Recently I have been given the opportunity to interview someone who’s no stranger to the TV and Film Industry. Who you may ask? Well it’s none other then Mr. Nicholas Treeshin.
The name of the film is LEAVE US ALONE. The trailer alone will get your attention, it did for me when I was given the website by mutual friend of ours. I’ll have the trailer at the end of the interview.
I will let this interview and the trailer reel you in. And on that note, here’s my interview. I hope you enjoy.
KF: How did you get the idea for this project?
NT: I’ve had this story in the back of my mind for many years now. Growing up in the Canadian prairies I always had a fascination with wide open spaces. Even though farmland can look so beautiful and serene in pictures, when you’re walking alone on a large piece of land it can be very scary. If someone wanted to dispose of something or hide something, a large farm in the middle of nowhere would be a perfect place to do it. Additionally, I’ve always been a fan of science fiction. When you look up at the stars from a farmer’s field on a moonless summer night, the sky comes alive. You can’t experience the bright sky like that from the city. If we ever make contact with travelers from another world, I’m more interested in the personal side of the story. We’ve seen so many times before the image of a spacecraft landing on the Whitehouse lawn; I’m more interested in a story where the FBI and the men in black suits don’t turn up. Making a deal with someone not of this Earth is almost like making a deal with the Devil…it’s always a gamble.
KF: Will this movie be available to purchase?
NT: As of right now we’re heading into our film festival run (our LA premiere is at Screamfest this year) so we’re looking to build interest and share our film with audiences in a personal way for the time being, but in the not too distant future my producers and I will be shopping the film for distribution, so I’ll let you know when and where it becomes available.
KF: Did you already know who you wanted to play each character?
NT: No. I had such a clear idea of who the characters were that when we cast the film I could tell right away who was the right choice. The casting director Stuart Aikins brought in excellent actors for each role, and when Leah (Gibson) walked into the room I knew we had our Sam. After only a few lines I knew she was perfect. She got the character instantly, and balanced the carefree and serious sides to her character perfectly. Phil Granger who played the Sheriff was actually cast off of his demo reel. I knew right away he was our guy. He combines his role of authority with a gentle nature, and was the perfect foil for Sam. Their chemistry together was wonderful to watch.
KF: How long was the writing process for making this film?
NT: Once I had the initial concept, and committed to a short film format, it took me 2 months to write. I’ve written features before, and funny enough, this short was the most difficult thing I’ve ever written. Getting the tone right, and making sure each word earned it’s way into the script was a battle. Good sci-fi short stories always seem to give you just enough of the tale to let your imagination fill in the blanks, and that’s what I wanted to do here, write something that keeps the audience engaged. I think sci-fi fans make very smart audiences, and I feel good sci-fi films should respect that.
KF: What advice would you give someone wanting to get into this form of the entertainment business?
NT: Write. Write. Write. Film. Film. Film. You learn by doing. Start small. Write a 5 page story (something simple/something you know), grab a digital camera, get your friends to be in it, edit it on a laptop, get a friend who plays an instrument to do the music for it, and make a film that’s all you. All the gear that you need to make a film is readily available these days. The key is to practice. Write, direct, and edit many films to hone your craft. Once you feel like you have something that you’re proud of, start showing people and get their feedback. If you like TV try to get a job in TV, if you like film, try to get a job in film. The key is to hone your craft and be working around other people in the industry that inspire you and that one day may take notice of your work. If you want to be a golf pro you should work at a golf course, if you want to make French pastry you should probably work in a bakery, same goes for film.
KF: Who is/was your biggest supporter?
NT: That would be my wife. She believed in me when no one else did and that kept me positive. It’s a tough road to travel when no one will give you a job, and no one will read your scripts, so if you have one person that supports you consider yourself lucky. Never give up, ever.
KF: From all the other movies and TV shows you’ve been a part of,, was this the most challenging to accomplish?
NT: Yes. It’s the most ambitious project I’ve ever taken on, and we didn’t have any money to do it, well…aside from feeding the crew, paying for insurance, and the odd rental here and there. I owe a lot to my producers Hayden Baptiste and Rodney Davidson from Wandering Worx Films. They believed in my vision and helped make it happen. That’s what makes an excellent producer, someone who supports the director’s vision, orchestrates everything from pre-production, to shooting, to the final output, making sure everything is taken care of, organized, on time, and on budget. Haha, we didn’t have a budget which made their job even tougher. I can’t thank them enough, and hope to work with them again in the very near future.
