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2014, 84m, comedy
At 6 foot 6, Van Perry stands out in a crowd, yet his acting resume is nothing to brag about. Working as a sales rep, Van dreams about getting that one big acting gig. Unfortunately, despite ongoing auditions, nobody wants to cast him. In a world made for small people, Van just can’t catch a break. From girls being terrified of his “proportions”, to not being able to find shirts that fit properly, nothing is easy for Van. As the bills start pilling up and the acting jobs are nowhere to be found, Van has to make a tough decision whether to abandon his acting dreams for an office job.
Produced by: Ivan Peric
Cast: Ivan Peric, Tarek Gader, Mariana Tayler, Michele L' Africain, Alexandre Lapointe
10 questions with Too Tall director, Ivan Peric at the half-way mark.
Tuesday, August 9th, 2016
1Hi Ivan! Thanks for being a part of our 2016 Summer Festival. First, what was the initial inspiration behind this film? You are welcome ! Thanks for having me ! ... The initial inspiration was frustration! I was on a really bad music video shoot, there was barely any food or water on set and the crew was disorganized. We had these extremely long breaks so out of sheer frustration and boredom I pulled out my notepad and started writing. Most people have no idea what kind of ridiculous situations actors are constantly being put through, so I started writing about my experiences as an actor and found myself laughing all by myself in the waiting room. By the end of the day, even though I was starving, I had an outline for a comedy feature film.
2You wrote and starred in this film. How much of this is autobiographical? None of it is accurate in an autobiographical sense, but many scenes and ideas were inspired by true events. I took some moments or situations in my life and made them bigger, because in film everything has to be larger than life. So I added more comedy or drama to those moments, made them more exaggerated if you will. Then I filled the gaps with other fictional moments and characters.
3You produced, directed, wrote, edited and acted in this film. Which job do you enjoy most of you had to pick one? I love the whole process of filmmaking, I really do. If I had to choose one I would eventually miss the others. When I am on set as an actor I always watch and analyze what the other crew members are doing, especially the director and the AD. When I spent a month on the set of X-Men as a body double for Colossus, I was constantly following Bryan Singer, trying to see how he worked and how he set up his shots. On the other hand, when I am the director in my own projects, I always love to work with actors and I immediately get that itch to perform.
4I think my favorite scene is where Van (played by you), meets Melissa's parents. What's your favorite scene and what did it take to get it? My favourite scene was probably the acting workshop scene with Dante (played by Constantine Kourtidis), just because it was such a fun time on set. Everyone was having a great time and laughing between takes. Constantine did a "fabulous" job with the character and we played off him. It was just an enjoyable moment for everyone and I think it came through on screen.
5Who are some filmmakers or actors who have inspired you most? Oh wow, so many...there so many talented actors and directors ou there and each of them brings different elements to the art. If I had to narrow it down I would probably say Clint Eastwood. He was such a great actor and now an amazing director. He was my dad's favorite movie star so I was exposed to his movies since I was really young. There's also Sylvester Stallone, he came from nothing and then wrote and starred in Rocky, which then won an Academy Award. That's very inspirational!
I must add that comedy inspires me as well. Im a big fan of SNL and actors such as Eddie Murphy, Jamie Foxx and Will Ferrell to name a few. I wanted Too Tall to have that sketch comedy type of feel, similar to SNL . Also, I wanted Too Tall to be character driven, I wanted colourful characters such as Dante the acting instructor, Pertso the fishdog vendor and the homeless man that shows up everywhere. Eddie Murphy's Coming to America was a big inspiration in that sense.
6This film deals with the struggles of being a starving artist. You can't maintain a decent living wage because in order to pursue your dream, you need a lot of time off. Which then makes it very hard to keep a job that pays well. How did you get through those tough periods and what is your perspective on it now? Excellent question. It was and still is hard. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication. That's all it is. All you have to do is decide what you want and take the necessary steps to reach your goals. Once you know where you want to go and who you want to be, everything will be easier. That's how I got through those tough times, I maintained focus on my goals even though my job was far from spectacular and I was barely making end's meet.
7Can you share a war story from the shoot? This one is a funny one. The first person I hired was my production manager Santino . He is so talented and he helped me in every aspect of production. We actually became really good friends in the process...So it must have been day 15 of shooting and we were having a really long day. I was acting in a real serious and touching scene with Tarek Gader, who plays my best friend Joni. So here we are, in this dim lit acting studio , I am doing my close up so I really have to nail it. The room is completely silent. Tarek is feeding me his lines and I start to reply and I'm fully focused. Everything is going great, we are both fully into the scene and the emotions are there. Tarek feeds me his last line, my character pauses for a second before giving his scene ending reply. All of a sudden, coming from the back of the room I hear a familiar noise. It took me a second to get out of character and realize what was going on, but as I came to my senses I started to realize that someone was snoring! I angrily yell cut and I see my production manager Santino sleeping! The rest of the crew bursts into laughter and so do I as Santino slowly wakes up not realizing what was happening.
8How many roles do you think you missed out on simply because you're "too tall" and what are your thoughts on that? I once auditioned for a small part in a film called Bikini Girls on Ice. After auditioning I didn't hear any news for weeks until my agent called me and said that I got the part of the male lead. I was quite surprised because I had auditioned for a smaller part. When we started filming I was talking to one of the producers and he said that they were hesitant in casting me because of my height, but the reason they cast me was because my audition was just too good! I'm sure there are parts that I didn't get because of my height, and I understand that because I've cast many projects in the past and there are so many technicalities that go into casting a part. However, as an actor all I could do is go to every audition and give it my very best every time, just like I did with Bikini Girls on Ice.
9What's the biggest thing you learned from making this film? What would you do differently next time? The whole process was a learning experience. I made every single mistake possible during production. The biggest lesson I learned was to delegate and not to try to do everything myself. By doing everything yourself you will just burn yourself out and the final product will suffer. You need a fresh set of eyes and talent to bring your film to the next level. I learned that lesson pretty late in post production, but luckily I decided to surround myself with great talent and they helped me finish the film. Also in terms of organizing your workflow, work backwards. Start by planning how you will market and sell the film and then go backwards. A lot of filmmakers do the opposite, they write a script, get into pre-production, then production and finally post-production. Many times when filmmakers get to the post production stage they have no more money left because they overspent on the shoot, then when they get into the marketing/sales part and they have no idea what to do and the film ends up sitting on a shelf for years. So organize your budget and workflow backwards is another one of my lessons learned.
10What's next? I'm cast in a horror feature film called Rebecca's Grave (www.rebeccasgrave.com), which will be released very soon. Then I am aiming to get cast in another TV show by the end of the summer. I also have another feature film in the works that I am currently writing and developing.
About the Interviewer: Ben Hicks
Ben Hicks is a writer/director and co-founder of Fandependent Films. Ben is currently working on making Fandependent Films awesome and is finishing up his first feature film entitled Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time which was selected for the 2017 IFP Narrative Lab.
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