It Was Modeling that Made Me Realize How Big the World Is and That I Was Not the Center of It by Writer/Director Chris Ludwig

Chris_Ludwig_Filmcourage_1
Chris Ludwig – Actor/Model/Filmmaker

 

Film Courage: Where did you grow up? What was life like at home?

 

Chris Ludwig: I grew up in Landover Maryland, our household had its challenges but my parents did the best they could to make me and my sister happy.

 

Film Courage: Which of your parents do you resemble most?

 

Chris: I think I resemble my dad the most, as my sister would say I got the box head and bird nose from him.

 

Chris_Ludwig_Filmcourage_2Film Courage: Did your parents support your creativity?

 

Chris: My dad allowed me to use his VHS camcorder as a kid while me and my sister would dress up in different characters and perform in the living room for the family. I think that was the beginning for me as far as creating characters and enjoying the feeling of entertaining.

 

Film Courage: What were your plans after high school?

 

Chris: I was not sure about what I wanted to do after high school. The only thing I was sure about was that I was tired of school. Part of me was interested in military service and part of me wanted to enter the work force and be independent of my parents.

 

Film Courage: Did you go to film school?

 

Chris: I did not attend film school but with how to books and watching how things work on set while working as an extra I think I had the basics down.

 

Film Courage: How did you get into modeling?

 

Chris: A recruiter talked my mom into enrolling me into classes at John Casablanas school for modeling. Halfway through the program I realized modeling was not for me and acting would be the subject of my interest from that point.

 

Film Courage: What did the modeling business teach you?

 

Chris: The Modeling business gave me my first experience with rejection, as a kid everyone I came across did nothing but tell me how handsome I was and how they loved my look. Then I started going to castings where every kid there was handsome and had the look. It was modeling that made me realize how big the world is and that I was not the center of it.

 

Chris_Ludwig_filmcourage_4

Film Courage: What film made you want to make movies?

 

Chris: Taxi Driver was the film that made me want to write and direct. When I saw Robert Deniro in that dark character and saw the style Martin Scorsese used to carry the audience through the mind of a mentally ill man with good intentions. Taxi Driver was the first film that made me feel like every movie did not have to end on the beach with the sun setting over a man and woman who were kissing passionately. Everything I write and direct now has a “real life” feel to it where things happen for accuracy as oppose to what would be best for the story.

Film Courage: A song that most describes your life?

 

Chris: Green Day’s song Boulevard of Broken Dreams hits home with me. As the song says “I walk alone on this Boulevard of Broken Dreams”. I can relate to always feeling like I am most responsible for everything that happens in my life through success and failure.

Film Courage: What types of stories do you resonate with?

 

Chris: I tend to be attracted to rags-to-riches type stories. I always put myself in the main characters shoes and image fighting through whatever obstacles and challenges on the path to a goal.

 

Chris_Ludwig_filmcourage_5Film Courage: What is the story of AMAZING CHASE about?

 

Chris: Amazing Chase is a story about hard choices and breaking cycles of failure. Chase is the main character who has just finished high school and is immediately faced with life choices when he is denied entry to all colleges he applied. Living in a violent neighborhood with his alcoholic mother Chase can only look to a father who is in prison and a low-life theft best friend for guidance. Amazing Chase tells the story of how life really happens without a lot of Hollywood shine.

 

Film Courage: Is it based on a true story? How did you hear of this story?

 

Chris: Amazing Chase is based on real events that I’ve experienced along with the wild events of the Maryland’s Baltimore city detention center prison corruption that transpired from 2009 to 2011.

 

Film Courage: Is it a feature film or short?

 

Chris: Amazing Chase is the first feature film I wrote and plan to direct.

 

Film Courage: How many other features or shorts have you made prior to beginning AMAZING CHASE? Is this your first film?

 

Chris: I have wrote and directed two short films I started writing spec scripts and short scripts at 15, “Pickup Kid” was my first experience shooting material that I wrote myself. When I filmed “Welcome Home” I had a much better idea about how I wanted to shoot material based on the budget I had and what feel I was going for with the project. Amazing Chase will be my first feature film and we be the product of everything I’ve learn from my experiences writing and directing the two shorts I’ve made.

