shrtfilm.com interviews Sev DeMy

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Today we share with you part 13 in the ‘shrtfilm.com interviews’ series. Constant Hoogenbosch interviews Sev DeMy

What is it that appeals to you about the short film?                                                   I am impressed by efficiency. I believe short films are a necessary precursor to telling any story. It is the practice of only filming the absolute necessary scenes. It tests the filmmakers ability to trim the fat and use the essentials.


If you are a filmmaker and want to participate in an interview for shrtfilm.com also, please contact info@shrtfilm.com. We like to hear from you!


What qualities do you believe make a good short film?                                           Tone is everything to me. I still wonder how long a short film is sometimes. Is it 3 minutes or 20 minutes? The best ones I see create feeling more than intricate story plots.

To what extent is making short films a stepping stone to making feature films?      I think we all hope that someone with money will pluck us from obscurity and help us make a feature film. All industries are like that, we aspire to make bigger projects. With film though, it can ruin you. Never bite off more than you can chew. I think my films could be a stepping stone to feature films, but first I want to make sure that I feel like people want to see 90 minutes of my work.

What is the most challenging aspect of making short films?                                   Right now for me, my biggest challenge is money. Surprise! I take a lot of time developing my projects which is does not make me a very dedicated employee. Employers seem to recognize this and my pockets suffer. If I had a regular income I dream I could make better films BUT if I had a regular income I would probably be regular person. I have never met a regular person that makes films. We are all tortured souls.

Do you have a preference to a certain genre?                                                             I prefer drama. Comedy and horror is subjective, but I think we can all relate that life sucks at one time or another and this could all end badly.

What do you like most when making a short film – writing the script – directing – camera?                                                                                                                         I enjoy writing and editing. As an independent filmmaker, being on set and keeping the schedule, getting the scenes, etc is like dancing on the thinnest glass.

Do you work with a script – where do you get the inspiration from?                      Yes, I work from my script. My inspiration comes from my belief that I am part of a larger group of filmmakers that are emerging and challenging the studio system of Black image representation.

Do you leave room for improvisation?                                                                  Absolutely, I always encourage my actors to use words that come natural to them and not get stuck on the text. This also applies to locations. Anytime I show up somewhere to film I look for what is natural to the setting (i.e.:trash, graffiti, animals,) before we move or place things.

Did you receive funding for your project?                                                                No. Although, I did a successful Kickstarter campaign for my 1st short, Doo Doo’s Revenge, which raised about $2500.

How did you go about assembling a film crew and actors?                                                                                                                            I set up casting calls and auditions. I use online databases and set up meetings with people to pick up on their vibe. My wife is always the casting director and I have been able to assemble my crews through working in reality TV and networking. I live in Los Angeles, so I have a large pool to source talent and crew from.

What did you use to edit the film?                                                                               I edit in FCPX but I have been working with a friend who uses Premiere so we go back and forth using XML and the app that allow you to go back and forth between programs called XtoCC.

What camera did you shoot on?                                                                               Doo Doo’s Revenge was filmed on a Canon C300, my upcoming project was filmed on a Sony FX7 without the 4K attachment.

Could you name one or two filmmakers that you consider great influences?           I don’t want to skip anybody but I would say that Spike Lee and John Singleton were the two guys for me, but I am from Mississippi and did not learn about Charlie Barnett and Arthur Jafa until my adulthood which is a shame.

What are you working on next?                                                                                Do you already have a new project in mind? I am currently finishing my 2nd short film titled, Where Branches Break. It is about African-American men who feel isolated from the families they come from.

What advice would you give to other short filmmakers?                                          Do not overlook the importance of a good short film. We live in a world where time is sometimes more valuable than money. It is your job to make people feel like the time they spend on your film is worth it. Short films is where this starts.

Thank you Sev!


If you are a filmmaker and want to participate in an interview for shrtfilm.com also, please contact info@shrtfilm.com. We like to hear from you!


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