Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Composer Tzuriel Kastel

Tzuriel Kastel is a composer in various musical genres. His work has been described as similar to Tom Petty, Cheap Trick and Mozart meets Huey Lewis and The News. He is influenced by Todd Rundgren and John Lennon. You can hear Tzuriel's songs and compositions on his Soundcloud page at Follow him on Twitter at

What is the current project you are working on?

Neighbor Nate. A new comedy web series directed by Nate Phillips (@narcherFILMS, We plan to launch a crowd-funding effort soon. The pilot episode is already done and ready to launch!

How do you handle rejection?

I hope that I remember quickly that each rejection means I'm closer to the next "Yes"! I try not to dwell on it and focus on at least one thing that was positive from the whole experience. Sometimes that's a new piece that will get used later or a new technique I learned while preparing the music I submitted.

Did you always want to be a composer?

I originally wanted to be a Rock Star. Then a singer/songwriter. Then just a songwriter and now a composer/songwriter.

What inspired you to become a composer?

Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman were HUGE inspirations when I started playing piano. John Lennon made me want to write my own stuff and Todd Rundgren made me want to record it. These days I am inspired to compose by various composers I hear in movies and tv including Chris Tilton ( who composes for the TV show, 'The Fringe' and Bear McCreary ( composed for Battlestar Galactica, Human Target, Eureka, and many other shows. On the indie side of things, Rob Gokee ( and Christine Wu ( are major inspirations to me.

What is the best thing about being one?

The possibilities of communicating emotionally with so many people via music. To make a diffence in how the picture makes the viewer feel.

What is the worst thing about being one?

There's a lot of competition and getting started is challenging. Sometimes, the inspiration is slow and it's frustrating to wait for the right notes to materialize.

What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on?

Recently, I've worked on or am working on 3 different projects.

Who is your favorite composer?

I really like Mark Snow from the X-Files a lot. The aforementioned Bear McCreary and Chris Tilton are 2 favorites and then of course the classic soundtrack composers: John Williams, Ennio Morricone, James Newton Howard. I'm also a huge fan of Frank Zappa, Edgar Varese, Anton Webern, and Igor Stravinsky. Recently I was turned on to Olivier Messiaen who is really fabulous.

What do you like to do besides composing?

I have 7 children so that keeps my wife and I pretty busy. I'm a big Green Bay Packers fan so I watch the games when I can. Otherwise, I listen to lots of music to stay current and inspired.

Have you had any other jobs before you decided to become a composer?

I still have other jobs until composing/songwriting earns me enough to go fulltime. I have worked in IT for the last 10 years as a Network Engineer and Systems Administrator.

Did you go to school to become a composer? 

Nope.  Although I have been reading PRINCIPLES OF ORCHESTRATION by Rimsky-Korsakov and some other Orchestration texts to learn more.

How would you describe the music "scene" where you live?

I have met several local musicians and composers through Twitter and we have developed relationships. I am not really sure about the local scene from a band perspective because I haven't performed in a band in many many years. However, I try to keep up with what's going on musically and there are many musical opportunities to enjoy in Milwaukee.

How has social media changed the independent music industry?

For me, it's changed it completely. 6 months ago, I had virtually no connections or relationships with directors or producers in any media. Today, I have become friends with many all through twitter and facebook. These networks have helped me locate composers here in Milwaukee as I mentioned and I have actually spoken on the phone with a few of my twitter friends. Social media has made everything feel a little smaller and less overwhelming. Reaching one's audience is not as daunting as it once was.

What's your opinion on crowdfunding?

I am fascinated by it. I remember my first exposure to it was Victoria Westcott's (@VWescott) Locked in A Garage Band. The idea that movies could be made through donations was simply tremendous. It was through the crowdfunding process that I connected with several of my favorite people on twitter. I hope it continues to be successful as it has presented great art to many people who may not have found out it any other way.

What is your process for composing?

It sort of depends on the project. Usually, I play around with melodies while watching the picture, if it's already available. When it's not, I read over the notes I took during the conversations with producers/directors and try and play the emotions that I am feeling when reading about the concept for the picture. Once I have an idea for the melody, I record it to the sequencer and start to add instruments, effects, other sounds, and anything else that makes sense at the time. Eventually, something starts to develop and I edit the orchestration and arrangement that suits the mood of the scene I am working on.

What's your favorite lyric and why?

Out here in the fields

I fight for my meals

I put my back into my livin'

Pete Townshend, Baba O'Riley

I really like the raw energy and image it conveys. Even though things might be challenging, we keep working hard towards our goals.

What is your opinion on song covers?

I like a good cover version. Ideally, the cover version adds something to the original and is not just a clone. I like when the cover emphasizes a certain nuance or mood that enhances the original and makes me feel something different.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I really want to say thank you for this opportunity. I was really surprised when you asked me if I was interested in being interviewed. You have interviewed so many of my Indie heroes and I am truly honored to be among them on your blog!





Thanks for doing the interview Tzuriel. I'm really glad you allowed me to interview you. I checked out your work and I really enjoy your music.I wish you the best of luck with your crowd-funding effort for Neighbor Nate.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Joe Pezzula: Filmmaker And Screen/Comic Book Writer

Joe Pezzula is a filmmaker as well as a screen/comic book writer, living in Los Angeles. Joe has co-written The UnderGrounds webcomic as well as the series Sim-I. His directing debut was for the short film Making Friends, based on his father's short story, which hits the festival circuit this Fall. He is currently working on his latest short film, Tarantula, as well as developing a feature length screenplay based on a true crime that takes place in his home city of Albany, NY.  For more information on Joe and his project please visit

What is the current project you are working on?

I'm about to direct "Tarantula", from a script I wrote, a short horror film in which a terrifying tarantula takes revenge on a man who kills it. It's a really short monster film in the vein of an 80s B-movie, and my producer (Katie Schwartz) and I are making it to enter into the ABCs of Death contest. Beyond that I've got two feature scripts that I'm hashing out and rewriting, a process I typically dislike but this time I feel like the refining is working better than the original construction of the stories.

How do you handle rejection?

Not very well, unfortunately. About the only thing worse is a harsh criticism about my abilities as a writer or filmmaker. I understand that not every story or film is everyone's cup of tea, but it still sucks to hear that something I've created, or even worked on, is not being accepted or included in someone's viewing or reading material.

Did you always want to be a filmmaker?

Mostly, yes. Since I was twelve and watched "The Usual Suspects" and "Se7en" back to back in a theater with my Uncle Billy. Before that, I guess I was unsure.

What inspired you to become filmmaker?

See above. Also, the feeling of hopefulness at the end of "The Shawshank Redemption". I thought to myself, wouldn't it be great to make people feel such a strong emotion at the end of a MOVIE, something I can create?

What is the best thing about being one?

The collaborative camaraderie on set. There's nothing like being on a hot set, setting a shot or working together to fix a problem - be it a logistical issue or something to do with script or with a character.

What is the worst thing about being one?

The waiting, the requirement of patience. The process is a lengthy one, it's tough to get support for a film, whether it's financial or a crew.

What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on?

Mostly short films, with a few features here and there. I'd say a good estimate is 15 total -- again, mostly shorts.

Who is your favorite filmmaker?

Pedro Almodovar is at the top of my list, currently. His films are all unique yet very similar in technique, tone, and skill. He writes his characters so well, with minimal exposition necessary. I'm also enjoying pretty much all of Woody Allen's work.

How has your life changed since you became a filmmaker?

I've learned a bit more patience and to respect the process more, so I suppose I've become more accepting of my own faults and accepting critiques. Haven't hit the big break, so in the grand scheme my life is pretty consistent -- just with a bit more experience under my belt. One thing that changed for certain is my location -- I moved from Albany, NY to Los Angeles, CA to do this.

What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to make it in the movie business?

Just DO, don't hope for it to come to you. I still fall into the "please come to me" category when it comes to my writing, but as far as actually making a film -- write something that someone might want to make with you, ask them to do it. Most people can't or won't work for free, but if you find someone willing to collaborate with you and help you raise some funds and awareness for the project, then it's a start. So, Do it.

What do you like to do besides filmmaking?

Reading. Also, people watching. People are fascinating, scary, pitiful, and wonderful. Watch them.

Have you had any other jobs before you decided to become a filmmaker?

Menial service industry jobs as well as some gigs on live events in the industry. It's fun to see all aspects of the entertainment industry and study how people work, how they execute their way through a problem, and then get frustrated at the money aspects of production.

What are some of your favorite American films? Foreign films? Television shows?

American Films -- Full Metal Jacket; Dog Day Afternoon; Sunset Blvd.; Psycho.

Foreign Films -- Fellini's 8 1/2; Life is Beautiful; Talk to Her; Oldboy.

TV Shows -- Spaced, Cheers, Friday Night Lights, Arrested Development.

