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If you witnessed it, like many others, you were surprised. You may have even laughed, but the truth is, it was horrible, tasteless and a perfect example of Gaslighting. I’m of course referring to host Seth MacFarlane’s inappropriate Oscar stint, “We saw your boobs”.
What many don’t realize is that anyone that did laugh did so uncomfortably; especially if they were a woman and even more so if they were any of the women mentioned.
Gaslighting is the practice of systematically convincing an individual that their understanding of reality is mistaken or false.
So when a few women stood up and started shouting that what Seth MacFarlane did at the Oscars was wrong, they were thrown back with the classic Gaslighting manipulation: “You’re overreacting, relax, don’t you have a sense of humor?”
When someone says these things to you, it’s intended to shut you down from addressing their bad behavior which is emotional manipulation, pure and simple.
This is exactly what happens in our country to women everyday in the workplace, in the home and even in the limelight. This emotional manipulation feeds an epidemic in our country, one that defines women as irrational or overly sensitive.
Those who engage in Gaslighting create a reaction — whether it’s anger, frustration, sadness — in the person they are dealing with. Then, when that person reacts, the Gaslighter makes them feel uncomfortable and insecure by behaving as if their feelings aren’t rational or normal.
Even powerful women in Hollywood, ones that bear the brunt of this type of manipulation remain silent. Why?
photo by Chris Pizzuti (AP)
One well known actress did not take it lightly. I applaud Jamie Lee Curtis’s recent slam of Seth MacFarlane and his misogynistic approach. But why haven’t more women spoken up about it?
Because we are conditioned not too. Sadly, it’s easier to emotionally manipulate women because people have been conditioned by our society to accept it. Men continue to burden women whether the Gaslighting is conscious or not, to produce the same result; to keep us silent.
Gas lighting is a game. One you might not see coming if you don’t know what to look for. If you already have self-esteem issues, it is easier for someone to gaslight you. The best thing to do is keep your self-esteem high and be more vocal when you feel like someone is trying to take away your power through verbal manipulation.
Gloria Steinem quotes, “The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.”
Seth MacFarlane needs to unlearn his behavior towards women. Moreover, he needs to apologize. Really apologize, not just to the women he Gaslighted at the Oscars; but to women everywhere. I’ll be waiting for mine, Seth.
The term Gasslight comes from the 1940’s suspense thriller set in nineteenth-century London. In the movie, Paula (Ingrid Bergman) marries the villainous Gregory Anton (Charles Boyer), not realizing that he is the one who murdered her aunt and is now searching for her missing jewels.
To cover up his treachery, he tries to persuade Paula that she is going mad, so he can search the attic for the jewels without her interference. He plants missing objects on her person in order to make her believe that she has no recollection of reality. He tries to isolate her, not allowing her to have visitors or to leave the house. However, she uncovers the truth when she notices the dimming of the gaslight.
Links to other articles on Gaslighting that I used as a reference for this blog:
III is a 3D horror feature film being produced by TBA Productions, LLC; an independent 2D & 3D media production company based in Charleston, SC. The film is a hybrid of a slasher film with a creature feature twist in the vein of H.P. Lovecraft. TBA Productions is using practical effects to maximize the 3-D version of the movie and is filming a 2-D as well.
III’s story and visual aesthetic is drawn from the classic slasher and creature features from the late seventies and eighties. Rather than having female characters incarnated as bimbos running helplessly up the stairs, they have been scripted as strong female leads which fight back against their attackers; similar to films like The Descent and High Tension.
I interviewed Braxton Williams the writer/producer behind this 3D Horror Feature titled, “III” about his film:
1. What or who inspired you to become a filmmaker?
I never really set out to be a filmmaker. I originally set out to be a successful working actor. Being a producer is something I kind of fell into. In 2010 a friend of mine ran for US Congress. He recruited me to coach him on his speeches and produce commercials for him. I didn’t really want to, but I owed him one so…there you go. A great learning experience and the commercials turned out rather nicely. A year or so later I was talking to our executive producer Akim Anastapoulo. He told me he had a 3D camera and was looking for someone to direct a horror film. So I jumped at the opportunity. I partnered up with Trey Howell and Alissa Guterman to form TBA Productions LLC and here we are.
