Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Interview: James Yaegashi, Director of Lefty Loosey Righty Tighty

This week, I'm fortunate enough to welcome James Yaegashi to the blog for a two-part interview. James is the director of Lefty Loosey Righty Tighty, an indie romantic comedy currently in post-production. I was curious about the film and how it all came together, so I decided to go to the source for some information. Luckily, James was gracious enough to put up with my questions. :) Here's the result! Hope you enjoy.

Tell me a little about Lefty Loosey Righty Tighty. What was the inspiration behind it? How did you go about putting it together?

I was talking to a friend who has a bunch of HD equipment (he ended up not being able to be in the project), and he was encouraging me to use his stuff to make a movie of my own, because I’ve been wanting to direct, and I have a great pool of resource in terms of actors from having been an actor in NY for 12 years.

So, I approached Pat, a college friend, about maybe making a movie together, since I’d read several of his screenplays in the past and thought he was good. The whole idea was to do something strictly among friends, a family affair filmmaking that’s outside the box of the business-as-usual that we know.

Pat & I tossed around different ideas for a few weeks, I asked Pat to go off and write something, and he came back with LLRT. We worked on the script together for several months, put together a reading of the script in NYC with my actor friends (most of whom ended up playing parts in the movie itself) and went back and did more rewrites. Then we called up Judson, another college friend, who got into filmmaking after doing a similarly low/no budget project with a bunch of friends (I was in the cast), and got him on board as DP (Director of Photography). The film is cast entirely with the good people I’ve come to know over my career in NY, and we also got a lot of production help from other college friends and younger folks who graduated more recently.

Did you end up using your friend's HD equipment even though he himself couldn't participate?

We ended up using some of my friends equipment, but the cameras we used were Judson's and Sven's: Canon 5D and 7D. We actually used both cameras for almost every scene, so we were shooting with at different angles/range each time. It helped enormously with the time constraint.

The title intrigues me. What does it mean? (Other than the obvious, jar-opening version.) How does it relate to the film?

The obvious jar-opening reference is actually kind of the point. We tend to complicate life so much, but maybe it’s a lot simpler than we make it. Sometimes all we need are simple reminders--like “lefty loosey.” Besides, it’s kind of quirky and sounds funny.

Did you know everyone involved in the movie prior to filming, or did the show bring you all together?

I guess I answered this prematurely in the first question! Yes, the movie is entirely made with people I know —that was the point: create something good with good people, both in talent and as a person. There were several people on the production team who came on board that I didn’t know at first, but they were all only two-degrees of separation, a friend of a friend, and they all came highly recommended.

LLRT was filmed on a very tight schedule. Was that a deliberate creative choice, or dictated by outside forces (scheduling conflicts, etc.)? What was it like filming that quickly? Did you see any benefits to a shortened production schedule?

It was absolutely by necessity. Since my friends are all working professional actors, we had to get this done in a timeframe that wouldn’t encroach on their other work (especially since this film was no “payday” for them). Scheduling was a nightmare. Shooting was insane. Judson and I (and Sven, our assistant DP who did a yeoman’s job) essentially had 17 hour days for 14 straight days. We were always under the gun to get all the scenes of the day shot—there was no margin for error. So, if we had a large budget, I would have DEFINITELY taken my time! LOL

Once the film is finished with post-production, what are your plans? Where do you see it going from here? Have you considered submitting it to the Seattle International Film Festival? (Okay, yes, there may be an ulterior motive involved in that part of the question.)

We are going to submit to as many film festivals as possible. Big ones, little ones, niche ones, wherever we think we have a shot. We would really like to get a rough cut completed in December (the first big one is SXSW, but it’s early December, so we’re not sure if we’ll get it in time). Looks like Seattle’s final submission date is early January, so I don’t see why we wouldn’t submit! [Kate's note: YAY! Fingers crossed, because if it screens during SIFF I am so there. Maia, Karen, you coming with? LOL]

And there you have it, Part One of my interview with James Yaegashi. Tune in tomorrow to find out more about James, his upcoming projects, and the one question he wishes I'd asked but didn't!


traci said...

Already planning on going to the premiere in NY, but if they come to Seattle...hmm...I may see a trip up the west coast in my future!

Great interview, Kate! Looking forward to part 2!

Kate Davies said...

Oh, yeah. Road trip is definitely in order. Party in Seattle! :)