Starting his career in acting, Michael A. MacRae released his debut directorial feature-length film in the USA early last week, which he also wrote and produced. Currently only available in America, comedy movie Fishbowl California will hopefully be released worldwide later this year. We recently caught up with Michael to find out about casting for the movie, the response at the Columbus Film Festival and the making of Fishbowl California.
Why is the production titled Fishbowl California?
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!
Can you tell us what the movie is about?
The film is about a guy named Rodney who is down on his lucky. He meets a drunk ailing widow who enlightens him.
How long has it been in the making?
The film took about a year to write. We started in 2016 and shot in the Spring of 2017. The film released on May 1st, 2018.
How did you come up with the idea?
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.
Do you think it helped being an actor yourself?
100%. I felt like I was able to convey direction to actors while understanding their processes and choices.
Did you have any involvement in the casting?
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.
We know the film is being released in America on iTunes and Amazon, are there plans for a UK release and worldwide?
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.
Have you got any plans for when it’s released?
Promoting, promoting, promoting! Hopefully the film becomes a cult hit so I can take a nap… for months.
How long ago did filming wrap?
We wrapped mid-April 2017 and began editing right away. It’s been a non-stop journey, but all so worth it.
What was the response like at the Columbus Film Festival?
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.
Were there any movies or directors that inspired you to write Fishbowl California?
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.
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.
What five words would you use to encourage people to watch the film?
Funny, Quirky, Full of Heart!
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Fishbowl California links: