Last week, Michael A. MacRae’s feature film Fishbowl California was released in America on iTunes and Amazon, after premiering at the Columbus International Film & Animation Festival in March. Having started his career as an actor, Fishbowl California marks Michael’s first feature-length film as a writer and director, which saw him co-write the film with Wyatt Aledort and Jordon Hodges. The Fishbowl California sales representative California Pictures will be screening the film at Cannes 2018, with hopes to release it in the UK and worldwide later this year. We recently caught up with Michael to find out about the making of Fishbowl California, having the film premiere at the Columbus International & Animation Festival and how the title of the film came about.
Can you tell us about your new film Fishbowl California, which was released in America last week?
The film is about a guy named Rodney who is down on his luck. He meets a drunk, ailing widow who enlightens him.
Were there any films or directors that prompted you to start work on the film and where did you get the inspiration from to write it?
I’m a HUGE Judd Apatow fan. The 40-Year Old Virgin is one of my all-time favourites. Judd’s one of the filmmakers who inspired me to create comedy. I was lucky enough to meet him recently and was able to chat about Fishbowl California. The writers, Wyatt Aledort, Jordon Hodges and myself wanted to do a coming-of-age comedy, but we definitely wanted to add a bit of heart. Several hours, and hundreds of dollars in pizza later, we came up with this refreshing story.
How did the title Fishbowl California come about?
Sort of a funny story. I originally titled it Hate Is A Strong Word and that was deemed too long. So, we completely changed it to Fishbowl because Rodney, the lead, is in a way trapped in a fishbowl. Sadly, there were a few other titles with that name, so one of our writers suggested Fishbowl California, and having shot completely on location in California, it made sense to us. Oh, and Hotel California is a good song too!
How long has the film been in the making and did you have any involvement in the casting?
The film took about a year to write. We started in 2016 and shot in the spring of 2017. We wrapped mid-April 2017 and began editing right away. The film released on May 1st, 2018. It’s been a non-stop journey, but all so worth it. I oversaw casting the whole way – from going through submissions and tapes, to fielding offers for our cameo cast with agents. It was a thoroughly enjoyable process and I learned a lot from it.
You have also worked as an actor in a number of different projects, do you think your acting experience helped your work on this film?
100%. I felt like I was able to convey direction to actors while understanding their processes and choices.
In March, Fishbowl California premiered at the Columbus International Film & Animation Festival, what was the response like?
The response was great! The house was packed with Ohio locals and it was great to hear their perspective on the film. We were so grateful to the festival organisers for having us there and showing us the Columbus way.
Fishbowl California is being released on iTunes and Amazon in America, do you know if there are plans for a UK and worldwide release?
YES! Our sales rep (California Pictures) is screening the film at Cannes 2018, and we hope to release to the UK and many other countries in the next few months.
What five words would you use to describe the film to potential new viewers?
Funny, Quirky, Full of Heart!
If it doesn’t give any spoilers, has it been left open for you to write a sequel?
Nope. This is definitely a stand-alone film.
Now Fishbowl California has been released, what are your plans?
Promoting, promoting, promoting! Hopefully the film becomes a cult hit so I can take a nap… for months.
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