Leah Rifkin is the creator of Out of Frame, the show the gets the inside scoop behind your favorite filmmakers, and today, she’s the subject of our creator interview!
batteryPOP: How did you get the idea to make Out of Frame?
Leah: It came one day out of nowhere really. The idea just kind of popped into my head. A friend and colleague from school and I discussed it one night and then put out a casting call for hosts the next morning. We wanted to create a show that was educational for kids and fun at the same time. Right from the get-go our main goal was to highlight people in media.
It happened very quickly and Season 1 was a bit of a roller coaster since it was the first web series that either of us had produced. It was a lot of fun though and a great learning experience.
batteryPOP: How do you decide which filmmaker you are going to feature?
Leah: It is mostly random but we try to pick a wide range of people from both TV and film. Every season, we want to make sure that we have a decently equal amount of producers, directors, writers, and actors. We also try to balance out the amount of males and females that we cover.
In Season 1 the theme was Classic vs. Contemporary and for Season 2 the theme is Local vs. International. We asked audience members who they wanted to see covered for Season 2 and took most of the suggestions provided. We’ll do the same for Season 3. We haven’t finalized a theme yet for the third season but we will open it up a bit. In other words we would like to also talk about cinematographers, composers, and editors.
I think it’s important that people find out about people behind-the-camera because we don’t always hear much about them.
batteryPOP: Who are some of your favorite filmmakers?
Leah: My favourite filmmaker of all time is Baz Luhrmann. He has a very unique style and he gives interesting direction. It’s easy to pick out his films because of his distinct voice. His red curtain series is amazing! He also did a fabulous job with his rendition of The Great Gatsby. I enjoy breaking down the way he mixes different kinds of music, colours, and dialogue to create an entirely new interpretation of a story. He did this particularly well with Romeo & Juliet, starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Claire Danes.
I also enjoy the work of directors like Steven Spielberg, Deepa Mehta, Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, Gurinder Chadha, Woody Allen, Alfred Hitchcock, Anne Fletcher, Stanley Kubrick, Tim Burton, and Sofia Coppola.
batteryPOP: Did you make movies when you were younger? If so, what were they about?
Leah: I only starting making films when I was in high school. My friends and I made a 20 minute short film about a group of friends trying to figure out what theme to make their party. Though it looked terrible because the camera we had bugged out on us, it was a lot of fun! It still makes me laugh when I watch it.
The only other films I made were as part of my portfolio for getting into film schools. Keep in mind that I only started considering filmmaking as a career when I was in my Junior year/eleventh grade. Before that, I was quite certain that I wanted to be an actress. Once I knew what my career goals were, I began taking more of an interest in learning about filmmaking and directing.
batteryPOP: Were there any movies or TV shows you watched when you were younger that made you want to go into film?
Leah: There weren’t any that really inspired me to get into film but since I wanted to be an actress I would play out scenes from movies like Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, The Goonies, andAdventures in Babysitting. I would literally practice certain sections of dialogue word for word. It did help me learn how to do accents which was fun. In a way I think doing that helped me appreciate dialogue - which, now that I think of it, is the thing that I tend to analyze most in a script. Some other movies that I really enjoyed as a child were Star Wars, Pretty In Pink, Monkey Trouble, Back To TheFuture, and Jumanji.
Some TV shows that I enjoyed when I was younger were Sailor Moon, Boy Meets World, Stargate SG-1, Star Trek, Pokemon, Lizzie McGuire, Popular, and a bunch more. There are too many to name!
batteryPOP: Has anything unexpectedly funny ever happened on the set of Out of Frame?
Leah: Many funny things always happen on set. After filming an entire season we have hours of blooper reel footage. It’s difficult to pinpoint one thing that was significantly funnier than the others but in a general sense, when Alessandra improvises for the teasers, she comes up with some pretty hilarious stuff. I remember a few times, I couldn’t contain myself and my bursting out laughing ruined the take. Two episodes that stand out where there was tons of laughter on set were the episodes about Lorne Michaels, Meryl Streep, and Alfred Hitchcock.
It’s my job to keep things on track so I try to make sure that we don’t get too carried away being silly on set because we have to make sure that we get the coverage that we need in the short amount of time that we have to film.
batteryPOP: If you did an Out of Frame about a cartoon, which cartoon would you pick?
Leah: That’s a tough one. It would probably be a tie between The Magic School Bus and Arthur.
batteryPOP: If you were a super hero, who (or what) would be your sidekick?
Leah: If I were a superhero, my sidekick would be Dobby from Harry Potter. He’s loyal, smart, funny, and caring...and he has magical powers.
Thanks so much to Leah for answering our questions. Be sure to check out Out of Frame HERE on batteryPOP!