In advance of its premiere at the forthcoming sixth annual HollyShorts Film Festival, I had a chance to talk with Zachary Quinto about his new short film, Hostage: A Love Story, his own production company and how receptive the Heroes and Star Trek fanbases are to his efforts to branch out. Excerpts from the interview are as follows:
Brent Simon: What’s your relationship with (director) Hank Nelkin, and how did you come to be involved in Hostage: A Love Story?
Zachary Quinto: Hostage came to our company through the writers, Holt Bailey and Brian Steele, who are old friends. Neal Dodson, my business partner at Before the Door, had worked with Hank on some movie projects at Warner Bros. Through several weeks of preparation with our other partner, Corey Moosa, along with Hank, Holt and Steele, we developed the final script for the project and scheduled the shoot.
BS: What was the shooting schedule for the production?
ZQ: We shot the short over a very hot weekend in July. We shot all of the locations in two days — from a bakery to a medical center to a West Hollywood bar. Some of the film was shot in the Before The Door office. We took advantage of any opportunity that we could to really develop the locations and make this short something that was more complex than many short films, especially those shot in only two days.
BS: Heroes and Star Trek obviously each have large and passionate followings. As a general rule, do you find that those respective fanbases are interested in following you through on to other projects, or are they mostly just focused on your specific work on that show and film?
ZQ: The Heroes and Star Trek fans have been a great support as we have grown as a company. They are very active in our online community on my website. No matter what projects we have put before these fans, they have been exceptional in spreading the word and making sure that we are encouraged to continue bringing new material to the world — whether on the big screen or on their computer screens.
BS: How does having your own media production company, with all its attendant projects — including a graphic novel and assorted web shorts — satisfy creative urges you couldn’t otherwise “scratch,” as it were? And do you see the creative landscape changing radically for actor/performers in the coming years?
ZQ: Before the Door has given me the opportunity to look at projects more objectively. I’m not reading scripts or developing films just for myself, but for a community of people, including the writers and artists and actors, who will all be involved in bringing new stories to the world. It has been both inspiring and humbling to delve into this side of the business. The creative landscape is always changing. As a performer, I see that there are a variety of new media opportunities in which to express myself and to stretch my abilities. As a producer, I can see a great number of changes for everyone, as more and more people are looking to be entertained in places other than just their living rooms. There is a rich landscape for creative people who want to explore more of their opportunities on the web, for sure. In doing a few short films for Internet release, I realize just how many projects there must be around the world waiting for people to discover them online. And I have really enjoyed being able to play different roles and show more of my sense of humor to people who might have only seen me in Star Trek or Heroes.
Hostage was a new experience for all of us. It brought Hank, a feature writer-director, into a new medium. Holt and Steele have continued to develop concepts for the web, and have begun a hysterical series of their own videos. Our company has since also had the opportunity to work with another Before the Door collaborator and friend, Victor Quinaz, on his Periods web series.
BS: Have you had any experience before with the HollyShorts festival, in years past?
ZQ: I haven’t had the pleasure of working with HollyShorts in the past. This is our first year [with a film there], and it will hopefully lead to more chances to work together in the future.