Larry Soileau, left, and Emily Moss Wilson work together on the set of the film "Drink." The 23-minute film was co-written by Wilson and Soileau and directed by Wilson. (Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 7:14 PMEmily Moss Wilson and Larry Soileau have been making movie magic since they were classmates at Barbe. Later this month, the duo will have their short film, “Drink” premiere at the Dances With Films Festival at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood.
The duo both live in Los Angeles now and began collaborating on the 23-minute movie when Soileau moved to California three years ago. The movie is a sci-fi cautionary tale that follows Alice and her two sons, Clint and Billy, as they flee their home in the middle of the night. They arrive at an old desert motel, and it doesn’t take long before Alice realizes she has a strange connection to this place. A tragedy of the past begins to reveal secret desires that could send Alice down a path of freedom or insanity.
Wilson and Soileau co-wrote the movie, which Wilson directed. Soileau served as concept artist for the movie.
The duo first worked together as classmates at Barbe.
“We met in speech class and were on the speech and debate team,” said Wilson. “It was in the speech classes that we started honing our film making skills. Both of us had to direct a film for a senior project. We made a deal, we acted and did camera for each other’s movies.”
The duo formed a friendship that still continues
“In high school, even my parents would tease us and say ‘Why don’t you and Larry date?’ and we would always laugh because we felt like brother and sister,” Wilson said.
“We are kind of the male and female versions of each other,” Soileau said.
The duo kept in touch throughout college over long distances until Soileau joined Wilson in California.
“I spent about eight years in Austin doing short films and things and for television, he said. “It got to a point where we were working for little pay on small projects. It was time to decide whether I was going to do it as career, make a living off it. (Moving to California) was a necessity.”
Wilson made the move nine years ago, shortly after graduating from TCU, where she studied film.
“I had interned in Los Angeles a couple of times,” she said.
“I luckily got a job right out of college working at a film studio. I have had a lot of different jobs here. On the studio side I have worked for 20th Century Fox and ABC. I have also have worked freelance, project to project. I got to work on the big summer blockbuster “Wolverine” back in 2009. I worked in the visual arts department as a coordinator on that film. I got to work on two romantic comedies after that, ‘Valentine’s Day’ and ‘New Year’s Ever.’ Both were Warner Brothers movies and had big ensemble casts. Between those two, I got to work with about half the A-listers in Hollywood. I got to see how they work and got to go to New York and live there for six months.”
Whenever she could, Wilson worked on personal projects.
“Between the bigger stuff you worn on smaller stuff,” she said. “You are always looking for people to collaborate with, always writing scripts in your spare time. I had produced some short films but always wanted to direct. I had to start saying no to helping other people to start my own thing. That was just about the time Larry was moving to California. When he moved here, I wanted him to help me write this.”
Soileau describes “Drink” as “something similar to Twilight Zone and X-Files.” The script was inspired by Soileau reading about water memory experiments.
When the duo works together, Soileau is usually the concept guy, Wilson the pragmatist.
“I think that is why we work so well together, our styles align very closely,” Wilson said. “We are into a lot of the same stuff, but we have enough differences. For example, Larry likes to thing way outside the box. He will help me expand my thinking beyond what I was considering. We balance each other out. He tends to have the really big ideas where I tend to bring more structure.”
Soileau said the writing process was easy.
“We had an initial pow-wow where we laid down what we wanted,” he said. “I wrote a short initial draft, about 15 pages, then Emily took it and doubled it. We would read what each other wrote and talk about it. Then we would each go write another draft and pick out what we liked.”
The movie was filmed last year after fund raising that included a Kickstarter campaign. The donations allowed for higher quality.
“A lot of short films are not super ambitious because of resources,” Wilson said. “It is a labor of love. For us, we made a choice that we wanted to make a film that was ambitious. We have child actors, a set we built from ground zero, special effects, makeup, prosthetic pieces and visual effects. We really tried to challenge ourselves.”
The challenge now is to get the movie seen. It will debut at the festival May 31.
“Film festivals are number one (priority), then local screenings here in Los Angeles,” Wilson said. Really, we made this to try to get ourselves more work, get work for our crew. If you can get work out of it, that is bigger than an award. We feel what is going to benefit us is sending it out to people we meet with. We call it a visual business card. We are thrilled to be premiering at this festival. It is local so our cast and crew can see it. It us at the Chinese Theater which everyone knows. It is where all the handprints are, it is an iconic spot. The festival has gained a good reputation in Hollywood. ”
Wilson added that she hopes to screen the movie in Lake Charles.
Soileau said he is glad to see the local arts community thriving and hopes to change the way Louisiana is depicted on the big screen.
“I’m Cajun and am writing a series of stories set in Louisiana,” he said. I love Southwest Louisiana and Acadiana and hate the way it is constantly depicted in the media. I would like to show people that there is a lot to us and we have a unique and amazing culture. Every time I go home, I see the arts community burgeoning more and more. There is so much more to do now. The downtown is more alive than I have ever seen. I just hope it continues that way.”
Warren Arceneaux writes a weekly column on interesting people in Southwest Louisiana each Monday. Have a story idea about someone in Southwest Louisiana? Call him weekdays at 494-4087. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted By: Robert B. Rentrop On: 5/14/2014
Title: Former LC residents collaborate on film making projects.
Very interesting reading about local people in film industry. My daughter Melissa Rentrop, with 'Eight Year Productions' out in Los Angeles, was born in LC and attended school here up till 4th grade. It would be very nice if someday they could get together with Wilson and Soileau and put together something about our area. Soileau was absolutely correct in saying, "that there is a lot to us and we have a unique and amazing culture". Maybe you can get in touch with the two parties out there and share this. Thanks, Robert Burns Rentrop, (337) 436-4139 God Bless.