TNC Interview 2021
Film

Meghan Weinstein
THE INFLUENCER
meghanweinstein.com

Abbie Rose is a popular social media influencer known for her lifestyle, fashion and makeup videos. One night she signs a coveted contract with Nutrocon, a notorious cosmetic company known to pollute, test on animals and treat female workers unfairly...

Hi Meghan thank you for talking to The New Current, how are you held up during these very strange times?

It's been interesting, it's just forced me to be more hyper-focused on my film projects.  Partly because of all the time spent at home last year but it's also just an escape from everything going on. 

Has this time provided you with any new creative inspiration or opportunities?

Yes, I've actually been pretty busy and am currently shooting a second feature film that I helped develop in quarantine. 

What has it meant to you to have your feature debut The Influencer released, have there been any nerves ahead of its release?

There's always that fear of people not liking something you've put so much blood, sweat and tears into. But at this point, I'm actually not too worried about it. I feel like I accomplished a lot on my own just making the film and completing it. I've worked on plenty of movies on the crew where the filmmakers never even finished the edit and the films never released, films with way bigger budgets. So I'm content and proud of the fact I even finished it on my own and it's out. 

Can you tell me a little bit about how The Influencer came about, what was the inspiration behind your screenplay?

I was studying fine art and making a lot of experimental films around the time that influencers started appearing on YouTube. I've always been drawn to making art that critiques materialism and commercialism, and technology,  and the effect they have on people.  I think because I too was a college kid making videos in my room and sharing them online, this kind of bloggers stood out to me, they were basically making themselves famous through sharing what they bought at the mall that day, and that tied into all the themes I was drawn to.

The Influencer features Kasia Szarek was it always your intention to cast a real influencer in the role of Abbie Rose?

It wasn't at all, I was just looking for someone who would make the character interesting and unique. And Kasia is definitely those two things. 

What were the biggest challenges you faced bringing The Influencer to life?

Working with such a low budget, we didn't have a lot of gear and having to cram in so much into our shoot days. Luckily the cast brought their A-game so we were able to make our days. 

How much does your background as a producer and a production designer influence your approach to directing The Influencer?

Being able to produce the film myself was the reason I felt ready for the challenge of producing and directing this. I also knew I had a great crew behind me to help me pull it off. Coming from a fine art background, art direction and costumes are always going to be a huge part of any film I make. For me, that's one of the most fun parts of production.  

Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?

Yes, I've always been making films since I was a kid.  It just wasn't until I was older I realized it could actually be possible for me as a real career. 

Has your directing style changed much since your debut short?

Probably....I've always been really into the casting and rehearsal process because on a tiny indie set we don't get much time and then I don't feel like I have to do too much when we get to the shoot.  

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"The script should come first then the camera and all the bells and whistles that people tend to think is more important."

What would you say has been the most important lesson you have taken away from making The Influencer?

If the project is really worth it and the message of the story is strong, people will rally behind you to make it happen. 

Is there any advice you would offer someone about making their first film?

Focus on the character and script, make sure those are strong before planning to shoot anything. The script should come first then the camera and all the bells and whistles that people tend to think is more important. If you have an amazing script and actors, you can shoot the movie on an iPhone and come out with something ten times better than a poorly written film shot on an expensive camera.  

And finally, what do you hope audiences will take away from The Influencer?

Just to put more thought into what they accept as truth from the internet or the media. The hackers in the movie force Abbie to go through the process of making an advertising video and part of why I wanted to show them going through that whole process was to remind people that any video we see was produced by someone with a certain intention, and that intention is very rarely, to tell the truth.