How would you describe your film education?

Casually Academic. I minored in Film Studies and received a MFA in Screenwriting, so I took a lot of studious courses in film history, but also watch many modern films. I lament that classic films are seen as perfect structures in classes, yet not encouraged when it comes to writing today. I once handed a draft of my thesis script to a professor, told him it was influenced by "Being There," and he told me to not use that movie as a sound structure. "It was a movie made for the early 80s, but no audience would watch it today, and no one would read it." Sounds like a bummer way to see things. I learned a lot watching Paul Osborne on the set of Favor, for which I crewed the entire shoot (minus one day).

How would you describe the film "scene" where you live?

It's LA. What more do you need to know?

How has social media changed the independent film industry?

Independent film as an "industry" is an interesting concept, one that's constantly evolving. I think that the technology is effecting independents more than social media -- as equipment and resources become more available to more people, there are more ideas that can hit the screen.

Actually, Social Media might be hindering the audience experience more than the filmmakers. Audiences face an over-saturation of films options to watch, or help make, help finance, download for a buck or for free, etc.

Word of mouth is now the printed word, and becomes less reliable than an enthusiastic conversation. I think recommendations should be more than a few words of "you will like this" or "this idea would make a good film." What's lacking is the conversation of what might actually work, and what doesn't, the whys and wherefores of a good film versus a bad one.

What's your opinion on crowdfunding?

I love the very idea of it, but the toughest thing is to mentally stay in the game without holding a grudge. It may sound shallow, but it's easy to get frustrated when you say out loud "just a buck!" and barely anyone responds. It brings up doubt about your project, and also makes you wonder about the process of crowdfunding. It's still in early stages and being taken advantage of in strange ways, but like everything in entertainment or the creative world, it's evolving. In a healthy way.

How does independent film differ from the mainstream?

Behind-the-scenes I can't speak from experience, but watching on the screen you notice the quality of story and at the very least the dedication of character development between indie films and mainstream movies.

You could go back in time and see any classic film being made. Which film would it be and why?

The Maltese Falcon. Setting up deep focus photography and watching how John Huston brings out that hard-boiled attitude in Humphrey Bogart.

What's your favorite movie quote and why?

"He'll flip you for real." -- from The Usual Suspects, spoken by Benicio del Toro as Fe. Because it's out of nowhere and always gets a laugh, and also represents the entire movie yet it's spoken offhandedly. Probably not intentional by Chris McQuarrie, but fun to play with and say to people out of the blue.

What is your opinion on movie remakes and sequels?

Sequels need to be stopped at two (beyond the original) and remakes disappoint me when there's a plethora of original ideas out there. Movies are made in the time they're made with specific context adding to their cultural impact. Imagine trying to remake Casablanca now...ugh, the horror.

What is your opinion on book to movie adaptions?

Most are enjoyable and I'll give them a shot. Sometimes it helps with the reading experience, and some of the best movies are based on books. (The Maltese Falcon, Godfather, Jaws, To Kill a MockingBird, heck, even Casablanca and Arsenic and Old Lace were based on plays).

Filmmaker Drew Rosas

Drew Rosas is an independent filmmaker currently living in Los Angeles, CA.  He is the owner and CEO of The Surgery RoomProduction Company. His work experience includes several feature length film projects including Public Enemies, Modus Operandi, Handmade Nation, Hamlet ADD and his directorial debut Blood Junkie (recently selected for distribution with Troma Entertainment). In addition to his work in feature films, Rosas has produced and directed dozens of commercials and several Television pilots. His current feature film project, Billy Club, is slated to be shot in September 2011.

What is the current project you are working on?

Currently I am producing and co-directing a feature length horror film project titled Bill Club. This is the story of four old friends from little league that reunite 15 years later an end up unknowing in the cross hairs of a serial killer that shares a hidden past with the teammates. The entire film is wrapped in a baseball theme. Our Killer wears an antique umpire’s mask so he “controls the game” and decides who is safe and who is out. We are currently raising money to make this film come to life. We’re nearly at our goal but we need everyone’s help. Visit and click on kickstarter to pledge you support and we’ll mail you a copy of the DVD when the film is complete.

What is "microbudget" filmmaking?

I’m not sure where the cut off is exactly but I believe anything below $100,000 for a feature length film would qualify as “micro-budget”. Independent filmmaking can range anywhere from no dollars to $10,000,000. That would put film I make with my friends in the same category as films like Little Miss Sunshine. Someone invented this term “migrobudger” to differentiate from the big guns with real money and the filmmakers that are creating entire projects with the money they spend on one shoot day. My first feature film, Blood Junkie, was shot for a ultra-low budget of $7000. That project has been picked up for distribution with Troma Entertainment and was released on DVD in May of last year. It is now available online and on the shelves at Family Video.

What do you do to keep your production costs down?

The biggest cost is paying for help. Most people need to throw out serious day rates to get cast and crew to dedicated their valuable time and energy to the project. I build my crew from close friends (they are also professionals working in the industry) and passionate supporters of the project. When you work on a Drew Rosas film, you are not doing it for the paycheck, you are doing it for the amazing experience and adventure that will undoubtedly ensue. If you make it fun, your crew will bend over backwards for you.

How do you handle rejection?

I am always growing as an artist and a filmmaker. Every project I make is bigger and better than the previous. So by the time someone has rejected my work, I’m probably years beyond it already on a professional and emotional level. It does not really bother me. Everyone has different tastes and different senses of humor, if anything, I chalk it off to a difference of opinion and keep a positive outlook on my next project.

Did you always want to be a filmmaker?

When I was really little, I wanted to be a trucker. I don’t’ know why exactly. I guess I just really loved going on road trips with my family and seeing the country that way. I started making movies, like many filmmakers, in my parents basement with my close friend and brothers. Our first serious video project was a sketch comedy show called “In The Bucket”. Just found the tape of this recently and it took me back. I continued making films all the way through high school but it was always just a fun way to get extra credit for a class or make something with my friends. After high school I decided NOT to go to college and took a year off. I worked some shitty jobs and partied a ton. It was in this year that I realized… if I was ever going to succeed at a career, it would have to be something I loved to do so much that the time spent would not be a chore but pleasure. Filmmaking and music were the only two things for me at the time, so I enrolled in film school and haven’t stopped making film since.

What inspired you to become filmmaker?

Well, watching movies of course. It was really a bug that I caught when it dawned on me that someone was behind the camera creating the stories I loved so much. As a child, this was a profound moment. I tried to make a movie and it worked. I would try to make a special effect and it would almost work. So I would figure out a different way to make something work. Once I discovered camera tricks and editing, the rest was just a blast. There is always someway to improve or something to create that you never thought of before. I got hooked and I am still hooked today, more than ever.

 What is the best thing about being one?

I could never subject myself to the routine 9-5 workday. I would much rater work 12 hour days doing something new and exciting. The time passes much faster. This need for diversity is just one of the results of being an unmediated ADD case from the 80s. Everyday on set is a new location, with a new list of challenged and an entirely new adventure. It keeps everything interested and makes me into a creative problem solver.

 What is the worst thing about being one?

Stress and anxiety. There is so much unbelievable pressure when you are in charge of a film project. You have 20 or more people looking to you for the answers to all their questions. You have investors that are trusting you to make something amazing with their money. There is a tight shooting schedule that has to line up day-by-day for months and tons of unforeseen problems. Some women describe a moment of euphoria directly after childbirth when they hold their baby in their hands and forget about all the pain and trouble they went through over the past 9 month. The same goes for filmmaking. When it is all over and you are watching it on the big screen, you forget the horrible parts and all you want to do is make another one.

What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on?

If you count short films, commercials and friend’s projects probably well over 100. I’m not keeping track.

 Who is your favorite filmmaker?

The greats are all great for their own reasons. The current filmmakers that I am most excited about are Paul Thomas Anderson and The Cohen Brothers.

 How has your life changed since you became a filmmaker?

I have always been a filmmaker so that is hard to say. It feels like this is just a way of life for me. I can’t really remember a time where I wasn’t working on some kind of film project.

 What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to make it in the movie business?

Don’t try to “make-it” in the film industry. You should only get into the world if you love making films so much that it is the only thing you know to do with yourself. I haven’t “made it” and I don’t plan to. I just plan to keep doing what I love.

What do you like to do besides filmmaking?

I am a musician. I have always used music as a form of instant gratification as an artist. Filmmaking takes years of hard work to finish a project. Whenever it is getting overwhelming, I love being able to just pick up a guitar and writing a song in the moment. Then get back to work.

Have you had any other jobs before you decided to become a filmmaker?

I used to be a pizza delivery driver for about 4 years. It was actually a pretty decent job for a teenager in a small town. Made good money and got to cruise around town all night listening to music. Seems so easy compared to what I do now.

