How did you get started in filmmaking?
I’ve always been into movies, theatre, acting, Broadway. Story ideas come to me all the time. You could say I live in my own little world. About six years ago, I had an idea for a feature-length film and started researching the movie making process. I checked out as many books as I could from the library on the subject and learned a lot. It wasn’t until my old high school friend Joey came along that we started to make shorts. He proposed the idea of making web shorts as a way to get our feet wet before we tackled a full movie. Over two years ago now, we started AIF Productions and launched our first series, Harry King. It was quite an undertaking for a first project, but we learned a lot and had a blast. Since then, it’s been idea after idea, trying to build an audience, but also honing our skills.
How did you build a crew to get your webisodes off the ground?
For Harry King, Joey and I wore a lot of hats. We had also started off with a third partner, Curtis. The three of us ran mostly everything. We parted ways with Curtis, but Joey and I kept filming. For our latest project we enlisted some more help. Mostly through contacts or people we knew personally. My sister is really good with costume design and my wife is a cosmetologist by trade, so we had them help on Spellcaster. During Spellcaster, we had some of the actors help in some behind the camera stuff also. Whether it was slating, keeping an edit log, or working the boom mic, all of our actors were always willing to help out. One person in particular, really made Spellcaster move smoothly, Nicky Allison. He came on as one of our actors, but he did so much crew work, it was hard to label what his job really was. We are definitely grateful for him. Since most of our productions have been smaller, it’s been easy to get away with less crew. For Spellcaster Season 1, we did advertise a little on Craigslist, but for season 2, we’re going to need more crew. Sometimes it’s just too difficult to be doing everything.
Why do you want to produce a feature length film?
I’ve been sitting on this movie idea for six or seven years now, so the biggest reason I want to produce it is because I want to see it completed. I tend to be more geared to movies, both in my story format, and how I approach production. Joey has been more geared toward the shorts and continuing a story arc through several episodes. Since most of our stuff has been shorts, I’m really excited to be working on something that’s more up my alley.
Where do you see Spellcaster heading?
We’ve already had commitments from the cast of Spellcaster to do a second season. The only problem right now is that Joey is deployed to Kuwait. So we’ll probably have to wait for production until September of this year. He already has seasons 2 and 3 plotted out and he’s told me some of the story. It’s definitely good. I’m excited to work on the next season. We can keep developing the story and we can make the final product better, taking everything we learned from season one. The biggest thing is gaining a following. That’s where we’re hoping to get more publicity through the feature. One project can help the other. Spellcaster definitely appeals to a certain audience, so we need to find that audience. Having more episodes and having the episodes get better and better, hopefully that audience finds us and demands more.
Where do you see AIF Productions in the next three years?
With any start-up company, it takes time. Especially when you are doing it from bare scratch. We invest our own money and time into projects and marketing and advertising has never been a strong trait for either Joey or me. The plan is to take the feature to some festivals, get some recognition, and get the movie picked up by a distributor. With that project in our pocket, we’ll be able to expand. In three years, we should be able to make this our full-time job, pay for future productions, hire some staff, and continue to grow. As the Internet continues to change our world, we want to stay on the brink of innovation. How we consume entertainment will change, but the stories stay basically the same. We have so many stories to tell, and we love doing this so much. We just want the opportunity to do it!