Interviewing Krissi and Frankie from ‘Gigs’

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Frankie Jason Turner (Russell/filmmaker) in the lower left corner addressing the mic. 

Gigs” the comedy short by director Frankie Jason Turner won the Best Comedy Award   at the 3rd Annual Sunrise 45 Film Festival.  “Gigs,” written and directed by Frankie Jason Turner, was produced by Frankie Jason Turner, Robert Margolan, and Krissi Kinney; with cinematography by Adam Herbstreit  

Gigs” stars Frankie Jason Turner as Russell, Robert Magolan as Cool-Aid (Kenny), and Krissi Kinney as Ashes, with a cast of others in various episodes of what was to have been a  web-series.

The fact that this web-series/amalgamation really threw Frankie when it won, and surprised him even more when after posting on youtube,  Michigan Movie Weekender wrote him a review which really caught him off guard.

According to Frankie,  he was more than a little “flattered and a bit dumbstruck” by the response to his movie and to the review which was done on “Gigs“.  Why? This was his first attempt at making something like “Gigs“. Said Frankie, “I’m very proud of it just always surprised that it translates. “

“Gigs” had started as a feature length movie, but because of a fluke medical condition which landed Frankie in the hospital for a spell, as Frankie tells it, ” It ended up impossible to keep continuity for a feature length so I just started releasing the clips online and people responded.”

After “Gigs” was awarded Best Comedy and it was posted on Youtube.com,  I had a chance to talk with both Krissy Kinney (who had played Ashley AKA Ashes) and Frankie Jason Turner (Russell) about this project and what else they have done.

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You have a marvelous voice.

Thank you! I sing but no other instruments

Then you are a vocalist.
That’s me! 
Cool! I have much regard for vocalists. I cannot carry a tune in a bucket.
Aw, thank you.
Trained?  Have you taken classes in singing?
Okay, you have some real acting chops.  I liked the way you presented your character.
Thanks so much! I did theater for 15 years and I’ve been doing film for about 4 years  I’ve been a producer for about 2 years and do casting, location management, etc
Okay, what directors have you worked with?
Stephen florentine, as a director.  April Washko, as a director.  Steve and I have a production company together called It’s Alive Films

As a casting director , were you the one to pull this cast together for Gigs?

Yes! I did all the actors (who don’t play music) and Frankie did the musicians he had worked with before
Now, were you saying that Steve and April were directors on “Gigs?”  Or were you saying that they are directors with whom you have worked?

No, Steve is a director I’ve produced/casted with for It’s Alive Films (Friday Night Death Slot is our latest film) April is director of Chair Gang, a web series I am in and have produced for as well
Noted.
Thanks!!
Where are you guys located? This is really the first time I have encountered your friends names, or these productions. I thought I had my finger on the pulse of what is happening in Michigan’s film industry.  Every day I learn of something new which has flown under my radar.
It’s Alive Films is out of Utica. Frankie is out of Dearborn  The studio we film at is in Grosse Pointe
Wow, and I am accused of favoring the east side of the state. And this is a first.
  I really try to give balance to everything happening in the state. From Monroe to GR to the UP and Saginaw. This just blows my mind.
Yea, that is a lot of ground to cover! I appreciate the support
I see you have personally worked with Joey Harlow.
Oh yea. That was my first feature film.  I had only done shorts prior
You have done a lot with Charlene Jeter.
Yea, that was my first film altogether. I think I did three back in the day

And you did a thing on Charles Bukowski. Is that the poet?

It is! It was international film. I produced the US portion

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Frankie Jason Turner

Wow man. Thank you so much David. Such a nice review. I’m flattered and a bit dumbstruck…lol….but thank you very much
Frank, Why dumbstruck? “Gigs” was yours, wasn’t it?  If I had sent this to the wrong person, I could understand that reaction. Then I could say I was dumb.
And?
Just cuz this was my first attempt at making something like “Gigs”. I’m very proud of it just always surprised that it translates. Thank you. Very encouraging for me. Folks been hitting me up about it all morning
Take it from me you did good!

Thank you sir

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I am a forty year veteran of the entertainment industry. Before I started covering Michigan’s film industry, I worked in music.  Your film spoke to me.
Wow, man.  That’s great! I’m a musician for a living. “Gigs” was me needing a new outlet and new creative challenge. Most of the frustration portrayed was real…haha
I understand that. I relate 100%.  This was why I decided I needed a change.
I get it. Yes
Although I had success and was successful at various things I had tried, I kept coming back to entertainment journalism.  For me it was a relaxing escape.
That’s fascinating to me.  Love to chat about that sometime. I had a conversation with a pro-musician yesterday and we were discussing how it’s still possible to make a living in a changing entertainment landscape,  but hustle and diversification is key
One of the keys is creativity. That applies as much to marketing oneself, as it does to creating music.   Where I came in was marketing the artist so they could concentrate on their craft.
I agree. I’ve always been bad at marketing myself. I’ve realized it’s not an option. You have to market to exist
What plans do you have for shopping your film around to different film festivals? Are you doing this now? I think you could use more confirmation that what you created is good. At least then you would know I am not blowing smoke.
Ha! I don’t think you’re blowing smoke.  I spoke to a couple production companies about how to adapt for TV which was enlightening. I submitted the web-series to a couple festivals and did not get it but sunrise was the first I submitted the short film version. I’ll definitely submit it to a couple more. We also start filming season 3 of the web series in October and I’m writing a feature I want to shoot in the spring
Thank you. Was I looking at things correctly on youtube. Was the length of each episode 3-5 minutes in length?
Yes, sir
That seems really short as most of episodes of web-series on the streaming platforms are as long as television episodes minus the commercials.

I agree. Truth is “Gigs” started as a feature length. We were a couple weeks into shooting and I ended up in the hospital for a fluke medical problem (which is all good now). It ended up impossible to keep continuity for a feature length so I just started releasing the clips online and people responded. Moving to a longer format would actually be really helpful creatively as it’s been difficult to come up with ways to extend it as a story. Especially because I feel like the “Feel The Music” song really wrapped things up in a way

Or launched it. I think this moment of creativity was really a rebirth for your character, a point from which you can launch him as he discovers what he had seemingly lost for a time. Feel the music and ride that groove wherever it may take you.
Thank you sir I agree and it’s really hard to find encouragement from people who know creative businesses So very much appreciated

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