Saturday, December 17, 2011

Who is...Chris Neumann?

Take a long, hard look at the picture above. VOC currently rests almost squarely on this gentleman's shoulders.

Chris Neumann is a monster in the Chicago/NWI indie film scene. He's a writer, director, DP, musician and (thankfully for me) one of the best Editors in the business. As I type he is no doubt enjoying a drink and laboring furiously to get the final cut of our movie finished on-schedule. I thought it only fitting to take moment to introduce you the man behind the curtain.

Chris and I talk almost daily but it was just last week that we sat down for some fish-and-chips (fries, technically), had a drink and conducted the interview below. Enoy...

How old are you, sir?

Where did you go to school?
Lake Central for high school. Purdue Cal for my Bachelors (visual communications and graphic arts with a minor in Philosophy) and my Masters (media design) at Full Sail University.

How long have you been working in film?
I started years and years ago in graphic art. I was in a band and we wanted videos and flyers and figured it’d be better if we learned to do it ourselves. So I did, and after that I fell in love with multimedia design and production.

When it comes to film, you’re definitely a jack of all trades. What aspect of production do you have the most fun with?
What I enjoy depends on the project, but I really love working on the music and the scoring and being a DP (director of photography). DP is great because you get to add so much creativity to each shot or angle, really narrowing down what people get to experience.

Of everything you’ve done, what project are you the most proud of?
A really short film that not many people have ever seen. I worked on a project called “Instantaneous Haze”. It was great because those who did see it had no clue how it was made.

You gotta give me some details here.
People that saw it insisted we used special effects, but we didn’t.

It was an indirect way of crediting people’s talents that we didn’t need effects.

You realize now I need to see this thing.
I was just going through my hard-drives the other day and found it so I could show Brandon [Berk].

When faced with an obstacle (while working on a project) is your initial reaction “Oh Crap” or “I think I can do this”?
My initial reaction is to go outside and have a smoke. Or go inside, pending on where I am. Basically I try to physically get as far away from the project as possible so I can re-assess the situation. Then for inspiration I think back to all of the other times I was working on a project and one of us found a way around a difficult task at hand.

Mining on past experience?
Yeah…something like that.

So all that being said, how many cigarettes have you had thanks to VOC?
Today? 3. (laughs)

Has it made you have to walk away yet?
No, it hasn’t been crazily problematic.

What made you agree to sign on as the VOC editor?
Brandon [Berk]* talked highly of the film. And when I read the script I enjoyed the plot.
(*amongst other things, plays Hantover in the movie)

What are your hopes for this movie?
To be able to see it in a theater while drinking a gin and tonic.

Last time we shared a drink you were very indecisive on your poison of choice. Do you have a favorite gin?
London Dry. I got it once because the bottle had this little bowler hat that was on the cap, which was the only reason I got it as I ended up using the hat in a stop-motion project I was working on.

If you had a multi-million dollar budget, what would you work on?
I’m writing this dystopian sci-fi piece that would ideally star Joseph Gordon Levitt and Shatner…or this other older fellow who I thought of after Shatner, but no one in film would know who he is so let’s just say Shatner. Yeah, that or I’d love to work on the music for the next psychedelic Legend of Zelda game because of my love for Majora’s Mask.

Three questions left, and now they get real. Boobs or Butt?
Live or on film?

Coffee or tea?
Depends on who I’m with and what I’m doing.

You are so insanely vague!
Such is life.

If you could be forever remembered for a single statement it’d be…
If you’re not getting ahead in life, you’re falling behind.