2. Have you always been a fan of horror and if so, why?
Yes, I love horror; films, novels, you name it. Halloween is my birthday so I have always loved the genre. As a kid I used to have horror movie marathons every year. Well actually I still dedicate the month of October to horror movies. The difference is, as a kid I would watch all these terrible horror movies all in one night. Now that I am married, my wife will not put up with crappy horror movies let alone crappy horror movie marathons. So we watch the classics and we spread them out over the month. I actually have seen some very good and creepy films with her that I might not have tracked down otherwise.
3. You are doing your horror film in 3-D. That must be intense to watch?
Ah 3D, that was a challenge in and of itself. None of us had ever worked on 3D before. Trey and Owen Hamilton, our DP, had to do a lot of research on the camera and on 3D filming itself. It was a constant learning experience and it definitely slowed down the filming process. But it was worth it. We have some very cool 3D shots throughout the movie. Cool perspective shots, and for a lack of a better term, “money” shots. But, the 3D is not just a gimmick. The movie holds up on its own, we even shot a 2D version at the same time. The two versions will be a little different from each other, but they are both an intense experience.
4. Where did you shoot the film and why?
Trey and I actually wrote the script based on the location. His aunt and uncle own a Victorian Style house in St. Mathews, South Carolina. A couple of years ago I went up there with him to do some test shots for a project of his. That project eventually morphed into something else, but we have wanted to do something there ever since. It is the perfect place for a horror movie. The house has this presence that should infuse the film. Can’t thank Drew and Linda Rowe enough for letting us use their house and stay there while we filmed.
5. What was the most surprising thing to come out of this project?
Two things surprised me the most. The first was how much I liked writing the script. I have written many short stories and one-act stage plays, but nothing of this magnitude. I didn’t realize I would enjoy it so much. Unfortunately for Trey, I was also extremely protective of the script. After my second draft, Trey came in and took a crack at it. I think I fought him for 99% of his changes, which in retrospect was ridiculous.
The second thing that surprised me the most was how well everyone got along. A lot of times on sets there are people who just don’t get along. But that was not the case here. As hard as we worked, we had a great time doing it. Some of the worst jokes ever were told around 3 am (a lot of them by me). And since it was 3 am, the jokes were much funnier than they had any right to be.
6. What was the most challenging about making this film?
Working with such a small budget was definitely the hardest thing. We stretched every single dollar as far as it could go, and then some. Fortunately we were blessed with a very dedicated cast and crew. To make it in this industry, you have to be very lucky and/or very persistent. But you can’t be lucky if you don’t take a chance. You have to seize every good opportunity that comes your way. We all worked for less money than we would normally because we believed in this movie.
7. Tell me about your cast and crew.
We were lucky to get such a great cast. The movie is anchored by the relationship of our two main characters, Adam and Emma. Robert Dough and Rachel Swindler both do an amazing job portraying two childhood friends attempting to reconnect after years apart. And although they are the main characters, the movie is truly an ensemble piece. Carri Schwab and I play Celia and Frank, Adam’s friends who are on vacation with him. Carri is brilliant as Celia. I think my performance is pretty good too, but I am biased…Blake Gardner and newcomer, Amy Elizabeth Chadwell, are hilarious as Emma’s stoner buddies, Dave and Jess. The cast is rounded out by Ty Trumbo who plays Tommy Banks, a self obsessed douche bag who happens to be Emma’s boyfriend. Ty does a great job showcasing Tommy’s vanity and anger at Adam’s attempt to win back Emma.
Our crew was wonderful. They really brought their A-game to the film. And not only were they great at their jobs, they filled out other positions quite well too. Being an indie, we had several people wearing several different hats. From Trey Howell, our director, on down, everyone helped out where they could.
