David Schendel, ‘Going for It’


From David Schendel’s ‘Dead Ink Archive’ Kickstarter page

Editor’s note: Fandor has initiated an innovative collaborative project with a group of five FIX filmmakers to create original films under the ‘FIXshorts’ banner. From over thirty submitted script-and-budget proposals, Fandor chose five diverse and dynamic short film projects to help develop from start (funding) to finish (distribution and promotion). Today marks the fifth of five FIXshorts filmmaker Q&As, which, we imagine might provoke even more questions than answers—as we hope you’ll explore their work further on their Kickstarter campaign pages.

David Schendel is at work on Dead Ink Archive, described, intriguingly as “the story of a man with a surprising hobby, who lives for one day a year.”

Keyframe: What first inspired you to make films?

David Schendel: I was inspired to make films by my dad, Alfred. He was a painter, photographer, graphic artist and fighter pilot. When I was twelve he gave me my first Super 8 camera and suggested I ‘go for it!’  I made a lot of movies in my teens.  I didn’t have a splicer so I would cut the film with a scissors, tape the clips together, punch out the sprocket holes and project it. I charged my friends fifty cents to see the films even if they were in them.

Keyframe: What is your favorite film (not your own) right now? 

Schendel: The next film I’m going to stream is Lenny, directed by Bob Fosse.  It is one of the greatest dramatic films done on stand-up comedy. And the message that Lenny Bruce continues to send from his grave is that freedom of expression is our most sacred right as Americans.  As one of the comedians in my new feature documentary The Comedy Club says, ‘You don’t want that bought or sold, borrowed or diminished in any way.’

Keyframe: If you weren’t a filmmaker, what job would you like to have (and why)​?

Schendel: If I weren’t a filmmaker I would be a ethologist.  I actually pursued a double major at University of Washington, Theatre Directing and Oceanography.  I want to study dolphin and whale behavior and attempt to decipher their language.  They have incredibly fast communication.  It’s like watching a film and trying to pick out individual frames during the projection.  We fantasize about traveling to distant planets and meeting strange intelligent life forms while we ignore the ones living with us on Earth.

Keyframe: What’s your favorite piece of filmmaking equipment (and why)? 

Schendel: My favorite piece of filmmaking equipment is the wireless lavalier.  Those little suckers have revolutionized filmmaking!  I can be two blocks away with a 200mm zoom lens and the sound is crystal clear.  The audience will forgive you for underexposure or generally messed up footage but they will never forgive you for bad sound.

Keyframe: What’s your favorite year?

Schendel: My favorite year is next year.



Keyframe: What is the first film you remember seeing?

Schendel: The first film I saw in a cinema was Jaws.  It shook me to the core and I had to cancel my swimming lessons. My sister Laurie snuck me into it. I think it was some kind of sibling torture.

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