How would you describe your film education?

I studied film at the University of Wisconsin: Milwaukee, a school with a strong support of experimental filmmaking. This was an incredible program for someone like me because it allowed me to gain exposure to all kinds of films and filmmakers I would not have other wise. I created several experimental shorts and experimental narrative projects before I started making straight narrative films. Unlike most Hollywood film schools,
UWM teaches students how to make a film independently, through each step of the process from conception to completion. This is the basically filmmaking method I still use today.

What is the casting process like?

I really like to cast friends or friends of friends if they have what it takes for a part. If you can write a role for someone that is already half way there in their real life it will make my job as a director and their job as an actor much easier on set. Otherwise, I have actually had a large amount of success casting using craigslist. It is free and you only get people that are super serious about dedicating time to a project.

 How would you describe the film "scene" where you live?

In LA, everyone works in the entertainment industry, or at least most people you meet. It becomes a little cliché to call yourself “a filmmaker” or “a director”. Out there everyone is in it to win it and the rat race is a little overwhelming. I try not to make it the center of conversation. I’m more interested in the Milwaukee film scene. Here there are dozens of artist, filmmakers, musicians all living passionately for their respective arts. My goal is always to surround myself with the most talented and enthusiastic people and get them to collaborate with me on something bigger.

What's your opinion on crowdfunding?

Kickstarter has allowed me to raise nearly $15,000 for Billy Club. This is incredible! A few years ago I would be charging this on my credit card, so how could I not love crowdfunding? There are so many people in my life that want to pitch in and help out with a project. Crowdfunding allows them to all throw in on one project and piles little bits of donations into something bigger and better.

 You could go back in time and see any film being made. Which film would it be and why?

Star Wars. No doubt.

 What is your opinion on movie remakes and sequels?

I’m not a huge fan of remakes and reboots. To me is seems like a pretty obvious attempt by a giant Hollywood studio to try and squeeze some more money out of a dying franchise. Sometimes they are pretty great, most of the time they are pretty horrible and a shadow of the original. Sequel are okay. That is a big part of the American cinema tradition. I mean what would Friday the 13th be with out 9 or 10 sequels?

What is your opinion on book to movie adaptions?

The book is almost always better in my opinion. I don’t think the page necessarily translates to the screen. I’m more interested in original screenplay work because it was written for the motion picture medium.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Thank you very much for the opportunity! If anyone out there is passionate and interested in supporting “microbudget” independent filmmaking please visit and click on kickstarter to pledge your support for my next project. $25 buys you a copy of the DVD when it is finished.

Thanks for doing the interview Drew. I'm going to check out "Blood Junkie" in the near future. Keep me posted on the status of "Billy Club". I wish you the best of luck with your campaign

Friday, August 26, 2011

Chris DeKalb Creator Of The Sleepy Hollow: Ride Across America

Chris DeKalb has been involved in theater for the last ten years working on the production side of things for everything from community theatre, live radio drama and burlesque shows. He’s a fan of horror but enjoys working on many different types of projects from 1-man shows to major holiday events. He owns far too many DVDs and doesn’t plan on giving up the habit anytime soon.

What is the current project you are working on?

I am the creator of the Sleepy Hollow: Ride Across America project which is a series of performances across the US this Halloween. Four groups in four cities will be doing an original take on the Legend of Sleepy Hollow story and performing it as live radio drama.

I’m also the producer for the Boston show: The Big Broadcast of 1954 which includes the original adaptation of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

A group in Atlanta is doing a Southern version of the story, a group in Oklahoma is doing a Native American themed one and in Seattle there is a group doing a modern take.

Live radio drama is a stage performance that uses the methods of the golden age of radio to tell the story, notably voice actors in front of microphones and live foley effects.

Did you always want to work in the theater?

I got into theater very late, after college I worked two jobs, one of which was nights at a movie theater. I loved the work but not the 80 hours a week, so I ended up leaving. But I found working in the theater community to be just as rewarding so I’ve managed to put quite a bit of my time into that.

Who or what inspires you?

I’m always amazed at the people who put together the shows and the theater companies. It is a massive amount of effort and you truly have to believe in your vision.

What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on?

I’ve been House Manager for nearly 60 shows. I’ve been Producer for about a dozen or so.

How has your life changed since you became involved in the theatrical arts?

Oh yeah. Most of my free time is gone. But I’ve also met so many interesting people and got to be involved in things I never expected.

What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to make it in the theater business?

Work hard and be dependable. People remember if you’re someone they can count on and that gets you invited to bigger and better things.

What activities do you like to do besides the theatrical arts?

I’m a big movie buff and like to read. I enjoy traveling.

Have you had any other jobs before you decided to become a producer?

This is a side gig, I still have my day job as a project manager to pay the bills.

What are some of your favorite Plays? American films? Foreign films? Television shows?

My favorite play is Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. There’s a Canadian play called Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love that I’m hoping to do sometime. The movie version “Love and Human Remains” is also quite good.

Some of my favorite films are Requiem for a Dream, The Paper and Aliens. I like foreign films although I don’t get to watch nearly as many as I’d like. I’m a fan of Seven Samurai and Oldboy.

How would you describe your theatrical education?

On the job. I started at the bottom at the movie theater and watched and learned, then came to theater and did the same thing, seeing how things worked. Asking questions and keeping your ears open are very important.

How would you describe the arts "scene" where you live?

Boston has a thriving arts scene, thanks in part to all the universities. Each area has its own community theater group and so many awesome shows go up it’s great.

How has social media changed the radio industry?

For the Live Radio Drama stuff social media has been fantastic. It’s a great way to find other people who are interested and to spread the word. A big part of Sleepy Hollow: Ride Across America came about because I was able to find and contact the other groups online.

What's your opinion on crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is a great way for giving a focus for people to help out your project, and I like how if a project takes off it can really boost the awareness of your shows.

The downside is it also shows when your efforts haven’t attracted anything. It must be very rough when you’re sitting at 3 days left and you’ve raised $23.

What is the casting process like?

We use open auditions for our parts and it’s the usual level of stress. The actors are worried if they get the part, and the directors have to figure out who will work out the best. We’ve been lucky and have a lot of talented people in our area so the choice is never easy.

You could go back in time and see any classic radio broadcast being made. Which film would it be and why?

The classic one would the War of the Worlds broadcast. To work on a show that had that much effect would be amazing.

What's your favorite quote and why?

I forget where I heard it but I’ve always liked “Wisdom is the knowledge you gain by living through your giant mess-ups”. The actual quote is a bit more vulgar, but I’ve always found it amusing. Mostly because it’s true.

I also like the idea behind it, that everyone makes mistakes and don’t be afraid of trying. At least you’ll learn something (even if it’s “that was not a good idea”)

You could have any super power. What would it be?

I always thought postcognition (the ability to see the past) would be a neat one.

What is your opinion on movie remakes?

Generally I’m not a fan of remakes. There are some exceptions, and I’m grudgingly beginning to think the Fright Night remake might be fun.

What is your opinion on book to movie adaptions?

I like them, especially when I haven’t read the book. Because if I liked the movie, the book will be like an extended immersive version.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Come see my show! :)

You can see a full list of the participating groups on the Groups page of I’m working with PMRP in Boston.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Oliver Jones: Director/Writer/Editor/Animator/Graphic Artist

Oliver Jones is a Director/Writer/Editor/Animator/Graphic artist from Birmingham England and along with his friend Liam Delaney, they are co-founders of the production company, Betterfeelingfilms. Since completing his degree in animation in 2006, Oliver has been working freelance, making music videos for local bands, and working on the art department of several feature films. After years of creating shorts he and Liam decided to dive in at the deep end and spent the best part of the last two and a half years working on their no-budget feature 'Lost in the Headlights' which focuses on a fictitious rock band who have to deal with a tragic event. The film Premiered in June of this year to a packed out audience to great success. Currently they are gearing up to start production our my latest film 'Power...less' which is about a team of superheroes.

What is the current project you are working on?

Power...less, it's a short film, roughly 15-20 minutes that focuses on a team of superheroes, over one night as they protect their city from Muggers, Mobsters, Super villains and Giant Robots. After that I plan on working on a stop motion trailer to gear up support for a possible future film.

How do you handle rejection?

I don't, I'm far too bull headed and persistent. If I can't make something one way, I'll make it another way.

Did you always want to be a filmmaker?

I was a film maker before I even realised I was. When I was 8 would make films in the back garden with my friends, attempting to remake films such a Terminator and the Mask, using tin foil and green face paint. However when I was around 18 it all started coming together and making sense, it was then I wrote my first and directed my first original feature called 'Past Tense'... It was crap.

What inspired you to become filmmaker?