Trey has a great eye for the genre, but also for building FX rigs as well. Alissa Guterman was a co-producer/production manager. Julie Wheat of Cavortress was our wardrobe/make up/producer. Trey worked with the people from Seamless Pictures to bring a strong sense of foreboding to the movie. From Seamless we got: Owen Hamilton, our DP; Corey Corbett one of our camera operators; and Charlotte Savage our 1st AD. Zachary Breitengross was our 1st AC/camera operator. Kyle Perrit was another AC. Christopher Orosco was our sound mixer. And last but not least our crew was anchored by several students from Trident Technical College, The Arts Institute of Charleston and Savannah College of Art and Design.
8. What project(s) are you currently working on?
Trey, Alissa and I have a few projects in the works. Nothing concrete yet, it all depends on how well III is received. But we do have a few ideas floating around. In the meantime, I have put together a short film with a good friend of mine, Steve Thomas. Steve is a preditor, which is a fancy term for producer/editor. And I am sure telling people you are a preditor is a great way to end conversations, but I digress. I co-wrote it with Steve. We are producing it. He is directing it and I am acting in it. We should begin filming sometime in June.
An interview with actress, Leslie Vicary
The film is the story of two kids who are orphaned, then sent to a foster home at which they experience potentially abusive circumstances, followed by their decision to become self-sufficient on the street, which leads to all sorts of dangerous scenarios. I play Sherry, the foster mom.
Was it a difficult role to play, why or why not?
As an actress, it was great fun. Who doesn’t love to get to be the bad guy? Only two things concerned me. I had to smoke and I am a reformed chain-smoker and I’m not going to give myself any chance to start smoking again. And the trashy short-shorts. Unfortunately, by the time I tried the costume on, it was too late to do the million walking lunges and squats that they really required.
Have you ever acted opposite children before?
I act opposite my own 5-year-old child on a daily basis with storytelling, impressions, etc. I’ve done theatre with kids and taught kid’s acting and art, so I was comfortable with the experience.
Tell me about Olivia and Sheldon, how were they on set?
Olivia and Sheldon were both great. I like to stay in the essence of the character while we’re shooting and, especially with unseasoned actors, your real-life relationship with other actors can bleed over into your character, so I wanted them both to be uncomfortable and a little suspicious of me, so I glared at them a lot. But I was impressed. They were both great listeners, took direction and could handle not being the center of attention when they weren’t supposed to be. That’s half the battle with kids. Sheldon is older, though. I haven’t seen the final cut yet, but from what I experienced, I expect their performances to be genuine and moving. Olivia-the-8-year-old gave me some line readings in the parking lot after our first table read. “You might want to say it like…” “Are you giving me a line reading?” She’ll probably be directing my next project.
Knowing R.W. Smith as well as I do, it’s hard for me to imagine him playing the evil foster dad. What was it like seeing him transform into a bad guy?
I just remember our first read together in the audition and feeling like he was going to do something so weird and crazy any minute, being totally game for it. Then they told us to read it again, but less creepy. Ha! It was really fun working with him. I can’t wait to see his other scenes. He’s not only an amazing actor, who cares about the craft and the quality, he’s also very giving and generous as a person, which is so much more important. He does transform completely into a creepy bad guy, but then he would pick up Olivia and give her a hug after the scene. He has young daughters, too, so that probably helps. I saw him on St. Pat’s Day with his girls and he was wearing a kilt and had a full head of grey hair and enormous muttonchops. I didn’t even recognize him.
What was it like working with Travis Hollifield, Barrett Burlage and Edward Tilden of Terrible Parrot Films?
Oh, they are part of that whole group of wonderful local people doing quality work and telling great stories. I’m so thrilled to get to work with them. Attention to detail and organization rate highly with me. They are highly organized, professional, safe, considerate, etc. AND they are creative, driven, artistically skilled, etc. You don’t always get organized and artistic in the same package. You do with Terrible Parrot and each of the guys, Travis, Ed, Barrett. And they seem to really work well together, each respecting the others talents and opinions and giving them space, while filling in for each other’s weaknesses. They should do marriage seminars or something. It has been great working with them.
