Josh Childs is an actor, writer, producer and director in Nashville, TN. He has just released a new feature called The Nothing, and is working on a Sci-Fi comedy TV show. My coffee beverage of choice for Josh would be a Chai latte with a shot of espresso…because he has unusual tastes, and probably likes the mixture of sweet and spicy with a kick!
When was the moment that you realized that you wanted to be a filmmaker?
It happened in stages. My brother is an incredibly talented actor, director and writer and therefore I was exposed to that world early on. I would write little 12-page scripts and think, “oh there’s enough material in here for a feature.” And most of those scenarios would involve my friends being vampire hunters on some level. But even though I started acting I never stepped into that space as a writer/director because my brother was there. So when he moved away for a bit I felt like I had the confidence to step into it and make something happen.
Why did you want to become a filmmaker?
If its in your soul you really don’t have a choice. It always bubbling in there, even with those early 12-page scripts. There was always a deep need to create. I think every person has that need…whether its making scrap books or even someone like my Dad would take cars and fix them up…we all have a need to create.
Which filmmaker are you most influenced by?
Here is who makes me jealous: Wes Anderson. The way his mind works. Everything he does is so distinctly his. I’m also greatly influenced by Jean-Pierre Jeunet who made Delicatessen, City of Lost Children, Amelie, and Rian Johnson, who made Brick, Brothers Bloom and just recently Looper, which was his breakout feature last year. All three of Johnson’s films are so different and yet so brilliant. Also Ray Harryhausen, who is specifically in special effects. I have really loved watching his stuff recently.
How have these filmmakers influenced you?
They are able to set themselves apart with their work. Thats why it doesn’t get lost in all the other movies. They don’t play by other’s rules. Tarantino is that way as well. He literally re-writes history in Inglorious Bastards and can get away with it because people know they can expect something different with his work. Thats what I hope I can do with my films.
What would you say your style is?
I like making movies that tell stories with quirky scenarios. My latest film The Nothing came out of loving disaster and confinement stories as well loving the Twilight Zone. I don’t know if any filmmaker can avoid pouring a piece of themselves into their projects…so my work will always be autobiographical to some degree.
What is your favorite stage of the filmmaking process?
Being on set. Thats the peak. You feel like you are really making something. But the script writing process is probably the most cathartic for me and its the easiest in the sense that I can do it on my own. I do not like post-production. There are great moments during post-production but when you are doing something low budget it feels like pulling teeth.
What is your favorite responsibility in the filmmaking process and what are you best at?
Putting together a team for a project as a producer is my favorite. However, there are aspects of a producer that are my least favorite. I’m probably best as an actor but thats probably just because I have done that the most and am most comfortable with it. But I am starting to see that I have a skill at bringing people together for a project and organizing a great team.
What has been the hardest thing of your filmmaking journey?
Making The Nothing came at a very hard time financially for my family. Everything I was trying to do as far as getting work wasn’t coming through. Going through that was very difficult because I have been broke before in my life, but being broke while trying to provide for a family is different. And it got to me because I felt like I was part of a cliche. But my wife and I are a great team and we got through it.
If you had unlimited time, budget and had no consequences to reputation or career, what film would you make?
I am in a very Sci-Fi fantasy place right now. And I’m especially wanting to do a Sci-Fi fantasy comedy. The Watch was really close to what I would want to make right now. Or something like Young Frankenstein. I don’t know what the story would be but it would be in that realm.
If you weren’t a filmmaker what would you be doing?
I love telling stories, talking, and gathering people together. So something that involved one of those. But I think my brain kicked in a while back that I wouldn’t do anything outside of film, so its hard to think outside of that.
How do you get better at your craft?
I watch a lot of films and associate with people that are more experienced than I am. Someone like Drew Langer, who is a Nashville filmmaker, and is very talented and has worked on so many sets and productions. I love to go and spend time with him and pick his brain on how to do things.
I also like to study and track trends within film. I want to understand where things have come from and what the progression was from film to film or person to person. For example I am really looking at how Harryhousen has influenced the development of so many streams of special effects within film. His spectrum of work is incredible. Or looking at comedy actors and tracking the trends of where they come from and how far it goes back. Ultimately you start to see things in a new light and the older “classics” become much more vibrant and powerful.
What is your coffee beverage of choice?
Coffee black with one exception…during the holidays I will get a pumpkin spice latte.