It was around eight years old when I would go round my friends house and his older brother would be making films with his friends and to amuse themselves, they would rope us in. After seeing how much I enjoyed it, my dad brought the family a camera which I used and abused for a few years, making films in the back garden, and crude stop motion animations. Then believe it or not it was Batman and Robin that made me realise I wanted to be a film maker, as a bitter 13 year old I thought I could do better, I got as far a completed script and costume designs. However It wasn't until I saw Clerks a year or two later that I realised 'Hey I could do that' . It was then that I wrote the 80 page Script for 'Past Tense'. Before that I thought you needed millions to have a film make it to the cinema, since that day twelve years ago, I have been trying ever since.

What is the best thing about being one?

There is nothing more fulfilling than the end result. Sitting at the back of a packed screening of my last film Lost In the Headlights and hearing people applaud as the credits rolled was easily one of my greatest moments/achievements. However above all that, its the friendships/bonds I have made, I have met some amazing people while pursuing my goal of becoming a film maker.

What is the worst thing about being one?

The stress. Being in charge of a whole production can be a mammoth undertaking. When I'm working on a project there's not a waking moment that I am not thinking about it, be it casting issues, finding locations, filming logistics etc... it all ways down heavy on your head. It can dominate your life, becoming an obsession and if your not careful it can interfere with relationships.

What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on?

Personal projects/friends projects, I would say around 14/15 and that includes feature films, short films and music videos. Professionally I have worked on 3 feature films. The Tormented, The Tournament and Faintheart. Working for the Art Department, creating the graphics and making props.

Who is your favorite filmmaker?

Now this is a tough one, I admire so many different film makers for many different reasons. the usual I guess, The Coen Brothers, Sam Raimi, Christopher Nolan, Wes Andreson, John Carpenter, Henry selick, the Brothers Quay, Brad Bird, Edgar Wright, Spike Jonze, Martin Scorsese. But of all of those, I would have to say Nolan, I really admire the way he makes films and the decisions he makes.

How has your life changed since you became a filmmaker?

I've never really known any different to be honest, I couldn't say what I was like as a person before hand as It's all I've known.

What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to make it in the movie business?

Speaking purely from a writer/director point of view, I say just go for it, write a script, pick up a camera, grab some friends... learn by doing.

What do you like to do besides film making?

Spending time with my Friends and Family. Art is one of my biggest passions, I paint and Sculpt. I adore music of all kinds, I have played in several band, and attend many live shows. I love to read, Books and comic books alike. While I'm not a big sports fan, I enjoy going on walks, Bike riding, and swimming. I also working out my thumbs playing video games.

Have you had any other jobs before you decided to become a filmmaker?

Sadly I'm not at the position to quit my day job just yet. I used to work in a video rental store, which for me was the perfect job, getting paid to sit on my ass and watch movies... its the dream. It was fairly quite and I got plenty of time to write and draw during my shifts. However that place has since closed down, and now I currently work in a Video Game store.

What are some of your favorite American films? Foreign films? Television shows?

Film : The Empire Strikes Back, Ghostbusters, The Thing, Inception, The Iron Giant, Rushmore, The Devils Backbone, Dark City, Clerks, Coraline, The Fantastic Mr Fox, The French Connection, Trainspotting, The Fountain, Seven, Shawshank Redemption, Fargo, Adaptation, Evil Dead, Old Boy, Amile, Alien... So many to mention.

TV: The X-Files, Lost, Batman the Animated Series, Venture Bros, Arrested Development, Breaking Bad, Spaced, I'm Alan Partridge, Ren and Stimpy, Beavis and Butt-head, Freaks and Geeks.

How would you describe your film education?

Lonely...I studied Animation at university. Unlike live action film, animation at uni is a very Conley affair where you make films by yourself. The first two years were all about learning techniques, making 30 second films. In the last year we were able to create fully formed shorts and I produced a film called '10/6' which was loosely based on Alice in wonderland. The films only had to be around two and a half minutes, mine however was around seven and as a result I made myself quite ill, lack of sleep etc. The film was well received , I got top marks and the film was nominated for an award at the 'Flip' film festival, sadly it I didn't win, but it was the first time I got to see one of my films at the cinema. After Uni I applied for film school, but it wasn't to be.

How would you describe the film "scene" where you live?

As far a Indie film is concerned its pretty quiet, there is the west midlands film forum, and we meet up once a month and have people in the industry give talks and we get to mingle with like minded folk. I have actually met several of Power..less's crew members though the film forum.

Several feature films were produced in my area, which I worked on and there was promise of more. Then the recession kicked in, and many projects were cancelled or postponed. However the BBC makes a few of their TV shows in the city ( Birmingham)

How has social media changed the independent film industry?

With professional equipment becoming more affordable , and sites like youtube, facebook, Vimo etc It has defiantly made it easier to make your film and get it out there. On the down side, there's a lot more competition out there, so there is still that struggle of getting your voice heard.

What's your opinion on crowd funding?

Fantastic, it's hard work trying to convince people to go along with your crazy ideas is not easy. If you do it right, it can pay off, I have had several friends who have had great success from it, and now I'm hoping to do the same with power...less

How does independent film differ from the mainstream?

It used to be that Hollywood gave you spectacle and Independent gave you the truth, but recently the lines between them are starting to blur, as you now have films like Monsters that succeed in being as spectacular as their Hollywood counterparts, and mainstream films such as Lars and the Real Girl being as intimate and quirky as an independent. You also have movies such as Star Wars and Kick-Ass that by definition are Independent movies. I believe there are a lot of similarities between the two, most of all when it comes to money and control. With Independent, its about lack of budget and having to cut back on ideas and time. With Mainstream while there's more money and time, it also means there are more fingers in the pie and the directors say isn't necessarily final. This is just a generalisation as there are always exceptions.

This is a Question you could go round and round in circles trying to come up with an answer but ultimately I think that most independent and mainstream film makers are aiming for the same make the best film possible, one that entertains, makes you feel, and makes you think, they just happen to work at different ends of the spectrum. On one hand you get Back to the Future, on the other you get Primer. Both have a place and need one another to survive, the majority of today's great Mainstream Directors come from an Independent background.

You could go back in time and see any classic film being made. Which film would it be and why?

Another tough one, but I'm going to go with Ghostbusters. That film looked as much fun to make as it is to watch. Being able to watch those four guys in their prime, making with the funny and being able to go back stage and watch them create all the effects would be an utter joy to behold.

What's your favorite movie quote and why?

I'm terrible at choosing quotes... can I just choose the entire Ghostbusters or Big Lebowski screenplays?

What is your opinion on movie remakes and sequels?

I have no problem with sequels, so long as the film makers have a genuine reason to go back, have something to say and expand on themes and the characters arcs. All to often these days it seems all studios release are dates not films , and the the movie suffers. Also I find that as the more successful franchises become, the more inflated their budgets and becomes a case of too many cooks. That said there are some fantastic sequels out there that surpass the originals.

As for Remakes, I'm not 100% against them but it's just a shame Hollywood pumps so much into them, when there are bound to be 1000's of fantastic unmade screen plays out there. The only reason for all these rehashes is that Its just a safe bet for studios, they know they have an instant audience and will make a profit. I don't think I've seen a remake that was warranted with the exception of True Grit... or is that considered as an adaptation?

What is your opinion on book to movie adaptions?

Again, I have no problem with them so long as they are done for the right reasons. I'm also a believer that its not essential to stick to the book. Film is a totally different medium to the written word. Films are 90 - 120 minutes long and the pacing is dictated to you , where as a book can be over 500 pages and as the reader you have control over its pacing, so its a no-brainer that things have to be cut and changed. As long as the core is there, everything else is negotiable. To those people who moan about the book/comic being changed, get over it... you still have the original on the shelf.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

John, Cheers for letting me ramble on. To everyone who wants to check out what my new films all about, and how you could help with the funding, go to or go to, Thanks!

Angelo Bell: Writer, Director And Filmmaker

Angelo Bell is a writer, director and an award-winning independent
filmmaker in California whose professional goal is to create engaging,
entertaining and commercially viable films.  He has won awards for
Best Director, Best-in-Festival and set a new benchmark at the Los
Angeles International Shorts Festival in 2007 when he had four short
films premiere at the festival.  His films have screened at festivals
in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Italy, the UK, Canada and South
Carolina.  Other projects have aired on television via  Simply ME TV,
ZillionTV, AMGTV and IFC-TV.  Angelo has been quoted in Filmmaker
Magazine Online and he also blogs about DIY filmmaking,  distribution,
working the studio system, film finance/funding, and crowdfunding.  He
also maintains a film column on  Yahoo! Movie News.

