Introducing filmmaker Davin Tjen, competing in Up & Left: An LGBTQ Short Film Competition
How did you get inspired to become a filmmaker?
I guess the shortest answer is that other filmmakers inspire me to become a filmmaker. I love watching movies and even though most of them are high-budget studio films, they make me go “Hey, I want to make one as beautiful and as successful too!”
What is your favorite part about the short film form?
With the current state of new media, I guess everybody’s attention spans, including my own, are very short. Short films really enable us to convey a story in a short amount of time, therefore the audience does not necessarily have to take notes of what happened an hour ago. I think that the audience will be able to resonate with the plot and character a lot better.
Who were the people that supported the making of this film?
I developed this short during my first semester in film school. All my other classmates were at least 5 years older than me. Considering that I was only 18 years old during that time, my older classmates, along with my instructors really guided me.
What resources do you use as a filmmaker? Music, locations, props, editing, crew, etc.
I believe that locations and set dressing go hand in hand. If you have a great location, you don’t really need set dressings, and vice versa. That being said, I am an advocate of using real, practical locations. And of course, any film wouldn’t be possible without the help of talented crew. I believe that a great film is a result of great teamwork. Chemistry between crew personnel is something that is required in any of my shoots.
What is your next project?
I am currently working on a sci-fi series that features a group of young adults with superhuman powers. It is my first time working with stunts, special FX and VFX. I think it really resonates with the current trend of young adult and superhero films. Unfortunately I can’t reveal any more information, but I am very excited about it!
The independent film business is a difficult one. What keeps you motivated? Where do you see the industry going in the future?
The state of new media keeps me motivated in the indie film business. New media really helps indie filmmakers in distribution and even getting discovered. Before, you could only go to festivals and film markets to get discovered, but now you can upload your 90-min film, 15-min short, even 6-second video to the internet and get discovered from there. There have been great talents, filmmakers and actors alike, being discovered from new media, and that’s what keeps me motivated.
What advice would you give new filmmakers?
Prepare for everything and the worst. I believe that great preparation will really help out your shoot. I’ve been to shoots where they were doing guerrilla and that’s when things go awry. Not saying that you can’t do guerrilla style, because there are cases where the only way is guerrilla way. But if you can prep for something, do your homework and prep.
Where can your audience find you on the web?
I have a YouTube page that I upload my projects at youtube.com/thedavintjen. I also make and upload vlogs of whatever that comes into mind. It’s not necessarily filmmaking but if you’re into that kind of stuff, be sure to check it out too!
Follow Davin Tjen’s career at The Audience Awards.
The Audience Awards is film’s social network connecting audiences to films, filmmakers, film schools and film festivals. The Audience Awards hosts short film competitions where the audience chooses the best films.