Lisa McElroy has made several short films in various mediums. She's in her third year of graduate school at San Francisco State University and hopes to teach screenplay writing and film studies upon obtaining her MFA. Her current project is a 16mm half-hour comedy set in San Francisco, featuring hapless artists who will never amount to anything, but are having a good time doing it. Lisa also plays drums in a band called She Mob.
"Job" 1996; 5:30 min.; color/b&w 16mm
Filmed on location at the director's former work site, "Job" is a dark celebration of the trivial task. Inspired by 1930's monster movies and Man Ray's surrealist ray-o-graphs (a cameraless technique where objects are exposed directly onto undeveloped film), "Job" takes the viewer into the mind of a barely human cog.
"Haunt" 1997; 7:30 min.; color super-8
"Haunt" is an atmospheric slice of the after-life. A small girl emerges from behind an armless statue, caught in a loop of memories. The loss of a guardian a century ago is her recurrent obsession, interrupted and triggered by the seemingly mundane moments that make up the modern world. Shot in super-8, a medium that is currently disappearing from practical existence.
State of Indie filmmaking
I keep hearing around San Francisco that indie filmmaking is the punk rock of the 90s. I don't know about that, but it does seem that there's an exorbitant amount of youngsters pointing and shooting their cameras in several different directions. The difference between these projects and punk rock is that most young filmmakers *do* hope to "make it" in the industry somehow. Whereas punk was basically the be-all and end-all for the artists involved.
Also, it's a lot more expensive to be a filmmaker than to be a musician in a three-piece thrash band, playing in local clubs to crowds of screaming misfits (I'm not making fun-I was one too). People who make films *should* try to "make it" in the industry somehow. I don't know how you can keep plugging away at such an expensive, time-consuming, obsessive hobby without *some* positive feedback. Be it monetary reward, prestige, or just the occasional appreciative audience.
On the other hand, it's not like the U.S. tax base throws a lot of filmmaking financing around like some governments do. So on my level-the li'l filmmaker who could level-it is quite the punk rock thing to do. It just takes more people and more technical prowess.
I just want to say that if anyone ever catches me making a film featuring guys in skinny ties, shooting each other to the beat of 70s pop tunes-just shoot *me*.
Currently in production on a comedy that I wrote about a year ago. It's quite an epic little project, even though the final length is only about 30 minutes. In fact, so many people worked on it, or were featured in it, that I can't walk around San Francisco any more without bumping into cast and crew, which means I constantly have to answer the question:
How's the film coming along? Which means that the film is coming along at its own unique pace, goaded on by a large population of the city. Which is good, because I'm hoping the film will reflect that population, unique to San Francisco, as much as low-budget, 16mm is able.
Open question talk about anything:
Do you think Hollywood will make a Monica Lewinsky picture? I think she'd be a great satirical figure in a political comedy. Someone very clever would have to write the screenplay. "Ms. Lewinsky Goes to Washington"