Nov 01 2011
Thanks for being my guest this week. Please, tell the cool peeps about yourself.
You’re very welcome Molly, it‘s a pleasure to be here! This is the first time I’ve been interviewed by a real online journalist! My name is Gabriel Barbaro, I live in Park Slope, Brooklyn and I’m happy to say that I work in video. During the day, I’m the staff producer/editor for a digital out of home (DOOH) network, which runs a fleet of flat screen TVs in doctors’ waiting rooms. The rest of my time is spent writing, directing and editing short comedies and music videos.
Tell us about your work as a video writer/director. What are your favorite projects to produce?
I have a strong entrepreneurial streak and really like working on projects I feel strongly connected with. But in general, I’d say that comedies are my favorite projects to work on, since they’re very amusing and fun. I also like laughing while shooting them.
Do you have to choose among the various ideas you have, or do the must-produce videos stand out?
That’s a good question Molly. I do have to choose what video to focus on, but it’s usually pretty straightforward. It’s the idea that keeps saying, “hey, pick me,” and I can’t get it out of my head. I wish I could make even more videos, but I’m a bit of a perfectionist.
Recently, a music video of yours screened at the Coney Island Film Festival on September 25, 2011. More details, please.
Well, it was a big surprise for me, because I entered it “early bird,” six months before it was accepted and I just figured it wouldn’t get in. Film festivals are really hard to get into these days. For example, I was once rejected by 19 film festivals in a row! It was for a short film I directed called Cecil. I was lucky enough to have Tim Curry (of The Rocky Horror Picture Show) narrate and it still got rejected. But it was a dream come true for me and I know it’s a special movie.
But I digress. The Coney Island Film Festival was the most wild film festival I‘ve been to. The opening party was a burlesque show for the filmmakers! Plus the festival is run out of the official Coney Island Freak Show/Museum building.
My parents drove all the way down from MA to attend and my close friends were there too. It was really exciting to screen my music video on the same program as cult director Jeff Krulik (Heavy Metal Parking Lot). I didn’t expect that either.
Additionally, because the video got into the Coney Island Film Festival, I was able to get the attention of a music video promoter who is currently promoting it across the US.
So far, your career has taken you from acting to directing to editing and back to directing. I know this isn’t a job interview, but I’ll ask you the dreaded question, “Where do you hope to be five years from now?”
Wait, this isn’t a job interview? Isn’t this room #315? Just kidding. In five years, I’d like to be writing/directing/editing videos full time. Those could be comedies, music videos and maybe even short documentaries. I wonder what will happen? Isn’t life dynamic?
We’d love to see some of your work. Right now. Can you tell us about these videos?
This was my first comedy and I wrote it after going on lots of auditions and stuff as an actor in the early aughts. We shot it in Sunnyside, Queens and when we did the fight scene we had three separate police cruisers pull up to check out reports of junkies fighting in the street. Luckily, the actor who played “Cap” knew them all from the neighborhood! Team One: Pure Combat premiered at The Arlene Grocery Picture Show and won the “The Union Turnpike Award for Best Reprasentin’ Queens.” It also received this film review:
The music video began as a test shoot for my Canon 5D Mark II (which cost me my left arm). Later, I was able to get the use of the song through my friend Jimmy Landry of www.audiostrike.com who got me in touch with the lead singer of Cherry S/T, Bob Bowser. He kindly let me use the song and it worked out perfectly! I couldn’t believe it.
The video was also an experiment since I usually shoot comedies. So a horror piece was a risk for me. But people have reported that they find it creepy, which was just what I was going for! I think the lead actor Anthony Aveni (“Cap” in Team One) did a great job in his role.
I know you’re eager to continue directing comedy for your YouTube channel. What’s next?
My next project, unless another comes up suddenly, will be to direct an episodic comedy. It’ll be about a quirky New Yorker who has some crazy friends. I’m hoping it’ll make people laugh.
How did your love of directing begin?
I guess it started when I just jumped into writing/directing Team One. I think that’s the answer – I wanted to work on my own stories! I’ve really liked my small productions because I’ve been able to work closely with the actors. That’s great. With smaller productions you can also achieve really intimate performances, because there are fewer strangers around. And I really like bringing people together with a project!
Tell us something about your hometown, Amherst, Massachusetts.
Amherst is a neo-utopia. It’s a small town, but it’s filled with liberal thought, under the gentle stewardship of college professors, hippies and psychologists and the five wonderful colleges: Amherst, Umass, Hampshire, Mt. Holyoke and Smith. It’s not often you find a unique combination like that. It also has lots of natural and rural beauty. You should really visit sometime, Molly.
It sounds like an amazing place to grow up? Can you tell us a bit about your family? What were you like growing up? Are you the same person now?
Yes, Amherst was a great place to grow up. I’m also lucky because my parents and sister are awesome and very supportive. There were/are a lot of artists in my family too, so I think it’s in my blood.
Growing up I was very energetic! I think I’ve become a deeper and more patient person now, but I think I still have a lot of energy! What do you think Molly?!?!?
I’ve been forever called picky, but I maintain that we’re all picky creatures. What are you picky about?
I find myself annoyed by people who are extremely self-involved, like me of course. I also find rude people are like steel wool against the nerves! I just hope Americans can get even better at being patient and kind.
Where can people find you online?
Any parting words for the masses? Any shameless plugs?
I’d just like to thank you Molly, for taking the time to interview me. It’s not often I get asked to do an interview with someone of your stature and reputation. I’d also like to thank everyone who took the time to read our interview. Thanks so much!