The Smoke Bomb Boys are the guys who never really fit in. They do things their own way with a course set for the dream: no shitty jobs, no complicated relationships, just hanging out, blowing stuff up and fucking around. But sometimes the realities of the real world may make that seem like it's not enough and fosters an internal struggle over conformity and acceptance within their group. Choices are made, friendship's are tested, and shit explodes.
5 questions with Smoke Bomb Boys director, James P. Gannon at the half-way mark.
Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017
1Hi James! Thanks for being a part of our festival. First, what was the initial seed that made you want to make The Smoke Bomb Boys? We were (Pocket Storms Productions) asked to make a short film for a Brooklyn based filmmaker collective (videomass.tv), the rules were that the movie had to be bigger in scale than any of your previous work. After some brainstorming I had the title Smoke Bomb Boys, I loved the sound of it but had no idea what the movie was about. After telling the other writers about it we honed in on what the movie is now.
2You wrote this film with Chris Cipriano (who also stars), Matt Ferrin (who also shot), and Joseph Gannon (who also produced). This films feels like a truly collaborative effort. What was that process like? It's not the easiest thing to have four different people, with four different ideas writing something together. We had our arguments, including a 2 hour long debate over if Eddy Bombay was stealing Tastykakes or something else, but we all really cared about making something great and that led to a better script than any of us could have written solo.
But we were all on the same page when it came to the big ideas, we wanted these guys to be our age but act like they were 15 years younger. That idea resonated with all of us because our mental age has stunted a bit as well. We grew up in a small town with not much to do, so we blew things up and caused mischief to pass the time. The idea of growing up was terrifying (and still is), so we wanted to tell a story of a group of guys that refused to except adulthood and actually start a gang out of it.
3Matt Ferrin did an incredible job shooting this film. There's something really great about silhouettes, sunsets and fireworks. How did you guys determine the look of the film? Matt and I talked about wanting to go bigger in scale than our previous films. We wanted wider shots, with small tiny characters in frame. This can be a challenging thing to envision when looking at a small 3 inch LCD screen, so we really had to push ourselves to go wider.
Also because we had no budget, we decided to shoot most of the movie outside using daylight and it just made sense to us to shoot all the fireworks scenes with low hanging sun to backlight the smoke. The silhouettes were mostly Matt's idea and I loved those shots when he framed them up. In hindsight I think that it really helps illustrate the world that the Smoke Bomb Boys inhabit. They consider themselves to be some sort of big deal (especially Eddy) in the small town that they live in, but the truth is that no one really cares about them and they are just a bunch of dudes in their 30's acting like 17 years olds.
4You've done a number of short films now but you've never made a feature. What is it about short films that you enjoy making and do you have any plans on attempting to make a feature? Short films are great practice and fulfill a quick creative fix when I'm getting antsy to make something. I used to hate the idea of making shorts, feeling that I was wasting my time and should be making features, but I'm happy I didn't attempt a feature earlier because I think I would have botched it. Also making all of these smaller movies has allowed me to hone my style, figuring out what I like and don't like has been tremendously helpful. But most importantly, short films have taught me that I need to like the movie I made and not care if others do. It's much more rewarding to be able to watch something I've made and not cringe, than to cringe at it and have others love it...I just can't reconcile with that feeling.
5What's next? Myself and Matt Ferrin (Smoke Bomb Boys Cinematographer) are putting the finishing touches on a feature script we want to shoot in the next 12 months. I can't really go into much detail, but it takes place in the desert and our goal is for it to feel like a movie from the 70's.
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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