I’m really excited to be doing this interview. I was contacted by a creator of the series Hipsterhood to check out her series and do and interview if I liked it. Son of a gun, I did. So here’s the first part of my interview with Shilip.
For those of us who don’t know much about you, tell me a little bit about yourself.
Glad you asked! I am originally, from North Carolina, and basically grew up in the South. My mother is a classically trained Indian music vocalist, so there was always a lot of singing, dancing, and art in general in my house growing up. I always felt the urge to go West for some reason, nothing I could really explain, but when I finally moved to Los Angeles, I instantly knew I was in the right place. Finally.
How did you get started in film making?
It was an epiphany that I had while I was at Vanderbilt, where I did my undergrad. I was heading into my senior year of school, and I realized that I hated all the career paths I’d set myself up for as an Economics and Psychology double-major. I saw life ahead of me as one giant bore. As I was picking my classes for senior year, I realized I had room in my schedule to do a film minor, so I signed up for a bunch of film classes. It was something that I’d always loved, but never considered an actual career. I attended my first film class – and it just blew me away. In the first 5 minutes of that class, I was happier than I’d been in the last 3 years. That’s when I decided to go into film. I had no connections, and no real experience, but I finally knew what my dream was. And that’s how it all began.
What were some of your favorite projects and why?
Well Hipsterhood is obviously my favorite project right now. I really love interacting with the fans, the audience, finding out what they like and don’t like. Web series are great because they give you a kind of access to your fanbase that you don’t get with other kinds of media.
But beyond Hipsterhood, my favorite project was my thesis film from USC, it’s called “the Indian and the Samurai” about an Indian boy who wants to be a Samurai, and one day, a samurai walks through the door.
It was during this project that I first met Julia Cho, who’s now a producer on Hipsterhood and a good friend, and it’s also the project where I first really noticed the man who would become my husband (Anthony C Kuhnz, who’s the DP for Hipsterhood). The rest of the cast and crew were great as well. Making that short film was a lot of work, but it was a lot of fun too.
If you weren’t making films, what would you be doing as a career?
There are so many days when making films, especially this web series, just seems too difficult, and I want to throw in the towel and do something much easier. But…I can’t ever come up with what that thing would be. When I was little I wanted to be a fashion designer, but that doesn’t seem like a viable career path anymore J.
Dream project and why?
This is totally out of left field, but my dream project would be to do an epic Native American period piece, like Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto. I find Native American culture, before Westerners arrive, really fascinating.
If you could work with any actor/actress living or dead, who would be and why?
Oooh, that’s a tough one. I think my top would be someone like Meryl Streep, because, well she’s Meryl Streep. I’m also love to work with Johnny Depp, I feel like it would be really fun watching him perform.
Tips for beginning filmmakers?
I’m a big believer in just doing it. A lot of filmmakers, especially film school filmmakers, get discouraged because they can’t get the money they need behind their projects. Hipsterhood is an example of making something that people will notice, and not having money. If you really want to be a filmmaker, you will find a way to make your films. So, do that, and the rest will come eventually.
Tips for people who want to create their own web series?
Another thing I believe in is, if you’re gonna do something, do it right. If you’re planning on doing a web series, you must put time and energy into marketing and promotions. There’s too much stuff on the internet now for you to bank on people randomly coming across your content and liking it, so when you’re striving to write, direct, and produce a web series, which takes an enormous amount of time and effort, you need to make sure you’ve got energy to after it’s done so you can get it out to the world.
Quick fire questions
Coke or Pepsi?
Neither. I don’t like soda anymore, too sugary for me.
Cats or dogs?
Summer or winter?
Hugs or kisses?
Fame or fortune?
Fortune. I don’t need fame.
Which is worse: speaking in front of a crowd or writing a paper?
I LOVE speaking to crowds! Writing a paper sucks.
Time travel to: the past or the future?
The PAST. There are soooo many things I want explained.
Celebrity magazine or newspaper?
Newspaper. Are those still around?
Oh god. I am a fantasy freak. My favorite is the Deverry Cycle by Katherine Kerr. Or Game of Thrones, but I am annoyed by how long it’s taking things to happen in the Game of Thrones series.
I refuse to answer this question. Colors are for different purposes and moods, you can’t just one favorite one.
Stay tuned tomorrow to learn more about Hipsterhood.