How long have you been an actress?
Do you want me to tell you about the time I did a monologue from “Ice Castles” in a junior high beauty pageant now? No, no. Like a boyfriend you just can’t ditch, I’ve acted on and off since I was a kid, attended a high school of the arts in Atlanta, majored, then minored, in Theatre, performed in theatre, commercials, voiceovers, radio etc. etc. Then I quit the day-job after I had my child 5 years ago and it seemed like the perfect time to reinvent myself into what I had hoped to be all along. Many dollars, hours and mileage logs later, I have a number of independent films, commercials, industrials, training, etc. accomplished.
Prior to “My Sister Sam” you did a one-woman show on stage is that correct? Tell me about that.
Yes, I recently performed a one-woman-show at South of Broadway Theatre under Mark Gorman’s direction called, “The Last Flapper”, based on the life of Zelda Fitzgerald. I really hope to perform that again in a full run very soon. I am on fire for that show and sharing her story…she was such an extraordinary woman.
What ways are you trying to improve yourself as an artist?
I’ve discovered the agony/ecstasy of improv this year through the Theatre 99 classes. I took Brandy’s Level 1 and 2 and am currently in Greg’s 3. It started as just one of the many steps in the ongoing saga of destroying fear and cultivating focus in the face of audition anxiety. Improv is the theatrical equivalent to dodge ball and I come home with big ole raspberries all over me some nights and some nights I get to make people cry and other people laugh at them crying. Right on.
What other local independent filmmakers have you recently worked with?
I’m THRILLED to have had the opportunity to work on wonderful independent films by some of the best filmmakers in our region, Terrible Parrot, D.A.M.E. Media (watch for “Remembering” – also with R.W. Smith and Olivia Gainey), Seamless Pictures (happy to make a small appearance in “The Dust That Floats…”), etc. I just shot “Crossing the River” near Columbia for Emilie McDonald who is a filmmaker from New York, which I hope we’ll see at CIFF next year.
Tell me about the Charleston film scene, has it grown in recent years?
The film scene in the southeast and Charleston is growing and the talent base keeps getting better and bigger. It’s a fun time to be here! Now if we can just get a couple of great stories in which women in their 30s or 40s are the main characters, rather than the main character’s mother or wife, so I can really sink my chops into something! I’m ready when you are!
Check out the trailer for “My Sister Sam”
MY SISTER SAM
Saturday, April 14 Block 3 ~ 3:00pm
Drama (29 mins.)
SC, World Premiere Directors/Writers: Travis Hollifield and James Edward Tilden Producers: Barret B. Burlage, Travis Hollifield and James Edward Tilden
Cast: Sheldon Faure, Olivia Gainey, R.W. Smith, Natalie Sullivan, and Jeff Albertson
Synopsis: “My Sister Sam” is the story of eight-year-old Samantha and her teenage brother Brian. When the only world they have ever known is shattered by a horrible tragedy, they are placed into an abusive foster home, forcing Brian to fight to protect his sister. With nothing more than a backpack and a twenty dollar bill Brian and Sam choose a life on the street.
An Interview with Actor, Daniel Jones
You have a few short films premiering at the 2012 Charleston International Film Festival this year. Can you tell me about them?
Sure. This year I have THE SECRET NUMBER (starring role) by director Colin Levy, COCKPIT (supporting role) by directors Matt Allen & Jason Clairy, and DAWN (supporting role) by director Joshua David Matthews.
They are all very different, what made you decide to do these films?
The Director’s reel, the DP’s reel, the Editor’s reel, and the Sound team’s reel were all outstanding. Mostly, the scripts were very well written and interesting.
You get approached all the time to work on films with people, what makes you pick one role over another?
The first things I want to see are the director’s reel, the DP’s reel, the editor’s reel, and finally the sound teams reel. I want to know how their past projects look, what kind of camera they are shooting on, what was the final sound quality. If I like what the team has done before, I read the script. If the script is interesting and entertaining, I sign on.
How long have you been an actor and what drew you to do this kind of work? Did you go to school for it and if so, where?
