Who wants to make “talkies?” I DO! I DO! Cool – beans. Maybe I can point in you the right direction. Maybe. Recently I was able to direct teasers for a project very dear to my soul — The Cannibals Next Door. This story has had a brutal life. It’s had great moments and been overlooked. It has kept me excited and completely destroyed my ego. Now it is one of my babies who’s growing up!
No one in the industry can do it alone — myself included. As I give some shout outs pay close attention to the key elements you need beyond a script to make your own talkie.
1. The Alpha Producer
Look nothing is free and favors will only get you so far before you become “that dude who always asks for a handout.” I’m lucky to say the guy who helped me produce this project started off and will always be first a good friend: Mister Nick Oleskiw.
I met Nick over a year ago temping at a fashion store called Janus. We shared a lot of blood, sweat and candy there. What??? They had lots of free candy there and Nick and I have a sweet tooth. ANYWAY, after the gig ended Nick rose in the ranks of the industry landing a steady gig at APA doing this stunt: The First “Walker” See any the connection to Cannibals here? Hehe 🙂
From day one Nick has been there for me as a fellow writer, pseudo manager, producer, and most importantly good friend. Guys like him are hard to come by. I predict within the next ten years Nick will be owning the creative direction of several projects. The guys got a natural talent to make any story you send him better. I know he made my story better. Heck, he made my story possible.
2. A Great DP
One who understand when I say gorilla style what I’m reaaaaally saying is, “We may be bending several laws filming this.” But there’s an old saying, “A good friend will come bail you out of jail, but a true friend will be sitting next to you saying… Damn, that was fun!”
I nabbed the perfect guy for the crime — Joey Valentia aka Joey Fantastico and yes he really is fantastic! Pay close attention to the name because this guy has what it takes. He’s an artist who understands yes having money will help any project but also having the guts and creative juices to tackle any project with a positive can-do attitude goes a long way too.
Joey will always be my DP. The day I land that big Hollywood directing gig he’ll be one of the first I call. Period. Ask him yourself: [email protected]
3. A Guardian Angel by the name of “Brian Diverio”
Brian’s your pal who just happens to know how to do everything and everything really — really well. A lot of folks sent me love on the poster and stickers we handed out. Those have been the face of Our Cannibals. But I can’t take credit — Brian can. Check out his portfolio: Brian’s Sphere
I met Brian after leaving a post on Scriptshadow.com. Brian hit me up in one of the most hilarious emails I’ve ever received in my life! Brian is going to write the next comedy feature. It is his destiny. He is part of the brethren of screenwriters who are the reason audiences go to see talkies.
4. “El Editor”
World meet Stephen Herron — Stephen here’s the world. I’ll give you two a minute…
Stephen is my brotha from anotha mada. He is the guy who is all about great storytelling. If Ebert & Roeper DNA had a love child and that kid grew up and go it on with Spielberg’s DNA then that formed into an awesome baby which grew up… it still wouldn’t be as knowledgeable as Stephen.
Stephen loves filmmaking. Like LOVES it. I honestly can’t say that. There are things I fancy about it but love… that’s a strong word. Stephen loves every part of it. Good and bad. He has a passion for it like no other. He will take a bullet for a project to ensure it gets done and it gets done right.
And you need that. You need a “Stephen Herron” who has your back and will tell you how to make your project stronger. It may not be something you want to hear, but Stephen does it out of love for the craft. That’s a whole other level of storytelling I hope one day to reach. Wanna see for yourself? Check out Stephen’s reel here or better yet throw him a line at: [email protected]
I can only write so much. Joey can only film the hell out of so much. Nick can also produce sooooo much! At the end of the day, without great talent you got nada! Luckily, Cannibals had greatness…
*Kicking off our adventure is Mark McClain Wilson (aka Agent John Cronway) check out his website here. Things I dig about Mark: His class, radio style voice and ability to mix it up! Mark’s integrity makes everyone pick up their game. He has this classic grungy radio style voice backed up by his ability to ad libb any scene thrown at him. I’m pretty sure I did one take just to see what he would do. And you know what he did? NAILED IT. Yeah, that’s Mark for ya.
*Tommy Cooley (aka Eric O’Neil) is one of the most interesting young actors I’ve had the honor of meeting and now making movie magic with. This guy pumps out so much depth into scenes it’s kinda scary. The best way I know how to describe him is using the word honest. Tommy is an honest guy, who delivers honest performances. It’s that X-Factor not something one can just learn. You’re either born with it or not. Tommy was born with it. Keep tabs on him here.
*Shanna Micko (aka Nancy O’Neil) — I kinda have a crush on Shanna right now. I can’t watch her and not smile. She plays against character type and I can’t thank her enough for this! Look at her website here. She is a mix of the mom next door and high school prom queen all grown up. Everything she does on screen is subtle and sooooo fun to watch. Shanna is just straight out entertainment.
*D. Scott Adams (Aka Paul O’Neil) came out here from the East Coast. The first conversation we had lasted just under two hours. What did we talk about? Story! Story! Story! Scott not only dabbles in the realm of acting but he’s a fellow screenwriter. His forte: Horror features. Scott is like a walking encyclopedia of things that crawl and creep in the moonlight. I believe he’s had two features optioned and after getting the chance to work with him I can see why. Scott not only knows how to tell a great freaking story but knows how to bring a story to life.
*Maria Cabrera (aka Kaley O’Neil) is my breath of fresh air. She recently broke out into the film scene. I think our group was one of her first attempts in film. I don’t think I have her figured out. I don’t think anyone will. I have emailed, talked with her on the phone, worked with on set and still feel like I don’t know who Maria really is. And that’s kinda cool. Part of being an actor is the allure of pretending to be someone else. Maria has a ton of allure.
6. EVERYONE ELSE…
Look, I know I’m forgetting people and if I don’t have this section there’s a good chance they’ll swing by my bedroom and shank me. So to play it safe everyone else — family, friends, Frankie & Minx, supporters, the guy down the street, the girl who makes me smile, and yes you!
The reality is if you can lock down a script, get the funds, find a crazy DP, plus a genetically energized super editor, on top of an angel on your side and some talent on standby — you can make something!
To everyone I mentioned above I owe you forever! Thank you for helping me make some “talkies” can’t wait till we do it again!
Rule #7 Don’t forget how you got here.