mostly writing and directing, though when friends have projects on the go sometimes I’ll produce or be director of photography. While most of my films are fiction, I do the occasional documentary when the right story presents itself. To date I’ve done exclusively shorts. I do really enjoy the medium of short film, the challenge of getting an audience hooked, engaged, and happy with the resolution all in 10-15 minutes is very satisfying to me. Lately though I’ve been branching out. I’ve got a feature length script that I’m working on, and also a 9-episode web series that I recently started to write. I also do a bit of photography, but that is much more as a hobby to entertain myself.

What inspires you?

Life. The world. When I first started taking photographs as a teenager it was all about looking at the light, looking at the world and thinking, “wow” and wanting to capture it. When I became a storyteller, it was sort of that, but with people. I love being out in the world – at a coffee shop, at a museum, at a park – and just watching people, listening to how they talk to each other, seeing what kinds of things make them go “wow.” I love playing the what’s your story game. Seeing someone, especially when they do something unexpected, and thinking who are you, and what’s going on with you that made you do that. And because I make fiction I can just make up an answer.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I always wanted to be behind a camera. I can remember the first time I ever took a photograph. It was with my Dad’s big heavy SLR shooting slide film. I still have that slide in a box in my attic. There was always art going on in my family when I was a kid, but I can’t draw so it started out as a way to make a picture. But then it became a way to capture a bit of the world and share it with people. And then I went from photography to video in college because it seemed like a better way to make a living.

I have always been creative, but I don’t think it’s accurate to say I always wanted to be an artist. I loved having a camera in my hands, I loved making things. But for 20 years the things I was making professionally I didn’t consider artistic. I was making training videos and other corporate/industrial stuff. But after a while I thought, I want to tell my own stories. I started doing film as a hobby. Getting my friends together and goofing off in my back yard, or making silly videos of my dog. The more I did it the better I got until I thought, you know maybe I could do this creative stuff for real. Now I’m a professor and it’s part of my job description to keep making films. It is possibly the coolest thing ever.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I went through many years where my dog would get a role, or at least a cameo in most of my films. Usually one of the extras would be walking her. She died while I was in film school though, so in my thesis film there’s just a photo of her. My new dog isn’t trained well enough yet, so for the time being it’s likely to still be pictures of Blue hiding among the set dressing.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Ira Glass has the best advice, which is to make a lot of work, especially if you feel like the work you’re making isn’t good enough. It will never get good enough without a boatload of practice. And that’s true no matter what kind of art you do. Also, it’s important to get out in the world and have a life. My students often ask me if they should go to film school and I always tell them not right away. Go and experience a bit of life first because that’s what’s going to give you your stories to tell.

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Sarah and Esther working on the step afternoon

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual and aromantic.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I haven’t. On set we’re busy working and it would be unprofessional to be discussing our sex lives. And it’s really easy to be invisible as an asexual, which is both good and bad. I am unlikely to get harassed on the street because you can’t tell by looking. I’m not holding hands with the wrong person or whatever. People will assume you are like them until proven otherwise (about all sorts of things) so if I don’t bring it up it doesn’t come up.

Lately I’ve been realizing that invisibility is also bad. That it has a lot to do with why I spent decades trying to be something I’m not. Why it wasn’t obvious to me that there was nothing wrong with me. So I’ve started kind of coming out at work, identifying myself as a queer filmmaker. Universities tend to be supportive of that kind of thing though so nobody has given me a hard time about it. Maybe it would be better to battle the ignorance if I identified as an asexual filmmaker, but a) I don’t really have the energy to have to define it every time I say it, b) it’s not actually my colleagues’ business what flavor of not-straight I am, and c) I would really like to broaden the definition of queer film and queer filmmakers. We shouldn’t have to only tell coming out stories or dying of AIDS stories. I should be allowed to tell whatever stories I want and still be free to be myself.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

The common problem is that it’s not a word your average straight person knows. We come so far down on the alphabet soup of the acronym that people give up trying to figure out what all the letters mean before they get to us. So if I use the word then I’ve got to explain it and then you get that little head tilt of “huh, I didn’t know that was a thing.” And if I don’t actively explain it then the misconception is she’s just single and eventually Mr. Right will come along and solve that problem. Or, among my sister and the rest of the lesbians in my home town, then Ms. Right will come along. But nobody ever thinks she’s single and that’s how she’s happy being.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

