Interview by Chris Olson
Who are you and what do you do?
I am Quincy Rose and I am a New York-based filmmaker, originally from Los Angeles. I am the Writer, Producer & Director, as well as the editor, of Miles to Go; and, I also play the titular character, Miles.
Tell us a bit about your film "Miles To Go"
Miles to Go is a passion driven project, a character study in essence, about a writer from Los Angeles, who doesn’t believe that relationships can last, and is struggling to mend his most recent failed relationship, believing it may just be the key to his success and happiness in life. Miles is afraid to grow up and fully commit to someone who loves him, whom he loves; and, not because he is afraid of love, but because his neurosis keeps him from committing. He suffers from chronic dissatisfaction, quick to know what it is he doesn’t want, yet always uncertain as to what he does want. And anyone who can relate to that knows that that can be a blessing and a curse.
Why did you want to make/tell this story in particular? And take on the lead role too?
Truly independent filmmaking is such a tricky world. Many things you may eventually end up making might not get made in the order you intended, if you are lucky enough to make it at all, and so you have to be able to go with the flow. Before I wrote Miles to Go, I was actively trying to get funding to make a different film, something that at the time was called Cut & Paste (which since has been retitled Friends Effing Friends Effing Friends, has been made and is also getting ready to come out…more to come on that). I had made several short films at that point, had a webseries called Untreated, that I produced & directed, and was itching to make my first feature film. And, I only mention the shorts and the webseries, because it was by making those that I felt confident I could make a feature film on a shoestring budget.
The trouble was just finding the shoestring. So for a couple years as I sought the cash for that other film, I just kept working on anything in my path, anything I could make happen. Eventually I hit a wall and begged my father, Mickey Rose, to help out. Having been a successful comedy writer for screen and television (Take the Money and Run, Banans, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson), he empathized with my struggles, and agreed, but insisted the budget would need to be extremely minimal. Because of this, I knew that making Cut & Paste would be impossible; it was just a bigger story to tell than the budget I had to tell it with. So I started thinking to myself, asking myself, What could I make for the budget I had? What story would be interesting? I knew it would have to be a character study, something I could strip way down, controlling the amount of characters and locations necessary for telling the story in an adequate, yet interesting manner.
At the time, I was single, and though I was dating here and there, nothing would last. And being in my thirties at the time, I had had several failed relationships of various lengths, including an impulsive marriage that lasted five years in my early twenties, and I couldn’t help but wonder if relationships could last for me; or anyone, for that matter. This question haunted me, and I started writing down details about a character that felt that way. As it goes, a lot of what came from Miles to Go, or went into it, was out of necessity. Meaning, a lot of decisions were made based on what was available.
Having been an actor first, I knew I was going to take on the lead role. Not only was the character loosely based on me and my experiences, it would also save me money on an actor, and I would be able to shoot in my actual apartment that I was living in at the time, saving me a location fee. I already had my key crew, as we had been working together on many of the shorter projects, and everyone was eager to help me make this film. As soon as I figured out who the character was, sketched out all the details of his life, deciding who his family was, who were his friends, etc, I knew exactly what story I wanted to tell and the script came together in a very short amount of time. The story was very personal to me, and I felt it was extremely honest, and that was very enticing to me as a filmmaker and an artist, since I am always seeking a level of verisimilitude, that is often lacking in larger films. In any event, I knew I was going to make this and so we did.
The themes of loneliness and introspection seem to feature heavily. And given that Miles To Go is a character study, were there any films or other stories that you drew particular influence from?
So many films I had seen, and books I had read, influenced me over the years, or maybe I should say inspired me. One in particular, which I luckily stumbled across, is Bradley Rust Gray’s, The Exploding Girl; a beautifully shot, impeccably nuanced, and perfectly paced indie film starring Zoe Kazan. At first, I was simply taken aback by the sheer aesthetic and accomplishment of this film. I was also very impressed with the patience Gray displayed in telling his story. I became obsessed, and while watching The Exploding Girl for the tenth time, still frustrated from a lack of funds to make my film, the proverbial light bulb sprung up above my head. I knew exactly what I needed to do. Come up with a new, minimalistic, stripped down story, something deep and personal. This meant starting from scratch. But so many films have played a role in my inspiration. Everything from The Squid and the Whale to Annie Hall to Buffalo ’66 to Unmade Beds, and many, many more.
As an indie film, tell us a little about the challenges you faced in the making of this movie? And whether you felt these were overcame.
I feel like anytime a film is finalised, and there is a finished product available for the world to see, regardless of how it is received, it is a success. Making any film is incredibly difficult, let alone one with almost no money to do so. So a lot of the struggles we had to overcome were just time and space. Meaning, we didn’t have a lot of time to tell the story and we needed to limit our space. However, not wanting to keep the film locked inside Miles’s tiny apartment, I knew we were going to have to shoot guerrilla style, and steal as many locations as we could get away with. This meant a lot of preparing and them gambling on the execution. It also means that everyone had to wear several hats, which is how I ended up doing so many things on this project. But we all did. Everyone had to be on top of his or her game too.
The longest day was a twenty-three hour day where we shot twenty-three pages of material in several set ups, within two different locations. This is not possible to do on a bigger budget film, and certainly not allowed on a unionized set. The only consideration I had to take into account was the actors, as we are all SAG members, and there are legal limits to allotted time worked. One other totally crazy problem that occurred is that I lost my voice entirely on the third day. This was potentially disastrous as my character, Miles, is in every single frame, just about, and there is no way to shoot around him. Typically, if something like this happened, you would shoot everything else that you could shoot without this character, but in this case that was impossible. So we had to wait a day and a half until I had any voice at all, and then I had to save my voice for only my lines of dialogue, which limited the amount of vocal communications I could share with my crew as the director. Eventually I got my voice back, but it was touch and go for a few days. Ultimately, I feel like we made an honest film about a difficult subject and told it in an interesting and, at times, entertaining manner. So I do feel that it was a success. But as I said, anytime any film is finished, it is a success in itself.
The film is made up of a talented team. How was it working with everyone?
I love these guys! This is my original crew. These are the people I started out with and have learned so much from. Amza Moglan is an incredible DP, so talented, with such a grip on the aesthetic I was going for, that I had no doubt we would achieve the look I wanted.
Aaron Lee Lopez, my co-producer, who also was the UPM, is a knight in shining armour. Not only is he great on any sized set, with any budget, he is a wizard on micro-budget indie sets, totally capable of performing pretty much every job there is, from accounting and budgeting, to scheduling, to lighting, shooting and directing; and he is also an excellent editor. And it would have been impossible without my First AD/co-producer Alex Rinks. Being in the film and directing it, I needed eyes on everything, and it had to be someone whom I trusted. Alex is incredible in so many aspects of filmmaking that he was a blessing to have. And everyone else on the crew too.
Many of the actors I already knew (Zack Tiegen, Kim Argetsinger, Drew Bell, Maggie Rowe, Emily Arlook, Alex Moglan) and had written the parts for, some of my closest friends in the world, and the few that we had to cast (Jen McPherson, Toni Romano-Cohen, Amelia Morck), we got so lucky with the level of talent and commitment we found in these awesome actors. Just an all around great experience, something I will never forget, nor take for granted. Actually, I couldn’t forget it even if I wanted to, as I even got a real tattoo in one of the scenes, and my favorite tattoo artist, someone who is a great friend of mine, Luis Favela, even played himself and was amazingly natural! It was a really special shoot and we all bonded greatly.
Where did you find the music?
Music is another department in which I feel very fortunate to be friends with so many talented musicians. The majority of the music came from one of my closest friends, Jason Hiller. He wrote & produced most songs in the film, performing several. Some of the songs he just produced. My co-producer Alex Rinks found some of the other music. And we found some of the other music through the actress Emily Arlook, whose brother is a musician and we were able to use some of his band’s songs, and each of the members’ individual music as well.
What has the feedback been so far?
As with anything you put out into the world, not everyone is going to love what you made. That said, we have been fortunate to receive lots of great and positive feedback, from some wonderful publications. Here’s a few key ones worth mentioning: “One of the 12 indie films to watch on VOD…” – IndieWIRE (May 2015) “If Woody Allen and Albert Brooks had a baby, this film would be it.” – The Hollywood Reporter “Excellent micro-budget indie…incredibly personal and nuanced material.” – The Huffington Post.
Where can people watch Miles to Go?
We are very excited for Miles to Go to finally premiere in the U.K. on Saturday, August 27, 2016 on a new, awesome, indie platform, Flix Premiere (www.flixpremiere.co.uk/film/miles-to-go). I feel like it may resonate quite well with British film fans' sensibilities. And for anyone else in other parts of the planet trying to find it, it is available on most VOD platforms, including iTunes, Amazon Prime, FandangoNOW, YouTube, Vudu, X-Box, Google Play and even Vimeo on Demand (with French Subtitles). All links can be found on my website: www.QuincyRoseFilms.com.
What is next for you in filmmaking?
As for what is next, the film I mentioned earlier, Friends Effing Friends Effing Friends, has been screening in several festivals, and we are getting ready to announce our release details for our North American distribution. This is the film that was originally called Cut & Paste, which I could not find the right budget for, but eventually did. I am very excited for this film to come out, and so soon on the heels of Miles to Go. For more information on FEFEF, trailer, press and release info people can check out, www.FriendsEffingFriendsEffingFriendsMovie.com We are also on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the rest…
What would you say if you were a dolphin?
I’d say (in a thick Brooklyn accent, think Goodfellas), “Hey, hey you guys… Look at me! I’m a dolphin and I’m talking! … Hey! … Hey!... GUYS!!! You’re not looking at me! How come none of yous is listening to what I am saying?! I said, I’m a dolphin and I am talking! What do I gotta do to impress all of y’all?! Jeez… It’s like, nothing’s enough for you guys… You know, fuggettabout yous guys… I’m outta here!”
Miles to Go is distributed by Indie Rights Movies (http://www.indierights.com)