Monday, February 12th, 2007
What do London, New York, the Staten Island Ferry, and filmmaking have in common? The answer can only be freelance filmmaker Roy Petersen. Born in Staten Island, New York, Petersen, who now lives in the heart of South London, confesses that he spent much of his young adult life commuting on the ferry. All of that dreaming during the commute must have paid off because today Petersen is living the life he always dreamed of as a filmmaker.
Petersen has made dozens of short films, a music video, corporate films, and several experimental and improvisational comedy films. One of his favorite films, Colin’s Crusade, is about a self-appointed terror brigade that wreaks havoc on the most unsuspecting suspected terrorists. “I still love this film, it is a dark comedy strung through an old Warner Brother’s Cartoon,” said Petersen.
Petersen describes his films as being a manic and musical development of the mock-documentary genre. “Think Christopher Guest comedy tossed in a blender with music videos, sock puppets, philosophy and religion mixed in.”
The desire to create films came at an early age for Petersen. “Like most filmmakers, I’ve been making films since I was a kid, and Star Wars and Close Encounters really inspired me to get into filmmaking,” said Petersen. “I starred in and directed my first Super 8 film in the 7th grade. It was a comedy expose on my Spanish teacher, Mr. Kimmel. It turned out great; I got the filmmaking virus although Kimmel was not too happy with the film. He said it was stupid. That sent me into the wilderness of not making films for quite some time, but I recovered in college.”
Petersen attended the School of Visual Arts in NYC for a portion of his undergraduate work and he received his Master’s in filmmaking from Regent University. He still continues his education and has completed several Raindance courses in London taught by Elliot Grove. “These courses are great, Elliot has really helped to inspire an army of people to just go out and make films – just buy some film or DV tape, go out and do it.”
And where do you start? Petersen recommends the following reading material: Film Directing Shot by Shot by Steven Katz and Save the Cat. He also recommends taking acting courses. In addition to all of these resources, the best education can be had by calling over a few friends on the weekend and actually shooting a film.
And what advice does Petersen have for those wanting to break into filmmaking? “Buy a camera, get some actors together, and make bunches of films. Get past fear of failure and rejection, and if you can’t, get some therapy.”