1. Who or what motivated you to pursue filmmaking?
It’s interesting, ever since high school, I’ve always been an actor. All of my dreams and most of the decisions I’ve made in my life revolved around being an actor. I lived and breathed it. It’s really my first true love. As time has progressed, however, the desire to expand my creativity slowly started to creep its way into my soul. The more time I spent on a set, the more I yearned to learn everything about making films. It’s become somewhat of an obsession. I love stories, and I’m fascinated by the many different ways people tell them. Filmmaking is extremely intricate and there are so many different elements that have to fit together perfectly to make a story come to life in the way you (the director) sees it. It’s trying to figure out these elements that have fueled my passion for being a filmmaker.
2. How does your film primarily differentiate or distinguish itself from other work?
Bedtime Story is an anecdote about point-blank honesty in a world where illusion, delusion, and dishonesty are the norm. The story focuses on misplaced optimism, ageism, unrealistic dreams and unfulfilled ambition. And if that’s not upbeat enough, it toys with the idea of whether a writer of questionable literary ability can truly become a best-selling author in today’s “add-milk-and-stir” culture. I think it differentiates itself because it’s a familiar emotional struggle, but told with the unique voice of getting what you want but not in the way you expected.
3. What's some of the best advice you've received?
I am fortunate to have a couple good, honest people in my corner when it comes to being a director. They have never hesitated to give me advice and help me should I stumble. So, It’s difficult to choose just one bit of advice and label it as the best because I feel like so much of it has been invaluable. There is, however, a bit of advice that really resonates with me. "Trust yourself. But most important, trust your team” A good director friend of mine (Nathan Hope) gave me this advice. As a director, you take on sort of a captains role. A good captain knows where you have to go, but has to rely on his/her crew to get him/ her there. So, have a vision, and make sure your team understands that vision well enough to have the confidence and freedom to create your collaboration. Your team are the elements that I spoke of earlier. They are all pros at what they do, so let them do their thing. Don’t be afraid to listen to their ideas. And, hopefully, when it’s all said and done you will have told a beautiful story together.
As I said earlier, I am an actor. I am a series regular on the Fox television show Lucifer. As my directing curiosity grew stronger, I started to shadow all of my favorite directors on the show. Towards the end of our second season, I learned about The Warner Bros. Directors Program. It’s an intensive program that teaches and prepares you to direct an episode of a network television show. It covers everything from pre-production to post-production and everything in between. I was fortunate to be one of the few that was accepted into the program. While in the course, I learned that I had been approved to direct an episode of my show (Lucifer). Imagine my excitement! This is why I decided to direct Bedtime Story. I wanted to direct something with a little more production value than my other shorts. Something challenging, before I took on the responsibility of a network television show. My friend Adrian Cunningham (writer of Bedtime Story) approached me with his script. I loved it. So, I took 30,000 dollars of my own money and put together my elements to create what I think is a beautiful, funny, and simple little story.
5. What significant lessons did you learn on this production that you will ensure to carry forward to the next?
Tell the story. Sometimes I get a little caught up in setting the “perfect” shot. I’ve learned that no matter how cool or pretty your shot is, if it doesn’t add to the way you want the story to be told, you’ll never use it in the edit. I think as I grow more confident in my abilities and the more experience I get along the way, I’ll always have this thought in my head,“ How does it add to the story?” Of it adds something important, do it! If it doesn’t, scratch it and move on.