Around 11 years ago, as a student at Columbia College Chicago, I founded Beyond the Nametag Productions. It is meant to be an independent label to launch content from across the entertainment spectrum. While starting as a stamp for my student films, it was meant to grow into more. We’ve been quiet for too long, which is why I’m here to re-state our mission, build lasting relationships and keep you abreast of what’s in store for 2017.
Beyond the Nametag Productions exists to create thought-provoking content. Specifically, art pieces that peel back the labels and look beyond our first perception. We’re here to burst your bubbles, not conserve them (which is something we need now more than ever).
Collaboration is key; we hope to spread our knowledge through education, consultation and partnerships. That is why our blog will be much more active in 2017, featuring articles surrounding my individual experience and those of my colleagues. The door is open for consulting, whether you need advice for an independent feature, or full-service supervision of post production. With a career in the making that is 9-years and running, I’m blessed to have a network with depth and diversity to help bring these projects to reality. So be ready to take advantage of my experience this year.
While film and video remains our focus, future projects include a graphic novel in the fantasy genre and a sports podcast. I’m looking for us to stay busy and explore all of our creative outlets. This year, you can hold me to it.
Six years ago, in the cool early spring of the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago, I set out to Direct what would be my last “student” film at Columbia College Chicago. It would be for a comedy directing class, one I particularly enjoyed, taught by Terry Miller. The short would be based off of a silly idea I had in high school about a boy’s stuffed bunny rabbit who springs to life as a serial killer. Sort of a tongue-in-cheek horror/comedy where TOY STORY meets CHILD’S PLAY. But why would this silly short film take so long to finally get edited and released? Well, that’s a whole different story.
Four years ago, Reaves Washburn, Ryan Mitchelle, Andre Avanessian and myself sat down at Jinky’s Cafe on Ventura Blvd. to discuss a short film I had been writing. It came from a neighbor’s story idea, about an assassin who botched his assignment and now has to face a certain death himself, most likely at the hands of his own student. The idea fascinated me and the great thing was it could be written in a contained atmosphere,which would keep the budget down for us poor LA transplants at the time. ASHES came to fruition.
I put most the film’s budget on my credit cards, probably totaling around $3,000.00. With the guidance and producing skills of Reaves, Ryan and Andre, we were able to put together the pieces to shoot a great short and I’m extremely satisfied with the end result. Drew Lahat’s cinematography really draws you into the cold-blooded nature of the story and the acts that occur on screen, highlighted by music from Mike “Unleaded Logic” Mertes and Elena Deg’l Innocenti, who was also gracious enough to lend us her home for shooting.
It took 6 months to edit so by 2011 was ready to go. I tried submitting to short film festivals all over the country but it never seemed to garner any attention. So alas, here we are, in 2014, where I am releasing for all to see on Vimeo!