Vincent Dale is in the middle of rigorous physical training.
Before we met at Buddy Brew Coffee near Louies Modern last week, he swam 900 meters and carried a towel and swim suit with him in a leather tote. Swimming is three days a week, weight-lifting is two days a week.
But he’s not training for any sort of an athletic event. He’s training for a 14-day feature film shoot.
Vincent, a lanky 24-year-old Sarasota native with well-coiffed ash blond hair, is a local filmmaker who is trying to get other film-industry aficionados to bring their expertise to Sarasota.
This November, a French director and several French actors will come here to shoot a feature film during the 14-day marathon shoot for which Vincent now trains.
He just wrapped his first feature as a producer, “Monty Comes Back,” which follows a narcissistic actor who lost his job and had to move back to Bradenton with his parents. Short films he wrote and directed – “No Real Than You Are” and “Paris Love Conspiracy” – have been featured at several film festivals, including Sarasota’s.
Here’s his short film “No Real Than You Are” based on Southwest Florida’s pain pill epidemic:
Unravel caught up with Vincent to talk film, 20-something artists and Sarasota’s potential to become the next Austin, Texas.
unRavel: You had a pretty impressive salary working on commercials in Los Angeles and spent nearly a year in Paris honing your film-making skills. What made you decide to come back to Sarasota?
Vincent: I’m a product of Sarasota’s institutions. I went to Pine View and met a lot of people I still work with today. I volunteered with the Sarasota Film Festival. If not for their Young Filmmakers Showcase, I would have never made my first film. It was about kids who kill a person and drag is body through a suburban neighborhood on a wagon. I was 15, and it was called “Red Wagon Confessions.” I made it with my friend Sebastian, who still works with me today.
unRavel: But compared to Paris and L.A., Sarasota seems to be lacking in film-making opportunities… and young people.
Vincent: I could have stayed in Paris. I could have gone back to LA, but I chose to move back because I got my start here and I want to give back. And if the right people put their energy into this place, it will be the next Austin, Texas, and will be the biggest film location in Florida. Just give it three to five years, it’ll be way more advanced.
Vincent: There’s community support for film-making here. Dozens of open doors, food donations, some places will even let you film at their locations for free. You never see that anywhere else. We almost won a B.O.B. (a popular hip-hop artist) music video. They were looking to shoot in Florida and we put in a proposal. We were short-listed in second place; they ended up going to Miami. I have a friend who works for Bacardi, we’re trying to say “Hey, Sarasota would be a great place to film this.” It’s all part of feeding the film economy. I’m working on a British script right now that might film here called “Fat Jesus.”
Sure, Sarasota doesn’t have a Ramen shop or a rock gym or other things you see in bigger cities. But we have an amazing energy we could harness to make things happen. Everything right now is geared toward old people, but we need to confront the fact that more young people are moving to Sarasota now than at any other point. We need to embrace it. Sarasota can be fucking cool, but young people need to promote that idea to make it happen.
unRavel: Do you promote that idea?
Vincent: I’m in the exploratory phase of starting a non-profit, so anyone who is interested should reach out. One side is working with government and businesses to start bringing more films here. The other side is more artistic, supporting filmmakers, providing resources to artists. I want film events every month. Once a month I’d like to give a $1,000 budget and a professional camera package to a group with the best script. A real support network for 20-something artists. Kids selling paintings out of the car he lives in is art. A girl busking with a banjo is art. No more of this seashell painting, Tube Dude bullshit. (Vincent’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.)
unRavel: What’s standing in the way of bringing films to Sarasota?
Vincent: Sarasota has been bamboozled before. There was Ken Sanborn, who petitioned the city to get public funds for his studio, then hardly did anything and skipped town with the money. There have been a few shady nonprofits too. People kept coming in and exploiting a willingness to see film come here. Georgia and Louisiana got a lot of projects because of tax incentives, but they’re beginning to lessen those. So Florida is in a prime position to create these types of incentives and attract some serious business.
unRavel: So what’s next for you?
Vincent: Sept. 3 we’re shooting my final short film. I don’t’ have a script yet, but it’s right there. It’s like when you’re about to sneeze – you can feel it. When it hits it’ll all come out and I’ll write for like 13 hours straight.