Though it is never too late, filmmaker Chris Kenneally originally thought he would be an author. Instead of writing screenplays, he’d be writing short stories. His passion for developing stories for screens began during his days as a bartender when one of his co-workers, a film student, had to write a script. Kenneally took over the task. He wrote and helped make the movie.
“I was like ‘wow, this is awesome,’” the Already Gone director recalls to So Booking Cool. “’Cause it combines so many different creative outlets, not just writing, but there’s a visual aspect; obviously, dealing with people, working with actors; and technically, how to use a camera and make it look good, sound, and all that. I loved the kind of teamwork aspect of it.”
While the experience of making a short film made Kenneally realize his dream, he was unsure about how to get in the film business. Naturally, he turned to writing. He wrote down his goal and a list of steps to achieve it. His proactive approach led to him volunteering at the Boston Film Video Foundation. His self-generated internship included typical tasks such as answering phones. But he was also able to take classes and use the equipment. Kenneally saw an opportunity to make another short film. He knew he couldn’t do it alone—he hadn’t mastered the camera. So, when he met a group of students from Emerson University, he enlisted their help for executing his visual.
He would eventually take on various roles in the business including producer, editor, editorial department, composer, to name a few. His early contributions include Crazy Legs Conti: Zen and the Art of Competitive Eating and Looking Out for Number One, both of which he directed. Other credits include Girl’s Trip, in which Kenneally downplays his involvement. One of the major projects in his career is his documentary Side By Side, which features James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, and Keanu Reeves to name a few.
Collaborating with other aspiring filmmakers, volunteering at film festivals, and entering film contests are among the advice Kenneally has for those interested in working in the industry. When asked about how one can stay motivated, the director has this to say: “Surround yourself with people that you trust, that are honest, that wouldn’t tear you down or mock you for going for your goals. And aside from other people, it’s about yourself. You really have to believe you can do it, and there’s no reason you can’t; I mean, if I can do it, to some degree, I think anybody can.” He refers to his point of writing down the goal along with a list of steps to achieve it and improve. “Once I wrote that down, this is the target for me, this is where I wanna go. Things just started to come together more. You have a little clear focus and it just made me a happier person as well.”
Check out the interview to learn more about Already Gone, including the casting and how it’s not a typical coming-of-age story; what those who aspire to work in film can learn from Side By Side; some of the conventional and non-conventional ways to break into the industry; protecting one’s own script; how he’d like to see the industry evolve; what he’d be doing if he wasn’t a filmmaker, and more! For more information, visit the Kenneally’s official instagram as well as Already Gone’s.