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Cross interview with the 2012 Toscars winners

Flashback on the Toscars event from last February… Let’s chat a little bit about it with the event organizer – Craig R. Young for Brits in LA – and Luis Pazos – both biggest winner of the 2012 edition. Learn a little bit more about the funny award ceremony and have a look behind the scenes of “Midnight in Parody” and the “Con-Artist”. We can’t wait for 2013 !

– CRY Online : How did you get the idea of the Toscars ?

– Craig : A few friends had been to a screening of Michael Gondry’s film “Be kind Rewind” starring Jack Black and Mos Def, where they have to remake these movies on a shoe-string budget and after the screening we sat around talking and decided the Toscars would make a great event for us to do around the Oscar time.

– How did you get involved in the Toscars 2012 event ?

– Luis : In January 2012, I became acquainted with Rick Garcia. He later became the producer and lead “Actress” of the Con Artist. He mentioned that he was an actor, and that he previously had been part of a well-known film competition, The Toscars. Then he showed me the movie that he worked on for the Toscars, and I was impressed. “The name of movie the is  “King Speak”” he said. As I watched it, I thought “This is really funny”. I loved the movie, especially because I love “The King Speech”. I was excited, and I wanted to do something similar. Couple weeks later, Rick invited me to his birthday party where I met Nicolas Hosking, the director of “King Speak”. Nicolas briefed me a little bit about the Toscars, and I was thrilled not only because I love comedy but also because I am a huge fan of British comedy. That night when I left the party, I knew that I wanted to be part of the Toscars, then I paired up with Rick, and the rest is history. Though there were many great movies to parody this year, I knew that I wanted to make a parody of “The Artist”, and once again I was very luck; I got exactly what I asked for.

– CRY Online : The first edition of the Toscars in 2008 looked a little bit “amateur” for a first try. It has really improved since then and has also become more and more popular. What are you going to improve next year ? A livestreaming ?

– Craig : Hahahaha ! Yes, it was amateur… The films by design tho, if you see “Be kind, rewind“, you’ll understand why. It had to be very low budget forcing everyone to be creative, like our stuffed horses in “No country for gay old men.” And the event was hilarious : two films wouldn’t play, our awards was one rubber fist spray painted gold. The voting consisted on the loudest applause ! We have definitely learned a lot. We are talking about livestreaming next year for sure and an online competition. That’s what is fun, we are always thinking of ways to make things better.

– CRY Online : It’s the first year that you don’t host the ceremony, how does it come ?

– Craig : We only have 3 weeks to make these shorts and also as I’m one of the main producers of the event, we needed someone who could be our master of ceremonies. And Jim Tavare did an excellent job. Plus as we are parodying the Oscars, it’s always fun to mix up the hosts.

– CRY Online : How long did it take to write the script ? During the award ceremony you said : ‘Three hours” !

– Craig : Yeah, we came up with a different concept before, about Owen Wilson coming to present day from the future. But it was a bit hokey… So, Michael di Girolamo and I sat down one night and came up with a new slicker version where we could parody Owen himself and the movie at the same time !

– Luis:  I wrote the script a day before the shoot. Though we had written five different scripts through out the week before the shoot, we were not still sure that we could represent the Artist in a respectful way.  I believe the best way to parody something is by being clever. Cleverness is something that I really appreciate from British comedy, that’s why I love British Comedy so much. My goal when writing the “Con-Artist” was to pay homage to the British humor, and to pay homage to a great movie by making a clever parody.

– CRY Online : As you have only three weeks to complete the short movie, it must be a terrific marathon to scout the filming location and manage everything… How long does it take to shoot and edit the parody ?

– Craig : We shot over three days and the edit took a week.

– Luis : The process of editing varies from project to project, in the case of “the Con Artist”, it took me about a day to get a rough-cut and about a three more days to finesse it. A relative short time but we shot to edit, so the script explained the sequence of the story, so there was no question about the pace of the story.

– CRY Online : You took part of every step of the creation of the “Con Artist”. Every single detail had its importance…  Where did you find those old cameras and writing machines ?

– Luis : Well, a team created the “Con Artist”, everyone who was involved with the project played an important part. In regards to the costumes and props, Walter Lowry played an important part, not only he has a professional eye for antiques but also he is an avid collector. We were very lucky to have him as he provided  us with all the necessary antiques for the creation of the « Con-Artist ». I remember on our shooting day, he managed to design every set to match the classic standards of the twenties. He made you believe that you were in the 20’s. For the location, Mr. Rick Garcia, our producer and lead “actress”, was generous enough to provide us with his art deco home located in Pacific Palisades, his home was definitely far from modest, and this helped us with the style that we were looking to emulate.

– CRY Online :“The Artist” has been such a surprising and delightful movie that was not even supposed to see the light, and received so many prices all over the world: did you expect that the “Con-Artist” would have the same success ?

– Luis : I honestly did not expect anything. I just love the filmmaking process so much that for me that’s enough. I just wanted to see my idea come to life. There is something so magnificent about writing and then seeing your characters come to life, and that was my focus.  My success was the completion of the movie, and seeing people laugh, beyond that, it’s just the cherry on the top.

– CRY Online : Did you expect that “Midnight in Parody” would be this year’s second big winner behind the “Con-Artist” ?

– Craig : You never know, as you never see the films until they are all handed in. I was shocked by a few awards, but at the end of the day it’s all just a bit of fun. Shouldn’t be taken too seriously, hahaha !

– CRY Online : What was your reaction receiving all your awards ?  Did they end up on your chimney ?

– Luis : I was very excited to see that the audience and the judges had liked the movie.  The intention that was put into this project was able to speak to the audience, and that made me very happy ! Yes, they ended up on my chimney, and they will be a reminder for me to put my heart into everything that I do, for it will always comes back to me with a rewarding energy.

If you want to know more about :

– Craig’s parodies, you can watch them all in our “Short Movies” section !

– Luis Pazos, check out the second part of this interview on “My Walk of Fame

– the Toscars, check their website !


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