Joshua Kahn: This class isn’t at all about getting a grade. In a way, it’s almost like a pass/fail class. Either the shoot is successful…or it isn’t. And who’s to say if the final result is good or bad? I mean, sure, some films are objectively bad, but this is still school. We’re learning about the process.
Q: Do you think it is possible to finish your project on a lower budget and make a film that will help you after college?
Joshua Kahn: The goal of this pre-production phase (and, I would venture to guess, the goal of every film’s pre-production phase) is to cut the budget as much as possible while not jeopardizing the quality of the finished product. That includes hunting for student discounts (gotta make use of the “I’m a student!” card as much as possible before graduation…) and bargaining with location owners for lower fees, etc. So it’s definitely possible to come in under budget, but the numbers my producer and I have come up with are a reasonable estimate of how it will all come out…some individual items may end up being lower, but those will be counter-acted by items that will be higher, and so on. And of course, there will always be surprise problems on set that having extra padding in the budget will help solve.
Q: Tell me what your ideal goal is for how this film can help you, and also your realistic goal.
Joshua Kahn: Ideally, the film will be accepted into some notable film festivals and attract the attention of distributors and agents, leading to commercial play and future directing jobs. Realistically, the film will get some festival play at smaller festivals, followed with an online release. Either way, the end goal is to be able to use this short to help fund the next one.
Q: Tell me why you want to be a filmmaker.
Joshua Kahn: It affords greater storytelling opportunities than being just an actor or just a writer. “Filmmaker” implies being able to use the whole arsenal of filmmaking tricks and tools to create a fully-realized work of art. And that’s what’s exciting to me: the possibilities afforded by this medium are endless. You can do almost anything you want.
Q: Do you believe your education was worth the money? Do you think you could have gotten the same education somewhere else?
Joshua Kahn: NYU has such a unique style that an education from USC or UCLA or one of the other big film schools would have been a completely different experience. Whether I would’ve liked it more or less somewhere else, I can never know… But a comparison would be impossible. I started at NYU as a drama major in the theatre department (something I for sure couldn’t have gotten from another school) and that was a huge formative step in my process to becoming a filmmaker. Those 2 and a half years as an actor shaped my filmmaking and writing style in a way that stands out from other screenwriters and directors in my class, and for that I’m grateful. NYU has given me the best of both worlds (with theatre and film), so that alone has made it all worth it.
Q: Tell me what scares you the most about leaving school.
Joshua Kahn: Finding a job that makes me not starve or freeze. But that’d be the same regardless of film school, drama school…it’s just school, man. It’s scary out there, especially these days. I’d love to not have to degrade myself as a grocery store bag boy again…
Q: Tell me what you are most looking forward to after leaving school.
Joshua Kahn: The satisfaction of having completed 5 years of NYU. Being a proud college graduate. Looking ahead and thinking “Gee, the next 20 years sure are gonna be swell.” Just the adventure, I guess. It’s a story, like any other…
Q: What kind of movies do you want to make?