“Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely” – Henry Ford
Who is Anthony Tran? Well, today you will get to know this educated, handsome and outgoing 25 year old film maker. Everyone has dreams and goals and this very awesome fellow knows exactly what he wants and has been taking those steps to get there.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Tran and here is what he had to say about being Anthony, doing what he loves and how you can achieve your goals as a film maker too! Grab a cup of tea, coffee or hot cocoa and snuggle up for the first installment of Kommon Kourtesy! Enjoy!!
Kai: Tell me a little about yourself personally and creatively.
Anthony: What do you want to know? (Laughs) I love adventure and travel and I don’t get to do it a lot lately completing the film. I love making connections with others and meeting people with different backgrounds from all walks of life and I know everyone has a story to be told and I really like to convey things in different ways. Creatively, I’ve always been an artist and I’m all about motivating people to try new things if they really want to make it in the industry. I am known for my ability to bring people together.
Kai: Very nice! Also, in 5 words, describe who you are.
Anthony: Ambitious. Inventive. Respectful. Honest. Reliable.
Kai: So, at what age did you decide that making films was what you wanted to do?
Anthony: Ever since I was a kid in grade school I wrote stories in hopes to one day turn them into visual arts. I wrote my first script when I was 12 and attempted my first feature when I was 16 called “The Dumbest Horror Flick Ever” – a parody with cultural satire.
Kai: You knew what you wanted to do straight away it seems! How did you get started making films and what drives you to continue on this journey?
Anthony: Ever since I was young I was fascinated with cameras, movies, television, etc. and ask anyone, I have been talking about making films since middle school. I am driven to continue this journey because film making is fun, you get to meet new people and of course the best part of seeing your idea becoming a visual medium that people can be entertained by or interested or inspired by.
Kai: Where did you study film making?
Anthony: In high school I went to Scarlet Oaks for Digital Television Production and when I turned 19, I went to Brown Mackie College-Cincinnati.
Kai: Woohoo!! Give me a moment while I rep Cincinnati (hometown)! Hahaha. Back to business, this is not an easy business to venture into, do you think you have the support and resources to thrive? What sets you apart from others?
Anthony: This is definitely not an easy business and I would say I have good amount of resources and support from the general public, talents in the area and more, but I find that when doing a voluntary project like “Obliquity: Imagery of the Unknown”, it can get really tough to have commitment from people in full for certain aspects – and most of the people that could help our film become even more solid require pay and I’m 25 working part time trying to release a community film project, so in that regard, we thrive to get things done the best we can, but we definitely could have more support and resources.
What sets me apart is that I constantly network, collaborate and cross-promote and give everyone the opportunity to submit or discuss working together. There are plenty of people that are making projects, but just from experience and from reaching out, very few who say they are capable of great talents may not actually be willing to even work with you. I feel like a lot of people are in their own film cliques (as opposed to myself and our team) where we truly do try and bring anyone interested in working with us to the project. That way, there’s a little bit of everyone in the film.
Kai: What was your inspiration for Obliquity?
Anthony: In my first script –which I later turned into a book- one of the chapters is called “Obliquity: Imagery of the Unknown”. In 2007, we tried entering an Insomniac’s Film Festival and that segment sparked the short film made for a school competition called “Duality”. Later we created a horror short called “COEXIST” for the College Movie Festival and the idea originally was to have characters from all our short films be tied into this feature. On another note, “Obliquity: Imagery of the Unknown” was inspired also by interactions in society, the film community in Greater Cincinnati and my own emotions and experiences were also incorporated. I wanted to make a film that would be trippy, unique, and combine talents of people in our area to really build upon connections. We even were given locations cost-free and promoted other artists and business owners.
Kai: What is the essence of Obliquity?
Anthony: The essence of Obliquity (subtitle “Imagery of the Unknown” is that there are many things to see in the film including different imagery, locations, camera and editing tricks and more. On the other side of the film, there are things you do not see that one would have to deduct and piece together and look beyond to understand more. The film is entirely about a city where society has become careless, immoral and unkind and now sleep deprived college students try to stay awake for up to four days and they begins to see what drives these forces and people to act the way they do. There is also a message that you do not have to be sleep deprived to see this if you allow yourself to be in tune (i.e. Shannon’s character. )
Kai: What was the most important lesson you had to learn that has had a positive effect on your film? How did that lesson come about?
Anthony: I learned a lot about planning and not jumping the gun and going to shoot just because we have a good scene written. I mean, grant it, it still worked for the film and we may have just gotten lucky, because you really have to organize everything before starting production. I also have learned to appreciate everyone on the project (even when things didn’t work out) and to remember whatever you say- whether on social media or on stage at a screening, you represent everybody’s hard work on projects. It’s ideal to show gratitude toward those helping. These lessons come from trial and error.
Kai: Films tend to morph throughout the creative process + sometimes major changes happen during editing. Were there sections that you absolutely love but by the end felt it just no longer worked? If so, do you think they could be used elsewhere?