There is Nothing Wrong with you. Many people won’t get it, but they don’t have to. You just be you and they can figure themselves out. For me the best part of being asexual is that nobody else really has to get it. The only people who need to understand the details of my sex life are the people involved in it, which, by definition, is nobody. All the well-meaning but annoying people who insist that there is someone out there for you, you can feel free to ignore them. Unless you actually want that, some asexuals do and that’s fine, you be you. But be unapologetically you. You don’t owe anything to anyone else.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

If you’re interested in my work my company website (https://heronmedia.wordpress.com/ ) is the best place for that. New work has images and trailers, when things are on the festival circuit I keep that up to date on screening locations and times, and when they finish the festival run I put them up entirely.

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Thank you, Kris, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Electrospectrum

Today we’re joined by Electrospectrum, who also goes by Chase. Electrospectrum is an incredible videographer who specializes in Cosplay Music Videos (also known as CMVs). He’s also a dedicated cosplayer. He is an incredibly passionate artist and the love for his medium of choice shines through in his work. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a videographer from the UK who mainly makes Cosplay Music Videos (or CMVs for short!). I started this back in 2013 at MCM Comic Con in May and haven’t been able to stop since.

I love capturing the details and hard work that goes into every cosplay, the characters that people have so much fun portraying and the different atmosphere each event I go to has.

Cosplay is for everyone and I want all sorts of people to feel like they can be included in epic and fun CMVs!

What inspires you?

The cosplayers I film, mainly. I’ve been lucky enough to film some amazing and highly skilled people from all over the world, as well as the EuroCosplay finals a couple of times now and the level of detail that cosplayers put into their work never ceases to amaze me. Also Beatdownboogie has always inspired my work and my great friend Littlegeeky. They both make such fun and unique CMVs that I would definitely recommend watching.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I was really into Media Studies at GCSE and A-Level and wanted to get into the Film Industry for a while because of it. My friend Littlegeeky started making CMVs back at the end of 2011 and since I was already well into cosplay at the time, I thought that would be a great way for me to fuse my passions, plus I had a friend to give me tips from the start.

I’ve always wanted to do something artistic and whilst I’m not as interested in getting into Film anymore, this is definitely the art I want to create.

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Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I think I have some fairly unique features to my CMVs! Or at least ones that I’ve only seen a few other videographers add in.

I like to put in close up detail shots of costumes, fun shots from around the event and candids of people enjoying themselves as I think it really shows how fun the hobby is. My favourite ‘Electrospectrum feature,’ as some of my friends have called it, is planned out scenes that capture an interaction or scene with a few characters (Check out the Borderlands shot at 0:19 from my London Comic Con video from this May!). This is usually intercut between a few separate shots to create a nice flow and plus I just think it looks cool. I always want to create something visually interesting for people to watch.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you want to get into videography or film work of any kind, don’t be afraid to just try it. So you don’t have expensive equipment? That’s fine, I started out on my family’s handheld camera, just try it. You don’t have any equipment at all? Make videos of your phone, people are telling visual stories and jokes through apps like Vine and Instagram everyday! You’re worried no one will watch what you make? We all start somewhere and building an audience is part of that! It’ll be OK, just keep making what you love and people who love it too will find their way to you.

I fully believe anyone can get into videography with a bit of hard work, determination and an eye for shots. If you want to ask me anything personally, my ask box is always open!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Sex-repulsed asexual!

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Not particularly as it doesn’t really come up much. Passively though, there’s a few things I’ve noticed, such as the cosplay videography field mainly being taken up by straight men. There can be a bit of a ‘sex sells’ mentality in some people’s work that I don’t agree with, but my asexuality has never been targeted.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That ace people are broken. It’s a horrible thing to think about someone that just because they don’t experience the same level of sexual attraction, or any at all, that they need fixing. People have made me felt like that before, but they’re wrong and I’m a-okay just as I am! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being on the ace spectrum and you’re not broken at all.

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What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Just take it slow, please don’t stress yourself over things and your sexuality is valid. I know it’s hard to find where exactly you fit in as not all safe spaces feel entirely welcoming, but you’re still valid and it’s okay to be ace. If you know anyone else on the ace spectrum, have a chat with them as they’ll be more likely to understand what you’re going through. If not, there are plenty of people online that I’m sure would be more than happy to talk to you about what you’re feeling (or not, as it were) and give you some more detailed advice on the subject.

