Jupak: How long has The Unseen been in
Lisa: I wrote "The Unseen"
in July 2003 and then had to take a break to travel with my
first film "Anne B. Real." My producers Luis Moro
and Phillip Bloch and I were developing the script along the
way and had a final draft in February 2004. Finally, we went
into production in June 2004 after Duane Wandless, our executive
producer raised the rest of the finances we needed. We are currently
in post-production at Lab 601 in Atlanta, GA, but only a couple
of weeks away from the final product.
Jupak: Being the writer/director/producer
of the film, do you feel you have the most control?
It feels very schizophrenic. You walk a tenuous line when you
fight yourself for things. The writer/director wants everything
she wrote to show up on the screen and the producer has to tell
the writer/director she can't have all those things because
they cost too much. Michael Stipe wrote a song called "World
Leader Pretend" and I find the opening lyrics to be very
telling of being the hyphenate: "I sit at my table and
wage war on myself. It seems like it's all, all for nothing."
And of course you know it's not for nothing, but sometimes you
think you should join the Peace Corps when you're on the phone
fighting for 20 more dollars off the cost of a prop car.
Jupak: What are some of the major obstacles
you have faced, whether during writing or during the production?
The number one issue is money. I've never had enough money to
shoot the script I was directing; therefore Luis and I are always
trying to come up with ways to be creative inside that problem.
It's hard enough to come up with a story that's new, exciting,
compelling, but then to have to figure out ways to tell that
story with a small budget...That's tough. One example of it
that showed up on a day when I had the entire cast on set for
a very expensive shot with a crane that I had planned with my
cinematographer, Jim Hunter. Less than 24 hours before the shot
our crane was taken from us by a bigger production that could
afford the actual price of the crane (we were getting a good
deal). It was, by far, the most expensive shot in the film.
I didn't get upset and noticed my temperament has shifted since
becoming a filmmaker. It seems nothing is impossible, good or
bad, thus you simply need to be ready for anything and be prepared
to absorb the impact of any incident. Luis did not give up on
the shot and found a bucket truck which had an ability to go
about 60 feet into the air. We rented it for 50 bucks; not as
smooth as a crane but I think audiences will be surprised by
the fluidity; it's quite lovely.
Jupak: Do you have an advice for young
filmmakers or screenwriters?
Lisa: Do it yourself. Don't
wait for anyone. With the advent of digital cameras anyone can
make a film. That is the good and the bad news... Seriously,
you really don't need to wait for anyone. You can buy a camera;
minimal lights, some sound equipment, and a Final Cut Pro edit
system for less than 30K and have a mini-studio to make your
film. If you are really clever, you can shoot your film in order
and have no edits! I have done this before as an exercise and
it's quite helpful for practice and an adventure in and of itself.
Jupak: Can you tell me anything about
the plot or characters of The Unseen?
Lisa: The basic
idea is, sometimes you think you see something and from what
you see you make judgments, decisions and take actions that
affect your life and the lives of others, but what if you didn't
see what you thought you saw? The film is about "the unseen"
things in life that run life.
Jupak: When can we expect to see The Unseen
Lisa: We do not have distribution yet, but
we have submitted our film to Sundance and Berlin and are crossing
our fingers to be accepted by either or both to premier and
then hopefully be picked up. This is the dream of most all independent
filmmakers and it would be a blessing if it all worked out for
Jupak: Both Michelle Clunie and Gale Harold,
from Showtime’s Queer as Folk, star in The Unseen. How is their
relationship both on and off screen?
Lisa: They are amazing
together! They are good pals and have wonderful acting chemistry.
Both are terrific talents and truly pushed their performances
to the limit. All of the actors did really... I often thought
about what they must go through being on a television show and
having to do the same thing day in and day out each year...
This film gave them an opportunity to stretch and play something
they don't normally do. In "The Unseen" they play
a couple and with a lot at stake. Michelle's character really
pushes Gale's character to a place he doesn't want to visit.
Gale's character, "Harold," is one that I tend to
be drawn to in general, like Carlos Leon, "Juan" in
"Anne B. Real"; loaded with pathos and fire. Michelle's
character, "Kathleen" is the love and strength in