Anthony: There was a whole story-line with the overly hated Titney Spears character where her fakeness changed her around to finding herself and though it would have been a whole’nother character, I would have liked to see some of that in the film again, but being a thriller it’s just too weird for most people. The footage was originally going to combined with a 40min short that loosely ties-in with our feature with a whole script ready to go, but with time constraints and the push to release the feature itself, it may not be likely to film this. At least we’ll have it as a bonus feature on our DVD and Blu-Ray.
Kai: How would you describe your filmmaking process?
Anthony: We go on set, have a light meal, have the actors go over lines and rehearse as we set up the cameras and lights (if needed) and I begin to look for angles and mark notes on my shot lists or storyboards. Of course, there is plenty of preparation to even get to a shooting day. If I see an actor struggling, we step aside and discuss ways of seeing things in different light so they can feel what they are portraying and we just give it a go.
Kai: What do you consider the elements of a good film? A great one?
Anthony: Concepts are always the kicker for me as well as the story, the actors, the situations, the locations and of course our biggest issue since I mostly do video is having the audio perfected. Having interesting visuals that will engage the viewers are always nice. I personally really like movies that utilize their plot and scenarios in creative ways throughout the movie.
Kai: What films have been the most inspiring or influential to you and why?
Anthony: There are so many movies out there that I have yet to see being the head of every department on a feature film, but I will say that “American Beauty”, “Requiem For A Dream”, “Memento”, The original “Final Destination” and “Scream” movies have really made an impact on me. I also enjoy “Cube: Hypercube” and “Nightmare On Elm Street” for being different and I feel like in the last decade, there hasn’t necessarily been well-rounded solid films that are different and I’m inspired by that to bring it back into this next decade.
Kai: What experience do you have in other art forms?
Anthony: I am currently working on a demo LP called “Belief System” under the name Trippy or Tripp T, where I rap and sing. I also have drawn a lot and am interested in painting more.
Kai: How does film unite different types of art and media?
Anthony: Film can incorporate all types of media. From having a soundtrack, to a score, sound design to graphic design and animation, to art that is in the background of scenes to photography of promotional material and behind-the-scenes documentation, almost anybody interested in media should try the film route whatever your forte.
Kai: What advice would you give to someone who wanted to have a life creating film?
Anthony: My advice to someone who wants to make a motion picture is to first never give up. It’s a hard business for a reason and I was blessed to have over 200 people volunteer on the project with 26 bands signed to our movie’s soundtrack. Network always and tell everyone you want to make movies. Pass out business cards, make a roster with those interested in getting involved and list their skillsets, post online everywhere when you have a shoot coming up, know what you are capable of and limit your cast to a small amount so you can easily schedule if it’s your first project and again, never give up. Rewrites and changes may need to happen, but if you are the leader, everyone is counting on you to completion. Don’t waste people’s time and don’t lie about being community-oriented and not even try and help another film maker in any way (even as simple as sharing a post.) Reputation is also important but let live and have fun!
Kai: In regards to actually pursuing a film career, what advice do you have for those who are serious about it?
Anthony: You can either build a community and try and bring people together or you can move to the big cities where films are always happening and just go for it. It helps to have projects under your belt, but it really does come down to who you know and what you do. Being early is always a plus and remember –anything can happen. Shoots can get cancelled at the last minute and you just have to prepare yourself for that. Also, always communicate properly. Don’t leave someone hanging or it’s going to look extremely negative on your end and word does get around about people who do work and people who say they do and can’t even be professional with others.
Kai: Where do you see yourself in 5 years in regards to the film making industry?
Anthony: In 5 years, I hope to have been working in the industry on big budget movie sets and also have created another film or two including a possible sequel to “Obliquity”.
Kai: I hope to do the same but as an actress, I am really good ya know? Hahaha! Maybe finally we can collab without anything getting in the way! Well moving right along, where can readers view your films and learn more about you?
Anthony: Most of our films are on our http://youtube.com/trippytranfilms and there are some articles online if you search my name or movies. Soon, we will have our website built better (currently we have http://trippytranfilms.com up) and DVDs will be released soon hopefully as well.
Kai: Anthony, thank you so much for sharing with me today. I think it’s awesome what you are doing and it’s so great to see that Cincinnati, Ohio has so much talent and we definitely aren’t afraid to dream! Any last words?
Anthony: Thank you so much Kai for taking the time to ask me questions about the project (and me) and I hope that everyone gets a chance to check out our work. We plan on doing bigger things once we reach higher budgets down the road so watch out for that! I know so many talented people here in Greater Cincinnati and beyond and I’ve just been so fortunate to work with so many amazing people. Our ideas may be different than what people normally see nowadays, but I hope they can appreciate the hard work and the creations in what’s to come.
Kai: Absolutely! It has been my pleasure and I can’t wait to see everything!!
Until Next Time,
LOVE, PEACE, + SHOPPING RECEIPTS!!