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  • Writer's pictureAmerican Dream Screen

Pat Mitchell Reveals the Sweet Recipe Behind Best Romantic Film 'Apples, Oranges, Lemons & Limes' –

Mitchell, known for his ability to craft narratives that resonate deeply with audiences, shares insights into the creative process, casting decisions, and the secret ingredients that made this romantic masterpiece a must-see on the big screen. Join us as we unravel the tale of love, laughter, and the unexpected sweetness found in 'Apples, Oranges, Lemons & Limes' – a film that proves love is a fruit basket of emotions waiting to be explored

American Dream Screen : In the current landscape of independent cinema, what do you believe sets your film apart from the rest and makes it a unique and compelling addition to the medium?

Pat Mitchell : I definitely wanted to stay clear from the "iconic" or cliched portrayal of young adult parties in film. 98% of the time parties are more modest than mayhem. I want the film to feel more familiar and homey than "epic" or "animal house" per say. The idea of drinking, and alcohol consumption are not cliched groups of pranksters, degenerate trouble makers self-medicating because of no future prospects. There is a theme of responsibility in my film. They are normal with doubts who want to escape it all for a night of fun. This one particular night was well needed.

My film is a journey of releasing your past, letting it go, leaving it all behind. Don't let insecurities, like social anxiety, ruin your life. Find a way through it. There are many themes presented in the film. Lots of ways to digest it but for the most part, traumas in life can be healed with a unique conversation.

American Dream Screen : Independent filmmaking often encourages creative risk-taking. Can you share a specific instance where you had to make a bold creative decision during the production of your film, and how did it impact the final product?

Pat Mitchell : The actors I had were more than enough for the film, no risk there at all. On a technical standpoint, I went barebones because it was all I do for now. The film only cost me $1,200 dollars to make. Having limited resources actually frees you to be more creative. Having a rookie crew is really helpful. None of us are walking around wishing we had more to make a film. It's not even a thought. Technically, as an artist, the less you have, the stronger you should be. If your biggest strength is your creative abilities, the last thing you want to do is turn that off. Smaller budgets shouldn't hurt you so much, it should increase your potential.

The film is inspired by French New Wave and Neo-Noir themes and filmmaking. Even writing the script, I aimed for the film to be very dark, high contrast and really colorful. I actually said at one point, the most color I ever used. Those mediums detail the belief that less is more. Even on a 2 a.m. street outdoors setting, I opted for any available lighting before anything else. So, I took it way back.

Finding the right locations with the best streetlights and additional yard lighting was a major task. I prefer lighting an environment and having the actors move around that. That is the boldest decision of the film. Very little light was manufactured, even when it looked off in some moments, I loved the realism of being imperfect. It really inspired the silhouetting in the film too which lead lots of scenes everyone loved. Filming at the dead of night and working around the only practical light sources was key.

American Dream Screen : Collaboration is a fundamental aspect of filmmaking. Could you elaborate on a particularly memorable or challenging collaboration experience with a member of your cast or crew and how it influenced the project?

Pat Mitchell : In the film, Juan has a quiet confidence and Valeria has a very loud one in this film. I remember telling Juan and Valeria that they are a couple and left it up to them what that would look like. The nuances of that. They both went darkly sarcastic straight away. Must of been some telepathy involved, the both went there immediately. It was awesome to see.

So, Skye is a force. Queen thespian not to be reckoned with man. It's amazing to watch her do her thing. She showed me a lot of her drama plays in college. Insanely long musical theatre plays. It's nuts. Cal isn't exactly the shy Henry "Hen" Boyd shown on screen. He is a way more charismatic and confident dude. He absolutely understood the character though. It's definitely a shade of him I would imagine. He really enjoys portraying that nervous intellect. There are a lot of sides to Henry.

So, Skye and Cal, there were moments where I didn't direct much into. The script really said it all to them. I can tell. I didn't necessarily consider these moments coming in longer takes. They had the greatest intuition of what to say or what to do in those moments. I was the dp, director, and co-produce, so my mind was always fighting against time. You tend to overlook something by mistake and they saved me a bunch of times. Skye and Cal would improvise actions I missed in the perfect way. It does make things much easier. So glad they chose not to be vague and expressed actions more specifically.

The one person I spend most of my time collaborating with is my scorist Andrew Scott Foust by far. He is the first to know about a project, we have conversations over them. This film was a bit more interesting than the others we've worked on. I have a party sequence in the film. The original music used in the film I actually produced. Most indie films have struggled with original music vs. original scores clashes against each other. I was worried Andrew would be less enthusiastic about it. He awesomely had no issues, and even asked for the instrumentation of my music and built sounds around that. He drafts nothing until the very first frame. It was never difficult but it has become much easier over each project. It's always a blast working with Andrew. I was so excited to show the cast their performances. I honestly wish I was there during the first watch. It is very scary being someone's the director of someone's first leading role. It really dictates the drive and confidence of someone. Because of that, I pushed the film to be as phenomenal as possible. It helps in the long run.

American Dream Screen : The post-production process is where a film truly takes shape. How did you approach the editing, sound design, and music composition in your film to enhance the storytelling and emotional impact?

Pat Mitchell : Editing for me starts during filming. I don't do much storyboarding, I have a certain discipline though. I can see the scene in my head on a shot by shot basis. I get familiar with the location before storyboarding. I can stage the scene how I see it in my head and adjust based on the actors. Going into editorial, I pretty much know how it plays. I do experiment once in a while but I pretty much have it all. I started using the free version of DaVinci. It was my first time using the program and I found it to be my favorite editor thus far. My number one rule for editing is intuition. If it feels it belongs, I will add it. I don't base my edits any other way. I stick to simple transitions because I want to remain visually undisturbed. Fades, wipes, or dissolves only distracts the viewer. Once I see it, I tend to lose concentration. Coloring is very fast and effective on Davinci. I am very basic. Everything starts with a great script and great actors. The less editing I do the better the film. Sound FX are always louder than my vocals. When something needs to be portrayed as larger than life. I use them.

American Dream Screen : Can you share a challenging moment during the production of your film and how you overcame it, ultimately making the project stronger or more meaningful?

Pat Mitchell : After finishing the film, I always go back once every two weeks to see if there is something I can fix. Whether it's an audio issue, video issue, credit roll, or sharpness. I tend to learn as I go and I always want to leave films to the best of my abilities. I am always reading about post production and learning new techniques. When I do learn something new, I have to go back and always leave the film to the best of my abilities. You eventually become satisfied.

As our conversation with Pat Mitchell draws to a close, we're left with a profound appreciation for the creative genius behind 'Apples, Oranges, Lemons & Limes.' Mitchell's insights into the filmmaking process, his dedication to storytelling, and the passion that fueled this romantic masterpiece have left an indelible mark on the cinematic landscape.

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