 

Chris_Ludwig_filmcourage_2

Film Courage: How is everything working against the protagonist in AMAZING CHASE?

 

Chris: Chase has everything working working against him. The story is a common one with urban youth today, growing up in a broken home, lack of education, not having financial support, dealing with police injustices along with fighting the criminal element in the neighborhood. Chase somehow knows he does not fit in the dangerous world he has grown up in and may have to turn his back on the people he loves to survive.

 

Film Courage: What is Slated.com? How did you post AMAZING CHASE on the site?

 

Chris: Slated is a website where filmmakers, investors and industry professionals come together. Filmmakers like myself can connect with investors and share information about our project to get funding.

 

Film Courage: Can people invest in your film, AMAZING CHASE? How?

 

Chris: If you are a verified investor on slated.com you can search AMAZING CHASE and inquire there or you can email us at WestForestFilms@gmail.com and I will make sure you get the investor info. Now on Indiegogo, too!

 

Film Courage: What does it entail to be an investor on someone’s film via Slated? Have you invested in another film?

 

Chris: Investors on slated can view your entire package and decide if your project is something they want to be involved with. On slated investors can see what you have to offer like genre, story, artwork, name actors, director, producers and all crew, you also can should them financial information you already have like your budget and any sales projections you may have. I personally have invested in two projects and were successfully completed.

 

Film Courage: What makes you want to invest in another filmmaker’s project?

 

Chris: I just feel like there are so many great projects that are having trouble getting made because of lack of funding. The funding stage in my opinion is the toughest hurdle for independent filmmakers and as artist if we do not support each other at this level we can’t expect the industry big wigs to listen when we come calling.

 

Film Courage: Have you shot AMAZING CHASE?

 

Chris: No, we are still in the funding stage of pre-production.

 

Film Courage: For your new movie AMAZING CHASE, did you come up with a film budget first (based on your resources available) before coming up with idea? Or was it the other way around of having the idea first?

 

Chris: I had the idea first and later budgeted everything out. As a writer I really don’t like thinking about the financial limitations of a budget, it almost feels like you are handcuffing your creative ideas. After the script is finished I can start to think about my resources and cut down the things I can’t afford to do.

 

Film Courage: What do you envision for the budget?

 

Chris: We have budgeted AMAZING CHASE out to 250k. Every part of pre-production, production and post production is measured out to have a good idea about what we need.

 

Film Courage: How long did it take you to write the first draft? What about rewrites?

 

Chris: It took me five months to write the first draft which is very long but I took my time and didn’t put any stressful deadlines on myself. After the first draft was done is when things got difficult. I found wholes in the story that needed to be filled along with some parts of the story that needed to be cut. When it was all said and done I had rewrote the script five times.
Film Courage: How many people did you share the script with during the writing process?

 

Chris: I am very private with my scripts until I feel it is done. I know its a good idea to share your script with others to get feedback but I don’t like for anyone to read my scripts until I feel it is perfect and then of course its never perfect.

 

Film Courage: How long have you been planning the film? What went into the pre-planning?

 

Chris: I’ve always wanted to write a feature length script but instead of writing about things I had no experience with and spending months researching people, professions and technical details I decided to write from personal experience. I began with an outline of different events that happened in my childhood and built the story from that solid base. From the start of the outline to the end of the first draft took six months. There was a long period of time between the first, second and third drafts that I did not write anything for months. I don’t believe in final drafts because everything can change until you actually shoot the scene so I would say the time between the first draft and the fifth draft was three years. After I felt the script was solid enough to move into pre-production things started to happen faster, dealing with producers, calculating the budget, locations and finding funding which is where we are now.

 

Film Courage: Have you cast all of your actors? Will they be local actors or will you be casting from other states?

 

Chris: We have not cast all the roles but most of the talent will be from New York.

