We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Park and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashley, how do you think about risk?
What some people consider risk, I consider a calculated investment in myself. As an independent film producer, it’s about taking stock of what you have, and finding a way to make something good with it. This ‘no excuses’ approach to production means not waiting for the ideal circumstances to begin a project. If you wait for things to be perfect, you will always be waiting. While this approach does involve risk, it also ensures that you are constantly growing as a person and a creative professional. I think the greater risk is not making your project, because the only movie guaranteed to fail is the one you never finish.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The process of film production is fraught with challenges. What makes this company unique is that we choose to embrace limitations as a creative catalyst. Telling a good story despite extreme budgetary constraints means being inventive, flexible and willing to do most of the jobs yourself. It also means cutting out indulgences like gourmet catering, trailers and expensive special effects. By taking away all the bells and whistles, it forces a filmmaker to think only about the essential elements needed to tell the story. On our latest project, STAY, we embraced a low-tech/vlogger style format that allowed us to use smartphones rather than expensive cinema cameras. This literally put the fate of the project in our hands as we tried to extract the best results from a common device. I actually taught myself how to edit in order to complete our first film. The lesson here is that nobody will believe in your project as much as you do. If you can’t afford to hire the talent, it’s important that you’re willing to teach yourself how to do the things needed to achieve your goal. Thankfully, in today’s information-rich world, there is probably a video about whatever you are interested in! I don’t think that I am uniquely qualified to do this kind of work or have any special advantages. I am, however, willing to look silly and admit that I don’t always have the answers. That just means figuring out a way to do what often seems too hard or unpleasant. When all is said and done, I put my whole heart into making something new. To create from nothing means putting faith in an outcome that is far from certain.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Some of LA’s best spots are somewhat hidden from view. The Chateau Marmont, Hollywood Roosevelt, and Biltmore Hotel in DTLA provide a rare glimpse into a glamorous Los Angeles of days gone by. And no trip to LA is complete without spending some time by the water in Santa Monica or Malibu, hiking Fryman Canyon, and walking through The Grove and LA’s Original Farmers Market. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I recently formed a new company called Ghost Machine Pictures with Emmy Award-winning writer, Brandon Walker. This enterprise is dedicated to the production and distribution of independent films with a supernatural component.
Richard Ackerman Shana Owen