DGC Ontario Director Warren Sonoda is one of Canada’s most prolific Directors and recently completed Things I Do For Money, his most ambitious film to date. We spoke to Warren about his latest film and his recent BAFTA Children’s Award nomination.
How does it feel to be nominated for a BAFTA Children’s Award for Odd Squad?
It’s a great honour to be recognized by the BAFTA Awards along with our entire Odd Squad team. These award-winning crew members, actors, post, producers J.J. Johnson, Mark De Angelis, Tim McKeon, Adam Peltzman and writer Scott Montgomery created an extraordinary show that’s a joy to be on and that’s a total team effort. This episode in particular, “Negative Town” was one of my all-time faves to direct, with a stellar cast.
Can you tell us more about your latest film, Things I Do For Money, premiering at Whistler Film Festival and your Indiegogo campaign?
I’m stoked to world premiere my new feature Things I Do For Money at the Whistler Film Festival on December 6 and 7, 2019. This was a micro-budget crime/cello/caper movie with a Japanese-Canadian cultural twist — a passion project shot in my hometown of Hamilton, Ontario, playing itself on film. I’m very grateful our Guild allows us to work with dispensation on projects near and dear to our hearts.
Many of our cast had never acted before, including the two leads, real-life brothers Theo and Max Aoki (who also wrote and performed the film’s original score) and I’m so proud of how they rose to the challenge. We also saw the entire indie community rally to support our successful Indiegogo Campaign, which is as grueling to work on as actually making the film. Shot in 13 main unit days (with 2 pick ups for establishers, small-scene, drone and car work), the film features over 50 speaking parts, 144 background, 35 locations, 6 cello performances and 5 action scenes. I am proud to say it’s one of the best, most ambitious things I’ve ever done.
You are a prolific Director; what has been your favourite experience over the last few years?
I’ve been blessed with a solid run recently, working on some of my favourite shows and projects. Odd Squad, Things I Do For Money, Murdoch Mysteries, Hatching, Matching & Dispatching, This Hour Has 22 Minutes and the upcoming Utopia Falls created by my good friend and fellow DGC Director R.T. Thorne have all happened in the last couple of years. I can’t wait to see what comes up next, along with more projects I’m developing with others. It’s always been a great adventure.
What advice do you have for up and coming filmmakers?
Don’t get it right, get it written — get it right in the rewrites. There’s always something and there is a way. Everyone operates from either Love or Fear. As a Director you have to know that and put your team in the best situation to be successful as possible. You only get hired as a director for two reasons: execution and point of view. The first one gets you work in the beginning, the second gives you a lasting career. I’m constantly working on my POV now. Get’er done and have fun.