The Real Life of the Award-Winning Anthony Rosner
I felt immediately moved by 23-year-old Anthony Rosner’s acclaimed short documentary IRL – In Real Life (a lighthearted portrayal of his addiction to ‘World of Warcraft’) when I first watched it. The sensation was surprising because I’m not a gamer by any means but despite that I think I related to aspects of it. Addictions can come in many forms and while the ones most conventionally portrayed tend to involve drugs and alcohol, it doesn’t change the fact that we can all grow inhibited and start to cling to outlets like the Internet (or games on the Internet) in the face of ‘Real Life.’ Sometimes ‘Real Life’ is just really daunting and really scary and the ability to escape from it can be dangerously addictive.
Wow, projecting much? But it’s easy to see why IRL quickly grew so popular. The sequel IRL 2.0 In Moderation delves further than the original and details the fame the first feature garnered. IRL – In Real Life was officially selected to be part of the 2012 Phoenix Film Festival (where it also won an award) and has screened at several other festivals as well.
Anthony’s body of work does not begin and end here, however. I was delighted to have the chance to ask the talented filmmaker some questions about his craft.
How did your passion for film develop?
I’ve always been interested in film since an early age. My first realisation of this was when I was very young and watched E.T. for the first time; the film captured my imagination and I wanted to know how I could do that. Over the year I was lucky enough to visit places like LA and visit the film studios which in turn helped cement my interest in film making.
Who do you consider to be your major influences as a film-maker?
I tend to be influenced from filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino, Steven Spielberg and Christopher Nolan. Tarantino because I love the way he develops his characters. Their dialogue is what you would expect any ordinary person to talk about such as discussing the differences between burgers in different countries in Pulp Fiction or the way to carry out a hit on some guys – stuff like that I think is brilliant. With Spielberg, I like his approach to telling the big epic stories and how he manages to capture the audiences interest and hold that interest all the way through the narrative. And with Christopher Nolan, I like the way he develops characters, but also presents interesting, and at times, quite complex story arcs which make the audience think and work out the story, rather than feed them the information. I also love the cinematography used in Nolan’s films.
What is the most challenging part of your work?
The challenge I find is working out a project that I would feel passionate about to invest all of my time and energy. Once I have gotten past that stage I am very focused to get the film finished, but I find it difficult to allow myself to jump right into a project. I feel I have to cover every aspect and work out every potential problem so it will it be a film that I think the audience might appreciate – ‘how will certain elements of the story carry the film forward?’ and so on.
I loved IRL (and IRL 2.0 In Moderation) so much. They were both short documentaries but they resonated with me despite the fact that I have never played World of Warcraft. Why do you think it is so popular?
I think it is popular because game addiction is something that is talked about a lot in the news, especially in America and the possibility of linking games and violence but no gamers have actively come forward and described their “addiction” how it is from their own experiences. This is where I believe my film stands out because it is an open honest approach to story telling, using my own experiences to create an interesting and engaging narrative which keeps the audience watching. And aspects of the story are quite shocking to watch in some regards.
IRL aside, which of your other works is your favourite?
I’ve been doing a lot of freelance film work lately, and I think some of that work has been some of my best, likewise I went on a trip to Iceland and was able to try out a new camera I bought, I love the way it came together in the final edit, you can find these on my Vimeo page
Is there anyone anyone in particular you’d really like to work with?
Currently the person I would love to work with is Duncan Jones. He is directing the new Warcraft movie and I would love to be part of that film making process.
What advice would you give to other young people aspiring to make films?
I would say, don’t just talk about making films, go out and make them. It is very easy to spend a lot of time talking about wanting to do things, it’s another thing going out and doing it. I am guilty of this too. I had actually spent a lot of time talking about making IRL 2, but it wasn’t until I started making it, that it started to come together and I ended up with a film.
Where do you hope to be in the future and how will you get there?
I hope to be working in some capacity in the film industry. As to how I get there, who knows? I can do things to try and encourage others to give me a chance – making films like IRL 2 to show off my skills as a filmmaker and putting myself out there. However it is very tough and very competitive. I have been trying since I graduated to no avail, and I think that goes for a lot of jobs as I feel a lot of graduates are in similar tough positions in finding work.