Filmmaker Feature by Chris Olson
Interviews can often be troublesome. Finding time in a filmmaker's busy schedule is hard enough, let alone when you are trying to interview two of them about their recent film, Working Class Mozart.
Aaron Granlund and SM Huet regret that they were unable to participate in this interview directly. They are currently at the Tire & Retread Expo in Akron, Ohio without access to phone or email. Working Class Mozart himself, “Antonio,” was happy enough to answer questions on their behalf.
Please describe for us your journey into filmmaking?
Mozart was born in Austria in 1756. After a bit of success dabbling in the classical music scene, he hit a rocky patch. I can't describe my own journey in too much detail as I would incriminate myself of felonious acts in three states. Eventually, I got licensed in plasma arc welding. Some crazy filmmakers randomly encountered me one day and begged me to tell my story.
How do you describe your short film, Working Class Mozart, to a new audience?
Okay. What was the reason behind this project and why you wanted to make it?
When I first got the call, I was told about this crazy low budget script and promptly hung up. They called back and pleaded with me to change my mind. I say, “Make it big budget. Make it a blockbuster. Bring in some Chinese investors. Do whatever you have to, just make it big.” I hang up again. Five minutes later the phone rings. They make the deal. I was paid very handsomely.
Pretty standard then. Were there any lessons you learned during the filming which you would ensure you apply to your next piece?
Every morning I would arrive at the stages for a 3AM call time and spend six hours in a makeup chair getting prosthetics and latex applied to my face and body. By 9AM, Granlund and Huet, the directors, would walk in and demand it all be torn off. I’m not sure why but this happened every day. Along with them berating the crew for being dullards and layabouts.
Not something you want on your next movie. Incidentally, what is your next project?
The project is called "Incidentally". The idea is to make a film where the main plot is incidental to an irrelevant pre-main plot tangential plot.
Who are your influences and why?
Rodney Dangerfield, before he was famous, when he was selling aluminium siding.
What is the hardest part of making a film in 2017?
This is a digital era. Everything I know of film development is tied into those Fotomat huts that existed in parking lots eons ago. You’d drive up and drop your sack of films off and come back in 24 hours to retrieve it. Nowadays these are quite rare. In Los Angeles, they’ve converted the shacks into tiny “Dispensarios” that sell cigarettes by the carton or seat covers for cars. Luckily, I have a connection with one that still develops film. They helped distribute Working Class Mozart. They have a guy who lays all your DVDs on a blanket and lets people haggle down the price, usually below what it cost to actually manufacture. They moved a lot of units for us.
What would you say if you were a dolphin?
What is Working Class Mozart about and why did you want to make this film?
What becomes of the genius whose talents are unrealized as an ordinary worker in a post-income world? The answer? Robots boss him about.
What obstacles did you face during filmmaking, and how did you overcome them?
Part of experimentation is about making something without knowing how it will turn out. For example, all of the lunches on set were made with spinach and cardboard one day.
Did you draw inspiration from any specific filmmakers for this movie?
Yes, all of the other famous short form cryptic lo-fi art comedies.
What advice would you give to filmmakers in 2017?
Latin America bond markets are ripe for the picking.
If you could remake any film, what would it be and why?
Maybe it’s too soon but I’ve always thought it would be fun to remake Working Class Mozart.
How important is budget to you as a filmmaker?
A budget tends to get in the way of actually getting anything accomplished. If I were making a movie about toilet paper for instance, I would get the 1-ply kind without the engineered perforations.
What's next for you?
I have an appointment with my neck masseuse at 4pm. That’s why I’m wearing this robe. After that, I'd be open to collaboration. Get in touch with me! I know Granlund and Huet personally. What I’d really like to do is recite the The Canticles of Luke over a beat laid down by Champagne Papi.
What would you say if you were a dolphin?
Since you’ve bothered to ask twice, I’ve given it some thought. I would say…
Watch the entire short film of Working Class Mozart below...