‘The Singing Hitman’ dir. Josh Soskin
Mauricio likes 80′s rock anthems. A little too much.
Director: Josh Soskin
Producer: Ricky Rojas
DOP: Rob Hauer
Key Cast: Bernardo Cubria,
C8: Where did the idea for ‘The Singing Hitman’ come from?
JS: The truth is I don’t know. Bernardo (the actor) and I were just both feeling stagnant and wanted to make something. We did a pretty rapid fire brainstorm in a few hours one night and things went from weird to weirder to singing hitman.
C8: What challenges did you encounter during the shoot and how did you overcome them?
JS: The biggest challenge is that we shot with basically a zero budget so we were stealing all the locations. We pretty much blocked off a street in Crenshaw with zero permits and by the end of the day the whole neighborhood was abuzz. Finally a landlord showed up and threatened to “have us arrested.” She was trying to sabotage the final shot. Having been in this situation before I put on my best face, tried to be very nice and apologetic and offered her $200 cash to let us finish the film. The $200 did the trick.
C8: What did you shoot on and what was the reasoning behind this choice?
JS: We shot Red Dragon with Lomo anamorphics. Personally I prefer Red to Alexa but not by much – it just seems a little less plastic-ish to me. Half the reason I wanted to do this was to do something on anamorphics, which I hadn’t up until this point. I love the flares. I love how it softens the digital look a little. And I love the wide scope and shallow depth of field.
C8: How did you work with cinematographer Rob Hauer to achieve your vision?
JS: Rob and I work so often together that it’s pretty effortless when we collaborate. We didn’t have an AD on this so we kind of had to AD ourselves and he was critical in that respect – helping me trim my shot list, figuring out the best strategy for light, etc. We wanted to keep the camerawork pretty simple and evoke a fun, timeless old school LA vibe with the color, production design, etc. I was really happy with how everything turned out looking.
C8: The comedy of the film has got a ‘Naked Gun’ tone to it. Were there any specific influences on the film while you were writing it?
JS: That’s awesome. I love me some ‘Naked Gun’. That just inspired me to re-watch it. In terms of the comedy there’s nothing super specific, but I’d be lying if I said that stylistically Tarantino wasn’t somewhere in the back of my mind.
C8: If you could go back and change anything what would it be?
JS: Probably just the very opening shots. I wish I’d had a little bit more time to get some different options for LA scenic stuff and we just didn’t have the time so I had to go with that Palm tree shot. Its not a bad shot per say. Just think we could have found something cooler if we’d had time. We shot this whole film in about ten hours.
C8: How did you fund the film? Did you receive any financial or in-kind support from film organisations?
JS: Zero funding. Just my own pocket. It was actually pretty amazing how cheaply we did this. It was a tiny crew, tons of favors and lots of stolen locations.
C8: ‘The Singing Hitman’ is completely different from your short ‘La Carnada’. What inspired the change or was it simply a natural evolution?
JS: I wouldn’t say it’s an evolution as much as it’s just taking the chance to do something really different. I just really wanted to do something fun, that made people laugh or smile, and tonally it is a big shift from ‘La Carnada’ but I’ve always felt its good for filmmakers to try out different genres.
C8: What have you been up to since we last spoke to you?
JS: Mostly a lot of traveling and commercial work. As I type this I’m on a plane back from Portugal where I was shooting a commercial and before that Shanghai and Austria. The good news is my status with American Airlines is blowing up. On the flip side, I’d like to stay in one place a little more this summer, get some time for myself and be able to work more towards making a feature happen this year.
C8: What’s on the horizon for Josh Soskin?
JS: Hopefully my first feature. I’ve been reading scripts and just haven’t found the right one yet to go after. But hopefully this is the year!