Could you briefly describe your project for our audience?
Nic Andrea & The Verdict- Jimi Come Home is a 22-minute film based on four songs from our concept rock album of the same name. The story is built around a true-life event involving a band member, Jimi, who packed up his guitar in the middle of playing without saying anything to his fellow band members and never came back. The remainder of the film is fictional speculation as to what in Jimi's past led to this pivotal moment and the effect of his actions on the people in his life.
What were your main aspirations or goals when creating this project?
Chiefly to entertain by providing a visual element to help tell the story. But we also wanted to intrigue the audience into thinking about their own impulses to escape the pains of everyday life. As a line of the film states, "There's a little Jimi in all of us . . ." Finally, we wanted to reintegrate people back into the lost art of listening to an album from start to finish and the film helps pave the way for that.
Share some memorable moments from the shooting process or any pleasant surprises.
We were shooting on set with an accomplished TV actress, Bonnie Root, who plays Jimi's ex-girlfriend. The band is not experienced in film and they kept interrupting Bonnie's scenes. Finally, my co-producer ripped into them like a school teacher scolding misbehaved students. Also, our choreographer cancelled at the last moment so our guitar player Ricky started working the choreography with the dancers. Both moments are captured in all its glory in the outtakes at the end of the film.
Who is the primary target audience for your film, and what do you hope they will take away from it?
The primary target are people who grew up with rock and roll during a time when songs were powerfully dramatic and told a story. It is a throwback film for certain and I hope it's also appealing to younger viewers who have not had a chance to experience concept album films like Pink Floyd- The Wall. Film and music are a perfect marriage when done correctly.
What makes your project an appealing choice for potential distributors?
Because there is nothing out there like it today, it has an intriguing storyline which rings true and the musicians are top notch LA session musicians who have played with legends such as Dylan, Steven Tyler, Deep Purple and Chicago. Everyone loves a great rock film!
How would you define your unique filmmaking style, and what distinct qualities characterize your film?
What characterizes the filmmaking style in Jimi Come Home is both restraint and minimalism. The moments in the performance are genuine and passionate and we use the film as the means to capture that.
What inspired you to pursue a career in filmmaking?
We are musicians by trade. However, modern musicians are filmmakers of a type, probably without realizing it, because of music videos and social media content. If multiple musical performances can work together, aided by character dialogue, it is not a huge conceptual leap to making a film. The essence of the concept album is to tell a story and a film adds a visual element towards the same purpose.
Do you have a filmmaker or source of inspiration who has influenced your work?
I am a big Tarantino fan but for this project, the source of inspiration came from music films like Pink Floyd- The Wall, Tommy and Eddie and The Cruisers.
Share a couple of your favorite films and what resonates with you about them.
For me, it starts with Pulp Fiction. The melding of a popular literary genre into film, the interweaving of the stories in non-linear fashion and spot-on performances by accomplished actors is an achievement that has not been duplicated since. For comedy, it's hard to beat the comic genius of Jack Lemmon in Some Like it Hot but Lemmon outdoes himself in The Odd Couple. The latter film works because the characters are compellingly tragic which is hard to pull off in a comedy. Neil Simon has something to do with this of course.
Where do you typically find inspiration for your film projects?
This is a first effort for me so there's no typical!