Writer/producer James Kahn, creator of the new film Wrongside Bob, along with actor and musician Ronnie Cox (Deliverance, Total Recall, Robocop), and producer/co-director Christine Fry (The Bet), talk about their latest independent film project and their plans for crowdfunding. James was a guest on the show earlier this year where we discussed his career in writing and passion for folk music. Now, he’s assembled a veteran team to channel these passions into bringing this new film to life. Wrongside Bob successfully completed round one of funding with its Indiegogo campaign today (11/18/15). Learn more about the project and its extremely rare film memorabilia rewards at wrongsidebob.com.
To contribute to the crowdfunding campaign, please visit http://wrongsidebob.com/indiegogo.
JK: It’s a huge amount of stress and anxiety but also excitement and energy. I’m not getting a lot of sleep. [1:35] JK: I guess I wouldn’t recommend (crowdfunding) to anybody, haha. [2:04] CF: It is a different beast from producing a film… you kind of had to jump in and you’re blind a little bit.
JK: It’s not like anything I’ve ever done before. [2:53] CF: James is rocking it… I call him the jack of all trades and master of all as well. [3:24] CF: We worked on another movie we shot here in Santa Barbara called “The Bet.” We jelled on that and decided we’d like to work together again and here we are.
JK: The Best was actually produced by the Community Film Studio of Santa Barbara which we helped form. It was modeled on the idea of community theater, but instead of putting on local stage productions we made feature films, so the first feature we made was “The Bet.” [4:18] JK: By the end of it… we made a great movie that actually won best feature at the LA Femme Film Festival. [5:04] CF: Our goal was to enable other people to jump in to different roles than they were used to, and some have and excelled, and it’s been great. [5:25] MG: Were you promoting it at, what organization was it, Far West?
JK: Yes, Far West… it was a gathering of people who make and love folk music and get together to share their music and see what’s new. [5:57] MG: Both of you guys are folk musicians, right?
RC: Yes, these days, I spend most of my time playing music. I turn down about 80% of the acting jobs I’m offered unless something comes along that I really want to do, this is obviously one of the things I really want to do. [6:33] RC: I’ve been lucky, I’ve had a great career, and I still love acting, but the thing that turns me on the most is playing music these days, so now that I have a film that does both, best of all possible worlds. [6:59] JK: I’ve always loved Ronnie’s acting, and when I realized he could sing, he sings folk music in addition… it was a no-brainer for me. [7:23] CF: Between J’s writing and music and Ronnie’s performance and ability to do anything, this film is going to knock it out of the park. [8:00] MG: As a big sci-fi fan, it’s really nice to have so many tangential connections to Star Trek between all of you guys.
JK: That’s right, Ronnie was Captain Jellico, who could forget that.
MG: That was the episode arch that had Patrick Stewart screaming out “There Are FOUR Lights!”
RC: Exactly. Those are the two highest rated episodes of Star Trek. [9:10] RC: I don’t know if you’ve seen, but they did a comic book of Jellico, there’s actually a Jellico comic book.
MG: No Way
RC: Look it up! [10:12] MG: This is the crowdfunding campaign with it all for the big fans, the star wars memorabilia, the star trek memorabilia…
CF: And full disclosure, the film has nothing at all do with any of that, haha! [10:35] CF: Anybody who is a Trekkie or a sci-fi fan at all needs to get on the Indiegogo site, Wrongside Bob, and donate because there’s a lot of rare stuff on there that people won’t have another chance at again, ever.
JK: I have production slides from Revenge of the Jedi, when Return of the Jedi was still titled Revenge and they’re stamped with the official Revenge of the Jedi stamp. [11:24] CF: Is there any other question you need to ask me before I go?
MG: How about, what’s the best part of this movie?
CF: Oh man. The music. The people. The words! The locations. The costumes. It’s just an amazing film, it’s different from everything else. [12:26] JK: My other favorite perk we’re giving away… they just reissued the original (star wars) trilogy novelizations, and they spelled my name wrong on the cover!… I’ve got 5 of those misprinted Return of the Jedi novelizations that I’m going to sign “KHAAAAN!” [14:16] MG: This is a little off topic, but what is your take on legacy? [14:40] JK: It’s important to me that my work is remembered more than I am remembered. There’s a Jon Stewart song that I love that’s about this lonesome picker who makes this melody and hopes that some day long after he’s dead some other lonesome picker will find it and it will soothe his soul as much as his. [15:09] RC: I feel the same way. The work has to stand on its own. Whoever we are, come and go, but if that work is there, then it’s cool. [17:42] JC: Dublin is one of my favorite cities in the world. There’s so much music. [18:08] MG: I heard a hip-hop artist once describe rap and hip-hop as their folk music, trying to communicate in the voice of the people in their art.
RC: I believe that… the library of congress defines folk as music that’s passed on… According to their definition Pete Seeger’s children were folk musicians but he was not, haha. [19:24] RC: Roz Larman, who runs a folk DJ show in Los Angeles, for me has the best definition of folk music, she says “if i like it, it’s folk.”
JK: I’d add, “If I like to sing it it’s folk.” [21:00] MG: Is independent film kind of like folk music?
RC: More so, haha. The thing about independent film, everybody has to make up their own way to do an independent film.
JK: Exactly. And the other thing that links the two, they both have a very handmade aspect to them. They aren’t overproduced… they’re just people getting together, sometimes flying by the seat of their pants, inventing on the spot, and making a heart kind of peace of art. [21:56] RC: Sometimes the worst thing you can do to this kind of film is to have too big a budget.
JK: Haha, that’s right.
RC: It sounds silly, but sometimes, there are a lot of films that i can think of that would be great as low budget films… but all of a sudden the bells and whistles become more important than the substance.
JK: Exactly… When you find yourself given certain constraints that you have to work within, you often come up with really ingenious and innovative ideas that you never would have come up with if you had all the money in the world. [22:18] RC: I find the same is true of songwriting. Sometimes, you have to go with one little simple idea and that turns out to be better… Cause the hardest thing to do in all art is to be simple. When you don’t understand, you complicate, but if you get to the simple essence of any art, that’s the best isn’t it? [24:24] RC: It’s the scariest thing for an artist to do, because you can’t hide behind simplicity. You just have to be there.
JK: You keep wanting to add layers, you think you’re making it better and more intricate, but really you’re hiding the simple thing at the core that you really wanted to expose from the beginning. [25:25] JK: We’re associated with a non profit called E-Nable… They 3D print prosthetic hands and give them away free to kids without hands… One of the reasons I connected with them, because at the beginning of Return of the Jedi, Luke just had his hand cut off by Darth Vader and is examining his new prosthetic hand and went on to save the galaxy.
MG: That’s the classiest star wars reference I’ve ever heard. [27:56] MG: Is the new model for independent film to use crowd funding to demonstrate the public’s interest and them become rounded out by conventional investment?
JK: Yes, that’s very common. What some people do is make just enough in the crowd funding to film a couple scenes to show what the film will look like and get financing that way.
RC: Sort of like an extended trailer… The better way to go is make a complete scene than to skip over and do a trailer for the whole thing.
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