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Interview with upcoming anarchy-inspired short “Kit Fraicher” film-makers Aaron Guthrie and Dominic Bergmaier

kitfraicher“When things get too safe, too boring and too square everybody’s favourite goodie two shoes of the small village South Berry takes a turn nobody saw coming. 10-year-old Kit Fraicher shakes the ground as he declares himself an anarchist and gives the townspeople of South Berry the finger.

Kit Fraicher is a boy with a good life that seeks to get out of his comfort zone to explore what the world around him is, and what he himself is made of. The journey out of the comfort zone is a bumpy one full of unexpected twists and turns, angry neighbours and overly pimped tricycles.”

Welcome to the Writesofluid blog, Aaron and Dominic!

How did you guys meet? What’re your roles in the project?

Dominic: We met through the university of Westminster, as for our roles I am directing the film and Aaron is producing it. There is no one owner of the film and by us presenting it as a film by Dominic and Aaron we want to honour the film being a collaborative effort.

Aaron: Yeah, it was University that introduced us to each other; specifically it was a documentary project, which I was producing and Dom on camera. From then it was evident that our personalities were fitting to each other, and yeah, that’s how it started.

Producer Aaron Guthrie & Director Dominic Bergmaier
Producer Aaron Guthrie & Director Dominic Bergmaier

What inspired you to write, and produce, this story?

Dominic: The idea itself came from my good friend Sam Elsen and it was simply so amazing and so vivid in my mind that it slowly and almost by itself took shape through sketches and post-it notes on my wall. The story was quite easy to write as I lately too have felt the need and urge to rebel against a lot of things that are going on in my life at the moment. It helped me realise a thing or two about the state of mind which I find myself in and I hope others may benefit from it too.

Aaron: Dom showed me the script for the first time in our kitchen over bread and jam. I knew instantly this story was one that had to be told. For me, it wasn’t instantly obvious what it was about the story, but after some reflection I came to the conclusion that the character of Kit Fraicher is also a significant part of my character – the need to question authority, to deliberate on societal norms and so on. Right then, we agreed that this story is being told no matter what.

“Challenges make you discover things about yourself that you never really knew. They’re what make the instrument stretch-what make you go beyond the norm.”

Judging by the above quote, and your responses to the previous question, it seems that the film is about more than just celebrating anarchy. Would you say that the making of this film is also a sort of personal therapy, which will hopefully inspire others too?

Aaron: Absolutely. We’re very carefully handling this topic of anarchy and pure rebellion. To me it’s not just a blind stab to have a character pushing and shoving himself around upsetting all around him. It’s part of a wider attitude of rethinking, rediscovering, and through that, uncovering something about you that you didn’t know before. By putting yourself in those situations, where you wouldn’t normally go, you find out more about your own character, your own thinking, and how it changes you.

I was impressed by the professionalism of your approach to fund-raising. Is this something you’ve learnt during film-related studies at the University of Westminster, or elsewhere?

Dominic: It does not come from the university although I wish it did. I think we needed to get out where things are a bit more unsafe and a bit more risky so we threw ourselves into it. The quality of the Kickstarter comes from a massive amount of research and constant re-writes. The honest opinion of good friends and the people who surround us, has made this project what it is. That is where the real credit lies.

Aaron: I must agree with Dominic when he says that the approach to gain funding through Kickstarter was not something taught, or even talked about at University. I must say, the tutors were behind our backs the entire time, aiding in any way they possibly could. However, the drive, the passion, the thirst, to go down this avenue came from this partnership. We could most definitely not have got where we are without the help of the University tutors and also our filmmaking companions, who were meticulous in questioning our motives, leading to a well thought out and hopefully clear campaign.

Would you recommend courses such as University degrees as a way of getting into the film-making industry? What’ve your experiences been like so far? Have you learnt from other sources/experiences as well?

Aaron: If I was to give ‘advice’ to a young person thinking about the ‘best way’ of getting into the film industry I would first of all say there is no one way. I can’t tell someone to go the University way or not. I can only tell my experiences and for them to evaluate them and apply onto themselves.

It’s about finding the way that works for you.

For me, I try to act like a root of a plant, to spread my roots. For example; to get into as many different avenues in the industry as possible to scout/see what’s going on. I chose the University way for a simple reason; to make connections.

Meeting people is one of the key things one must do to get a foot in the door. You never know when you need to call on someone to help you out.

