Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Want to Hire Matt Damon, But Can't Afford Him? Here's Your Guy

EDITOR'S NOTE: I'm Not Matt Damon is now available to purchase online for just $5.95. In honor of the release, we are reprinting our interview with director and star Jim Rothman from July 16, 2010.

Photo Courtesy of Jim Rothman

What do you do if you're an actor and you can't get cast because someone else is getting all your parts? Why not make your own movie?

That's what Jim Rothman did. The struggling performer bears a striking resemblance to the Hollywood A-Lister, Matt Damon. So each time he auditioned he'd hear, "You look too much like Matt Damon..." or "...Not enough like Matt Damon." Either way it was a lose-lose for Jim.

So he decided if no one else was going to give him a gig, he'd hire himself. Hence the short film, I'm Not Matt Damon. The 20-minute comedy was recently accepted into the Burbank International Film Festival which is taking place later this summer (dates TBD).

We spoke with Jim about who his influences are, why he made the film, and if he's gotten any acting work since it's release.

PASSIONISTAS: Please tell us your full name and where you are from and where you live now?

JIM: I was born James Matthew Rothman. I'm from Burien, WA, which is 20 miles south of Seattle. I currently live in Studio City, CA.

PASSIONISTAS: Is I'm Not Matt Damon you're first film?

JIM: It is my first film as a director, yes.

PASSIONISTAS: Tell us what I'm Not Matt Damon is about.

JIM: The film is a comedy about my life trying to get somewhere as an actor, while working as a messenger, but having difficulty because people tell me I look too much or not enough like Matt Damon to be cast.

PASSIONISTAS: What was the inspiration for I'm Not Matt Damon?

JIM: Well the film is based on my own experiences in Los Angeles. I haven't gotten as far as I'd like as an artist and thought perhaps the best way to get work was to create my own. Since many people felt I had a likeness to an already famous star I thought this might be a good place to start.

PASSIONISTAS: Who are your biggest filmmaking influences?

JIM: Clint Eastwood. His is a career I hope to emulate. His success in front and behind the camera, not to mention directing himself on camera, is something I marvel at, and would love to spend my career doing the same thing.

PASSIONISTAS: Did being an actor make it more or less difficult to cast the film?

JIM: Being both the writer and director made it easier to cast the film, which then made it easier for me to be an actor on set.

PASSIONISTAS: Did you cast any of your friends?

JIM: My former roommate, Wes Adelman, was cast as the young guy with the Mustang. The film needed a young kid to play someone who could have received that car for his birthday. He was an aspiring actor, so I gave him a shot. He did well.

PASSIONISTAS: What was the budget for the film?

JIM: The budget was $25,000. A lot for a short, admittedly. But it afforded me two Red One HD Camera, a 20-man crew, equipment, production trucks, permits, locations, producers, craft service and so forth. A bargain for the value.

PASSIONISTAS: We read that you used some unusual methods for filming (especially a few stunts) to save on your budget. Can you tell us a little about those?

JIM: There is a three-minute driving sequence in the film where my character has to get to a destination within 20 minutes in order to deliver a package. The sequence called for high speed driving, peel outs, hairpin turns, and drifting. As there wasn't the money in the budget to accomplish this, it was achieved through quick cut editing, tight close-ups, multiple camera angles, two cameras, and one stunt car driver with his own 2008 Mustang Bullitt.

PASSIONISTAS: How long did the film take to make?

JIM: It took the better part of three years to save the money to shoot this. The actual days of production was nine.

PASSIONISTAS: How many film festivals has I'm Not Matt Damon been selected for to date?

JIM: Including the Burbank International Film Festival, the film has played in eight film festivals.

PASSIONISTAS: Has the film won any awards?

JIM: The film has been fortunate to have won two awards. The first was the Special Jury Prize at the Las Vegas Film Festival. The second was the Independent Filmmaker Award at the Los Angeles International ShortFest.

PASSIONISTAS: Are you planning on attending The Burbank International Film Festival? If so, what do you hope to get out of it?

JIM: I'll be attending the festival. I hope to continue to network with fellow filmmakers, meet new people, and create new opportunities.

PASSIONISTAS: Have you gotten any acting gigs from the film?

JIM: I haven't received any acting jobs from the film yet.

PASSIONISTAS: Will you make another one?

JIM: I've been considering shooting another short, but so far haven't found the financing.

PASSIONISTAS: What's up next?

JIM: I'm writing and developing a couple of feature films.

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For other Burbank International Film Festival articles check out:
A Lost in Space Reunion for The Bolt Who Saved Christmas
Is Alex Lamburini the Next Spielberg?

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