KF: How long did it take to film ‘Leave Us Alone’?
NT: We shot the film in 3 and a half days.
KF: And how did it get its name?
A: Great question. I find naming films a tricky business. You don’t want something that’s too on the nose or too esoteric. For me, the title “Leave Us Alone” explains how Sam feels, how her grandfather felt, and how the so-called travellers feel. But, when someone tells you to leave them alone what happens? Usually we can’t help ourselves and we end up bugging them. It’s in human nature to be curious, and as the old saying goes, “curiosity killed the cat.” You’ll have to see the film to see just how dangerous curiosity can be.
KF: If you could describe in one word about everyone involved with this short film, what would it be?
NT: If you’re asking me to describe in one word the people involved in making this film it would be “passionate”. Nothing would have been done if it weren’t for everyone’s passion in the project and in the story.
KF: With the challenges of writing a script, have you ever thought of writing a book?
NT: I’ve thought of writing a book many times, but because my first love is film I always gravitate to writing screenplays. It’s not that a book can’t be visual, they’re more visual in my opinion, it’s just that my brain works in a way where I tell stories through cinematic convention. A pan, a tilt, a rack focus…these are all crafted manoeuvres, you could call them tools, used to tell stories in the film world. It’s how I think when I write or tell a story, so screenplays are where my stories live…for now.
KF: Is there someone who you have never worked with yet who you would love to?
NT: As a writer director I have many idols, and people I’d like to meet, but if it were someone I were to collaborate with I’d have to say at the moment I find Neill Blomkamp to be the leader in quality science fiction. I know he’s a writer director himself, but because of his intelligence, attention to detail, insane visual effects knowledge, passion for stories that matter, and his fun genre-style way of shooting, I could see him being an excellent collaborator. He’s so versed in so many aspects of film-making, and has such clear ideas and opinions that I feel he’d be an amazing ally when developing or making a film.
KF: Do you have any other short films in the works?
NT: I have a feature film project that’s in the works but I’m not talking about it just yet.
KF: What has this experience taught you about yourself?
NT: This experience has taught me that it’s important to take the time to refine your script to the point where you love every word. If it doesn’t work on the page it rarely works on set. Make sure to surround yourself with great people, as they will help you make your film the best it can be. Always go with your gut. If you know you didn’t get the performance in 6 takes, make sure you go a 7th, an 8th, whatever…until you get it right. It takes so much time and effort to get you to that point of shooting your film that you need to make sure you get it right and that you’re satisfied. I was shooting a scene for a TV show once and our wireless monitors went down. The scene had a whole bunch of kids that had to run over to a bunch of cupcakes and dive in and start eating. The sun was going down, we were losing the light, and I didn’t feel like we got the shot I needed. The DOP looked at me dead in the eye and said, “we got it.” But I wasn’t sure we did. I trusted him, and went against my gut, and sure enough in the edit suite a few days later I saw that he didn’t get the shot. It’s not the DOP, the sound man, or the actors in the edit suite, it’s you…the director, and it’s your responsibility to get the shot. I learned a good lesson that day and every day I’m working, and that’s to always trust your gut. During Leave Us Alone there was a similar situation where the sun was going down, and a beautiful wide shot that I wanted was looking like it was going to get scratched. The co-producer Riley Walsh came over to me and said, “Are you sure, we’re here, let’s make time and get the shot.” I’m so glad he said that because it was important that we did, and my gut was hungry for that shot. We got it, and it’s one of the iconic shots of the film. Such a good lesson, trust your gut and surround yourself with good people. Thanks Riley.
KF: I wish to thank you for this opportunity to help promote this great film. If fans wish to contact you, is there an address where they can reach you?
NT: My twitter is fine. @NTreeshin
KF: Again, thank you for this opportunity.
NT: It was my pleasure. All the best.
Here are some BTS pictures thanks to Mr. Treeshin, with the movie trailer to follow.
Thank you for popping by IN THE KNOW. I hope you enjoyed reading about this awesome new film. And a big thank you for Mr. Treeshin for taking the time to answer some questions. Good luck and much success with all your future projects.
I would also like to thank a friend of mine, Brian McCaig, for giving me the heads up about this great film. Much success to everyone involved. I can’t wait to see for myself. 🙂
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Until next time.