Actually, I was never drawn to any kind of film work. I was about to retire from the military and knew I would need a job to supplement my retirement pay, so I started looking through the brochure of Trident Technical College’s offered programs. I decided that I would become a radiologic technologist, or a vet tech. When I told my wife my decision, she said, “I’ve never heard you talk about wanting to do either of those things. Why don’t you do something you ‘want’ to do?” It actually pissed me off a little bit, and I thought to myself, “I’ll show her. I’ll take filmmaking courses. I will NEVER be able to make a living doing that.”
Before I started the courses at Trident, I had never even thought about working in film or television. I’d never held a film or video camera. I had no passion for it whatsoever. Within eight months of starting classes, I was hired as a commercial producer at ABC News 4 in Charleston, South Carolina. Within a year and a half, I was senior commercial producer. Although I did go to school for film production, I’ve never taken any formal acting classes. I began acting out of necessity.
While I was still an intern at ABC News 4, my friend John Barnhardt (senior commercial producer) and I wrote a script together called, TO END ALL DAYS. We had the entire film cast, but our “Bar Owner” dropped out at the last minute. John said “Why don’t you just play the bar owner?” So I did. After the premiere, people kept telling me I should be an actor. So, I listened to the audience. If they thought this was my strength in filmmaking, then this would be the path I would follow. I immediately shifted my attention from production to performance. Acting was something that had never crossed my mind until that time. Although acting was never an interest or a passion of mine, I’ve grown to love it.
What do you hope to achieve in your career as an actor?
To amass a body of work I can be proud of, while keeping gas in the tank, lights on in the house, and food in the pantry.
I understand you also have worked behind the camera, which do you prefer and why?
I only worked behind the camera for the film program at school and as a commercial producer for a short period of time. Professionally, acting is all I do or have an interest in doing. However, if you’d like to see my DP stuff, here it is…Click Here
What other festivals have your films premiered in or will be premiering in?
I had a film called PATROL in 2010 that went to Los Angeles, Sundance, and Seattle; it even toured Italy, and was the opening night film at the Gen Art Film Festival in NYC. It was also in the running for a student Oscar. That was a pretty cool feeling. John Ford directed it and has moved on to do some impressive things since. I’m hoping to work with John again when I get out to L.A.
Currently, I have a starring role in THE SECRET NUMBER. I had the opportunity to work with a great friend of mine, Frank Ponce on this one. When Frank is attached to a film, it’s going to be a good one. It’s co-produced by Roque Nonini and Frank.
Colin Levy is a tremendous talent as not only Director, but in the VFX department too. It was an awesome opportunity for me to work with him. One of the greatest aspects of the film is its look, and DP Michael Lloyd was awarded the Panavision Cinematographers Award in the Savannah Film Festival this year. THE SECRET NUMBER won the award for best student film and the city of Savannah award too. It was also nominated for the Verna J. Fields award in sound design. It is just a really well put together movie. Also, it’s going to be playing in the Newport Beach Film Festival the day after I get to L.A.
Another film called, THE ROAD TO JACOB is also currently making rounds in the festivals. It just won best student film in the Beaufort International Film Festival. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Matt Allen several times on projects, but this was our first time together as writer/director and actor. I think it turned out really well. Pieter Ribbens was the DP and my buddy Mike Howell did a wonderful job on the edit. It’s playing out in the Hill Country Film Festival this month in Fredericksburg, TX.
There are also two supporting roles I have in the Charleston International Film Festival this year. One of the films is called DAWN, Joshua David Matthews was the writer/director. Not only did I get to work with Josh, who I worked with briefly on THE SECRET NUMBER, I got to work with Michael Lloyd again on this movie, as well as Kevin Ray, the editor of TSN. Visually one of the most beautiful shorts I’ve ever seen, and Boogie Dabney gives a solid performance in the lead.
The second is called COCKPIT, directors Matt Allen & Jason Clairy. It also stars Matt and Travis Hicks. This film is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. I’m actually working with Matt again on a film called TICKET TO RIDE just before I leave for L.A. Matt’s co- directing with Travis on this one, so it’s sure to be a fun set. And the DP’s reel looks very impressive.
