Filmmakers at Google: Brett Leonard and Burlap to Cashmere | "The Other Country"

Uploaded by AtGoogleTalks on 03.01.2013


FEMALE SPEAKER: Welcome and thank you so much for being
with us here at Google.
JOHN PHILIPPIDIS: Thanks for having us.
Now, Brett you have a couple of frag films to actually show
us before we started the interview.
And I believe we're starting with frag 10.
Tell us a little bit about this frag.
BRETT LEONARD: Well, what a frag film is, we have this
idea called PopFictionLife, which is a way of making
musical movies that can be
distributed through the internet.
But there's still cinema.
They're not webisodes.
They're not episodic in that sense.
It's still independent cinema.
So it's really a feature film.
But when you're doing independent cinema these days,
and you don't have Tom Cruise or giant movie stars in them--
not to say that you guys aren't giant movie stars.
You're music stars.
But you have to seduce the audience to get them to get
into the thing.
So we create what I call frags, or fragments.
And we give away half the movie with fragments--
with these frags.
You don't get all the story.
You don't get all the music.
So if you like it, and you want to see the whole film,
actually this Sunday, December 9, we've been releasing the
frags over the past several months.
We're going to be releasing the entire film for $5
following the example of Louis CK, who did, I think, an
amazing thing of getting direct to the consumer with a
price point that makes sense for independent content.
And if you just want to watch half of it for
free, that's fine.
Because it's really about not forcing it down people's
throats, not doing the vertically integrated
corporate marketing that works with mega-movies.
And what this allows, is it allows you to do something
that is a little more creatively free.
Every film in Hollywood now has to have someone with a
cape or a cowl or something like that.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Nothing wrong with that.
BRETT LEONARD: And there's nothing wrong with that.
I go see those with my son, and I absolutely love them.
But that's about--
THEODORE PAGANO: We tried to get capes but he
wouldn't have it.
FEMALE SPEAKER: I can have a cape so we're good.
BRETT LEONARD: So I always wanted to--
in the past, I've done science fiction thriller films--

but I love music, and I wanted to make a rock
and roll road picture.
And so when it came to that, I was looking around for a band
and I heard they're called Burlap to Cashmere and there's
a song on it called The Other County.
And I just instantly saw this movie in my head when I was
listening to it.
Then I met the guys and being characters as they are and
tremendous live musicians, I thought we had a chance to do
something where we could actually record all the music
when we were doing the film live.
So there's no overdubbing.
There's no post-syncing done here at all in the film.
And they could play essentially versions of
And so when you see this first frag, Frag 10, which is
literally being released today for the first time--
we've been releasing them every Thursday over the past
several months--
they're doing a scene that has dramatic import to it.
And there's some truth in there.
There's some fiction in there.
But you're not quite sure which one it is.
It actually goes back to the style of Italian neo-realism
more, the films of John Cassavetes.

Why don't we just watch Frag 10, and then we can talk about
it from there.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Let's watch Frag 10.
THEODORE PAGANO: Why do I get a guilt trip for this?
JOHN PHILIPPIDIS: Ted, you called once.
THEODORE PAGANO: Yeah, when you got out of hospital.
Did you want me to call you while you're in the hospital?
The thing about calling people when they're in a coma, John,
it's not exactly stimulating conversation.
STEVEN DELOPOULOS: Ted, he's got a point.
THEODORE PAGANO: I don't think he has a point.
STEVEN DELOPOULOS: You should at least pick up the phone or
THEODORE PAGANO: This is not for me to [INAUDIBLE].
JOHN PHILIPPIDIS: Ted, you and I were in Brazil together
playing for 80,000 people and then poof, you're gone.
THEODORE PAGANO: Yeah, and then it ended John.
Everything ends.
No poof-- it's not like I broke the band up.
We broke up, and I got in with my life.
What did you want?
Why is this being pinned on me?
Why are I at fault for this?
Blame Marcus.
He's the one who tore us apart.
Come on.
THEODORE PAGANO: Come on what?
You're always sticking up for this guy?
JOHN PHILIPPIDIS: I'll have to agree with Teddy on that one.
STEVEN DELOPOULOS: Come on, the guy's dead.
JOHN PHILIPPIDIS: Steve, the guy's dead.
You stick up for him like he's a saint because he's dead.
STEVEN DELOPOULOS: I didn't say he was a saint.
JOHN PHILIPPIDIS: God rest his soul.
I mean, there was a time where he was a friend to us but
mainly he was just a street hustler.
STEVEN DELOPOULOS: Yeah, well we probably need a street
hustler again if we want to get this
thing back on the road.
And Marcus may [INAUDIBLE].
JOHN PHILIPPIDIS: Someone who's street
hustling his own clients.

THEODORE PAGANO: Come on, he just wore us out.
We couldn't withstand that.
No band could.
STEVEN DELOPOULOS: You don't even know what Marcus gave us.

