SAGindie Movies & Music: Speed Pairing | October 2018

Pop Disciple SAGindie Movies & Music Speed Pairings Krakower Group

On October 16th, Pop Disciple attended the SAGindie Movies & Music: Speed Pairings at the SAG-AFTRA Building in Los Angeles, California. In collaboration with esteemed public relations firm, The Krakower Group, SAGindie created an intimate environment for filmmakers on the rise to convene and network with a diversity of burgeoning composers. We had the privilege of speaking with the Executive Director of SAGindie and a selection of the participants.


Pop Disciple SAGindie Movies & Music Speed Pairings Krakower Group Darrien Michele Gipson

Darrien Michele Gipson is the Executive Director of SAGindie. An M.F.A. recipient from the Peter Stark Producers Program at the University of Southern California, Darrien was formerly the Vice President of Production for DEF Pictures. As Executive Director of SAGindie, Darrien leads a team that is responsible for independent filmmaker outreach and specializes in teaching low budget production focusing on the process for hiring professional actors via SAG-AFTRA’s low budget contracts. She is a frequent moderator and speaker on panels and production workshops, negotiates sponsorship agreements with film festivals around the country, spearheads SAGindie’s annual national advertising campaigns, oversees, and throws several epic filmmaker parties. Darrien has traveled to over 55 film festivals in more than 25 states and 5 countries to consult with independent filmmakers.


Executive Director of SAGindie


“It actually evolved into a completely different part of our company at SAGindie. Now, we have a program called ‘Movies and Music.’ The company’s been around for such a long time. What we realized along the way was that there is no easy way for up and coming filmmakers to connect with composers, music supervisors, etc. Both sides obviously need each other. We were trying to decide what was the best way to be a conduit to that relationship, and we came up with a few different ideas.

We started by launching this new campaign. We had a panel of composers who spoke to a very ‘industry’ audience — what they need, how much time do they need, what equipment do they use, the best language to convey ideas. We wanted a 'nuts and bolts' panel, and we’re going to do a few of those about how to get a music supervisor, what to tell them, how to shoot musicians, how to shoot singers.

Speed pairing was a chance for us to connect filmmakers who are in pre-production to production, who really need to meet somebody sooner, and composers who are willing to work right away. The purpose is just to have a quick moment of “This is who I am, this is my project” and try to see if there is any common ground to build the relationship the filmmaker and composer need to have. If they decide to talk more afterward, that’s great. We won’t be a part of it, but it’s an opportunity for filmmakers to meet composers and see if it works.”




Pop Disciple SAGindie Movies & Music Speed Pairings Krakower Group Shiloh Strong


“It's cool. I don't know much about music in general. I work with my brother. We write and direct together, so he’s usually on the music side of things. I want to build a better musical vocabulary, so it’s really nice to be able to talk to people that have a lot of experience in a world I don’t know much about. All the composers have been really great. It’s been cool to able to pitch the project, hear feedback from them, and get a better understanding of how they work in collaboration.”


“We are currently financing our first feature film called Men’s Rites. It’s very exciting. Fingers crossed, it’s all going to happen. I’ll believe it when we’re actually on set. The whole premise is in a similar vein of Get Out. We wrote it before the #MeToo Movement happened and all the changes that are going on right now. The story centers around Caleb, an angry, confused 19-year-old boy and his Uma Thurman-type single mother, who defends him during these internal investigations of an assault. He gets expelled from college. They end up going their separate ways. Eight months later, she gets a postcard in the mail from a men’s retreat in the wilderness that says, “Mom, help me. Caleb.” She gets in her car and drives up to Northern California, convinced that her son has fallen into a cult. When she gets there, she gets the cops involved, but her son is on some vision quest. She ends up meeting the charismatic leader of the retreat and gets sucked into this happy world. It’s a slow burn, but ultimately, you find out it’s a really bad situation.

It’s such an interesting time right now with all the commentary on gender dynamics and the change that’s happening in our culture. It’s exciting, terrifying, and awesome. We want to be a part of the conversation with this film.”


Pop Disciple SAGindie Movies & Music Speed Pairings Krakower Group Zoë Simpson Dean


“It’s pretty fantastic. They start by asking about my projects — it’s good practice for me to hone my 30-second elevator pitch. It’s difficult, but it’s also been really nice. I feel like this experience has pushed me to be more clear and concise. I sort of came in with the idea that I’m new to this and wondered if they would be attracted to working with me, but just by talking with the composers, they seem super inspired and interested in creating. It’s like, “Let’s do this.”


“I have a couple of very different short films, both brand new. It’s the first time I’ve ever done anything. One of them is live action; the other is completely animated with just a voiceover on top of it.

I've been an actor for a hundred years, and everyone said, “You gotta write your own stuff. It's really hard to break into the mainstream and prosper, so do your own stuff.” I just felt for the longest time that I didn't really have anything to say. It’s not until you go through life and experience things, collect opinions, have feelings, and all that good stuff, that you start realizing you can put something down on paper and see what happens.

Even though they are very different projects, they are both about compassion and exploring the idea that everybody is struggling or dealing with something. The animated one is about taking a moment to actually see people, and imagining what you can discover. The other is more of a women’s rights piece and the contradictions we experience.”