So you are moving to Los Angeles, are you nervous?
Yeah, mostly I’m nervous about maintaining two households in two cities that are very expensive to live in, and I’m not looking forward to being away from my family, but I’m not nervous about working in L.A. A good performance reads the same no matter what coast you’re working on.
As an actor, do you have any advice you’d like to give to aspiring actors?
My first piece of advice? If you’re good at anything else, do that. Although I say it tongue in cheek, there’s a large amount of truth in it too.
First, know what you want to accomplish, exactly how far you want to take it, and what you are willing to do without to get it.
Second, be brutally honest with yourself about the roles you can actually do. If you’re 30-50, you’re not going to get the lead role of the young hot eighteen to twenty something. Instead of feeling down about it, be happy that there are more roles for someone that looks like you in just about every film.
Third, develop an enormously thick skin. You will not get 95% of the roles you audition for. If you can’t handle rejection, do something else. Seriously.
I follow three rules. Be on time, know your lines and don’t be a dick. Do these three things and it will open doors for you. Try to work with people that are above your skill level, and bust your ass to learn everything you can while you’re working with them. Be prepared to work long and sometimes stress-filled hours. Be prepared to sit around doing nothing for hours. Have a good book, put a game of solitary on your smart phone, and bring bug spray.
An interview with actress, Ellie Cutright
“The Dust That Floats Behind The Sky” is an official selection for the Fifth Annual Charleston International Film Festival. This is your first experience acting on film and you are already hitting the circuit. That doesn’t happen to many people, how do you feel about that?
I am excited beyond belief; nervous, proud, anxious, and feeling accomplished!
Tell me about your role in the film, what did you like about it?
My character is Caroline, a teenage girl who starts out normal but then gets lost in the dark world of drugs that she can’t seem to escape from. The choices she makes lead her on a rollercoaster and it stops with a life-changing event. She is complex in that she is both strong and broken. This role was a bit more difficult than the roles I have played on stage, but that’s what made it so enticing. The thing I enjoyed most about playing Caroline was that she was the complete opposite of myself. Everything about what she was going through was completely foreign to me, so it required a lot of acting on my part as well as great direction from Charlotte Savage. It was quite a learning curve.
What was the most challenging part of learning how to act on film?
I think the most challenging part of learning how to act on film was getting used to the flexibility! I was used to doing live theater so if someone was to do something wrong or miss a line, you always had to be ready to jump in and save them; but with film I had to remind myself not to go off on some weird rambling because it was written a certain way and they had the option of starting over until it was the way they imagined!
How long have you been an actress and what drew you to do this kind of work? Did you go to school for it and if so, where?
I did my first play when I was six years old and I had always taken drama class at my high school; but I would say the time I started considering myself an actress was in 7th grade, three-and-a-half years ago! I was originally drawn to acting because I had fun doing it and it was my favorite class at school. I went to showbiz school at South of Broadway Theatre in North Charleston where I performed in several plays including, “Power Play” which received rave reviews because of its subject matter about High School bullying and violence. I realized then I enjoyed taking on roles that provoked a response.
What do you hope to achieve in your career as an actor?
I would just like to keep acting a part of my life as long as I can! I would love to become famous and make a career out of acting, but I really just want to make sure it stays something I love to do and not something I feel like I have to do.
Why is acting important to you?
Acting is important to me because it’s a way to just forget about the bad things going on around you; leave all that at the door and just be happy! There’s a freedom of expression that it comes with and it never grows old.
Tell me about the people you worked with on the set of the film. Who do you like working with and why?
