Filmmaker focuses on ordinary people

January 24, 2011 

Rob Tiffin is not looking for war heroes, techie geniuses or the wildly popular captain of the high school football team.

Tiffin is interested in ordinary folks. And when the independent filmmaker spots them in the frozen pizza aisle at the supermarket or in his apartment complex in Bluffton, they might become the latest installment on his website, called "People are Neat," at www.peopleareneat.com.

"There's really no criteria for my subjects," Tiffin said. "There just has to be something specific that interests me about them."

Tiffin, who grew up in Richmond, Va., moved four months ago to Bluffton, where he is running his company, Downtime Movies. For about 10 years, Tiffin lived outside Atlanta in Decatur, Ga., but made a decision to move to somewhere smaller. A friend offered him a place to live, which made Bluffton a logical choice.

"I like people to be untouched from big cities," said Tiffin, who is 28. "I really like it here, it's real pretty and it's much slower than where I was."

Although he majored in business administration at Reinhardt University in Georgia, Tiffin said he always was interested in film. He shot his first movie in 2005 when he was working at a golf course in Suwanee, Ga.

"I was very bored, so I tried to make a movie about being bored and it worked," Tiffin said. The one hour, 15 minute movie is called "Downtime." It can be viewed for a fee on www.downtime movies.com

Tiffin's films have not made any money, although he has broken even through DVD and website sales. He earns a living from editing video for films, commercials, movie trailers or wherever his skills take him.

"I've carved out a way of living that I like," Tiffin said. "I have no ideas or plans to make a huge epic."

Tiffin also has made inroads into the film industry at annual festivals. His short film titled, "Strangers With Faces," was screened at the 2008 Slamdance Film Festival, which runs the same time as Sundance, the granddaddy of all film festivals, in Park City, Utah.

"The audiences laughed at the right places," Tiffin said of his seven-minute movie.

So far, Tiffin's Bluffton subjects have been a 30-year-old divorced man named Vince, who is getting back into the dating scene; a woman named Song, who works at a Chinese restaurant and is an origami artist; and Robert, a man in his 80s who grew up on a farm in Eatonton, Ga., and plays the fiddle. Tiffin still is working on editing the pieces and said he plans to have Vince's story up and running by the end of the month.

Tiffin also is up for suggestions about possible subjects. He can be contacted at robtiffin@gmail.com. And be prepared to pitch ideas that are as mundane as a 9-to-5 desk job.

"If someone has something really interesting about themselves, I usually avoid it," Tiffin said. "I met a USS Indianapolis survivor and I have no intention of doing something on that."

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