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"It’s all about the way you tell a story. From a product to a brand to an idea to strategy, it’s about the core story, not just what you want to say, it’s what you want to tell. Then comes the implementation."
A talented film-maker and screenwriter, Philip Berger narrates his journey, discusses some of his exciting projects and shares with us his passion about storytelling -as well as some cool advice tips on film-making- .
-You are a storyteller. Enthuse us with your storytelling skills while narrating your own story in a few words!
I began my love for film at a young age. But my real blossom into loving filmmaking started when I was 14. I began to volunteer at the local film festival. I would take the bus or be dropped off by my parents until I could drive or catch a ride. Every year for two weeks I fell in love with film. I would volunteer first as an usher, taking tickets, because that allowed me to sneak into each film after I took tickets. I saw 100s of films every year this way. And this was the real boom of American independent films in the mid-1990s. From there I applied to a visual and performing arts program at my high school in Orlando, Florida. It was focused on TV and film production. We produced music videos, documentary programs and short films. I continued volunteering at the film festival and then was accepted into film school at Florida State University. It was an intense 4-year course where we learned everything there is to know about the art. After film school, I moved to New York where I worked in an art department on short films and features. I assisted a production designer and learned a lot about art direction, production design and mise en scéne. At the same time I also started writing scripts for commercials which got me into screenwriting.
On the side, I was making low-budget music videos as well as shorts. When I moved to Stockholm, I began to assist a commercial director which led me into the commercial world. After that I began to work as a director, writing many of the films I directed with the agency and/or client. And then, as of the last few years, began to write feature film scripts which led me to where I am now. It’s been a journey but, in many ways, it feels like it’s just getting started. I was told at a young age, that you will get 10,000 no’s until you get the 1 yes. And that philosophy has kept me interested in film. It is important to just keep going.
-How do you make a story sound interesting?
I find that what interests me is when something is so outlandish, so far from my life or my experiences but when I find a connection to it, when I find that I can relate to someone or something so far removed, that interests me. I feel that as humans, fear holds us back from almost everything. But when you are given the opportunity to make-believe to make your own world, you can’t be afraid to let them go the distance.
I, personally, always start with the characters before I know the story. It’s very rare that I have a story without a human, so the characters began to develop before I know exactly what’s happening. I really love idiosyncrasies. It’s those small nuances that make a character interesting. Universality is also really important. I think that we can be so peculiar and strange individuals, but what makes that interesting, is when one can relate to these weird or completely boring characters. Then I think about the action. The core… what am I trying to say? Tell? And what are the wants and needs of the characters and how will they obtain them? What are the risks and goals?
What made you get into filming?
I always liked the word filmmaker, more than director.
I decided at a very young age, around 11 or 12 years old. I watched a ton of films, mostly in the horror section of the video store. I watched horrible zombie and gore films because they gave a thrill. But then, I ran out of movies to watch in that genre and moved into independent, foreign and dramatic films and that opened up my eyes to a whole world of storytelling. I also began to film my friends skateboarding. After a while I decided that I wanted nothing more than to become a filmmaker. To create a fake world in the moving form. To make. To do. And to realize stories that would move, shake and dance in people’s thoughts and fantasies.
One of the projects you have on your enthuse.me profile seems fascinating! ‘The Music of The Future’ where music is created using tools of the future and anyone can participate via online communities and social media. Tell us more about it!
I was approached by a music producer …