SPOTLIGHT ON INDIE FILMMAKER MICHAEL BUDD
We had the chance to catch up with Australian indie filmmaker Michael Budd, an award-winning Actor, Director and Producer as his recent premiere launch of his new film “The Life Of The Party”. Michael is best known for his role as Esmael, alongside with Henry Cavill (Man of Steel), and also Sigourney Weaver in the film, ‘The Cold Light of Day’. Michael became fascinated with acting and filmmaking styles. He studied in London for quite some time, and was mentored under Scott Williams who taught him how to excel in a competitive industry.
With our QA Michael, has shed light on his past and his future projects, which gave us an insight into how he works himself with the filmmaking and acting world.
1. What made you want to become a filmmaker and how did you get into it?
I was cast to double and stand in for Laurence Fishburne for the films, Matrix 2 and Matrix 3. After 240 shoot days, I was completely in-love with the whole concept. I asked Laurence, “How do you become an actor?”, and he said in response, “You go to London and learn Shakespeare” … and so I did.
2. Who has been your greatest teacher or motivator to work in this industry?
My mentor is Scott Williams who taught me the different acting and staging techniques. I continue to use these techniques today for staging my films. Scott is currently teaching the acting Meissner technique in London. I was privileged to study under him for three years.
3. What has been the most challenging aspect in working in the filmmaking industry?
For me, it is having to work in so many departments at the same time, and that is due to budget constraints. In my first feature film, ‘Love of my Life’, I had to direct, produce and act in it, but also be up at 6am to get the catering tables out!
4. Being a director, producer, and actor is hard work in all roles; what are the type of hours you put in most days and if you had to choose one role, what would you be? We are curious as to why you take on so many roles.
For me its about your headset as an individual; are you going to be overwhelmed or are you going to embrace a challenge.. At the independent filmmaking level you need to be able to do more. I feel that in the coming years the balance of powers and the multiple hats that people wear, are just a part of the new ways to make film and new technologies and multiple viewing opportunities i.e smart phones and iPads. That will be the future direction of the whole industry in the areas of both production and post-production.
My mind set is to go out there and show people what you can do across all levels – I am happy to focus on just one role. However, I want to show people I am more than just one thing.
My first feature, “Love of my Life”, I played a small role as an actor. My second feature ,“Life o the Party”, I played in the ensemble cast, and in my third feature, “Enter Sanctum”, I played the lead, Walt, so that should tell you how I am building my career.
5. Your latest film, ‘Life of the Party’, was a short film where you co-wrote the script, directed, acted and produced… How long did this take to get off the ground, and how long was the shoot?
The short film was my way of building interest into the project and it worked. What a lot of people don’t know is that I was two months away from shooting, “Life of the Party” in Boston USA for 6 million USD with Rachel Evan Wood as Sandra, Vinnie Jones as Perry, and Wallace Shawn as Myron. However, when the funding company changed hands, we lost the financial commitment. This was heart-breaking for me but I never gave up and made the film several years later in my home country; 7 years to get it made, and we shot it in 20 days. Go figure, right?
6. This being a comedy film with love stories, I hear this is what you like to work with mainly. Are we to expect more comedy in the future?
Love is the underlying subtext in every movie I make and will always be. You can expect any story that makes you feel something – I want you to feel something when you watch my films, whether you like my films or not. I just want you to leave feeling something.
7. What is your next film you working on?
I currently have just completed filming, ‘Enter Sanctum’ in Tasmania. This will shortly go into post-production. It is a Sci-Fi thriller, starring Lara Robinson. It is set around an old asylum where current residents are met with the dark past of the place that they now call home.
I am also currently working on a film called, ‘The Publican’, a story of a man who tries to escape his drug dealing family by moving to a small country town and buying a pub, where he finds love. We are just finalising the script.
8. Is there any advice you give to emerging actors?
Don’t wait for the phone to ring. Write a story or contribute to one so that you can play a great role in and then work at getting it made. You will learn more about your passion for the work this way and hopefully create more opportunities for yourself in the future.
9. What is your future sights over the next 5 years?
I would like to be making films around the world with a budget that allows me access to crew and talent that will compete at the highest level.
10. Can you give us 3 names that would be on your wish list to work with in filmmaking?
In the USA I am a fan of Paul Danno, Michael B Jordan and Aubrey Plaza; three young great upcoming actors.
In Australia it’s Alycia Debnam-Carey & Teresa Palmer – Ben Mendelsohn