Eric Jungmann grew up studying acting and filmmaking in Texas, beginning his career with a few small roles in local films like “Varsity Blues” and Robert Rodriguez’s, “The Faculty”. His ambitions soon led him to Los Angeles, where he’s continued evolving as an artist, working steadily in TV and Film, creating memorable characters in what’ve now become cult favorites like, “Not Another Teen Movie” and “Winning London”. He’s collaborated as an actor on a large number of shows, including “Criminal Minds”, “True Blood” and “Veronica Mars”, as well as multiple feature films premiering at festivals like Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW and Sitges. With now almost twenty years of experience in the filmmaking business, Eric’s most recently shifted his focus, funneling everything he’s learned into his most ambitious undertaking to date; writing and directing his first film.
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?
The world I attempted to build for “Body of the Mined” is intended to represent the inevitability of where we’re headed. Or, at least a version of what that could be. I suppose I wouldn’t eagerly choose to jump into any of the scenarios that play out over the course of the film, though I wouldn’t mind toying around with some of the gadgets. Is there a sci-fi world I would buy a one-way ticket to? That’s pretty tough to answer. Maybe Luc Besson’s world of “The Fifth Element”? Lots of colorful fashion, great music, and LeeLoo.
Name a Sci-Fi character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Sci-Fi spirit animal/spirit alien?
Great question. And so difficult to choose. For some reason, in this moment, I want to say “Data” from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Perhaps because of his insatiable quest to understand human behavior. Or maybe because we’re both so pale that at times we appear to be translucent. It’s hard to say…but I’ve always loved Data.
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?
Obviously I would love to have a robot friend. Have you seen “Short Circuit”? When I was a kid, I wanted to be friends with “Johnny 5” so bad…still do! Even the Terminator learned how to be a good friend. So, I think I’d like to remain hopeful that future bots with brains will want to be our pals and have no interest in being our robo-overlords. If humanoid robots with advanced artificial intelligence existed and started making their own sci-fi films? Art is art is art is art.
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?
This question is frying my brain right now. Like, who are my favorite sci-fi characters that I’d love to have on my Tune Squad? Or like, which sci-fi characters do I feel would be the best at basketball? I’m really going down the rabbit-hole over here with this one; thinking about the vertical jump of Groot and whether or not Captain Kirk can handle defense.
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 agree with that. I feel like none of the ideas are bad ideas because, if they’re not right, they still oftentimes lead you in the direction of the good ones. I think everyone’s creative process is different but I do feel like most people could really benefit from “failing” - saying the “bad ideas” out loud and freeing yourself from that fear of vulnerability. It’s challenging to wade through the swamp of mediocre ideas but that’s the only way to get to the good stuff.
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?
Sure! I’d love to consider myself part of the sci-fi community. I guess I’ve been mildly obsessed with all things sci-fi since I was a little kid. I was in the Young Astronauts Club, never missed a rerun of Star Trek, and my first movie in theatres was “Back to the Future”. Nerd-alert.
Do you consider yourself more of an analog or digital person? What kind of balance do strike between the two? Is there a disconnect between the technology you make films about and the technology that you make films with?
I think aesthetically I’m more attracted to the analog – but practically, I’m drawn to the digital. Sometimes it’s important to keep things simple and intimate, and other times, complexity and ingenuity is the way to go. Balance is everything. I’m constantly working on balance. So, if you have any tips, please do let me know.
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?
For “Body of the Mined” it was important for me to create a world that felt very grounded and relatable. A place not far from where we’ve been and where we are today. So, I really pulled inspiration from the past…using vintage and retro technologies to inspire the design elements for some of our futuristic tech. There was a lot of hunting and digging during the preproduction process for all of the right pieces to create the tone I was looking for. For our props, we mashed together actual bits of industrial machinery, vintage electronics, and specifically designed 3D-printed pieces. Very little digital embellishments were added in post – as most of our effects were achieved practically on set. I think that also really helped to sell the believability of what we were seeing onscreen.
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?
Star Trek. Phillip K. Dick. Practical. Utopia. Pre.