IAmA film director who directed MY TINDER WITH ANDRE, a feature-length romance about a couple's first date, now available on Amazon
Hi, my name is Logan Austin. When I was in high school, I watched Louis Malle's MY DINNER WITH ANDRE and was blown away by how you could make a compelling film with no action, only thoughtful dialogue. The inner writer in me wanted to do the same someday, and I filed the thought away. Years later, the pun title of MY TINDER WITH ANDRE popped into my head and I knew I had to make it happen. I found two actor friends with screenwriting experience and we co-wrote the script together over a two year period, digging deeper into the characters and giving the script an overall structure, with several more locations than Malle's film. We managed to cobble enough money to make it real, but with less than a week's shooting time. Thankfully, both actors had theater backgrounds and were able to come to set with everything ready to go. On the final day, we managed to do thirty script pages in a single day, something I'm proud to have done and something I wouldn't recommend to anyone else out there. We're happy with how the project turned out and we hope that you all enjoy watching it as much as we did shooting it!
Ask me anything you want to know! I'm all ears.
Proof: Here's my proof!
No, but this is a great question! I know some states require them, but the state of Georgia does not require front license plates, so thankfully that was one step saved in the editing room.
Hey there! Loved the movie. Did you draw inspiration from any pieces of media other than My Dinner With Andre for the film? Movie/TV/video games, what have you
The other biggest influence was definitely Linklater's Before Trilogy, I really wanted to emulate how Before Sunrise captures the strong passions of early 20 somethings and how Before Sunset shows the forwards-and-backwards dance of people who are at once guarded and searching for love.
Really liked the ATL setting especially the zoo, what made you choose these locations in the film?
I had friends living in that neighborhood - in that same house - at the time and I'd spent a lot of time there. It's a really lovely area and it's not quite someone imagines when they hear "Atlanta", so I wanted to try to capture that. As for the zoo, I wanted something dynamic to break up the dialogue, and I knew that would be an exciting location that we could also access without breaking the bank.
Are the characters of Chloe and Andre based in any part on real people you know? Or amalgamations of people you know?
I think originally, both were inspired by different parts of myself. But as time went on, the actors themselves started putting their own elements in as well as drawing from other characters and people we all knew. And I wouldn't say that each actor only informed themselves - Amber had ideas for Andre's character and Jordan had ideas for Chloe's character.
Have you ever played the My Dinner with Andre video game?
Tell me more!
It's just a joke in The Simpsons
I know! I'm a big Simpsons fan - that's Martin's line from the scene, right?
What was your biggest challenge in completing the film?
The biggest challenge would definitely be the final day of shooting. We had one day to get through thirty script pages, when conventional shooting schedules are usually somewhere in the single digits. Thankfully, the actors had done so much work with writing and then rehearsing the script that we were able to get it all done with time to spare.
what was the movie-making process like for you? who made the soundtrack and such?
The soundtrack was a combination of elements. The opening underscore was an original piece I made myself. A number of the songs were written by me and/or our male lead, Jordan Iacovella, who actually performs as a solo artist named Prairies. (https://open.spotify.com/artist/0URlYzfLJA3EBtvIizoMnB)
The soundtrack also features a number of songs performed by a North Carolina-based bluegrass band named Brown Mountain Lightning Bugs. I'd first heard of them through my cousin, and I struck up a deal with them where I would help on one of their music video shoots in exchange for the right to use their songs in the movie. (https://open.spotify.com/artist/4lfr4bji1E1fk3X5ZmR75t)
And lastly, the final song of the movie is a vocal arrangement of Erik Satie's Gymnopedie No. 1, which is the same song that closes My Dinner with Andre. I added lyrics that were relevant to the film and got a very talented singer named Eliana Dubin to sing.
How do you get Amazon to host your film?
I used a third party distributor service. It's possible to submit direct to Amazon via their Prime Video Direct program, but signs seem to indicate that they're in the process of gradually phasing that out (they've already stopped allowing shorts and nonfiction). The specific one I used was Filmhub, which did a great job and also got the film on Tubi and Xumo.
I haven't! Let me add that one to the list!
So a modern day before sunrise? Iam old and wonder if all the dating apps are giving the younger generation just to many choices.
More or less. And the film discusses that very same issue!
What will you be working on next, if anything at all?
I have a few projects in the chamber. One's an adaptation of a book by a local Georgia author. It'd require a little more funding than anything I've done so far, but I dream of getting Paul Walter Hauser and Cooper Hoffman in the lead roles. Other than that, I have a sci-fi horror short I'll be shooting later this year and another micro-budget feature script in progress.
Who’s your greatest rival?
What were some of your favorite movies of the past year?
My favorites would probably be Red Rocket, Pig, Spencer, Licorice Pizza, and Evangelion 3.0+1.0. On the documentary side, I really liked Procession and All Light, Everywhere, as well as Todd Haynes' Velvet Underground doc.
I noticed a lot of handheld shots in the trailer that would conventionally be stabilized someway or another. Was this due to necessity or an aesthetic choice?
Somewhere in between, I'd say. We used a Glidecam for stabilization, which helps but is imperfect. We didn't want the full shakiness of say, a Jason Bourne fight scene, but found a small degree of shakiness has a realistic, almost documentary feel that complemented the film's "fly-on-the-wall" style well.
Do you happen to be left-handed?
I am not! Why do you ask?
What was your budget and how did you raise money?
Our budget was only around 5-6 thousand, which came from my own savings and the earnings I'd made from other film projects + working as a tutor for a rich family.
What was the largest unforeseen obstacle you had to overcome during the production? How did you overcome it?
Weather, and not even severe weather. We had inconsistent cloud coverage throughout which made matching lighting for our exterior scenes very difficult. We also had to cut one outdoor sequence short because it started drizzling. Even though it was a small amount of rain, it would have messed up our lead actress's hair and ruined its continuity considering the whole film takes place in one day. On another production, we'd have been able to reshoot another day, but we had a very tight timetable.
Did you decide it center it around a first date because that’s the only kind you can get?
No, but I did meet my girlfriend of three years on a dating app
What’s next for you?
Keep making movies until I'm Clint Eastwood's age, hopefully get paid along the way.
Can I be a background actor in your next movie?
I have a very trivial question. At the 0:30 mark of the trailer, the female lead walks past some cars. Did you edit out the license plate on the silver car?
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