Q&A with Dan Liechty of RaceWalkers
Racewalkers was the 2010 Winner of Best Narrative Feature. Aaron Cole sat down with Dan for a little Q&A.
AC: Thanks for your time Dan. Can I call you Dan? That leads me to my first question. What is your real name?
DL: Um… Daniel James Liechty.
AC: Would you name yourself something different?
DL: There’s always stage names I suppose. Maybe Daniel James. I don’t know I’d be prepared to change. If I make it big I’m going to make them learn how to pronounce my name.
AC: What’s your favorite independent film?
DL: That’s a tough one. There’s so many I like. One in particular, I saw last year at Festivus, the mustache film, (Between the Upper Lip and Nasal Passageway: A Modern Account of the Mustache.) Great doc short by Ryan Green.
AC: What’s a film that inspired you to be a filmmaker?
DL: I don’t know that there is one in particular. “Field of Dreams” maybe because it was filmed in Iowa and I grew up in Iowa. I guess, older, more epic, character-driven films.
AC: What did you learn from Festivus last year?
DL: Last year’s Festivus was one of the first festivals that I’ve been to and I learned that talent of filmmakers and people that you meet there doesn’t depend on the size of the festival. I was surprised at the talent there. Some of the lower budget films were some of the ones that I enjoyed the most. It was encouraging to be around young filmmakers that were so passionate. It was my introduction to festivals and it was a good one. I’ve been to a few more since, and they’re bigger and more spread out with bigger names — but they weren’t as enjoyable.
AC: Dan, what color are your shoes right now?
DL: My shoes? Brown flip-flops.
AC: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
DL: Hopefully not still working for the federal government. Hopefully making films independently, because I don’t know how else to do it. And hopefully living in Colorado. I’m a lot happier here. I’d also like to find more people to surround myself to (make good films). That what makes good filmmakers.
AC: What’s your favorite cheap trick?
DL: A good, homemade steady-cam can go a long ways. I think that overpriced steady-cams are overrated.
AC: Any advice for upcoming filmmakers?
DL: Some people go the route of film school, I didn’t. I think the most important thing is finding that community of indie filmmakers, people who want to learn and get better to surround yourself with. A lot of independent filmmakers — especially today with so many people making films — get delusional about what they can do and it’s important to know what you need to do to get better. Surrounding yourself with people who know what they’re doing, you get better and you better as you go. My advice would have to be that you always have to be working to become better. I see that as the most important thing.
AC: Evaluate yourself as a filmmaker.
DL: I’d say I’m pretty determined, but I know that usually when I get ready to go on a project and I push through and wherever we’re short, I get past it in a hurry. I shoot from the hip without planning meticulously. Being determined and wanting to become better. That’s how I would describe myself.
-Aaron Cole email@example.com