Patrick Carr makes movie magic
Here’s an original movie plot: A boy from Bridgnorth, Shropshire in the UK attends Oxford, studies Chinese and becomes a strategy consultant at Bain in London. Three years later, seeking something more than an uninspiring office job, he heads to Hong Kong, dabbles in teaching kindergarten and real estate investing before starting his own film company. Cut to Patrick Carr, 31, who now lives in Beijing and has made three Hollywood movies and his own independent films in L.A. and all over China. He spoke with Grade 6 students from Beijing BISS International School about what it’s like behind the scenes, how filmmakers raise money, and how he landed his brief stint in acting. Jessica Pan
Yuan Yuan Kelly, 11, Canada
How many films have you made?
I’ve made about five of my own films, but those are short films – they never turn up at the cinema or on DVD, but I show them in festivals, on the Internet, or to friends. I’ve made three Hollywood movies – movies that start in L.A., where they raise loads of money.
Elizabeth Reilly, 11, USA
When did you become interested in filmmaking?
I think I’ve always been interested in it, but I didn’t start making films until about five years ago.
Candy Ghandarva, 11, India
How old are you?
How old do you think I am? Forty?! I’m 31.
Steven Balla, 11, USA
What movies or films have you made so far?
I made one called The Gauntlet which was a horror movie about guys who get trapped in a dungeon, and they have to kill each other to get out of the dungeon. Not really a kids movie. The next movie is called Fury, which is also about a guy who is stuck in a prison and made to fight people. It’s not really a kids movie, either.
Avantika Khanna, 11, India
Does making horror movies give you nightmares?
Not really. Watching horror movies gives me nightmares; I get really scared. But when you’re actually making it, it’s not scary at all. You can see everything that goes on, like them painting on the blood and you know the knife is a floppy knife.
Crystal Leung, 11, Canada
What do you think is the best movie you’ve made?
I wrote and filmed a movie in Hong Kong called April Fools. I used a lot of my life in the movie. It’s 25 minutes long, and it’s about complicated relationships. It’s filmed all over Hong Kong – on the beach and through the city streets.
Ankita Khanna, 11, India
Which movie inspired you to become a director?
I think there were a couple of movies from Hong Kong. I loved two by director Wong Kar-wai. He made a movie called In the Mood for Love and another called Happy Together. I also grew up with films like E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial – that’s a great movie – and Back to the Future.
Kenta Inatomi, 10, Japan
Have you ever been an actor before?
Sometimes I act a little bit in my own movies, but I haven’t been in any famous movies – and you won’t see me on TV. I once acted in a series on how to learn English. I had to play a stupid English guy, which is quite similar to myself, and I had to pretend I always misunderstood people. Lots of people in Taiwan learned English by laughing at me.
Avantika Khanna, 11, India
Have you made a movie about China or in China?
I‘m making a kids movie that you guys should look out for in a couple of years. It’s about this girl who lives in Switzerland and then must move in with her uncle in deepest, darkest China. She hates going to China. But then she arrives at a beautiful mountainside and ends up loving it.
Candy Ghandarva, 11, India
Do you have a sponsor?
I wish I had a sponsor. What normally happens is, you have a script idea, someone writes the script and then you try to get someone to give you money to make it. There are a lot of people in L.A. who have lots of money and want to invest in a movie. You have to go to all these people and say, “Please, please, please give me money.” And sometimes they do.
Yuan Yuan Kelly, Canada
What do you enjoy most about filmmaking?
On a film, you have about 130 people working on a movie, and that’s not including the actors. So you have up to 200 people all making a movie, so you have two months to work with these really cool people all day, everyday. At the end of that, you have this amazing film to show for it.
Alzira Fernandes, 11, USA
Is there a person that inspired you to be a filmmaker?
I grew up watching films, and I admire directors like Steven Spielberg and Wong Kar-wai. After I left university, I had a well-paying job working in a city in an office, but I wasn’t happy there or interested in my job. It was one of those jobs that other people said was good so I felt that I should do it. But I made the leap to filmmaking when I didn’t know whether I was going to make money out of it or be successful. It was a hard thing to do but I’m so glad that I did.
Jia Yin Chow, 12, Malaysia
How much does it cost to make a film?
When I started, a short film for myself cost me 200 kuai. But the next film will probably cost five million US dollars. It’s very expensive to make films.
Xavier Tan, 11, Singapore
How much do you make from working on a film?
If you’re the director, you make more money than if you are the guy who makes tea. If you are a director of a Hollywood movie, which I am not, you might earn 100,000 dollars, but if you’re a big director, you might earn three million. It depends on how successful you are and how lucky you are.
Sana Samad, 12, India
Was it always your dream to become a filmmaker?
When I was about 7, I wanted to be a dragon when I grew up. I don’t think I ever thought about being a filmmaker. When I was your age, I wanted to be a fireman. And I always wanted to be a professional footballer. There might still be time for me to do that one.