I worked with so many talented people on set, Cierah Sargent is a phenomenal actress; Charlotte Savage is an incredibly inspiring Director and Writer; Owen Hamilton is dedicated and professional but also fun to work with. They are amazing at what they do and were really patient with me in teaching me how to work on camera and how to get comfortable with the subject matter. I feel so privileged to have gotten the chance to work with them. I never would have thought in a million years I would be part of this wonderful group of talent! I loved every minute of it. I felt lucky to be surrounded by people who were so professional. They really love what they do and are very dedicated to their work and that speaks volumes to me. It was the kind of experience where you can’t wait to wake up and go to work everyday because you know you will be surrounded by talent and greatness.
As an actor, do you have any advice you’d like to give to aspiring actors?
Advice I would give to aspiring actors is to never give up, if this is something you like to do then chase it, don’t bring yourself down by thinking your not good enough. But, at the same time don’t assume you are the best, there is always room to grow!
Click here to see the Trailer for The Dust That Floats Behind The Sky
THE DUST THAT FLOATS BEHIND THE SKY
Wednesday, April 11th Block 2 ~ 9:00pm
Drama (24 mins.)
SC, World Premiere Director/Writer: Charlotte Savage
Producers: Owen Hamilton, Charlotte Savage, and Marissa Power
Cast: Cierah Sargent, Ellie Cutright, Mya Long and Kennedy Coupe
Synopsis: Life-long friends, Caroline and Kylie, grow up from children playing to teenagers lost in a world of drugs. We see them experience the first thrill of rebellion, the pleasure of temptation, and destruction of their idealistic lives as Caroline is faced with a life-changing event.
An interview with actor, Boogie Dabney
You have a short film premiering at the 2012 Charleston International Film Festival called, “Dawn”. What is the film about and where was it filmed?
The film follows a CARPENTER going through the struggles of depression and suicidal thoughts after the loss of his wife who was carrying their child. Then, one night, an outlaw, ELIZABETH BANNISTER, breaks into his cabin after being shot by the bounty hunter, SKINNER. In the CARPENTER’s state of delusion, he believes the outlaw is his wife. The story comes to grips at a standoff on the front porch where the CARPENTER is used as a human shield. We filmed in Paintsville, KY, at The Homestead Place, a national landmark.
Who wrote the screenplay and where did the idea come from?
The screenplay was written by Matthew Fisher and is based on a story written by Josh Helms, J. Tyler Helms, and Joshua David Matthews.
Tell me about your role in the film, what do you like about it?
As I said in the description of the film, the CARPENTER is going through depression and thoughts of suicide due to the loss of his wife and child. Being set in the 1860’s, Josh gave me a list of movies to watch to give me a better idea of the mindset of the times. The one film that spoke to me and I used constantly in building my character was The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. It was an amazing test of conveying emotions in a subtle fashion while at the same time striving to push myself to give the audience a believable performance.
How long have you been an actor and what drew you to do this kind of work? Did you go to school for it and if so, where?
I have been consistently acting since 2009. It started out as something I was doing to kill a lot of free time and keep myself out of trouble. I decided to audition for The Last Days of Judas Iscariot at The Footlight Players in Charleston and, to my surprise, was asked to play the role of Judas Iscariot. From there, it was role after role….I was hooked. I loved the sense of comradery and the fulfillment of the collaboration between cast AND crew gave me a sense of purpose.
I went to the College of Charleston and graduated with a degree in Theater, but not for acting. I was a Techie. I focused on set design, production, and lighting. So, to be caught on the other side of the camera is quite shocking to some of my old classmates. It does give me a heightened sense of appreciation for all the crew members working on set to make filming go so smoothly.
What do you hope to achieve in your career as an actor?
As an actor, I hope to continue entertaining people in everything I do. When I start to become “boring”, I will know my time is up. I just want to give my all because my fellow cast members, crew members, and audience deserve the best experience possible.
Why is this film important to you?
This film marks my start into film. The beginning of my acting career involved mainly theater. I have done one indie that never came to fruition, one student film for Karina Morazzi, and one short for Thomas Burke Heath. This was my first professional film. The memories and friendships I made during this production will go with me to the grave.
Tell me about the people you worked with on the film. What was it like working with them?
The amount of work we accomplished in one week with such a small crew was incredible.
