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Welcome to the first edition of For the Love Of…, a periodic blog about fandom, hobbies, and everything else we geek out about.
In this blog I am very pleased to present an interview with Film Maker Stephen Weese about his upcoming feature length movie, Broken Spirits, a sci fi action movie about the worlds between life and death.
We begin the interview with Stephen’s professional background and experience. Stephen started out in IT with the CIA but kept a presence in local theater and music. After completing his Masters in Computer Science he pursued a career in teaching. While teaching he felt the call to act and moved to LA in pursuit of that goal. Using some connections in the Anime industry he began voice acting right away adding his voice to shows like the popular Helsing series. Sadly his early efforts were hindered by a bout with chronic fatigue that lasted years.
I ask about the call to acting. Stephen relates his interests at the time of his decision, IT director aboard a cruise ship, teaching in Europe, and a desire to act in film. He goes on to talk about his experiences in choirs touring the worlds from Europe to Israel. In the end it was several chance encounters with old friends seemed to point him in the direction of Los Angeles. His journey so far has been worth the risks and uncertainty.
I ask about his credited positions in the film. Stephen elaborated that he is the Writer, Producer, and Star of Broken Spirits. The Idea of making a film was borne from his recovery from Chronic Fatigue and a desire to have something to show for his time in Los Angeles. His is not a “normal story” He goes on to relate that he was so determined to see this film made that he sold his Mustang GT, which he used for racing, for seed money for his film. Now that’s Dedication. Stephen says “I believe that if you want to do something, you have to do it all the way.”
I ask about the film itself. Stephen tells me of going to his connections in the voice acting community, citing Richard Epcar, Cristina Vee, and Vic Mignogna. While their fame as voice actors is not the explicit reason he asked them to join he is happy to have their prestige as part of his film. I ask about working with such big names in Anime. Stephen tells me about going out to find anyone with talent to come and be a part of his film, giving people a chance to show their skill as he would want others to do for him. He tells me about the excellent rapport between the actors built around coping with the difficult environment of filming in the desert. He has a personal and professional familiarity with many of the actors that made filming comfortable, yet challenging. He also talks about some of the learning experiences in working with many seasoned and experienced actors and actresses.
I ask about the film’s story. Stephen covers the basics of the plot where four friends visit a sweat lodge and find themselves transported to an alternate earth where four evil spirits seek to hijack their bodies and return to our world. The story of the film, as well as many of the other aspects were inspired by the many restrictions the film faced such as location and funding. Stephen relied on his cadre of friends and contacts to overcome the many challenges. Filming and editing has wrapped and talks with distributors are well underway. The distribution side of filmmaking has been a learning experience for Stephen and once again he speaks of the help he has received from friends and friends of friends.
I ask about his plans going forward. Stephen tells me that the next six months is going to be all about promotion for Broken Spirits. This is challenging for his as he still struggles with Chronic Fatigue. He plans to take his film to every venue he can from Film Festivals to the Convention circuit.