An Interview with Brian McGuire
Q: Tell us about how you got started as a filmmaker.
Brian: I started making films first as an actor. I thought I was gonna die after high school…not that I was gonna kill myself but up to that point everything was laid out for you. After 8th grade you go to 9th grade and then it stops at 12, and I just thought a bus would hit me. But I ran into an old friend who was taking acting classes and he invited me to the class. It was Babs George’s class but Gabriel Folse was subbing that night. Babs and Gabe became my mentors and taught me everything I ever needed to know about acting. Then I stole an education from the U.T. Film school. I acted in 40 student films in 4 years time. I learned a lot about making films and made good friends then…friends I still love and work with like Bryan Poyser, Jake Vaughn, Tim Harrison, Alex Holdridge, and Robert Murphy. All great Austin filmmakers with great hearts. I would say this was the beginning. After acting for 5 years in Austin, I moved to Los Angeles where I decided to quit acting and become a techno dj for about 8 years before truly returning to the art of acting. A group of my texan homies (Alex Holdridge, Scoot McNairy, Sara Simmons, Robert Murphy, Seth Caplin) who all (one by one) moved to L.A., and I made the film IN SEARCH OF A MIDNIGHT KISS. This film and making of it, as well as its life in festivals and in the market taught me a lot. That’s when I decided to become a full on filmmaker.
Q: Did being a Texan influence how you look at possible film projects?
Brian: Being in Austin, Texas taught me everything! I always tell people that if you wanna learn how to be creative go to Austin. Learning and making films in Texas, seemed to be more hands on. We just did it. There was an idea and we would all get together and make shit happen…so much to learn and do. A lot of Austin filmmakers want to make something beautiful and original. That is the most important thing Austin, Texas taught me.
Q: Do you think that the age of independent film is over? Is it possibly going into new era and rising out of the studio film quagmire?
Brian: The age of independent film is not over yet. I would say probably never. At least as long as I am alive it will be alive. The world changes and so does storytelling and the tools, and the ways we watch. It’s still a very exciting time. Although it does seem like a lot of filmmakers are scared these days to make original shit.And I think there is a lot of pressure and it becomes tough nowadays to make original shit partly due to the corrupt system which has become most film festivals. Festivals are so political and It seems they all play it safe these days. As well, it becomes so cookie cutter. Filmmakers try to make a story that fits the festival mold and when you go to a fest you see a lot of pictures that are very much the same. And now it’s a film we have seen before. But there are some smart filmmakers who are still going for it and making great films, as well as putting their films out in interesting ways and getting them seen.
Q: What subjects interest you as far as possible project material?
Brian: So far I have made 7 feature films. My first one is titled ON HOLIDAY. It’s about a couple that moves to L.A. and find themselves in a community of party kids who take drugs to electronic blue music. The story takes place over 6 parties over the course of 3 years. It’s about the small and funny moments in getting lost and trying to find yourself in it…or out of it. People, people of drugs, and people in relationships.
My 2nd film is titled THE BLACK BELLE. The Belle is a boys locker room of sex talk comedy. As well it’s about a woman who destroys all men. It’s an intelligent fart joke movie. It’s also a whitesploitation film. A reviewer called it the Pulp Fiction of sex comedies. It’s for eating popcorn and laughing.
The 3rd is CARLOS SPILLS THE BEANS and it comes out on cable, Void, and internet in June. It’s about a big family that owns a restaurant. It’s a dark comedy about classism, racism, sexism, status-ism. it’s about family drama.
The 4th is titled PREVERTERE and it’s about a pervert on a quest to find true love. It’s dark, funny and set in reality…but the reality becomes twisted, as it does. It’s about connection, love, people, being human.
The 5th WINDOW LICKER is about a guy who has gone crazy with a new form of insanity that no other human has ever had to face. This film is wickedly dark, funny, creative, and fucking nuts. And it comes to cable, internet, Void, in july.
My 6th is titled 1 WORLD 100 LONEY and it’s about relationships and human connection. It is part 1 of 5. It’s a beautiful, sad, dark, and dry comedy. I like human life and people and the study of us humans so my films tend to sit in abider reality. I think sadness and darkness is a fucking funny place to explore comedy and life is just a comedy as I see it.
Q: Which Texas directors have inspired you?
Brian: Of course Richard Linklater. You would have to be a freak not to mention him. I for sure steal from him in my films. My good friend and amazing filmmaker Bryan Poyser, my grand master and forever mentor Gabriel Folse. Without him I would not be me. And my good friend Robert Murphy. The guy is a hero and never quits. He cares more than you do about your film. And Alex Holdridge has inspired me indeed.
Q: How is living in California changing the way you approach a project, or is it?
Brian: Being here, living here and making films has changed and influenced my story telling, but I feel the way that I make a film is in a very Austin style. It’s how I learned and it’s what I know. My goal is to make everyone who works on one of my films feel like it’s their own. I like there to be a lot of love and respect for each other. and there is a lot of great people all over the world. You just got to find them.
Q: Are you able to find work within the Hollywood film industry? Is it a sort of members only club or are people who go there to make film able to supplement their own film projects by working on larger films?
Brian: I have worked a little in the “Hollywood system”. It’s nice that it’s right there cause it makes it easy to get people, gear, actors…whatever you need, you can get. So it helps. And there are a lot of pro dudes who wanna work and will work for cheap or cause they love it or they love you. I think everywhere and thing is a club and hard to break into. That goes for Austin , L.A., anywhere. Film festivals are a club. It’s just part of how it seems it goes. I say be talented, prepared, kind, and do your shit and good things and good clubs will invite you in. That’s one way to look at it. Try to spin it in a positive light instead of using it as a reason to complain.
Q: Who do you think are some of the best up and coming independent film makes at the moment?
Brian: Azazel Jacobs is kind of king right now in my mind, and Bryan Poyser is doing good things. And I’m not afraid to put myself on this list.
Q; What film or films made you think this is what you wanted to do for a living?
Brian: Anything made by Jim Jarmusch, Todd Solodz, the film Buffalo 66, all James Dean films, and Eric Roberts and Jon Voight in RUNAWAY TRAIN.
Q: Can you tell us what you are currently working on?
Brian: I am working on the 5 part film series titled 1 WORLD 100 LONELY. I’m about to shoot a film called SICK OF IT ALL which is a noir style black and white film weirdly based of the French children’s book THE LITTLE PRINCE, and my master piece titled LIFE ON A TRAIN. It all takes place on a train and it’s big, beautiful, and a fun ride through a weird America.
Q: Do you think that producers will ever tire of this remake and epic film project phase and get back to real storytelling?
Brian: I hope so. It would be good for the minds and hearts of our future.
Q: Finally if you had unlimited funds what would your dream film be about?
Brian: It would be the film I hope to shoot at the end of the year LIFE ON A TRAIN.
Thank you Brian and we look forward to seeing one of your films at SXSW some day.
by Janet Elizabeth Hammer