Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Interview with Daniel Long, Producer/Director of PIGEON KICKER, A BFF Spirit Award Winner

Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Interview with Daniel Long, Producer/Director of PIGEON KICKER, A BFF Spirit Award Winner

Article excerpt

Pigeon Kicker: Scott's only solace in suburbia is his best friend Adam - the Pigeon Kicker. Today is especially excruciating for Scott since his parents have forced him to meet with a neophyte therapist (Carey). Quickly, the session roller-coasters into a maddening array of trust/ lies, camaraderie/ hatred, comfort/fear. Who is Scott? What does Pigeon Kicker have to do with any of this? And why does Carey have a sneaking suspicion that not only is Scott a danger to himself, but also to her?

Daniel Long: In addition to producing and directing Pigeon Kicker, Daniel produced the feature film, The hie, which debuted at the 20 1 1 Sundance Film Festival and had a theatrical release later that year. Prior to The Tie, Daniel produced four short films, Bourgeois & Biblical, Hound Dog, The Death of Salvador Dali, and Birth of Industry. He is currently working as executive producer at Casey in New York. He has also worked for 14 years as a freelance producer and assistant director. Daniel volunteers his time at the Sundance Directors Lab and is currently writing a new script and developing the feature length version of Pigeon Kicker.

Faktorovich: How did you convince Spencer Daniels to participate in a short film? Did you initially plan on making a short and then expanding it into a full-feature film?

Long: First, let me thank you for your interest in Pigeon Kicker and thanks to the Brooklyn Film Festival! We were thrilled to be recognized and invited to the festival and honored to be presented with the Spirit Award. The staff and programmers at the festival were tremendous, we felt welcome and appreciated from the start. They had all seen the film and talked about it enthusiastically, which was a refreshing change.

I don't think I did anything to convince Spencer, a better question for Spencer I guess. If I did anything it was unconscious. I think Spencer was attracted to the material and the role. My feeling, confirmed by Spencer, is that there is not tremendous amount of material out there that lets young actors be real characters with depth. The Disney-ification of young people and their roles, I'm guessing, though it may pay the bills, has got to be disheartening to serious young artists like Spencer and J. Michael.

Yes, the plan was to make a short film that could be expanded into a feature film. Milton Liu, the writer of the script, and I talked about it quite a bit. We both felt that creating the short could be a springboard to getting a feature made. The idea was to use the short as a calling card to accompany the feature script, a short work that could demonstrate mood, tone, and characters and clearly illustrate what we were hoping to accomplish with the feature in the eyes of any prospective investors. It was also crucial that the short film stand alone piece that was a different story but closely related. In fact, the feature kicks off after the death of Scott.

Faktorovich: How did you decide on the actors you used for the film, using some big names like Spencer, who has acted in Star Trek, and played the young Benjamin Button?

Long: Deciding on Spencer and J. Michael was the easiest part of the whole process, we cast for 3 days in an open call and saw a ton of talented young actors, but these two young men were so in touch with who these boys are, the decision was essentially made moments after their auditions, the trick was more which actor for which role. Their previous work may have helped to shape the artists they were when I met them, but their previous work had no bearing on their getting the roles. I think their talent speaks for itself. I would work with either of these two actors again and again.

Faktorovich: Did you make a conscious choice to use more expensive and well-known actors, instead of using some new names that might have been cheaper? Please explain your thought-process as you made you narrowed down and planned your cast list.

Long: Again, it was clear to us the moment we saw each of these actors audition. …

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