HISCOX FILMMAKER Q&A: HOMESTATE
What inspired you to come up with the idea for the film? Why did you want to tell this story?
David and I met on a film called Spring Eddy in Austin a couple years ago and we kept in touch. While he was directing a stage production in Los Angeles we started talking about shooting something small and insular in Austin. That conversation turned into 3 long weekends of writing the script over the course of a year and then we went right into production. We wanted to tell a story about the inherent flaws of the human experience and how they can be passed down through family relations.
How do you relate to your characters or subjects?
The film was a bit of a social experiment. The script was written knowing we would be utilizing director David Hickey’s home and family in Austin. Lead actor, Blaise Miller (Josh) lived on set for 2 1/2 months with David, his wife Shaneye and their daughter Grace (Harvey, Crystal and Pearl). We immersed ourselves in the project and blurred the lines between reality and fiction. Family really is family in this slice of life drama.
What aspect of the story changed the most during writing and production?
The story never really changed. Since we were living at the home of David, Shaneye and Grace while Blaise lived in the trailer on the back of their property, we were able to use this unique experience to help shape the characters and bring more authenticity to the project. They lived it on and off camera which helped bring about a realistic, natural family dynamic.
What was the most courageous decision you or your crew made during production?
The film was shot primarily at one location over 13 days which helped minimize shoot days. Every other location was within a mile radius of our central location. Our 1st AD Glen Moorman recommended we shoot the 3 men’s group scenes that take place over the entirety of the film on the first day shoot day. It was a largest number of cast members present at once. It was definitely a bold call we hadn’t thought about but it ended up setting the tone and made the rest of the shoot much smoother. Also, bringing on our costume designer Amy Maner was a huge get because we shot out of order and had a ton of costume changes.
Were there any risks that you faced during production and how did you find a way to embrace them?
The biggest risk was the Texas weather. We were pretty clear until the last day of production when a huge storm came through and caused some major flooding. The storm moved in quick, everyone jumped into action, grabbing gear and whatever they could. As soon as the last piece of equipment was safe and dry the sky opened on us. We dug a trench to divert water from flooding the house and waited it out. Everyone got home safe and that is how we wrapped principal photography.
What influenced the visual style of the film?
We wanted to make an Americana film and were influenced by the look and feel of films of the 70’s. The goal was something raw and intrusive that would make the audience feel like they are a part of the film. Our visual style was real team effort. We lucked out when our director of photography PK Munson came on board bringing production designer Scott Perez, gapher Scott Cremeens and key grip Wes Ahl. We shot on two Cannon C300’s with cinema prime lenses. Producer Kelly Lipscomb rounded out the team on “B” camera.
What risks did you take to tell your story?
The only risk was telling a story and showing it to an audience but that risk is why you tell the story. Our movie ends in a way that may divide audiences but as long as a conversation is had we feel like it was all worth it. Other than that, David letting an entire film crew into his home for 13 days was a possible risk to his marriage!
How would you encourage others to tell their story or manage through the process of screenwriting or film producing?
Find a story you want to tell and don’t stop until it’s screening in front of an audience. There will be obstacles but keep your head down until you have done what you set out to do. Step lively.
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