Film Interview: Michael Sparaga

I spoke with Sidekick writer/producer Michael Sparaga at the CFF Opening Gala at Alto Basso.

(I would have posted more about the CFF screening, but alas, I fell wicked ill this weekend - I'll be posting a couple reviews about some of the films screened at the festival and including info about places you can catch them if you missed out on the CFF).

Sparga's been running non-stop promoting Sidekick, including his badgering of Telefilm to give him the funds to transfer the film to 35mm (which makes a huge difference in screening).

It's easy to understand why he's managed to take his film as far as he has - the man has more contagious, optimistic energy than a terrier on speed. Getting him to sit down and burn some of that in discussion about his film got me a little wired.

(mea culpa - this is from notes, so I paraphrase.) Also, warning. Spoilers

What favourite scene did you have to cut?

The character of Larry, who comes in to replace Carson, actually has an entire subplot. Victor hates him, and keeps turning his computer off - Norman comes in to fix it and, of course, realizes nothing's the matter. Larry starts coming in at night to get his work done, because his computer, of course, works fine then. Victor actually kills him later on. We dropped it because it made Victor too vindictive early on.

What detail do you like that no one notices?

Bob always has coffee - I like that he's just this guy doing his job who's always drinking coffee.

I also really like, in the scene where Victor confronts the hoods, that there's a bit of nervousness in his voice when he says "I got this" - it indicates that there's still a vulnerability, he's not fully villain yet (just a jerk).

How much does the light quality bother you?

Honestly, the light and sound quality are functions of the technology (DV) that made shooting the film possible. The transfer from DV to 35mm takes the film from an ambitious video projects to a real movie.

Because we couldn't shoot on film, or offer the visceral thrills of a typical superhero movie, we focused on the script - it's the one place where we could have a real advantage over other movies in the same genre. I hate that there are so often huge plot holes and such little attempt to make the dialogue relevant or realistic (within the context of the story).

Tell me about the evolution script.

I workshopped the script with the actors for several months. (Many of whom were coworkers at the Keg - seriously, anyone who wants to shoot a film should just go down there and get some actors).

The story actually started when I was a kid and I had quick reflexes and I thought, how cool would it be if that were my superpower. And then I thought, well maybe it's more of a sidekick kind of power. Then I figured I could live that vicariously through a script.

What's your favourite movie?

Amadeus

Sidekick's cross-country tour returns to TO on April 15th.


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