Film Courage: How long have you been making films?
Brandon Bender: 6 years. It took a while to figure out how to go from script to film…or the idea to script for that matter.
Film Courage: How did you fall in love with filmmaking? Do you love the process?
Brandon: I fell in love with film making based on the impact certain films were having on me. I think the process of making a film is rough, but I have found there are some very special moments while working in a scene that stick with me.
Brandon: I struggle to define filmmaking as a career, only because I would never want to produce something that wasn’t driven by passion. Placing a dollar amount on a project somehow takes away from the authentic nature of a story for me.
Film Courage: Is the pursuit of a movie business career been different than you imagined it would be?
Brandon: I would say my expectations are about right. More than anything I find myself questioning how I want to produce a film and who I want to do it with.
Brandon: The unstable is really a stepping stone or a proving ground for some of the larger format projects I have planned. I produced this film with a lot of passionate people, and a small amount of money. But I wanted something that I could bring before investors to help them get a feel for what’s possible.
Film Courage: What came first, your decision to make a feature film or the idea for THE UNSTABLE?
Brandon: The film is just over 30 minutes, so it’s technically not a feature. But to answer your question the story always comes first. I get inspiration, I script and then I figure out if it should be made into a film.
Film Courage: Why a female lead? Why a vampire story?
Brandon: It worked best for the on screen breakdown of the character. I needed a strong female to rip around on screen. I felt like there would be more compassion there.
Brandon: I went through 9 versions of the script over six months.
Film Courage: Did you submit the film to any film business professionals or screenwriting contests?
Brandon: The film is lined up for 19 festivals & we’ve been accepted so far in Miami & Rome.
Brandon: Once I had a script that felt good, I went for it. I never create with the intent to shelf something.
Film Courage: Every movie has it’s challenges, can you highlight one day in particular where you thought the film may fall through… what was the challenge on that day and how close were you to breaking? What did you learn that day that helped you carry on and finish this movie?
Brandon: As all film’s do, we had problems. The first day on set, we had closed down 6th street and had everyone geared up when the main camera started with issues. At one point I thought we were going to have to film on a junk DSLR. Luckily we made some calls and got it figured out.
Another day I knew we had to get every scene for the day, while the full crew was on set. I over shot my timeline and we ended up filming for 26 hours straight. People were sleeping in between scenes, its was ridiculous.
Film Courage: We love the camera movement we see in THE UNSTABLE, was it a conscious decision you made before production that camera movement was going to be a big part of how you visually told this story? What equipment did you use for those shots?
Brandon: Every shot was storyboarded ahead of time. I always had a intentional look for the film and it’s movements. Sometimes we knocked it out of the park, other times I made a judgement call and moved on. Tight timelines caused that.
Brandon: The film crew was under 20 people. We initially planned for a three day shoot, that turned out to be more like 6 days + some reshoots.
As I mentioned, another day in we filmed for 26 hours straight. That was rough.
Film Courage: What camera and lens package did you have?
Brandon: We shot raw at 2.5 K and have a mix of prime lenses on set.
Film Courage: At what stage of the filmmaking process do you feel you made the biggest mistakes? Any lessons you can pass onto other filmmakers?
Brandon: We changed dialogue a few times towards the start of production, and I wish I would have had more time to focus on refinements.
Film Courage: When did you start thinking about distribution for THE UNSTABLE?
Brandon: I needed to the unstable for myself, so well it will be fun to do a bit of PR in the project. It’s not entirely necessary for me.
Film Courage: Has your distribution strategy changed?
Brandon: It was always my intention to push the film through the festivals and keep screenings limited.
Film Courage: How soon before those reading this will be able to watch the movie?
Brandon: The film will be running the festivals for the next six months. I’ve not decided if I’ll put it out on VOD this year or not.
Brandon: I don’t do a lot of social media, but you can follow my twitter.
Film Courage: How would you like THE UNSTABLE to be remembered?
Brandon: The Unstable should be seen as a example of whats possible with a small budget and minimal resources.
Film Courage: What’s next for you?
Brandon: I am looking at one feature with funding attached. I’m also starting to gear up for investment on one of my own scripts as well.
Brandon Bender is an American film maker & digital entrepreneur, focused on emotion based story telling.
ABOUT THE FILM:
The Unstable is a drama highlighting the biological effects taking place in a young woman, recently bitten by a vampire. With strong focus on the physiological & biological state of Billie Dawn. We are brought down a dark and interesting road as Billie’s body starts feeling herself drawn toward something new.
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