 

Film Courage: Once finished, are you also submitting it to festivals? Are there any other plans for distribution?

 

Chris: Yes, we do plan to submit to festivals and seek distribution worldwide. Do you have any connections?

 

Film Courage: What do you want audiences to gain from watching AMAZING CHASE?

 

Chris: I want to audience to feel the struggle of some youth who grow up in communities that are plagued by crime and inadequate education. I want the audience to relate in a real way to the characters strengths and weaknesses.

 

Film Courage: When did you start your production company West Forest Films?

 

Chris: I started West Forest Films in 2009 for the main purpose of creating the type of film I enjoyed and wanted to see. My advice to anyone wanting to start a production company is don’t be afraid to surround yourself with experienced crew who can guide you through certain challenges rather than wasting tons of time trying to figure things out yourself.

 

Film Courage: Do you take acting classes?

 

Chris: I do not take acting classes but I am not against the idea. I do feel like the business of acting takes advantage of many aspiring actors by suggesting they can not success unless they have a certain school stated on there resume or that they absolutely will not succeed unless they paid for these expensive seminars and showcases to meet casting directors and agents. You can start small working on student films, shorts and commercials to build a solid reel and people will come calling for you rather than you jumping through hoops just to meet the associate casting director of Blue Bloods.

 

Chris_Ludwig_filmcourage_3(1)Film Courage: One movie you wish you’d personally made every time you watch it?
Chris: Every time I watch casino I wish I would have made it. Again the Scorsese/Dinero collaboration was magic but also the 1970’s vegas scenes with an amazing story based on real people and real events. As a writer/director it would be heaven to have of those elements to work with.

 

Film Courage: How plentiful is acting work in DC? How ‘location friendly’ is it to local filmmakers?

 

Chris: Acting work in DC is anemic compared to New York and LA. There is a growing short film and Web series world in DC but outside of the big government and monuments downtown there is not much to attract filmmakers to the area.

 

Film Courage: Can you recount to us an amazing day on set for you (or on a modeling shot)?

 

Chris: I remember the day I worked on BULLET with Danny Trejo, it was a special day for me meeting a legend like Danny and finding him to be a real dude and not some
Hollywood figure. The weather was perfect in LA and we were shooting a scene on a warehouse rooftop near downtown. There was a moment when I was standing behind the monitors watching a take when I felt at home, right here on a set working with amazing people and being creative. Its that special moment in your life when you confirm to yourself that you made the right choices about what to do with your interest and life in general.

 

Film Courage: Biggest supporter in your life?

 

Chris: My mother of course has always had my back. From the days of performing for her and family in the living room to allowing me to attend modeling/acting classes and paying for it and still to this day anytime I have a idea or interests in anything related to expressing myself she is always pushing me forward. She has never told me “No don’t pursue that any further” its always been “Go for it”.

 

Film Courage: Quote or mantra that you live by?

 

Chris: I am a bit anti-mantra and hate cliches. If I absolutely had to pick one it would be the famous “Just do it”-Nike

 

Film Courage: What’s next for you creatively?

 

Chris: I will continue to write as I try to get my first feature made along with helping my friends with their projects in anyway I can.

 

 

 

BIO:

Chris Ludwig was born and raised in Washington DC where he found a interest in modeling and acting at a young age. Chris attending the John Casablancas school for modeling and fell in love with acting during the on-camera classes while at the school. After signing with well known DC area talent manager Linda Townsend Chris began appearing in film and tv projects that were shot nearby in Baltimore as well as his hometown of DC. Chris worked on shows like NBC’s Homicide: Life on the Street and HBO’s mini-series The Corner. While in high school Chris began writing original plays to be preformed locally by friends who also shared a interest in acting. It was inevitable that the next step for Chris was to pick up a camera and start directing and thats exactly what he did. Chris has written and directed two short films under his company West Forest Films and is now in pre-production for his first feature film titled Amazing Chase.

 

CONNECT WITH CHRIS LUDWIG:

IMDB
Indiegogo
Twitter
Facebook
Official site