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An Interview with Carnival Kid Director Michael Perry

FAQ With Carnival Kid Director Michael Perry

What films inspired the artistic direction of Carnival Kid?

A: I wanted to create a film using a traditional filming technique of the 1950’s and 1960’s musical. Carnival Kid basically has two parts, the narrative section and the dance routine. I patterned the narrative section using medium master stationary shots then combined the edited shots to generate motion--similar to a Billy Wilder film. (Some Like it Hot)As for the dance routine, I wanted a feel similar to Singing in the Rain. (Good Morning) I aspired that happy, yet romantic feel all done in one take, no edits. Initially, I thought doing the complete dance in one take was going to be a challenge. Yet we captured it with little difficulty because of the high proficiency of our cast and crew.

You referred to Carnival Kid as an “East Coast meets West Coast Project”, tell us more about this and how you assembled your team.

A: During my 2016 festival run with “Empty Box of Wine”, I met award winning writer, Joey Fama, at the NOVA Fest in Washington DC.Joey and I really connected and we decided to produce a project together. Joey lives in Northern Virginia and I live in Los Angeles.I knew the key to the film was an exceptional choreographer.I needed someone proficient in old time musical dance, tap and theater.I asked the advice of my friend and past business partner, Russ Reinsel, currently directing the Nickelodeon shows, ICarly and . He suggested I call Lane Napper who choreographs for major network and also plays the role of I talked with Lane--who currently resides in New York--and he loved the project and decided to choreograph the project along with audition the dancers. Lane assembled dancer/actors, Cooper Flanagan and Matt Wiercinski—also based in New York City—for the roles. They rehearsed their dance routine in New York. Lane would continually update me on the progress. I assembled my Los Angeles based crew and Lane, Cooper and Matt flew out for filming in Los Angeles. I met them the first day of shooting.It went fantastic.They had their dance and lines down to perfection. What a treat.

Tell us about the development of the song Carnival Kid.

A: The song, Carnival Kid, was written several years ago. I initially posted an acoustic version of the song on YouTube. ( Our writer, Joey Fama, heard the song, liked the narrative and wrote a script around with words and music. After we decided to green light the film, we produced a studio version of the song. The production came out so well we decided to include it on Jour Majesty’s new upcoming album, Tanner Street. As for the feel of the music, we wanted a feel good story song that combines a taste of musical theater, New Orleans blues and pop, something very danceable and fun.

Writer Joey Fama said he was drawn to work with you because you said you make, “Short Musical Films.” How are these different from music videos?

A: Music videos and musical shorts are very similar because they both revolve around a specific song/musical element. The difference between the two is that a music video concentrates more on rhythmic and visual flow. The edits and visuals are assembled to encourage the viewer to feel the music. Whereas a musical short foregrounds the story as the principal element in the production, the music is in a supporting role, the foundation. Yet at times a good production / musical interlude can capture both.

What are some differences and similarities between Carnival Kid and your last award winning short, “Empty Box of Wine?”

A: Carnival Kid and Empty Box of Wine are similar because they are both in the musical short genre. They both concentrate on story with the music as the footing. Where the two productions differ are in the aesthetics. Empty Box of Wine is a combination of animation, live action, and special effects. Everything was green screened, animated, and then married together for the final. Carnival Kid has zero special effects. It was all done in camera. Nothing was added—except for color correction—to the footage.

Please share an interesting anecdote from the creative process of Carnival Kid.

A: I did the most extensive pre-production I have ever done on a project. Each element was completely storyboarded, evaluated for changes, then storyboarded again. We were in pre-production for many months. The reason I concentrated so much on pre-production is because I knew we only had, and could afford, one prep and two days filming. The stage design had over 50 elements to construct i.e. life--backdrop design, life size cardboard cutouts for band member, a hotdog stand, risers etc. We had one chance to get the filming correct. Our New York based cast arrived one day before the shoot and left immediately following production. We even constructed a sound booth on set to complete voice-overs and Foley to make sure we had clean audio and backups. But the extended preproduction really paid off because the film turned out exactly like the storyboards.

Where can we find out more information about Carnival Kid, Jour Majesty, and those involved?

A: Additional information (screenings, cast / crew, etc.) regarding Carnival Kid can be found at the official website:

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