VALENCIA Chapter 19 – Olivia Parriott!
Hey, this is Olivia Parriott! I met her ten years ago when I was briefly living in Los Angeles, and was like – HEY OH MY GOD IT’S A BUTCH PERSON OR SOMETHING! She was so kind and friendly in a town that felt too overwhelmingly large and busy and not queer enough. She was in a great band (Radio Vago) and always inviting me to do fun things I couldn’t do because I was having an alcoholic bottom. Now she lives in San Francisco and is heavily involved in film and music, creating the music blog Wiretap and shooting music videos for her inspiring 24 Hour Music Video Challenge. I saw the one she shot for Katastrophe’s Tunnel Vision, where Katastrophe moves like a ghost through a hotel room that has erupted into a party replete with people passed out in toilets and girls on crying jags snorting coke. So real! Anyway, when I needed a filmmaker to step in on the fly of course I thought of Olivia! here’s what she’s got to say about it.
MICHELLE TEA: Hey what’s up with your 24 Hour Music Video Challenge?
OLIVIA PARRIOTT: It’s called the 24 Hour Music video challenge and it is just that. The filmmaker and band have 24 hours to come up with concept, shoot, and edit a music video. I started this idea as a way to promote local Bay Area bands on my music blog called wiretapmusic.com. I decided I wanted to switch up the way we feature bands on our site and I came up with this idea cause its fun, fast, and a challenge. PLUS its an open challenge for any Bay Area filmmaker who wants to take it on! That was another big part about creating this new format of featuring bands, I can now connect local filmmakers with local bands. If you are reading this and you are a local Bay Area filmmaker and want to take part in the challenge contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d really like this project to get bigger than me. I just kicked it off with the Katastrophe video so we will see where it goes and how big it will get!
MT: Weren’t you part of the crew on another chapter? Which one? what did you do? What was it like?
OP: I was asked to play a “faggy” character in Aleax Inkeles’ chapter 10 turkey basting scene. It was really fun to shoot cause we could free flow with our lines under Alexa’s superb direction. My counter part was Tom Temprano and we really went to town on the faggy dirtiness of the whole scene. Alexa was great to work with and Leah Perloff (Who was the Wardrobe Stylist on Chapter 10 as well as Chapter 19 that I am Directing) really hit the nail on the head in terms of the 90s look for this one. As you can see my picture attached. Wowsers really?! Yeah I don’t look like that on a daily.
MT: Did already working on a chapter make you psyched to do your own or does it feel weird?
OP: It made me WAY psyched. Through the whole shoot day of Chapter 10 I kept thinking “It would be so cool if I could direct one of these,” then, one week later and out of the blue, I got the email from you! And I took your challenge on. It was in the stars I guess!
MT: What happens in your chapter?
OP: In my chapter (19) We view Michelle’s growing love for Cecilia (a bike messenger with pet rats), flashbacks to alcohol-fueled dysfunctional family moments, a bothersome roommate (who is pitifully funny and annoying at the same time), the potential spiral of another failed relationship, and HOT SEX (well, its a quick scene and you don’t see much but its still hot!). Its got a lot going on in it, but what I love the most is that its got aspects of both humor and darkness.
MT: Are you sticking with the story or are you taking liberties?
OP: We are sticking to the story. The chapter is very inner dialogue-y and because of that, one of my first ideas after re-reading the chapter was to do the story completely in Point Of View. Which means there is lots of voice over AND you never see who my Michelle is, all you see from her are arms, legs, hands and feet. So basically the camera is Michelle and the viewer is seeing the world through her eyes. Its going to be really fun and a BIG challenge!
MT: How’d you find your Michelle. and the rest of the cast?
OP: My Michelle (who you never really see) is a good friend of mine, Haley Koch. I chose her because we will be working very closely together and I know we both trust each other. She is also a great actor, can walk with ease in super high heels (which is important for one scene), and has sexy legs (also very important). The rest of the cast we found by putting the word out in our queer community here in SF (most of them are all friends as it turned out) and also through posting on Bay Area casting sites. Courtney Harrell, our Producer for this project, has been really kick ass in getting this all together and she had a big part in casting for the video.
MT: Does this chapter have any special challenges?
OP: Well I would say the challenges are mainly going to be physical ones for me. Since I am shooting this whole thing in POV, I have to stand behind Haley while my arms are around her trying to keep focus and support a steady shot with the camera. I will shoot the whole movie that way and all in 2 days!!!! I am anticipating a lot of arm and back pain but it will be worth it. I worry that physical fatigue may make the shots unsteady… but if that happens we will figure out a way to work around it! Know any arm fluffers?
I guess another interesting challenge will be working with actors. This is my very first narrative film!! I have lots of experience doing music videos and documentaries so having to work with actors and crew is going to be way different that what I am used to. The crew part has already been great. Pre-production is going smoothly and I’m stoked to have such an excellent group of folks working on this with me. I really wouldn’t have made it this far if Courtney Harrell wasn’t right there taking charge as Producer and teaching me the ropes about what it takes to make a narrative film. Girl… its a lot of work… but its funfunfun!
MT: Where will you shoot?
OP: We are mainly shooting around the Mission SF and also Cole Valley SF. We are stoked to be filming at the Lexington club too!
MT: What’s your sign and does it influence your work style at all?
OP: I am a Leo with an Aquarius rising (and Taurus Moon). I had to list all three cause I have a lot of Leo aspects to my personality but I think having that Aquarius as my rising (which is the opposite sign to Leo) really evens me out. I think being a Leo will effect my work style in a way that mainly has to do with how I am with the people I am working with. I think I am easy to work with. I get along with most folks, I’m never crazy or mean to anyone, and I never loose my temper. I would say I am pretty even keel. I also love to hear feedback from others and enjoy collaboration. When I get in the editing room I think that is when the creative juices are really going to explode. I’m very visual…. is that a Leo thing? I feel like it is…
MT: When did you move to SF and why?
OP: I moved to SF cause I have always been enamored by this city. I grew up in LA and stayed there way longer than I wanted to but I was in an all girl band there for my last 6 years in the city called Radio Vago and that was enough to keep me there. That band was my life and what fun times those were! But the urge to move away ended up eating away at me and SF pulled me in about a year before the band broke up. So that last year I was living in 2 cities. I love the culture here, the queer visibility, the way the city looks, how close it is to amazing spots to hike, I love how you don’t need to drive everywhere like LA, I love the community I have created here (my little urban family), and I LOVE the food. The only thing I miss about LA besides being close to my family and best friend is the weather. That’s it.
MT: What was your first SF kiss?
OP: Well I had my first SF kiss when I was 22 over gay pride. My ex and I rode up from LA for our first Dyke march and made-out all over the city… most memorably in the Lex bathroom… people pounding on the door. The first of many other moments like that to come in the Lex bathroom.
MT: Where were you in the 90s and what were you doing?
OP: OK… I hate to admit this but its also funny… in the 90s I was a hard core dreadlocked hippie who would ONLY listen to bootleg Grateful Dead tapes. Yeah. Its true. I was playing in drum circles, going on road trips to Rainbow Gatherings, and rockin’ my hippie twirl at all the Dead, Phish, and Dead cover band shows I could make it to. I had no idea what the queer 90s were like let alone Riot Girl, Punk, or Daydream Nation. I may have listened to Nirvana for a second but that was in the dark. So sad, so sad.
MT: Your 3 favorite places in SF?
OP: Dolores Park, El Rio, The sidewalk in front of my house grilling meat.