By: Maria Shamkalian
Please, meet David Vincent Bobb who is a local actor and award-winning filmmaker. David starred in a scene opposite Benjamin Bratt in the feature film “Pinero”. His biggest achievement is his most recent film, “Right Before Your Eyes”. He obtained a personal achievement of “Best First Time Director”, awarded to him by the 2019 Philadelphia Independent Film Festival. In total, the film has been selected to 6 film festivals, nominated for 19 awards and has won 6 awards.
1) What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?
My independent feature film “Right Before Your Eyes” recently picked up national distribution with Nagra/myCinema and will have a limited theatrical release on 9.20.19, with Canada, Mexico and worldwide release to follow. This film has been a labor of love of mine for over 14 years. It is inspired by events in my life. It’s the story of a recovering addict and alcoholic on a train ride home to visit his young Autistic son he hasn’t seen since birth. This film would not have been possible without the help of the Philadelphia film scene. I am Philly native and most of my actors and some of my crew are from Philadelphia. I was able to find all of my talent and crew through, of all places, Facebook. I posted that I wanted to shoot a faith-based feature film and was looking for like-minded actors and crew that would be interested in helping me bring this dream to fruition. The response was overwhelming and I couldn’t have been more blessed with the cast and crew involved in the project.
2) How did you get started in the film industry?
After I was discharged from the United States Marine Corps, I was working as a waiter in a seafood restaurant in South Carolina. I would always talk about wanting to get involved in theatre and film but never really pursued it. One day a waitress came into work and told me that they were casting extras for Disney’s “The Jungle Book” live action feature film starring Jason Scott Lee, Cary Elwes, and John Cleese. I went to an open casting call at the Holiday Inn in Beaufort, South Carolina and before I even got back home I had a message on my phone from the Casting Director stating that they want to cast me in the film. One night I was sitting on this elaborate Disney set in the middle of a small island in South Carolina. I was looking around at the stadium lights, the live oxen and elephants walking around, and all of the actors, including myself, dressed in our period pieces and I knew at that exact moment that this would be something I would do for the rest of my life.
3) Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
I am the kind of guy who stays true to my roots. I am originally from Pennsylvania and as I soon found out, the film industry in Pennsylvania, and in particular, Philadelphia, is thriving. I would have to say the best thing about working in Pennsylvania is the fact that there are so many beautiful locations to shoot and a plethora of filmmakers, cast, and crew that are as hungry as I am to make poignant and lasting films.
4) What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?
I’ve been lucky enough to have locations such as The Colebrookdale Railroad in beautiful Boyertown, Pa, as well as some real gems in Harrisburg, Pa (Bethesda Mission), and Camp Hill, Pa (Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral).
5) What do you love the most about your job?
The friendships that are created on a film set are unlike any other. When you can share your vision with somebody and they believe in that vision enough to help you tell your story and they accept who you are, that is a friendship I’m willing to hold onto for a lifetime.
6) Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
It’s been a whirlwind ever since my first project started taking off. I’ve gotten several offers to write/co-write, direct, and produce several different features. For now, I am going to focus on seeing my current project all the way through to the finish line (international distribution) before I make any moves to go to the next project. When the time is right, I’ll know it.
7) PAFIA has been working hard on increasing the film tax credit in Pennsylvania and bringing more film work to our local crew and talent, but we must all unite to really make a difference. What can you tell our elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?
To me the obvious would be the job opportunities that open up to filmmakers, cast, and crew when projects are advertised. The local economy flourishes when these filmmakers plant their feet in whichever City they are shooting. Local businesses (restaurants, markets, hotels, etc.) not only benefit from an increased spike in sales while these projects are in town, but the advertising a filmmaker can offer (having a local business featured in a film) could have some really substantial long-term effects for that business. I can think of no better way to advertise than with a medium that has the potential to be visible to millions of people worldwide in perpetuity.
8) What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
My biggest piece of advice to filmmakers would be when you hire cast and crew for your project make sure that they truly believe in your project. Hire not only based on talent, but also based on their commitment to their craft and professionalism. You can usually tell at a casting call or when speaking to crew on the phone or in person if they are somebody you want to spend the next few weeks/months with. Investigate the cast and crew you want to hire. Check out their resumes, search IMDb, ask around. Remember this is your vision and your hard-earned money. You have the right to know that what you are getting in return for your blood, sweat, and tears is going to be a quality investment. I was once given a very important piece of sage advice that I’d like to share with you. If you want a successful film, make sure you have these 3 elements: a good story, a good cast, and a good crew. The only way you are going to have those 3 elements is to do the research. Don’t rush your project and be diligent. It will be worth it in the end and you have an amazing story to share with the world.
9) What are some good strategies to find more gigs?
Be nice on set and people will remember you. Remember, this is a profession, treat it like one. Be respectful to those that hired you and build strong relationships while you are on set, even if it’s only for a day or two. The film industry is a very tight community and word travels fast. If you leave a positive lasting impression on those you work with and work for, gigs will actually start finding you.
10) What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
Never ever rush and don’t commit too soon to anything. I was so excited when “Right Before Your Eyes” went into pre-production that instead of researching I made some knee-jerk decisions that ended up being mistakes. What I would recommend is that you ask lots of questions before you make decisions in reference to the entire production process. And don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially if you are “green”. Don’t ever feel like you have a “dumb” question or that you will look less knowledgeable if you don’t know how every single piece works. Surround yourself with positive people that genuinely want to help you and believe in your project.
11) What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
“The Deer Hunter”
12) What is your favorite project that you worked on?
“Right Before Your Eyes” - www.beforeyoureyesfilm.com
13) What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
To help faith-based films become more mainstream. Faith-based films have gotten such a bad rap over the years. But as we progress as a human race, faith-based films do seem to be turning the corner a bit and are starting to make a real statement in the film industry. I want to be a voice for the faith-based film industry. I want to help integrate and change that narrative.
14) What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?
CDB Films will advertise casting calls when upcoming projects are ready for production. We advertise on all social media outlets as well as using local and national news resources.
Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA)461 Cochran Road, Box 246Pittsburgh, PA 15228(717) 833-4561 firstname.lastname@example.org