A boy and girl must exchange numbers at an intersection before the light turns green in the short film, Rock Paper Scissors. In this deadCenter Q&A session we hear from Brian Lawes, Aaron Newberry, Amanda Hyden, and Nick Dillard.
Tell me a bit about yourself and your role in the film.
BRIAN: My name is Brian Lawes, I’m the writer and director for the film Rock Paper Scissors. I grew up locally in Edmond, Oklahoma. For most of my life, I have been fascinated with film and all that goes into creating a narrative for the big screen. I began playing with cameras and editing video in middle school and never really stopped.
I find it incredibly fulfilling to make films that entertain and engage audiences. I view stories as a powerful tool for captivating people and impacting how they view the world.
AARON: My name is Aaron Newberry, I composed the music for the film. I grew up in Muskogee, Oklahoma. I began my career in my late teens touring as a musician, but in the years to follow I discovered a much deeper passion; composing music for narrative and documentary films. For the past two years I’ve worked as a composer here in Oklahoma City, writing for variety of commercial and narrative projects.
AMANDA: I’m Amanda Hyden and the Producer of this film. I grew up in Oklahoma City with a passion for photography, performance and planning. Somehow, I got so lucky as to stumble into a career that allows me to combine them all. This was a very special project for me as I got to create with some of my closest friends.
NICK: I’m Nick Dillard and I was the Director of Photography for Rock Paper Scissors. I grew up in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Though I didn’t actually pick up a camera until I was 20 years old, I believe that’s where my creative journey started. From then on, I’ve focused on cinematography and studied how to best communicate a message through the lighting and aesthetics in the confines of a frame.
Currently, I am the Lead Cinematographer at Lampstand Media here in Downtown OKC, focusing on how to best tell our clients’ stories through the lens.
2. How do you personally describe the movie to people?
BRIAN: I describe Rock Paper Scissors as a live-action Pixar film. It’s a simple story, packed full of surprises and lots of heart.”
3. Why should one see it?
AMANDA: This film was written and directed by one of the best up and coming Oklahoma filmmakers. Brian has such a great drive to create and involve people that push his vision and films further than one could hope with indie-filmmaking. He’s truly a team player and it shows in this adorable, well done film from an incredible crew.
4. What are your thoughts on the deadCenter Film Festival?
BRIAN: We couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the festival this year. Our team is so thankful for deadCenter and all they do for film in the state of Oklahoma. Last year we premiered our first ever short film, Tempo, in the Okie Shorts program so it feels entirely appropriate to bring back our new film to the same showing to celebrate once again with the staff and attendees of this amazing festival.
5. What was the most challenging aspect you had during production?
“Thankfully we’ve had an amazing crew along the way, and our overcoming of each of these challenges is a testament to the talent and drive of all who were involved.”BRIAN: This story involved a ton of logistical challenges, the greatest being one that I can’t reveal quite yet because it would spoil part of the film. Collectively, however, no film has had a longer list of challenges to overcome. Between casting the right actors, securing locations, finding the right tone and pacing in the editing, and getting the score and color just right it’s required a ton of work.
Thankfully we’ve had an amazing crew along the way, and our overcoming of each of these challenges is a testament to the talent and drive of all who were involved.
AARON: Creating a motif for a film that is seven minutes in length was definitely the greatest challenge I faced. You have to really use brevity with the melodies. I’m proud of the fact that we were able to fit quite a bit of musical personality with the characters in a relatively small window.”
6. What was the best part about filming in Oklahoma?
BRIAN: The people; I got to work with my friends and see their incredible talent at work in so many facets of the filmmaking process. It was also special to me to film the majority of this film in my hometown of Edmond, Oklahoma.
NICK: The best part about filming in Oklahoma is everyone’s willingness to help. People are passionate about being involved. It’s a community. A family.
7. What were some particular scenes or moments that were enjoyable to film?
AMANDA: I don’t want to give away too much, but blocking off a street in Edmond was pretty great. Challenging and logistically crazy, but the pay off was well worth it.
BRIAN: I searched for a long time to find the right actors, so to watch them become the characters in front of me was really exciting. There’s a moment when Joshua and Camille share a silent moment of being charmed by one another from the back of their parents cars. It’s really brief, but it’s exactly what I imagined when I wrote the scene and I loved seeing it spark to life through their performances.
8. What do you do to recharge your creative batteries?
AARON: I’ve found it is necessary to do nothing– to actually force myself to relax and re-energize. I have to step away from screens and find silence to recharge. Developing a rhythm has been helpful as well. I used to be afraid of any type of repetition in my life, but it’s made me better and fuels my creative work.
BRIAN: I have to step away from the current project and spend time with people. Also, I have to stop creating and allow myself to experience some other type of art. In my life there are natural seasons for output where I’m creating, and other times for intake where I’m enjoying things that others have created. Both are essential to maintain a healthy balance in my creative process.
10. Anything else you wish to add?
BRIAN: This is our World Premiere of the film, so it’s our first stop on the festival circuit. But we’re excited to represent Oklahoma film in other parts of the country and world as well. We’d love to invite everyone in our home state to follow along with us to see where this film goes.
Visit www.rockpaperscissorsmovie.com and subscribe so we can keep you up to date with what happens next.
Rock Paper Scissors Schedule:
Friday, June 8th, 10:00 AM @ Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library
Saturday, June 9th, 10:00 AM @ Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library
Saturday, June 9th, 8:00 PM @ Oklahoma City Museum of Art
Sunday, June 10th, 3:30 PM @ MidFirst Bank Theater at Harkins Bricktown Cinema
The 2018 deadCenter Film Festivals runs from June 7-10. Read more Question and Answer sessions with other deadCenter filmmakers, past and present, here.