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My Power is Persistence – Interview with Steve Plitt

Folks, I rarely cover content I’ve worked on, even if it’s for a few days. But with current writer Shaun having done his Tales From the Background and former writer Darren going into detail with one of his own filmmaking experiences, I’ll talk about something I worked on once in a blue moon. So let’s get into the full disclosure of a feature that could and did, and surely will do even more. 

This is the story of Super-Anon, a movie about family members of superheroes who deal with the fact their relatives have special powers that make ‘em stand out. A great concept that would make for quite a lot of work as a feature, but ultimately worth it. I got involved in this when my best friend Jonathan Rido hardly had time to help out with the responsibilities of 1st AD on a volunteer basis. With paid work for him going on, he decided it was best to bring in a substitute, someone who was a professional, somebody who knew a lot about film already, a guy who had the education and the experience, among everything else. Yeah, he chose me. But then, I did supervise on Rido’s sets in the past and help him out with some small issues here and there, so how hard could this be? Well, for starters, I had to keep in contact with another AD and all the talent to explain what was going on. I was only available for 2-3 days though as eventually I’d have to go to my own job which I got hired for a couple weeks ago. But I still had some experience and I worked the best I could with what happened. On my first day, I managed to gather the majority of cast and crew at a parking lot outside Science World, and from there we had to wait for Steve himself to drive in. He told me however he would be late because the truck full of equipment was delayed in picking up the equipment and there were traffic issues too. That alone was enough to have me make an important announcement to everyone by barking “YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE!” like the voiceover of some train or plane safety announcement. With the news of Steve’s delay, a makeup artist packed up her kit and hit the road but that was expected. Steve eventually arrived and soon we got together to get shots of the town of Vancouver and eat some craft service from Keto Caveman, a longtime caterer of Vancouver film productions. Despite the very mild chaos, it was an okay experience, and since we were such a small crew everything went okay, even if our phone batteries were on the verge of death and some phone batteries even died. At least the crew survived.

Honestly, I was unsure what would become of Super-Anon. I’ve been used to a lot of failed productions. Recently, I’ve been working with two eccentric filmmakers and both of them spent hours coming up with concepts, then filming them, only for things to go a different way and the next thing you know their films have just remained as footage and nothing more, sometimes even being lost in the scary sacred depths of digi-hell where all deleted files get re-purposed into new data. The very first failed production I experienced was the remarkably long film some of my classmates wrote in Grade 9 and only a few scenes got made. Then there was some stuff in Art Institute that just managed to make it through delivery stage and was still a cinematic flop no matter what. One time near the end of the year, I teamed up with some students and one drop-out so we could make our own short for a contest, with the prize being a trip to Italy, a big budget to finance the feature/sequel, and the opportunity to work with Ridley Scott’s crew. About 3% of the film got shot, and we were pretty much in danger with where we were (the parking lot of a motel in Surrey past midnight), and we had to give it up. The director and team leader said the film would be shelved, but nothing of it ever saw the light of day. Neither did independent productions from Art Institute Students after they dropped out or graduated or from those who were on break. Sadly, I’m one of the few from that school who still works in film-related work to this day. But that’s because of a special power that Steve and I and many of us have: Persistence. Steve had a lot of problems, especially in the timing and wardrobe with the film, but that didn’t stop him from achieving his goal. He was resilient and so were the people in the cast and crew. I even helped him out at one point sharing a post he made in hopes I could recruit new members to his team. It must’ve worked because he’s in the post-production stage by now. 

I had to learn more about Steve’s superpower and how he used it to overcome these hurdles. I also had to reconnect because we hadn’t contacted in over a year, and because every other writer was a bit too swamped. Plus, Ty Javos (who I spoke to before another interview) thought this would be a great opportunity for us both, and I agree that it was. So put on your coloured tights, sharpen your crime sense, and let’s get ready to fight the evil errors with Steve as he explains to the public of how he used his powers.

HNMAG: Congratulations on finally getting the film done. To start off, just how long did it take?

Steve Plitt: We started filming in September, and we took a break so we finished shooting in March 2023. But there was a break over Christmas and January, about a month. Then we did some pickups in December 2023. End-to-end, 14 months but actually works out to about 33 days altogether, and they were fairly short days.

 

HNMAG: When I worked on set, there were problems including being late with the equipment van, people having to leave early, and postponed days. How did you overcome these issues?

Steve Plitt: We didn’t have a lot of problems like that, one of the big problems with a film like this is scheduling issues because everybody’s working on a volunteer basis and we can’t ask them to leave work to be a part of this film and lose money. We kind of had to work around that, there were times when we had the group altogether and we had to shoot part of the scene for one day and then we had to come around with the camera and shoot the rest of it on another day. That was kind of how we worked around it. We did manage to get a fairly decent crew together in January and were running it a lot more smoothly than in November and December. 

 

HNMAG: It’s also my understanding I wasn’t the first AD who had to leave after a couple of days. Just how many did you go through?

Steve Plitt: (laughs) Golly, I think we went through about 4 1st AD’s, at least 3. We went through far more costume designers, we went through 7. Which is a little hard on a superhero movie, there was a point where I was designing the costumes which is a bad idea. 

 

HNMAG: What other kind of problems did you face and what did you do to take care of them?

Steve Plitt: There was so many little problems, one of the problems we had was not enough crew. We had to shoot a little more conservatively so we didn’t have as many camera moves as I would like. In fact, we had a dolly and track available to us, but we couldn’t take it with us because there was nobody to operate it. That was a bit of a disappointment, and I’ve had a fair amount of experience operating camera, doing sound and things like that. When there was somebody missing, I stepped in. 

 

HNMAG: Amidst all the struggle and disadvantages and problems, was there any advantages you had?

Steve Plitt: I think a small crew makes a difference because you can get in and out of situations quickly. We didn’t have to have a large crew to get into a building where there is not enough room for people, so we could do things a lot more easily and move faster.

But there were still problems here and there, and one of them was that not everyone was as experienced as expected, according to Steve. As someone who worked on it, I was a little unsure of communicating with so many people regarding schedule, but I managed to pull it off for those several days and then a day later even after I moved on to take a scare actor job. While the less experienced people did make the job time more longer, everybody really pulled their weight in a big way because they were all very enthusiastic. 

 

HNMAG: Why did you choose to go with a volunteer cast and crew?

Steve Plitt:  I couldn’t find enough money…

 

HNMAG: It was also union designated status. Was there a reason for doing so?

Steve Plitt:  We talked to UBCP, made the proper payments, paid the proper insurance for that and the actors were union. We had 5 actors who were UBCP and the rest were just independent. 

 

HNMAG: How did you find the right actors for roles? Were they people you knew or did you go through a certain casting process?

Steve Plitt: Rowan Jang who runs Mitribe Media hosted the readings of this project, a couple of years before we actually shot it. He brought together a bunch of actors, and the readings were very popular and very well so some of those actors came on board, but I basically enlisted him to cast. He’s got good connections so much thanks to him for doing that. We really lucked out on cast, I think.

 

HNMAG: Now to get more into the film concept itself. Where did the concept come from?

Steve Plitt: I don’t know exactly, it just appeared to me in July 2014 somewhere around there. I suddenly had this idea: Super-Anon! It’s a support group for families with superheroes. I thought “that’s cool” and later in the year, there was a 48-hour film contest. We chose that as our idea and I just got the producer to get together 9 actors who were good at improv. That 10-minute film I think went to 60 festivals, on 5 continents and just won under 20 awards.

 

HNMAG: How else does it differ from the usual superhero movies?

Steve Plitt: This movie kind of turns the usual superhero movie on its head. It’s about a support group for families of superheroes who always feel like underdogs, so how do they deal with that? Superheroes are kind of in the background the whole time, so it’s not a film about superheroes. It’s a film about families and relatives of superheroes.

 

HNMAG: Have you done other superhero type films before?

Steve Plitt: No. I’ve done the various elements of it, I’ve done some green screen work, I’ve done drama work. One thing that I haven’t done is a large cast in a room at the same time. We had as many as 9 or 10 cast members at the same time. That was new.

 

HNMAG: Do you see this being a standalone piece or will you make more movies about this coming out?

Steve Plitt: There’s always the possibility of a sequel, I think for any movie. Somebody suggested we do a television series. I’m just waiting to see how this one does before we look at sequels or television series.

 

HNMAG: What other concepts do you hope to try?

Steve Plitt: I like the action/comedy genre, so I think I”m going to stay there. I’ve got a few ideas that I haven’t quite fleshed out yet. One of them that’s got a working title called “I Suck at Facebook”, about a guy who accidentally friends the wrong people. He winds up having to broker a mid-east peace deal (laughs)

 

HNMAG: It’s my understanding there’s a documentary about all the errors behind the scenes as well. Will that be coming out shortly after Super-Anon gets released?

Steve Plitt: Yeah, we did shoot a lot of footage for that with cellphones and things. It’s going to be a matter of when I can find time or when I can find somebody to do it. I’d love to hand it off to somebody. 

Steve said he was currently in the process of editing Super-Anon so maybe it would be best for someone else to take on the documentary. If any editors are reading and would be interested in the job, reach out to Steve on Super-Anon‘s official site. There’s plenty of stuff on there too.

 

HNMAG: So you’re editing the whole film. When can we expect to see it?

Steve Plitt: Probably late summer, early fall of 2024.

 

HNMAG: With some of the wardrobe issues, did some actors have to provide their own costumes for the shoot?

Steve Plitt: Costumes per se, yes, as that’s what superheroes wear. But in terms of wardrobe, it was the actors own wardrobe.

 

HNMAG: What is one of your favourite superhero films?

Steve Plitt: I liked the first Iron Man, I also liked the first Batman movie with Christian Bale. Those were perfect movies.

 

HNMAG: If you were a superhero, what power would you have and why?

Steve Plitt: (laughs) Flying is what helps you to get places fast and I think I’d like to fly around a like a bird and confuse eagles.

Steve had another cool power that he would like, but let’s just say it’s too cool to talk about in this article. Not to mention it might give away his other identity as that one person who does that one thing in our city. I can’t tell you who, but Steve has used his super senses to save every day in production, and he continues to do so in post-production. Just before the interview, Steve had a near-fatal error with a hard drive full of footage but saved the day with his super data rescue powers. We’ll have to wait for this film and the Behind the Scenes Doc that follows, but until then, let’s let Super-Steve and his awesome abilities take care of it all. If he continues to use his super speed in moderation, we’ll see results super soon.

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