Walter Woodman is a member of shy kids, a band of filmmakers from Toronto.
Interview by Rebeccah Love
What kind of creative activities do you remember from your childhood?
I remember playing with toys quite a bit. making movies with lego men and action figures. I was home alone a lot so I just remember doing this.
How did art-making play a role in your teenage years?
I was in a highschool band called the castros. with our hit song amy that rhymed “amy” with “the same-y”. I did a bunch of plays and drama club. I also went to TIFF due to a woman I knew named Dana who would sneak me into screenings.
What drew you to film school?
I really liked telling stories…because of the things previously mentioned. I only applied to Ryerson cause I felt what else am I gonna do? I ain’t no Dentist.
What are your thoughts on collaboration in artistic endeavours? You've worked closely with Patrick Cederberg, Matthew Hornick, Greg Francis, Choir Choir Choir. What have you learned from working with other people?
Patrick - I’ve learned to not be so literal.
Matt - I’ve learned you need to practice everyday.
Greg - His would be more technical things like how to screw in a lightbulb and what colour temperature it should be. Choir!Choir!Choir! - You need to build a community. I feel like they are the closest thing to a religion.
Zapruder Films- How to delegate and be comfortable in the role you play on the team.
Supermarché - Do things that allow you to keep doing things Brendan Canning - How to take it easy.
Mike Rosenstein - The power of dabs.
Where did the idea for your short film Noah come from? Can you talk about your experience sharing your thesis film in festivals?
I guess you’re supposed to write what you know…and at that time (and now) so much of our time is spent on computers. It was very crazy to have a film we made for a couple hundred bucks really kickstart and define a large part of our career until now. At first I was a little ashamed like…”we can do so much more!” but now I realize I just gotta show people that!
What is shy kids? Can you talk about any upcoming projects?
shy kids is a coverall term for an amorphous group of creators who are making something in our style. we make films and songs and ads and concerts and we just hope there is a certain frequency and vibe that unites it. we have in a state our next album coming out which was a crazy task. we made music videos for each song and the songs are like orchestra pieces and it’s very concept-y. past that we have another album we are well under way of creating. it sounds like a japanese pinball machine. so fun and dancey. we are also writing on some scripts and have some things in development….and then at some un-forseeable point in the future death.
How can visual imagery heighten the experience of music?
it’s almost needed these days. I wonder if a song like thriller connects without thinking about zombies dancing?
What does your creating space look like?
a messy loft in kensington market.
What artists do you look up to?
all of our collaborators are unbelievable. Nobu from C!C!C! Jared, Matt(s), Curt, Jay from Zapruder Films. The Beatles. David Bowie. Henry, Rel and Orlee Rose at Supermarché, PES. Been really into a new group called Superorganism that is super amazing.
Do you think Toronto is an artist-friendly city?
yes in that I think if you look at the talent that comes out of here and it’s really the top of all the creative industry. hate them or love them, Drake, Biebs, The Weeknd, Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, Jim Carrey…they all have strong roots to here. I feel though that you can’t make it here. It’s like we have this complex that we aren’t good enough. It feels like Toronto is New York’s little brother. New York is like Elvis and Toronto constantly is trying to tell people how they don’t wear Blue Suede Shoes…it’s just so lame. Whenever you ask people what toronto is like they tell you how different it is from New York. We need some pride and a real transit system but it’s a great pond to swim in as you grow into a supernova. A pond that I will not leave regardless of status.
What's your favourite neighbourhood in the city?
How would you describe your personal aesthetic?
you know those cheerio’s from no-frills that are called like wheat-o’s. I’m the wheat-o’s version of Andre 3000
What are you looking forward to?
I feel like we are on the brink of global catastrophe. Which I am not really into. However I think after catastrophe we will stop complaining about the insanely trivial things we do. Beyond bored with Facebook arguments and Twitter petitions. Sadly I think it will take something extremely catastrophic for that to go down….OH! and that new pixar film coco looks awesome!