RATT'S LIFE, 20min., USA, Comedy
Directed by Grayson Wolfe
Diagnosed with a terminal illness, Anthony "Ratt" Bastid teams up with a sleazy lawyer to sue his doctor, all while trying to start a family. What results is a tragicomic portrait of a lovable lowlife.
1. What motivated you to make this film?
RATT WAS FIRST BROUGHT TO LIFE IN A SHORT FILM SOME YEARS AGO. AS I WAS DEBATING WHICH IDEA TO PURSUE FOR A LONG-FORM PRODUCTION, I KEPT RETURNING TO RATT'S LIFE. I LOVE THE CHARACTER AND WANTED TO SEE HIM IN ACTION. I KNEW IT COULD BE MADE FOR A MODEST BUDGET, AND WITH ME PLAYING THE LEAD CHARACTER, I KNEW I'D BE THERE EVERY DAY AND THAT I WOULD WORK VERY CHEAP (haha).
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
IT TOOK 5 YEARS TO FILM AND ANOTHER 1-2 YEARS OF EDITING TO ARRIVE AT THE FINISHED PRODUCT. AND TO THINK, PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY WAS ONLY SUPPOSED TO LAST FOR TWO WEEKS! RATT'S LIFE STARTED AS A FEATURE FILM, BUT DURING EDITING I REALIZED WE HAD ENOUGH FOOTAGE TO CUT IT INTO A SERIES. THE COVID LOCKDOWN GAVE ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO REALLY FINESSE THE FOOTAGE AND RE-IMAGINE IT FOR A DIFFERENT FORMAT.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
I TRIED TO DO THAT WITH THE TITLE: RATT'S LIFE! BUT IF I HAD TO PICK TWO WORDS... SUPER FUNNY?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
THE TIME IT TOOK TO COMPLETE IT. WORKING IN THE LOW-BUDGET INDIE WORLD, YOU HAVE TO WORK AROUND PEOPLE'S SCHEDULES. LINING UP CREW AND ACTORS OVER A 5-YEAR PERIOD WAS VERY CHALLENGING. WE HAD TO KEEP CONTINUITY SO IT LOOKED AS IF IT ALL TOOK PLACE OVER A COUPLE WEEKS. I WORE THE RATT HAIRCUT AND MUSTACHE FOR YEARS! THEY SAY "GOOD, FAST, OR CHEAP: PICK TWO". IF IT'S GOOD AND FAST, IT WON'T BE CHEAP. IF IT'S FAST AND CHEAP IT WON'T BE GOOD, AND IF IT'S GOOD AND CHEAP, IT WON'T BE FAST. OUR PRODUCTION DEFINITELY WASN'T FAST. IT WAS CHEAP, SO BY DEFAULT IT MUST BE GOOD!
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
I LOVED IT! IT WAS SO HELPFUL AND ENCOURAGING TO SEE THAT PEOPLE REALLY GOT THE TONE WE'RE GOING FOR, AND THAT THEY DUG IT. IT REALLY WAS THE BEST FEEDBACK I COULD HOPE FOR.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
AROUND AGE 13. I ALWAYS LOVED MOVIES, AND WAS INTRIGUED BY HOW THEY WERE MADE. FIRST I WANTED TO BE A STUNT MAN, THEN I WANTED TO BE A SPECIAL EFFECTS GUY. BUT WHEN I FINALLY GOT MY HANDS ON A VIDEO CAMERA AND STARED FILMING, I WAS HOOKED. I REALIZED I WANTED TO BE A FILMMAKER AND TELL MY OWN STORIES, DOING AS MANY JOBS AS I COULD.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
PROBABLY RETURN OF THE PINK PANTHER. PETER SELLERS IS A GENIUS. I GREW UP WATCHING THAT ONE OVER AND OVER. SECOND WOULD BE AMERICAN MOVIE, WHICH WAS A BIG INSPIRATION FOR RATT'S LIFE. I WATCH IT EVERY YEAR.
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
THE SOCIAL ASPECT IS A BIG HELP. THE CONNECTIONS YOU MAKE IN PERSON CAN PAY OFF YEARS LATER. FOR EXAMPLE, HAROLD GINN — WHO PLAYED DR. FINKEL IN RATT'S LIFE — WAS SOMEONE I MET YEARS BEFORE AT A FILM FESTIVAL. I WROTE THE ROLE WITH HIM IN MIND, AND EVEN THOUGH IT TOOK 8 YEARS TO FINALLY GET IT ON FILM, I CAN'T IMAGINE ANYONE ELSE IN THE PART. NOTHING CAN HELP A FILM'S PROSPECTS MORE THAN CONNECTING WITH AGENTS, MANAGERS, AND DISTRIBUTORS.
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
FILM FREEWAY HAS BEEN GREAT. IT'S EASY TO NAVIGATE AND A PERFECT HOME BASE FOR FESTIVAL CAMPAIGNS. THE TV WEB SERIES FILM FESTIVAL HAS BEEN SO COMMUNICATIVE AND NUTURING TO US FILMMAKERS. I'M VERY GRATEFUL.
10. What is your favorite meal?
MY MOM'S LAYERED ENCHILADAS WITH HOMEMADE REFRIED BEANS.
11. What is next for you? A new film?
I'M DEVELOPING SEVERAL PROJECTS AT THE MOMENT. AFTER WORKING IN THE HAND-HELD DOCUMENTARY STYLE FOR RATT'S LIFE, I WANT TO CHANGE GEARS AND MAKE SOMETHING SUPER-CINEMATIC NEXT — THRILLER OR SCI-FI — GET MY JOHN CARPENTER ON. AFTER THAT I'D LOVE TO DO RATT'S LIFE 2!