Welcome to another edition of SIX OF THE BEST, the semi regular part of BRWC where we fire six questions at lovely people. Today it is King is a Fink.
Jessica King & Julie Keck make films as King is a Fink Productions. Their work is characterized by emotional complexity, intriguing characters, and, often, unexpected and mischievous humor. Their primary goal: to tell stories that are at once familiar, uncomfortable, slightly demented, and unapologetically exhilarating. Their most recent projects include: the friendly fire documentary A SECOND KNOCK AT THE DOOR with 5414 Productions, which will be available on DVD no March 13, 2012; the web series I HATE TOMMY FINCH, available exclusively on tellofilms.com; a thriller they’re writing for an indie friend; and several new projects their developing with 5414 and tello. They’ll be speaking on panels at SXSW and the Chicago Documentary Summit this spring. Follow their Finky journey on Twitter and Facebook.
1. What you up to today?
The two of us (Julie Keck & Jessica King of King is a Fink Productions) are juggling multiple projects today. Julie’s to-do list includes website updates and promotion for the friendly fire documentary we made with 5414 Productions, , which comes out on DVD on 3/13. Jessica is finishing edits on a video we’re doing for the team behind the new Joffrey Ballet documentary. We also have to revise a treatment for a director we’re working with, and send out messages to actresses we’ve cast in our new web series for tello films, THE THROWAWAYS, a drama about homeless LGBT teens. All of this plus managing our social media sites, and one of us is under the weather to boot. No complaints here, though: we’d much rather be busy than bored.
2. How do you find the writing/film making process?
Sometimes we find it under a rock. Sometimes it drops right on our heads. Our process is pretty organic, and lately it has included other people. We used to make our short films for ourselves and by ourselves, and the best choice we’ve made in the past couple of years was to open up to working with other filmmakers. As a result, we’re able to get much more done, and we have the opportunity to have many scripts/projects produced at once, rather than just focusing on one. Our producers at tello films and 5414 productions, as well as several directors we’re working with, happen to work just as hard as we do, so this makes our teams that much more successful.
3. Have films influenced your work at all?
Well, sure! We both have a great love for movies. It’s essential, isn’t it, if you want to be in this business? Julie grew up on a steady diet of popular culture: Caddyshack, Animal House, ET, Dirty Dancing, the Brat Pack movies, and all that; Jessica swayed more toward Hitchcock and Howard Hawks. As a result, between the two of us we have a pretty expansive knowledge of what has come before.
4. Any films you have seen that have left a lasting impression on you?
Lately we’ve been paying attention to films with relatively small budgets that really pack a punch. We especially liked Martha Marcy May Marlene and The Disappearance of Alice Creed. And Let the Right One In, from a couple of years ago, still sticks with us. We thought it was just beautiful, the most powerful romance of the year. We’ve also been enthralled with stellar cable series this year. Just finished the most current season of Breaking Bad – great premise, great writing, great acting, great all around.
5. Is film school still important?
‘Still’ as compared to when? We all have fantasies about how our lives are going to go, but the only things that count are the things you actually do. Neither of us went to film school, but we might have gone when we’d been younger when we realized we wanted to do this. Of course, then we wouldn’t have had the life experiences we had which have shaped our unique perspectives. It’s always a personal journey, so there is no one right answer. Seems as though the access to top-notch equipment, the exposure to all parts (and roles) of the filmmaking process, and the connections you make with other people who like to do what you do (and might be able to help you down the line) are nothing to sneeze at, so if you have the time and the means, give film school a try. But avoid going into debt.
6. Anything you want to get off your chest right now?
One thing we’ve been talking about lately is the lost art of being charming. Social media is a big part of our promotional strategy (it’s how we met you, isn’t it?), but some people use it as a bullhorn or an online guilt-tripping tool, and we think this is a huge mistake. Whether you’re crowdfunding, promoting a project, or looking for advice, no one owes you anything, so you have to start each day thinking, “What can I do to entice, to entertain, to make today better for my fans/followers/audience?” In order to get someone to think you’re worth their attention, you have have to be worth their attention. So go charm their pants off!
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