Nick Corporon hails from the great state of Missouri, where he grew up gay next to a corn field in a town of 4,000. He attended Missouri State University where he studied journalism and film. He got his Masters at Chapman University, where he studied under John Badham (“Saturday Night Fever”). His short films “Barbie Boy,” “Last Call,” and “Empire” have played at over 70 film festivals worldwide. “Barbie Boy” won several awards on the circuit, including the prestigious Alfred C. Kinsey Award for continuing the discussion of gender. “Retake” is his first feature film.
RETAKE is about a lonely middle-aged man (Tuc Watkins from “Desperate Housewives”) who hires a young male prostitute (Devon Graye from “Dexter”) to help him re-live a road trip from his past. Derek Phillips (“Friday Night Lights”) and Kit Williamson (“EastSiders” and “Mad Men”) also star.
Nick thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to do a quick interview with us and congrats on wrapping up production. I did a quick perusal of IMDB and this appears to be your feature film directorial debut, you must feel fantastic!
Fantastic and exhausting. But a good exhausting if there is such a thing. We just wrapped up the final bits of post production and have started sending it out into the wonderful, wide, tangled web of film festivals.
What was the biggest learning experience for you moving from a short form to feature length narrative?
It’s all about scale, really. My thesis in grad school was 15 pages long and we took 9 days to shoot it. The script for "Retake" is 89 pages long and it took us 17 days to shoot. More than anything, you feel the pain of having to shoot 5-7 pages a day. Our toughest day was 10 pages, which is a lot. TV shoots that kind of ratio. But we knew that and prepared for it. With a terrific crew and a disciplined and lovely cast, we were able to really pull it off. Tuc and Devon were real troopers. Tuc, of course, comes from the soap opera world, so 10 pages was nothing for him. Devon does a lot of TV, so he was ready.
The trickiest thing was shooting the climax of the whole movie on Day 1. Our schedule was so fragile and tight because of locations, there was no way out of it. But we prepared thoroughly and we did rehearsals so that the actors were comfortable with it. And they nailed it. I’m so proud of the work they did on day one, hour one. I can't wait for people to see see that scene.
Congrats on crowd funding the movie! Is there a bit of advice you wish you would have heard before you got your campaign started?
Thanks to my friend Kit WIlliamson -- who is in the movie and is a crowdfunding guru -- we were well prepared. He’s just a master at this stuff, having crowdfunded his show East Siders two seasons in a row...so thankfully he helped get me, my producing partners Sean Mandell and Collin Brazie in the right headspace. It was a very short window that we had to prepare our campaign, and I wish we had another 2 weeks before launching. But we made it work and jumped into the campaign, head first.
What most people don’t understand is that it’s a job. You must spend 40, 50, 60 hours a week working on it or you will fail. It was harder than making the actual movie, really. So if I had any general advice for a crowdfunding campaign, it would be this: prepare long before you launch and push through the middle. You will absolutely lose hope halfway through and it’ll look like you’re not going to make it. Push through that self-doubt and many dark nights of the soul, and you’ll stand a chance.
Many different logistics go into making a road trip movie (locations, hotels, food), especially when production is itself a road trip. What did you take away from this? Would you do a road trip movie again?
My producer/cinematographer Collin Brazie, who cooked up the story with me...he and I have always wanted to do a road trip film. We’re both mid-western boys and are in love with the iconography of the desert. We just love it. So we wrote the movie to that idea. As far as logistics? We cheated. It wasn’t economically feasible for us to shoot everything on the road. We shot 12 days inside motels, hotels, and restaurants here in the thirty-mile-zone here in Los Angeles and then shot exteriors - desert and driving shots - for 5 days in the Joshua Tree area. When we were on the road it was a blast. We had minimal crew out in Joshua Tree. Sean, our producer, was doing wardrobe. We promoted our production assistant to prop master. And it really drew us all together. I would love to do another road movie, maybe one day for the whole shoot.
With so many film festival opportunities available do you have any particular that you are planning on submitting to in the coming year?
I don’t want to say at this point in fear of not getting in! I’m a fairly superstitious person, so cross your fingers, legs and toes and wish us luck.
Feel free to follow us on social media
Brandon Ruckdashel is a filmmaker and festival programmer based in New York. As a filmmaker he is most well known for his acting work in the HBO series Co-Ed Confidential and numerous B-Movies. Brandon has worked with Roger Corman alumni Fred Olen Ray and Jim Wynorski along with a number of other very talented directors on nearly a dozen different films. Brandon's Directorial debut GRINDER will be out in theaters in 2016.Website: www.BrandonRuckdashel.com