Boris Schaarschmidt is a director, producer, and writer with over 15 well-recognized short films – each of which has won numerous awards at several film festivals around the world.
Achieving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Cinematography (University of Applied Sciences, Dortmund, Germany) and a Masters of Fine Arts in Directing (American Film Institute, AFI, Los Angeles, USA), has made Boris an expert in many aspects of film production.
Boris is currently working on several creative projects. In addition to working on his own projects, he is also a freelance film consultant, taking on various roles in different productions as well as directing instructor at the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles.
Q & A
If the world you created in your film became a reality, is that a world you would want to live in? Is there a Sci-Fi world you’d buy a one-way ticket to?
My film takes place in the near future and since we live in very uncertain times, I am not sure I would want to live in that world. Do I want to buy a one-way-ticket to one of the Sci-Fi worlds? This is an interesting question as it really made me think about the past decades of Science Fiction. A trip to Risa could be fun but jamaharon for the rest of my life also sounds like a nightmare, so I rather keep my return ticket open. And considering the turn Star Trek takes in recent installments it becomes more and more the hell we already live in. There are possibly worlds I like to visit before are after the films take place. I could see myself wanting to live in the Star Wars world before the fall of the republic for example, but I could see myself getting annoyed by the constant traffic jam on Corusant, so I rather stay in LA. It’s all the same I guess.
Name a Sci-Fi character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Sci-Fi spirit animal/spirit alien?
I can’t decide between Alf or Paul, both have something honest which I like a lot but ultimately being a Q would be great - at least for the first million years.
Friend or Foe: humanoid robots with advanced artificial intelligence? What if robots start making their own Sci-Fi films? Will you support them in their endeavors?
Sure, if they fund my next feature film.
In 1996, Bugs Bunny recruited Michael Jordan and Bill Murray to form the greatest basketball squad of all-time, the Tune Squad; you’re Bugs, who’s on your Sci-Fi Tune Squad?
I would go with an Alien Queen and Grogu.
You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?
I think there are no bad ideas - you just have to keep working on them and re-write. I personally find it harder to keep the fire burning for an idea as all of them started with a spark.
Do you consider yourself part of a sci-fi community? Or when your brain is in the future and your body’s in the present, is that isolating?
Shout out to the pink squad and the crew of the Start Trek World Tour back in Düsseldorf. Since my brain always meets my body, they keep each other company.
Do you consider yourself more of an analog or digital person? What kind of balance do you strike between the two? Is there a disconnect between the technology you make films about and the technology that you make films with?
First time I saw Toy Story in theaters, I though this is terrible. I thought animation feels dead, and that it can never have a future. First time I used a digital camera, I said the same thing. Thirty years later, I can’t image my life without CGI, animation and digital cameras. These technologies opened a whole new world for filmmakers that now can accomplish things we could only have dreamed about when I went to film school.
When you’re creating the props and sets that make a new world, where do you look for inspiration? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
All my ideas start with a big “What if?” and I go from there. When I grew up in Germany, Hollywood was a great inspiration and inspired a lot of my stories. Now that I have a 90028 zip code, I realize that it is actually nothing more than any other address and one can find inspiration anywhere.
Lightning round: Star Wars or Star Trek? Philip K. Dick or William S. Burroughs? Practical or CGI? Dystopia or Utopia? Post Apocalypse or Pre-Apocalypse?
Lately, neither. Philip K Dick. Both combined :) Utopia. I guess Post Apocalypse is Pre-Apocalypse.