We had the good fortune of connecting with Ian Stout and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ian, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Creating my own video production company, Vertica Productions LLC, was born out of my passion. I was already making outdoor adventure films with my friends while snowboarding in the winter, and then the rafting company I was guiding for during the summer started taking clients that wanted their white water adventures captured as well. Creating an LLC was the next obvious step.
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.
Film, for me, is the ultimate art form. It combines the best of so many others. The power of an image. The emotion of an actor feeling real feelings. The light that sculpts the scene. The care that goes into set design and location scouting. All this is then enhanced through sound design and an epic film score. I love it all so much!
It’s always an interesting exercise in self reflection when I try and think about what sets me apart from other filmmakers. We are all using a familiar language, but hopefully, the essence of each one of us shines through as we aim to tell the stories that evoke something visceral within ourselves. So far my work seems to tackle the darker sides of humanity, while hopefully pointing the viewer towards the light as well. My award winning short, To No End, is about the insanity of a culture that is okay stoning a person to death. This film asks the question, “How does this kind of a mind virus get passed down from generation to generation, and what does it look like for someone to break that cycle?” If you would like to watch the film, you can find it on my website, ianstout.com under the Writer/Director tab.
How did I get to this part of my career? The easiest answer is I simply haven’t given up. It hasn’t always been easy. Dare I even bring up the pandemic? Being an indie filmmaker has always been about being resourceful, resilient, and pivoting on the fly. So pivot I have! Co-writing and then taking on the lead role in Love In Dangerous Times, directed by Jon Garcia, in the early part of lockdown in 2020 was a message to myself, that I’m not giving up on the things I love most. The pandemic took away our commercial work for a big chunk of time so finding a small team, and co-creating a feature film was our answer to one closed door. The film was completed in less than 5 months and picked up for distribution by Dark Star Pictures, and is now available on all major streaming platforms. Huge shout outs to my co lead, Tiffany Groben, and our co producer and crew of one, Steve Avalon Garner! It was such a blast making this film with you and the rest of the incredible actors that broadcast in from all over the world via video chat as we created an entirely new way of telling a story!
As far as lessons along the way? There are more that I could ever count. Each little gem came from getting out there and making a film. Creating 15 or 20 unwatchable short films has taught so many invaluable lessons. Every day on set you will learn at least one new thing. When you are filming all the time, you find out what will or will not work in the edit. You begin to better understand lighting, and how to cut shots and still make a scene work when the sun is going down and you only have five more minutes of usable light. There are so many lessons that could never be learned by simply reading a book about filmmaking. And yet, books are also important! Direction Actors by Judith Weston has provided me personally the most powerful tool set for communicating with actors. She offers you a language and a way of being on set that cultivates a state of collaboration that can help build rapport with your actors who then feel safe to be vulnerable to really go for it.
If I wanted the word to know one thing about me and my story it would be that I’m human. I’m human and I want to share human stories. Life is a mess. It can also be so beautiful. I hope my films will inspire people to find the beauty in whatever mess they are in. We are all currently in the mess of a lifetime with this pandemic. So where is the beauty? It’s in you and in me. It’s in the stories we can share with one another. Even on the worst day there can be a beautiful sunset. An act of kindness that you just so happened to be in the right place at the right time to witness can truly lift your spirits. I hope that my films capture those moments. Those beautiful little moments worth sharing!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Welcome to Portland Oregon! It’s a bit of a mess here right now as our houseless community is ever on the rise and we are still recovering from all the protests brought on by the social injustice that so many cities have been facing nationwide. But we are also resilient!
We still have some of the best food in the nation! Especially if you are a plant based eater like myself. If you come and visit we will eat all the amazing food!
Next we are off to Forest Park! We have miles and miles of incredible hiking through wooded trails just minutes from downtown.
And a tour of Portland is not complete without a trip across the St Johns bridge!
Finally, we can wind down at my favorite clothing optional spa. Some of my best filmmaking ideas come from sitting eyes closed in the sauna or bobbing around in the hot tub contemplating life, the universe and everything!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
This may sound a bit generic, but all of my actor friends and colleagues deserve the biggest shout out from me! The more I meet incredibly talented and hard working actors, the more I am inspired to write and direct epic parts for them. The best kind of filmmaking is always a collaboration. And for sure, I love my crew and the technical side of things can be a blast as well! It is always a team effort. Then, once you have created the world and call “ACTION!” you get to watch the actors bring their characters to life! This is still one of my most favorite things on this planet to witness.