I predict there will be three winners when the short documentary film Watch Me Play is released on April 19. Brian Christopher, the star of the film will be the first one. The second will be Steven Pomerantz, the writer and director.
Steven graciously – and I’m imagining with some trepidation – agreed to being interviewed by someone eaten up with snark…that would be me.
When there are dozens of other gamblers who put their slot machine videos on YouTube, why did you choose Brian Christopher as the subject of Watch Me Play?
I stumbled upon Brian’s videos by accident last year while in a YouTube vortex, and immediately knew that his slot videos were something different than the others I had seen. His were witty, charismatic, and left me wanting more, whereas similar videos by other Yotubers I got bored with, the sound or visual was bad, or I found their banter more forced than humorous. Brian was just himself and it seemed very natural and appealing.
You tackle some serious topics in your films. Taking Back Oak Lawn is one example. Your upcoming documentary about the lives of ordinary citizens under the Trump administration is another. Are you concerned that Watch Me Play will be considered frivolous compared to your other work?
I hope it is! I feel everyone needs a good laugh and to have fun, especially right now……I think people that have seen my work understand that it is both intense to film and edit, and the subject matter tends to be very serious, so this departure from my “norm” was a real fun and inspiring journey for me. Brian was really great to collaborate with also, which made this whole experience a pleasure.
Who or what inspired you to become a filmmaker?
I have always been a huge fan of film and especially documentaries. I love docs because they give you the ability to transport yourself in a person’s life or world that you would never be aware of otherwise.
Once the technology became available for me to film and edit and have complete control over the final product, I just started doing it. Inspiration comes when it comes, so I typically have been doing a project every year or so.
Do you have a crew or do you do everything (directing, lighting, sound, editing) yourself?
I do everything myself, although a crew would be lovely.
How do you raise money to fund your films?
I don’t. After the success of Taking Back Oak Lawn, I was able to start a gofundme page which helped me raise money for new camera, sound, and lighting equipment. But typically I self-fund on a meager budget. Luckily, because I do everything myself, including marketing the projects, I am able to do it on the cheap. And honestly, this is a passion, so what I spend or make is pretty irrelevant at the end of the day.
Were you one of those little boys who hammed it up in home movies?
If you had a few hours of downtime, what movie would you watch purely for fun?
Recently, I fell in love with LALA Land. There was a magical quality about it that really drew me in and I loved the music. I could watch it over and over again. But, one of my favorite things to do is attend a film festival. I could literally stay in the theater for a week straight watching every documentary and short showing.
What would you like the audience to take away from Watch Me Play?
Primarily I would love people to discover this “universe” of slot videos that are online. It has become a guilty pleasure of mine and I’m sure once people see this film, they will be hooked as well. Also, to be inspired by Brian. He started doing this for fun and it has grown organically into what it is today. It can show people you can have an idea, execute it well, be yourself, and build an audience from it. That’s one of the rewards for me personally working on this, was following Brian from a few thousand followers, to what it has become, and how he has always kept it fresh and continues to change things up.
Please check out and like Steven’s Facebook page.
You can pre-order Watch Me Play on his video channel.
The third winner will be YOU for supporting independent filmmakers. We all need the vision and entertainment value they provide.