Interviews

Published on February 23rd, 2018 | by Biz Books

Crazy8s2018: Producer Spotlight

BizBooks.net is pleased to support Crazy8s2018.

In this interview, we talked to Kris McRonney and Kristyn Stilling about producing their Crazy8s films, Shuttlecock and Extra-Ordinary Amy.

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Can you start by telling us a little bit about you and the film you are involved with?

Kris McRonney: Born and raised in Toronto, I moved to Vancouver in the spring of 2006. Having taken a hiatus from acting I decided to get back in the game once I moved out here. Fast forward to 2014 I ended up making an attempt at getting a grant through Telus STORYHIVE and we ended up wishing the $10k grant for the Pilot and $50K for the rest of the web series called Night Owl High and so begun my journey into becoming a Producer. Since then I have had the pleasure of producing several short films Sonder, The Things I Couldn’t Say and Paper Cranes to name a few.

The short film I’m currently working on for Crazy8s is called Extra-Ordinary Amy and its about a young girl who struggles with the loss of her parents in a freak accident but tears to embrace what she truly loves, dancing, and its bone chilling consequences. Starring Jennifer Laporte as AMY, Hunter Dillon as BANJO, and Aly Skovbye in the role of resident mean girl JOANNE. I was pleased to have a well rounded our cast with the talents of Andrea Stefancikova, Bruce Blaine, Braken Hanke and Mathias Ty Parto.

Kristyn Stilling: My name is Kristyn Stilling and I am a workaholic, but that is really only because I love what I do! I am currently a Production Coordinator at the National Film Board Vancouver office, the Shorts Programmer at the Whistler Film Festival, Programming Director for the webisode festival VanChan, and the Chair of the Board for the Vancouver Short Film Festival. Additionally for the past 2 years I was a Co-Producer with Crazy8s Film Society, which is what led me to produce one of this years top 6 Crazy8s films, the punk rock badminton comedy Shuttlecock! As soon as I heard the synopsis of the film and met the team I knew I wanted to come on board and lucky for me they wee looking for a producer.

Shuttlecock is a fast-paced stylish comedy about a washed up badminton star who gets the chance to relive her glory days when a former rival comes to play a match in her town. It is a predominately female lead project, with a woman director, woman producers, and a female lead.

As a producer, what have been your duties on the film?

Kris McRonney: Haha! I think the question is what haven’t I done. To the best of my knowledge I may have the only team that does not have more than one Producer so a lot falls on my shoulders such as putting the team together along with my amazing and talented writer Zlatina Pacheva, who wrote and pitched Extra-Ordinary Amy. It was integral to work with all the members on my team to ensure that we had the Camera, grip & lighting stuff, Locations, Business licences and Permits in place as well as reaching out to potential sponsors to help supply us with stuff like a Picture care and Catering which we were successfully able to get.

Kristyn Stilling: Oh gosh, I feel there are too many to even list! Really my main duty is to coordinate all our moving parts and to oversee our extremely dedicated and talented crew. But in doing so I cover a lot of ground, everything from hiring crew, booking gear, scheduling, issuing insurance certificates, locking locations, getting filming permits, securing sponsorship, weighing in on creative decisions, managing releases and licensing, marketing and promotion, and coordinating all 100 volunteer crew, cast and background!

What was the most memorable moment for you in the Crazy8s process?

Kris McRonney: So many memorable moments from getting that phone call back in January to tell us we made it into the Top 6, the Casting process with the amazing Megan Bayliss from Candace Elzinga Casting and that moment you realize that you’ve just found the perfect person to play the role and even the collaboration of the post process and working closely with our amazing Editor Holly Pavlik, 2nd Editor Isaac Miranda as well as our Composer Dave Chick who did an absolutely amazing job composing our film from scratch.

Kristyn Stilling: Getting to work so closely with the writer/director Melanie Jones, the co-creator and lead Rhona Rees, and the Associate Producer Amelia Morris. The four of us had such a close knit and supportive working relationship that I hope I have on all my future projects.  We were in the trenches together and it wasn’t always pretty but we always had each other’s backs and overall we had a lot of fun!

What would your advice be for other producers considering Crazy8s?

Kris McRonney: Always make sure that you surround yourself with the right individuals that share your common goal. Communication and people skills are key, your the initial face of the film and the way you treat people will represent the rest of your production. And hey, perhaps build a producing team around yourself because the work certainly piles up.

Kristyn Stilling: Don’t try to do it on your own! The time frame is too tight and there is too much to do to try and do it all yourself. Surround yourself with the best people you can find and make it a team effort.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career thus far?

Kris McRonney: I think with every project that I tend to take something from it so I find that I’m ever evolving as a Producer through all the valuable lessons that I learn with the process. I’m learning about the community that I want to build and this film has made me realized that I want to foster a team of like minded individuals that want to make movies that matter. They say first you need the money but I say start with the people and build your dream together.

Kristyn Stilling: Patience and kindness in dealing with people goes a long way, and this is honestly a lesson I sometimes have a hard time putting into practice!

What books would be valuable for a producer to have read before participating in Crazy8s?

Kris McRonney: Indie Film Production: The Craft of Low Budget Filmmaking and a book called Producer to Producer as well as just putting yourself out there and just doing it. I learned so much from just being in it.

Kristyn Stilling:  The Producer’s Workbook by Women in Film and Television.

What other projects are you working on and where can we find out more about you?

Kris McRonney: Nothing current other than Extra-Ordinary Amy.

If you want to find out more about me you can follow me on Instagram or Twitter or our show on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

Kristyn Stilling: Look for the social media short documentary I made this summer about a male synchronized swimmer called Flipped to released on the NFB Facebook page in the next few weeks.

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Thanks to Kris McRonney and Kristyn Stilling for speaking with us!

You can check out ShuttlecockExtra-Ordinary Amy and the rest of the Crazy8s films on February 24th as part of the Crazy8s2018 gala.

For more information, please visit Crazy8s.film.


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