Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Monsters in the Woods Interviews: Al Gomez (Executive Producer)

I met Al Gomez almost 10 years ago. I had just finished my first movie, "Rise of the Undead" and he was developing a movie for a friend of mine in New Orleans. We kept in touch over the years as I made my move from Louisiana to California. He has always been there to help or offer advice on my many projects, but it wasn't until Monsters in the Woods that we actually found something we could do together.
Al Gomez with primadona Annemarie

1. Tell me who you are and what your doing here.

Al Gomez. I served as Executive Producer on "Monsters In The Woods". 

2. You've done just about every job known to man (in the industry), how do you see yourself? (a producer? writer? filmmaker?)

I've always seen myself as an entertainer.   I started in the business as an actor, and still find myself acting occasionally. But, over the years I've gained an appreciation for telling stories on the big screen, and decided I wanted to participate in all of it.  So, now I find myself producing movies, but I also continue to foster new ideas, write screenplays, and work with new directors.

3. Tell me about some of the other projects you've produced?

My first foray into producing motion pictures was a 35mm feature film back in '92... a drama about a day in the life of two homeless children called "River Bottom".  After that came the comedy 'mocumentary' "Elvis Is Alive, I Swear I Saw Him Eating A Ding-Dong At The Piggly Wiggly", about a documentary filmmaker whose search for 'Elvis Presley' takes him across the country meeting people who swear they've seen him alive. Both of those movies were directed by Robert LeRoy.   While I was in New Orleans in '05, I happened to be in the wrong place at the right time as Hurricane Katrina passed by, which became an opportunity to produce my first documentary feature called "Refuge of Last Resort". It was was created by filmmaker, James L. Bills, whose experiences with surviving the event and what came afterward were the centerpiece of that human drama.  Next came the sci-fi feature film "Jonathon Moon - Alien Attack", a rather eccentric story about a bizarre radio show host who is caught in a dilemma when he finds himself assisting the escape of an alien before he destroys the Earth, also directed by Robert LeRoy.  

4. What's your story with Monsters in the Woods? How did you become involved? 

Our mutual friend and filmmaker, James L. Bills,  called me about your project, and told me I should read the script.  Being a supporter of your previous work, I did read it, found it to be very well written, and for a horror script, filled with a lot of emotion and humor. To say that I liked it is an understatement.  I had recently inherited a small amount of money, so after meeting and discussing the financial needs of the production, I offered to you that I would like be involved as an Investor/Executive Producer.   

5. How did your initial role change, and what does a producer do?  What is the producer's role in dealing with distributors? 

Well, the production staff you had on "Monsters...", although young, energetic, and very creative, was lacking production experience and were making decisions detrimental to support the completion of principal photography.  After meeting with you, I thought it prudent to get more involved as a 'producer', assisting and guiding your young producers. The difference between Exec. Prod. and Producer is an exec usually is involved with financial matters only, while the producer is involved in all matters of creating the movie, which include all business and creative decisions.  The Producer(s) work closely with the director, and are responsible for hiring crew, supporting the director, and when the movie is completed, securing distribution.    Regarding distribution, it is one of the most important jobs of a producer.  Finding a company who is going to sell your movie to the public, is just as important as getting the right cast. Sometimes a producer already has distribution partners from previous movies he's made, but if not, one has to look through hundreds of companies with various levels of capabilities. If you think finding a mate is difficult, try looking for a distributor for your movie!

6. Of all the director's that you've worked with, who is  the most handsome? (it's ok if it's not me. I'll understand)

Tough question, but as opposed to looks, I will say this...  since the directors (including you) I've worked with have all acted in their own movies, I have to admit that each of you have a little Alfred Hitchcock and Woody Allen in your personalities.  You can pick who you like to be compared to! 

7.  When you're looking for material to produce or are creating new material, what do you look for? 

An idea or concept for a movie has to tweak me emotionally, as I'm assuming, it does for everyone. I find many themes and subject matters interesting, so the quality of the writing of the script itself is what convinces me to get involved, or want to be involved.    

8. What was the most difficult aspect in bringing "Monsters In The Woods" to fruition?

The most difficult part of making "Monsters..." was the small amount of money we had to make it with.  MITW  

9. If you had it to do all over again, what would you do differently?

My excitement to get involved with the project as an Investor overtook my usual production sensibilities.  I had wanted to play 'angel', when in reality, this production was missing 'the devil in the details', and I didn't do thorough due diligence. If I had asked the right questions, and checked out where everything was sitting in pre-production, I probably could've been more helpful in the early stages of production and saved everyone a lot of headaches and heartache.  It's my fault. I learned a great deal on this project, as I do with every one I work on.  

   10. What are you most proud of with "Monsters In The Woods"? 

You!  "Monsters..." would not be where it is without the effort that you made to get it where it is.  You put your heart and soul into it... from the writing, to the directing, and editing.  Every frame in this movie truly has your signature on it.  It was indeed a pleasure to watch you work and I hope that wherever you go from here, making big budget or low budget movies, you take that same spirit with you!  Congratulations, Jason!!


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