As promised this week I am beginning a new section to my Blog and this is it.
So welcome everybody, and my first interview has been conducted with the amazing Nate Smith and with no further ado please welcome Nate and open the floor to him.
Hopefully my questions will have elicited some fascinating responses
Nate is a Writer, Director, Producer, Editor and his production company is Robotic Rabbit Au a boutique production company working out of Perth in Western Australia. Their aim is to provide the very best in thought-provoking entertainment
Have you always wanted to produce films and write them?
Actually no. It was more of a spur of the moment decision. This is not to say that since then I have not gone over this decision without much care and consideration, but instead rather to say that I just kind of "fell into it" if that makes sense? I always have seen the world through different eyes, filmic eyes, one might say… I have always envisaged my place in the overall narrative of the world, and wondered where I actually fitted. I view writing and producing films as an avenue by which to explore this very question. A lot of people do it for money, and there is nothing wrong with that per se, even I would like to hit the big time from time to time, but I believe that if that is why you create films (or any art for that matter) you become very narrow-minded. Much like a racing horse with the blinkers on, always thinking to yourself "What's going to sell best?" I think if a person allows themselves to be consumed by this very shortly they are no longer making daring decisions, but rather becoming a product of the "Hollywood system/blockbuster mentality". – There is enough of those people already, I want to do me. It's all I can do.
What inspired you to start and continue to organise your production company?
The inspiration behind Robotic Rabbit Productions (RRP) was very simple (in my mind anyway), it was to merge high-end filmmaking with highly conceptualised and character driven narratives. What this basically means is that it was created in an effort to bring "indie" back to the forefront of cutting edge cinema experiences. There was a time where if you wanted to see something daring, the only place to see it was in the independent cinema going experience. Alas, times have changed and independent cinema is not necessarily viewed as daring or thought-provoking anymore, but rather when most people think indie they think of a romantic comedy or coming-of-age navel gazing narratives. I have seen a resurgence in independent cinema over the last few years, and I think independent cinema is finally finding her voice… RRP desires to one of production companies taking back indie film; by the people, for the people.
Have you got any idols or people that you admire both in the business world and in the world at large?
There are so many that inspire my creative vision, that I admire and that I look up to in both a business sense and for overall artistic guidance. A lot of them not even well-known or "famous", if I were to name drop several famous people whom inspire and inform my work, off the top of my head; Woody Allen, Charlie Kaufman, (old school) David Lynch, Charlie Chaplin, Quentin Tarantino and Alfred Hitchcock; a very electric bunch, yes. Of course there are many more, but those are who I keep returning to year after year for artistic inspiration. These people stand for something, they have a message, they have a voice that is fortunate enough to have been heard by the masses time and time again. It is in this respect that I hope I am fortunate enough to have my own voice heard, and that Robotic Rabbit Productions is fortunate enough to leave its imprint (no matter how small) on the celluloid of time.
Have you any hobbies or special things you like to do?
I enjoy doing many things, most of them might be considered to be your normal everyday, run-of-the-mill type activities, but they hold a sacredness to me… I believe that nothing beats a nice red wine, a classical Symphony, a chinwag with friends, turning the pages of a good book/comic in anticipation of what is going to happen next, but most of all, I like the joy that can be found in writing or creating anything for that matter. The act of creation is a major turn on to me personally, the ability to elicit emotional responses, or allow for someone to go through any form of transformation, free thought, or liberation. The ability to do these things makes me extremely happy.
I know that you love music? what songs inspire you? Name your favourite song of all?
I love music, I find it extremely inspiring. To name my favorite song of all, I don't think I could do that too easily. I believe that every genre of music has something in it that can be used to inspire, or inform creative decision/choices, therefore I have an extremely eclectic taste in music, everything from The Beatles to The Stones, through to the likes of Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis and Sinatra, all the way through to Marilyn Manson, Metallica and so on and so forth. Like film, like painting, music has a story to tell, and each story has the ability to evoke change or evolution. On any given day you will find me listening to pretty much anything.
Have you a favourite genre that you like to pursue for any of your productions?
