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New York Lately
2009, 92m, comedy, drama, romance
Gary King’s feature film debut is a unique exploration into the drama of interpersonal relationships and their various stages. With New York Lately, King has created a charming piece of cinema that is as tantalizing as it is engaging in its visual and emotional prowess. Accessible dialogue and skilled acting by relative newcomers, depict a culturally and behaviorally varied group of thirty-somethings who allow the revelations of life’s complications to emerge through missteps, risks taken and personal reflection.
Produced by: Sujata King, Gary King
Cast: Jenn Dees, Susan Cagle, Jared Asato, Mark Diconzo, John Weisenburger, Kether Donohue, Vanessa Streiff, Jeremy Koerner
10 questions with New York Lately director, Gary King at the half-way mark.
Monday, February 8th, 2016
1What was the initial seed that made you want to make New York Lately? I'd made 2 short films in 3 years. Both about 20 mins long. After finishing those projects, I felt I was ready to take a stab at a feature.
2What made you want to make an ensemble film for your first feature? It stemmed from a financial reason. NY Lately was a very low budget film. I cashed out my 401K and used all the money to pay for food and equipment. I barely had any money for the crew and cast.
So by making it an ensemble, every actor was only committing up to around 3-7 days. And I could still make a feature because it followed a lot of people and storylines. Otherwise, trying to get people to commit for 10-20 shooting days, with low or no pay, would've been way more difficult to pull off.
3Is it true that you had a corporate job and then one day you decided to quit and become a filmmaker? What was it that made you leave something stable and go into making films? Yes I was working in the Silicon Valley and left it back in 2006. I'd always loved films and was fascinated with filmmaking while growing up. I just never knew people did it for a living. Early in my first career (in Human Resources), I was threatened with the reality that I was going to be laid off. Luckily it didn't happen. However it really made me think about what made me happy in life. What I was really passionate about. Filmmaking.
After working about 5 years in the corporate world, I just finally decided to follow my passion. Thankfully, with the love and support of my wife, it's been an amazing ride. And I can't wait to see where it leads.
4There are some actors in this film that you've used in future films (Jen Dees, Mark Diconzo) did you all meet on this film or did you know each other before this? I met Jenn during the audition process for NY Lately. She was remarkable to work with. So much so, that we've done 2 other features together (WHAT'S UP LOVELY; HOW DO YOU WRITE A JOE SCHERMANN SONG). I hope to collaborate with her again in the near future. She's such an inspiration.
Mark and I met on a web commercial about a year before the filming of NYL. We'd become friends after that commercial shoot and would hang out from time to time. On one of those nights, he shared some stories about a recent breakup with a girlfriend which ultimately sparked the idea for his character and storyline in the film
Mark and I always have such incredible experience working together. I think we've developed a sort of short hand to know exactly what the other is saying or needs, so it makes it effortless working with him. We've done 3 features together, our latest being UNNERVED coming out soon.
5You are one of the fastest filmmakers I know. How long did this film take you, from original idea to picture lock? What's your secret? Ha! I wish I had the output like Woody Allen. Making one film a year would be a dream. NYL was shot during December 2007 and January 2008 and hit the festival circuit in February 2009.
I don't know that I have a secret, other than staying passionate about the work and surrounding yourself with like minded people. Having a great team goes a long way. And also having the knowledge of how to do things yourself, just in case you need to do something and not rely on others. That will help keep the momentum going.
6What's the biggest thing you learned from making this film? Since I never went, this feature was pretty much film school for me. So yeah, I learned a lot of lessons and would do things differently now. Probably one of the biggest lessons is don't cast similar looking actors in small (day player) roles. I learned without enough screen time, some audiences will confuse one person for another if they look a bit similar.
The character Ringo (John Weisenburger) visits 2 separate brunette masseuses in the movie. I wanted dark haired girls to be his thing. So I cast 2 wonderful brunettes actresses (one is Kether Donohue who's on FX'x YOU'RE THE WORST). Sadly, some people think it's the same character and got confused.
7How big was your crew and how did you find them? We had a core of 6 including me (Director, DP, Gaffer, AD, Sound Recordist, Key PA). My DP (Jason Varner) shot my previous short and we really got along. I flew out my AD and Key PA who also were a part of my short when I lived in California. I really enjoy working with people that are like family to me. There's nothing better (or easier) than working on set with friends. Everything is just easier.
On certain days, we'd have a makeup artist and an extra production assistant, or my wife (who was a producer) would come to set to help out.
8Which filmmaker has a career that you admire and why? I love a TON so it's hard to choose one. If you catch me in person, I'll probably answer it differently depending on my mood.
Today, it's Steven Soderbergh, Robert Altman and Danny Boyle. I name those 3 mainly for the fact that they don't stick to one genre. I really admire that they are able to seamlessly move from genre to genre and still create strong, cinematic experiences in each. That's why I've done dramas, a musical, a supernatural/thriller and hope to play around with many more for years to come.
9You do such an incredible job of promoting your work. Didn't you even make a director's commentary for this film? In your opinion, how important is promoting your film if you're an indie filmmaker? It's extremely important. Even more so for an indie film that doesn't have the type of marketing budget of a studio film. And ideally, the filmmaker should be creative about the promotion and marketing, as it'd be almost impossible (and uber expensive) to keep up with studios and a traditional P&A path.
I did do a commentary for NEW YORK LATELY where I discuss low-budget filmmaking and my learning lessons from making the movie. I recorded it for the DVD back around 2009. You can watch it free here: https://vimeo.com/153631731
And there's actually a wonderful film critic commentary available from Andrew James (ROW THREE) It's very entertaining and insightful. I wish he'd do more of them. You can watch it for free here: https://vimeo.com/153634944
10What's next? UNNERVED is coming out this year. It's been in post for quite a while and I'm excited to finally get it to audiences. I hope to announce a world premiere very soon. I'm also developing several scripts that I'm uber excited about, however things are a bit too early to talk about as I don't want to jinx anything. Yeah, I'm not superstitious at all.
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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