MARCUS: What did I say?
I booked you some more shows.
What is that, a crime?
MARCUS: Come on.
JOHN PHILIPPIDIS: We just finished 124 nights.
MARCUS: I know.
It's all about the momentum.
You don't want to lose that.
STEVEN DELOPOULOS: Marcus, we're fried.
MARCUS: I'll tell you what I'm going to do.
We do the 18 shows on the East coast.
I call them and tell them we'll cancel the rest.
THEODORE PAGANO: You remember this one?
THEODORE PAGANO: I remember this one [INAUDIBLE].
MARCUS: Guys, can't you tell?
We are so close I can taste it right now.
JOHN PHILIPPIDIS: You know what I taste right now?
I don't want to say what I taste right now.
MARCUS: Guys, listen to me.
Listen to me.
Basic instructions, climbing the charts.
You're getting more and more radio play.
You want to keep that moving.
You stop now and somebody's going to come up behind you
and take your spot.
Trust me, I've seen it.
I've seen it, all right?
STEVEN DELOPOULOS: Fine, we're going to finish the tour.
MARCUS: You don't want to do all this
hard work for nothing.
STEVEN DELOPOULOS: We'll finish the tour, but we're
taking a break after that.
JOHN PHILIPPIDIS: This is a man who knows you
owe it to your fans.
MARCUS: All right?
Don't look so glum.
Come on, let a smile be umbrella if you want a
mouthful of rain.

Hey Alex, it's Marcus.
How are you doing?
Good, good.
Yeah, yeah, it looks like we're all set.
I can confirm all 30 dates.
No sweat.
All right baby.
See you in about a week?
Good, ciao.
Come on, first one in the van get an Ihop breakfast on me.
What is with the long faces, come on?
Now I'm the chauffeur?
Is that it?
Nobody's going to sit in the front?
FEMALE SPEAKER: So tell us what Frag 10 is all about?
BRETT LEONARD: It's a totally fictional story about a
fictional manager named Marcus.
FEMALE SPEAKER: A weaselly guy, isn't he?
BRETT LEONARD: And yet, in every band, there's always
tensions and things that happen.
There are little glimpses of the truth in there but
obviously hyped and fictionalized so that the
drama works.
And it allowed the guys to pull from their own
experiences, which is in the genre of neo-realism that's
something that you try to do.
And it's a really fun thing, because you get an
authenticity that is there and yet you're still playing with
a fictional story so you can make it go where
you want it to go.
And one of the other things with the whole genre of
PopFictionLife is we're
integrating music as narrative.
It really is taking the idea of what music video has been
and become and blending it into narrative even more
And I just love music as the inspiration for cinema,
because really for me, the most pure cinema is just
picture and music.
And so this is sort of like a dream come true for me to
create something that had a musical story.
And the emotions, you don't have to necessarily have a lot
of dramatic scenes to convey the emotions
because the music does.
And of course these guys are such great musicians and are
able to play their instruments live and do it real that it
give it that authenticity.
I think that in internet content in general, people are
looking for authenticity.
They're looking for something that's more real, as opposed
to what you should get from traditional Hollywood
FEMALE SPEAKER: Is that when you chose to work with music
in particular for these frag films?
It goes back also to the films of Hal Ashby of the '70s.
If you think of Harold and Maude, that was basically a
Cat Stevens album put to a story.
Now would you think that Cat Stevens would be able to carry
a story about a suicidal teenager who has a love affair
with an 83-year-old woman?
Meaning, music and narrative and cinema can do anything.
They can create any combination of things and
actually work.
And so it allows me that freedom as a filmmaker.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Do you plan on keeping your frag films within
the musical realm?
BRETT LEONARD: PopFictionLife itself, yes.
But we're going to be expanding the genre to
incorporate other kinds of subject matter.
But I always probably will want to incorporate music,
because you wouldn't necessarily always have to
have a band starring in a PopFictionLife film.
This is a unique situation, because I thought these guys
would be great at doing that.
We had a lot of fun doing it.
So it was an opportunity to do something that can combine.
Those things came together just perfectly.
FEMALE SPEAKER: We also have Frag 11 to show.
And that one actually hasn't aired yet.
It hasn't come out yet.
The Frag 10 just came out today.
And Frag 11 is going to be coming out Sunday when the
entire film is available on for that $5 purchase.
If people like all the 11 frags--
FEMALE SPEAKER: And then they can get the whole film.
BRETT LEONARD: And then you could get the whole film where
you see how the story turns out.
So at the end of this frag is where actually the three frags
end, meaning like a cliffhanger of what's going to
happen in the story.
And then to see the third act and all the other pieces of
the story, you get the full feature film.
So this Frag 11.

FEMALE SPEAKER 2: I've called you like eight times.
Where have you been?
THEODORE PAGANO: What do mean where have I been?
I'm working.
I'm out on the road here.
I've been making calls constantly.
FEMALE SPEAKER 2: I understand that you're working.
But also understand that I'm trying to get hold of you.
If you've got time to call other people, then you've got
time to get back to me.

THEODORE PAGANO: No, because I don't sit by the phone and
wait for you to call all day.
I don't have the time to.
FEMALE SPEAKER 2: I'm not asking you
to sit by the phone.
I'm just asking you to send me one text.
You're being really unreasonable about this.
THEODORE PAGANO: Look, if I don't do this,
it doesn't get done.
So I have to.

