This week we had the chance to ask Jason Yiasemis some questions about his short film Hermanos, and his thoughts on the filmmaking process and short film industry in general. Here’s what he had to tell us…
Interviewer: What inspired you to make this film?
Jason Yiasemis: I heard about a court case where a gang had spread throughout California by filling small towns with the next generation and in low level government positions. I just thought that was so fascinating. I couldn’t get the story out of my head. I was tired of working on a lot of clothing commercials at the time and I really wanted to make something for myself. So I raised some funds through friends and crowdfunding and made ‘Hermanos’.
Interviewer: From the lessons you have learned through your experience, what advice would you like to give to aspiring filmmakers?
Jason Yiasemis: Be flexible enough to tell a story within the budget you have. ‘Hermanos’ was initially planned as a feature. I broke down a treatment and realized pretty early on that if I wanted to make this myself, I had to start small and approach this as more of a slice of that film that still worked as its own story. Take advantage of unique locations you have access to. If you’ve got friends that can help out in any way, ask them. Through a process like this, you really learn how to stretch a dollar and that will only benefit you as your career takes off.
Interviewer: Gangster movies tend to have a stereotypical storyline. How do you define your storytelling style? Will you be exploring this genre further in your future films?
Jason Yiasemis: Gangster films tend to have a lot of violence, but not a lot of heart. If you look at the real classics of the genre like Goodfellas or The Sopranos, the real emphasis is on exploring the characters. Shoot outs and criminal acts are just part of the set dressing. I’d say focus on character relationships is a major part of my storytelling style. I kept asking when writing this script, what would it look like if your father forced you to be in a gang? What would it look like if everyone you knew idolized a killer?
I’d also say on a visual level, I didn’t want to just do a typical shot-reverse shot rhythm. We put in a good deal of unique tracking shots, low angles and tried to have a few surprising character reveals that ended up becoming part of my visual style in later projects. I would absolutely love to return to the gangster genre in the future and the world of ‘Hermanos’ as well.
Interviewer: Why do you think Short films are important?
Jason Yiasemis: Shorts are a phenomenal way to tell a story. Not everything works as a feature film or a series. There’s just so much content these days that things become overwhelming and you want to watch something in a condensed period of time that fits your interests. Look at how big platforms like Youtube and TikTok have become. I also think shorts are crucial for building up a filmmaker’s skill sets. It’s an incredible environment to learn how to tell a story. If you can craft a quality scene, you can create a quality short and eventually a feature film. I often joked with my friends that my short is the most expensive resume ever made.
Interviewer: Where do you see the film industry going in the next 3-5 years?
Jason Yiasemis: I think the industry is going to continue on the trend of big blockbusters in cinemas and mid budget projects taking a gamble on a few weeks in theaters then quick VOD releases. That said, I don’t think these 300-400 million dollar budgets are feasible for anything that isn’t already a massive IP. The Blumhouses of the industry realized years ago that horror can be done under 10 million for huge returns. I think it’s a matter of time before we see comedies and rom coms follow that same model, especially looking at how Marvel or the Fast franchises are trending downward. Again, tell the story with the budget you have.
Watch Full Short Film Here: