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Cue Card Girl: An Interview with Violet Dempsey

Please tell us about the projects you made before Cue Card Girl. How did you start, and how did you learn to make films?

I began making short trailers on my mom’s iPhone at nine years old. I wanted to be an actor back then, so naturally, I thought that creating silly little iMovies would launch my career. Then, as time passed and I grew older, I realized that it wasn’t the acting I loved; it was the storytelling itself. I made my first real short film at age twelve, and since then, I never stopped. I have had three films in festival circuits, and they have garnered places in 38 film festivals across the globe. The project that truly launched my career in filmmaking would be my short doc “Bullets in Paradise”. I made it during the early stages of filming for “Cue Card Girl”, and it introduced me to the world of documentary filmmaking and nonfiction storytelling. I think I needed to have the experience of making a short doc completely on my own before I moved forward with my production partner on “Cue Card Girl”.

Tell us about “Cue Card Girl”. How would you describe it?

“Cue Card Girl” delves into the fascinating world of SNL in the 1980s through the lens of one fabulous cue card wielder: Eileen O’Brien. She shares her wonderful stories with wit, and a fanciful snarkiness that sets an unforgettable tone. It features archival footage and glitzy visuals that support Eileen’s tales of America’s most famous sketch comedy show!

Directors Aiden Nelson and Violet Dempsey

Please tell us about your favorite filmmakers.

I LOVE Tim Burton. He’s been my favorite since as long as I can remember! I also have an adoration and deep curiosity about Ed Wood. Sure, his movies were sort of awful, but his zest for life and complete infatuation for his craft was so admirable. He was making bad movies, but he was happy. He didn’t let society dictate his life whatsoever. I think he is a great example of someone living authentically in his own strange way. Not to mention, he was a kooky character, and I empathize and relate to that. I myself am… strange and unusual.

If you were given a good budget, what would be your ideal project?

I think I would keep my vision high, and my CGI low. I would want my budget to be used for incredible practical effects, good costuming, set design, and most importantly, ideal pay for my crew. I would probably want to make an A24 produced horror flick with a good level of weird gothicness. Perhaps I would adapt my latest short into a feature… That’s always a good thought.

Describe how you would ensure that production is on schedule. What steps would you take?

I have some recent experience with this, and the best advice that I could give to any filmmaker would be “PLAN AHEAD!” so many novice filmmakers will just wing it, and I just cannot endorse that! I ended up making a comprehensive shot-by-shot schedule for a 17-minute-long short, although some people may think that’s overkill, it’s absolutely not. We accomplished our filming goals smoothly on the daily, and it was all because of the schedule. Also, make sure that you aren’t putting too much on your plate. Trust me, overworking yourself and your crew isn’t a badge of honor. It will make filming a nightmare, plus, there’s more of a chance of getting behind schedule! Just plan plan plan and you should be golden!

What was the hardest part of making “Cue Card Girl”?

I would say the hardest part was the collaboration. Both me and my co-director had very different visions at times, and I had to work on allowing some things to not go my way. It was a very important lesson to learn as I am usually a solo filmmaker who takes over most jobs on my set. So, handing work over was hard, but it was necessary.

If possible, tell us about your next work. What plans do you have for your future work?

I have just finished a slasher film called “Camp Douglas Fir”, and I’m so incredibly proud of it. It is due to premiere on April 16th, and I’m so thrilled! It’s a story set in the 1980s, and it’s about four teens that return to the abandoned summer camp in which they witnessed a horrible event five years before. While they are there, they must come to terms with their trauma in a trope-bending and tense tale which leaves blood splattering the screen and 80s nostalgia in your head. This film marks the end of my high school years, as it is my Senior Capstone Project! I will be moving on to college at University of Colorado Denver in the fall to study film. I am so eager to see where this journey takes me!


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