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Home » Podcast Episodes » 1500 Steps Movie Goes The Distance | 056

1500 Steps Movie Goes The Distance | 056

1500 STEPS

by Tommy G. Kendrick

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Revisiting 1500 STEPS

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[10/30/2014 12:20:04 AM] Josh Reid: Hey Tommy. Just wanted to let you know I finally finished 1500 Steps. If you are interested I’m up for a follow-up interview…

1500 steps marquee550xI hadn’t logged onto Skype for a few days and had missed the message above from Australian filmmaker, Josh Reid. So, in the first week of November, I replied to Josh and we were able to set up a new interview.

Was I interested? You bet I was. When Josh contacted me I realized I’d really forgotten about 1500 STEPS.

Actors Talk guest filmmaker Josh ReidIt has been almost three years since we last talked about 1500 STEPS, written by Maureen Gibbons and directed by Reid. As part of the preparation for this episode I went back and listened to our earlier encounter. I have to say I really loved that interview, published in February of 2012. And it made me sort of angry at myself for not keeping touch with Josh, up on what was going on with 1500 STEPS.

I invite you to go back to that interview either before or after listening to this episode of Actors Talk that once again features Josh Reid and me discussing 1500 STEPS which had completed principal photography but was awaiting post production completion. You’ll find the previous interview in Actors Talk Podcast, Episode 8.

Today’s audience will forgive bad picture quality, bad editing, bad lighting, bad acting, bad directing… But they will NEVER forgive bad sound

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…if you don’t know how to use the medium, whether that’s writing a letter, talking on the radio, producing a film or writing a book, if you don’t actually know how to communicate through your chosen medium, then the message is irrelevant…that message is not communicating through…

I’ve had the pleasure of talking with a number of filmmakers at different times during the filmmaking process for ACTORS TALK. It really gives me a great opportunity to find out what went right, what went wrong and how might the filmmaker do things differently next time.

I think that kind of discussion can be very beneficial to you as a filmmaker. And it gives the filmmaker I’m interviewing the chance to give back to the community as well…to maybe save another filmmaker from making a similar mistake. Certainly Josh Reid’s comments about sound issues on 1500 STEPS should add one more real world example of just how important it is not to scrimp on your sound department.

And what if you’re an actor and not a filmmaker? My feeling is that everything that goes into making movies is information that the actor should find interesting. I know I do. I love talking about movies, making movies, acting in movies…and this gives me the chance to learn from real world experiences that go beyond my own.

“1500 Steps” Feature Film Trailer Oct 2014 from Earl Street Pictures on Vimeo.

stories I choose to tell have a subtle Christian message woven into their DNA. This is very different to having a perfectly good story and ruining it by dumping a ‘message’ on top of it

1500 STEPS – What’s It All About?

Here’s how Josh Reid describes 1500 STEPS:

1500-Steps_1-550xAt first glance, 1500 Steps appears to be your standard hero’s journey concept—the loser becomes a winner—but there is a subtle Christian message which flows throughout the film. Described as a transforming journey toward self-belief and brilliance, a cross between Chariots of Fire and The Karate Kid, this high-school coming-of-age drama is set in the beautiful Sydney beach suburb of Cronulla.

Jonas “Jobe” O’Brien, a homely, sixteen year old boy, lives in a struggling single parent family. His mother dead, his father is an alcoholic, who was once a champion runner. Jobe, a misfit and loner, has inherited his father’s athletic ability and love for running.

After a fatal mistake at a party, Jobe seeks revenge against the perpetrator, as an emotion and power wells within him that he has never experienced before.

A retired ex-Olympian, Harry White, sets about mentoring his athletic ability when by chance he sees Jobe run. It is now up to Harry White to encourage Jobe to dig deep and decide what type of man he wants to become.

A BIT OF CONTROVERSY

In our conversation, Josh and I talked about the state of ‘Christian film’ and how, too often, films in this niche do a poor job of story-telling. The characters are often paper-thin, the story not realistic.

Directing-Beach-Scene-from-left-Director-Josh-Reid-starring-actors-Laura-Benson-and-Alex-Fechine550xI found 1500 STEPS refreshingly honest and realistic in telling a story filled with high school student. I wondered if he had come into any criticism because the film was not ‘Christian enough.’

He assured me that he had but that his philosophy of filmmaking in this niche was perhaps different from the norm:

I Like to say when you’re making media, you need to put the medium first and the message second…a lot of people criticized us for that saying, ‘obviously this guy is not Christian and not biblical…

But if you don’t know how to use the medium, whether that’s writing a letter, talking on the radio, producing a film or writing a book, if you don’t actually know how to communicate through your chosen medium, then the message is irrelevant…that message is not communicating through

We targeted a non-Christian market…we wanted to make a film that would speak positivity and certainly life in Christ with this movie without hitting them over the head with a Bible.

We developed a great story…that has a Christian message woven into the story. Because of that we were just able to tell a great story knowing that the Christian message was already in the story which is very different from having a perfectly good story and then dumping a message on top of it and ultimately ruining the story and not making it realistic…

As a Christian who is also a film producer, I simply ensure that the stories I choose to tell have a subtle Christian message woven into their DNA. This is very different to having a perfectly good story and ruining it by dumping a ‘message’ on top of it.

These are merely excerpts. For the full story, please listen to the audio podcast. And let me know your take on this subject. Do you agree or disagree with Josh Reid? Is the medium more important than the message?

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