Genre is one of my favorite things to play with, there is a lot to be said for the use of the correct and incorrect genre when making a film, or creating any art for that matter – – so much is able to be done in each and every genre that it all comes down to how one uses the genre to tell the story. As you can imagine, let's just say for example that the film "Alien" was a spaghetti Western, instead of a science-fiction, the story itself would have taken on a whole new meaning. In the same respect, what if "The 40 Year Old Virgin" was a tragic drama? Each new genre stereotypically dictates the ebb and flow of that specific narrative. When working on my projects I try and incorporate a little bit of each genre, in some manner or form, sometimes to throw off the audience, other times in an effort to draw them in. I believe that story generally chooses the genre, and not the other way around. At least for me personally, I can't say I'm going to do a romance/romantic comedy if I do not have the story to go in it. That being said, I know other people that work in this exact manner and it works well for them. I am open to every genre that is open to me, which thankfully is all of them. However, with the above statement in mind, I am definitely recognising that I am drawn to the darker side of storytelling; the [psychological] horrors, and the genres that allow for the exploration of the shadow side of humanity's consciousness.
What are your goals? and have you set a time scale to achieve them in? Where do you see yourself in say 5 years time?
My goals would have to be first and foremost to create something that I believe in wholeheartedly, this is to say in everything that I put forward professionally. I have scrapped many a project because it ceases to resonate with me on a personal level. In every one of my creations, a little aspect of me goes out into the world, a little strand of DNA if you will. In order to make sure that I never worked this high standard that I hold myself to, it requires devotion, staunch time management, and the ability to tell oneself to not be afraid to kill one's own darlings. This is to say that I do not hold onto things for the sake of holding on to them from a narrative standpoint, if something doesn't gel with me, it doesn't tend to make it past the first draft. I believe that this is a method by which to keep oneself completely relevant at all times (I hope). As for where I see myself in five years, I could give you the stock standard answers; successful, with lots of money, travelling the world, living in a nice house, but that wouldn't be me. So where exactly DO I see myself in five years? As long as I am writing and producing films or any art I will be happy. It doesn't matter what the circumstance, or where geographically speaking I find myself, wherever there is art there will always be happiness in my eyes.
Have you had any special training in order to pursue your career?
I find the best training comes from both trial and error, as well as life in general. Above all this though, the best training is on-the-job. This is the best teacher. That being said, I have undergone "formal" training, for what good it was. This is not to say that I would not recommend it, but just be wary that it has the potential to stunt creative growth. As Ray Bradbury once had, "Thinking is the enemy of creativity.”. Now, of course there is a time and place for learning, but rather that in theory everything is easy, in reality, it takes hard work, long hours, as well as blood, sweat and tears – – and that's only in the process of writing it, producing a film from that written document, well that's a whole other kettle of fish. But I love it, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Would you give any advise to someone else wanting to enter this as a career? how they can make inroads into this?
Not really sure what I would say to someone wanting to enter this career path. If they have a passion for it, then no matter what I would say to them good, bad or indifferent would sway them. However, if someone approached me to ask what avenues to take, who to talk to, I would say the best two things for you to do would be to write what you write, be true to you. Secondly, network, network, network! With these powers combined, you can conjure the 1990s Captain Planet, no not really… But you can do anything if you put in the hard yards, if you're willing to stretch yourself beyond comprehensible measures, go without sleep, and a social life. Don't be a subscriber to the mentality that you cannot get what you want from life, you can as long as you are prepared to work hard, and when needed sacrifice [almost] everything.
Where in the world is the creative capital for filmmaking, or is there more than one place?
The creative capital for filmmaking I would have to say LA. Although, with that being said, just because it's the creative capital, does not necessarily mean that it is the most "creative". The beauty of filmmaking is that anyone, anywhere can make a film. Some of the best films and I have seen have not been from the creative capital or holding too much production value. Creativity first and foremost finds its place in the human spirit, in human stories, human triumph, and human desolation. The creative capital for anything is quintessentially humanity. At least to me, anyway. Wherever there are humans, there will always be a platform from which filmmakers can flourish, it is not about geography but more about sociology. Because we are humans we connect to the human stories. As long as humanity has the ability to feel something, the creative capital for all art will be within ourselves.
