Andy Blubaugh is a young filmmaker from Portland, Oregon whose 15-minute short film, Scaredycat, will air alongside Oscar-winner Freida Lee Mock’s Wrestling with Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner this week on PBS. An experimental documentary about the role fear plays in our lives, Scaredycat takes as a point of departure the beating of Andy at the hands of a gang of young men who called themselves “The Portland Riders.”
We interviewed Andy about the making of Scaredycat, and he told us about his obsessions and compulsions with fear, and the deeper themes of the film.
We also noticed that Andy has an excellent website for his work, and we thought we’d also take this opportunity to ask him some questions about how he approaches promoting his work online. As the Web because an indispensable tool for film promotion and distribution, what should filmmakers be thinking about as they create a website for their work?
You have a very extensive website for your documentary work. The site includes links to iTunes (for downloading Scaredycat), a blog and much more. How important do you think having a website is for today’s mediamakers?
Andy Blubaugh: The Internet is a crucial tool for independent filmmakers. I use my website to promote my work to people who have never seen my films before, to provide background information to people who might want to cover me in their newspaper or blog, and to connect with people who want to continue the conversation I am trying to spark in my filmmaking.
What advice would you give to a documentary filmmaker about to make a website for their work?
Andy: You should imagine that you are making the website for someone who needs information about your work as quickly as possible, such as a reporter or a festival programmer. Make the basic information easy to find, and include plenty of details for those who will need it.
Scaredycat is available on the iTunes store (via the 2007 Sundance Festival page) for $1.99 per download. Has this allowed more people to see the film? Any thoughts on these new platforms for distribution?
Andy: The iTunes store has been a great way for people to support my work who aren’t necessarily ready to purchase a DVD from me when they meet me, or at a festival screening. They can go home, read more about my work, and make the transaction on their own time. Frequently this involves visiting my website, so I get a lot more feedback from people who have seen the film online than from people who have seen it in the theater.
Do you have day job now? What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
Andy: I teach film at the Northwest Film Center School of Film in Portland, Oregon. I think the worst job I ever had was janitor at a gym known for lots of extracurricular activity in the hot tub.
What are your five favorite documentary films?
Andy: Gimme Shelter, Salesman, Zoo, Public Housing, The Thin Blue Line
Read more of our interview with Andy <!–and don’t forget to check out Scaredycat online or on PBS with Wrestling with Angels (check local listings)–> and let us know what you think of Scaredycat in the comments section below!