When did you know you wanted to be a filmmaker?
I watched Fight Club with my two closest friends somewhere close to finishing high school. At that point I knew I needed to tell stories through film.
Who are the filmmakers and what are the films that have had the greatest influence on you and why?
Anything by David Fincher is always a masterclass in a ballet of amazing storytelling with unparalleled technique. His style and subject matter resonate with me on a deep level and awake a curiosity to figure out how the shot is done. Hitchcock Kurosawa, Tarkovski, Mendez, Bigelw, Hughes, Scorsese, Nolan are among a long list of directors that I admire and try to learn from.
Where did you learn your filmmaking skills or are you self-taught?
Film Making is a strange craft, with the process being so accessible to the general public, I have been self-taught to a certain degree. I consume media like a child would consume ice cream if left unsupervised. I also have been blessed with an insatiable curiosity and experiential opportunities. Strangely I have a very close friend who has a master’s in cinematography (one of the three friends with whom I watched Fight Club for the first time) who currently teaches Cinema in a University of Vancouver in Shanghai Campus; I feel that because of my experience in film, I have a significantly better grasp on what it takes to get a film done.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Have an appetite for two things: learning and making connections. Film making cannot be done without learning from others, and recognizing that there is someone, not so far away from you, that can do the job better than you could ever do.
What is the inspiration behind your work?
Storytelling in general, I believe this is what makes learning fun, living memorable and is also a fantastic business; it is embedded at the core of what makes us human. On a personal side of things, I like to be detail oriented and that is what I think separates my work the ordinary, in front of and behind the camera.
What has been your favorite project that you’ve worked on?
In particular I always enjoy working with Rambunxious Entertainment out of Edmonton; three passionate friends bonded by the will to suffer and overcome to tell a story. Together we filmed many projects out of which Thousand Yards Stare pushed me to break certain self-imposed limits. I continue running into incredibly talented film makers who keep blowing my mind in almost every project we do, so naming any project above other is very difficult. All I can say with certainty is that any day on set (and any time spent prepping for a film) is a blessing and something I enjoy immensely.
Do you have any filmmaking rituals or habits when you’re working on a project?
As an actor, I bring my lucky bandana with me, this is something I wore on my first feature that I feel will keep me safe (as an indie actor we end up doing a lot of our own stunts, despite all efforts to be safe, we all assume there are risks involved). As a film maker, my ritual is simple, remind myself that I trust everyone involved in the project, that all I have to worry about is myself. I remind that to myself in the mirror (and if you were guessing, I can be a bit of a control-freak).
What has been your greatest challenge or struggle as a filmmaker?
How have you/are you choosing to overcome it? This is not going to be a surprise for anybody and I have to remain as far from politics as I can. We could talk hours just about this topic. In general finding the funding and getting films seen by a large audience are the two most difficult things to do. Surprisingly, these are two things that are kind of outside of the realm of actually making a film. Funding and distribution is something that I need to get much better at. Interestingly here in Alberta, despite the need for improvement in the way film projects are funded, film makers are still finding ways of funding, filming and finding distributions for their intellectual propriety; my case and point is the series “Black Summer” or “Ming’s Dynasty”.
What advice do you have for aspiring filmmakers?
Voracious and analytical consumption of media is a must, understanding not only how a film is made but what is the story at the core, is essential to make a film. Find people who are passionate about their craft, and learn as much from them as you can, that also includes people who are masters not only at making films, but also funding and distributing them: producers are your best friend.
What destination around the world would you most like to capture in film?
The world, the entire world, has places of magic. The most ordinary of places becomes special if there is a story to be told there. But from the non-rhetoric and less platonic stand point, I am fascinated by vast desolated landscapes (which are probably the hardest to shoot in); think the Namibian Desert, Icelandic Mountains, etc.
If you could have any superpower, which would you choose?
Being in the right place at the right time… this still plays a huge role in the success of any story teller, in front of or behind the camera.
When you are not making films, what are your favorite hobbies?
Video games, exploring music (there is so much amazing music out there, I let the youtube algorithm take me on a directionless journey)
Where can people find you online or in person?
Acting/film making site
Insta and Twitter: @lonely_spy
I’m thinking Arby’s, as there is nothing left to think.
Badland Road to Rust
Moonrunner83 – Streets
Dead Army – Back from the Dead
Die Scum Inc – Shut Up & Fight (Official Video)
PRIVATE DICKS: COME AGAIN (Series 2 Episode 1)
Horse Mask Season 2 – Episode 5 || Surreal Horror Web Series