Angelo's film, “Broken Hearts Club” is available on DVD from Amazon,
IndieFlix, and as an application (app) on iTunes.  The film is also
available as a multi-part web series on  In 2010 Angelo
embraced genre filmmaking with the production of, “Resurrection of
Serious Rogers,” a neo-noir action thriller, which will be released in
2012.  Currently Angelo is reaching for the next level with his epic,
fantasy martial arts adventure, “Legend of Black Lotus.”  This project
embraces the themes of powerful films like "Crouching Tiger Hidden
Dragon", "Hero" and  "Lord of the Rings."

Angelo is deeply committed to the independent film movement and
supports indie filmmakers with their creative  endeavors,  through
his blog, and through Social Media.

What is the current project you are working on?

Currently I’m working on a fantasy martial-arts adventure titled, “Legend of Black Lotus.” It’s a story that takes place in feudal China/Japan and involves an Asian empress who magically gives birth to a Black daughter, of whom the empress has had a vision that the child will unite two kingdoms at war.  It’s a bit of a spin/twist on the Mulan fairy tale with the enchantment of  “Lord of the Rings” and the martial-arts and romance of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. You can learn more about it here:

How do you handle rejection?

I try not to look at “it” as rejection. I take constructive criticism very well I believe, although it always stings. I am constantly trying to improve my talent, my abilities, and myself so I need to know the reason behind the "no". If no one is willing to give me that knowledge, he should keep his rejection or criticism to himself.

Did you always want to be a writer?

I have wanted to be a writer since I was in the third grade. In fact I remember the exact moment I said to myself, “I’m going to be a writer.”

 What inspired you to become a writer?

I read books all the time as a child. My mother signed me up for numerous
book  subscriptions and I’d rush to finish my books before the next one arrived. Also, watching movies as a child I felt as though I was transported to another place, time and universe. Movies and books were my way of getting away from the harsh realities of life.  I never forgot those good feelings and I wanted to be able to create them myself.

 What is the best thing about being one?

The best thing about being a writer is knowing that we have power. One day the page is blank and the next day you’ve created a brand new world with people, a history and a future.  It never gets old.

 What is the worst thing about being one?

The worst thing about being a writer is the inherent desire for perfection. We want our words to be perfect, our created worlds to be perfect, and our characters to be perfectly imperfect. As such, we’re always trying to get it right. It’s a tireless pursuit of which there is no true finish line goal.

What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on?

As a writer I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many projects I’ve worked on. I’ve written screenplays, manuscripts for paperbacks, Teleplays, magazine articles, short stories, poems, whatever I could.  As far as films, I’ve worked at least 14 as writer, director, producer, editor, etc.

 Who is your favorite filmmaker?

The answer is plural. I have many favorite filmmakers. A small list would include Tony Scott, Ridley Scott, Antoine Fuqua, F. Gary Gray, Steven Spielberg, Michael Mann, Michael Bay and many more.

 How has your life changed since you became a writer?

For me, writing gave birth to directing and becoming a filmmaker so now my life has changed in that I don’t solely want to write words, I want to create a vision/interpretation of those words. Basically I am always-always-always writing or working on something as a result of writing.

 What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to make it in the movie business?

First, I suggest working with mentors who are doing or have done exactly what you want to do.  If you need help making a film, connect with people who have already made a film. Ignore folks who only talk about making films. Do your due diligence. Real filmmakers have a track record of accomplishment in making films. Seek out those people. Second, get out there and shoot something. It doesn’t matter if you shoot a short or a feature just get something done.  I wrote, directed, shot, edited and produced my first couple of films because I wanted to learn those areas.  Also, it was easier because I didn’t have to wait for someone else’s availability to make my movies. I no longer shoot anything I make because my skills as a DP suck, but because I have operated a camera and edited the footage I shot, I know the mechanics of getting the shot I want.  Lastly, I say, “Be fearless.”  Many people will try to talk you out of getting into the business.

What do you like to do besides writing?

I direct my films as well. I also produce but, thus far, it has been purely out of necessity. However, with “Legend of Black Lotus” I’m beginning to see the allure of producing a project from conception through production.

Have you had any other jobs before you decided to become a writer?

My previously “jobs” include the Marine Corps, a few years on Wall Street, and then Network Administration.  Now I am a fulltime writer/filmmaker.

 What are some of your favorite American films? Foreign films? Television shows?

My taste in films is all over the place. I am not a typical filmmaker film snob. I like low-budget horror, foreign movies, popcorn movies, kung fu cinema, noir, rom-coms, cheesy action flicks, creature feature…everything.

 How would you describe your film education?

My film education is ongoing.  In regards to filmmaking “mechanics,” I am self-taught. However I have many mentors who have guided me through the nuances of filmmaking.  Before I made my first film, “Get Spielberg” I spent a year studying and learning all about indie filmmaking. I knew nothing about cameras, angles, production language, directing, or anything else. I bought a camera picked up a few books and searched the Internet.  Once I had enough info I set a deadline to make a movie and I did it. Once I’d made one or two movies I went on a one-year crash course, during which time I made six movies in a calendar year. It was my way of expediting the learning curve.

 How would you describe the film "scene" where you live?

I’m in southern California, which I believe is the proverbial hub of the indie film scene.

 How has social media changed the independent film industry?

The jury is out on how social media has changed the industry. For one, it has helped filmmakers connect with other filmmakers, but I haven’t seen irrefutable proof that Social Media has made connecting with audiences and film fans easier.

What's your opinion on crowdfunding?

I think that there are projects you can crowdfund that will be very successful in every sense. I think the benefits of crowdfunding becomes a little gray when filmmakers aspire for bigger budgets and discover that the time investment in becoming an expert at crowdfunding provides little to know help when it’s time to find investors or partners for a $3M film.

 How does independent film differ from the mainstream?

I have to clarify that I think independent filmmaker differs from “studio filmmaking” in that the process is usually more personal and intimate. Studio filmmaking involves “the machine” cranking out new product. Indie filmmaking is usually about the journey. But make no mistake, if a filmmaker is producing a genre film (horror, action,) they are more like a studio than an indie even though the film is being made independently.

 What's your favorite movie quote and why?

My favorite movie quote is “I’m trying to make a movie, not a film” uttered by Eddie Murphy in “Bowfinger.” I think it epitomizes the difference in mindsets and perceptions about filmmaking as an art and filmmaking as a business.

 What is your opinion on movie remakes and sequels?

From a business standpoint, I absolutely understand and agree with the strategy of franchise films and sequels.  However, I think Hollywood should understand that, with few exceptions, good stories and great acting (regardless of A list star status) is ultimately what brings the audience to the theater.

What is your opinion on book to movie adaptions?

I think that audiences need to understand what an “adaptation” is meant to be. Films made from books aren’t meant to be simple visual transcriptions of the book. It bugs me when someone says, “The movie wasn’t like the book at all.”





Thanks for doing the interview Angelo. Best of luck with “Legend of Black Lotus.” 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Editor Jamie Cobb

Jamie Cobb is a freelance editor with a renewed focus in cutting narrative features. You can learn more about her at or chat her up on twitter @jamiecobbeditor.

What is the current project you are working on?

I am currently cutting a proof of concept titled, LUCID for The Sabi Company. The story, the style, and the cinematography are very different than any project I have edited before, so Iʼm being challenged in a new way and learning a lot.

Did you always want to be an editor?

When you are only watching movies, and not helping to make them, editing can be an invisible job. So it wasnʼt on my younger selfʼs radar. But I did tell my Dad at the age of nine that I wanted to go to film school and eight years later I went.

What inspired you to become an editor?

During my Junior and Senior years of High School I was in a Radio/TV class. Everyone was supposed to rotate through all of the different positions, but somehow I was always the editor in my group. I didnʼt realize at the time how comfortable I was in that role, but after trying out all of the other departments during my freshman year of film school, I knew that editing was the place for me.

What is the best thing about being one?

You get to help shape the story, one small decision at a time. You start with 40-50 hours of footage on an average feature and widdle that time down by choosing the right performance, the right shot, and the right frame. Always asking yourself, is this part of the story clear? Should it be? Is this scene taking too long? Is it adding anything to the story? Does this need music or is it better without it? Does this set the right tone? This is the “best performance” but is it the “best” for the story? How will the audience react to this? Maybe that will go better over there? How can I love that beat so much, yet it totally ruins the story? etc, etc. All while watching the cut over and over again, trying to hold on to that gut instinct and objectivity that you had the first time you watched the dailies. Until all of those billions of little choices some how turn into a 90 minute movie.

In short, the challenge of it.

What is the worst thing about being one?

I get frustrated when people donʼt understand or respect the post process. Itʼs not just about hitting a few buttons on the keyboard and putting two shots next to each other. Itʼs about keeping the whole flow of the story in balance, and it takes a lot of time, patience, and thought to do it well. You donʼt have to understand what I do, just give me the time and respect to do it right.

What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on?

