Before we dive into the interview I recently did with the filmmakers of The Shadow Effect, I have two brief announcements… first and foremost, I recommend you go watch it (here’s an Amazon link to make it easy).
If you post on both platforms, you’ll get two entries! Just make sure you you enter by the May 25th at 11:59 AM.
Tell the readers a bit about who you are and how you got where you are now.
Amariah and I come from the commercial world of advertising, I think we both started way before legal age, I was 17 and he was around 12 when we started making stuff. So we basically grew up behind cameras. After stints working for the ad world in 2008 we decided we wanted to do what we dreamed of at first; feature films. So we made our first movie UNKNOWN CALLER and sold it on our own through Hollywood, that was a major learning curve that really cemented the risks of a high risk business like film and gave us a tough skin for the sharks that swim in movie sales. I think after that success we just figured let’s do this and moved on to movie 2 Operator and then The Shadow Effect.
Have the two of you directed together before?
Everything we do we direct and produce together, now we have a studio and really can focus as a team. It helps to have 2 minds that think alike.
With this new one, what should people expect?
I think people should expect a film that’s NOT Hollywood, it’s an Olson picture, I don’t really know what our style is but people tell us we have a style that is uniquely ours. I like that. I don’t want to make other people’s movies. We don’t really even watch movies that much. But I think the audience can look to find suspense, mystery, and a few character moments that work well. We like raw action that is real and I think we have a few decent sequences in this film that the audience can get into. Overal, this film is not some far out art, and it’s not some big stupid lifeless Hollywood effects show. I like to think we can capture enough character to engage enough suspense to hold and enough action to satisfy. But you never know what the armchair critic will say, after all since they are used to mind numbingly large budgets and movies that cost 100 times what we make.
The trailer looks awesome, I’ll be diving into it this weekend myself. Any pointers on how to get the best experience I can?
Just try and get a decent screen and good sound. Remember that “CINEMA MODE” on most consumer TVs is normally you best bet for how we see the films and how we make them look. Turn off all the sharpening, frame blending, etc.
What and who are some of your favorite films and filmmakers? Contemporary and all time?
Luc Besson, James Cameron, and Tony Scott
Are some of these films and filmmakers ones you’ve felt have been big influences on you? What are some of the biggest influences on your films and on this one in particular?
I think we really focus on story and pace. To me that’s top priority. If we can keep the wheel rolling so to speak we can keep the audience from turning it off. A lot of that comes from building suspense, working on pacing in the script the shooting and the edit. I don’t know I don’t really look to others, I guess I watch movies and pickup technique, so many little details go into making a film that you can watch and learn endlessly it feels like. But I think once you start making movies you get “your bag of tricks” that work, and you can rely on them for your base line and then try new things on top of that.
Speaking of art and influences, my site was formed in part to explore some of the intersections of art and faith. To me, one’s faith and beliefs impact all of the art they make. Do you have personal convictions that you see shaping the art you make, whether it’s faith based convictions or other beliefs that you hold close?
Sort of, I believe in the hero, in form and function, I believe that the hero leads an army and gets things done and has no fear. I try and model that in my life. I did not come from leading an arm that is making movies but I’ve always been a director at heart I guess. My grandmother told me as a kid “stop directing the kitchen, go find something else to direct” and that’s my personality. I like to be an expert and I like to lead, I feel like strength comes from leadership and movies are total 100% leadership 100% of the way so it’s a great place to have a vision and crazy follow through. I think that films have taught me a very important lesson: the harder it gets the more pain you use to keep pushing, what that creates is a kind of crazy loop, because to fail is to die, otherwise you push until you get it done, it kind of makes you a monster able to get anything done you wish to get done, because you don’t let yourself fail it’s an impossibility. I feel like that has driven me in lots of ways to success and being able to handle all kinds of things in other realms of business and life.
Thanks for indulging me. A bit of personal disclosure, I am a pastor’s kid who still holds a faith in God but not a strong faith in “God’s church” these days. I am drawn to genre films more and more, finding myself able to wrestle with the themes in my personal faith journey through the art in interesting ways. Were you brought up in any faith tradition and how you you think that pushed you to where you are now?
Yes, my faith is truth, and self awareness, once you understand all your personal issues and all the WHYs of what you do you become very interestingly able to deal with yourself, and others. Through UNDERSTANDING of the WHY we do what we do we can determine the WHAT we want to do with this knowledge. I have no religion, I have just the search for truth I believe it more powerful than anything else for its ability to shine a light on ALL our collective issues.
So back to The Shadow Effect, how and when can people check it out?
The film is now available on VOD, Digital HD, and DVD!
I can’t wait. And, thanks again for the chat. Any final words for the readers, aspiring filmmakers, or really anyone for that matter?
Yes, the mind is very very very powerful, once you decide to take on the mind and learn how it works its addictions, its aversions, its desires, its needs, its fears, its loves etc… you can become almost a master of it and since the mind is the control set for the total of who we are ANY knowledge or self reflection and learning can give you a clear “leg up” if you will on WHO WE ARE AS HUMANS. I feel like a lot of people walk around in what I call “auto pilot” they are reacting to others, getting mad, finding reasons to hate etc all this “code” if you will is spinning all the time in automatic form, much of it is throw back I think to old times when humans needed automatic code to hunt, gather, fend off, stay warm etc. But now we don’t, now we have FULL power over our surroundings so now all the things like FEAR or HATE have NO place in society at all, so shouldn’t we learn to see them for what they are as “autopilot code” running around in ours heads without controls on it? I believe so. I know as I’ve become more and more aware of who I am I have been able to leverage that and use it for my personal goals and personal self learning and I won’t trade it for anything and I’ll never go back to autopilot even though the REAL truth sometimes hurts the ego it’s STILL the bottom line or the WHY that we do what we do that is fascinating.