Occupation: Bank Teller, Actor
Congratulations on your first place award in the Lynchburg 48 Hour Film Project. Before we learn more about your winning piece, tell us a little about your training.
I’ve never been classically trained as a screenwriter or director. I don’t even know if I format my scripts properly. I went to Liberty University to study advertising and public relations, but I ended up switching my major to theater after my friend Josh DeVries and I were cast in a low budget film called Billy: The Early Years. We spent six weeks out in Nashville filming for the project.
The two of us played brothers opposite of Armie Hammer. It was his first major role at the time, and we got to meet people like Martin Landau and Robby Benson. But while I was out there I wondered if I could do this full time.
After switching majors, I took a “Writing for the Stage” class. I discovered I had a love for writing and had a decent understanding of story structure.
When did you first become interested in acting/filmmaking?
It started young. I’ve always loved film and told my parents I wanted to make movies when I grew up. My mom would always try to limit the amount of TV and movies we watched per day, trying to get the kids to be active and go outside more, but I always found ways around it. I was always an imaginative kid, and I really think that TV and movies helped cultivate that imagination. When I was older, my friends and I dreamed up story ideas that we could put together. Of course, we didn’t have the money for all of the equipment. Now though, you can film a feature-quality movie on your iPhone.
It’s a tough business to break into. What keeps you motivated?
It is a horribly tough business to break into; the market is oversaturated. I’ve had way more rejections than I’ve had jobs. I’m not sitting here lying to myself either; I work at a bank because acting gigs are fewer where I live. What does keep me motivated is my team. I have people that I want to see succeed and who want to see me succeed as well. I always say “when one of us hits, we all hit.” So for now I’m working on generating my own content and to learn by doing. I love to observe people that have been in the industry way longer. You can pick up the things that they’ve learned along the way, and forego the bad habits if you’re lucky.
Now to the winning short film. We don’t want to give it all away, but give us a summary of “Mr. Scratch.”
“Mr. Scratch” is about a man who has had a checkered past. The film follows him as he is confronted by those things in his past that have made him into who he is today. The main character is actually more of an antihero. He does terrible things in the name of good. If you watch the film then I think you can see that and hopefully the layers of questions we wanted to pose to the audience.
This was your fifth time participating in the 48 Hour Film Project. How was “Mr. Scratch” different from your other submissions?
“Mr. Scratch” was different in many ways. Mainly because it was in no way, shape or form a romantic comedy. I like a good romantic comedy; I enjoy writing them because I am a hopeless romantic. There were some jokes flying around between some former competitors and friends about my romantic comedies. So this year I decided that I didn’t want to do one. And I’m glad I didn’t pick that genre.
So now—what’s next for you? What’s your ultimate goal?
In March, we compete at Filmapalooza in Seattle. There has been some discussion of expounding on the idea of “Mr. Scratch” and making it into a feature. I think there is a lot of stuff we can do with it. Other than that, there are a few projects we all (the team) have been working on. Some professional work, some passion projects, even possibly some fan films. The end goal is to make good films. Maybe we can bring some attention to Lynchburg. Maybe we can change how people around here see films.