I’ve been in the film industry for 4 years now. I started out as an actor and moved into the directing side 2 years ago.
Can you tell us a little about your nominated film?
“Take It All The Way” was created for the 2016 Nashville 48 Hour Film Project. For those unfamiliar with that, it’s a short film competition where filmmakers have 48 hours to write, film, and edit a 7 minute short film. I decided this year I wanted to take on the extra challenge of taking on a musical, so the songs were also written, recorded, and mastered within that same 48 hour time frame.
With the film, we got 16 award nominations and took home 6 awards including Best Director and Best Film. Because we won Best Film, we went to the 48 Hour Film Project’s international festival, Filmapalooza. While there, the film made top 12 out of 140 films and took home the Best Song award. The film will also be featured in the Short Film Corner at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.
Was making films your first love? What other aspects of the film world interest you?
Looking back, I wish I would have realized years ago that film making is what I wanted to do. I grew up in a small town in Kentucky where film making wasn’t really a part of the community. When I moved to Nashville 5 years ago, that’s when I realized that there could be something there.
I’m also interested in the acting side of the film industry. If I had to pick between the two though, I think directing is more my forte. However, starting out as an actor, it’s helped me not only be able to better direct the talent, but I also know the best actors in Nashville that I’m able to handpick for my films.
What is the most challenging thing about being a filmmaker? Which is more difficult, writing or shooting?
I’m not much of a writer. I have story line ideas, but putting that together in a nice little story just doesn’t work for me. I did stand-up comedy for a period of time, so I know jokes. With that, I can punch up a script, but again, not so good with actually creating a story arc on my own.
With directing, the most difficult part is ALL decisions come down to you. “What color should the wall be?” “Where should this cup go?” Things that I never even thought about now become important parts of the process.
Who are some of your favorites in the industry now in regards to other filmmakers or actors?
I’m obsessed with David Fincher. His entire story about starting with commercials and music videos before going on to create some of the best films of our generation intrigues me. I’m also a huge fan of the Coen Brothers and how they setup their shots. Very rarely will you see an over the shoulder shot in a Coen Brothers film because they want you to feel like you’re in the middle of the character’s conversations; a tactic I now try and use in my films.
What is your process or quirks when you create films?
When I create films, the first thing I do is try and find the best way to visually tell the story. When I do this, I normally can picture exactly who I see in each role (whether it’s an actor I know, or an already known actor), so I get a type down. From there, it goes to breaking down the script and thinking up my shot list.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
People who chew ice… But in the industry, I’d say selfish filmmakers. I get it, it’s all about distinct personalities, but I am a very collaborative director. I enjoy getting feedback and ideas from my Director of Photography and it irks me when I’ve worked with people who is a “my way or the highway” type.
Tell us about your best film experience.
I’d say this film, “Take It All The Way” has been my best film experience. It was my first ever Best Film win and is my first film to go to Cannes. The entire process from start to finish was just a joy. In my opinion, 90% of my job as a director is getting the best team together. I had the most amazing team behind me that made it all possible. The leads, Alan Powell and Lindsay Ross are both phenomenal actors and singers (the main reason I decided to do a musical). Alan is also a great producer that helped get the music side of the film together.
Do you have any advice for upcoming artists?
Don’t wait; create your own content. There are so many affordable ways now to create your own content, there is no excuse to not constantly be creating.
Choose one of the following topics and give a “top five”: food, cities, bands, movies, games.
Top Five Movies:
— No Country for Old Men
— The Wizard of Oz
— Mad Max: Fury Road
— Toy Story
Is being Cody Rogers the filmmaker just a dream, a career, or a side gig?
Right now, it’s still a dream, at least it still feels like I’m dreaming. While it’s not currently a full time gig, I can see that happening within the next few years.
We at IndieVille TV would like to thank you for letting us get to know Cody Rogers and congratulations on the nomination.