Narratively speaking, I have cut 1 feature and roughly 6 short films, with hopes of cutting my next feature this fall. Professionally, I have cut several behind the scenes documentaries and DVD commentaries for the studios. You can check out my freelance credits at

Who is your favorite editor?

Anne V. Coates has cut everything from Lawrence of Arabia to Out of SIght. She has beat out other editors on projects because cutting a good dialogue scene interests her more than cutting the action scenes. And a director once referred to her as the editor with heart, which I think is the ultimate compliment.

What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to make it in the movie business?

Everybody has a different path, and there is no easy way that I have found. But if you have decided that filmmaking is where you need to be, work hard, be friendly, and stay the course. Donʼt quit when it gets hard.

Have you had any other jobs before you decided to become an editor?

In college I worked at a small movie theater. Fun people, free movies, and popcorn every night for dinner. Those were the days. If it had paid better and I didnʼt have to wear a bow tie, I might still be there today.

What's your opinion on crowdfunding?

I think that crowd-funding can be an amazing asset when used properly. If the filmmaker has a good online presence and/or I have a good sense of who they are and what they are about, I am more inclined to pledge toward the project.

If all I know about you is that you can retweet the same spammy tweet every 20 minutes, good luck. Crowd-funding is a full time job, but itʼs not about spam, itʼs about the conversation.

With all of that said, we are in the final stretch of our campaign for Down and Dangerous. If we meet our minimum goal, I get my dream of cutting another feature this fall. If you have a minute, please check out and consider becoming a backer.

How often does timing affect artistic vision when editing a film?

Editing is all about finding the right rhythm and timing for a story and it can take a while to get it right. If you are sprinting through post production to hit an upcoming deadline, artistic vision and quality will inevitably be sacrificed.

Iʼm more partial to the marathon scenario. Patience, endurance, and creativity in a reasonable amount of time will get you to the finish line with something you can be proud of every time.

If you could go back in time and edit any film. Which film would it be and why?

I know this sounds random, but I might choose Ghost Busters 2. (Just hear me out on this one). You can clearly see how much fun Bill Murray is having and enjoying himself in the second film and it would be great to get to go through and play with all of the footage. Also, when else could you cut to Bobbie Brown cues in a film and get away with it?

And in an attempt to get you to take me seriously ever again, Iʼd like to add that I would love to cut any Paul Thomas Anderson film in the future.

What's your favorite movie quote and why?

I grew up on a healthy diet of The Goonies, Three Amigos, Ghost Busters, The Naked Gun, and Spaceballs. Those movies lead to my passion for filmmaking and any line from them can pretty much make my day.

Iʼm currently feeling a little Goonies nostalgia, so Iʼll go with, “The octopus was very scary.”

How has computer technology affected the way films are presently edited?

Itʼs a bit of an understatement to say there are way less limitations cutting non-linearly on a computer. With the exception of the occasional technical glitch, there is nothing that you canʼt try to make the best story possible. With current technology, the limits are more from your mind.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Thanks for including an editorʼs perspective on your blog!





Thanks for doing the interview. I'm a BIG fan of you and the crew at the Sabi Company.  I hope to interview Zak Forsman and Kevin Shah in the future.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Russell Nohelty Comic Book Creator

RUSSELL is an edgy horror, sci-fi and mystery writer with a ton of amazing products in the works.  He currently has a publishing deal with VIPER COMICS for his first four-issue comic book ICHABOD JONES: MONSTER HUNTER.

What is the current project you are working on?

I assume you specifically mean comic properties.  I have a novel, children's book and other projects to keep myself busy, but I'm in production on three comic properties:

ICHABOD JONES: MONSTER HUNTER is currently in production with Viper Comics set to publish it.  I won't have an exact release date until the third issue is complete. I'm crossing my fingers it's either late this year or early next year that Ichabod will be released.

Ichabod Jones is about a deranged mental patient that escapes from an asylum during the Apocalypse and becomes a monster hunter at the end of the world. The really cool thing about it though (besides the FANTASTIC art) is that the audience is always kept guessing as to whether he's dreaming everything, if he's actually a monster hunter, or if he's killing people and thinks that it's the Apocalypse. I really can't wait for that to come out.

Then I have KATRINA HATES DEAD S%&t, which is about a bada$$ chick that gets sick of living during the end of times so she sets out to Hell to confront the Devil and end the Apocalypse once and for all. It's my lapsed Catholic, sick of hearing about the end of the world book.  Five issues with some amazing artwork. This is the book I'm currently funding through Indiegogo.  There is a book trailer on the site that explains the set-up to the story.

Finally, I have MY FATHER DIDN'T KILL HIMSELF. It's a quirky, weird, off-beat book about a young Goth girl that learns her family home is about to be foreclosed upon. She sets off to prove that her father's recent suicide was actually a murder so that her mom can cash in on a hefty life insurance policy. I don't like talking about that one only because there's been about a million artists that have come back and forth on it.  Now that I have one that's been getting me ridiculously great pages I don't want to jinx it.

How do you handle rejection?

Rejection is a part of the game. In fact it's most of the game. Luckily, you only need one person to say yes. That's what you have to keep telling yourself. Remember, just because THIS person doesn't want to publish my book, doesn't mean it's a bad book.

Publishing is a business. Not only does your book have to be amazing, but it also has to be something that specific publisher thinks he can make money. Every publisher is different in that regard. Your book might not fit their niche. It's not a condemnation of your book or you as a person. It's business.

At the end of the day you're making a book for the AUDIENCE, not the publisher.  The publisher is just a step toward reaching that audience. If you believe in yourself and create a great book, an audience will come--knock on wood.

Did you always want to create a comic book?

When I was a kid I always loved comics, but I can't draw... not even a stick figure. So I thought that dream was dead. It wasn't until people told me that Stan Lee didn't draw his own comics that I immediately started work on finding an artist and getting a book out.

 What inspired you to create your comic books?

That you can do anything in a comic book. I worked in film and tv for a while and even though they can create basically anything, it takes a lot of time and effort. With a comic, as long as I can dream it up, my artist can make it. It doesn't cost more money or take much more time to create the universe imploding than it does to draw two people talking.

 What is the best thing about being one?

Honestly, seeing something come out with your name on it. Again, with film and tv even when something sells it sits in "development Hell" for months or years and will probably never get made. However, with a comic I can see my vision realized in a matter of months.

 What is the worst thing about being one?

I pretty much love everything about making comics. It's the most fun I've had as a writer in years. The worst part by far, however, is the financial cost.

What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on?

Comic projects? 5. Overall? add a novel to that, a children's book, about 20-30 scripts for web series, tv shows and movies. 40-ish? And that's just as a writer.

  Do you prefer Marvel or D.C. Comics?

Marvel. I hate to say this because I know lots of great DC writers and editors. I've also read a lot of great DC arcs and books I really enjoyed, but I've always been drawn more to Marvel.

 How has your life changed since you became a created your comic books?

All those ideas I've been talking about for years and couldn't get traction... now people can see them on paper and go "Oh yeah. These are great." It's a very weird change. I'm exactly the same guy with exactly the same ideas, but the response to my work is night and day.

 What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to create a comic book?

Find the right artist for your book. An artist may be fantastic, but they might not work with your book. There are tons of communities where you can search for artists. Take your time and make the right choice. It's the most important choice in the entire process. It helps tremendously in finding a publisher and getting an audience excited.

What do you like to do besides creating comic books?

I play a lot of board games and watch TV. I'm married so most of my spare time is spent with my wife and our dog bumming around the house.

Have you had any other jobs before you decided to create comic books?

I used to work as an executive at an internet TV station. I've been an assistant. I've directed, produced, edited. I was a fashion and headshot photographer. I worked on Capitol Hill as a videographer. I went to Denmark once to help shoot a feature film. Yeah, I've had some different jobs.

 What are some of your favorite American films? Foreign films? Television shows?

American films would be movies like Little Miss Sunshine and American Beauty, funny and flawed Americana without an easy resolution. Also Big Lebowski and Pulp Fiction. The older I get the more I want my movies to be funny. Not necessarily light comedy, but not wholly depressing either.

I don't watch a lot of foreign movies but I loved "Let the Right One in" and the "Girl with a Dragon Tattoo" series.

I spend more time watching TV since it's basically free. I want to make sure I get my money's worth for my subscription fees.  I try to watch everything, but I prefer comedies. I watch Futurama, Parks and Rec, Community, Modern Family. I have Netflix so I've been rewatching Friday Night Lights and Lost too.

How would you describe your film education with regard to comic books?

I'm not exactly sure of the question, but I'll try to answer what I think the question is.

Coming from a film background is a GREAT primer for working in comic books. Both are a visual medium where you as the writer are laying a blueprint for others to interpret your work. From storyboarding to editing, it all helps give you a solid foundation for creating a comic book.

 How would you describe the comic book "scene" where you live?

