Nov 99 Interview: Matt Mailer
Director of The Money Shot

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Interview with Matt Mailer conducted by Margretta Browne
MB
Do you feel that your film perpetuates any stereotypes about "street kids?"
MM Director
The character Quinn is about the perpetuation of stereotypes. He is looking to make his film interesting. Toby is obviously not telling the truth about the things he's done and Quinn encourages him to make the film sellable. Quinn perpetuates falsehood, and by the end of the film he has created truth out of fiction.
MB
What is your definition of a "street kid?"
MM
I would be hard pressed to define a "street kid." There is no definite answer. They are all there for different reasons. When creating the characters, I just asked myself what would I do in this situation. I just wanted to make my characters human.
MB
Do you think that Quinn's character could mirror reality?
MM
There is that danger, but it is not common to do what Quinn did. I took it to an extreme. It does not represent documentary makers or the media. I did not set out to make a political statement. I wanted to tell a story of trust and mistrust, to explore that relationship.
MB
How much research on documentary films and the subject of "street kids" did you do before you wrote the film?
MM
I worked on one documentary at NYU. For research I rented and studied documentaries and talked to professors at NYU. I noticed that they all had the same style narrative. I also talked to counselors in outreach programs. For a while during the summer I went and sat outside the Port Authority and smoked cigarettes in hopes to have conversations with the kids there. Interestingly, most of them were older and paroled.
MB
How did you come up with the unique idea of a film about making a documentary?
MM
Eight years ago, I read a newspaper article about a reporter who followed a kid around claiming to have committed brutal muggings. The police wanted the reporter to turn the kid in but the reporter chose to protect his source. There was a big debate. Eventually, the police picked up the kid and it turned out he lied about the whole thing. This subject was fertile ground for a story and out of it came The Money Shot.

 

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