Chase Kuker tells us about how to be successful in Los Angeles in our recent interview with him. We also had the pleasure of getting him in front of the lens and making some amazing images. He’s a film producer, actor, musician, and all around badass. Check out his take on success in the creative world.
First of all, what inspired you to become a film producer? Did you have a particular role model or famous producer that inspired you?
You know, since I was young I’ve always enjoyed film and the combination of how many different elements, such as music, sound, lighting, actors and direction form a window into different realities and stories for us to experience. I’ve been fascinated by that process without fully understanding it until I moved to Los Angeles and began to learn the business first hand through the many different experiences in film and music. Growing up, Spielberg and George Lucas were the duo that inspired me the most, mainly because as a kid, all of their films were more notable to me and their names were everywhere, *laughs*, I just didn’t notice who or what producers were at the time. It’s awesome to now have the opportunity to produce and create concepts and material for films and TV through relationships I’ve managed to help build and utilize for this goal.
What about new projects, can you tell us your process in selecting your next projects?
Through the company I was under recently, American Film Productions, we have completed four different films in around a five-month period, which rocks! I’m excited about the completion of each of those. Currently I have formed a new company called West Wall Entertainment with several of my close friends and experts coming up in the industry. We are looking to start a few new films in the coming months, which hopefully go through. If there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that nothing is certain until its wrapped and everyone is paid *laughs*. We are also delving into television and webisodes as well. We have a TV series called Private Ice that we are pitching and a web series called General College that we are getting some great attention and headway with, so that is exciting as well. Other than those projects, we are also doing our own music production for original content. That includes, composition for film and television scores to original songs written, produced and recorded by my team and myself, along with varied artist of whom will be singing and performing the songs. We are a kind of one stop shop for everything and anything out here in the entertainment industry and we continue to challenge and further our boundaries in order to create great and original content in the many areas of production.
Tell us how to be succesful in Los Angeles as a film producer.
I’m sure there are many different ways to be successful in Hollywood, but I arrived at this position through relationships and hard work. I’ve been in the acting world, the music world and now the production side of things and throughout it all I’ve continued to grow and acquire new skill sets that have helped me make use of the great friendships I’ve made. After learning a few things I was able to be of beneficial help to a few friends who had been producing films for several years. We formed a team under an investor and started pumping out films. I continued to learn the unfamiliar ins and outs of that business and contribute in every area I could and found myself gaining a new platform everyday.
Can you describe a typical day in the office or on location for you, the more sarcastic the better?
Typical day? Huh, I’m not sure I even know what that refers to anymore *laughs*. Each day differs so much from one to the other – it’s incredible. Well, when doing films, in pre-production I am either cooped up in a room re-working parts of a script or at the office meeting with large amounts of people to find the right person for every job on the project. I would say my main time spent in any location would be in my car, sitting in traffic most of the day as we jump from one meeting to the other all over the Los Angeles area. This is the city of meetings after all. When a production is in play, I’m usually on set for a few hours here and there depending on the scenes filming that day. It’s been awesome to experience and see so many different actors I’ve grown up watching deliver amazing performances for a project I am involved with. I also have a music studio at my house, so I like to “live” in there as much as I can. It’s a great release to create songs and scores, and now I have an outlet with our projects to utilize that skill!
From the looks of things, you and your team have accomplished a lot in a short time. What’s your favorite project so far?
It is great to look back and see the things we’ve been able to accomplish at a young age. I’m always blown away when I get the chance to sit down and see the progression of my life out here in LA, and its cool to be able to use that platform to encourage or maybe inspire some people who may be looking for the same things. My favorite project so far as been the third film we did, A Relative Stranger. We filmed the post civil war piece in Austin, TX for five weeks and it was exciting since I am from Lampasas, TX that is only a few miles away. It’s been one of my life goals to do a movie at home, and now I have that checked off my list. We had an incredible cast along with an amazing crew. It was directed by Kane Senes, and stars actors: James Badge Dale, William Forsythe, Ethan Embry, Beth Broderick, Rhys Wakefield and Maika Monroe. I also had the opportunity to create the temp score with composer and also co-producer of the film, Carson Aune.
What do the next 12 months hold for you production wise?
Hopefully a lot of work *laughs*! Based on the projection of our next six months, I believe that will be true. We have these shows and webisodes we are pitching, we have a couple films slated to start soon and we will also be doing many projects dealing with music and artists with original content being made by our company.
I love acting, it’s a great creative outlet and I have had a passion for it as well since I was a kid. I plan on continuing that pursuit and hopefully something great comes of it. I get to act in a lot of different things every week, and the best thing about acting is, the more content you have, the better jobs you can book, especially if the talent is there. And I believe I have something to offer in this particular side of the industry as well!
Are there any particular roles you’d like to portray?