I live in LA, and the scene is great. Not only do I have an awesome comic book store, Dreamworld, complete with Batcave near my house, but there are great stores all over LA.

Additionally, Comic Book Sunday is a monthly gathering of comic book folks from artists to writers to editors that really fosters a sense of community. Because LA is a film town there are also lots of people, writers especially, that migrate between the worlds of movies and comics.

 How has social media changed the comic book industry?

It allows you to show publishers a fanbase before they ever pick up your book. Additionally, it allows you to promote your book to the fanbase and attracts new fans even before the book drops.

What's your opinion on crowdfunding?

Similar to what I said above, it allows you to almost "pre-sell" your book to the target audience. I've had a great experience with crowd-sourcing. Anything that can help raise both funds and brand awareness at the same time gets a thumbs up in my book.



How does independent film differ from the mainstream?

Much in the same way independent comics differ from mainstream comics. Studios have a brand and investors they are beholden to, whereas indies are beholden to a great and unique idea. Of course they all hope to make money, but I think that's a secondary concern for indies to telling a great story. You have to look no further than the recent comments by Disney to see that story is a secondary or even tertiary concern to some studios.

You could go back in time and see any classic comic book being made. Which would it be and why?

Well I think it would be kinda boring to watch a comic be made, though I'm sure it would be fascinating to sit over an artist's shoulder and watch them work.

If you mean what book would I like to go back and read as it's being made it's Watchmen. It may not be a ground-breaking answer, but I would love to pick up Watchmen every month as it was coming out. Even when I read it now, knowing exactly what's coming, I can't help but get excited.

 What's your favorite comic book character quote and why?

Again, it's not going to rock anybody's world, but "with great power comes great responsibility". I think Spider-Man takes it a little far by feeling the need to save everybody constantly, but it's a very humbling quote. It help prevents you from getting a big head.

When your a small creator it's easy to handle the responsibility of a few fans, a publishing deadline and an interview every once and a while. But it's always good to have that playing in the back of your mind when you start to have more responsibilities.

What is your opinion on comic book to movie adaptions?

If they're done well then I'm all for them. It's great to see a book go from a teeny tiny market (and comics are most certainly that) to a global one.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

You can find more information on my website: It links to every one of my projects. You can read previews of all my upcoming books and like them on Facebook for more updates. Additionally, even a dollar helps raise funds for my new book, KATRINA HATES DEAD S%&T. There is an indiegogo campaign for the book which you can reach from the website.

Thanks Russell for doing the interview. Keep me posted on the status of  KATRINA HATES DEAD S%.  Let me know when Viper comic publishes ICHABOD JONES: MONSTER HUNTER.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Actor/Screenwriter/Producer Larry Coulter

Larry started out acting in high school, then stopped to follow his childhood dream of flying. 13 years later after accomplishing his goal to become a commercial airline pilot, he went back to acting as a passionate hobby, picking up where he left off. Since then, he has appeared in several independent films and commercials, as well as stage work in various showcases. Larry has also written Screenplays including his latest where its placed in the top 10% of various international screenwriting competitions. His new short film, ANGEL EYES, which he also wrote, gives him a chance at first time producer.

What is the current project you are working on?

I've put on my "Producer" hat for the first time.  I finished writing an action/drama short film about child trafficking currently entitled "Angel Eyes".  Now I'm in the early stages of pre-production.  Check out the film's website!

How do you handle rejection?

Well, being human I don't handle it any better than the next person, it's tough, no doubt about it.  But what you do next in my opinion makes all the difference in the world.  I accept rejection as a necessity.  Without it, it's impossible to succeed.

Did you always want to be a filmmaker?

No.  I started my acting in school plays and quickly developed a liking towards it.  Acting has always been a passionate hobby of mine.  The writing and now producing I suppose just naturally evolved from it.  I enjoy the entire filmmaking process.  It's quite a rush for me.

What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

Not being in NY or LA making the rounds, there's less available opportunities where I live.  So, I decided to stop waiting for work to come to me and try to create it on my own.  It also gives a great sense of accomplishment in making something from nothing.  Something that not only may satisfy you, but others might like as well.

What is the best thing about being one?

I suppose it's the feeling that any artist gets, whether it be a filmmaker or a musician or painter, etc.. seeing something that you've created or imagined come to life.

What is the worst thing about being one?

Well, at my early stage right now it's finding the resources and time in order to make it all happen.  Once you've established yourself, then you can attract more people who'll believe in you and what you want to accomplish.

What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on?

I'd say a couple dozen as an actor in films, commercials and stage.  I've written two screenplays, and this will be the first time as a producer.

Who is your favorite filmmaker?

Oh wow, that's hard to pick just one.  I think we're all influenced a little bit by many different people.  Some of my favorites are Spielberg, Scorsese, Christopher Nolan and Tony Scott to name a few.

How has your life changed since you became a filmmaker?

This producing gig is definitely changing my life that's for sure.  It's a lot more labor intensive but in the end I know it'll be worth it.  But really, I'm still just a plain working guy who likes to do films on the side.

What do you like to do besides filmmaking?

Getting to hanging out with my beautiful family is my greatest past time.  I also play a little baseball.  I'm in an adult league with a bunch of other guys who's mind won't listen to their bodies telling them, "Stop, you're too old for this!"

Have you had any other jobs before you decided to become a filmmaker?

As an airline pilot, I'm blessed to be one of the few who actually loves doing their day job.

What are some of your favorite American films?  Foreign films?  Television shows?

Ah man, too many to list!  But here goes...

The Shawshank Redemption


The Right Stuff


12 Angry Men

Swordfish (people think I'm nuts about that one but hey, that movie was kick ass!)

Point Break


Crimson Tide

Foreign films?  Uhhhh?  Sorry, don't really know any.  I remember watching Das Boot when I was a kid.  Couldn't keep up with the subtitles but I thought it was pretty cool.

I don't watch TV unless there's a White Sox game on.

How would you describe your film education?

I'm a very visual person.  So it basically started way back on my first film set as an actor.  I don't consider myself an accomplished filmmaker by any means of the word .  But so far in my short career I've seen things that work and many things that don't.   You really have to surround yourself with people who know a heck of a lot more than you do, and listen.  It takes more than one person to make a film, a good film.

How would you describe the film "scene" where you live?

Unfortunately, a lot of political red tape has caused almost a total shut down of the film industry in Arizona over the past twenty years.  Many good projects from big studios have passed over Arizona and moved on to New Mexico and Texas because of better tax incentives.  It's a shame because there's so many talented people in this state both in front and behind the camera.  But you can't stop that creative spirit.  Many independent filmmakers now are coming out with fantastic projects from around the state.

How has social media changed the independent film industry?

I think it's made it almost as mainstream as the big studio films.  The last answer is a perfect example.  There now is different outlet for people to showcase their talents.  Technology and social media has made it a game changer.  LA will keep pumping out great work like it always has.  But as long as people keep supporting independent films, undiscovered talent can now show up from any walk of life, anywhere!

What's your opinion on crowdfunding?

I think it's a wonderful tool.  You may loose a friend or two if you keep bugging them to support you, but it definitely gives you the ability to reach out to more people then ever before.

How does independent film differ from the mainstream?

I'd say when you boil it all down it has to be about the control factor.  That's why it's called independent film.  You give that up, your now part of the machine.  You may still have a say but a lot of times you'll be fighting to keep certain aspects of your work.  Independent work, although sometimes more difficult and more costly, you get to keep your ideas and creativity throughout the process.

If you could go back in time and see any classic film being made.  Which film would it be and why?

I'd say the original Star Wars in 1976 out in the Tunisian Desert when George thought he had really screwed the pooch.  I could pat him on the back and say, "Don't worry man, its gonna be alright."

What's your favorite movie quote and why?

I think all my favorite quotes come from Clint Eastwood.  I don't know why, its just  the way he delivers his lines.  Very subtle, but oh so powerful..

"Where you gonna die alone?"

Blondie to Tuco

-The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

What is your opinion on movie remakes and sequels?

I'm not a fan of sequels.  There too risky because very few are actually better or as good as the first.  It almost discredits the first film.  I mean really, who ever watches Grease 2?  And about remakes, well... Just as in life, there are some things you just don't tamper with.  I didn't even like the Karate Kid remake.  There's no way to ever improve a Gone with the Wind or a Casablanca.  So why even try?

What is your opinion on book to movie adaptions?

There ok.  Some do justice to the book, a lot of them don't.  I use to really get upset about how movies made from books would totally butcher the book.  This was before I learned about film marketing and how a 2 hour movie gets made from a 500 page novel.  They just can't fit it all in.  You just have to forget all that and just let yourself enjoy the film.  But never forget, the book is always better!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Thanks for having me John.  And to everyone who would like to help promote child trafficking awareness.  Please back our project so we can get this baby made!


