Interviews

Published on February 22nd, 2020 | by Biz Books

Crazy8s2020: Producers Spotlight

BizBooks.net is pleased to support Crazy8s2020.

In this interview, we talked to Avi Glanzer, Luisa Muniz, and Mike Johnston about producing their Crazy8s films, The Quieting, Mr. James is Dead and Sol.

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

Avi Glanzer: I’m born and raised in Vancouver, attended Capilano University for Filmschool, and have been Producing Short Films since 2012; this is my second Crazy 8s, having produced Woodman in 2017. Our film, The Quieting, is the story of Maggie, who is well into her 30s before she decided to come out, as she psychically combats the manifestation of her anxieties and internalized hate on the night before an important date.

Luisa Muniz: I’m Luisa the producer of Mr. James is Dead. A short film in which every crazy idea is welcomed. The film tells the story of Tom as he attends his strange fathers funeral only to find out that the funeral is filled with villains from all shapes and sizes. I meet Josh and Daniel in Film School at Capilano University and when they sent me the script it was just a perfect combination of both of them. Daniel’s sense of humour and Josh’s rhythm and passion for stunts.

Mike Johnston: My name is Mike Johnston and I am a director and producer based in Vancouver, BC.  I am also one of the principal owners of the Vancouver-based production company, Studio 104 Entertainment.  The film we have developed and produced thus year is entitled, Sol, and is the story of a mother and daughter living in a future set in 2042 where toxic smog has blocked out the sun.

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

Avi Glanzer: I like to be involved in some way at all stages of production. When I came to the project Ali Liebert had just started writing the rough draft. My role in that stage was to guide her towards a completed, shootable, story. Going into production I built a team of producers around me who were all able to help bring to bear an element of our production needs. Keeping the blood (Coffee) pumping and putting out fires (not literal ones) while on our days of shooting. During Post Production I worked closely with our post team in order to ensure a smooth delivery throughout the whole pipeline.

Luisa Muniz: As a producer I have had to deal with problems and make plans to avoid problems. Also make sure everything is paid and happy.

Mike Johnston: On this production, I have overseen the development and production phases of the film including but not limited to the hiring of our production crew, facilitation of all departmental needs, logistics, scheduling and communications with our locations and sponsorship personnel.  Additionally, I will be overseeing our festival and distribution strategy after the gala presentation.

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

Avi Glanzer: When we screened the rough cut for the first time, and I wept so hard that everyone in the room started laughing.

Luisa Muniz: Most memorable moment was during out very first production meeting with Nate and Julia from Crazy 8’s. They looked at us and said: “Soooooooo, how are you planning on doing-” and then they listed all the challenges we would be facing. I was in my corner not worried at all because we were never going to get top 6. Well, turns out we had to figure that out. Second day on set I remembered that meeting and it was great looking back at all the challenges we had to overcome.

Mike Johnston: The most memorable part of the Crazy8s process for me this year was the live reveal.  Last year, I produced the Crazy8s film, Idols Never Die and I remember watching the Golden Globes and getting a phone call from our director Jerome Yoo telling me that we had been green lit for the Top 6.  This year, with the live reveal you could feel the tension in the air, the excitement was palpable and it make the stakes that must more intense.  Felt like American Idol!

What would your advice be for other producers considering Crazy8s?

Avi Glanzer: Make sure you build a support team around you larger than you would for a normal short film. There’s a lot of resources being given to you, knowing how to use them will make all the difference. You can’t go into this process thinking you’re shooting a film for $1000; the value of in-kind services is remarkable, build a production that can take advantage of them.

Luisa Muniz: Make sure you have a great team and also plan to spend all your money on this. It will be hard, but you will end up with a great film.

Mike Johnston: For any future producers considering Crazy8s, I think it is important to consider the equity of your project and just what the expectations are.  Know that you will be responsible to fear the bulk of the financing for your film and also you will not own the intellectual property.  It is important to consider these contractual obligations before beginning the Crazy8s process.  Moreover, as you will be responsible for the bulk of the financing, manage your expectations.  Make sure your film is logical and logistically sound for a three day shoot.

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

Avi Glanzer: Everything takes longer than you expect. You can plan everything down to the most minor of detail, but when it comes time to play, your schedule rarely cooperates.

Luisa Muniz: Make sure you work with people you enjoy spending a lot of time with. Build your team and make sure they can relay on you, but also that they can relay on you. Nobody can make a film alone, and to be honest, we would you want to since the best part is sharing the experience and the results.

Mike Johnston: The most important lesson I have learned in my career so far is to make your own opportunities.  Don’t wait for them to come to you or you will be waiting a lifetime.  Don’t wait for opportunity to knock, knock first.  Don’t be afraid to cold call, buy someone a coffee or lunch or walk straight up to them, shake their hand and introduce yourself.  We are our own worse enemies believing we are not good to be forward.  Block out the noise and be the hardest worker in the room every day.

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

Avi Glanzer: Even though it’s not a book on Producing, I would say that On Directing by David Mamet has been the most useful resource for me in all filmmaking. Mamet outlines a very clear relationship which the Director builds with specific Key Creatives. This overview on how everything fits together has been invaluable as a producer for understanding on how every department functions with one another.

Luisa Muniz: I’m sure there are many books I could recommend but for now just read and reread guidelines and contracts. If you get into Crazy8s you would want to know all those things by heart. Same applies to all other competitions/festivals you submit too.

Mike Johnston: Best books to read for producing independent films are Rebel Without a Crew by Robert Rodriguez and Independent Film Producing: The Craft of Low Budget Filmmaking by Suzanne Lyons.

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

Avi Glanzer: I have a number of music videos which will be in production before the summer as well as a couple of new short film projects with collaborators in the pipeline. I also work as Outreach and Community Partnerships for the Vancouver Short Film Festival which occurs every January. My two most recent Short Films A Typical Fairytale (2018) and Woodman (2017) are still making their rounds through festivals and can be seen on Telus Storyhive and CBC respectively.

Luisa Muniz: What’s next is whatever Peter writes next. This is a great team and if they would have me I will keep on working with them.

Follow my IMdb: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm8913977

Mike Johnston: Our production company – Studio 104 Entertainment – is transitioning out of short films and into developing and producing longer form content such as series and feature films.  In fact, Sol is one of the last short films on our 2020 slate.  Currently, we are developing 3 series:

  1. True North Crime – a five part anthology series examining the most baffling and mysterious cold cases in Canadian history.
  2. Breaking Kayfabe – a documentary series pulling back the curtain on the world of professional wrestling, featuring some of the best talent and most bizarre incidents in the history of the business.
  3. Growing Up With Mi Familia – a 5-episode comedy series about a Latino girl going through periods, puberty and growing immigrant in Canada.

Lastly, we are also beginning to develop two feature films – 84 Bison, is based on the true events of a mafia hit woman coming to Canada and Yellow Ribbon the incredible true story of the citizens of Gander, Newfoundland on September 11, 2001.

To find out more about Studio 104 Entertainment, please visit www.studio104entertainment.com or like us on Instagram or Facebook: @studio104entertainment

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Thanks to these producers for speaking with us!

You can check out all of the Crazy8s films tonight as part of the Crazy8s2020 gala.

For more information, please visit Crazy8s.film.


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