Paul Draper

Paul Michael Draper is a director and actor, known for Extent (2018), Lucid (2017) and Killjoy.

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Dust Films

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 hope would be that the world of Extent would be one worth living in. A peaceful coexistence with technology was certainly more on my mind. A way for the two to help each other understand life and purpose more deeply as opposed to the usually more adversarial relationship we see depicted. As far as a one way ticket to a Sci-Fi world, I suppose I would have to pick Star Wars. As a young one I would be devastated at the end of any Star Wars film because I just thought it would be so incredible to exist in that world, so I would be hard pressed to pass up that opportunity.

Name a Sci-Fi character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Sci-Fi spirit animal/spirit alien?

Jean-Luc Picard for sure. I used to sneak out of bed around 2 or 3 AM when I was younger to catch episodes of TNG, and I was fascinated by Picard. The duality of his explorers openness to new knowledge and experiences with the duty of being a Captain and upholding his directives has always been something I connect with and find myself trying to bring into my work as a Director now. As for my spirit animal. Has to be Godzilla. Who doesn’t want to be King of the Monsters?

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 would MUCH rather they be our friends, as I tried to depict in my film! However, there’s a little part of my brain that triggers every time a new advancement is made, and it tells me, “SKYNET is coming…” That being said, if robots began making films, I would certainly be in line with a ticket. I love movies too much to care who they’re coming from.

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’d have to start with my relatable Picard leading the way. Boba Fett has to be there. Leeloo from Fifth Element. Rick Deckard for sure. The last spot is always the hardest, but let’s go with Ellen Ripley rounding out the starting 5.

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?

Maybe this is a cop out, but I don’t really think of ideas as good or bad. More as interesting and uninteresting. That makes the job of getting past the latter ones rather simple. When I’m developing a story, if it’s intriguing and I’m constantly brought back to it, then I realize there’s something there and I give it the time it needs. If the idea can’t get a foothold in my brain and attention then they usually just seem to drift into the void where they belong.

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 definitely feel apart of a sci-fi community. What specifically I couldn’t say, but I’ve been a fan of the genre in books and film for as long as I’ve been taking them in. It can be an isolating and lonely space to be in. Having a mind that can dream and live in these otherworldly places can leave you wanting in your reality, but the creation of these worlds in film allows for some wonderful catharsis to see these dreams played out into some form of reality in the cinema.

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 certainly find myself to be analogous, yet trying to bridge the gap and adapt to what I see as a more digital world we are becoming. Finding and striking a balance between the two is always difficult, especially when we seem to bombarded with more advancements and functionality in our digital lives every day. The ease of which the digital world exists is the tricky part for me, and forcing myself to exit that space in certain daily routines is the only way I seem to survive it. I feel the disconnect between the technology used to make films and the technology they are about is their functionality. The technology we use to tell stories lives in a world of observance, and though it advances, it’s purpose never strays from observing and then showing the audience the stories we wish to tell. Whereas the technology we show takes a much more proactive and interactive type of technology.

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?

My first point of inspiration and reference is always paintings. I love trying to adapt old styles, functions, and concepts into a new world setting. For me, attempting that as opposed to an outright new technology or idea accomplishes the relatability to the audience and gives the world a groundedness that I think can be difficult to achieve when the technology of the world gets a little out of hand.

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?

So tough, but Star Wars. Philip. Practical. Dystopia. Post Apocalypse.