Tell us a bit about yourself: You are an animator, composer, director, editor…your output is dizzying. How do you describe what you do?
Hi, yes I am! I usually say I’m a filmmaker and then follow with I’m an independent freelance artist if they are still listening. I want to focus on filmmaking so I usually start with that.
I started drawing at an early age, like all kids, but in elementary school, I found that compared to the other kids in the classroom, my hand didn’t shake when I drew so my lines were always cleaner than most.
My parents forced my brother and me to play piano growing up and I found that I liked some notes and chords better than what I was learning so I made up my own sad songs using minor keys and loved the outcome.
I just do what I want and try and keep learning since every time you learn something new, a new idea comes to fruition.
On the filmmaking side: Do you have a favorite among the work you’ve directed?
I really like some of the music videos I’ve done and some short films. For example, my graduate film Glitch from 2007 where I animated in 2D but rendered it in a 3D environment. These HUMANS videos were great because I could hire a really talented crew who I could trust, Breakfast With Liz & Noose. With Gang Signs, I have a really tight budget so I keep things minimal, some of the videos turn out wonderful like this video which was inspired by my aunt’s story where her husband never wanted to go out dancing with her so she went out on adventures on her own, Gang Signs Tonight.
I like that with short film projects, you can spend more time on it, it’s something you can add or edit on your own time and can make it better if needed.
Dead Shack was a low budget feature film I made, it was the hardest thing and my biggest accomplishment. I got to work with people I like, respected, and had a lot of control because they understood my vision.
What was your favorite part of that process?
For every project, I think the beginning is the best part. When the idea first comes, it’s exciting, and you get to write it down. They never end up looking like how you first saw them in your head, sometimes it’s for the best but sometimes, due to budget and time, it’s just different.
Is there any gear you can’t live without?
I love Photoshop, I use it for everything because it can do everything!
If you were just starting out, would you do anything differently? If so, what (or what things)?
I probably would’ve invested in Bitcoin so I’d be rich and can fund my own projects! Hire all my friends.
But as for the real question… I’ve learned over time to focus on what is working.
Lastly, let’s end with your 5 Tips for Filmmakers On A Budget.
1. Keep learning software so you can do things quicker and your own if needed.
2. Know your budget and restraints. Some of the best movies, videos, music were made within a tight budget because they had to keep things grounded.
3. Make it fun and personal. If you like your project, five hours can go by fast and while having a wonderful time.
4. Work with people you like and trust. Working with a solid crew means that you can relax and not double-check or take over any department. It makes work more like a hang out with great people.
5. Exercise. No, really! When you exercise daily, your creative brain gets going and you’ll find that you come up with more ideas and solutions to your problems. I barely have writers or creative blocks anymore.
Check out more of Pete’s beautiful work here: