Vietnamese filmmaker Minh Collins, who moved to the united states at the age of 10, could’ve been a sports star had it not been for a bad shoulder injury. Instead, Collins turned to the arts and has worked as a, actor, painter, photographer and filmmaker. His latest venture, “Rocking the Couch”, is a powerful documentary about the #metoo movement. He recently discussed this film and his career via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): Minh, tell us about your upbringing — where were you raised?
MC: I was born in Vietnam during the war. We lived in Thailand and Singapore until the age of 10. Then relocated to southern California and resided in the city of Ventura. I was very active in sports and played football and baseball in high school. A shoulder injury prevented me from playing in college. I’ve always love painting and photography. Film is a great crossover to both mediums.
MM: And how early did you decide you wanted to be a writer and filmmaker?
MC: I wanted to be a filmmaker after college. My first experience on a film set was doing background work and fell in love with the whole filmmaking process.
MM: As a writer, do you remember the first thing you put pen to paper on?
MC: I co-wrote a TV pilot call “Bottom Feeders” in 2009 with my friend Ray Chang. We decide to allocate the writing credit to Ray since I got to directing job. It was an amazing experience to collaborate as a writer.
MM: What was the first thing you wrote that you got paid for?
MC: I’ve been helping writers with their scripts over the past 10 years. As a filmmaker, it’s natural to be a script doctor because I see everything visually. Writers have to understand certain scenes may sound great on paper but do not work on the screen. In 2018 I wrote, “Rocking the Couch” and also co-wrote a horror film “Circus Road” which is currently in postproduction.
MM: Was it natural that you’d end up a filmmaker, too?
MC: I was a filmmaker first and then became a writer because it’s a necessity. Writing was the natural progression to being a director because we all need to convey our thoughts on paper first.
MM: How did you get involved in “Rocking the Couch”?
MC: It was an idea of mine to do a documentary to help new actors in the film industry. Almost everyone I talked to in the entertainment industry had a story about the “casting couch”. I discussed the idea over coffee with my good friend Andrea Evans (producer) and she immediately wanted to help with the project. We then brought on Jerry Sommer (producer) to help round out our team.
MM: Could you relate to it on a personal level?
MC: I can understand why actors find themselves in compromising situations. Many times, they make the wrong decision because there isn’t a guide for new actors to follow. The pressure of making it when given the chance is so high that common sense is usually put aside.
MM: How did you go about deciding which actors should be included in the movie?
MC: We filmed many actors with different stories. The stories that had the most impact were the ones that didn’t end up on the cutting floor.
MM: Whose story touched you the most?
MC: That’s a tough one to answer. There were so many compelling stories. I thought Alana Crow’s story was extremely touching. Tonja Walker story was heart wrenching. It’s very hard to pinpoint one.
MM: Career wise, where do you see yourself in ten years?
MC: Well, I’ll always work in the industry as a storyteller. I see myself making films that will make a difference. There are so many amazing stories out there to be told.
MM: Do you have any upcoming projects that you would like to mention?
MC: Yes, as I’ve mentioned the clown horror film “Circus Road” staring Gianni Capaldi, Tiffani Fest, Nikki Kris, Augie Duke and Sadie Katz is currently in postproduction. The film is slated to be released September 2019. I’m currently in preproduction on my action/thriller “Asphalt Jungle” starring Bruce Dern and Laura Wiggins.
MM: What advice would you give to someone who is aspiring to enter the industry, especially as a writer-director?
MC: My advice is don’t let others discourage you from doing what you want to do. I was told by a production coordinator in casual conversation “they will never let you direct a film.” Well, I’m glad I didn’t listen to that advice.
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