We sat down with Film Graduate Kieran Thompson to discuss his experiences following graduation, as well as his first feature film, Broken Leg, which will be screened at our Theatre on March 5th, 2015.
Kieran graduated from the film program in in 2008 with a focus on directing and producing, and has been interested in film for as long as he can remember.
When I was nine years old, my parents brought home a VHS camera. I started making short films with my friends, and this developed into a passion.
Kieran was drawn to LAFS because it was an intensive program based in LA. He would have had to wait a semester or two before he could begin making films at some of the other programs. LAFS allowed him to get started in the first week.
He recalled starting school,
On day one of class our teacher told everyone who wanted to be a director to raise their hand. Almost the entire class had their hands in the air, including me. Only a few hands went up when he asked who wanted to be a producer, DP, editor, etc. I did some serious self-reflection at LAFS. Why did I want to direct? Do I have the skills needed to direct for a living or should I focus on some other role in the industry?
After doing some soul searching, Kieran got to work.
I continued to direct my own films but I worked on as many other projects as possible in various roles. I worked in every department and watched other directors at work. The more I directed, I gained confidence and knew it was the role I was most passionate about. Working in the different departments made me a better director, because I know the needs of all of my crew.
Kieran discussed some projects that he is most proud of.
I’m most proud of my first feature film, Broken Leg. It’s a comedy about Karla, who has to babysit the most obnoxious person she knows for the weekend, her brother-in-law Theo who’s broken his leg. We raised $24,000 on Kickstarter and shot it in my hometown of Phoenix, AZ.
Diving deeper into his education at LAFS, Kieran described his experience
I took advantage of the time I spent at LAFS. It can be easy to get distracted when you’re going to school in the heart of Hollywood, but I stayed motivated and became involved in as many projects as possible. I honed my skill as a director which is my passion, while at the same time I gained the skills I need to work in production as a coordinator, production manager, or producer. The latter is what pays my bills and allows me to direct the projects I’m passionate about.
Kieran had a few words of advice to current Film program students,
Take advantage of the time you have in school. You have access to equipment, but more importantly you have access to motivated (and free) crew members! Make films with your friends. Try things. Do something out of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to mess up. Not every project needs to be (or should be) shared with the world. It becomes a lot harder to put a project together once you graduate and you and your friends are busy working in the industry.
When asked what the most challenging part of making Broken Leg was, Kieran replied,
Broken Leg took three years to make. Only three weeks of that time was spent on set, the rest was spent working on prep, post-production, and distribution. You need to be passionate about the story you’re telling to stay motivated for that long. But I’d say the biggest challenge for a film of our budget is finding an audience. We self-distributed the film and have little money to spend on marketing. Our film has screened in Phoenix, Seattle, and will in Los Angeles on March 5th at LAFS. Now the film is available on digital download, DVD, and Blu-ray. It’s awesome to see reviews people share online, or to look at the stats see that people all over the world are watching it. People are enjoying the film after they see it but it takes a lot of hard work for us to reach them.
Kieran added how much of a joy it was working on Broken Leg,
Directing Broken Leg has been one of the most fun experiences of my life. Even the worst, most draining day on set was a blast because I was doing what I love and I was surrounded by the best cast and crew.
I love sharing this film with an audience. Hearing them laugh, and hearing that people connected with the story. That’s a wonderful feeling and it inspires me to share the film with more people.
Watch your email for an invitation to attend the screening of Broken Leg at The Los Angeles Film School on March 5th, and click here to learn more about the film.
Congratulations, Kieran! We are proud of you!