Nothing is lost: I used to cut and scrap sections of a take that were never completed or even the moments before the skateboard was used. Those unintentional recordings of your actor can be the desperately needed cutaway you need and missed during the production. The moment you start recording to the moment you stop is all usable footage.
As a part of our series called “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became A Filmmaker”, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Pat Mitchell.
Pat Mitchell was born in the Bronx, NY, raised in Yonkers, NY. He currently resides in Southwest Florida. He has been a self-taught filmmaker since his teenage years.
An award winning director has established credentials and developed the knowhow in managing film productions. He has been a fan of films since his adolescence. His goals are to continue developing his craft with challenging projects. Actively learning, his pursuit is to write and direct films as a top tier filmmaker in the industry.
Today, Pat loves observing techniques of past and present filmmakers in hopes of developing a fresh new take on both perspectives. Has a love for Noir photography.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit of the ‘backstory’ of how you grew up?
I was born in the Bronx and raised in Yonkers, NY. I moved to Florida during my teenage years due to the events of a divorce. So early on, we grew to love all kinds of different people.. In NY, We didn’t have many new events, activities, or experiences to dive into like today.. We made the most of what was nearby. Entertainment to us was finding a nearby park bench and simple conversation. I do feel it’s something the world is missing today. As communications grew so fast and so simplified, generations have so many goals of wanting to go viral or adding to the latest internet trend. Our struggle in finding something to entertain us keeps us engaging with living and breathing people. I should not complain, I love intruding my life to complete strangers with hope to stumble into them later. Just a nice surprise in life I guess. I am the youngest of three brothers. I had a habit of listening more than talking. I always had an appreciation of the arts. My favorite teachers growing up taught history, music and literature.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
It kind of boils down to my ongoing curiosity of cultures, careers, jobs, families, and opinions. I always wonder what it’s like to walk another path besides my own or research topics like people, technology, stories or politics. I always love learning about different people. I think it was mainly that which birthed the film bug. In filmmaking, I can spend my professional time feeding my own curiosity rather than it becoming a distraction from work.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your filmmaking career?
I used to have a hard time sleeping. I always had the urge to hone my skills in cinematography to be a director. I never understood the notion of just hiring anyone to shoot or “make my film” while referring to myself as a filmmaker. At2 am I would drive downtown and walk around with my camera. No subject or lighting, just capturing what’s there to the best I can.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
In 2011, I was on the committee of the Peace River Film Festival. I didn’t expect much but a good time and a chance to surround myself in our smaller film community. Little did I know, that festival granted me a chance to meet Michael Uslan. At that time, I didn’t know exactly who he was. I had to be told he is the executive producer of the Batman films while Tim Burton’s game-changer. I was in my 20’s at the time and the youngest filmmaker in the committee. Batman is my favorite superhero and the Nolan films only further excelled the love I had for the caped crusader. You can imagine the panic via excitement going on in my head. I was greeted and spent some time talking to him. I will never forget by the end of that time he referred to me on a first name basis. I never met a filmmaker beyond Southwest Florida before. Meeting him took away some of my fear of whether I could belong amongst Hollywood successes. I haven’t encouraged him much since. I’m sure he is either busy creating bold achievements or basking in his many successes. All of it is so deserving and will always be a fan of his contribution to my childhood and cinema itself..
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
First off, I must thank my mom. She has been watching me grow through this for years. I am still figuring out the industry as I go. Her enthusiasm with every breakthrough I discover only inspires me more to keep going. My friend who I avoid talking about filmmaking with. I don’t ask questions or demand answers once they find out I actually do this the last couple years. I live closed off sometimes, and it is easier to not explain your art than explaining it. When some find out how far of a filmmaker I am. It’s not followed by many questions. They take the craft for what it is and not what it can be in the future. Some people call that motivating, I just call it unneeded expectations. Never needed much validation to be an artist. It’s easier without all the pressure. Less is more.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Two best pieces of advice I ever received:
Become comfortable with the uncomfortable. Every year I make a habit of doing something I typically won’t do or feel like I would never. Whether it be engaging in uncomfortable topics, flirting more, trying the food you tend to avoid, or even attempting to make a romance film. Just because it makes you uncomfortable doesn’t mean it has to be overtime. Never be scared of new people and new choices.
The second is very important. Perfect is non-existent. One thing I tend to hear a lot is “I am waiting for the perfect time.” If you can’t define the perfect time in your head flawlessly, it does not exist. As a filmmaker, pre production can only get you so far. There is never anything perfect about a production and waiting always comes with new problems. You can ever come across better than the perfect scenario in the craft. Things could go south at any time but a warmer climate could be waiting you aren’t aware of.
I am very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
I am a big believer in diversity. The best stories are universal. Basic forms or language exist such as hand gestures all the way up to the concepts of love. To be absolutely truthful in telling any stories with humanity is to include all types of human experiences. You never find something richer than many cultures present in one room. Especially when it comes to an education.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I am now working on two feature films. Both are equally exciting, but one has a message desperately needed for the world at this time. It’s always an honor to get an email from a producer wanting your input and additions on the table. I am not sure how much I can share other than my enthusiasm to bring the story to screen.
Which aspect of your work makes you most proud? Can you explain or give a story?
The joy spreads as it is passed on. In the sense of my latest film “Apples, Oranges, Lemons & Limes.” I used first time actors and a talent pool that is less than noticed above independent acts these days. To grow with my actors is very important to me. Seeing the awards come and its reaction from the actors’ friends, parents, relatives, and distant relatives about those achievements is everything. I never consider an actors’ family as an audience as we roll into production. You really start to discover these films are way bigger than you. To spawn the joy from your film and see it exceed your imagination is so rewarding.. I won Best Screenplay in South Korea was such a left field throw amongst other awards we earned.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
Nothing is lost:
I used to cut and scrap sections of a take that were never completed or even the moments before the skateboard was used. Those unintentional recordings of your actor can be the desperately needed cutaway you need and missed during the production. The moment you start recording to the moment you stop is all usable footage.
Spend equal time on your sound as you video:
So we always analyze, cut, fine tune, edit, grade, and polish their footage to tell the story in the photography. You skillfully choose how to transition from one scene to the next. When it comes to audio it’s common to sync audio and your video and attach it to the video. I feel often people neglect to
When you create a film, which stakeholders have the greatest impact on the artistic and cinematic choices you make? Is it the viewers, the critics, the financiers, or your own personal artistic vision? Can you share a story with us or give an example about what you mean?
My artistic vision mostly and the viewers. I Love reading about current times. See what topics and cultures are trending. Speaking of cultures, I love learning about new cultures and ideas in other countries. I am inspired by a wide range of things.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I love to step out of my comfort zone with every project and everyday decisions I may face. We tend to work in repetition from schools, home life, to social life. New experiences bring new results, new relations and new solutions to any problem. Even if the right things are absolutely great, try something that may bring a little bit of struggle. It’s not self-sabotage if you aim to grow from every decision. I would love a movement that promotes individuals to avoid the safer choices in live, in calm and controlled manner. It never self-sabotage if you aim is learning.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
There are so many people. Shaq, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Nolan, or Steven Spielberg, such a loaded answer. It would be criminal to choose one over the other. Mostly anyone who isn’t scared to bring their personality and quirks to the table. Life is a playground. Their work time reminds me that exploring, wonder and joy never gets old..
How can our readers further follow you online?
They can add me on social media: Twitter or Instagram preferred.
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!
Pat Mitchell of Liv Emotive: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became A Filmmaker was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.