DCP: 

Where did the idea for Dependent's Day come from?

 

Michael David Lynch:

I saw this growing trend of amazing strong woman that are breadwinners and I thought it would be fun, to not only put that on display, but show the contrast of these strong woman with a character like Cam that represents the man-child’s of todays society. There’s lots of themes and ideas that I threaded into the DNA of this film. Society is constantly telling us what we need to be happy, but rarely do we allow our own heart to tell us what it desires. This film also challenges what society says should be the norm, and what our hearts desire. With humor and comedy being used to help show these themes in an interesting way so it doesn’t come off as preachy, but hopefully audiences will laugh and relate. Or think to themselves, wow I know people just like that. Or I’m a Cam or I’m an Alice who has been supporting a Cam. My wife Kristine Lynch is also one of the strongest and most grounded woman I know. I wanted to make a film that reflected the world I live in not the one the media is brainwashing us to believe we live in. I wanted to break stereotypes. I’m happy that we allow Alice (Robledo) to be a strong, smart woman that is allowed to be complicated and not bitchy or labeled a “Shrew”. I want to be a progressive filmmaker, that puts out responsible messaging behind my films. Why not use humor to help get the message out there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DCP:

What were some of the more fun/easier things about making this film?

 

MDL:

Working with my actors. I had so much fun directing them, and working with them in rehearsals and on set. I had fun exploring the characters with them. It was important for me to focus on pulling out the best performances from the actors, especially because I saw Dependent’s Day as a great ensemble cast. From the very first day of shooting Joe Burke and Benita Robledo on my iphone, in my kitchen while they were doing a chemistry read, I was laughing. I had fun laughing throughout the entire process while making this movie. I’m a people person, so being able to collaborate with them was a pleasure and play on set. Not only did I enjoy shooting the film, but working with Jamey Scott (sound designer), Robert Troy (Dialogue Editor) and David Giammarco (Sound Re-Recording Mixer) who did a fantastic job of making our audio sound amazing and just as high quality than any big budget Hollywood theatrical release. It’s fun as a director to work with such amazing people who are professionals and allow me to play with them. That was the entire vibe of making DD, was having fun. We didn’t allow any negative or cancerous people into our team. Everyone feels like they are a huge apart of Dependent’s Day and that’s what made it easy. No mercenaries, all teammates.

 

DCP:

To you, what were some of the more challenges things about making this film?

 

MDL:

It took a long time to get the score just right. Music is too important to settle. I’m a music lover. I need to love the music. While I was making Dependent’s Day I was also directing a feature Documentary called Victor Walk. I was going back and forth from directing DD to directing VW. I was editing Dependent’s Day at my house, afterwards I would drive over to Paul Gordon’s house my Victor Walk editor (also an EP on Dependent’s Day) and give notes and feedback on his cuts. After I picture locked Dependent’s Day, while I was waiting on music, I had Paul move his edit bay into my office. So I was focused on locking Victor Walk while I was waiting for music cues to approve for Dependent’s Day. It took us over a year to find the right composers and get the right music to make an amazing score/sound track. The film doesn’t have that much music in it, almost 50 minutes has no music at all of the 90 minute total run time. Which is why it’s so important to me to make sure the music that is there is elevating the film and not making it cheesy. There’s always a fine line with music. My wife also has a great ear, she’s also an Executive Producer on the film and she gives the best notes on music. Not having access to lots of funds made it difficult to achieve a great score, which is why they always say you can only pick two – Good, Fast or Cheap. I picked Good and Cheap. So it took much longer then I had anticipated, and being distracted by the documentary also slowed down the process. But it’s all worth it when you have two great films that I’m very proud of. I’m happy that our music is up to my standards and I love it! We finally got there and made great music. Plus we licensed “Somebody to Love” by Jefferson Airplane. That song is incredibly iconic and adds a lot to them film. Especially a film about love.

 

DCP:

Let's talk about your fantastic cast - How did you pick your cast, and what was it like working with everyone?

 

MDL:

I really wanted to find an ensemble cast that would reflect the current world we live in. Since I moved to LA I have grown a great network of friends and peers that I was able to reach out to, and find my cast. Since Dependent’s Day was a low budget film, there weren’t going to be trailers on set. I believe film is a team sport and we needed team players. Ironically enough Joe Burke was an extra in my short science fiction film Burden. He was one out of 500 extras that ran away from the alien invasion on the streets of Chicago’s board of trade building. So technically we met in film school at Columbia College Chicago. Where I also met Josh Staman from film school and had been friends with him ever since. I’m proud of casting Josh, because before that moment he wasn’t an actor. This is Josh’s first big role in a feature film, and I think he’s fantastic in the film. No one would know this is his first film after watching how natural he is. Before shooting began one of the actors was begging me to cast a "real actor", but I told them to have faith. After they saw the film they retracted that statement and agree Josh is great. Shannon Lucio, Bertila Damas, Javier Ronceros I knew personally from other projects, so I was able to call them directly. Shannon who has been a great supporter of mine and really believed in me and the project, helped by calling her friends Ashley Dyke, Charlie Hofheimer, Lisa Ann Walter and Eugene Byrd to see if they would be interested in this project. Once they were interested I would conduct a phone interview talking to them about the way I wanted to make this movie and about their characters. Most of the conversations would end up being us talking about their characters and our philosophies of life and filmmaking. A true grass roots way of casting the film. Erin Pineda who plays Kathryn, was recommended to me by Jules Wilcox while Jules and I were on set shooting her scenes as the bar owner. Everyone who we put in the film, I made sure I watched anything they had available online, and was able to have a good conversation with them and/or rehearse with them too. If you can’t talk to someone it’s not going to work. There has to be a level of trust on both sides. When I called Todd Bridges, he was really excited about his role to play one of the Dads. He hadn’t played a role like that and thought it would be a nice stretch. It was always about making every actor feel special and understand that I did want everyone, to get their moment to shine.

 

DCP:

What were some things you learned about working on movies and sets that you brought to working on this film?

 

MDL:

Every bit life experience counts. Everything I learned I poured into making this movie work. This business is about relationships, and understanding how to work with people to bring the best out of them. I always tell my team members we need to set everyone up for success. No one is going to put as much love into our film as you are. So allow them to focus on the specialized skills that you need them to do, and avoid having the specialist doing tasks that you or others can set up for them to save time. Saving their time is more then just time, it’s also moral. Keeping a high moral is super important. You want everyone on your team to be able to be their best. As a leader it's our job to set them up for success.

 

Working on films directed by Chris Nolan or Michael Bay showed me that no matter how big the budget, they are still worried about being on budget, and not over spending their money. I have been on 500K films where the director’s ego is so huge they think for 500K they can have an assistant do half their job and they don’t understand the realities of independent film. On dependent’s Day I had to Shoot, Edit and produce the film in addition to writing and directing.

 

I have been lucky that I also make a living as a cinematographer, producer, line producer, camera operator or editor. By wearing those different hats and having a deep understanding of everyone’s job on set not just my own. That helped me prepare for making Dependent’s Day. From working on giant sets to the smallest set in film school there is always something to learn. Be kind to people. Make sure as the director you have done the homework, so when everyone shows up you can lead the ship with haste. I believe everyone wants to help you create a great film. So don’t turn loyal crew or cast into a broken person who no longer has the ability to care about your film. You want everyone on set to put love into making the movie. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DCP:

What are some of your favorite films that have stuck with you or that consistently inspires you?

 

MDL:

The Big Lebowski, Star Wars 4-6, Superman (Richard Donner’s version), Childern of Men and As Good As It Gets plus (Pretty much anything Stanley Kubrick Directed is brilliant. I worship Kubrick! He was the best) Most recently I loved Deadpool and Guardians of the Galaxy. Who doesn’t love baby Groot?

 

DCP:

What is one thing about yourself that most people don't know about you?

 

MDL:

I’m not just a filmmaker, but I play hockey at least 2 times a week. That’s what happens when you are born in Michigan. I think that’s another reason I love saying film is a team sport. Because there’s a special bond you get when you are on the same team. There is a team sacrifice and team commitment that teaches great discipline. I always try to bring everyone together, and make them feel apart of the team. There’s nothing better than after a long day, or at the start of the day, then getting on that ice, hitting around that puck and getting some goals with your friends.

     

DCP:

If you could work with anyone on a film, living or dead, who would it be and why?

 

MDL:

Kubrick’s the Shinning, so I could have seen him working with Jack. Or any Kurbick film really, 2001, Full Metal Jacket, Dr. Stranglove and yes I could keep going on and on. Anything to see more of his process so I could learn! He was the best of the best.   

 

DCP: 

Can you talk about any upcoming projects you have on the horizon?

 

MDL:

I have optioned a script called “Identity” which is similar to the comic Gotham Central, but it has our own twist and special original story to it that’s going to really excite comic book fans. This will be my low budget film that will have some of those superhero roots that I started with my short film Burden. Identity is written by Carl Reid. I’m also currently writing a script with Ryan Fogle that will be just as funny as Dependent’s Day, but will also have more serious themes and plots.

 

I have a documentary called Victor Walk, about ex-NHL Star Theo Fleury, who won a Stanley Cup in 1989 with the Calgary Flames, and a gold medal in the Olympics for team Canada, but recently came out that he was sexually abused by his coach. So to bring awareness and help create stronger laws, Theo walked from Toronto to Ottawa which is 250 miles in 10 days. As we walked people would pull over and tell us their stories. This film is about helping turn victims into victors because surviving is too hard for most people. This film will hopefully be world premiering in June. It’s a film that I hope will help lots of people find their voice and inner strength.  

 

 

Filmmaker Q&A Michael David Lynch

by Phillip Wilcox "Our Movie Demon"

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