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Interview with Writer and Director, Adam Russell

August 15, 2011  
Filed under Profiles / Interviews

By Bethany Nauert —

screenwriter adam russell

{Adam Russel; Photo courtesy of Brian Overend}

“I approach screenwriting the same way I approached writing poems in my black and white speckled composition book in sixth grade. The end goal is to evoke emotion, any emotion, within yourself first (if you’re not feeling anything from your writing no one else will), then with the audience (in that case it was my classmates). Once you have that initial attention the hope is that there is something meaningful being conveyed, something lasting to leave people with. I’m not quite sure what the deep message was back in sixth grade, but I hope at this point what I say resonates.”

Born and raised in Connecticut, Adam Russell is a writer/director based in LA and received his BA in Film and Media Arts from Temple University in Philadelphia where his short film Lucky Day earned him the Best Student Film Award at the 2008 Connecticut Film Festival.

Adam’s newest passion project is a film titled For Who I am. Adam is someone who truly expresses his enthusiasm of community, and the benefits of raising awareness about certain local or even global issues. Not only does his self-proclaimed “visceral connection” to this city keep him inspired and “constantly adapting”—but he’s found his niche in writing and aims to bring visual fortitude to these ideas.

Most recently Adam joined the fundraising website and raised 150 percent of their set goal to fund their new film. In his promo video he even states what an incredible atelier of artists he’s gathered to bring this production to fruition.

He’s joined photographer Brian Overend, to create a narrative focused on today’s society seen through the dissolve of a modern relationship. “If I had to sum up the theme in one word it would be: perception. It is at the core of every conflict, the heart of every character.” In the video promo, Adam and Brian both talk about the mood and tone of the film—which is somehow reminiscent Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine.  The topic of love or lack thereof is never simply described; it’s often thrilling yet addicting, overlooked by self destruction and sometimes never brought to light until years later.

A synopsis: “A woman tries to salvage her marriage to a man overcome by self- absorption. In doing so, she wrestles with intense bouts of jealousy over her husband’s deceased ex-wife and her lingering presence. This project isn’t just a story about a troubled marriage, it is a commentary on today’s society, the complexities of human interactions, and how they both effect one and other; issues that we can all relate to in different ways.”

20 Questions with Adam Russell About Life in LA

1). How long have you been an Angelino?

I’ve called Los Angeles home for 4 years now.

2). What part of Los Angeles do you live in?

The Bermuda Triangle. It’s hard to describe, especially to someone unfamiliar with the area, so I’d say Mid-City. Technically, it’s Carthay Square.

3). What turns you on the most about this city?

Out of every city I’ve lived in L.A. for some reason has grabbed me and isn’t letting go. I equate it to being in a rocky relationship. No matter how dysfunctional it may be, there’s something visceral that’s connecting you. I think it has a lot to do with the sense of inspiration, stimuli, diversity, and the sense that this place, so young historically, is constantly adapting – always capable of being molded for the better.

4). What turns you off the most about this city?

Inaction. Maybe it’s not exclusive to this city; there’s an overarching theme there that could last pages and pages. I guess a shining example of this would be the lack of Public Transportation. Personally and professionally, I’d have to say “meetings for the sake of meetings”.

5). Favorite place to eat Sunday brunch?

Still investigating this in my new neighborhood. I’d say Aroma Café in Studio City if I had to choose.

6). Most overrated venue?

For being an audiophile, and amateur musician always surrounded by music, I’m definitely behind on exploring all the venues. I think I’ll be kind to those not-so-great ones and just say so far I enjoyed The Troubadour most. Reminds me of some intimate spots back East.

7). Who is your favorite local artist?

Painter Hans Walor. His work is currently displayed at C.A.V.E. gallery on Abbot Kinney. I think it may have been partly due to the circumstances, but his piece: “She Paints the World With What She Sees,” really moved me.

8). If you were going to move, what would be your next destination?

This has been on my mind lately. I think it would be a foreign country. Somewhere in South America: Brazil, or Argentina. If not there then probably to Europe. I think I ultimately want to wind up in NorCal when I’m older and ready to get away. However, I’m open to go wherever the wind takes me, I guess.

9) Name something you wish would change here.

Again, Public Transit is a given, so maybe the disparity between classes, which effects nearly everything, especially the school systems. There are a lot of charities trying to help underprivileged schools. I’ll plug one I’ve participated in: Young Storytellers Foundation.

10). Favorite time of year in LA?

The beauty of LA is that there are seasons they just aren’t as drastic and overwhelming as some other parts of the country. I certainly don’t miss shoveling snow for hours on end. That being said, I’ll go with summer. You can’t beat the outdoor concerts, beach life, screenings at Hollywood Forever Cemetery – so much going on. There always is though, right?

11). Where to go for the best happy hour?

The best one I’ve seen/been to was Gyu-Kaku. It was pretty much 99 cent beers all night. However, there are plenty of dives that are consistently cheap, which is ideal for us starving artists.

12). Best flea market?

Melrose & Fairfax. I’m sure there are better ones. Any recommendations?

13). What is the best exhibition you’ve seen here?

Salvador Dali at the LACMA. I want to go see the Tim Burton exhibit that’s going now too.

14). Where is the best place to go on a first date?

Dating in L.A. can be painful. However, there’s certainly no shortage of places to go. It’s all dependent on the person, and how creative or romantic you want to go. Lunch at the Getty Center Garden is always nice, or for dinner and drinks: Edendale in Silver Lake.

15). Favorite of all the tourist spots?

After four years I’m still discovering new things, so why go with the standard tourist destinations. I try to avoid these at all costs, yet there are a few spots that just can’t be ignored. I must say though, The Griffith Park Observatory, looking out at the entire city, especially at night, is special.

16). Best venue to see a live show?

Any venue that happens to highlight that particular genre. Singer Songwriter: Hotel Café or The Mint.  Seeing a band? Troubadour, or Satellite, (it’s still tough to call it that, cause it’s formerly SPACELAND. The new name just reminds me of the DMB song and that’s painful. Great venue though).

17). Name a hidden LA gem that has not been taken over yet.

Well, that would kind of defeat the purpose now wouldn’t it. This place deserves all the business it can get so, Paper or Plastik Café on Pico. It’s more than just a coffee shop. You’ll see. It’s become my new spot.

18). If LA had a subway system like New York or bus system like San Francisco, would you use it? Or would you stick with your car?

Metro all the way. Part of my reason for moving out of the valley and into the city was to walk more. I have a friend who has lived here just as long and has NEVER owned a car. I don’t know how he does it. It can be done if you’re motivated and patient enough to take the bus and the few rail lines. Eventually it will get there. Lots of places are bike friendly too.

19). Biggest (but most true) cliché about LA?

People drive everywhere. A block might as well be a trip to Santa Barbara. Living the valley this whole time was like living in another state to most.

20). What mark do you want to leave on the world?

The mark I’m trying to leave is simply doing my part, what ever that may be, to help those in need, to promote a free and peaceful world, one that embraces progress and everyone who is willing to do the same. If doing my part happens to fall in line with my passions, and creating moving pictures is the vehicle, then I could only be so lucky.

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