Pop Disciple SAGindie Movies & Music Speed Pairings Krakower Group Evan Yee


“I’ve never done this type of thing before, so it’s interesting just to go in and present yourself right away. Sometimes, it’s hard to figure out where you guys connect in only seven minutes, but it’s a good chunk of time to learn more about someone and build a relationship, not just pitch a specific project. While I do have something I’m working on, I don’t want to just open with it. The best relationships are formed when you’re not actively networking, you know?

There’s a reason why people have repeat collaborations and how those relationships can mean more because the more time you spend with someone, you keep learning together. No matter the project, that past experience you have working together can be helpful. You can bond by drawing from the same things and discover new things. At the same time, it’s always inspiring to work with someone new.”


“The short film that I'm working on is called Have You Seen My Friend. It's about a partygoer who enlists the help of strangers to find his friend at a party. We follow him throughout his night, observing all these interactions with different people he doesn't know and their interactions with people they don't know.

It's shot as a 25 min single take in three split screens — three different cameras pointed in different parts of the house at the same time. So, there are always three static cameras at the same time, and the sound of the music follows our main character, who walks between each screen. You can follow the main character, but there are 18 cast members and a handful of background as well. You can follow each of them, and they all have their own little stories within that. So, if you find yourself bored with the main character, you can always be like "Oh, I like that guy. What is he doing on this screen right now?" Nine times out of ten, they're also on a screen doing something.

The film really asks a lot of the audience to watch these different people and get as much story as they can. In a perfect world, I would screen it as more of an installation and have three separate screens, so you can turn around and look, but that would cost a lot. I decided to keep it as a short film push the boundaries of the medium without moving into the installation world.”


Pop Disciple SAGindie Movies & Music Speed Pairings Krakower Group Martine Jean


“It's going well. Usually, speed dating is two minutes, and you don’t really get the time to talk to the person. It’s like, “Alright, move on, move on.” I appreciate the fact that I’ve been able to have seven minutes to talk to everyone. In addition to my current project, I also got a chance to talk about a feature film that I plan on shooting next year. I also had the opportunity to talk about the fact that I’m a writer/director, but I produce for a living, and the company I produce for does a lot of reality shows. They are always looking for composers with libraries, so it has been very helpful.”


“I shot a short film a couple of weeks ago. It’s currently in post-production, so as we’re going through the editing process, I’ve started thinking about the kind of music I want in the film to either elevate the scene or just support what’s happening in that particular moment. That’s why I’m here.

I originally wrote a pilot for a television show, but instead of shooting a proof of concept, I decided to shoot a short film. That way, I can use that as a proof of concept, but I can also send it on the festival circuit. The short film is set in a retirement community, which has three parts, the active living, the assisted living, and the hospice. The story takes place in the active living section, and it's about a bunch of seniors who are living their lives, who fall on hard times. The rent is being raised, they're all on a fixed income, and they don't know what to do to earn money to stay alive. So, they decide to start selling their prescription drugs on the street to make extra money. That’s essentially what it’s about.

It’s a dark comedy. It is tough. It can be depressing. I did a lot of research before I wrote the pilot. I have a friend who actually runs a few retirement communities, so a lot of the stories that I have in the pilot come from my research on the subject. While there are depressing aspects of it, seniors really have a lot of fun. You have to consider that these are human beings trying to get the best out of life just as we all are. “




Pop Disciple SAGindie Movies & Music Speed Pairings Krakower Group Kathryn Bostic


“I think it was a good way to get the ball rolling, just in terms of an introduction to filmmakers, breaking the ice, and meeting different and new people that are also interested in working with composers whom they may not have been aware of. I think it is a great way of getting involved. It was very organic. People were able to start talking without any sort of pretense of expectation. As filmmakers and composers, we are all storytellers. To be able to talk to people who specialize in visual storytelling — it’s a very important type of interaction.”


“I love all music, so I don’t really have a specific style. It’s more about what sonically connects to the story. I listen to all types of music, and I feel like that contributes to my stylistic vocabulary. Music that’s heartfelt, that’s authentic, that serves the film and is also memorable. Your music doesn’t always have to be out in the front. Sometimes, you don’t even realize the music is there, but it is subtly enhancing the scene.”


Pop Disciple SAGindie Movies & Music Speed Pairings Krakower Group Tony Morales


“It's great to be a part of. I enjoy the personal aspect to this as opposed to being traditional mingler where it's kind of up to you to get out and mingle. This is a nice way to meet folks in a pre-determined way without having to go through the social nuances of starting a conversation. This event was small, so it wasn't overwhelming. It felt like we were all just talking at a dinner table.”


“I enjoy writing music with emotion to it. I'm a guitarist, and I tend to put guitar into my work as much as I can. If I have a specialty, I would say having a guitar in my songs is something that people will call me for. I also do work of other natures. I've worked on a series, and that had a very traditional acoustic sound. I try to specialize in being versatile. It’s important to be good at a lot of things.”


Interviewer | Paul Goldowitz
Editing, Layout | Ruby Gartenberg

Special thank you to The Krakower Group and SAG Indie.