BWW Interviews: Landry Gideon Talks THE SHOW MUST GO ON, His Texas UIL One Act Play Documentary
All across the state of Texas, high school theatre students are gearing up for the annual UIL One Act Play State Championship competition, held at the University of Texas in Austin. Just as these students are indefatigably preparing, so is Landry Gideon and his documentary film crew. They have been tirelessly documenting the Texas One Act Play process. Despite the hectic and crazy schedule, Landry Gideon took some time to talk to me about THE SHOW MUST GO ON, his One Act Play documentary, and being a filmmaker.
Me: What inspired you to make the documentary, THE SHOW MUST GO ON?
Landry Gideon: It comes from when I did theater my senior year in high school, and that kind of changed the direction that my future was going to hold for me. I went and did theatre in college for two years after that. At that point is when I really got acquainted with the one act play process. Then, I went on to film school.
Doing theatre in high school, I was really influenced by my mentors there. In college, I was influenced by my directors as well. Then, I graduated with a degree in film production, so the movie is like an homage to the really creative influences on me.
Me: I live close to Barbers Hill High School, and I know they are one of the featured schools in the project. What are some of the other high schools are you covering in the film?
Landry Gideon: We've got Hempstead High School, which is west of Houston. Rogers High School and Salado High School, and both of those schools are northeast of Austin by about an hour. We're also following Austin High School, which is here in town [in Austin]. They lost in the first round, so we haven't really seen them in a little while.
Me: Looking at your Facebook page and Kickstarter page for the project, I have to say that the film sounds absolutely fascinating. What do you hope audiences will take away from THE SHOW MUST GO ON?
Landry Gideon: I think that it's going to be a truly entertaining story because of the larger-than-life characters that we're following, and the bit of the drama. Those doing an extra-curricular activity in high school live it, and it seems like it's the most important thing in the world. I look back and relate to that.
Me: What has been your favorite aspect of filming THE SHOW MUST GO ON so far?
Landry Gideon: I would say the best part is getting to know all of the interesting people we've met along the way. It seems like everywhere we go there are people who have heard of us and are extremely supportive of us. They're so happy that we're doing the project. We get lots of love and a lot of support from those people.
Me: In your experience with THE SHOW MUST GO ON, what has been the hardest part about making this documentary.
Landry Gideon: Funding. [Laughs] Since we're an independent project, basically me and two other people. The first year, I kind of funded it myself. And now, we've kind of been doing all the shooting and the traveling on a shoestring budget. It's been really hard being the director, producer, and editor. There are just so many different aspects of the film that I am in charge of, and it's kind of hard to keep track of everything.
Me: For those interested in becoming backers on Kickstarter, where will the funds raised go?
Landry Gideon: The funds that we are getting are first and foremost going to go to pay back the people who have worked for free. They're not really working for free, they basically worked on our word to get paid. We've got camera operators and some of my principals that we have to take care of.
We've got four camera operators for the state meet that we're going to need to pay. Our location permits because it's extremely expensive to film on the University of Texas. Nothing against them, but they don't really take into account the Production Company or the budget. They have a flat rate, regardless of if you have millions of dollars at your disposal or none. The Kickstarter funds will go towards that.
Anything that is left over, if we have left over money, is going to be put into getting people the rewards that they pledged to in the actual campaign. So the DVDs, the model set, and all of those different things. That's going to take out probably a third of what we actually get to give everybody their stuff.
And if there is anything left over from that that would just be applied to editing because we're going to have to hire an editor.
Me: You've been involved in the arts in different ways, doing theatre in high school and college and then film production and making documentaries. What is the most important lesson you feel you've learned from the arts?
Landry Gideon: I would say that, personally, since I become involved in theater a long time ago and up until today, I have been pretty shy. I used to be not very good at talking with people, and now I feel like I'm somewhat of a people person. I can talk to anybody. It's made me able to communicate with people better.
Me: Speaking to your artistic side, what inspires you?
Landry Gideon: I'm inspired by films that are visually striking. So, when I see something that is cinematically beautiful to look at, that always gets me. There's a lot of filmmakers out there that really put a lot of detail and pay attention to the visual elements of the film. They're using draw depth colors and attending to the composition of the frame. I guess seeing something that I've never experienced always gets me motivated whenever I've got to go work on something.
Me: What advice do you offer to others who want to create a documentary?
Landry Gideon: To other documentary filmmakers, I would say, "Do lots and lots of forethought and planning before you depart on your journey because there's a lot of things that you don't think your going to deal with that you end up dealing with." Just knowing what you're in for before you do it is a big deal.
With documentary, I think the most important lesson that I've come across lately is, while I'm trying to make sure that everything we capture looks perfect and that it sounds perfect, what audiences really care about is the content. I've kind of had to stop worrying so much about how it looks and sounds while making sure that I'm capturing entertaining and interesting content.
If the video clip found on the Kickstarter page is any indication of the entertaining and interesting content captured for THE SHOW MUST GO ON, Landry Gideon and his crew are doing fantastic jobs. At the time of writing, only six days remain on THE SHOW MUST GO ON's Kickstarter campaign and the project is only 24% funded, with $3,620 pledged towards their $15,000 goal. Therefore, I encourage everyone to visit THE SHOW MUST GO ON's campaign page at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1810006957/the-show-must-go-on-6 and pledge.
Also, if you like more information about THE SHOW MUST GO ON, you can visit their official website at http://www.oneactplaymovie.com. Be sure to follow them on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/oneactplaymovie) and Twitter (@OAPmovie) as well.All photos courtesy of Landry Gideon and THE SHOW MUST GO ON.
THE SHOW MUST GO ON's Logo.
Travis Poe and students at Barbers Hill High School in rehearsal.
Billy Dragoo and Landry Gideon at a shoot at Austin High School.
High school students on stage, preparing for the competition.
Ben Powell filming.
Students and Phillip Taylor, director at Rogers High School, at an intense rehearsal.
Hempstead High School theater students hard at work.
High school students on stage, preparing for the competition.
Students at Rogers High School performing THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE.
Kevin Alejandro, known for his role as Nate Moretta on TV's SOUTHLAND shows his support.