University set me up with that. Also, for studying film theory and history. It’s invaluable for you to study past works of film. How filmmakers have done it before.

I feel that if you travel down the University route, it’s too late to start thinking about getting into the industry when you’ve finished your University course. I began an internship at a music video and commercial production company, where I learned so much. Yeah okay, I was sitting typing Word documents and writing treatments, but I was IN THE BUILDING. I was the fly on the wall, watching on when times are tough, and people are scrambling to find solutions. I simply saw how they went about business.

A final word: Don’t just try to open as many doors as possible, kick them right open.

Dominic: I think I would recommend university as a way to get into the industry for some people but it really depends on the person. At the end of the day it’s all about you and your attitude though.

I think no matter where you are you can make your way.

Make good friends, friends that you believe in and who believe in you and fight to make it happen.

You’ve got a very pro-team attitude, whereby you place a lot of trust and creative freedom in your team members. This must foster a really enthusiastic environment. Has it helped the project to develop and take off in a better way that it would have if you’d been going it alone?

Dominic: It would not be the same film if it wasn’t for the various people dropping into the production office contributing with their thoughts and ideas. The film itself is based on an idea from Sam Elsen. The teaser that you see comes from Rhianna Rizvi our production manager and a lot of the amazing camera work came from our DP at the teaser George Telling and so on. We have set some principles for the production and the must for a creative collaboration was one of them. What Kit Fraicher has become is the fruits of this principle. There is no doubt that this approach has helped the film become something very special and unique. It has opened us up to a new stream of thoughts about what good filmmaking really is.

Aaron: Isn’t it a mutual feeling within everyone; to have their thoughts and comments be appreciated? People become comfortable within the team, and thus feeling confident in their job. It opens up the entire team to speak free their mind. It creates this electric atmosphere of everyone working together towards one goal. There exists no counter productive mentalities in our team because of this, however in saying that, sometimes issues arise. It’s just the way they are treated that allow the strong team to remain.

I could not work happily in myself if someone in the team thinks that they can’t speak up to the ‘title’ – as in whatever the Director or Producer says goes. I think that is a mentality that shouldn’t exist in filmmaking.

kitcampaign

What made you choose Kickstarter as a way of funding your film?

Aaron: Kickstarter seemed like a great tool to use. If you believe in your idea, you pitch it effectively, have people back the project, you receive funding to create this idea with total creative freedom. It’s a resource that we haven’t used before and we were prepared to go at it.

You need £10, 000 by the 19th September. What’ll happen if you don’t make it to your target?

Dominic: If we don’t make it, the film Kit Fraicher will be delayed but it will be made sooner or later. There are a lot of different ways to fund a film and we are ready to try them all.

Aaron: Yes, right now we’re on a little uneasy ground. We’re at an intersection where there are many options for the film, and where there are many questions I ask myself. Without being like one of those secretive filmmaking types, where everything is top secret until it’s done (which I detest), we aren’t sufficiently ready to announce what’s next. We’re still in our Kickstarter campaign, sweating blood and tears to try to make it work.

Fingers crossed that you reach the target! When can we hope to watch the finished product, and how will we be able to do so?

Aaron: Well yes, hopefully! It’s not within our nature to give up. Given the possibility of not receiving funding through Kickstarter, its release will just simply be delayed until we get onto the right sprinting track. It’s hard to say at this moment, but it will be available soon.

What advice would you give other film-makers who are considering producing their own short film via crowd-funding?

Aaron: Preparation and more preparation. You can’t do enough research into this process. Through looking into other campaigns, the people behind them, finding out how it worked for them is key. Then after finding out this information, you can apply it to your own campaign. Crowd-funding is a relatively new way of getting the money to do what you love. It’s a wonderful system that some people gain massively from. With a solid understanding of the process, it will stand you in good stead for success.

Dominic: I would tell them to put three to four months into targeting their audience. There is a lot of helpful material out there to help you understand what it takes to create the network and momentum you really need in order to make it happen. Good luck and have fun!

Thanks so much for chatting with us, and best of luck with the Kickstarter campaign!

The trailer:

Find out more:

Kickstarter page: http://kck.st/164W7cp

Kit’s website: www.kitfraicher.com

Check Kit’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KitFraicher

Follow Kit on Twitter: www.twitter.com/kitfraicher

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