Ian Salazar is a writer, director, and actor based out of Los Angeles, CA. He has worked on projects for CBS, Netflix, and Funny or Die. Most recently he wrote and directed “academy,” an award winning sci-fi thriller. He is penning a feature script slated for production later this year.
In his spare time, Ian hosts a monthly comedy show called “FLAMBO” in Silver Lake. He enjoys walks on the beach and the movie Air Bud.
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?
Oh man, probably not. Although I’m a sucker for coordinated jumpsuits so it is tempting… I don’t know if it counts as sci-fi but I would like to live in the Air Bud universe.
Name a Sci-Fi character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Sci-Fi spirit animal/spirit alien?
Roy Neary in Close Encounters. I also play with my food.
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?
Yes, but only if they fund my next 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?
Great question… I would have Yoda on the point (small + shifty + good passer), T-800 for my shooting guard (auto-aim jump shot), Godzilla as my center (big), Mr. Fantastic as my small forward (wing length for perimeter defense), and Master Chief as my power forward (good screener). Short Circuit off the bench (good role player), Bill Nye as head coach.
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 don’t really believe in bad ideas… I think any idea can be built upon, saved for later, or inspire the next idea you actually act on.
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?
I would love to be considered part of the sci-fi community. I think sci-fi is a great genre that allows us to explore ideas we wouldn’t be able to otherwise under the “normal circumstances” of the present world. I think anyone who imagines life differently can feel isolated.
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 there’s a timeless quality to analog filmmaking, an aesthetic and feel that can’t be replicated. That being said, digital innovation has made filmmaking much more accessible to a wider audience, which is great. No one’s idea should be unattainable simply because they don’t have access to the proper resources. I think that there should be a disconnect between the technology we see onscreen and the tools to make it. Science-fiction is all about imagining the possibilities of science and technology, film is the tool to see that dream.
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 like to look at a mixture of old set pieces from movies and real architectural design. For example, with academy I was inspired by sci-fi from the 60s and 70s, from the sterile white halls of Lucas’ THX 1138 to the utopian vision of Patrick McGoohan’s The Prisoner. At the same time, I looked at post-war optimism reflected in technology from the old World’s Fair. There’s a lot that can be taken away from our real hopes for the future as well as classic cinema.
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 Wars, Philip K. Dick, Practical, Dystopia (only because Utopia is… you know), Post Apocalypse (or during-apocalypse is always fun too).