Create relationships with like-minded producers, actors and creatives in the industry. Support each other, you can’t make films alone. As a part of our series called “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became A Filmmaker”, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Scott Vickers.
 

As a part of our series called “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became A Filmmaker”, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Scott Vickers.

Scott Vickers started out in musical theatre, appearing in Chicago on the West End for three years before successfully transitioning into straight acting. He was in several TV shows including a lead role on the BBC’s River City for four years. He then moved over to the other side of the camera and directing, including writing and directing the feature film MATRIARCH which was picked up by Lionsgate and had a theatrical release; following the success of MATRIARCH he signed with talent management agency 3 Arts Entertainment. He has also worked in commercial film and TV and sees actors audition continuously.

INTERACT is his brainchild; along with mindset expert Nicola Vickers, Scott pivoted during the pandemic to exploit their existing skillsets in a different way. INTERACT offers acting coaching taught by experienced industry professionals who understand the needs of casting directors and film /TV producers and can equip actors with the skills they need to land more roles and be at their best in the audition room and on set. The team aims to offer the kind of training they wish had been available to them when they started their own careers.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit of the ‘backstory’ of how you grew up?

I’m a British Northerner. I grew up in Cheshire, my Dad was an Electrician and my Mum managed small shops. As a kid, I did a lot of performing arts — acting, singing and dancing. My Mum who still dances to this day (she’s 80!) took me to the theatre a lot and I was determined to be on stage. I started performing in professional shows at 8 years old.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I did mostly dance and theatre in my early career, Moulin Rouge in Paris, the original production of Chicago on London’s West End, and amongst it I would do the odd TV commercial — I was immediately intrigued by the whole filmmaking process. Already a cinema junkie and movie obsessive, growing up I would rewatch films over and over, I loved Dune by David Lynch and Star Trek: Next Generation.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your filmmaking career?

On the film Matriarch which I wrote and directed, the producer convinced me to play a supporting acting role by pleading “This character does a fair few stunts, so if you do it, it will save us a tonne of money” — he had me at ‘save money.’ Matriarch is about a couple kidnapped by a family who has cut themselves off from civilization. My character is buried alive by the farmer’s two sons and they steal all his clothes. So I found myself acting in my own film and running totally naked through the Scottish countryside to save a few pounds! I have in hindsight laughed to myself wondering if people assume I wrote and cast myself into the only role in the film that gets stark b*ollock naked!

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

There are so many incredible people I’ve met along the way. I have to go with a great gentleman called Paul Gregory, Paul was my acting coach and mentor. He offered to coach me when moving from theatre to screen. I soon found out that Paul was protégé to the great Lawrence Olivier, and so I regularly received techniques and methods that Olivier had taught Paul. Paul would say, “Well, Olivier taught me to do it this way.” I learnt some incredible script techniques and methods that I used all through my acting career and still use today when I coach actors at Interact.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My parents have been beyond supportive of my projects, they helped fund my first short film Advanced to Contact and were very involved with the logistics of it. My mum and her dancer friends did the catering for the cast and crew, and my dad who was in his 70’s at the time was thrilled to be the Stunt Driver and the one-man electrical department.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Early in my filmmaking career, I attended a film lecture with Dov Simens who said “Directors often believe that someone from Hollywood will see their short film, call them up and say ‘Hey, I saw your film, so I want you to direct this multi-million dollar movie.’ — but this never happens. You have to create the opportunities yourself.” It was a significant realisation for me as I transitioned from stage and screen to directing. I had walked out of drama school straight into productions, one after another. This advice propelled me into shifting my attention and energy from ‘expectant’ to ‘sourcing’– I was used to a certain level of creative opportunities, but if I wanted to be successful as a director and filmmaker — I needed to learn how to be business-minded and become a catalyst for making things happen.

I am very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

1. Film and TV is for everyone — there are stories to be shared from all corners of the globe and every group or culture.

2. Diversity and representation is necessary in film and storytelling in general. I love to experience new things, new points of view and when I sit down to watch a film I want to be entertained of course, but long to be inspired and discover.

