Spotlight // Will Prescott
Feeding Mr. Baldwin is a simple story about friendship and every person's quest for success... just with the added complication of a mysterious dead body. Even with that unexpected twist, the movie is resonating with audiences. It screened at the Friars Club winning the Audience Award for Best Narrative Film. As an official selection of Dances With Films the film is screening at Hollywood's Chinese Theater this Friday. Tickets are still available!
We met up with Will in Silverlake to discuss his inspiration for the dark comedy...
Feeding Mr. Baldwin is about a 30-year old guy who ends up playing hide and seek with a dead body while dog sitting for someone, did this come from personal experience?
I wish I could say playing hide and seek with a dead body came from personal experience, but then I probably wouldn’t be talking to you at this moment, would I? No, the only thing that’s personal is the main character’s attempt to achieve success, or his idea of what “success” is, by taking the shortest route possible without considering consequences. I think most of us feel like this at points in our lives. You get to a certain age and you’re like “What the hell am I doing? I’m wasting away. I need to change this now!” The main character attempts an unknown, shortcut route to a better life and we get to watch how it goes.
What kind of things inspired you to write this movie?
So many things it’s pretty hard to pinpoint. The most general one that comes to mind is around the time I began outlining the story I found myself really bored with most of the films I was seeing at festivals. With the exception of a few, I felt like I kept watching the same, minimal, no script, hand-held, character study over and over again. I totally respect those filmmakers and whatever style they were going for, but I couldn’t fight this overwhelming urge to do something completely opposite. Something complicated, stylish, loud, and over-the-top.
This film is a dark comedy, any plans to direct something more serious?
For sure. I’ve got a pile of outlines and scripts in development and many of them lean dramatic. Because of who I am, I think it’ll be tough to ever do something 100% serious. There will always be some humor in there somewhere. But I would eventually like to do something less absurd as Feeding Mr. Baldwin. Something a bit more grounded in reality.
You were both writer and director on this film, which role was more difficult and do you prefer one over the other?
That’s a tough one. I think the answer to both questions is director. Although I was directing my own script, I had to treat it like it wasn’t mine once we started production. That meant not being afraid to deviate and change things if the situation demanded it, which was very hard at times. It’s a challenge bringing words to life, but I prefer it to coming up with those words. I get a crazy buzz being on set for fourteen hours a day working with the cast and crew to solve problems. But that’s really what filmmaking is all about—solving problems.
You raised an incredible amount of money on Kickstarter, what did it feel like to have so many supporters?
I can’t even put it into words. It’s a weird feeling. Most, if not all, of the supporters directly know me, or my brother, or someone on our team. I’d like to think they, at the very least, half-heartedly believed we could pull off making a feature film. But what’s cool is that it doesn’t matter because they were really only interested in helping us, as people, achieve our dream. Succeed or fail, they had our back and that kind of support is priceless. I can’t thank them enough.
You're originally from Alaska and were raised in Seattle, what do you miss most about each?
With Alaska, it’s the simplicity. We grew up without cable, without a strip mall or busy intersection for miles. It may have just been the pre-internet days, but we were totally disconnected from most things. With Seattle, it’s the people. My formidable years were spent there and the best people I’ve ever known are from the Northwest. Long time friends, strangers, and the like. You’ll never find better people than in the state of Washington.
What are your favorite things about living in LA? Do you consider it home now?
LA is pretty great for endless exposure to arts and culture. Every movie, every band, every gallery will undoubtedly pass through LA at least once if not a bunch of times. That accessibility is unheard of in a place like Chugiak, Alaska. I’ve been here for eight years now, so I do consider it home. Although, I still have Washington license plates. Don’t tell the DMV.
photographs by lani trock