The Best Christmas Ever

MEET THE FILMMAKER: Patrick Sheridan.

Patrick Sheridan is one of the coolest and busiest filmmakers in Denver.  Not only does he run both The Emerging Filmmaker’s Project and The Film Acting Academy of Denver, he’s also the Marketing Director for The Bug Theatre, a highly sought-after screenwriting, acting and filmmaking teacher, a freelance writer juggling several big projects, and he still finds the time to make fantastic films.  It’s exhausting just to read, isn’t it?

Patrick’s screening his hilarious short The Best Christmas Ever at the EFP this month, and Eileen jumped at the chance to interview him for the website.  Partly because he’s a super awesome guy, and one of Eileen’s most favorite people ever; partly because she was hoping to finally get some dirt (suitable to print) on him.  Was she successful?  Read on to find out!

Paddy headshot 1E.A.: Why did you become a filmmaker?

P.S.: It was either that or join a band. Actually, I did both. Someone told me you could have a longer career in movies and meet better women. Having done both, I can say with some authority that I think it’s easier to start a career in a band but much harder to sustain it. Movies is much harder to break into but (hopefully) easier to sustain.

E.A.: Could you be serious for a minute?

P.S.: Maybe. Okay. Yes, ma’am. I come from a long line of storytellers. Maybe it’s the Irish in me. I wrote a lot of fiction and poetry when I was younger (my short movie The Barking Horse is based on a poem of the same name) and gravitated to screenwriting some 20 years ago. I optioned a few screenplay early on (none were made). One of my early “successes” was a screenplay for a foreign producer for a martial arts movie. He ran off without paying and I heard from a friend a while back that he thinks he saw my movie playing in a Tokyo bar. He said the movie sucked. So I got that going for me.

But really, I became a filmmaker to showcase my writing. I was tired of not having my movies get made while spending a lot of my time working on other projects that also weren’t getting made. I wanted to see my work produced. Shortly after the birth of my first son Elliot, I decided to pursue screenwriting and filmmaking full-time. It’s been a mixed bag to be sure, but now I see myself as a writer and a director.

E.A.: We’re seeing The Best Christmas Ever. It’s the sixth annual screening of it at the EFP, right?

P.S.: Yeah, we only planned to show it that first year, 2007, but when I started trying to find Holiday-themed movies for the EFP in 2008, the filmmakers mostly wanted to know if  we were going to show The Best Christmas Ever again. It kind of became an unfortunate tradition.

E.A.: You know I love that movie, but I have to ask: what were you smoking when you made it?

Best Christmas photoP.S.: I’m not sure statute of limitations is up yet so I’ll “Take the Fifth.” The previous two years, I made a movie on the Friday after Thanksgiving and I called it the “Day After Thanksgiving Filmmaking Extravaganza” as if it were some legitimate film contest. I was the only filmmaker so of course I won (cuz awards are important). The third year, however, other filmmakers wanted in so I opened it to them. The one condition was you had to start the movie with the line, “The last time I saw Santa Claus…”

I was really spoofing the kind of crap that makes it on youtube. The movie is entirely scripted even though most people think it was improvised by Matt Daren and me. My niece and her husband were visiting and they helped out on the shoot. And Elliot got a small role in it, too. It was the first movie I ever made that had bad language. Wasn’t my last.

E.A.: What else are you working on?

P.S.: Mostly writing projects for out-of-town producers and final edits on the script for my next feature, Stalled. My first feature, Jimmy Said, is almost ready for a public screening. Yes, it’s been 3 1/2 years since we started it and most people think it’s dead in the water, but it will screen!

I’m also working on a web-series for local actor Audrey Walters called Analyzing Annie and a web series of my own called The Stalker.

That and running The Emerging Filmmakers Project, of course, and The Film Acting Academy of Denver.

E.A.: Tell us one weird thing about you or your movies.

P.S.: Hmmm, there are so many. I’ve mentioned the mythical organization Little Lady Explorers in several films. Every car I’ve owned has been in more than one of my movies. I’ve had a role or cameo in almost every movie I’ve made. One cameo was nothing more than my photo on the back of a book as if I was the author. That book was the fake “novel” version of Stranded, a movie I’ve been hired to re-write and eventually direct.

E.A.: What’s the big dream project for you? Do you have a film you have to make before you die, so to speak?

P.S.: I wrote a script called “Resurrection Hill” about 15 years ago. I’d like to make that movie some day. And I have three spec projects that I’m developing. They are all big budget, studio pictures so I would die happy if any of them got made into a movie. And I’m working on a remake of Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. Seriously.

E.A.: So you’ve been doing this for quite awhile. If you could go back and visit yourself in your first year of filmmaking and give that Patrick one piece of advice, what would it be?

P.S.: Finish your damn novel. But if your’e going to do this, get a camera and start shooting stuff even if you never intend to be a cinematographer. Telling a story with words is different than telling a story with moving pictures. Learn the language. And then I’d say get your ass to Hollywood while you’re still young and pretty.

E.A.: Where can people find out more about you and your work?

P.S.: My website www.paddywagonfilms.com is undergoing a major relaunch in 2013. The old website is still up and running and you can see a lot of my old work there. Newer stuff is playing festivals but you can see The Barking Horse, Knock Knock, and a few other works at https://vimeo.com/paddywagonfilms. We’ll be screening Served, starring Laurel Harris and Bill LeVasseur, at an upcoming EFP.

E.A.: Anything you want to say about the EFP?

P.S.: I went to my first EFP back in 2005. Local filmmaker Haylar Garcia (An American Terror, Do it for Johnny) was the very gracious host. I got to screen my work there. It was unbelievably exciting to see my movie on a big screen with other filmmakers. There are very few events like this elsewhere in the country. It’s an amazing resource for independent film in Colorado and I’m just doing my part to keep it alive.

E.A.: So everyone really wants to know when are you going to finally make a movie with a cat in it.

P.S.: As soon as your cat Tomo approves of the latest script revisions.

E.A.: He says he’ll have his people call your people.

P.S.: Tomo has people? I don’t have people. I really need people. Or a cat.

E.A.: Thanks for talking with me Patrick!  You really are a super awesome guy… even if I sometimes feel like I need a nap just after hearing about how you spent your day.  (Seriously, how do you do it all?)