Interview Director E J-yong

E J-yong

By Yvonne Lo

On June 28th 2013, we had the pleasure to interview Director E. J-yong of Behind the Camera; Why Mr. E went to Hollywood. This particular film was selected to be featured in the 2013 New York Asian Film Festival.

Director E J-yong signs on to direct an ad spot and becomes taken with the whimsical notion of directing the film not from on set, but from an off-site location using Web-based technology. E writes this very idea into his short film, a story about a director who attempts to “remote direct” his film in order to go on a date. E then rounds up a star-studded cast, but secretly flies out to Hollywood in order to put his plan into action. On the morning of the first day of the shoot, E J-yong greets his cast and crew through a monitor. Without the director on set, the production spirals into chaos and everyone on set shouts in frustration, “The director has lost his mind!” Will they be able to finish this film?

How do you come with the story? Where do you get your inspirations from?
E. J-YONG: I get my inspirations from anywhere and everywhere. I could be reading a book, watching a movie, out with my friends, and can be inspired. I’m always thinking about two kinds of movies. One is important as the story-telling and how the story goes. Another is not as far as how the story is told, but some of the unconventional movies such as the ones I have made and am working on.

What actions do you take to turn that idea, the inspiration, into a film?
E. J-YONG: I will first think about the film and consider if it is a subject worth talking to the audience about, if it is a story that I am able to tell and wants to tell. To make a movie, requires a lot of time and money so I keep that factor in mind as well. Throughout the day, I have many thoughts on the on the filmmaking or sometimes to just get an idea, where its original development may have come from another idea. For an idea to become one of my films I have to be excited and I have to be inspired personally so it can become my own.

What film genre do you like to direct?
E. J-YONG: I am more interested in making a film that is not all about the genre. When it comes down to deciding the film genre, I always think outside-the-box in order to make the film that stand out more. I appreciate film as an art in an everyday life. I will ask myself, “Can this become a movie? Can this story be a movie?” I am happy to share the stories.

What is your next project?
E. J-YONG: I make movies every two to three years. The idea bank just keeps piling up. I recently just finished writing scenarios for a drama. My next project is about an older actress who is about 70-years old and gets stress from ageing. Most of her close friends start to die and her mother has Alzheimer’s and all this stress is coming at the same time, so she gets a job and goes to Greece. So she thinks of her life and just waits for death or to decide her life. The working title is Odyssey.

How is it filming internationally, collaborating with other cultures and ethnicity?
E. J-YONG: The second movie I made, it incorporated Japanese companies. The feeling should come naturally. I should not feel opposed to do it. For my next movie, about thirty percent of the film will be done in Greece. So, I will be working with a production company from there.

What are you trying to tell audience with Behind the Camera? What’s the message?
E. J-YONG: The structure itself is the message. The movie focuses more on telling people what goes on behind the scenes of the filmmaking rather than giving a message. It shows the reality of filmmaking. This is probably the first film without the director directing on scene. I was in L.A., so the directing was done remotely via Skype. It was an experience. This was more meaningful because I was able to test out that this sort of film can be made as well.

Do you have anything to say to your audience as a Director?
E. J-YONG: Each person will take away whatever they see on the film. I hope that people can get inspired by the film about the filmmaking. The film is shooting the behind-the-scenes of a short called How to Fall in Love in 10 Minutes. I hope they can see how the film is made and recognize that this is not an ordinary movie. I hope people devoted to their art will see this film and realize that this kind of movie can be made. Hopefully they will be inspired.

What words of guidance for future filmmakers?
Think outside of the box. It will free you from thinking, “this is how the movie should be made” and how structurally the film should be made. I have been thinking that since twenty years ago, but today is a world of digital and many are already able to experience it. Anybody should be able to take out the cameras and/or mobile devices and record their thoughts. Things are much easier now.

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