Interview: Ben Jagger (Director Of The Paddy Lincoln Gang)

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At Wicid HQ, we regularly get amazing opportunities toattend great gigs, festivals, get to review books, albums, games and also get tointerview successful creative people who’ve made it in their specific field.This time around, we were recently given the opportunity to interview theJagger brothers, Ben Jagger (director of the highly-acclaimed film, The Paddy Lincoln Gang) and his brother,Dean S Jagger (actor and star of ThePaddy Lincoln Gang):

The interview below is with Ben Jagger but you can find Dean S Jagger’s interview here

1)     Could you give usa bit of background information about the idea behind your new film?

The Paddy Lincoln Gangwas inspired from a short film I directed called A Night at Robert McAlister’swhich really set a tone for us to develop the characters and explore the storyfurther with the feature film. The film is a character-driven piece thatfollows a week in the life of a rock star (Robert McAlister) and his band whoare about to break into the industry.

I wanted to explorethe pressures that come with success and how an artist can be affected by thesuppression of that pressure. The film gives the audience a conscious andsubconscious look into the life of a musician.

2)     How did you firstdevelop an interest for the film industry, and how did you first get involvedwith this sort of profession?

I’ve always been ahuge fan of movies growing up with my brother, Dean, but I first got hooked withthe industry when I went to the US to train to become a stunt performer. Itwasn’t just training to do high falls, film fighting or wirework, we actuallylooked at how scenes were put together and shot in order to understand what wasrequired from the stunt team to execute that part of the story….I washooked! 

3)     How did you findyour feet as a director, what were the pros and cons of the job? 

When I returned homefrom Los Angeles, I was inspired with all aspects of the industry and justwanted to learn everything I could on filmmaking! I bought every book I couldget my hands on and just became obsessed with directing and creative writing.Then it was time to get out and put the theory into practise and I have to saythat the best way to learn how to make a film is by going and making a film!Just get out and go for it!! The big ‘pro’ of directing is expressing yourcreativity by taking the written word and transforming that into the finishedmovie, I love the collaboration process of working with all the creative peopleinvolved like the actors, writer, editor, composer who are all supporting thevision of the project, it’s amazing.

I don’t really see anycons in the work of a director because I believe that if you have theopportunity to do a job that you love doing then there is nothing to complainabout. The only thing I could mention is that a movie’s budget can have aneffect on your vision by which you can’t always do what you want to do in yourmind because you can’t afford that crane shot or helicopter shot…but I alsosee this problem as a challenge and it pushes you to be more creative and findother ways of telling the story.

4)     How did directingThe Paddy Lincoln Gang differ from directing films you’ve worked on in thepast, tell us a bit more about them?

I’ve literally thrownmyself at directing and only worked on two shorts before I attacked The PaddyLincoln Gang purely out of drive and ambition. I don’t do things in halfmeasures and believe that if you want to do something in life then be brave andget out there and get it done. So all my films so far have been very similar inthe respect that we have a very tight crew who are like family, everyone isthere for one another and we all multi-task in all areas to get the film made.

5)     What were themain challenges (if there were any) that you had to overcome during the processof filming?

Given that 95% of the movie was shot in LA, I’d have to say the main challenge was trying to prep thefilm being back in the UK and liaising with our sources out there ahead of theshoot. I remember sitting at my computer in the UK working out the shots forthe LA exterior scenes on google-earth street view, so I had to scout thelocations using this method whilst screen grabbing the images to plan thescenes. That was an interesting challenge. During the shoot we had to be verycautious with our schedule, so tried to keep our company moves down to 2 or 3locations a day purely down to LA traffic, which is a nightmare! Apart fromdriving you insane, LA traffic will slash your shooting time if you don’t timeit right!

6)     What sort ofinfluence were you aiming to have on your audience, was there a message thatyou hope would shine through?

Without spoiling thefilm for anyone, I wanted the audience to feel the main character’s frustrationand ultimately sympathise with just how far he has been pushed and what effectthat is having on his personality. I think everybody has limits to how muchthey can take mentally before they breakdown and this story explores the fineline that Robert McAlister is toeing.

7)     What are youraims and ambitions for the future? Are you going to be working on anything new,that we should keep an eye out for?

I’m currentlydeveloping a slate of projects, one in Los Angeles titled Corbin Nash andanother which is looking to shoot in October/November in the UK titled

Dark Peak which isinspired by true events, so please keep an eye on Dark Peak as that will bemy next project which I am very excited to be making.

8)     Have you beengiven any great advice as a director, or any advice of your own that you’d liketo pass on to other young aspiring filmmakers like myself?

Yes…get out there andshoot something!! Find a great script or write it yourself and get yourfriends/film school graduates to help you make it. That is how to get started,by just doing it…especially now that there are so many cheaper cameraoptions out there in the digital age we are in. Also once you have your scriptin place, then get online and put a post in the filmmaker forums for help tomake your project, you will be surprised at the response you will get with agood script because people are also looking for experience to get their careerstarted.

Go after it fellow filmmakers.

You can find more on The Paddy Lincoln Gang here

Related Article: Interview With Michael Buckley

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