Originally published on So So Gay on 28 June 2014.
We’ve chatted so far to Tanner Cohen and Matthew Camp; now, in the last of our interviews to mark the release of Getting Go: the Go Doc Project, we talk to director Cory Krueckeberg about being a novice director, using Kickstarter to fund his first movie, and the creative value of frustration.
So So Gay: You used Kickstarter to help fund the project, achieving twice the initial goal; how important do you think it is to independent film makers these days to have access to such sources of funding?
Cory Krueckeberg: It’s important because it’s a new way to do it and the whole industry thrives on what is new. I think it’s also important because it allows filmmakers to skip a step in the process and offer the product to their audience before it’s made in order to generate interest and direct dollars.
Do you think it’s particularly of benefit to LGBT cinema?
Not specifically. To be honest, there is a pretty strong mechanism for the development, production, festivals and distribution for LGBT cinema. Much more so in proportion to non-LGBT cinema. A larger percentage of our films are made and seen, I think.
As this was your directorial début, how did you find the whole pre-production process?
I’ve worked on many films in many capacities so I’m not new to the process in general, however this was not like a typical movie. It was literally just Tom (my co-producer and partner) and I with an iPhone, a camcorder, some webcams and a few microphones running around the city with Tanner and Matthew. The only real pre-production, or production for that matter, was me making lists and schedules, ordering things online, shopping at B&H… And much of that I shot to use in the finished film.
What inspired you to write the story of Getting Go: The Go Doc Project?
I was inspired by frustration. It takes forever to get the average film off the ground because so many pieces have to fall into place at the same time. And I was frustrated with waiting for one of our larger projects to get off the ground so I decided I’d brainstorm a project we could make for little to no money.
By having such a small, core cast, did you find the casting process a lot harder to make sure you found just the right people?
Following along the lines of the last question… Much of the inspiration for this all came from Matthew [Camp, who plays Go in the film]. Once I decided I wanted to do a film with the feel of being homemade, I started to focus on him as an inspiration or muse. So getting him on board was integral to this working. If he had said no, the whole idea would have changed to be about whomever interesting I’d have stumbled upon next. As far as Tanner [Cohen, who plays Doc] is concerned, it was a bit of a struggle to find the right guy for that, but only because I started out looking for a filmmaker and not an actor. I wanted the whole thing to be as meta as possible. And in asking Tanner if he had any ideas for me, he said, ‘Why don’t I do it.’ And Tom and I thought, ‘Well, duh,’ and then asked him along on the journey.
Were you hesitant about opening the film on a fairly graphic, attention-grabbing note?
No. That was the whole design of it. We’ve made two features before that were for specific audiences (Were the World Mine for a gay audience and Mariachi Gringo for a latino audience), but our goal with those was absolutely to cross over and appeal to all audiences. With this, I knew I wanted to make something very specifically gay without the pre-conceived idea that it might cross over. There’s also no better way to dive deep into Doc’s psyche at that moment.
Getting Go manages to be both a highly polished film yet still feel true to the handheld documentary nature of its story – was this tricky to achieve considering you were using laptop and phone cameras? Particularly in those moments when the actors had to be in charge of the camera…
Everything was dictated by how Doc would have behaved in each situation. And in fact there were several scenes where Tom and I were barely or not present at all. And then Tanner and I also developed a technique where I would hold the camera and he would hold onto my wrist so that it looked like he was holding it. But the polish came mostly in the editing. We had, by design, so many hours of footage that there was a lot to choose from and then I assembled it all with a specific vision so that the final product would have a sense of style.
The performances and conversations you captured of Cohen and Camp feel very naturalistic; was much, if any, of the dialogue improvised?
I would say when we shot 50% was improvised and in the finished film maybe 30% is improvised. There were scenes with only an outline and then scenes with full dialogue written. But even in those, they riffed on my thoughts adding their own ideas and flavor.
What do you hope audiences to take away from Getting Go?
Mostly I hope they feel they’ve enjoyed getting to know these two divergent characters and magnetic actors and their journey towards something new and unexplored. I also hope they question, as does Doc, where they fit on the spectrum of identity. Are they doing all they can to maintain what makes them unique as the world continues to crush us all into being just more of the same? I also hope they take away the fantastic music, as there is so much indie stuff out there that is way cooler than the mainstream.
Do you think we’ll ever have a second visit with Doc and Go?
That’s so funny you ask… I’ve been thinking about that. I’m not sure what the chapter would look like. But it definitely shouldn’t be another low/ no budget feature shot on an iPhone. More of the same is never more. So if I can come up with a new, fresh take, then maybe.
What are you plans for your next project and what can you tell us about it?
I adapted an off-Broadway musical first commissioned by Lincoln Center in 1994 called Hello Again. It’s Michael John LaChiusa’s steamy take on Schnitzler’s famously banned play, La Ronde. 10 actors, 10 scenes, 10 love affairs. It’s really exciting music and characters and we hope to be announcing cast and production dates very soon! Further into the future is the script I’m slaving away on right now, which is based on true events known as the Harvard Secret Court of 1920. During the spring of that year, the Dean of Harvard started a witch hunt to find and expel as many gay students as he could.
Watch the trailer: