Scott Little first came up with the idea of creating FilmEDM Experiences back in 2004, two weeks before he started undergrad film school at Brooks Institute of Photography. At that time, Scott wanted to figure out two things, how to share his love of Electronic Dance Music combined with film and how to separate himself from traditional filmmaking. Scott had been listening to EDM since he attended his first EDM music festival, Moonshine Over America, where he watched Carl Cox play in front of a 100-foot American flag covered in black light under an overpass in Oakland. From that point on, Scott never purchased another piece of non-Electronic Dance Music again. He could get lost in time coming up with stories while listening to full mixes of Ferry Corsten’s Mixed Live from Spundae at Circus, Noel Sanger’s Vibrations of Light and Sound, Paul Oakenfold’s Tranceport, and Above & Beyond’s Tri-State. While Scott was attending grad film school at The American Film Institute in 2008, he started interning for visual artist Vello Virkhaus of V Squared Labs, where he would assist with visuals at Ultra Music Festival, Electric Daisy Carnival, and Coachella under Vello’s direction. While his other classmates were interning for television shows and feature films, Scott thought it was best to learn from the best in the visual EDM world, and would continue to develop the idea of marrying film and EDM together. It has been a long but thought out road to get to this point, the first Los Angeles Screening of Electric Heart. Scott spent eleven years developing the idea until he pulled the trigger in 2015 and assembled the best EDM film soundtrack and started shooting Electric Heart with the help of some of his incredibly talented friends that he met along his EDM journey. Scott is currently in pre-production on two additional FilmEDM Experiences, Drastic Love and The Dream Catcher, along with a one-hour scripted television drama in the style of the other FilmEDM Experiences entitled Day Dreamer.
I recently had the chance to sit down and talk with Scott about music and how his dream EDM movie project came to life.
Sason Bishope Parry: How is life treating you?
Scott Little: Life couldn’t be better! I just got back from Miami where we screened Electric Heart for the first time during Miami Music Week, and then I finished my visit strong by attending the best Ultra Music Festival ever. Anybody who’s been to Ultra Music Festival knows that you ride at least a three to four month natural high on life after attending. I’ve been going to Ultra since 2007, and it’s always the best time of my life!
SBP: Tell us a little about yourself?
SL: I love Electronic Dance Music period! It’s the soundtrack to my life! I also love film too, but EDM is king in my world!
SBP: You got a new indie movie coming out, how did that happen and is this your first movie?
SL: Electric Heart is the first film that I’ve produced. It all started back in 2004, two weeks before I started undergrad film school. I was trying to figure out how to separate myself from the rest of my future classmates and everybody else in the film industry. While listening to one of Above & Beyond’s first remixes, Madonna’s “What It Feel Like For A Girl,” and drinking a six pack of Corona, I came up with my first story idea for a future FilmEDM Experience.
SBP: Was the movie your idea? How long have you been working on it?
SL: The original concept, style of filmmaking and story idea of Electric Heart were mine. The writer and director, Benjamin Mattingly brought the script and characters to life! The only thing I told Ben was “we’re making a silent narrative feature film, with an all EDM soundtrack, and it’s going to be a buddy road trip film.” Everything else in the script and on the screen is Ben’s work along with our talented cast, EDM Artists, crew, and everyone that has lifted up Electric Heart along the way. I had been pitching FilmEDM Experiences all the way back in 2004 to my classmates, and I continued pitching the idea while attending graduate film school at The American Film Institute Conservatory. I couldn’t get anyone to come on board until I took Ben to Electric Daisy Carnival in 2009. After I had taken Ben up to the main stage at The Coliseum in Los Angeles while Paul Oakenfold threw down a monster set, and I told him that I wanted to screen a film there one day, I knew that I had sold Ben on being the director of the first FilmEDM Experience.
SBP: What is the movie about?
SL: Electric Heart is about realizing that you are responsible for your happiness and that you can’t depend on anyone else to infuse that happiness into your life. It is about removing the people who don’t help you and focusing on what is important, finding the beauty in the mundane of life.
SBP: Please explain your statement that Electric Heart is the first film of its kind?
SL: Electric Heart is the first ever silent narrative feature to be accompanied by an Electronic Dance Music mix; twenty-eight individually wrapped music videos with the same story consistently through all of them. Electric Heart is LifeFlip’s first FilmEDM Experience. A FilmEDM Experience is what we’re calling these types of films. They’re meant to be played in a movie theater as well as music festivals, where we’ll add 4D elements like pyrotechnics (fireworks and fire), lasers, fog, lights, and confetti to enhance the overall experience of the film. For example, if a car blows up in our next feature, and it will, the stage will light up with fire.
SBP: Where did you film the movie? Did you have a big budget?
SL: We shot Electric Heart in three states (Oregon, California, and Nevada) over six cities (Portland, Anaheim, Malibu, Santa Clarita, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas). No, we did not have a big budget. I wish! We were initially told that the budget should be $1.2 million and we made Electric Heart for $175,000. We became real Guerilla Filmmakers by doing whatever it took to get the film made.
SBP: You have an amazing EDM soundtrack did you pick all the artists and songs?
SL: Yes, I handpicked all twenty-eight tracks in the Electric Heart Soundtrack, and yes, it’s the best pound for pound EDM soundtrack around! When Ben and I had locked the script, I went through it and drew lines where I felt there was a change of tone, and in the end, we needed twenty-eight tracks. From there, I started going through my personal library, listening to podcasts, and then reaching out to Armada, DJ superstar Armin van Buuren’s record label. I originally reached out to Armada for a W&W track, but when I told them about the project and how many tracks we needed, they made their catalog available. With that, we got Armin van Buuren himself, Dash Berlin, Gabriel & Dresden, Shogun, Volt & State, and Manse. We also have some amazing fresh talent that I can’t wait for everyone to check out.
SBP: Is the entire movie about and based on EDM?
SL: You could say Electric Heart is 100% EDM. It’s an all EDM soundtrack, and a story about two friends traveling cross-country to attend a dance music festival. Future FilmEDM Experiences will not have an EDM storyline. We did feel that going with one for our first was important though.
SBP: Who are some of the key people involved in making the movie?
SL: I’m nothing without my family, friends, and team. Without all of them believing in Electric Heart and allowing me to lead them, I wouldn’t be answering these questions right now. Benjamin Mattingly (Writer/Director) was the first one to jump on board, followed by Matt Ciociolo (Lead Actor), Amick Viccellio (Lead Actor), and our very talented Cinematographer just coming out of A.F.I., Ariel Davidson. After that, we just started steamrolling by putting together the best team anyone could have asked for by picking up Associate Producers, Tim Seely, Dean Sultani, Josh Reiman, Vello Virkhaus, and Eric Mitchell along with Co-Producer Lila Pearsall. Matthew Holt (Production Designer), who was my landlord while I was attending A.F.I., heard about what I was doing and said he was “all in,” adding the last missing part to the Electric Heart puzzle. The list can go on for twenty more pages of people that have loved and supported us along the way. I can never repay back everything that has been given to me in this life and with Electric Heart, but I will spend the rest of my life trying. Lastly, I’d like to thank my grandmother, Martha Trezise without her, none of this would have been possible.
SBP: There is a private screening in Los Angeles on April 19th, what can people expect?
SL: Our nineteen hundred total guests attending over two screenings (nine hundred fifty per screening) can expect the best EDM soundtrack ever assembled on a KV2 Audio Sound System for an experience they’ve never heard nor seen before. They’re almost getting the best of both worlds with it being in a theater accompanied with concert style speakers.
SBP: Is the screening open for anyone to attend or how can you get tickets?
SL: This is a private screening (invite only) of Electric Heart. We have to keep it private so that it doesn’t affect our film festival eligibility. If you know someone, like say, Sason Parry, you’re guaranteed a seat.
SBP: How are you planning to promote and market the film?
SL: We’re looking for theatrical and online distribution. We’ll let the distributor or studio guide us through that process. In the meantime, we’ll keep screening Electric Heart (private, film festivals, and music festivals) until that happens.
SBP: Are you planning any live events or tours to promote the movie?
SL: I’d like to bring Electric Heart to Electric Daisy Carnival Week in Vegas along with the Amsterdam Music Event this year as well as any EDM music festival willing to host us, but nothing is locked yet. We’re open to anybody that would like to share in this new form of EDM Entertainment!
SBP: How many people are you hoping will see the film? What’s your primary mission?
SL: I want every EDM fan to see Electric Heart! I made Electric Heart because it was something that I craved as an EDM fan back in 2004. I feel there are some great EDM films out there like Groove, It’s All Gone Pete Tong, and Human Traffic, but nothing like what we have in store for EDM fans, especially the live 4D Experience.
SBP: Do you have other films or music projects in the works?
SL: Yes, we have two other scripts, Drastic Love and The Dream Catcher that are ready to go into production. Drastic Love was written for Eric Prydz, and The Dream Catcher was written for Deadmau5, but they are currently not attached. Hopefully, the Los Angeles Private Screening of Electric Heart will get their attention, or maybe they’ll even show up (fingers crossed). We also have a one-hour scripted FilmEDM Experience, “Day Dreamer,” that we can see showing late night on MTV.
SBP: How did you get into film, did you go to school? How did you get into music?
SL: I had bounced around from job to job, school to school in my late teens and early twenties. One day, while I was flipping through a magazine, I came across an ad for Brooks Institute of Photography. I didn’t know you could or how you would work in the film industry. Growing up in Folsom, California, I was never exposed to anything like that, but I always loved film. I showed my roommate at the time, Zac Tompkins the ad and four months later we were both registered at Brooks Institute of Photography. I was introduced to EDM by Torry Wix, who I went to high school with. Torry was the first DJ that I ever knew, and he taught me the difference in EDM genres, the scene, and everything else that came with it because I knew absolutely nothing. Shortly after that, my twin brother, Bryan Little, would purchase his own turntables and begin his vinyl collection. There was a point in our early twenties where Bryan and I would sing Beastie Boys style hip-hop (you know, clean, not to hardcore lyrics) on top of house music. Bryan and I rocked a Chico State Halloween Party that I’ll never forget.
SBP: Who is your favorite EDM artist? What is your favorite track on the film?
SL: That’s easy! Eric Prydz is my favorite EDM Artist. I could make three films with Eric Prydz’s catalog alone, and that’s without using his alias, Cirez D. With both catalogs, Eric Prydz and Cirez D, I could give you five feature-length scripts in three months. I haven’t had the chance to meet Eric Prydz yet but we both live in Los Angeles, so it’s inevitable.
My favorite track on the Electric Heart Soundtrack is every track! They’re all my favorites because I hand picked each one of them because it evoked an emotional response in me while reading the script that told me that they were perfect for our soundtrack. People were getting emotional when we screened during Miami Music Week, and it’s the same emotion I felt when I was listening to them for the first time visualizing where they lived in the script.
SBP: What’s your favorite movie ever made?
SL: My favorite movie ever made is Donnie Darko. I was introduced to this film while I was in undergrad from a great friend and fellow student at the time, Ronnie Bahamon. When I saw Donnie Dark the first time, it was scary as hell, but now I can appreciate Richard Kelly’s masterpiece each time I watch it. To me, it has the best 80’s soundtrack anyone can ask for in a film, and the cast and love story make it my favorite movie ever made. Donnie Dark was just so different and something I had never seen before. If I ever get a tattoo, it will be the time that Frank tells Donnie that the world is going to end, on my left forearm.
SBP: Who inspires you in music and film?
SL: Anyone who’s willing to spend their life trying to express themselves through music and film inspires me. If these artists and filmmakers hadn’t come before me and poured their heart and soul into their work, I wouldn’t have been inspired to do the same.
SBP: Do you have other dreams and goals outside of film and music?
SL: I’d love to have college football season tickets one day for the USC Trojans at The Coliseum in Los Angeles. Fight On! My grandparents met at USC before WWII, and USC has always been a family tradition, especially for me since the film schools that I attended did not have athletics. Outside of EDM and film, I like South Park and college football, which I know is a weird combination.
SBP: If this was a perfect world and you could do or be anyone you wanted, who would that be?
SL: My world is pretty perfect, so I’m just happy being myself doing what I’m doing. When you feel like this is what you were put on this planet to do, as I feel with making FilmEDM Experiences, it doesn’t get any better.
SBP: Are you motivated by money or passion and how does that inspire you?
SL: I feel like I’m inspired by passion first. I’ve given Electric Heart everything I have financially and have risked being in debt for the rest of my life. But I had to pull the trigger and start shooting the film in 2015, because I had already spent eleven years thinking about it, and didn’t want to spend the rest of my life thinking “what if.” Someone once told me, that whatever is keeping you up at night (for me, trying to develop FilmEDM Experiences), that’s destiny telling you to get up and go and get it!
SBP: What’s next for Scott Little?
SL: I plan on making FilmEDM Experiences and going back to Ultra Music Festival for the rest of my life, so the future is pretty sweet!