FEMALE SPEAKER 2: Well maybe if you don't have time, I
don't have time.
I'll just leave my phone here, and I'll go out.
Thank you.
FEMALE SPEAKER 2: I'm going.
MALE SPEAKER: Busted a hose.
It'll take a little while until I can fix it.

THEODORE PAGANO: Guys, we've got to be at this funeral
service in a few hours.
JOHN PHILIPPIDIS: Ted, we're going to be there just fine.
JOHN PHILIPPIDIS: At this point, who cares about the
funeral service?
THEODORE PAGANO: What are we here for then?
What didn't we just stay home?
JOHN PHILIPPIDIS: I didn't have a choice
in the matter, Ted.
STEVEN DELOPOULOS: Why didn't you have a choice in the
matter John?
You're my cousin.
We're standing out in the middle of the desert baking in
the sun right now with a broken down vehicle.
THEODORE PAGANO: What do you think we owe this guy?
We don't owe him anything.
We don't owe him anything.
STEVEN DELOPOULOS: We owe Marcus everything, Ted.
FEMALE SPEAKER: A lot of tension
going on in that frag--
all sorts of trouble on the horizon.
The film is about them traveling from Brooklyn to Los
Angeles for the funeral of their ex-manager.
And the drama is around what that ex-manager did and didn't
do for them, how they each feel about him, and how they
feel about each other.
And it all comes down in the third act, at the funeral.
There's also a few romantic glimmers
along the way, as well.
But it's really in a sense, a gentle story that goes with
the feeling of the music.
This is something that really starts with the music for me
in terms of what that is.
And then we all met together.
And one of the aspects of this you had mentioned, we were
showing it the colors, I really wanted to create
something that had the look and feel of a '70s movie.
The band had asked for that when we first met.
And I was like, instantly yes, let's do that.
Because HD, with the new cameras we can do so many
interesting things with available light
cinematography, and then post-process with grain and do
very creative things that you weren't able
to do in the past.
And so we celebrated that in this film, utilizing those
kinds of looks and feels to give it a different feel.
So it's its own genre, in a sense.
FEMALE SPEAKER: I want to talk a little bit about what
PopFictionLife is and how the frag film fits
into that new brand.
And then we'll get back to the band and music itself.
Tell us what PopFictionLife is and what
it offers the consumer.
BRETT LEONARD: It's really a way of creating and
distributing independent cinema in a way that realizes
the reality of getting direct to consumer, not going through
the distribution apparatus.
I mean, I worked in Hollywood for over 25 years as a
director and producer.
And the business models of Hollywood have changed
significantly in that time.
And primarily, especially for most independent cinema, it's
very, very dysfunctional.
You have a very narrow sort of window through which most
things get distributed and how they distributed.
And there really is no reason for that now that we're all
connected in the way we are.
So for people that want to find different kinds of
content, it can still be very high quality content.
It doesn't always have to just be cats falling out of trees.
And I think we're leaving that era of internet content and
moving into much higher quality content.
Across the board, there's a lot of people doing that now.
But PopFictionLife is specifically designed to also
allow the idea of frags or being able to absorb content
through fragments, because it started for me watching my
young son and how he looked at films and content.
It's an ADD generation--
there's an ADD aspect to our culture going on.
And people sometimes will go just watch
one scene of a movie.
Now, that's not me.
I like to go watch the four hour version of Lawrence of
Arabia once a year, because I just love that kind of
cinematic experience.
But that's not really where the entire culture is going.
And so in recognizing that, fragmenting story.
You could even watch these frags out of order.
You can watch them in any way.
You could watch one or two, and then get excited about the
story, then go get the whole film.
So we're trying to giving the digital content consumer a
greater choice in how they absorb content.
And also, one of the biggest things we're going to be
doing, my partner Christopher [? Creber ?]
is heading up the interactive side of PopFictionLife.
And frags are designed to create interactivity.
If you look at some of the stuff that's happened here
Google with Chris Milk and what he did with Arcade Fire.
Frags are designed to have interactivity with them and
yet still maintain the integrity of being a full
independent feature film.
FEMALE SPEAKER: How does that work?
How does the interactivity between the users work?
BRETT LEONARD: Well that's a big question, isn't it?
That's what everyone's trying to figure out these days.
I think one, obviously integration into social media,
which we're doing a lot of is very important.
So that people can discuss and talk about things.
It's also about showing how this kind of content can be
made, because it can be made very, very, very cost
effectively and yet at a high quality.
And all the tools are coming down to really a generation
that I believe is going to be communicating through
cinematic language much more than
almost any other language.
And in a sense, cinematic language is a global language.
And so by doing these kinds of projects, using the expertise
of Hollywood filmmaking, but sort of doing it in the same
way that a lot of very young filmmakers out there.
I basically mentor and employ a lot of young filmmakers to
make these films.
Because the way they are integrating with the tools,
the way they think about cinema, is completely
different than my generation.
And it's very exciting to me, because I think it's about the
march of cinematic language moving forward and becoming
truly interactive.
Gaming is obviously becoming more and more cinematic and
yet is very interactive.
I think there's so many more places to go with that that
aren't just in these narrow areas that are
happening right now.
And you can do interactivity with emotions.
You can do interactivity with the way in
which you create something.
That alone and integrating with a community of people
that are making content with tools that allow them to make
it compelling.
Because it is a language.
It's not just an art form at this point.

Every language started as an art form and then became
something more consistent as a language over time.
If you look at the printing press, if you look at
calligraphy, all the things that have developed over the
ages, and so I think cinema is that global language.
And I happen to believe that cinematic language has a great
hope to it, because it
translates across all barriers.
And so if you can teach people how to create compelling
cinematic language and also get it out there in a way that
can truly find its audience, there's great things that can
happen there.
We've obviously seen certain things like, Facebook movies
and things that are showing that this is something that's
really developing in the global mind frame.
And it's an exciting time.
So this is a reaction.
PopFictionLife is a reaction to all that.
FEMALE SPEAKER: It's also very interactive for sponsors and
How does that work so that it doesn't detract the viewer
from the film itself?
BRETT LEONARD: Well I think pre-roles and all that, we're
in this first stage of internet advertising.
And I think that truly more integrated advertising or
sponsorship that doesn't impinge on the integrity of
what the content is is becoming more and more the
norm, because that's what the consumer wants.
That's what the people want.
The generation that consumes internet content doesn't like
it to be slapped in their face.
And yet there's a lot of competing forces in that.
There's no one answer to any of these things
you're talking about.
One of things that we talk about with PopFictionLife--
it's a fluid, digital company, meaning we are reacting to
what's happening out there.
And the one thing I know is how to create a cinematic
story, and how to do that in a compelling way, and how to
make it look good.
So by creating things as cost effectively as possible,
getting them out there without a middleman, and empowering
the consumer, and then also the creator.
Content creators and consumers who are becoming one in the
same thing.
There's a lot of entrepreneurial
opportunities in that.
I think that sponsors and advertisers are starting to
recognize that.
Although they move slower than you would possibly imagine.
FEMALE SPEAKER: But wouldn't most of the funding
be coming from them?
And so they're obviously really
important to the process.
BRETT LEONARD: We've raised our own money to fund these
initially, because again, we're just trying to create an
entire package of this is the idea.
And then we've had interest from a number of sponsors and
advertisers that say, hey, this is something if you've
got someone like this kind of name to do this.
And obviously, larger mega-acts or things like that
would drive that more.
But I think that there's ways of doing this without it being
driven just by three or four names.
I think that this is something that can fragment out, so to
speak, in a much more diffused manner.
FEMALE SPEAKER: In terms of marketing, you call those
diffuse distribution versus vertical.
What exactly does it mean and how does it work
in different markets?
BRETT LEONARD: Well, because we parse things in frags, it
gives us the opportunity to do them in all kinds
of different ways.
The interesting thing about the internet in terms of
distributing independent cinema too is it's not like
it's there in your local theater for a weekend and
you've got to go see it.
It's once it's there, the local theater is
there all the time.
So we can then release these frags in different ways--
do contests around frags, do things that talk about, do you
like to look at this one.
How do we do that?
Bore down and drill down into deeper interactivity with the
content creators that are out of there
that are also consumers.
So this is all stuff that we're developing right now.
We wanted to start by making a frag film that was compelling
and for a broad audience, and that's what The
Other Country is.
FEMALE SPEAKER: So now, you guys as a band have a really
interesting story.
You had a successful debut album and then you disappeared
for 10 years.
And now you're back with a self-titled album.
What encouraged you guys to come back
and get back together?
And what were you able to bring to this record after a
10 year hiatus?
THEODORE PAGANO: What encouraged
us to get back together?
We always all did music.
STEVEN DELOPOULOS: Helped homelessness.

When you walk into a Starbucks, and you saw an
application for a job, then you think maybe we should--
JOHN PHILIPPIDIS: Steven and I are cousins, and so we've
always played together.
And that never ended.
And Teddy was out in the UK for a little bit.
So I think what the inspiration really was just we
had done it.
We had had some success.
But there were definitely things that we wanted to do
that we never did then, because we were too green and
And so there is definitely a fire under all
of us to do it again.
The question was, were we actually going to do.
And a few different situations led us all to getting back
together again.
STEVEN DELOPOULOS: Teddy was living in England--
the drummer--
and he came back.
Me and Johnny were playing music continuously.
And I had written all the songs.
We have the songs.
We had most of them.
We had a basement to start rehearsing and a manager and a
label that was interested in signing us.
And we just went for it.
JOHN PHILIPPIDIS: We sort of went backwards, because we had
some success and then came back to just almost starting
over again.

Teddy thought that we might score another deal, but Steven
and I were just like, we're old.
Who's going to sign us again?
We were picked up by Sony Jive.
It was almost like lightning striking twice.
STEVEN DELOPOULOS: Once we hit 19, it was like, it's over.
JOHN PHILIPPIDIS: It's over, yeah.
STEVEN DELOPOULOS: It's all downhill from here.
JOHN PHILIPPIDIS: Yeah, exactly.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Now how did you get meet with Brett?
How did this all come about?
STEVEN DELOPOULOS: Our manager knew Brett's partner and we
all met in LA at a really cool diner.
What was the diner called?
BRETT LEONARD: Jerry's Deli.
STEVEN DELOPOULOS: Jerry's Deli, yeah.
It's really, really good actually.
THEODORE PAGANO: It's just a little cool diner.
STEVEN DELOPOULOS: And we sat down with Brett and just had a
And we actually were all a little starstruck.
We knew who he was, and were very excited to meet him, and
dumbfounded why he was talking to us.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Brett, why were you talking to you guys?
BRETT LEONARD: I listened to the album.
I didn't want to choose who I was doing this first frag film
with based upon anything but just responding to the music
and responding to who the people are.
Because that's one of the things that just drives me
crazy, the hierarchy of how content happens it isn't a
true meritocracy.
And so I just want to respond to that.
I love the album.
And I just saw, wow, I could make a movie from this.
And they're so authentic in the fact, when I went and saw
them after we met and saw them perform live the first time,
that I was truly hooked.
Because I wanted to do something where you didn't
have to, in a sense, fake the music in any
way, shape or form.
And there's not one moment of fake music in this movie.
It's purely capturing them in their live performance, which
is truly wonderful.
They're very virtuosic in they're performance.
FEMALE SPEAKER: And it's very unique to have completely live
music in a film.
Was that liberating for you guys?
Or was that difficult?
Were you worried that there's no post-production?
That's the type of band that we are.
We don't use electronics.
We're very much like a '70s folk band.
We get together to play.
We have chemistry with each other.
And that's our thing.
So it's quite natural for us.
FEMALE SPEAKER: So it was kind of liberating for you guys.
It was just all natural.
We just did our thing.
JOHN PHILIPPIDIS: It was actually nice, because the
record that Brett heard was all recorded--
Pro-tools was used as the medium just because it's
cheaper to capture it there.
But the computer screen was not allowed in the room.
There was no auto-tuning and no editing.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Which is so cool and completely unique
these day, I feel like.
JOHN PHILIPPIDIS: There was no nudging.
It was just live.
And the fact that they were going to capture it that way,
that's all we know how to do anyway.
So post-production to us is not really even a--
BRETT LEONARD: Burlap to Cashmere for me, was a band
that deserved to have a movie made.
And I just wanted that to be the reason, because we're not
spending millions of dollars doing these.
We're spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, but
we're not spending millions of dollars.
So there's a liberating aspect to that.
And independent cinema used to be about that.
It used to be about doing something truly authentic.
As I mentioned John Cassavetes,
he's one of my heroes.
And if you go back and see the things he talked about, about
what drove him to make the cinema he did, that is me
returning to those roots.
Even though I hadn't done these kinds of films before, I
had done films that were much more visual effect oriented
and all that.
So really for me, it was a liberating experience from
doing a different kind of cinema.
And because they're so authentic, and then they were
able to play versions of themselves very authentically,
it was again, this great confluence of things.
FEMALE SPEAKER: And a very unique experienced for
everyone, I'm sure.
Now, guys, when you first heard about the frag film
concept, what was your reaction?
How did you feel that it would assist musicians or the music
genre in general?
THEODORE PAGANO: We struggled to understand it at first and
I think a lot of people do.
The idea of it a manager said, so we have this on Friday, and
then there's this, and then, oh we might be making a movie.
We're like, what.

THEODORE PAGANO: So he tried to explain it as best as he
could, but we didn't really understand it until we met
with Brett and he explained it.
BRETT LEONARD: That's one of the reasons I just went ahead
and made the film.
Because I wanted to show, until we have all the frags
out there and then we release the film, now everyone's
starting to get it.
FEMALE SPEAKER: It's easier to wrap your head around.
BRETT LEONARD: People were going, oh I see.
Oh, you're giving it away for free.
All of those ideas are counter to the way in which Hollywood
cinema distribution has worked for forever that it's new.
But that for me, is why I get up.
That's what drives me is to do something new and different
that can empower both people that watch films and also
people that make them.
FEMALE SPEAKER: My first question when I started doing
the research was, how does it differ from a trailer or a
teaser for a film?
BRETT LEONARD: Essentially, it's making the film be a lot
of teasers, a lot of trailers.
And you're seeing this happen in bigger
studio films, as well.
You're seeing secondary material being put out before
big films like Prometheus, things that are put out as--
FEMALE SPEAKER: People want [? even more. ?]
They want [? even more. ?]
And so this is a way of doing it with more independent
cinema and giving away even more so that if you like it,
then it's authentic that you want to buy it.
It's not like, to see that big movie I've got to
spend $19.95 on iTunes.
And I think that's not going to be the way that independent
cinema works in the future.
FEMALE SPEAKER: What is the overall theme of this
particular film?
What is the message?
BRETT LEONARD: Well again, it comes out of the music for me.
I'm sure that the musicians themselves would have a more
deep answer in terms of where the music comes from.
But for me, it was about this journey.
And so we created a journey, in a sense.
But Steven could probably speak to that better than me.
STEVEN DELOPOULOS: Brett had it right.
I think when Brett wanted to do the project first, it was
about The Other Country.
It was about the other side.
And I believe we had a conversation about close
family or friends who had passed on, and
that was our bond.
And I think the film really was inspired and like, well,
what happens to those people that you love and that are so
close to you and you lose them, and they die, or they
leave and this and that.
And so The Other Country was this antidote to that reality
that as human beings, we all have to go through and face.
And I think Brett was really, really keen on making that the
focal point in the film.
When I wrote the music, the lyrics were the focal point of
I see the other country, just basically like, it's the
ultimate near death experience record, hopefully.
And I think Brett got that and wanted to
capture it, and he did.
BRETT LEONARD: And I think because we made it a journey
across this country, and we've been in a lot of interesting
foment in this country lately.
There's a bit of for me, also a political angle there that's
expressed in purely the visuals.
It's not something that we put in the narrative.
It's purely expressed in the cinematic language.
BRETT LEONARD: Well, just that there's more than one America.
And even moreso now than ever we see that.
But if you go back and you watch Lincoln, you'll see it's
been that way for very long time.
And so for me, all those themes that were more mystical
in nature also reflect in the overall geography and nature
of this country.
And I've traveled across the country.
I hitchhiked across the country when I was a teenager.
I love traveling America, because it literally is like
traveling through multiple countries.
And people from outside of here see that even moreso than
people that come from here.
And so I wanted to express that but not in an overhanded
way, just in a way that was touched in inside the visual
language of the film.
FEMALE SPEAKER: I definitely thought what you're saying
through some of the frags that I watched on the website when
you guys are playing in the club.
And it's a bunch of hillbillies and at first they
don't know what's going on.
And you're like, oh great, we've got to do this.
And then they totally get the vibe.
So it was really interesting.
BRETT LEONARD: That frag you're talking
about is frag two.
Those are real people.
For me, again, the neo-realism format of going in and just
going into a bar literally saying, we're going to buy
drinks for everybody.
Come on down.
Those are just real people responding in a real way to
hear music as they played it.
JOHN PHILIPPIDIS: And Brett literally would like just, OK.
And he'd leave us out in a pit of scorpions.
And he'd be like, now react.
Oh, what the hell's going on?
BRETT LEONARD: It is a dicey thing.
In the film, Johnny tells a story that comes from a very
personal and traumatic event of his life.
You only get to see that story if you see the whole film.
But there's courage in doing a film like this, because you
have to expose even more of yourself as a performer.
So in a way, even though they're primarily musicians,
as performers, as actors so to speak, they had to expose
themselves greater than most actors do in
a traditional film.
So there's a real frision that takes place there.
And I think that's unique.
I think that authenticity is something people can find and
respond to.
I think this whole concept is very unique.
And we discussed what it offers the consumer as well as
the advertiser.
What about the independent content creator?
What does the frag film offer them?
BRETT LEONARD: Where we're taking PopFictionLife is to
create a content creation community that we're going to
get under the hood with how we're creating these films,
because we're doing them very, very differently than
traditional Hollywood productions.
In fact, most Hollywood production is utilizing the
methodology of 1935 production.
The forms, the way in which--
they shoot the show Californication right next
door to me in Venice, California.
And I love that show, by the way.
FEMALE SPEAKER: It's a good show.
BRETT LEONARD: It's mostly people talking in rooms or
doing something in rooms.
And it's 15 trucks, 200 people.
They're blowing up an anthill with a nuclear bomb.
And its ridiculous that with the technology we have for
image acquisition and post production, that the way in
which Hollywood films are made makes no logical sense to any
kind of true manufacturing process.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Gotta do something with the budget.
BRETT LEONARD: Well, that's the thing.
That makes no sense to--
and sometimes, I'm like the crazy hippie film director.
I'm going, I'm more conservative than you guys
are, because you just want to spend more money.
I don't understand why, because you
get one less freedom.
You have to make everything get dumbed down
to a certain degree.
And so to make films a very different way, and in a sense,
I'm following my son Shannon, who is turning 18 on the night
when this film was released.
And I started watching him when he was about 10.
He started making content himself, not
that I pushed him.
I didn't.
He just started doing it, and I was like, boy, you're really
doing this differently.
And I realized, this is the future.
And so I started going in that direction with how I was
producing films.
And we're going to open the coffers of that.
We're going to bring a community together that's
doing that and create something we call the
frag-plex, which is make your own frags and market them
through this community of people, as well.
So there's not just production, but also
distribution and marketing all in one open-sourced idea of
production and distribution.
Because again, as I said, cinematic language is
something that needs to be more broad based then just
about the things that Hollywood makes about.
Again, there's nothing wrong with big Hollywood movies.
I love them.
There's something greater there to be explored.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Now for those people that want to learn how
to make these frag films, where do they go and learn?
Do they go to
We're going to start creating a an overall community.
BRETT LEONARD: It's not really tutorials.
It's more like open forums.
And it's giving them access to my core group and then
extending out from there and then finding other people that
have core competencies, because there's so many people
that are super talented.
I mean, if you go on Vimeo and look at some of the amazing
pieces that are on there.
There's so much talent out there.
And there's only one tiny route that some of that talent
gets to actually make Hollywood films.
I happen to be a person that pushed through that, because
I'm just a crazy, tenacious dude.
But if you don't have that kind of intense obsession,
you're not going to necessarily get
your stuff out there.
And that to me, is a tragedy, because I think there's so
much that can be expressed through cinema that isn't.
And so PopFictionLife with its interactivity, with utilizing
interactive technology that allows you to connect with a
community of people, market with a community of people,
and distribute it, and find out what people respond to and
what they don't.
So it's in a sense, almost like a Hollywood 2.0.
It's a different environment to do content in.
And yet, it's still serious content creation.
It's not just frivolous content creation.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Now, part of the frag film--
a big part of it-- is the cinematic quality.
And that's what you talk about quite a bit.
Once you have all these other people creating these frag
films, how do you control the cinematic
quality at that point?
BRETT LEONARD: Well, you don't control it.
Control is overrated.

There's a meritocracy that will happen that is actually
very much an inherent part of internet content.
Obviously, there's certain aspects of internet content
that always will be the freak show or something that just
grabs hold.

If people can find it and if they can respond to it, then
that's what's going to rise to the top.
And it's something that I think we're moving through
this first phase as I said, of internet content and moving
into a more mature phase.
It's still going to take time.
This is all very young and in the beginning stages, but
that's what's exciting about it.
Again, there's no rules.
We're not saying we know every single answer.
As a matter of fact, that's one of the strengths of what
the PopFictionLife concept is about.
It's going to be very fluid.
FEMALE SPEAKER: What is your dream?
How far do you see the frag film,
PopFictionLife concept going?
What is the future of it?
BRETT LEONARD: It's an organic thing.
I'm doing it, in a sense, like I said, for my son--
for his generation of content creators.
They have a different motivation for making content.
I mean, when I grew up in Toledo, Ohio, my motivation
was to get to Hollywood and make big feature films.
That era is sort of changing.
Now that you're able to make really high quality content
with cameras this big or our phones, there were things in
that last frag that were all shot with the iPhone.
And then we had to degrade them to actually make them
look like the aesthetic correlation with
the rest of the film.
It's just such an era where all the cards have been thrown
in the air.
And so we're just trying to take advantage of that, be
opportunistic, be entrepreneurial, and provide
routes for other people.
Essentially, there's a mentoring aspect to this.
As I get older, as a filmmaker, I've gotten a lot
of my dreams as a filmmaker.
I want to mentor a larger group of people to be able to
create their content, because I really want to
see what gets created.
I love discovery.
And so that's really want I'm doing for.
FEMALE SPEAKER: And I wanted to ask all of you guys, what
do you think is the future of digital and media film and
music industry in the next 10 years?
What do you think is going to happen?

THEODORE PAGANO: I think that's a sub-topic of a whole
another Q&A.
JOHN PHILIPPIDIS: I think personally that what Brett's
doing here is giving a chance to some of the younger, maybe
frustrated artists out there who would not get the ability
to ever score a Hollywood picture film.
And with a lot of the bands that I'm sure we all love, on
the music end of it, I'm sure most of the bands that
everybody here loves did not follow the mold to get
straight to a major record company.
They just happened to have been good.
So when you guys were talking about controlling the content,
I think the whole concept is, don't control the content.
Because that's how a lot of the stuff that looks all the
same gets massed together and we're just fed it.
And now we're stuck listening to the same music, watching
the same movies, and that's why every time a trailer comes
out, someone like me would rather stay home than go to
see the flick, because nowadays you don't know what
you're going to get your hands on.
So I think that if the future is heading this way, I would
hope that it happens in the music industry as well.
Because as well as creating a lot of people who maybe aren't
filmmakers or aren't musicians, it will actually
give people the opportunity, let's say who maybe never had
it before but should be doing it.
BRETT LEONARD: I think it's a trend.
I think there's an ache for authenticity and an ache for
we've been in a period of deconstruction.
And everything is about deconstructing what has been
the authentic stuff that was and twist it, and
turn it, and do it.
But it's all the same.
I think there's so many new things that could be created
if they were allowed a fertile bed to be created.
This is just one idea to help create some of that
creative fertility.
I'm sure there will be many, many others.
For me, it's not about ruling the content world or
anything like that.
It's about allowing a group of people to get larger in an
organic way that can create, and distribute, and enjoy this
new kind of cinema.
And when I say cinema, I mean music and cinema, really it's
all becoming one thing.
I think one of the things I wanted to do with
PopFictionLife was bring back the idea of the album
experience, which is, this is a full album in this film.
And because you have a story with emotion, you want to
listen to all the songs, because they have context.
As opposed to just the, it's got to be a single.
And there's nothing wrong with a great single.
I love a great single with a great hook.
And that's hard to do.
But an album experience is also very worthwhile.
It goes back to when I was in junior high and we listened to
Dark Side of the Moon--
The Wall.
BRETT LEONARD: In a dark room and I'll never forget that.
I think by adding in cinematic language to that kind of
experience, everything is a screen now.
Everything is a screen.
And those screens are only multiplying.
And so the speakers are this big, and the
screens are this big.
So you've got to create visual content that goes with the
music that's not just fashion--
what the music video is-- but has actual true emotion and
human truth in it.
FEMALE SPEAKER: And in closing, for those that want
to follow the evolution of PopFictionLife and the films
that you guys are offering, offers all
of the information and the films.
BRETT LEONARD: That's right.
That's where you go.
And we have a Facebook page.
Go out there and like us.
There's a newsletter and all the usual stuff.
And it's very much a grassroots effort.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Guys, thank you so much for being here.
I really appreciate it.
STEVEN DELOPOULOS: Thanks for having us.
FEMALE SPEAKER: We're going to open up the room for questions
if anybody has questions.

AUDIENCE: Can you give us some examples of interactivity that
you experienced so far, especially with in terms with
interacting with bands, which I would imagine that
BRETT LEONARD: We haven't incorporated much.
The only interactivity has been social media interaction
at this point.
We want to utilize some of the new technological things that
allow interactivity that can connect with additional
material, second screen experiences.
Obviously with different kinds of music and different kinds
of subject matter, there's other
opportunities that could come.
This piece is a very organic piece that comes directly from
the organic nature of the band and the music.
As I said, they play the music live.
We didn't want to add on interactivity on top of that
in a way that was inappropriate to the vibe of
this particular piece.
So this really is the kernel for which.
But I'm very, very interested in interactivity.
My son, who's part of that and Christopher [? Creaver ?],
who's heading that up, their passion is
finding ways to interact.
We're developing some projects that are more science fiction
based, things like that that are going to have a genre
component to them that allows much more interesting

FEMALE SPEAKER: Anybody else?
BRETT LEONARD: And if there's anyone at Google that wants to
play with us, we're very open to doing--
I love what Chris Milk did with the Arcade Fire piece.
That was truly an emotional use of interactivity.
And so those are the kinds of things that interest me.
AUDIENCE: I just wanted to ask you about the filming style
that you used.
In some places, it was like an Instagram video and you used
the saturated colors.

Why did you choose to do that?
BRETT LEONARD: Well, I started doing HD--
I was one of the first people to ever use HD--
years, and years, and years ago.
So are the ability to post process images, which
Instagram is a consumer version of, is been
around for a while.
And that's a style I've been developing with a lot of my HD
projects in different ways.
This was very specific--
using grain, using image degradation, using those kinds
of things as a style.

We have a saying at [INAUDIBLE], we'd push all the
buttons just to try everything that exists
and see what works.
Because I think there can be a celebration of
HD as its own aesthetic.
I love film, and film is a tremendous aesthetic.
But HD is really a different medium.
It's like oils and acrylics.
From a creative standpoint, I think it could be pushed even
more in terms of doing things that truly make it unique to
its own medium.
And so we're trying to do that.
AUDIENCE: You mentioned using an iPhone?
What are some of the other cameras?
BRETT LEONARD: 5D, 7D because this was no permits, complete
guerrilla filmmaking.
We did a whole scene by they're
rehearsal basement in Brooklyn--
in the street of Brooklyn--
and suddenly there were all these detectives around
walking down the street going in canvas because some murder
that took place.
And we're shooting a movie in the middle of that, and not
one of them batted an eye.
Because with the 5D and 7D, it looks like you're shooting
skills, or whatever.
And so the freedom of that, which is very again, much the
Cassavetes style and the neo-realism style, it just
allows again, an authenticity that you just can't get with a
different kind of filming style.
There are new cameras coming up.
Now, I would shoot a whole one of these with
just the iPhone now.
These are great cameras.
Image acquisition is not the issue at this point.
AUDIENCE: Also because you weren't capturing sound.
BRETT LEONARD: We were capturing sound.
AUDIENCE: You were capturing sound on the iPhone?
BRETT LEONARD: No, not on the iPhone.
We had separate sound.
We had separate sound, defintely.
But the zoom--
as mobile and as lean as possible to get the quality.
Again, it goes back to expertise.
One of the things that we want to share with people is with
these very, very simple tools, if you have a certain
expertise, you can make things that are just as high quality
as Hollywood does.
It's just about the expertise.
So you have to add that layer in.
And that's one of things PopFictionLife wants to do.
That's part of the interactivity with the
community, because there are tricks.
There's a lot of tricks that you learn over the years.
I just I just love the freedom that these kinds of cameras
and technologies allow.
And it really has to get back to getting something
authentic, getting something new, getting something that
you discover while you're making a film.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Anybody else?
Well guys, thank you so much for being here.
I think this is a very brilliant concept and very
And maybe I'll get involved.
BRETT LEONARD: Everybody go to, and check
out The Other Country on December 9.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Thank you guys.