This interview is so long overdue. If you guys are not familiar with the name, seek out immediately Velvet Road. One thing you can say about the man is that he does not conform to normality in film, his short on the surface looked like just another zombie film, and it was anything but. Now, with Copiii from what I seen so far, it looks like Cooper is ready to blow people away. Well, a year in the making I finally got L. Gustavo down to talk. Enjoyâ€¦.
1. L. Gustavo Cooper for people who may not be too familiar with you, want to educate our readers a little?
Well, I am a writer/director based out of Florida. I grew up in the skateboarding industry filming my friend and making skate videos. After that I learned I had a love for film making and what i wanted to share stories with the world!
2. As most critics know, you did a little short that seemed to get a huge bit of talk and buzz called Velvet Road, how long did this take to film and did you feel any pressure while making it?
Well, Velvet Road for me was all about “growth”. I wrote the initial script in my senior year of college. With the guidance of one of my mentors and professors Jennie Jarvis she really pushed me to write something that was within reach (meaning, she wanted me to write something I could make.) After i had the initial script written i approached my partner in crime Jonathan Shepard. He was skeptical about making the film intuitionally. I had remembered sitting on a porch with him pitching the idea and mention the idea of this “racial aspect”. His eyes lit up and I remember him saying something like â€œnow you are on to something”. After that it was a matter of tweaking the script and getting funds. We did everything we could to raise money. We went the crowd funding route; we threw parties, and reached out to investors. Luckily the combination of all three with the support of the Duane A. Sikes and the Shepard family we were able to go into production. The film community in my home town is very hungry and creative people who are very talented i might add. We reached out to a some of the productions companies and got a team together, Andrew Paul Howell & AppleBox Producitons (Director Photography), Billy Gaggins (editor) , Andrew A. Avitabile (sound designer/composer), Brian Jerin (Composer), Penny dreadful (makeup), and Dj Goller (colorist, spfx). Getting this many people to come in on this level was a learning experience and feet in itself. I couldn’t have done it without them
3. What is your first movie memory that made you want to pursuit directing?
Well I think it was one of the first music videos I directed. I did this video for SWIMM (formally known as Le. BLORR). I remember when the words on the page came to life. We had a great set. The idea was he was an evangelist, spreading the word of the (Le BLORR.) We had a fire, a mob scene, and a great cast and crew. There had to be 30 something people working all at once in organizes chaos. Thatâ€™s when i knew this is what i wanted to do.
4. Letâ€™s face it, Velvet Road you passed it to a lot of critics to review, did you read all the press? Also, if anything was negative did it get to you?
To be honest it really hasn’t. At least that I know of. I am very surprised that all the critics and fans “got what we were trying to do”. That was the biggest fear for me.
5. Velvet Road was a zombie short; do you think itâ€™s fair that because it is zombie related that some people may accuse you of jumping on the Walking Dead bandwagon? If so, does that get to you or is it a compliment?
It wouldn’t offend me at all. I am a huge fan of the walking dead. I also was inspired by a specific scene in that show. The one were Rick meets the women with her legs missing and he looks down at her and this moment of humanity washes over him and he has to kill her. It really said to me â€œhorror and fear can evoke so many emotions at once” it was then i knew i wanted to make something that did the same thing.
6. Now we have a new film and it is called Copiii The 1st Entry what can you tell us about this film?
Copiii is a journey through the very real transformation a women experiences while going through child birth. Facing your past and learning to deal with your demons. The folklore allowed my co-writers, Coe Douglas, Jon Bosworth and myself to really explore this in a great setting.
7. Was there any pressure on you while working on this film since Velvet Road was so loved?
I think the pressure was not so much that we had to live up to Velvet Road. It was the more of the level of emotions that we dealt with in our of the individual scenes. Sharing these moments with the audience and allowing them to get on a emotional roller coaster.
