Joe, thank you for taking the time to talk to Kabir.org
Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself and your film careers?
By day, I do video work for a small startup in Kansas City. By night, I perform improv and stand-up comedy. Somewhere between the two, I also manage to make movies with my production company Beached Whale Productions. Born and raised in the area, I have been making films for the better half of my adult life. I was once featured on Time Warner Cable’s “Up and Coming Directors” after getting first place in a local 48 hour film festival. Since then, I’ve won countless awards on both a local and international level including: Best Film, Best Director, Best Script and a plethora of Audience Choice awards.
Use three words to sum yourself up?
Brilliant, Hilarious… and Humble
Why do you refer to yourself as a Professional Funnyman?
As far as my work in film goes, I have filled just about every roll imaginable at one point or another. On my personal projects, I’ll often write, direct, act, edit, etc., plus I get paid to do comedy on the side, so to sum it all up its just easier to say “Professional Funnyman”.
What changes and development have your seen in the film making industry over the years?
Technology has pushed low/no-budget filmmaking to extremes. When I started out, in order to make a movie you had to either have an actual budget or know someone who had spent their life savings on equipment. You’d have to find someone who owned an editing bay in order to cut the film, and uploading and rendering footage would take hours. Nowadays, you could hypothetically film and edit an entire film from your cell phone.
Tell us about your experience at Cannes Film Festival?
Cannes was amazing. I have never seen so many tuxedos in my life! My team made a film for the 48-Hour Film Project and won 1st place in Kansas City. We went on to compete against all the other city winning films from around the world. We ended up in the top 14 films worldwide, so it went on to screen at a special screening at the Cannes Short Film Corner. I was terrified when I got out there, thinking I was just a small fish in a huge sea of sharks, but was pleasantly surprised to find out I was more of a small fish in a big sea of just as small fish. No one seemed unapproachable, and the few “celebrities” I met were very kind (shout out to Alfonso Cuarón, who was nice enough to be a tad late to HIS OWN premiere just so I could briefly talk shop with him). While there, everyone was on an even keel. Well, everyone except for the cast of the Expendables 3… they rode up on tanks!
If you were not a Filmmaker, what would be your other career choices?
Panhandler, probably. Also, I love doing Improv Comedy. Its creation in its rawest form. No scripts, no second takes, just some funny people letting a story form out of nothing. But you could probably make more being a panhandler.
What are the video cameras, audio tools and editing software you use for filmmaking?
If I’m just messing around, I’ll use my little Canon T3i with a nice lens. If I’m actually shooting something important, I’ll use the Canon C100, Sony Fs7, or my little Black Magic if I want to be more mobile. I learned to edit on an old Avid bay, graduated to Final Cut Pro, and now I’m working with Premiere.
One form of art or skill you wish to learn in the future?
I’ve owned a harmonica for seven years and have yet to get further than learning “When The Saints Go Marching In”.
One gadget on your wish list?
I think I can collectively answer this for every no-budget filmmaker… a RED camera.
If you were stuck in a lift with Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino for 1 hours what would you do?
I have always loved Spielberg. If I was with him in an elevator for an hour, I’d make him regale me with stories of working on Indiana Jones and E.T., then probably convince him to slap his name on my next project… and get a selfie and stuff.
For Tarantino? I don’t know… probably cocaine?
What was your best filmmaking project experience?
I love working with my team, Beached Whale Productions, on timed film competitions. I’ve been doing them for years solo, but the first time I worked with a legit team who knew what they were doing, my life changed. Now I can’t go back to doing it solo… the product you get through teamwork is so much more polished than what a one person team could ever do. Plus, when the allotted 48 hours are up, you have a movie. It may not be perfect, it might not even be what you thought it was going to be, but damn it… you’ve got a movie.
What do you think is the future of film making?
Streaming. Between Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and the million other streaming services, low/no-budget filmmakers have more ways to share/sell their work than ever before. Its actually a really cool time to be doing this stuff.
One advice you would give to someone who wants to start a career in filmmaking?
Make a movie. Anyone can these days. All it takes is a decent story, lighting, sound and that fancy pocket computer smart phone thingy.
Check more about Joe’s work