An Interview With Filmmaker Josh Bolton

Sometime around 1992 or ’93 I met and befriended a guy from Baltimore named Josh. Josh had a band. I had a band. Our bands sometimes played together. Our bands were friendly with each other.  Our bands sounded absolutely nothing alike.  Josh and I had a short-lived band together called Firewheel. Firewheel was the biggest band around that never played a gig or wrote an actual song. Firewheel is the best band you never heard. A few years later, around 2004, Josh got in touch with me and asked me to contribute some scoring for an East Coast surfing documentary he was filming called Drawing Lines. Since then, there have been other collaborations with music and film. I find Josh to be interesting, funny, and friendly, which means if you’ve gotten this far into this paragraph, you might think so too.

josh-boltonYou have a background in both art and music–and you’re pretty damn good at both–so what got you interested in film?
The philosophical answer is that film is the combination of art and music. But the reality of it was that is was 1992 and my band, Juice, needed a video. Technology wasn’t at a point where everyone had a video camera and Final Cut, actually computers didn’t even have CD burners. So I drove eight hours to a friends college on winter break and put together a VHS compilation video using a 2 channel switcher.

Ok, so not to ask the most obvious question, but who would you say are your biggest influences in filmmaking?
Good question. My answer is probably as obvious as the question. Steve Spielberg, Geo. Lucas, Rob Reiner. Anything I saw on the big screen or the boob tube while I was growing up has been indelibly etched on my memory card.

If you had a choice to work with one male actor and one female actor–dead or alive–who would it be?
I don’t often work with actors, most of my work is done with reality stars and regular people, but if I had to choose…

Male Actor: Zach Galifinikas… because his name starts with a “Gal” and ends with a “kiss.” But seriously, Zach’s not that gifted, but he works harder than anybody else. That resonates with me a lot. It’s not how talented you are, but how hard you are willing to work.

Female Actor: Rashida Jones – she’s hot, she’s funny, she’s Quincy’s daughter. Done deal.

If you were an actor, what filmmaker would you most want to work with?
If I were an actor, I would want to work with Todd Phillips. His movies, The Hangover, Old School, look like a blast to work on and he’s got wicked street cred from his first film The Hated (his GG Allin documentary ). He actually dropped out of NYU Film School to promote it.

Being an “indie filmmaker” has changed quite a bit since Al Gore invented the interweb, now anyone with a smart phone can shoot, edit, and post a video in a matter of minutes. What is it that you have got that puts you where you are?
There is no secret. It’s all about good storytelling. And there is no magic formula to telling a good story. You have to keep telling stories and listening to the world and enjoy the hell out of it.

You have done quite a variety of work, from surfing documentaries to rock videos to Rachel Ray segments. What has been the most interesting project you have worked on?
I really like the epic projects. Drawing Lines was 75 days on the road chasing hurricanes up and down the east coast. Around The World For Free was 100 days travelling around the world with no money and no script. I love it when a project pushes the audience and the industry to re-imagine what’s possible.

Besides actors, what is your biggest pet peeve about filmmaking?
Interviews suck arse. I hate preachy blogs that have a quirky slant on pop culture… and I hate working with astronauts. [Editors note: we hate working with astronauts too.]

Here are three famous people, tell me which one you would marry, which you would fuck, and which you would kill: Cameron Diaz, Michelle Obama, and Lady Gaga.
I would marry Cameron… she needs some stability in her life.
I’d definitely fuck Michelle Obama, I mean, when the hell else am I going to shag a first lady.
And there’s no sense in killing Gaga – she’s already sacrificed herself at the altar of fame.

If there was a moment of your life that you could have documented with a camera, but didn’t, what event would that be?
When I was twelve years old, I was wrapping up pitching practice at baseball camp. The entire camp of three hundred rowdy kids were sitting in the stands watching World Series Legend, Tug McGraw give me some pointers. When I turn to deliver my final pitch, I erupted the mound in a cloud of dust, somehow tripping over my own shoe laces and taking a huge front flip into the short grass. Classic summer camp annihilation.

What filmmaker out there right now is doing stuff that no one else is?
Shit man, I don’t know. Everyday I am seeing people pushing the limits on a variety of different formats all over the web. I haven’t seen anything that stands out as unique, but I am a sucker for a well-told story.

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