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Interview | I’ll Tell You When You’re Older

A father contemplates his many regrets when his son discovers a lie fundamental to their entire relationship. Directed by Andy Epsilantis.

1 – How did the initial idea for the film come about?

I hate to admit that it started with a title and worked itself out from there because I know that sounds superficial and stupid, but in this case, that’s the truth. I was in a class for undergrad and my friend and classmate, Jari Neuman, was talking about something – I forget the context – but she said what is now the title of the film, “I’ll Tell You When You’re Older,” and I just thought to myself, “That would make a great movie title or short story or something.”

From there, without spoiling the ending of our movie, it required me to recognize that I always wanted to make a movie that addressed a topic very important to me. And this does that. And then, we just had to figure out a way to marry the two, which is how we got the adoption storyline and the themes of regret and the things we leave unsaid.

2 – How was the work with the actors? Was there a special technique for rehearsals?

Working with the actors was a wonderful experience and, to be fair, I knew it would be for two reasons: (1) I love directing and getting the best performances out of the actors that I can and (2) my three main actors – Rick Jermain, Alice Raver, and Xavier Scheeler – I had worked with previously. I didn’t get the opportunity to direct Alice the last time I worked with her, but I was on set, saw what she could do, and knew she’d be perfect for this, so I was really excited to be able to direct her this time. And like Alice, Rick and X are just phenomenally talented people that I couldn’t wait to get in front of the camera again.

That said, there wasn’t a special technique for rehearsals. We did all the staples – ran lines, blocked, etc. – and then I just trusted them to get where we needed to get and pointed them in the right direction when they strayed.

3 – What were the obstacles that you encountered as a director when making the piece? How did obstacles or inconveniences transform during production?

There was a lot of confusion going from page to screen when it comes to how the ending worked, again without spoiling anything. Rick, in particular – I go back and laugh about it now – had such a hard time grasping the concept of what I had in mind. We would go back and forth during pre-production constantly and have the same conversation over and over right up to the inevitable endpoint of him saying, “Well, I’m an actor. The fact is, I don’t really need to understand it. As long as you understand it and know how to get me there, it’ll work out.” And he was right. I owe him a ton of gratitude for that trust.

4 – How was the process of editing the piece?

Editing the piece was the most challenging because the ending needed to fit and make sense without being given away. It went through like five or six iterations because test audiences kept coming back with the same feedback and their version changed the entire movie and what it was saying. I didn’t want to beat them over the head with answers, but I did need to get more definitive with the editing and even go back and add some material to achieve that.

5 – What thoughts or habits changed after the performance of the piece if there were changes?

No thoughts or habits really changed after the performance of the piece, but I watched the behind-the-scenes wrap-up special they did for Schitt’s Creek recently and Dan Levy said something that made a ton of sense and I wish I had heard and realized going into making this movie. “Wardrobe is probably the most important element of storytelling outside of actually writing because we, as people, say so much about who we are and what we believe in and what we want and how we think of ourselves by the way that we dress.” Considering wardrobe should’ve been far more imperative than it was with this movie, and I hope to incorporate that into my habits moving forward.

6 – What directors or writers have been your influences and why?

I have quite a few professional influences, but the one you can see the most in I’ll Tell You When You’re Older is my favorite, David Fincher. I really wanted to employ his dark palettes and the way he obscures his actors’ faces in shadow. I wanted to use darkness as my ally because this movie, subtly at first and then more overtly at the end, is actually a very dark piece. The truth about the Porters, the family at the center of the movie, is that they were broken long before the story begins – they just didn’t know it.

7 -What plans do you have in mind for your professional future?

I really want to tackle something fun next, a personal palette cleanser so to speak. I’m currently working on a meta horror-comedy with Rick and our friend Judy Lloyd that I’m really excited about. So look for that in the next year. You can follow I’ll Tell You When You’re Older on Facebook or me personally on Twitter to get updates on this movie and that one.

Andy Epsilantis is a recent graduate of the University of Maryland Baltimore County with dual Bachelor’s degrees in Cinematic Arts and Political Science. Driven by his empathetic nature, Mr. Epsilantis’ work often directly deals with or features political and social themes, such as the LGBTQ community, climate change, and gun control. His unique college education opens the door for a humanitarian’s outlook in narrative fiction often only seen in documentary.