April 20, 2017
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Team Tangerine, Continued
by Doniphan Blair
'Tangerine''s writer/producer Chris Bergoch (lft), director/writer/editor Sean Baker (cntr) and co-star/researcher Kitana "Kiki" Rodriquez. iPhone photo: D. Blair
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Kitana: I remember going over to your house while you were editing and thinking ‘I don’t remember seeing that when we were shooting.’ And you said, ‘That’s a pickup shot.’
Sean: It was a close-up where Mya says, ‘Oh Razmik?’ ‘Yes Alexandra? How was the performance?’ ‘Great, thanks for asking.’ She was a little annoyed he wasn’t there [for her first time singing in a cafe].
Chris: A lot of people have said they related to that scene because their significant others are also passive aggressive like that.
Kitana: You want to hear something crazy? When he did my pickup shots, it was his iPhone!
There are so many good characters, like the black guy sitting in Donut Time.
Chris: He was a real customer—oh no! That is Ian Edwards, a comedian. He signed for the first comedy CD from Conan O’Brian’s new label. He’ll be going places.
I noticed in ‘Tangerine’ you [Sean] are often walking behind people, documentary style. Same with the sex scene, you are looking over the back seat.
Sean: That had more to do with I didn’t want a ‘shot-reverse shot.’ I wanted a ‘one take.’ Either I got in the back seat or I was out in the car looking in the front window. I went with the interior because I wanted the audience to feel they were in the car with the two of them.
Also, I didn’t feel the need to get explicit in that moment. It was more about the privacy, the quiet moment, juxtaposing with the insane, loud movement on the street.
Do you ever consider remaking ‘Prince of Broadway’. It is such a great story and it feels like it easily could jump to a fuller production.
Sean: I don’t know how it looks on Fandor, where you saw it, but I just remastered it for a DCP and, you know what, I am fine with it.
Yes, it is a little low-fi. ‘Take Out’ is even more low-fi but I am fine with that. Instead of focusing on remakes, we all want to focus on makes.
Chris: There are so many stories we have to tell, that are aching to get out into the world.
Sean: Each film takes about two years, no matter how hard you try to get it to less than that.
And every film starts with research?
Chris: You know how they say ‘Write what you know’? This is a case of writing what we didn’t know.
If you are going to do that, we have a responsibility. We want to make it as realistic and authentic as possible, so everyone involved can enjoy. Research is the only way to do it.
Even when we wrote something more in our wheel house—the action picture I mentioned—we did the research, trying to find how cops talk; the slang they use. No matter what you are doing, you have to do the research!
Sean: In ‘Starlet’, I recorded a lot of interviews with porn stars. We actually did hang out a lot with Scott Lyons.
Chris: You know Scott Lyons?
He’s an adult film actor best known for playing Ultron in ‘Ass Vengers: Age of Hardon’. He was a great resource, he gave us a lot of ‘adult’ stories we would never had access to if he didn’t trust us.
You must have tons of tape.
Sean: Tape but also notes. [Chris] takes notes by hand.
Chris: I am always there with the iPad transcribing everything. They might not say something specific, which goes in the movie, but a great idea can be born from one little word.
Is there anything you are working on you want to mention?
Chris: There are a few things.
Sean: I never go into much detail. I just say it is a children’s story that takes place in Florida.
Doniphan Blair is a writer, film magazine publisher, designer and filmmaker ('
Our Holocaust Vacation
'), who can be reached
Posted on Oct 06, 2015 - 02:44 AM