Your new webseries The Ghost and the Negro - in a few words,
what is it about?
A religious skeptic (Sidney) is framed for murder and to prove his
innocence he teams up with a wandering Ghost (Hattie).
Why a ghost story, is this a genre
you're especially fond of, and some of your genre favourites?
grew up watching Alfred Hitchcock
Presents and The Twilight
always loved murder/mystery films with just a dash of a supernatural
twist. People can relate more to ghosts than let's say vampires I believe.
I wanted to tell a story on a subject we keep in the back of our minds.
sources of inspiration when writing The Ghost and the Negro?
reading and watching the works of Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King.
did you choose a serialized format for The Ghost and the Negro, and
how (if at all) does filming for this format compare to shooting a
I chose the serialized format for budget
reasons but also because I felt like there was more than one defining
story to tell between Sidney and Hattie. My original plan was to shoot it
as a feature but I wanted to share parts of the story to hopefully attract
a fan base that would want to experience more about the characters.
Do talk about your series' approach to
horror (as in suspense vs sudden shocks, atmosphere vs all-out gore, and
Suspense is so much better to me. I decided to
make sound a character in the film. There's no music, no type of score,
the characters are placed in a realistic setting and only hear what you
would normally hear on a Tuesday at 2am. I want the audience to have the
same cautions and thoughts as the character. Almost like a shared mind
where the next step is another unknown. This is a atmosphere that I
believe people can identify with more. Not a big all-out gore fan. Those
type of things can be more distracting and completely take away the
suspense of the scenes.
You've shot The Ghost and the Negro
black and white - to put it plainly, why?
Yes, first off, I
wanted to create a atmosphere and world that these characters live in.
When I watch older black and white films I find myself even more focused
on the characters than anything else. This is a character-driven story so
I wanted the audience to know that whoever you see on screen, they're not
just filler, they're important to the story and they mean something to
other people, even if they're not speaking.
What can you
tell us about your overall approach to your story at hand?
approach was to tell a thoughtful story about a man who refuses to lower
the barriers around his life and is forced to do so because of extreme
circumstances. I wanted Sydney's journey to be one about love and
redemption and not a revenge tale. Love is such a great mystery and
Sidney's journey with Hattie, on the murder investigation is a great
mystery to pair them together too.
talk about your key cast, and why exactly these people?
Cobb is by far one of the best actresses I've worked with on stage and
film. She is a graduate of ASU theatre program and has participated in a
few other projects I've done. She brings such a graceful, mysterious but
yet seductive performance to the character of Hattie. Demise Harp is truly
a great upcoming talent and terrific actor. He has great delivery on his
dialogue and he really invokes that quiet guy next door that you see
everyday but never speak too.
can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
are three episodes total. Each episode was shot in one day. We filmed one
day at my house and two days inside a bookstore. It was very challenging
and fun at the same time. When you're shooting so much material in one
space you have to get as dynamic as possible.
$64-question of course, when and where will the series be released onto
the general public?
The series has its world premiere at
the LA Film Fest on June 4th and 5th.
Any future projects you'd like to
I am currently in development for a project centered
on autism and another thriller.
What got you into filmmaking to begin with, and
did you receive any formal training on the subject?
self-taught. I transitioned into film-making after writing and producing
several stage plays. I wanted to share my stories on a larger platform and
film has helped me reach a larger audience. I guess you can say my
training began when I started helping a few friends on set of their
projects and then filming little projects on my iPhone. That was my
beginning foundation before I moved up into DSLRs.
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to The Ghost and the Negro?
have a feature film, The Lovely Patient, which was released in 2014 and
I've DP'ed and directed several short films.
would you describe yourself as a director?
I try to be the
director that gives actors plenty of room to do their work and not stress
over the things that don't move the story forward.
who inspire you?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Alfred Hitchcock, Oscar Micheaux, Steven
Spielberg, Christopher Nolan and Kathryn Bigelow.
Your favourite movies?
Hustler, E.T., The
Birds, Beasts of a Southern Wild, Inception, a very
long list lol.
and of course, films you really deplore?
Not a fan of films
where the villain has a stronger case for carrying out their plan than the
protagonist does stopping it.
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
two lead characters are named after Sidney Poitier and Hattie McDaniel,
the first two black Oscar winners.
for the interview!