An Interview With the Crew from CHRIS STARES AT YOU WHILE EATING A PLATE OF NACHOS
At the 2018 Oak Cliff Film Festival (OCFF) last weekend, we had a chance to meet with some of the crew behind CHRIS STARES AT YOU WHILE EATING A PLATE OF NACHOS. The director, Jourdan Aldredge, and lead actor, Chris Green, sat down with us over a beer at Wild Detectives just a short walk away from the film festival’s Texas Theatre HQ. Here’s what they had to say!
Socialvite: Thanks again for meeting with us. So, was this your first time at the festival?
Chris Green (CG): I’ve been to the festival a few times but had never done the whole weekend. I’ve been coming for about three years now.
Jourdan Aldredge(JA): Fourth time for me doing the whole weekend each time. I’ve gotten to cover it as Press and also visit it as a Filmmaker. As a filmmaker it’s been great: a lot of films, a lot of people, a lot of filmmakers, a lot of artists, some shows and karaoke. It’s just made for a really great time.
Socialvite: What do you think about the theme this year?
CG: I think the theme of having films and content primarily created or centered around women has been great. Bringing in that political aspect has been a huge deal for what women have been going through, and I appreciate what their showing and what they’re trying to do to create greater involvement around gender equality.
JA: Yeah, I think it’s awesome. I was at South by Southwest this year and I think it was 9 out of 10 films in competition that were directed by female directors.
Socialvite: Oh, so at South by Southwest they had an emphasis on films by women too?
JA: I wouldn’t even say emphasis. It’s a movement. It’s awesome. I think the Joan Jett documentary and Meowolf, both female filmmakers, were brilliant and are part of this larger movement.
CG: Yeah, I think it’s great. I mean as they say, the Future is Female.
Socialvite: So tell us more about this film. Starting with the submission process, what was that like?
JA: Well, we had submitted it before. We’ve done this film three years in a row actually. Two years in a row we’ve shown it at SHOW YOUR Shorts, which is a community event done a few months before the festival and sponsored by OCFF. Anyone can come, anyone can show their film, any genre; there’s no selection process besides being one of the first to submit your film for showing and then there’s fan voting afterwards. The first time we got third prize, which was a quarter to play an arcade game at the theatre. Then the next year we got the second place prize.
Socialvite: What was the second prize?
JA: I think it was, like, a shot, ha.
Socialvite: Hey, that’s like thirty quarters these days in Dallas!
JA: Yeah, so I think based on this OCFF already had us on their radar and I think they were kind of looking for an opportunity to place us in the program. Relaxer was probably a good fit with what we were doing in our short.
Socialvite: Do you feel like there were synergies there with Relaxer and your short?
CG:It’s a good question. I mean with our film, you know, we originally started with me eating nachos for 9 minutes, and we actually kept making it shorter and shorter over time, which actually increased the value of it. The overall kind of synergy of ours, which was a scene that was set and didn’t deviate too much in terms of activity, with Relaxer, which was focused on a single scene even if over a longer period of time, made it a good fit.
Socialvite: You said you started at 9 minutes and eventually made the film shorter. Tell us more.
JA: The first version of this film we shot was in 2016 and it was 9 minutes long. The second one we did was 6 minutes long and it was with a better camera. And then this last one we shot at Paperlyte Studios, which is here in Oak Cliff. The reason for that is a buddy of mine from college came aboard as a producer and he’s an associate producer at Paperlyte. And they opened up Paperlyte to us.
Socialvite: Yeah, I think I saw someone named Bryan Greene in the credits.
JA: Yeah, I mean he was instrumental as was Paperlyte this time around. You can actually see that pretty clearly in the behind the scenes documentary we did found at this link.
Socialvite: We noticed that Chris ate the nachos almost a whole chip at a time? Was that normal or to save time?
CG: Ha, yeah I mean that’s definitely not how I eat nachos normally. I was really focused on how to look like I was taking my time, but at the same time keep time with what our time target was.
JA: Right, and well, we did some tests and we definitely want to give a shout-out to Meaghan Patterson, who was our nacho expert in this third one. In previous years, I was just microwaving some nachos and I kept getting feedback like “Hey, those nachos don’t look that good”, or “Chris wouldn’t normally want those.” So we actually went to Fiesta and did some tests on the nachos. Meaghan spent a lot of time fixing them just right. I mean, a good part of time went into breaking down the nachos just right and getting just the right consistency. It’s actually in thebehind-the-scenes documentary we didwhere you see her and Chris working on that.
Socialvite: That’s awesome! Did you do a lot of takes?
CG: So, we actually only did two takes because I mean, in reality I could only eat so many nachos. You actually see some of that in the documentary as well.
Socialvite: At the end, we heard you say, “I can’t eat any more nachos”. Was that genuine?
JA: Oh yeah, I mean he had said it after one take and I think I actually just took that from one other take and put it into the one we ended up doing.
Socialvite: How did this idea come to you?
JA: Well, we were working on some things together. We were doing comedy shorts with Ryan Raschbaumseveral years ago for the Dallas Comedy House. After that, it was just an idea we came up with to put on Facebook, and we’ve kind of iterated every year since.
Socialvite: A lot of people, including us, were laughing. What would you say you want your audiences to take away from this?
CG: Well, you know, I think it is laughter. It’s making people laugh and providing a bit of a juxtaposition to some darker themes that are out there.
JA: Yeah, laughter is our gauge. If we did this and no one laughed, we would stop. But every year it seems we’ve gotten laughter and so we just want to keep pushing this to see where it goes because we’re having fun doing it.
Socialvite: So now that you’re focused on the fourth edition. What will you change?
CG: Oh man, definitely going to finish the beer this time.
JA: Yeah, we got a few comments on that on Facebook, ha! Also probably make the nachos a bit more bite size. I also want to get a better camera called the Arri Alexa Mini Camera, which after doing some research on it at various festivals, you really can’t get a better camera than that.
Socialvite: One of the festival goers said that this type of short historically has been around. Do you know of any similar type of shorts?
CG: Well, I mean, I think there’s one dating back to Andy Warhol eating a burger. He wasn’t staring at the camera he was just sitting there eating the burger but yeah I mean there’s historical relevance there.
JA: Andy Kauffman does a stand-up improv bit where he just eats a plate of ice cream for an audience.
Socialvite: But that’s also for comedy. Do you think people do it for artistic purposes?
CG: I think it’s both comedy and art. They can totally tie hand in hand.
Socialvite: Will there be a fourth one even without the really nice camera? Are you going to do nachos and mix it up – maybe a spoiler with Frito Pie instead of nachos.
JA: ha, we’re going to try and keep it the same, though I like that! We really want to do the digital zoom. Like when you think about Relaxer, the camera moves a lot even if it is a static setting. We want to do the same where it’s at the highest cinematic level and the camera moves and it goes in, but it’s still the same basic concept.
Socialvite: Will you finish your beer this time, Chris?
Socialvite: Anything else you want the film participants to know?
JA: Check us out at our facebook page Chris Stares At You While Eating a Plate of Nachos or visit our website at www.chrisstaresatyouwhileeatingaplateofnachos.com
CG: It’s okay to stare.
Socialvite: Amazing. Thanks everyone!