Man, I love epic films, particularly ones dealing with battles, warriors and historical or mythical time periods. I started training with an awesome stunt team, Sword Fights Inc., because I was so passionate about playing a warrior-type character and also because I wanted to stretch myself further as an actor. I even made and wore some armor and filmed a battle speech I wrote and acted on green screen. It’s on YouTube somewhere *laughs*! It’s also on my acting reel. There is a movie in development called Day of War, which is based on a friend of mine; Cliff Graham’s book series of the same title. I was able to fly out to the Big Island of Hawaii last year to see the amazing sets, sound stages and green screens they are building there in Kona. Be on the lookout for that movie, with myself hopefully in it *winks*. Its directed by David L. Cunningham (To End All Wars, The Seeker) and produced by Grant Curtis (Spiderman Trilogy, The Great and Powerful OZ), slated to start filming some time this year
What type of scripts are you looking for these days?
Currently, we are looking for great material across all genres. We are always on the lookout for the next big thing, that’s the competition that will never die out here. In particular, we would like to find a great romantic comedy or even a new and original idea that hasn’t be done before for a horror/thriller script. We have been fortunate enough to land several scripts in our hands that show some promise, so I believe it’s going to be a great year!
What advice would you give to anybody wanting to make a living as a film producer?
Find a good work ethic, try to be honest as much as possible, always have a contract for everything and get paid a portion for your work up front, and most of all: know you will always be dealing with shady individuals, so expect to be let down sometimes or taken advantage of, but then move forward and use it to be better.
It’d be a miracle if we didn’t all run into shady people when we were first starting out! Alright, alright, alright. Film of the year, 2013?
Man, I am the worst at picking favorites, but in the spirit of the question, I’ll have to say I enjoyed Captain Phillips a lot. Funny thing though; I watched this film in screener form that a friend of mine had and the whole time I thought it was cool that there weren’t any subtitles. I felt like I was experiencing just what Captain Phillips did when Somali pirates took over his ship and he had to figure out what was going on. Well I later found out when talking to people that there were subtitles, whatever version I watched was just a janky version *laughs*. So I missed out on that part, plus I’m a huge fan of composer Henry Jackman, and I enjoyed his score for the film.
What movies are you hyped about for 2014?
So many! But Ill list a couple: Noah, X-Men Days of Future Past, Godzilla, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but most of all, 300: Rise of An Empire!
Would you rather be brought onto project or find/develop your own?
I love doing both immensely, and since both make forward progression, I am up for either. I have currently developed a script for a film I wrote with Chase Stockman, Chase McKendry and Michael Marcelin called Eskimo. I’m very excited about this project and look forward to starting on that early this summer if time will allow.
So many “Chases,” SEO on Google is gonna love this, *laughs*. Ok, not to be a materialist (alright maybe a little bit), but we are fashion photographers. Who do you like for 2014?
I really am simple when it comes to fashion. Maybe that comes from having a twin brother who does everything I don’t *laughs*. My brother Jordan keeps me up to date on everything fashion, and makes sure I’m presentable *laughs*, but I personably enjoy everything that is All Saints and my good friend, Brett Novak’s new line, called Good hYouman.
I’ll have to check out Novak’s work. So, shoes, sneakers, or boots? Essential piece in your closet.
All three! I have a lot of boots, sneakers (Nikes) and random brands of shoe as well, mainly Vans. I like to wear a lot of denim or black clothing, so in my closet you’ll find varied shirts of both. My favorite types of pants are ones with a mild drop crotch fit.
Alright, let’s get a little random: What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?
All kind of things. Ill turn the radio station to 91.5, blare the classical music, and organize my week, ponder if what I’m doing is really valuable or what I really love and enjoy to do. I like to put myself in different scenarios in my mind and challenge myself to see if what I’m doing is it!
Perfect: visualization. What else, dig deep?
I take myself to other jobs and living situations and really admit to myself whether or not I could hack it any other way. So far I always come to find, that there is no other place, job or life I could have besides the one I live and have now, and that keeps me pushing hard everyday.
If you could be reborn an artist, who would it be, and why (any artist/creative)? What song would describe your life, right now?
That’s a really hard question to answer *laughs*. I don’t know, I like the creative artist I have become and am secure with that. But again, in the spirit of the question, I guess I would be reborn with who I am, but with the voice that Bono has. My one thing I’ve always been kind of disappointed with, is the development of my vocal range, it doesn’t go very far. If I had the voice of Bono, it would be great to get out most of my ideas in song effortlessly, without having to have someone else sing them for me *laughs*. The song that would describe my life right now?….hmmm…..I actually love the Avicii song ft. Aloe Blacc called Wake Me Up. Now, I don’t believe the lyrics describe my life per say, but I like the song because I believe when each one of us is honest with ourselves, those lyrics reflect what every individual goes through at some point and the revelation we have when we can admit it! So that’s a lot there for you in a nutshell *laughs*.