Welcome to the Conspiracy! won Best Feature Film - Less than $5000 Award in the 9th Season of MP Film Award Sean Totanes Director, Writer, Producer & Editor of the Film Welcome to the Conspiracy! agree to interview with us.
Sean Totanes: Growing up in Tracy, California, Sean had a passion for all forms of entertainment such as movies, TV, music & animation. Since entering the industry in 2013, he has worked all over the United States, developing a specialty in the art department.
As either an art director, graphic designer or storyboard artist, he applies his talent in illustration, cinematic knowledge and design theories on set and in studios.
He has worked for Food Network, Investigation Discovery, Paramount Pictures, and various independent filmmakers. Sean’s work can be seen featured in various independent films, music videos and shows such as recent Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why”.
Back at home, he works for a non-profit that supports adults with I/DD, coaching & teaching them the fundamentals of filmmaking; gaining independence through the craft.
About the Film: Synopsis: Welcome to the Conspiracy! Film Synopsis:
Art, an agoraphobic loser in a downward spiral, thinks the world is out to get him; that is until he meets the girl of his dreams. She offers a proposition - to be part of a project that will "cure his disease". Will she be able to help him overcome his "syndrome", or is Mika, part of the conspiracy?
What was your drive behind making this film?
Sean Totanes: Have you ever had that vivid dream that you really thought happened for real? In a pocket of my life, I was completely immersed in this one-sided love. It got to a point where my dreams about her felt completely real, yet nothing actually happened.
I wanted to dive deeper into that psyche. What would happen if someone could not determine what was real and what was fantasy? It eventually turned into this ultimate underdog story, that I am a real sucker for, and it was a kind of movie I’ve always wanted to make.
How you feel when you are awarded with the MP FILM AWARD Award?
Sean Totanes: I’m truly honored to be a recipient of the MP Film Award’s Best Feature under $5000. It was an amazing challenge in creating a feature-length movie with an ultra-low budget. I’m ecstatic for the cast and crew and their tremendous efforts being recognized.
Can you tell us about the greatest moment during shooting this film?
Sean Totanes: I knew we had something special when we went into the “Casablanca” fantasy sequence. Everything fell into place & it was not only well-executed by all but it was also an incredible bonding experience. One of my favorite times while shooting “WELCON”.
How rigorously did you stick to the script while shooting?
Sean Totanes: The shooting schedule was the biggest challenge. Everyone was a student, a part-timer, or was willing to give up their day to creating the movie. Because of this, we had to stick with weekend shooting to the rare 4-day shoot days. We also had to adjust the schedule to fit unexpected events. For the most part, WELCON was part of our lives for 3-4 months.
Where there any onset problems during the filming of the film & how did you deal with it?
Sean Totanes: N/A
Do you have any advice for young filmmaker out there? Or like yourself?
Sean Totanes: Be patient. For the first time filmmakers there’s going to be a learning curve; you got to let the problems that do occur happen and adapt to the situation. Not everything you’ve written will be successful on screen, and sometimes, the moments that are not written would make the scene exponentially better.
Do you think it is essential to go to a film institute in order to become a successful filmmaker?
Sean Totanes: If you’re a person that needs a support system to motivate you, like myself, something like a film institute is an awesome experience. You will be surrounded by like-minded creatives and their passions would motivate you to do the same. However, I do understand those who can work independently and can be creative on their own. It’s different for all sorts of people and there’s no “right” path into the industry.
Which film has inspired you the most?
Sean Totanes: Jurassic Park is a cinematic masterpiece. Experiencing that movie at the theater is what sparks me into telling stories. What I want to do for the rest of my lifeis creating spectacles, intense atmosphere &memorable characters.
Which particular film maker has influenced you the most?
Sean Totanes: I realized my style on WELCON reflected a lot of Michel Gondry’s works (Science of Sleep, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). His surreal takes on personal stories are wonderful ways of expressing human’s deep thoughts & emotions without thwarting the audience away. I like to be accessible to my audience by using fun visuals to help teach & introduce my philosophies in life.
Which book would you love to make a film out of one day?
Sean Totanes: While I’m not the strongest reader in the world, I would love to dive into Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. I would like to create a fictional character that revolve around his writing and his insights.
If you got the opportunity to go back in time & change something in any particular movie of yours, then which movie & what changes will you opt for?
Sean Totanes: N/A
If you were to shoot the film again, what would you do differently?
Sean Totanes: Knowing what I know now, I would be more patient and allowed the film’s scenes to breathe with wider shots.
What is your greatest achievement till date?
Sean Totanes: To finally have shared WELCON to the MP Film Awards and other festivals alike! It was a long time coming.
How do you pick yourself up after a failed film?
Sean Totanes: It’s not a failed film it’s a learning experience. If mistakes were made, now you know how to prevent them.
Where our viewers can catch you (share your social media)?
Sean Totanes: You can follow my Instagram, @seantheromantic and you can follow any projects I have in @theromanticproductions ! You can also find me at Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theromanticproductions/
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