But overall I think you just need to think it through without stressing over it. There’s no need to force yourself into a label, but if you’re comfortable identifying on the ace spectrum, then you’re most likely on the ace spectrum.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I have plenty of social media links!

Naturally my blog here is electrospectrum ( http://electrospectrum.tumblr.com/ )
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC07LOm9dv-lQDFHZF0KJCmQ
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/electrospectrum
Support me of Patreon – https://www.patreon.com/electrospectrum
Twitter – https://twitter.com/electr0spectrum
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/electrospectrum/

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Thank you, Electrospectrum, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: James Hastings

Today we’re joined by James Hastings. James is a phenomenal filmmaker who also dabbles a bit in music and comedy. He’s a freelance cinematographer, though he has a wide range of interests (and also happens to be a fellow fan of the great Buster Keaton). James is also working on writing a feature. It’s always fantastic to see aces in film. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Oh man, I do all kinds of stuff. My main bag is my work as a freelance cinematographer, but I also do covers and write comedy music for fun. I run a sketch-comedy YouTube channel called Cinema Wagon on which I do videos with my improv and industry friends, and in addition to all of that stuff, I’m currently in the writing phase of a feature film that I hope to produce independently in 2018.

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Bagman, Production Shot 1, photo by Chris Ertman

What inspires you?

A lot of my sketch-comedy work comes from the mildly obsessive way my brain works. An idea or an interaction that I had will get stuck in my head for a while, and I’ll replay the situation that created those ideas over and over again in my mind, but with something going differently each time, and it either becomes really entertaining or I just stop thinking about it until it pops up as part of another cycle of that process. That, or I’ll see a cool shot or think of a visual, then knock out a story to fit around that shot so I have an excuse to try it out. The people that I’m friends with also bring really good, creative stuff to the table all of the time as well.

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Bagman, Production Shot 2, photo by Chris Ertman

My visual style is really informed by the works of Julian Smith, Edgar Wright, Ciaran O’Brien, the Kids In The Hall, The Coen Brothers, Charlie Chaplain, and Buster Keaton. I think the Edgar Wright and Julian Smith influences come through a bit more in my visuals than others. I’ve also been trying to look at and learn more from renaissance art and how the visual composition of those pieces worked.

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Bagman, production shot 3, photo by Chris Ertman

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I initially wanted to be an animator. I grew up watching cartoons from the 50’s-90s, and I thought that it would be super cool to make things like them. As time went on, I got more into the theatre world, and that lead me to an interest in special effects makeup. Because of this, I found the Indie Mogul YouTube channel back when they were doing Backyard FX, and as I learned more about the rest of the filmmaking process, I went from wanting to be a special effects artist to wanting to direct my own films. Around that time, my dad gave me his old Mamiya ZE Quartz film SLR, and I started learning to take pictures with old photographic lenses, and I realized that I really love the process of working with a camera. I also finally accepted that I’m a terrible animator around that time, and my career trajectory was pretty well set.

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Bagman, production shot 4, steadicam, photo by Christina Estillore

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I have a prop zombie head named Thomas that I made in my time learning FX makeup that I like to hide in the background of the occasional shot. It’s not a consistent gag, but it pops up in most of my indie projects. There’s also a running joke amongst my peers about my propensity for shooting with wide-angle lenses. (12mm and 28mm are two of my favourites.)

On the post-production end of things, I have a set of “woosh” sounds that I recorded at the age of 14 in my bedroom that I have used in almost every project on which I have been in charge of the sound mix. Sometimes, it’s subtle, sometimes it’s very noticeable.

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Bagman, still 1

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

This one is tough since I’m still pretty young myself, but I have two pieces of advice that really helped me.

The first one is specific to cinematographers. It is not your job to make the images of a project look the way that you want them to. It is your job to help the director get what’s in their head onto the camera’s image sensor. You’ll be bringing ideas of your own to the table for sure, but at the end of the day, unless you’re also the director of a project, you don’t get the final say. The sooner you can learn to collaborate effectively, the sooner you’ll start to get called back to work on more projects.

The second one is a little more general, but it was important for me to hear. If you’re just starting out, you probably suck at what you do. That’s okay. Everybody sucks at first. The important thing is to power through that sucking and never stop trying to learn how to be better. As long as you’re trying to improve, you will. It may take a long damn time, but it will happen, and you won’t even notice until you look back at your old work and see your progression.

