"Like in a good novel, the characters are described through a few simple scenes,
and then the audience is allowed and encouraged to make its own interpretations.
"Grodmin" plays with reality in a way few films successfully manage: with subtlety."

...........................................................................................................................-Online Review-

Director's Statement
The thing about making a small movie, completely off any conventional radar, both corporate and creative, is that you have complete control over everything.

Real Outtakes
The Real Behind-the-Scenes Footage that You Don't See.

When we filmed it was just the actors and the crew (me), and everything we filmed was always so slight and intimate. We always struck the exact right tone for each scene because we had the time and flexibility to do so.

Deleted Scene
Will the Grodmin returns to campus after John and Lucas have left.

I think of "GRODMIN" as more of an art film than I do a "conventional" movie. It's not a popcorn flick, and what transpires is hardly entertaining in a traditional sense. Much of what transpires in the film isn't completely obvious to the audience until the film ends, but when it does everything falls into place. - When you go back and review what you've just seen, the brilliance of the all the performances really snaps into place.

"GRODMIN" is a film about the ideas and experience of contemporary art as seen through a very narrow lens. It's about how the characters experience an act of creation, but from their own unique perspectives. At the same time, there's this unspoken, "largish" shadow of contemporary Hollywood filmmaking looming over the whole set, constantly reminding the actors and the director how far off track they really are. Throughout the process, everyone is doing his best to be as true to this individual experience as possible, but as contrasted with the sheer oddness of what they're doing, it's like the film they're making is completely arbitary.

It's trying to be a Hollywood movie with serious, brooding ideas, but it never comes close to approximating anything on that level. - It's kind of a David vs. Golaith experience of the underdog of Independent film trying to win out, and along the way you kind of hope the David side of things - the John Wiederholt side - just learns to appreciate its singular perspective from a point of insight.

I think the clarity and drama of the film is very narrow and focused, but very precise in a way that speaks to real concerns of younger creative people. The actual story of the History of Grodmin (and its traditions) in the film is really secondary to the experiences of the characters in the film; just a backdrop. The real story is the story of the characters and where they're headed along the way. You can't tell a story like that by making the success of the film the actual end point. The film they're making is awful and strange. No one cares about that. It's how we learn about the characters as they butt up against the experience of the filmmaking that creates the real drama. -- The "inner film" is just a show piece. The real art is watching the characters on screen transform.

In the film, although John and Lucas's characters are making art, you never see any of their paintings. It's not about the paintings as the art. - It's the artists. I like to think that idea comes through in the film.

Deleted Scene
John gets left behind on the set of "GRODMIN" after Lucas "leaves" for Hollywood.

I thought all the actors in the film really shined; John and Lucas on multiple levels.
The inner film, the "GRODMIN" proper, that John and Lucas have been hired to film is very schlocky, and acting it poorly with conviction (but not overly so) is a very difficult balance to strike amid their "real performances" in the documentary portion of the film.

The subtleties of these transitions was something John and Lucas understood instinctively. We never had prolonged discussions about the differences between the "inner" and "outer" films of "GRODMIN" because both John and Lucas made those distinctions in their acting right from the first day. The arc of the film is really set in the chemistry between the relationship of the two lead actors. Had John and Lucas not been able to synthesize that energy, the plausibility of the film's entire story would have disintegrated immediately.

As a fan of documentary filmmaking, I've always had an instinctively sound BS meter. If moments of the documentary didn't ring true, the illusion of the film would be lost. We often filmed documentary scenes at least two or three times to get them right. In some cases, we filmed scenes as many as ten times.

Multiple Takes of the "Studio" Scene.
Making "Real" Look Real.

Despite his outlandish performance, Wes Rabey (who plays John Kemps) was a consummate professional. We filmed all of his scenes multiple times because he always wanted to get things just right. As the characters of the film go, most people consider him the "villain" because the ideas he conveys are just so stark, but as the kind of standout character that everyone tends to remember, I think what Wes did in, and for, the film is always worthy of the highest praise.

What he does is shocking and strange because you really believe it. - In real life, we're seldom exposed to "real artists" who cut their ears off and go crazy in a "Hollywood" kind of way, but someone who's just a little bit off in all the right ways, that's both convincing and subtle, and that's what Wes's character was about; approaching the fourth wall of the film, but never breaking it. -- It's a very fine line.

Multiple Takes of John and Will on Campus.
Making "Real" Look Real

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