Small town boy-turned-big city dreamer Richard Louprasong has two goals. As an aspiring filmmaker and film editor he wants to work with well-known names like Guillermo del Toro (The Devil’s Backbone, 2001; Hellboy, 2004; and Pan’s Labyrinth, 2006) and cut his own feature length film. He also wants to aim his talents at the Lao American community: “Me being a Lao American filmmaker and also gay, it would be interesting to focus on gay Laotians in the community,” he says. “It would be about the younger generation…on several individuals who are ‘out’ in high school and at home dealing with these issues.” It’s great to know there are people like Richard who follow their own dreams, but remain strongly rooted in their community.
Richard, 23, takes his craft seriously. “My editing jumps around and ties in at the end. That’s what makes [it] special. I don’t use special or visual effects,” he explains. Richard describes his creative style as non-linear editing where he doesn’t require all shots to be assembled in a continuous fashion. “I do see myself as an artist. It’s your vision and that is what art is about—creating your vision. The editor is the one putting the story together,” he says. “Even though you’re not the director or the cinematographer, when you’re editing you’re also directing. My craft is telling stories the way I want it.”
His creative process involves studying masters like Guillermo del Toro and listening to music. “I usually listen to James Newton Howard,” he says. “I listen to music, like film scores, to help with the tension and emotion. It’s about building emotion and you have to feel involved.” Editing is more than organizing, filing, placing items into bins, and transcoding footage. “It’s all about pacing, about tempo. You get so into it. You have to keep that in mind when you’re editing so when you’re watching [the cut] you can feel what the actor is feeling,” he says.
Richard graduated from film school and has since been involved with many different initiatives and community projects. The first is a book project about creating HIV awareness in Minnesota called Face Off HIV. He’s teamed up with the author, Keith Pederson, and will be creating promotional videos for marketing the book like this one here (http://vimeo.com/46784769). Richard is proud to be a part of the project. “Some people don’t believe that HIV is a problem in Minnesota,” he says.
Another of Richard’s projects is a horror flick. “I’d like to work with…Tony Todd, the guy who played Candyman [Candyman, 1992]. Me and my friends are working on a feature-length horror movie and we’re trying to get him to be in it,” he says. “My inspiration comes from watching horror films. All my pre-college short films were of me in front of webcams doing puppets and acting.”
Though just starting out as a young professional in the film industry, he is very wise and self-aware. “Being a Laotian American in the film community it’s very striking. There are not a lot of Lao people doing this,” he says. Richard is one of very few Lao Americans in the film industry and has a message for the younger generation who also wants to pursue film. “Follow your dreams no matter what people say. There will be ups and downs. That’s life. There’s always gonna be some kind of struggle that will stop you from where you want to be. Keep your mind set and keep pushing,” he says. “That goes towards the Lao community. We need to be more focused.”
See Richard Louprasong’s work here,
More information about Face Off HIV, visit http://facesofhiv.org