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Contract Killer, frame grab

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a grey-romantic, sex-repulsed asexual.

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Dead End Town, 2012

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

It really depends on the crew that I’m working with.

Some of the older, more established people in the industry aren’t really familiar with the concept of asexuality, but it also never really comes up when I’m working with them. If it does, I tend to blow it off by saying something like, “I care more about my craft than relationships.”

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Relentless, on set, photo by Dan Chomistek

Younger crews that have been coming up at the same time as me have been far easier to explain asexuality to if it comes up, but again, it’s pretty rare. People hire me because of the way I make things look, not the way that I feel (or don’t feel) about other people.

It’s probably easier for me as a white, cisgendered man in the industry to deal with it than other groups of people, though.

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Pee Break, frame grab

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

I think the most common one that I’ve encountered has to be the idea that asexuality is just a lack of maturity. I’ve also heard a lot about it, “going against human nature” as well. Standard stuff. It got old fast.

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Realistic Musicals, frame grab

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

I actually had a pretty easy time coming to terms with my asexuality, so I don’t have much advice specific to asexuality.

I was a bit of a social outcast when I was younger, though, and when I finally did develop a group of friends in my high-school, it turned out that I had a lot of other stuff to work through. It really helped me to talk to them about those things. If you can find an outlet like that in real life, great! If not, there are all kinds of resources about asexuality for you to check out.

If all else fails, just know that you’re not broken. You’re valid, and there’s a veritable crapload of people like you. We’ve got your back. Take care of yourself.

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Recalculating, frame grab

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I take set-photos on Instagram,
http://instagram.com/jawmsie

I tweet about all of my finished projects, as well as the occasional BTS schennanigans,
http://twitter.com/jawmsie

And I release all of my comedy sketches on the Cinema Wagon YouTube channel.
http://youtube.com/c/cinemawagonvideo

Thanks for checking out this interview, and I hope you enjoy my work if you do check it out.

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Bagman, still 2

Thank you, James, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Jonah S

Today we’re joined by Jonah S. Jonah is a wonderful artist who specializes in film and music. As a dedicated filmmaker, they enjoy making short films and do a lot of editing and directing. When they’re not working on film, Jonah also enjoys creating music and plays a variety of instruments. They have an admirable amount of enthusiasm and love for art, as you’ll read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My favorite medium to work in is film. I love editing and writing, but I have also directed a few short films. I’m still working to develop a distinct style of film, but I pay a lot of attention to the color palettes of my work, as I feel they are just as important as the story itself to the work as one cohesive unit.

I have played classical piano for quite some time, but I have recently gotten into writing electronic songs in Ableton Live. This past summer I released my first album, Songs For Summer Days, in which I sampled sounds from commonplace objects and made a song out of them every day. I also play ukulele for the band Maniac Foxy, but we’re still working on writing songs to perform.

What inspires you?

As a current environmental science major, I’d have to say that nature is a big inspiration for everything I do, from film to music to (the very occasional) visual art.

For each film project I work on, I seek out usually one or two specific genres or artists to sort of guide the visual development of the film. I usually end up using this music to score the film in the end! For example, my first film “La Vie En Rose,” is inspired by French new wave films, so I scored it with some avant-garde jazz, which I thought is pretty much the musical equivalent of the new wave’s freeform-ness. Another project I directed, “Run For Your Life,” has politics at the center of the narrative, so it draws heavily from anarchist folk-punk music like Defiance, Ohio.

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Cliche

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I work in film because it’s an intersection of basically every art form, so I don’t have to choose one to work in! There’s really no more to that, I’ve just always been interested in film.

My interest in music is more complicated than that, but I think that it stems from the fact that my grandmother is an extremely talented soprano singer who used to perform in operas and the Houston equivalent of Broadway. As a result, I’ve grown up surrounded by quite a lot of music.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I’ve tried to have an extra wear my red hoodie that says “Vampire Weekend” in the background of every film I’ve made. I haven’t kept up with it but it’s there sometimes!

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you’re entering film, don’t compromise your vision to accommodate the limiting standards that the film industry has put in place. Retain a clear divide between the art that you do for yourself and any professional film experience (internships, PA jobs, etc.). That way, you’ll gain a lot of experience while not succumbing to the limitations of mainstream film.