8. If Directing did not pan out for you, what was the backup plan?
I sure would make one hell of a vacuums sales man! Honestly, something in the creative industry. I really like coming up with creative solutions. I do commercials to make ends-meat. As we all know in the indie field you have to have “something else” to make ends meet.
9. Do you think the government does all it can to stop illegal downloading? Also, what if you had a movie signing for a film and someone pulled out a burn for you to sign, what would you do? Wouldnâ€™t it be just a hoot if the film was not yours, they pull out some burn of Avatar.
I think i would sign it and laugh. I am not sure what the government is doing stop illegal downloading.
ed note-( neither is anyone else)
10. Letâ€™s be honest here L, (which if you know me, when I start a question like that you know it will be a doozey) do you think the festivals are fair to directors like you trying to get your foot in the door? Or do you think they are self-serving and can care less about the artist?
I think festivals are a great venue to show ones work. Some of the fest are really hard to get into or get their attention. I have learned a lot of is just getting their attention. I do think they have the best intent of the artist. They are essentially the core of the indie game.
11. Hollywood gives you a budget, a big one and you can cast any actor and actress you want for a film. Who would you pick and why?
I think i would have to say Gary Oldman. I admire his work so much. Every time i see him in something i get excited to see what he has done with the character he is going to portray. The choices he has made with the character. Its quit the art form.
12. What do you think is the biggest misconception of an indie horror director?
That they are going to make a slasher, blood, gore film. I don’t know if i am considered a horror film director. I just like to make filmsâ€¦ that happen to be a little dark.
13. What was the last film you had to rush out first day and go see?
I think it was Django. I really wanted to see what Tarantino was going to do with the cast of characters he had. Iâ€™m not a huge Tarantino fan, but i do admire what he does.
14. Are you a fan of 3D? If so, do you agree with Hollywoodâ€™s new money making scheme they hatched at World War Z, where you now pay around 50.00 but you can get this and that or other stuff with your ticket?
I didn’t hear about this. I saw World War Z. It was cool; I mean i saw that a big budget Zombie movie looked like. I looked at it as an experiment.
15. Another trend that Fox just started as have Warner Brothers, that they announce the blu ray and dvd launch before the film hits theaters, but if you pre-buy the product you get like a cut off your movie ticket. Do you think that is a smart strategy?
I mean, why I will want to go pay 30.00 to see Man of Steel when I know it is coming out uncut in September. Again i didn’t know about this. I see your point though.
16. I mean websites and blogs seem to be the new magazines, when was the last time you went to a bookstore and bought magazines? If you have, what magazines did you buy?
The last magazine i bought was Fangoria! They did a write up on Velvet Road. My wife bought a couple and we have them framed! haha I’m a dork.
17. Do you think it is fair when a film director blames a budget or time restraints on why the film failed?
yes and No. I feel like when going into to a film, you know your budget limitations. Smart film making is very hard. I am still learning how to make it work, i know itâ€™s the core of people you have around you and the trust you have in them that ultimately decides if it works.
18. Besides meeting me and this interview, what has been the high point in all this for you so far?
Man, just getting a chance to breath. I have been working very hard on getting Copiii finished and out to the fest! Thank you for this opportunity.
19. What is the most embarrassing song right now in your iPod? And also the most embarrassing cd you own that you are proud to admit to? And also movies, do you have any movie you are afraid to admit you like? All men have seen Beaches, do not let them lie to you.
I think the most embarrassing song i have on my iPod is, Ace of Base â€œall that she wants” hahah.
The cd would have to be Tragic Kingdom- no Doubt. And my movie would have to be Pootie Tang.
20. This was so fun, and finally I got to talk to you. You know what a big fan I am of your work, so please take this time to promote yourself and all you do and anything you want to tell people about. Thanks so much
This was truly a pleasure. I would like to remind people that we have been telling stories since the cave man. For generations stories have propelled the World forward. Stories are all we have to share with the future and itâ€™s important that we do this. Velvet Road is available on Fearnet.com
and Please check out our site
and look out for Copiii: The 1st Entry!