Has anything stopped your pursuit of your career? If so can you tell us about this or not?
I think the biggest barrier in the pursuit of an "career" is oneself. That probably sounds highfalutin, but it's true (at least for me). Every person has the ability to make or break their career with the choices that they do or do not decide upon. For me personally, the inner critic used to be a big one. I used to come up with these great ideas, but I would convince myself that it would fall apart and logistics. Therefore, it is always important to be mindful and respectful of your inner critic, but do not allow it too much space to breathe, at least not in the early stages of the idea development, the necessary things will fall off and the necessary times, until then I would simply say that one must be mindful to not lend themselves to being their own barrier, for if you do not believe in you, then who should?
Are you able to divulge ANY details of your current plans for any of your forthcoming production?
I cannot tell you much about my upcoming production, because I like to keep the audience guessing until the last moment, what I can tell you is that it is a fresh take on an often diluted genre. It will set the benchmark for all future productions to come out under the RRP banner; high concept character driven pieces that hold a message for those willing to take the time to find it. I will give you this, the upcoming project is titled "NEKRŌSIS", and it will be nothing you expect it to be, and everything that it needs to be.
How many members are there involved in your team?
I corral people on a project to project basis, as I like to think that everyone has strengths, as does everyone also have their weaknesses. I believe that in order to give the viewership the best possible experience I can when viewing my productions, it is important to get those people in that are passionate about that specific genre of production, or have an interest in it. A person is only as good as the company they keep, therefore I like to bring the most suitable people in that I can for each and every production. This is not to say that there won't be faces that pop-up time and time again, but from a production standpoint, the team behind the camera, chances are that it will be rotating regularly… But who's to say? Only time will tell.
How much and how long does it generally take to plan and execute a production?
A production from beginning to end can be quite a drawn out process, especially if you are working for a studio, or you are not in complete control of the creative vision for the project, if this makes sense? A perfect example of this was given to me a few years ago, through my own personal experience… These things happen. Sometimes they work out for the best, other times not so much an idea still lay unseen. However, there are occasionally those productions they go off without much trouble whatsoever, in which case the execution of the project is more often than not swift, deadlines are met, execution is flawless and so on and so forth. There are these times. I know many people who long for the latter example, myself not so much. I would prefer to learn from trial and error, writing and rewriting, arguing over whether the character would say it this way, or that. These are the experiences I remember, the length of a project is not really something that I consider when starting off, and definitely in the midst of it. I believe if you love what you are creating, no matter what it is, time is what it will be.
Have you any aspirations over and above your current ones concerning your production company?
Many people have often called me a dreamer because I have so many things that I desire to do. In truth, the list is growing exponentially on a daily basis. Concerning the ones to do with the production company, it is very simple. I just want to create content that entertains as much as it does challenge its audience. I feel that as a Creative, that is my duty, everything else that comes along with that is just happenstance. Outside of the production company I have recently been brainstorming ideas to do graphic novels, short stories, novels, poetry and so on. The future is unwritten until I write it. Whatever happens, it is important to just enjoy the ride, because like any good roller coaster, it is over as soon as it has begun.
Here are some links for you to take a further look at Nate's and the Robotic Rabbits endeavours
Better Than Your Average Pop Culture Referencing, Comic Book Devouring, Literary Aware, Bifocal Word Slinger and Filmmaker.
My next scheduled interview will be with the charming Mr Casey Ryan. Casey is an Internet radio host for the Cutting Room Floor. Casey seeks to help independent entertainers and artists promote their projects.
Casey has a Blog too here;
you can also find Casey on Twitter
So be sure to drop in and take a look as both his Blog and his live broadcast, they are both fantastic. I recently participated (you could too!) in his interview of Charlie Allan, actor and musician.
One final shout out to all the mum's in the United Kingdom because today here it is Mother's Day
So Happy Mother's Day to you one and all
I am currently expanding and hopefully improving my Blog so my intention now is to publish twice a week, so that will be Sunday and Wednesday evenings
I will be adding a short stories page and also a book review page, so please keep visiting and keep a weather eye out for them