Interview: National Film Society On Start Up Filmmaking

Interview: National Film Society On Start Up Filmmaking

Written by: Catherine Satcher

Need some Filmspiration?  Well, the National Film Society is just for you!

National Film Society is a new media studio that was created by filmmakers Patrick Epino and Stephen Dypiangco.  Together they create original content and also collaborate with other content creators and producers on YouTube. They blend filmmaking and pop culture in an upbeat way as they explore the ups and downs as filmmakers in LA.

Patrick and Stephen are now working on their new action comedy web series Awesome Asian Bad Guys, which stars a number of Asian American actors who played villains in 1980-1990s action movies. They are also apart of the PBS Digital Studios and host the PBS Online Film Festival.

We caught up with Patrick to get some advice for start-up filmmakers regarding funding, networking, and reasons you should submit to web festivals.

AWF: How did you get involved with PBS Digital Studios? 

Patrick: The producers over there emailed us in October 2011, only about a month after we started our YouTube channel. They were just starting PBS Digital Studios and were looking around for channels in different verticals. They came across us (I think they thought the National Film Society was more than just two guys in a living room), thought it was a good match and signed us when they officially launched in the spring of 2012. It’s been great working with them. They’re super supportive but also give us the creative freedom to try new things.

AWF: What advice would you offer to content creators who are just starting out and creating their first project?

Patrick: Just start. We’re all guilty at some point of too much hemming and hawing. Do your homework, talk to people smarter and more experienced than you, then just start. Go out there and make mistakes, then go out there again, do it better and make some more.

AWF: Why should people attend film festivals?

Patrick: Stephen and I actually met at a film festival in 2010, the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, so I’d definitely say meeting people. Nothing gets made in a vacuum, and these days collaboration with other filmmakers and content creators is key. You can work together and really make it a win-win for everyone involved. At festivals you have the opportunity to find like-minded people whom you can help and those who can help you.

AWF: To create your web series Awesome Asian Bad Guys, you requested funds from the Center for Asian American Media and also used a KickStarter campaign. Were these initiatives greatly beneficial to your web series start up? What other things have you done to fund your projects?

Patrick: We didn’t end up getting funding from CAAM, but what applying for funding actually helped us do was start tangibly thinking about making Awesome Asian Bad Guys. We had to think through the who, what, when, where and why. It’s always easier to come up with an idea than actually execute it, so we got some good momentum going by just starting. Kickstarter was how we funded our actual production. We raised just over $54,000 from over 800 backers. We’re super thankful because there is absolutely no way we could’ve done this project this way without everyone’s support, and we’re really excited to get the final product out to them.

We also sell Awesome Asian Bad Guys (and Girls) t-shirts, hoodies, stickers and posters. You can buy those here:

AWF: What are some of your favorite web series?

Patrick: I love Issa Rae’s, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. Hilarious and original. Definitely admire her work and what she’s been able to accomplish. She’s the best. Also an oldie but goodie called The Food by Randall Park. Randall’s a friend and one of our actors in Awesome Asian Bad Guys. He also plays North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un in Seth Rogen and James Franco’s upcoming film The Interview. The Food is from a few years back but the comedy is ridiculous and awesome.

Check out the Awesome Asian Bad Guys teaser below:

Want more of the National Film Society and Awesome Asian Bad Guys? Of course you do.

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Awesome Asian Bad Guys

Awesome Asian Bad Guys