Dylan Baumgartner: A Man of Many Mediums

JM: As usual Dylan, let the people know the basics about ya before we dive in!

DB: My name is Dylan Baumgartner. I’m based out of Temecula, California. I am a writer, director, producer, editor, and musician. I make short films, music videos, books, comic books, and music.

JM: I remember going to one of your film premieres at the Temeku in Temecula, pretty sure it was Dynamica that was being released. How did you go about getting your films independently published?

DB: Yeah that was back in 2017 when theaters were still alive and well. I do remember seeing you there at the Dynamica premiere with Michael and if I’m not mistaken, Jake was there too. Thanks again for coming out! That was a fun premiere. It was also an expensive one for me. The budget for Dynamica ended up being around $3,000 out of pocket plus an overpriced theater rental while I was working a minimum wage job at Subway. But after premiering Nightwatchers at Temeku in 2018, I haven’t done a theater rental from them since and I probably won’t again anytime soon. The last short film I directed was premiered at the 2019 Elev8 Film Festival in Temecula at the Edwards Cinema.

JM: I totally feel you on paying out of pocket to make your dreams work. It’s discouraging when it doesn’t go your way, but we haven’t given up and that’s what matters! What is the hardest part about being a director/producer? I figure there’s a lot of sleepless nights and early mornings.

DB: In my opinion, there are a lot of challenging obstacles for an amateur filmmaker at my level. But the hardest thing that I’ve noticed for my self and my other filmmaker friends is finding people who are willing to help just for the sake of helping out. Not in it for a paycheck or some kind of glory. Just helping out someone who has a vision and willing to go broke for it. I think the art industry was built on people doing favors for one another. Like right now I’m helping out my friend Bailey Schoelen with his short film, CPU Messenger and he’s helping me with my short film, Me & You. Or like how I edited the Toxic Box video for you and now we are doing this interview.

JM: You know, it’s taken me some time to understand we do this creative shit in order to maintain our minds. Recognition and money are something that MIGHT come along. It’s especially hard trying to just find people who want to help for the sake of helping out your cause. I run into that a lot as well. So, with that being said, creating involves struggles, but what would you say is your biggest strength during the creative process of your content.

DB: I don’t like bragging about myself so I’ll keep this brief. I think it’s beneficial that I write, direct and edit most of my projects. It helps with maintaining the story and characters while also being able to reshape it as I go from the inception of the idea to the final product. 

JM: That’s how I feel with my music and with Unify Collective. I need to be fully involved in it, even if I don’t have the skillset to edit a video or graphic design I still am involved 100% of the entire project to make sure my vision comes to life. How would you classify your genre of cinematography? It looks like you deal with a lot of variety which is great!

DB: Thank you but I can’t take all the credit for the cinematography. I usually like to work with a cinematographer if I’m directing. At this level, I’m wearing multiple hats on set and it’s incredibly helpful to have a cinematographer handle the camera and lights. Plus, I get a different perspective on the script. There have been plenty of times where what the cinematographer comes up with on set is way better than what I had in my head or drawn in my storyboards.

JM: Multiple hats! That’s a good description. I often feel like the editor, producer, art direction, designer, etc. But I always let the creatives I work with have their freedom because they often come up with ideas that were completely different and end up better than what I originally had in mind. What is it about your style that sets you apart from the rest of the crowd?

DB: I think that when you start out as an artist you first need to find your voice. I’m still working on it and the way I’m going about it is tackling different platforms and genres of storytelling. My first project was a cerebral supernatural short film followed up with a train heist action drama. Just recently I published a western novella and I’m currently working on a comedy comic book, a multi-genre collaborative album, a murder mystery book, and a dark comedy breakup short film.
So for me it’s about seeing how I go about telling those stories and then being able to look back, find the common threads and then hone in on what works and strengthen what doesn’t.
JM: I feel like I’m still trying to find my voice. I do feel more comfortable with my art than ever before so maybe that means I’m getting closer and closer to what it is I’m trying to become. Yet, being an artist we’re always evolving and trying to create something different than before. You have a big catalogue of self-directed and produced cinema under your belt. What’s your favorite one, if any?
The Creatives: Dylan
DB: For a long time my favorite was Nightwatchers because it was just so fun make. But I would say my last directed short film, Who, is my new favorite. The end product is something that everyone involved and myself are very proud of but the personal connection I had to the project was a very weird and wild experience that I won’t forget anytime soon.

JM: Was it hard to create or did you find it an easy process since you felt connected to it?

Artwork: Alicia Mutlu

DB: I think it’s really important to have a personal connection to what you are working on. For me, art is a form of therapy. 

JM: That’s what Unify Collective and my music are, therapy. So I completely understand where you’re coming from. Speaking of my music, what inspired you behind the “Toxic Box” promotional videos that you helped me out with? They came out so clean!

Artwork: Barep Bachtiar 

DB: Thank you and thanks for approaching me with the project. For the “Toxic Box” video, I was just trying to service the song and the artwork you gave me. I felt like there should be a sense of chaos. 

JM: And you did exactly that with these videos good sir so thank you! Well, with that being said, tell the people what’s coming up, what’s new, and where to reach you if they want some camerawork and/or promo stuff made!
DB: Right now I have a few new releases. I put out a music video for “The Message” by West of 33 and Pac_Man 29.
DB: I have a new western adventure book out titled Bone Orchard.

Artwork: Ian Wilkins

DB: Followed up by another book, Copy Cats in October.

DB: I’m also releasing a second issue of Fernello on Thanksgiving this year.

The Creatives: Dylan

DB: My music side project Slingshot is coming out with a 14 track album titled “Trapped in Oblivion” in November.

Artwork: Brandon Watkins

DB: And currently I am working on a new short film called “Me & You”.

The Creatives: Dylan
DB: I’m also finishing up a quick short for the My Rode Reel competition called Juggernaut. I wrote, directed, edited, and composed the music for it.
The Creatives: Dylan
DB: You can find all of this stuff on my Instagram @the_reel_dyl or @kalmiastuff
Thanks again for interviewing me and giving me a chance to talk about my projects.  

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