We at I'm With Geek have always supported genuine talent and prominent film-makers look to make their step in the industry. After all, they are the award winners of the future.
And luckily, we're talking to our favourite budding director Josh Crooks about his upcoming film Narcissists.
Narcissists is a neo-noir crime movie which tells the story of three characters: a closeted cop with a darker secret, a P.I with drink related issues and a high level mobster struggling with boredom.
How difficult was it creating your first feature?
Errm... Very? For me, personally, I don't think it was too hard, showing up for meetings with everybody and talking about what was going to happen. The whole process was a lot of talking, a lot of prep. The shoot itself was a 17 day endurance that would break and inspire you're soul on any given day but it was all worth it. By comparison, editing was a lovely experience! Simply bringing everything together.
How was the transition from shorts to longer movies?
Everything you need down the chain multiplies and then some: you need 10 pages of storyboards for that 6 minute short you're working on for example, you now need to produce 150! I don't think anyone was truly ready for the work load, but thankfully our core crew had plenty of help from people who would come on and do a day or so. Special thanks to those people, you held us all together.
What inspired the film?
Bits and pieces I guess but nothing too direct. The first thing I wrote was the Inspector's opening scene (which itself is a nod to the video game: Max Payne) around eight years ago, and stipulated everything else from there. It wasn't until I saw The Place Beyond the Pines that I realised telling each of the three stories one after the other would benefit the narrative. On a smaller scale there are references in dialogue to films like Chinatown etc, I'm a big crime fan who doesn't ever want to tell the same story twice. Narcissists was my way of getting out everything in one sitting.
Auditions, and then simple role plays/read through. They had to be able to emote in the ways we needed to be but also be friendly enough to work with us for such a long amount of time and not get the Hollywood money they deserve. I love all of them, can't wait to work with them again.
You have an incredible eye for visuals, what gives you the keen eye for stunning aesthetics?
Well thank you, but I think it's all just experience, and experience is relative. We had worked with a similar crew of people before and had the privilege of picking the people we loved to come aboard this project which allowed us to really fly; specifically in the visual realm. Myself and DoP Nik Nemeth know what we need to on the technical front and because of our backgrounds have an interesting mix of iconography to choose from. Hers being an Eastern European one whereas I (living in England) could cherry pick what does and doesn't inspire me.
What difficulties have you run into?
Lots of things, everything was difficult. It's not even that I can say the typical thing of: "It was mayhem but when everyone got to the set, magic happened, everything fell into place". Magic did happen but at no point was I under any illusion that we didn't work really f*****g hard to make it so. Technically shooting this film on around £500 made things difficult, but we did it, and I'm endlessly proud of that.
How important is feedback in your developing career?
100%, I'm not a Tim Burton type character who believes solely that his vision is the right one. I have lots of stories that I want to tell, and if someone has a better way of telling them I'll listen. Like Tim... I don't always put them into place but I like to think listening to the notes I've applied was the right decision, the same as ignoring the ones I haven't was. Making a film is a developmental process and requires a lot of work from a lot of people, I don't think there's any other way to work.
They supplied us with the equipment we needed (most of the time) but ultimately made things more difficult. You would have thought that the unlikely-ness of an idea would inspire them to help us more, but on more than one occasion, I would argue that they actively tried to hold us back and sabotage the production. It's all politics really, our ambitions overshot what the university was willing to allow, and we suffered for it.
What legendary filmmakers do you admire?
Fincher is a big inspiration, there's a certain level of punk anger that comes out in his films, a rage and a fire that I love. He couples that with unwatered down adult stories and killer cinematography. He's definitely someone I aspire to, he's the Bill Hicks of film-makers. But saying all this, I will watch most things. I was as likely to go and see Boyhood this summer as I was How to Train Your Dragon 2 (both were excellent). I like to think I'm not a film snob despite being told otherwise.
Whats next for you?
There are lots of things we want to do (a One Bad Day sequel being high on my list) but actively we're perusing a TV pilot I have written called: Bear With Me. It actually has somewhat of an interesting link with I’m With Geek as the idea was formulated between myself and your Games editor, Ben Mapp. It's been a long time coming and is a complete departure from Narcissists with it essentially being a sitcom so I'm excited. Hopefully we can start shooting that this November and be showing it to the likes of yourself as well as television commissioning panels in the new year. As for film, there is an idea for a playfully small flick about Iraq, but we are in the super early stages of that one. Hopefully by the time Bear with Me is finished we'll be set to start making both more episodes to complete the series and the film to boot."
You can read about our review of the first cut of Narcissists here.