Joshua David Matthews: Director
Josh was my rock through this film. His constant presence of stability bled through to everyone on set. When things looked like they could go up in flames, he would just talk with everyone and it produced a new flame of desire in everyone. The first night I stepped on set and saw how serious these guys were I had a minor panic attack. He pulled me aside and reassured me that he wouldn’t trust any of the characters of his film to just anybody. I had such a deep level of trust in his direction and vision that I almost didn’t have to act.
Michael Lloyd: Director of Photography
Lloyd was a thrill to watch and a class in its self on how to organize a team and deliver a solid product. His level of professionalism surpassed a “student film” production. His knowledge made the schedule on set so much more efficient. Plus, he had an extremely talented group of electricians and grips that were working themselves as hard as possible to keep changeover times down to a minimum.
Wesley Grant Flemming: Executive Producer
Wes was insane. I want to say he only slept for a total of 8 hours when we were in Paintsville. He is the definition of dependable. After the first night of filming, the crew got back to the hotel around 10-10:30. He got word soon after that the fire truck we were using to hoist our condor in the air had broken down, so he went back to set to see what they could do to fix the problem. When they couldn’t fix it, he personally went out and rented a Genie lift so we would be able to stay on schedule for the following night. And then he was out there busting his ass just as hard as any other person that did get sleep that night.
Crystal Ann Ghanem: Hair, Make-up, Costume, Special Effects
Crystal was the cast’s care taker. She was our in between for the set and holding as well as the costume designer, hair, make up, and even did some fake wounds. Her costume design was crucial for us, as actors, to really be able to feel the time period.
Vanessa Smith: Production Design
Vanessa was the other pivotal element that helped us transport ourselves back in time to really feel what things were like back in those days. Though the location made her job easier, her attention to detail really brought us into the location and I started to feel like it was my home.
Kevin Ray: Editor
Kevin was actually on set with us, so he was editing while we filmed since we were filming on the RED camera. They would take the full memory packs to his little office he set up, he would dump it onto two hard drives, and then it was off to work. He was able to produce daily’s for the crew at the end of each shoot. We actually were able to sit down and watch the first rough cut, which included a soundtrack he put together, about two hours after we wrapped on principal photography. This film was both Josh and his graduate thesis, so they poured their hearts into this production.
Mariah Leath: WIFE
What more can I say about someone so young and so talented. She is a current SCAD student and has a career that will be very successful. She had such an amazing ability to control all of her internal dialogue through her body language and poise.
Laine Comley: ELIZABETH BANNISTER
Lainey was a trip to have on set. Especially for her role. She is so petite and was portraying this badass outlaw. She is a resident in Lexington, KY, and has her own business, Memory Laine, which caters entertainment to children’s parties and other events
Daniel Jones: SKINNER
Danny was a real treat for me to work with. I had a bucket list of film actors in Charleston that I wanted to work with once I decided to try this and he was at the top of that list….I learned decades worth of knowledge from him through his past experiences and he molded me into a much wiser actor. I could never thank him enough for all that he has done for me and hope to work with him again. He will be moving out to LA in the next month or so.
What other festivals will “Dawn” be premiering in?
The Charleston International Film Festival is from April 11-15 and “Dawn” will be shown at Cinebarre on Sunday, April 15th, Block 2 ~ 1:00pm
For information and tickets, visit www.charlestoninternationalfilmfestival.org
It has also been submitted to many other film festivals such as the Cannes Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival.
As an actor, do you have any advice you’d like to give to aspiring actors?
My biggest bit of advice to any aspiring actors would be to always be yourself at all times. Make as many friends and contacts you can when you are on set, they will be your biggest promoters you can have. If you make a good impression on fellow actors AND your film crews, they will push you further than any resume can. ESPECIALLY film crews. They work on more films than most actors and they are always in collaboration with directors and producers. If you make a good impression, work hard, get your shit done, and make the set an enjoyable experience you will constantly be getting referenced and suggested for bigger and better things.
For more information about actor, Boogie Dabney, you can check out his website:
For more information about the movie, “Dawn” you can find it directly on the website: