Pardis Parker is a funny fellow who writes/directs/produces/acts and does stand-up. In other words, he’s a super creative guy. He’s got his hands in many different aspects of entertainment and really loves film. He has a great short film called The Dance that’s a sweet one involving feelings we all go through at some point. Let’s get into this one shall we? We talk donairs, Canada, movie characters, and donairs!
Serial Optimist: Hello Pardis, thanks a lot for talking with us! What’s the silliest six word short story you can make up?
Pardis Parker: “Discovered Canada. Experienced first winter. Stayed.”
SO: Where did you grow up? Who was/is the funniest person in your family?
Pardis: I grew up in Canada, on the east coast. Probably the greatest place on the planet. And everyone in my family was/is funny, and every conversation was/is peppered with multiple jokes in multiple languages. Lots of laughter growing up.
SO: In your experience, which is a better country to live in, Canada or the U.S.?
Pardis: Oy ve. I love both equally. (But Canada’s amazing and Halifax is incredible…so…you should visit. And only Halifax has donairs (which you can’t just Google, by the way, you need to actually taste).)
SO: Wow, I don’t know what that is! *Googles it anyway* slightly shifting gears here, you direct, write, act, and perform stand-up comedy. What draws you to all of these things? Which one do you find yourself thinking about the most?
Pardis: They’re just different ways of expressing myself, different creative outlets with different advantages. Stand-up’s so immediate, almost like a drug, but film allows you to connect with people’s hearts and minds in a completely different way. And I’m constantly thinking of stand-up jokes and creating and “filming” scenes in my mind, but most of my time right now is spent writing. I don’t think I answered your question.
The Dance Trailer
SO: You totally did. You think about writing. Speaking of which, The Dance is a sweet and simple short silent film. Would you like to explain what it’s about?
Pardis: It’s about a guy who loves a girl, but who makes the classic mistake of trying to be what he thinks she wants him to be instead of just being himself.
SO: What was your process for making this film? Why did you feel like this was an important story to tell?
Pardis: I knew I wanted to make a film with no dialogue. That constraint seemed interesting to me. And I knew that I wanted to make something that people of all ages and backgrounds and mother tongues could watch and enjoy together, in exactly the same way. And I knew that I loved underdog stories, and love stories, and romantic comedies, and simple, easy-to-relate-to premises. And this was the result. And it was important because by the end of it you’re either laughing or smiling or crying happy tears. We need more of all three of those things, no? (Fun fact: those are the only three ingredients in donair sauce.)
SO: Yeah. Those are things everyone should get a daily dose of. Can you explain why silent film interests you?
Pardis: I grew up watching and loving “Looney Tunes,” “Spy vs. Spy,” “Mr. Bean,” and even shows like the “The Cosby Show” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” where the main characters made you laugh as much by what they didn’t say as by what they did. I love that style of comedy, and it has the added bonus of being universal. It’s pretty great when people from different corners of the world can see and experience something in the exact same way. It brings people together. You can’t top that. Unless you’re a donair. In which case you top everything…aside from your toppings. I’ll show myself out.
SO: Subtlety is the way to go! You had major roles in The Dance—director, writer, actor, producer—what made you take on so much? Were there any challenges while filming along the way?
Pardis: It was a small little thing I shot with friends and favors back home in Halifax (greatest place on Earth). The fewer the people involved, the less management that’s necessary, and the easier it is to move quickly. And the biggest challenge was the power going out during production! The city went dark and we lost half a day of shooting, but, again, friends and favors made it possible for us to pick up what we needed later on and still produce what we intended to produce.
SO: Your film has gotten many awards and high praise since it’s been out including the National Screen Institute of Canada’s award for Best Comedy and two Canadian Comedy Award nominations for Best Writer and Best Actor. Which award or distinction meant the most to you?
Pardis: Probably the two you mentioned, and we also had a strong showing at the Boston Comedy Festival that made me happy.
SO: Any plans to make more films? Will you continue to act/direct/write/produce?
Pardis: I’m done with shorts and transitioning to features and television, focused primarily on writing, directing, and producing.
SO: Is there anything in particular, career wise, you’d like people to know about?
Pardis: If they like The Dance then I’d love for them to check out Afghan and Two Men, Two Cows, Two Guns, two other shorts I shot on film.
SO: I’m sure people will love it. Pardis, for this last one, can you tell us your favorite movie and type of movie character? Is fantasy ever a better place to live in than reality?
Pardis: I’ve got a few favorites. Good Will Hunting, Contact, and The Godfather Part II come to mind. Kingdom of Heaven, too. My brothers and I really love that one. Type of movie character? Oh, God, the underdog everyman, I guess? The eternal romantic? The kid no one believes in who wants to change the world? The hot girlfriend? Does that count?
And no, fantasy can’t be better than reality. Unless the fantasy involves an obscene number of donairs.
*ahem* If you’ll excuse me, I believe that’s my cue.
SO: Thanks Pardis! The hot girlfriend does count and of course fantasy has tons and tons of donairs if you so wish.
SO Note: That was Pardis guys! Don’t you just want to see all of his films? Follow him on twitter @pardis, check out his website pardisparker.com for lots of his videos and films, and please watch The Dance because it is adorable.