FILM

Tom Larochelle
& James Skinner
26th Raindance Film Festival 2018
‘THE ERRAND
WORLD PREMIERE | USA, 2018, 12 min | Tickets
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A cult with dwindling membership sends two young men into the big city to recruit more women.

 

How's everything going?

James: Great! We're just two busy boys.


Tom: I was up till 4 am getting an edit done by the deadline so I'm a little tired.  Also, I got a $78 dollar ticket for parking in a school zone today.

Any nerves for World Premiere?

James: I'm personally excited. Just ready to get this one in front of an audience.


Tom: Yeah, mostly just looking forward to a good time.  Are they still serving free beer during happy hour?

What does it mean to screen at Raindance?

James: It's an honor to be back. I love the offbeat collection of films they choose each year.


Tom: We had a great time last year.  Raindance still has a bit of an off-beat selection, and it feels like a good home for The Errand.

How did the film come about?

James: I remember us brainstorming our next idea and wanting to do something where we played more outlandish characters in a darker world. I think we wanted to test our limits with dark comedy, and a story about a cult seemed like a great fit to explore funny and disturbing themes.


Tom:  We've all seen a lot of sweeping social changes in the past few years and there are people out there that, for whatever reason, may feel overwhelmed by progress.  We wanted to explore that point of view from an extreme angle, and how thrusting someone into a new world can go horribly wrong.

What about cults inspired you to write this?

James: Again, I think we wanted to explore some disturbing psychology while seeing if we could keep the piece comedic. A cult, to me, is the perfect setup to have characters whose worldview is alien and warped, which can be funny and disturbing.


Tom: I always had somewhat of an obsession with cults, and you see things they practice in groups and societies of all kinds.  Whether that be a harmless summer camp or a new-age celebrity religion.  We use the word to describe something extreme, but we've all been involved "cults" in one form or another.

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Most challenging scene to film?

James: I think the hotel scene was the most challenging. We were shooting a lot in a very small space and it was close to 100 degrees that night, so everyone was uncomfortable, to say the least.


Tom:  The entire shoot was brutally hot.  I'm originally from New Hampshire, and this LA summer heat kills me.  My favorite thing about going back to Raindance is that it actually rains in London.  That, and the free beer.  Are they still serving free beer this year?

How did you manage all these roles?

James: I feel like our work together has felt somewhat effortless. We both get excited about similar styles and genres, so writing has never been anything but fun. We do a lot of work in pre-production getting the script down and agreeing on shot lists so when it's shoot day, we can (try) to just focus on directing and acting. The entire crew deserves credit, particularly our cinematographer Stephen St. Peter and our production manager Summer Woodward. Stephen is extremely talented with no ego and is just down to make the work as best as it can be. Summer kept the whole shoot moving smoothly and I don't think I realized just how impossible it would've been without her expertise.


Tom:  Stephen and Summer were so crucial and amazing to work with.  As well as so many other people lending their talents to this project.  I think James and I just kind of click when it comes to working together.  That's a rare thing to find, especially when you're dealing with creatives.  It helps that we're both just trying to make some weird pictures that stand out, the last thing either of us wants to do is make a film that's just going to feel like everything else.  We draw from a lot of similar, weird inspiration, and we find things we like in certain films that might not resonate with most other people I know.  Also, we have a great time making these.

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Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?

James: I've always loved movies. I didn't start making them until about 2-3 years ago. I've mainly been a performer, so I guess I just got tired of wasting time auditioning for other people's work that didn't even get me excited. I wanted more control over the roles I was playing and the stories I was telling.


Tom:  Always.  Absolutely.  I think one of the best things about working with James is that we also have a passion for a lot of other things and we like to incorporate those into what we write and shoot.  Having a passion for film is great, but if that's the only thing you talk or get excited about, you're a bore.

How did you both meet?

James: We met doing improv comedy at the UCB Theater in LA.  


Tom: It's safe to say I was the stronger improviser, but James showed promise.

 

With this being your 2nd film together, how was your approach to this one different?

 

James: I think we just wanted this film to be bigger and more challenging than the last film. We just didn't limit ourselves to how big the world of this short would be when brainstorming.

 

Tom:  We were definitely much more ambitious with this one.  Our last film, 190mg, was more about what we could get away with, this one is about building a larger world and seeing how people react when we unravel that.

 

What makes your partnership strong?

 

James: I'd like to think that our skill sets compliment each other's well. I think we have similar visions for the types of movies and stories we want to see more of and that always gets me excited to continue working with Tom.

 

Tom: This will be my final collaboration with James.

"If it's good, it won't be because you spent a lot of money on it."

How would you describe The Errand in 3 words?

James: Tragic Unsettling Comedy


Tom: It gets dark.

Any advice for others?

James: Just start making films. Write scripts about people and locations that you know you have access to. Make your first films as fun to film and as cheap as possible. If it's good, it won't be because you spent a lot of money on it.


Tom:  If you're smart about it, you can save a lot of money in how you structure your film.  It's half of the filmmaking, maybe more than half.  Also, for the love of God keep it brief.  

What do you hope people will take away from the film?

James: Treat other people the way you'd like to be treated. OR ELSE.


Tom: Steadfast ethnocentrism will eventually lead to violent ruin.  Just kidding, I just want people to laugh and say "that was wild!"