Peter John Ross, Director # 6
Peter John Ross onset and doing what he does best, Making Quality Independant Films.
" all photos courtesy of Peter John Ross"
When I first began my Quest for the Independant Movie Makers of 2010 this guy came right to mind, in fact he popped up anywhere and everywhere on the internet. SONNYBOO aka, Mr. Peter John Ross one of the best guys you could ever chat with, the thing about Mr. Ross that impressed me the most is his openess to talk movie making, he even has a website that helps promote the indie filmakers with articles and free downloads all for the Independants. Mr. Ross documented his first feature movie (Horrors Of War) which has been distributed all over the world and has both helped and/or encourged other budding indie filmakers to pursue their own dreams of independant movie making, Mr Ross has both online training tools that teach you how to make and edit films he has been featrued in other magazines and appeared in many articles all over the internet. He also has a completed Filmaking Documentary titled "In The Trenches" (pictured to left) and is currently working on his next feature film. Below is the uncut and candid interview with award winning Director, Peter John Ross (Sonny Boo) an Ohio based Filmmaker, interview by Doug Diggs.
Q-full name? Peter John Ross
Q-stage name? Peter John Ross
Q-place born? Reynoldsburg, Ohio USA
Q-place you grew up? Wadsworth, Ohio & El Paso, Texas
Q-favorite color? Fuscia
Q-eye color? Hazel
Q-favorite pastime? Making movies
Q-schools attended? graduate?
Coronado High School, Pickerington high School, Ohio State University and Bowling green State University – not graduated from college
Q-What was the first movie you completed?
THE JOB INTERVIEW, a 5 min short film
Q-What has been your most successful Movie project to date?
HORRORS OF WAR, my first feature film. It took 3 and half years of my life to get it done and it has worldwide distribution in Japan, Europe, America, etc. We finished it in Nov. of 2005 and it got released in Nov. 2007 in the U.S.
Q-was it easy? or hard to finish?,
HORRORS OF WAR was very hard to finish. It was a hugely ambitious film, shot entirely ON film, digital effects, make up FX, hundreds of extras – it was not easy.
Q-what was your favorite day during filmming?
The first night of shooting. It was like a dream come true and almost a nightmare. I made several mistakes, learned from them and made up for those with pick up shooting. Lessons learned.
Q-Your Favorite movie? BLADE RUNNER
Q-What director/s most influenced you?
Peter Jackson for how to make a movie and Neil Labute for how to manipulate the audience.
Q-Your favorite actor? actress?
Gary Oldman, he disappears into a part. I have no idea what he must be like in real life because he’s a chameleon.
Q-What got you intrested in making films?
I wanted to make music for movies my whole life. Thanks to the digital revolution, I am able to teach myself filmmaking, then make real movies.
Q- How involved are you during your productions process? Do you only direct? do you write? Run camara? ect. I remember reading early articles on your sonnyboo website, how did that all start and why? I'm very involved. I'm big on rehearsals with actors before a shoot. I not only direct, but I'm also usually a producer of my own movies too. I never run camera as I'm not a good camera guy. I prefer to enlist people with a really good eye and the ability to light a scene with dramatic intent. I started writing articles because I was excited to learn something with film. Everytime I learned something tiny, I'd want to share it because I never went to film school and there was no one to teach me this most basic stuff.
Q-Have you won any awards for your work as a movie maker? what awards and from where did you recieve them, ie, I won the AUDIENCE AWARD for the ? ect. And how did you feel when you recieved your first award? 48 Hour Film Project in 2004 for a short. I've won BEST EMERGING TALENT from the B MOVIE FESTIVAL in 2007. I won BEST FEATURE from the REBEL . I've gotten an award for BEST MINI FILM from the INDEPENDENTS FILM FESTIVAL. BEST CONCEPT from the UNDERNEATH CINCINNATI FILM FESTIVAL. I don't mind the awards but that's not what I'm shooting for. Whenever I win one, I feel like I still need to try harder and do better, like I don't deserve the award yet.
Q-What makes Peter John Ross Tick? and How do you relax after a hard day of filmming? I function on a strict diet of fried foods and a plethra of various BBQ sauces. I relax by putting in a DVD of Futurama and giggle myself to sleep. It wipes my mind of stress and allows me to just sink into the night/morning to hear Fry, Bender, Leela, and Dr. John Zoidberg satire me out of consciousness.
Q-As an award winning movie maker whats your take on Independant movies v/s big budget in entertainment and production value, is there that much of a difference? We're currently in a downswing in the no-name, no-budget movies. In the 1990's it seemed like everyone with a $20,000 budgeted feature and half-way decent movie idea got a 3 picture deal. That just isn't happening
right now. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY is more of a fluke than a career path.
Q-After surfing the internet I've found some really positive things being written on both you and your work, how does it make you feel to read all the great feedback from others on the internet on your production accomplishments? For every compliment, I can point you to 4 times as many criticisms and just plain nastiness. I prefer the compliments, but everyone is entitled to their opinions. I can only try to make movies I like and want to see. I can't be too worried about the peanut gallery or their comments. I try to stay objective about the compliments and the complaints.
Q-I've also noticed you are very active in the movie making field, (any affiliations? do you help promote aspiring young movie makers and others involved in the movie making process? I have done things to promote other filmmakers, especially in my film community. I like to put on screenings of features and shorts to the general public. Watching movies with a bunch of strangers in a dark room
is the best experience we can have. I'm all about good movies. If I see a movie I like, I try to spread the word.
Q-Do you currently teach classes on filmmaking? If so Where?
I teach film& video editing independently
Q-Any Favorite sports? Boxing.
Q-Whats your take on the future of independant movie making?
Digital is the future. HD looks great, although I love the look of film. Localized storytelling and broadcast via the internet and cable TV fusing into one gigantic melting pot – that’s the future to me.
Peter John Ross on set Working with crew Editing Film
Q-After all you have accomplished what do you plan to do with your life now? goals?
Make more movies. That’s all I can think I will do the rest of my life.
Q-If you could change one thing in the world today to make it a better place what would it be? Not have religion. That seems to kill more people than cancer every year.
Q-How has making films affected your life? I’ve never been this poor and I’ve never been this happy.
Q-Lastly, after all you have accomplished in your filmaking career, where do you see yourself in 10 yrs? Can you give any advice to the younger generation about Filmmaking? and just for a journalistic curve ball whats your take on current gas prices? In 10 years, I see myself still struggling a bit to maintain control of the projects I want to make. I'm hoping to be a rotation director on a good TV show. Start small and challenge yourself with everything you do. Filmmaking can be a lifelong never ending quest. Gas Prices are slowly rising, but then again everything is with inflation. All the restaurants have just increased their prices in the last 3-4 weeks
by 10%-15%. I'm just thankful I still have a job as an editor full time.
- Peter John Ross, Apr. 2010