3. For me, diversity in our industry is more than skin colour, race, gender, orientation, age or physical ability both on and off screen. I think we often miss out on diversity of thought. The emphasis of cancel culture is detrimental to our art. There’s a big movement to silence and condemn people who don’t have the mainstream view — but I am a curious person, I want to know about the many views, the opposing or naive perspective and why others have these beliefs and ideals. I want to hear from all groups and cultures, not just those promoted favourably by the media. There are many silenced voices, and voices people don’t want to hear from because it doesn’t fit the ‘collective consciousness narrative’ — but as filmmakers I think it’s important to look deeper and often go against the grain.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I’m producing, directing and writing a comedy TV pilot called #ACTORS. Comedy is new territory for me, but I’m loving it! I’m also working with DoP Ian Livesy, a fellow Northerner — we’ve got a few projects in development including Catalyst an apocalyptic action thriller about a gangster (Rob) who finds himself in a bunker with his estranged father’s family: doctors and scientists who have been preparing for this eventuality. A small group of soldiers force their way into the bunker, quickly taking control and imposing their will on the family — suddenly Rob’s past life becomes very useful.

I’ve also written a dance movie When The Music Stops that focuses on the commercial dancers’ experience. I’ve collaborated on this with my good friend Chris Manoe who owns the UK’s biggest commercial dance agency — we worked together when I was a dancer so we pull on a lot of our own experiences and those of the dancers in our community — it’s quite provocative in unearthing what goes on behind the scenes of the commercial dance scene. We’re ready to get this out and get speaking to people about it.

Which aspect of your work makes you most proud? Can you explain or give a story?

I am most proud of Matriarch because I was told repeatedly by many people in our industry that it was impossible to make a movie with our budget (50k dollars) and a 12-day shooting schedule!

Undeterred and determined, it required us to be really creative — we had no special effects, just crew and actors that said YES to being involved and were committed and willing to roll their sleeves up to do all sorts of jobs on set. It was so satisfying to be part of something that special where everyone was invested and took ownership.

It wasn’t easy, to begin with, disappointingly Matriarch was turned down for most festivals — Sundance, Toronto and South By South West — for being ‘too niche’ or crossing several genres and hard to place. I did at that point begin to doubt myself. But long story short, I was introduced to Stephen Moore, former-president of 20th Century Fox, who I started a mentoring relationship with, I showed him the film and that led to contact with Covert Media who took it on, and within weeks Matriarch was obtained for global distribution including Lionsgate for North America, and both Sony and Sky in Europe. We got a theatrical release in select cinemas in the UK and LA and the film went on to win best feature film award at Glasgow Horror Fest.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Create relationships with like-minded producers, actors and creatives in the industry. Support each other, you can’t make films alone.
  2. Learn to edit immediately.
  3. Go and be a runner on any professional set or a studio, work hard and ask for guidance from professionals, you’ll learn more doing that than at any film school or course.
  4. Make a feature, rather than a short story. A huge amount of effort goes into making a short so get creative and resourceful and go for a feature.
  5. Tell stories that you want to tell, that you get excited about. You can’t please everyone so don’t try.

When you create a film, which stakeholders have the greatest impact on the artistic and cinematic choices you make? Is it the viewers, the critics, the financiers, or your own personal artistic vision? Can you share a story with us or give an example about what you mean?

It’s a mix of the people who are the most invested and involved in the project. I really enjoy growing an idea with creative people I respect. I like creating opportunities for people who like myself are trying to make it in the industry. It is different for every project of course, but I guess the artistic vision because I’ve written them as well or played a major role in the creation of the project.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I’ve already started a movement in our industry — it’s early days, but my wife Nicola and I have set up a company called Interact which serves to do two specific things for actors and creatives: To give them direct access to film and television directors for 1:1 coaching and training. And secondly, to create a mindset movement! As humans, our minds are incredibly complex — we spend most of our time operating from habitual and automatic patterns of learned behaviour, fueled by biases and often unhelpful and limiting internal dialogue. My wife Nicola is a world-class business psychologist and trainer for The Mind at Work, a boutique, sought after consultancy that does incredible work with the leadership, strategy and culture in some of the world’s leading organisations to help them become more purposeful and purpose-led. We have obtained a special license from The Mind At Work to bring this methodology, normally reserved for board rooms, sports professionals, and A-list celebrities to a much wider audience. We are about to run our first mindset training in a few weeks, and already have a waiting list for future events. You can discover more about it at www.interact-hq.com, or follow us on Instagram @Interact.hq

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this.

Firstly Jon Favreau, I think what he did with Iron Man was brilliant, I think Iron Man is still the best of the Marvel Films and also Mandelorian was exceptional but more than that Jon has done it all in the industry: acting, producing, directing — he’s one of those guys who makes things happen (understatement). Also Mark Fergus and Mark Ostby (they also wrote Iron Man) who are behind The Expanse, which is a thing of beauty, it’s the perfect mix of science fiction, art, drama and gripping storylines. Love it and I would sell a kidney to work with them!

How can our readers further follow you online?

@scottrvickers on Instagram and Twitter

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

Thank you.

 

Original article can be found here: Thrive Global