Saturday, July 16, 2011

Interview: Rob Williams – Co-Owner of Guest House Films.

Hello my fellow readers and writer, I have a special treat for you! I have the pleasure of an interview with award winning director, writer and producer of films geared towards the LGBT market, Rob Williams! Mr. Williams is also the co-owner of his production company Guest House Films where his works have their home. You can also get to know him on FaceBook and on Twitter.  I’ve enjoyed his movies immensely and am eager to introduce him to my blog-goers so they may take the opportunity to get to know this talented artist.

If you’ll recall the question I asked on Facebook about requesting interviews, Mr. Williams is one of the people I’ve wanted to ask. I have to admit, I was nervous but I was eager to have him as a guest at Black Satin. Of course I’m glad I did. I want to thank Mr. Williams for taking the time to visit today. I look forward to his next work.

Here’s a sampling of his movies and my personal favorites:

And now may, I present Mr. Rob Williams!

• Who is Rob Williams?

I am a filmmaker - writer, director, producer - focusing on films for the LGBT market. I have made five films to date - "Long-Term Relationship," "Back Soon," "3-Day Weekend," "Make The Yuletide Gay" and "Role/Play."

• When did you first decide you wanted to be a filmmaker and why?

I started writing first - it's a cliche, but everyone in Los Angeles really does have a screenplay! - and I went to an amazing screenwriting group that taught me so much about structure and dialogue. One of my earliest scripts was a gay romantic comedy called "Long-Term Relationship" that went on to be the first film we produced and that I directed. But it was really my love of gay cinema and my awareness of the need for more gay films in the marketplace that made me want to become a filmmaker and make films for the gay market.

• Are there any particular writers/producers/directors that inspire you?

My greatest inspiration is Woody Allen. He has been making films for decades, usually one film a year, and he has the freedom to explore different subject matter and genres, and to tell the stories he wants to tell. He has made some of my favorite films of all time (such as "Manhattan" and "Crimes and Misdemeanors"), as well as my favorite film of this year, "Midnight In Paris."

• Can you describe a typical day of creative work?

I wish it sounded more interesting, but I usually spend most days on the computer - writing, corresponding with distributors/actors/fans, promoting our work, doing research for new films, etc. That's broken up by trips to the post office to mail "Role/Play" DVDs, and lots of games on Facebook!

• What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your movies?

I'm always surprised when someone takes the time to write me and tell me that they enjoyed one of my movies. Even though we work tremendously hard to make good films and to get them out to the world, it's always such a joy to hear from someone who liked a film enough to find my email address or track down my Facebook page and let me know. "Make The Yuletide Gay" generated a lot of emails from teens who came out to their parents after seeing the movie (or in some cases, watching the movie with their parents), and it's incredible that something I did encouraged these kids to come out and be honest with their families. That was surprising and very, very humbling for me.

• Do you believe the industry will ever be fully accepting of LGBT filmmaking? Or do you believe they already are? Why?

On one hand, the industry is completely accepting of LGBT filmmaking and especially of LGBT filmmakers - look at the success of "Brokeback Mountain" and "Milk." But on the other hand, the industry (and more specifically, the mainstream audiences) aren't always ready for films with real gay content, such as gay sex scenes, male nudity or even same-sex kisses. I can't wait for the day when a major Hollywood studio makes a film about realistic gay characters and the issues they face, and have those films get national distribution and have mainstream audiences go to see them.

• Do you have any quirky or unusual stories concerning your work?

The weirdest things I've had to do for our films always involve buying wardrobe or props. When we were getting ready to make "Role/Play," I spent a couple of hours buying swimsuits for star Matthew Montgomery. The smallest swimsuits we could find. He'd try them on, and I'd have to decide which tiny little bikini looked best on him. Tough job. And for "3-Day Weekend," I took actor Derek Long shopping for a leather harness for one scene - again, making him try on different ones to see what looked best. That's the part of indie filmmaking that makes people with office jobs really jealous!

• What is the best and/or worst filmmaking advice you’ve ever received?

The best filmmaking advice I ever got was, "Feed your cast and crew well!" Many low-budget films order pizza for lunch every day, and that does not go over well with a crew that has been working really hard, so we always find a good caterer, offer good food, and it makes a big difference. :-)

• Do you have anything specific that you want to say to other aspiring filmmakers or in general about the industry?

Follow your dream. Make your film. Love what you do.

• Tell us about your current and future projects. What is on the horizon?

Guest House Films, the company I own and run with my partner Rodney Johnson, just announced its move into distribution, so our next project will be a series of gay-themed short-film compilations, starting with a group of darker-themed films titled "Black Briefs." On the production side, we have two projects in development - "The Mystic Chord," which is my dream project, an adaptation of the Jim Tushinski novel "Van Allen's Ecstasy" about a gay man struggling to regain his memories after a mental breakdown; and "Make The Yuletide Gay 2," a sequel to our award-winning Christmas comedy. And we are continuing to sell our last film, "Role/Play," in more international territories, including a September release in Australia.

I want to thanks Mr. Williams for taking the time to visit me at Black Satin today and provide this wonderful interview. It’s greatly appreciated!



JM Cartwright said...

Hello, CJ and hello, Rob! I went back and looked and found I've seen all Rob's movies except LTR - and that one is in my queue at Netflix.

Very interesting interview - good luck with your dream project and I look forward to Yuletide 2.


Brenda and Steve said...

Great interview! Hi Rob, CJ
Rob, did you want to be a published author when you first tackled writing or was your dream always to be a film maker?
I will be adding your movies to our Netflix queue.

Johnny Miles said...

Hello CJ:

Thanks for creating this event on FB. And hello to you, Rob Williams. Thanks for being on CJ's blog. I've not seen any of your movies yet but I'm looking on Netflix to see what I can find. I'll also be checking with our local Stonewall Library here in Fort Lauderdale.

I wish you much luck and success in your current and future projects. We need more LGBT films because, in my opinion, there's a story in just about everything.

I do have one question, though. I've written a book that was released this year and I'd love to adapt it into a screenplay. What advice, if any, do you have on such an undertaking?

Thank you so much. And, again, much success.

CJ Black said...

Sorry for the late reply. I've been having trouble accessing Blogger for the past few days!

First I wanted to thank Rob Williams again for taking the time to visit Black Satin, as well as thanking my readers who commented. Mr. Williams did reply to your questions but unfortunately, Blogger sent them into oblivion. I contacted Mr. Williams to let him know and will let everyone know as soon as I hear a response. Peace!