When did you start making films and what was the first film project that you worked on?
I've always considered myself an artistic person since childhood, but I started to concentrate on filmmaking when I was in my teens and I made several short videos and put them on YouTube. In terms of the first film project I worked on, it was a short entitled “TechCon” that I made when I was a student at Northern Virginia Community College. It featured a stop-motion LEGO robot and was based on a scam involving a fake hard drive that was sold from China to a man in Russia under the assumption that the hard drive was real, when it was in fact a simple USB thumb drive inside a hard drive case.
What inspired you to make Harra and Donkey?
I was inspired to make Harra and the Donkey because I was tired of seeing the same dark and serious tone that encompassed most of the student films produced at George Mason University. That is not to say the films themselves were bad or poorly produced, I personally just wanted to do something a little more light-hearted and fun.
What is the genre that you are looking to create in your films?
My favorite genres include action, comedy, sci-fi, fantasy, and maybe a little horror. Basically, what I hope to do is provide the audience with a fun time at the movies to temporarily take them away from their day to day activities.
Do you consider yourself an indie filmmaker? Why?
I would definitely consider myself an indie filmmaker because the definition of an indie filmmaker is someone who makes films outside the studio system, which is where I am in my career. Obviously, there are pros and cons for each and while I would like to direct a studio film down the road, I am happy with my current situation.
Do you think that cinema could change the way people think?
To me, there are three aspects to film which I like to call the three E's: Expression, Entertainment, and Enlightenment. Obviously, each filmmaker can choose to specialize in any or all these aspects and may feel more comfortable using one aspect over the other. Simplistically, yes, film has the potential to change the way people think. It just depends on the subject matter and the filmmaker’s ability to tell the story in such a manner that the audience finds it convincing and causes them to think about a situation in a different way.
Can you name a few filmmakers who inspired your work?
There are way too many to count, but if I had to pick the number one filmmaker who inspired me, it would be James Rolfe. For those who do not know who he is, he is an independent filmmaker who is best known for creating the web series The Angry Video Game Nerd. He inspires me by his ability to create compelling and funny content simply by using whatever equipment, props, etc. are at his disposal. Other inspiring filmmakers include Steven Spielberg, Edgar Wright (The World’s End), and Michael Bay.
How difficult is it to promote and distribute films these days and what were some of the challenges of finding an audience for your films?
Well, with the advent of websites like YouTube and especially Vimeo, it is easier to get your film out to audiences literally worldwide. Promoting your film is still difficult without resorting to spending time and money putting an advertising campaign together. You also must take into account the cost of taking a film out on the festival circuit. So, while distribution is technically easier, promotion still requires a lot of time, money, and effort. In terms of finding an audience for my films, there are several different factors I have to consider such as genre, tone, and filming style. For instance, if you're trying to make a film that's intended for a younger audience, you wouldn't normally want to have heavy shadows or muted colors unless the film is based on author Lemony Snickett's books for example, but that's an exception to normal practice.
What is your next film project?
Right now, my main focus is building up my resume with filming and editing experience in the Washington D.C. metro area before I move to Atlanta, Georgia which currently has the third-largest film industry in the United States. Once I move to Georgia and become involved in the film community, then I will begin working on my next big project.
What is the greatest aspect of directing a film for you?
The greatest aspect of directing a film is being able to lead a team of talented people who share the same great passion for filmmaking that I do.
Why do you want to make films and be a filmmaker?
My main goal for being a filmmaker is to share my ideas and creativity with the audience, either in a theater or through streaming, and provide them with a great time watching a well-made film.