This week, The Daily Quarterly spoke to filmmaker Bryan Smith of “8th Avenue Studios.” He talked to us about his upcoming web series, “The Fire Project,” which premieres next month, as well as the struggles of being a small studio and the merits of James Cameron’s films. He also talks about Vikings and the fact that Han Solo did, indeed, shoot first. Here is this week’s TDQ Q&A with Bryan Smith:
The Daily Quarterly: How did you hear about thedailyquarterly.com?
Bryan Smith: I came across TDQ while researching early 2nd century Viking war vessels. I found the content to be a bit more interesting than the research.
TDQ: How excited are you that The Daily Quarterly asked you for an interview?
Smith: I’m pretty excited about the interview. Most of my friends and family are sick of hearing me talk about the web series, so it’s nice to have new audience. Plus, TDQ has such a sterling reputation for hard-hitting journalism and in-depth interviews. Who wouldn’t be excited?
TDQ: Would you say it’s the BEST news site on the web, or is it THE MOST IMPORTANT news site on the web?
Smith: Without question TDQ is the best Daily Quarterly news publication available on the internet.
TDQ: How did “8th Avenue Studios” get started?
Smith: “8th Avenue Studios” began in 1997 while I was at The University of Florida. We lived in a house on, of all places, 8th Avenue. It’s where I began making movies, met my wife (who is also a producer with the company) and started chasing the dream of being a filmmaker. It’s really just been a growth process from that point, getting to where we are today. Although, I’m not quite sure where that is.
TDQ: What was the first project “8th Avenue Studios” completed?
Smith: It’s kind of hard to answer that question because we have been making short films, commercials, promotional videos and music videos for a long time. I would probably say it was a music video project I did in college. Looking back it was pretty terrible, but I still love it.
TDQ: Why call it “8th Avenue Studios” instead of Madison Avenue or 42nd St.?
Smith: Madison and 42nd were completely out of space.
TDQ: Who are your influences?
Smith: I grew up in such an amazing time for Hollywood. “Star Wars,” “Indiana Jones,” “Back To the Future,” all those big blockbusters that captured the imagination of my generation. Also, my mom is a big-time classic movie connoisseur, so I watched a lot of Hitchcock flicks when I was a kid. In college I got into Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. I read Rodriguez’ book “Rebel Without a Crew,” and it made me realize that I could take my passion for movies and actually make them. Now, I really like directors like Steven Soderbergh and Kevin Smith who have found a way to make and market films outside of the traditional studio system.
TDQ: Tell us about “The Fire Project”
Smith: “The Fire Project” is a web series based around the main character Chris Knapp, a Navy SEAL recruited to be part of a covert government operation. The story takes place in 2013, after America has suffered another economic recession. People are upset about it, and many of them have resorted to carrying out domestic acts of terror. Chris is part of a secret government project to assassinate American terrorists and those that finance terror groups. The series follows him on some of his missions, as well as showing the difficulties he faces trying to just live life as an assassin.
Part 2 of our TDQ Q&A with Bryan Smith will run next Friday