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Mercury Bob

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual and I prefer not to specify a romantic orientation (I’m like almost aro though).

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I haven’t encountered any in the film or music scenes, but that would be because I’m just not that involved publicly. I do know that there’s a lot of pressure on writers to introduce romantic subplots into their screenplays, and I tried that a few times, but eventually I was like “I am never doing this again”.

Additionally, there is a severe lack of asexual representation in mainstream media (along with nonbinary representation), so I hope to help remedy that.

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What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

I’ve heard a lot of really nasty rhetoric coming from aphobic people on Tumblr who post about “ace discourse” but I don’t really want to go into that.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Someone once told me that if you think you aren’t cis then you probably aren’t to some degree and I think this definitely applies to the asexual and aromantic spectrums as well (and to some extent pretty much any LGBTQ identity). There’s nothing wrong with “questioning” and there’s nothing wrong with deciding not to identify as anything in particular.

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Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I have put together a film portfolio here: jonahshaukatfilm.weebly.com
The good ones are at the top and they get progressively worse as you scroll down.

Also, here is a link to the album I released this past summer: https://maniacfoxy.bandcamp.com/

Should any of y’all wish to drop by and say hi, my Tumblr is http://topitmunkeydog.tumblr.com/.

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Thank you, Jonah, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Janina Franck

Today we’re joined by Janina Franck. Janina is an incredibly versatile artist. She has just published her first novel entitled Captain Black Shadow, which is currently available on Amazon. It’s a fantasy adventure involving pirates and it sounds like a great read. Aside from writing, Janina is also a filmmaker and website designer. She’s incredibly dedicated to her work, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I make films, design websites, and write.

I’m a bit of a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to film at the moment, but I’m trying to specialize. It’s a lot of fun working on something like that with a team.

Writing isn’t something I’ve ever been able to stop. It doesn’t matter if it’s a short story, poetry, or a novel – I’m constantly writing something and there’s not really a day that passes without me even putting a single sentence on paper. I also just published my first novel: Captain Black Shadow. It’s available on Amazon in both hard copy and e-book.

I also have a writing blog with a friend where we both write a short story a week based on a common prompt.

What inspires you?

Honestly this is going to sound cheesy, but I’m really inspired by the reactions of others when they see or read something I made for the first time. It’s incredibly motivating and it keeps me going and gives me faith in what I do.
Aside from that, long walks by myself can also do the trick.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve always been writing and making up stories, but I rarely ever thought of it as being an artist. I started writing my first novel when I was 11 and finished it when I was 16. It was never published though, because let’s face it – your first work is never great. I sometimes look back over it and cringe before making some adjustments to make it slightly more bearable again.

I also always wanted to be involved in films, but that desire wasn’t quite as pronounced when I was little.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I animated a signature that I can put at the end of the films I direct, but I’ve only applied it to one short film so far. Though I am considering adding it to my books as well.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Never give up. Be stubborn. Don’t make it for someone else or with the intention of selling it and becoming famous. Make it for yourself and then see how it goes from there. But the most important part is to keep going. Don’t lose courage if you haven’t worked on your art for a few weeks or months – it’s never too late to go back to working on it, and you should do it. No one else is going to create it for you, so you have to make it happen.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a pan-romantic asexual which can be tricky at times since there are so many people who don’t really get what it means to be asexual.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Oh yes, very few people I speak to in real life have any idea what it means to be asexual, unless they are ace themselves. I’ve been broken up with because of it as well.

Usually I just explain what asexuality is and they at least begin to understand on some level. With narrow-minded people I just avoid bringing it up, because they’re not worth the agitation.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

Most people seem to think that asexuals simply won’t have sex for any reason. They also seem to think that being aromantic and asexual is the same thing. Aside from those, I have encountered plenty of people who point-blank refuse to acknowledge the existence of asexuals, so I guess that means I’m not real?

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

You’re not broken.

You’re fine just the way you are. There is nothing wrong with you.

There are a lot of us. You’re not alone.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I have a Tumblr, please feel free to message me about anything! http://xilaya.tumblr.com
Here’s the writing blog I run with my friend: http://twoforonewriting.tumblr.com
And a Facebook page for my books:  https://www.facebook.com/chroniclesofthebat
As for my short films, there is my YouTube account: https://www.youtube.com/user/Njurana
And I just finished my Master Thesis project which is an ARG: http://glimmer.men

Thank you, Janina, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.