AMBER BENSON: ONE OF THE NICE ONES

Tell me about your Chance. ^ I think it’s really good. I’m excited about it. James Marsters (“Buffy”’s “Spike”) is in it. And David Fury, who’s one of the writer/producers on the show, he took a part as the Pizza Guy. It’s really just my take on trying to figure out just who the heck you are in your twenties. Trying to find somebody that you really connect with on more than just a physical basis. That’s kind of what it’s about. I started writing the script a few years ago, and when I finished, I never did anything with it. I didn’t think anyone else out in Hollywood would appreciate it. It’s my story, my thing, you know? I didn’t want to shop it around saying, “Hey you wanna buy my movie?” They’d tell me to screw off. So some friends of mine and I were talking at dinner one night, and they said, “Heck with it, why don’t you do it yourself? Send it over, we’ll look at it.” So I did, and they really liked it, and we just decided to do it ourselves. It took about three months of pre-production, and five weekends worth of filming, and then came the editing process, which is really scary! I can’t believe five weekends are over. We did this for no money. Whatever I made from “Buffy” we funneled into it. And whatever my sister in college didn’t need. We did it really low budget. I think our budget was $25,000. I know that sounds like a lot of money to people out there, but it’s so not.
How did you enjoy directing? ^ I like directing. Screw the acting! I wanna be a director! That’s where all the fun is.
Luckily I was surrounded by this incredible crew. I had a wonderful director of photography Patrice (Lucien Cochet). Because I acted in it, I had to get into makeup, and wardrobe and stuff. So I’m running around in half-finished makeup going, “Okay, get the lights inside, I’ll be right back, meet you at the monitor!” We VHS’ed everything so that we could go back and look and see how things were coming. It was intense. Even the sound guy, Dennis (Baxter), got into it. He’d yell out, “Hey, the eye-line looks a little funny!” Then I’d have to come back and look. Luckily, I had a friend who could stand in for me so I could come and go and see what was up. So between all of them, and my mother (Diane Benson), who was sitting around going, “Okay, that looks funny when you do that!” I got myself taken care of. I was okay with everybody else, because I knew what I wanted from them, so that wasn’t a problem. I was just trying to make sure I was doing what I was supposed to do. I think we got 22 hours of raw footage. But it’s on digital, so it’s not like it was this expensive film stock dealie. It looks fantastic. I didn’t realize it, but digital looks really good these days. We shot with a Cannon XL1. We might Film Look it. I don’t know. We’ll see how it turns out. I’m hoping not. I’m hoping that what we can do on an Avid will be enough.
So aside from you, how were the other actors? ^ I did not have a bad actor the whole way through. Everybody was fantastic. Steven Soderbergh gave me the best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten: “When you direct, the real directing comes in the casting.” And I agree with him so much, now that I’ve done my own thing because he’s so right. If you cast people that you know are going to be wonderful and give you what you need, you don’t have to stop every five minutes and say, “Okay, I want you to read the line like this…’ I was just so lucky. Everyone were all in their grooves, and they listened, and they were so good, I didn’t have to work hard to get them to give me the things that I needed. They just intuitively were there. We got great stuff. It was like magical. Everybody came in and they became the characters that I’d seen in my head. And if they weren’t one hundred percent what I’d seen in my head, they brought something so different and unique and new to it that, “Whoa, I never saw it like that! That’s really cool, let’s do it like that!” I was really lucky.
What are your plans for it now it’s complete? ^ Just going to take it to festivals and see what happens. If I can’t sell it, I’ll put it on the Internet. I’ve been talking to a number of distributors and they just want to take it away, you know? I have investors to pay off, but there doesn’t seem to be any “purchasing” money any more. I’m like, “But I used all my “Buffy” money to pay for it. And all these other people gave me money too!” It’s weird. We’ll probably end up distributing it ourselves. It’ll be the best way all around, I think.
Check out the official Amber Benson website.




Posted on July 4, 2003 in Interviews by
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