Where are you from, where are you located now, and what are your ties to WV?
I’m originally from Dupont City, WV, and now live in Hollywood.
What was your first job in film production and what was the experience like?
I started out directing feature films in Charleston, WV, but my first real paid job was working as a Production Assistant on a music video for the “symphonic black metal” band SOTHIS. We filmed at the Los Angeles City Hall, and I got to tour the place, run all over town trying to pick up meat trays for agitated heavy metal musicians, and did a lot of loading and unloading of equipment. The second day was actually all underwater shots filmed in a swimming pool, so I got paid to basically lounge around and watch people swim and get angry because the RED camera they were using kept overheating inside the waterproof enclosure. It was a legit production, so the best part was getting to observe how a film set is run and talk to the crew about their various jobs. Saves a bundle on film school.
What was your last job and what were you responsible for?
One of my last jobs was producer on “Steve: Death Collector,” which is a 3D feature filmed in Charleston, WV. It is based on an original mock-trailer I directed for an annual UK film festival called “Celluloid Screams.” We won the competition and adapted the trailer into a feature-length. I also wrote, produced, and edited “Get Off My Land,” an original web-series directed by WV filmmaker Scott Gregg.
What advice would you give someone wanting to work in the film industry?
I would advise anyone who wants to work in the film industry to volunteer your time as a Production Assistant on a feature, regardless of the budget level. We always run our sets like a film school and are more than willing to teach anyone who wants to learn. You will pick up a lot just by DOING. Also, don’t try to be a director. There seems to be 2 billion people calling themselves directors out there. Find a crew position and be THAT. Work hard and be good at it. There are thousands of movies being shot every day in backyards across America that no one will ever see. No one’s going to hire you to direct. They may hire you to be a 2nd A.C. or a Grip – so be the best 2nd A.C. or Grip there is and you’ll never have to want for work.