Andrew Pochan is a remarkable young man. I’ve known him only a few years but have grown to respect him immensely. He has not only taught me a lot about the process of filmmaking, he has collaborated with me on many different types of projects and inspired me to stretch creatively. He’s a great friend. It is with lots of pleasure that I present his thoughts below.
Sue: How did we meet?
Andrew: We met going to Get-Kinetic for test shots for Princess Dancer in 2012.
Sue: Princess Dancer being the collaboration I did with Kevin Hackenberg and Tracy Schott. That was an amazing experience for me. My first real experience with professional filmmakers. How did we get there?
Andrew: It was in Gary’s diesel VW. Gary drove. You were in the front, Rachel behind you. Me behind Gary.
Sue: Oh yeah, Rachel was there too. I didn’t know her all that well yet. We hadn’t done much together at the time. What were you doing on that film?
Andrew: I was a PA who rose quickly and became production manager as well as the guy who painted the tattoos on the girls.
Sue: If nothing else, the film industry will fast track people who work hard. I remember that Maori tattoo on the actor most of all. That was amazing. What has your life’s trajectory been since then?
Andrew: Working as an artist, actor, filmmaker, musician, designer and carpenter, and not intending to stop adding to the list!
Sue: I know. I’m always amazed at how you rarely ever say “no” to anything. I mean you hadn’t really done a lot of acting and all of a sudden you’re doing improvisation with the Quick and Dirty group. What’s your ultimate goal? The one job you want to do in filmmaking?
Andrew: I will change the face of film making. It’s already changing. I will be the symbolic catalyst for the new generation of filmmakers, at my feet Hollywood. Not because I created a film that killed it, although many will claim otherwise; it sowed the seeds of its own destruction long ago. I’m the thing that rose from its half burnt and ashy corpse.
Sue: But you’re not ambitious or anything. But back on Earth what do you specifically want to do?
Andrew: I think it’s more of a first things first. Mostly I think it’s because of my situation. Can’t sing the blues if you don’t live the truth. I live with my parents, I live here. I have hundreds of ideas. I am an ideas person as opposed to action, at least for now. I am not great at making money or selling myself, as it were… I will improve that and I am taking steps to do that, but I would rather have someone else do that that is already far more capable and has time to do that sort of thing. It’s not that I’m above doing that, I may be arrogant but I know my limitations and I understand the talents of others. Surround yourself with those who do everything better than you except for that one thing you do better than anyone… For me that’s directing, telling people what to do without confusing them or taking away their particular id, the thing they bring that I can’t conjure.
Also there is a great schism in me of what I am. An artist of the 20th century is far different from the 21st. You have to be everything inherently. You can’t pretend, you can’t be false. The jack of all trades thing is a reality, at least for me. Have I mastered things? Sure. Can I master them further? Sure. Do I need to? Depends. I want to write and direct films and occasionally act in them. But I am not the greatest writer in terms of creating a finished product, I’m more of an ideas or punch up person. I know what is good, I know what is great and I know what will change people. I have been meditating long enough on the subjects of aesthetic and change that I can at least grasp that concept and change the face of things when I am given that chance. Which I will. Can I do that here? No. Can I start here? Already have and will continue until it changes. I am still developing. Kiarostami told me… And specifically me… “You remind me of Quentin (Tarantino, they are friends) you want to help everyone. Don’t stop doing that. Don’t stop creating either, nothing should stop you.” And he was a guy that hardly talked to anyone or even spoke English (he doesn’t like Americans but he liked me because he knew most of my friends at school were Iranians…
Anyway, I know I’m not “normal” nor was I ever and the more I piece it all together the more clear my destiny is. So when you speak of ambition, my mind never stops. Ever. Always writing jokes, coming up with paintings, lyrics, lines, ways to grow my consciousness. I’m always reading and taking things in… You probably didn’t expect so much information off a simple question and I’m not trying to defend myself or be a dick in anyway… I just know my path. God/source/energy whatever you wish to call it is in everything I see. And I am everything I see and want. If I want to be film tomorrow I will be film. I’m not the creator, just the middle man experiencing it on behalf of a bigger thing. That’s 21st century thinking. No separation and no limits.
Sue: How verbose of you. I’d say that all that is true about you and I think it’s great that you’re able to verbalize who and what you are. That will lead to you finding your true path. You’ve already done so much just in the short time that I’ve known you.
Who is Kiarostami and how did you meet him?
Andrew: Abbas Kiarostami. IMDb him. Probably the most prolific and loved of all living directors in Iranian cinema. He was a master in one of the master courses in Dubai when I was there. There are some pictures of him and I on Facebook.
Sue: Do you have any recs for films of his?
Andrew: Close Up, Certified Copy, Thru the Olive Trees, A Taste of Cherry. Those are the ones I’d start with.
Sue: So what’s next, filmwise for you?
Andrew: I am doing a program, I just started three four days ago. It’s a 67 step program a step/video a day. About business and getting your shit together in the right order at the right time, advice, education… all that stuff. So I’m concentrating on that and ideas are flowing as they always do, but even more so now that this has me in a creative frenzy. Especially with money and stuff. Probably the thing that is having me quite verbose about my goals. So it’s probably advantageous of you to ask me about me right now. Good timing.
Film wise stuff… The Traffic Opera for sure. I am psyched about it. I don’t want to let this one go by. Just to see if I (we) can do it. I enjoy the process and what film really is capable of. I still like that idea we had last year about the man in the swimming pool. I don’t know why opera keeps circling my inner orbit of creativity. Probably because of Chris and Vicki. I like having a reason to work with them.
Sue: Yeah, I can’t wait to work on that one too. What else?
Andrew: I like the comedy sketch stuff and still think we can do that. Make short quality videos and build a portfolio that way. That’d be good for both of us and then we have things to point to when we do bigger things such as this opera or whatever. Also we have a huge stock of actors that we can call on. We have a vanity of riches between us (you and I) we need to take advantage of, even if we have no money or real reason to do something. Like Kubrick said to one of his actors when he was driving her home from the shoot of his first film. She asked him why he was being so nice and driving her home… “Well, I’m the only one getting anything out of this! So a ride home is a fair trade don’t you think?”
Sue: Cool story about Kubrick. I wonder if it’s true. Any last words on the A Perfect You experience?
Andrew: I had a fun experience. As always with film, regardless of budget things always feel rushed or incomplete when you do it. Did we get that shot? Did we get coverage? All that really is the inferior side of you, the doubtful side. Everyone has it. I think to be a good artist you need a dash of that and the rest of you needs to be certainty. Certainty that you can pull this off in the edit, if you didn’t get enough coverage, for instance. However, I think we had all the necessary pieces in place. Editing just kind of came together.
Of course we made mistakes, ran over time, and there were headaches, but that’s all part of it… All that shit and we still want to do more. Like heroin. You hate it but you still do it. The artistic/creative feeling is the same. I have been on a lot of shoots and not one is the same, but the thing that is the same is that you learn something. About yourself, your art, you colleagues. You always learn. And to stay humble in the face of that is to keep on making films or art or whatever.
Then everything else, like the edit for instance, falls into place. You get better, it gets better, it gets easier. All things rise and fall within that frequency.
Sue: Very nicely put. Thanks so much for being a part of it and teaching me so much.