Thanks for doing the interview Larry. I'll be sure to spread the word about "Angel Eyes".

Filmmaker Ramona Maramonte

Ramona has worked in the entertainment industry for over 25 years as a performing artist and in film production.  Her credits include the Bay Area production of SOLEDAD IS GONE FOREVER and appeared in the short DEL CIELO for EAST MEETS WEST PRODUCTIONS, directed by Julie Rubio and also helped cast on the production of OAKLAND B MINE directed by Mateen Kemet.  She was Co-Producer on the feature film SIX SEX SCENES AND A MURDER, also for East Meets West Productions, directed by writer/producer Julie Rubio. Ramona also Co-produced again with Julie Rubio on the feature film TOO PERFECT, which is now complete. Ramona will be directing and producing her own feature film she co-wrote, with Kelly Byrn, titled MOMS GOT MUSCLE and is also in the process of completing their second screenplay together called, AVA (working title) which will possibly be a web series.  She is also in development with Amanda Lin Costa, for two new reality series for TV, focusing on one of her passions of muscle cars. Ramona has also formed her own production company, MOMS GOT MUSCLE PRODUCTIONS, LLC. Ramona lives in the East Bay with her husband, Anthony, of 26 years and her 3 offspring, Robert, Tyler, Tonii.

What is the current project you are working on?

Right now I’m in pre-pre production of my own film MOMS GOT MUSCLE. So, instead of just producing, this time, I will be director, producer, co-writer with Kelly Byrn. Fun times ahead.

How do you handle rejection?

Hmmm. I’m not sure. I don’t think I have received rejection yet. LOL I don’t think I will take it to well. I don’t think I will take it at all. Can’t have the word no in my atmosphere at this point. I look at it more as, not this way, which would mean that I would find another way. “No” can’t happen.

Did you always want to be a filmmaker?

No, but I was always into anything entertainment. I started dancing and singing young. I should have been the first JLO. LOL I have always been a fan of film and a few years ago got the opportunity to participate on a short and work behind the scenes. I was hooked and that’s all she wrote.

What inspired you to become filmmaker?

Not sure I was inspired as much as I just wanted to be involved. I started this career very late. I was almost 40 when I worked on the first short. I was intrigued.

What is the best thing about being one?

Well, I love the whole creative process. I love getting my hands dirty and just being involved in all aspects of making film. Well, I should say, I’ll try something at least once and figure out if that is something I would like to do again. I like being able to meet and collaborate with others of like mind. Just the whole process.

What is the worst thing about being one?

I would say the whole money/funding aspect. It makes me sad that there are probably so many great films out there that won’t be made due to no funding. I know it’s necessary, but that is the worse thing to me.

What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on?

Estimated?? That is funny. Not hard to keep track of. I have worked on 5 projects. Soledad is Gone Forever, Del Cielo, Six Sex Scenes and a Murder, Oakland B Mine, Too Perfect.

Who is your favorite filmmaker?

Not sure I have a favorite. I guess, of course, Spielberg. I love the feeling I have watching a Spielberg film. I have no real allegiance to a filmmaker. I just love film and if it moves me, you’ve done a great job.

How has your life changed since you became a filmmaker?

Now, not to much. It consumes my mind more than anything. When I have worked on projects in the past, I was gone more. My kids are all older so I am getting more and more free time. Which means, more time to make films.

What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to make it in the movie business?

Do what you want. Don’t let others, the naysayers, get in your head. People are making film all the time and if that is what you want to do, then do it. For the most part, it won’t be easy, but that, to me, the beauty of it.

What do you like to do besides filmmaking?

Haha, well, I love spending time with the kids, when they let me. My son Rob is 22, my daughters, Tyler, 18, Tonii, 16. My husband Anthony, of 26 years and I are always at the movies. I am also a couponer. LOL Yep, I clip the coupons and try to spend as less as I can at the store. I also then clip coupons that are expired for the military families overseas. It is actually very time consuming and think I have carpal tunnel now because of it. It’s a great cause, so I don’t mind.

Have you had any other jobs before you decided to become a filmmaker?

Before kids, I would work in various offices, but back in 1993 when my second baby was born, I stopped working outside the home.

What are some of your favorite American films? Foreign films? Television shows?

Films? Wow, that is so hard. I guess my favorite American film would be ROCKY. I remember going with my dad to see a “boxing” movie. He was a huge fight fan, so I went and I was hooked. The feeling I had after seeing that film, was overwhelming to me and I fell in love with film. Foreign? I dunno. None jump out. I did like some films, La Misma Luna, Sin Nombre. TV? Oh, you got a minute. I am a reality show junkie. Yes, sir. No shame here. I love watching mainly the more physical competition stuff, but on a day with nada to do, I will catch up on The Bachelor. LOL I even have 2 shows I have created with my friend Amanda Lin Costa. So, who knows?? I do love a good series also. Right now, I’m into Breaking Bad, True Blood, Mad Men, Sons of Anarchy, Damages. You know the list.

How would you describe your film education?

Uh, sitting in a theater. Just watching movies. I, personally, don’t think you need film school. I am from the land of learn as you do. LOL But if I had had the chance back in the day to go to film school, I probably would be there front and center. I am liking my on the job training and learning as I go, keeps it interesting.

How would you describe the film "scene" where you live?

Well, I’m from the Bay Area in CA. Of course San Francisco has a great film community. I really would like to see the other side, the East Bay, Oakland, Berkeley, Orinda (my town), Lafayette, Walnut Creek, get more active. It’s starting. We filmed Too Perfect in Orinda and now other filmmakers are also shooting there. The California Independent Film Festival is based there and I see it only getting bigger and better. I think now’s the time for the East Bay to get some recognition.

How has social media changed the independent film industry?

I think it has brought us all closer. I have found some great people on Twitter that have helped me in such huge ways already on Moms Got Muscle. (Kristin Thomas @indiefilmgirl, Amanda Lin Costa @TheLoneOlive, Angelo Bell @angelobell, Danielle Eskinazi @daniellecasting, Thomas Roberts @TRStudios) I have my first crew members for Moms Got Muscle because of Twitter (My DP, Christopher Marino @chrisMmarino, my AD,Joe Mesiano @joemesiano) My graphic Designer I also found on Twitter (Brian Goff @briangoff). So, social media has been good to me. I love to keep up with others projects (such as CRAWL with @OklahomaWard and @bellanikki85) and help them spread the word via Face Book and Twitter and now Google+. I love hearing about other film projects how they are getting it done. So, I pay attention and take notes and utilize when I can. It is a great community to be in and if not for social media I would be missing out.

What's your opinion on crowdfunding?

Well, I will let you know after my campaign is done. LOL I like the idea and I see that it has been successful for other filmmakers, so why not me? I’m gonna give a shot very soon here. So stay tuned.

How does independent film differ from the mainstream?

I would say story. I always lean more toward indie film only because of the heart and soul you usually find in the story. When you have very little money to throw at a film, you better have a good story to keep your audience interested. To me, that is the bottom line. If they are happy (the audience) then I did a good job.

You could go back in time and see any classic film being made. Which film would it be and why?

Oh wow, great question. Well, I will have to say ROCKY. LOL From what I understood Stallone had all kinds of issues going on trying to get that film made. He WAS Rocky and we all know how it ended up. So, just to see that creative process happen and all the behind the scenes wheeling and dealing, that would interest me. Also SINGING IN THE RAIN and WEST SIDE STORY. Just because I love musicals and those two are my faves.

What's your favorite movie quote and why?

Well, I have 2 I will mention. I would go with the standard “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.” Who doesn’t love The Godfather. But, I am going with, of course, Rocky. When he is laying in bed with Adrian before the big fight with Apollo and says that he is telling her he knows he won’t win, but all he wants to do is just go the distance. LOVE THAT! Getting ones self-respect is so huge. My number two is from A League of Their Own, when Gena Davis is gonna quit and tells Tom Hanks it got hard, he says “It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard... is what makes it great.” That can used for so many reasons and I hear that in my head a lot lately, in regards to my film project.

What is your opinion on movie remakes and sequels?

Sequels, I’m ok with. I usually will go, I like to see how the character has evolved. I don’t like sequels when they just re-do the first movie (Hello, HANGOVER). Remakes, I’m not so sure. It depends on what movie.

What is your opinion on book to movie adaptions?

No problem. I am usually not disappointed. While I am reading I am always trying to see the film in my head. So, I’m not hate’n on that at all.

Is there anything else you would like to add

I am so happy to finally be doing something that I have always wanted to do. I love that more and more females are becoming filmmakers and working behind the camera. C’mon girls!! I’m no film scholar, just a lover of film. I just want to make films that people can watch and be entertained. I know I’m starting a little late in life, but one of my fave sayings is “Over the hill only means you pick up speed”. Peace