Eric Tosstorff is a German Director/Writer/VFX Supervisor who currently resides in Los Angeles. His latest short film ‘The Giraffe Who Knew Too Much’ has been shown at the London Science Fiction Festival and NY Shorts Festival. He directed the studio branding for ‘Treehouse Pictures’, and other independent film production companies like ‘Marada Pictures’. He has worked as a Visual Effects Supervisor / Artist for clients such as MTV, Garnier, and Procter & Gamble on multinational campaigns, for advertisement agencies like Saachi and Saachi, Leo Burnett, and Publicis. He has also worked as the On-Set Supervisor for Visual Effects on the German/Swedish coproduction, ‘Nils Hol- gersson’. He is currently in development of his first feature film, ‘The Cassandra Project’.
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?
Definitely not. It seems more and more that the world we live in now is turning into my films world. Especially If you consider that I made this film in 2012 and how much has changed already. It remains to be seen how it all develops but its certainly is interesting times.
Name a Sci-Fi character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Sci-Fi spirit animal/spirit alien?
Maybe E.T.? Still trying to find my home planet and also sharing the same initials.
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?
I’d love to produce a movie written by an A.I and directed by a Robot.
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?
Peter Griffin to distract the other team
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?
The bad ones remain hidden in a vault, but usually
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?
These days we live isolated weather we want it or not. The future is here and we are all divided by social-media.
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’m seeing myself getting drawn back to actual film. Especially the low-fi materials like Super 8 and 16mm are interesting. I think the materials are very crucial. But it is also important to not over-emphasize the process. Each story has its on voice and therefore requires its own process.
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?
I think the answer always can be extrapolated from the present. Great product design can be adapted and turned into something new. If you look at what Apple does, they basically are using design ideas that have been established in the 60’s or further in the past and just build on them with new technology. When it came time to design the ‘futuristic’ translucent tablet I used in the short ‘The Giraffe Who Knew Too Much’ I incorporated 2012 design aesthetics and just extrapolated. I refrained from any hard edges, crazy ornaments or any other design elements that I might dream up. I think it's very hard to envision a new future without ending up in clichés of what might be. That’s why in contrast 2001 Space Odyssey’s production design still looks fresh today. They captured the zeitgeist of the time and catapulting it into the future with visions of new technology’s. Almost creating a feedback loop, art informing design and design informing art.
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, Philip K. Dick, Both, It’s time for Utopia, in a full on pre Apocalypse.