I had the opportunity to hang out with writer-director J. C. Calciano (eCupid and Is It Just Me?) at Inside Out LGBT Film Festival in Toronto last month where his latest feature, The 10 Year Plan, was screened. It’s the story of best friends who make a pact to get together if they are both single in ten year’s time.
Despite his lack of enthusiasm for my knitting (which came up in conversation at a social gathering), we became friends and had the opportunity to chat several times. He’s funny, passionate about making his own films, and manages to make independent features in an extremely competitive environment.
J.C. has a penchant for the romantic comedy. Are they formulaic? Rare is the romantic comedy that is not, but he tells contemporary love stories gay men looking for love, which is a bit of an inversion of the typical storyline.
In advance of the screening of The 10 Year Plan on Saturday, June 14 at 6 p.m. at UNCSA’s ACE Theatre Complex in the OUT at the Movies of Winston-Salem series, I decided to ask J.C. a few questions.
1. Your films suggest that you believe in true love. Would you describe yourself as an incurable romantic?
Yes, I’d consider myself a romantic. I believe that loving yourself is essential in finding happiness. There is a lot of pain and difficulty in the world. Being happy with who you are, having great supportive friends, and if you are fortunate enough, a partner to love (who loves you back) are wonderful gifts.
2. The film business is brutal. What have been your biggest challenges as an independent filmmaker in getting your three features made and distributed?
The biggest challenge I’ve faced is money. With online piracy, people aren’t paying for the movies. I don’t think people realize that by sharing a film online, the community suffers. With no revenue going to filmmakers and their distributors then LGBT films can’t be made and our stories can’t be told. People want to see gay movies, but without buying or renting these films, they will cease to exist. Filmmakers like me have to make movies for practically no money – that’s our biggest challenge.
3. Your films tend to feature the young and gorgeous in leading roles. Any plans to mix it up in future projects, or should we expect a heavy diet of eye candy?
Yes, I have quite a few storylines about older characters and I definitely plan on making films about different types of men. So far, my films have been about young love, hence the actors in the twenties/early thirties, but I am working on several stories about guys in their 40s and above. As far as the actors being “gorgeous”… when I cast a film, I look for the best actors I could find. Talent always comes first – looks second.
4. What question didn’t I ask you that you wish I would have posed?
I want to talk about the secret to making a good film. I think the success of a film belongs to two people: the screenwriter and the talent. The story is the most important part of the film. Second is the believably of the actors. An audience will forgive bad camera-work, poor sound and shoddy lighting, but if you give them a thin storyline that is poorly acted, they will hate your movie.