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An Interview with Digital Video Producer and Director Edward Payson
I had the pleasure of working with Edward Payson when he was directing the comedy-horror short film, Dinner with the Dwyers. He's been a working director in the entertainment industry for seven years and has directed short films, feature films, commercial spots, infomercials, webisodes and documentaries. The recent documentary he just finished is Our Friend - Jon - The Documentary about his friend who passed from Sickle Cell Anemia.
Mo: First of all, tell us about your company an Anti-Hero Production.
EP: Growing up I was actually a huge Greek mythology fan. In my early childhood I would spend my allowance on books like The Odyssey. I was always interested in several flawed heroes. That translated into my adulthood. Hence an Anti-Hero Production (productions)
Mo: You're also a freelance commercial producer and director. Can you please tell the readers what services you offer?
EP: Well an Anti-Hero Production (Productions) is my company for film projects. I also am a freelance commercial director. I do everything from product commercials, how-to videos, crowdfunding campaigns, book trailers and really every kind of video someone may need. I have been lucky enough to have been able to make videos for clients on 6 continents and been able to travel all over the world.
Mo: You also host a film festival. Can you please tell us about it? Where can filmmakers submit?
EP: I do. It's called an Anti-Hero Production Genre Fest. It is for fringe films of all genres from dark comedy to extreme horror. It is only $5 to enter and is about filmmakers meeting and celebrating filmmakers. People can submit on filmfreeway.com until September.
Mo: Why did you choose a career in the entertainment industry? How did you get to where you are today?
EP: From a young age I was always a storyteller. From home-made flip books to short stories, I always was writing. I was introduced to filmmaking when I was in high school. I had a great high school program led by my mentors and now friends Pat Daly and Chris Hazel in Waltham Mass. Before then I didn't know that a career in entertainment was even possible. By sophomore year I knew I wanted to make movies.
Mo: You have film experience shooting on both tape and digital formats. Which format do you prefer and why?
EP: I definitely prefer digital. For one thing, digital is just cleaner; you don't need to worry about imperfections due to a defective or worn tape. The process is also streamlined with digital transfer.
Mo: What challenges did you face switching to digital format?
EP: It was a very quick process. The only thing I really had to get used to was having a large supply of hard drives to handle the hundreds of hours of HD footage.
Mo: I know you are a fan of the Panasonic Lumix GH series. Can you tell me what camera you're currently using and why?
EP: I am currently using the Panasonic GH4 with a Metabones(r) Speed Boaster. I did some shopping around and compared reviews. The GH4 was far and away the best bang for the buck when it came to 4K video and price point. The speed boaster from Metabones(r) also made the cropped sensor closer to a full frame sensor. It also adds an extra stop to my already fast canon lenses.
Mo: You also edit on Final Cut Pro. Why is it your preferred editing choice?
EP: I wouldn't consider myself an editor by trade and with the close to 100 commercials per year. I am producing and directing I never really have time to learn a new editing program and Final Cut was what I was first taught on.
Mo: What challenges do you face balancing feature, short film, documentary, webisodes and commercials? Which do you prefer?
EP: Well, most of my projects are at least in part, self-funded so balancing my checkbook can sometimes be the hardest part. I actually enjoy anytime I'm able to direct, even if it's a boring corporate video it's still better than being at a desk job. I definitely prefer feature films. There is no better feeling than the first time your feature film plays to a packed theater.
Mo: What is your favorite genre to direct and why?
EP: I would need to go with horror. It's my favorite genre to watch and I love the chance to scare people. Horror is taboo, the bastard of the film genres. It holds a special place in my heart.
Mo: Out of all your current projects, which one was the most difficult for you to complete and why?
EP: Well, no film I've found to be smooth sailing but I think I would have to say my film The Sunday Night Slaughter. It is a horror anthology consisting of 3 stories over 8 episodes which intertwine. It is far and beyond the most ambitious project I've done considering essentially it is 8 completely different casts in different locations and besides one investor was completely done out of pocket. When you are asking people for favors and a lot of the crew members are your friends who are working for free on weekends, scheduling sometimes becomes hard when your friends start booking jobs.
Mo: Can you tell us a bit about Dinner with the Dwyers? What are your future plans for the project?
EP: Dinner with the Dwyers happened when a good friend Marv Blauvelt came to me and said he and you were producing a short horror film starring Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp). I didn't know much more than that at first but then I was introduced to the script by Trevor Wright. It was a comedic take on a serial killer family. Of course I wanted in. Now we have just started releasing the film to festivals.
Mo: Can you tell me about The Sunday Night Slaughter?
EP: The Sunday Night Slaughter was originally an idea for a web-series I had. When I analyzed the talent I had available and resources I decided to morph it into an Anthology horror film. It is 3 stories over 8 episodes that intercut. It stars my good friends Chad Addison, Will Green, Felissa Rose as well as Corey Feldman. We are in production right now.
Mo: Can you tell us more about Our Friend Jon - The Documentary?
EP: This project is near and dear to me. In 2013, a good family friend, Jonathan Hernandez, passed due to complications stemming from Sickle Cell Anemia. He was my brother's best friend. Before he passed he was writing a script for a horror film he intended to make with his friends, all whom have their own disabilities. We put a crew together, flew to New Hampshire and shot them making their friend's film over the course of 3 months.
Mo: Our Friend Jon - The Documentary is about Sickle Cell Anemia. Are you hoping this film will bring more awareness to the disease? What are your plans for this film?
EP: We plan of donating a large portion of the proceeds of the film to The American Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation of America as well as other small organizations which help people with disabilities live better lives.
Mo: Do you have a charity you would like readers to donate to for the cause?
EP: Yes Sicklecelldisease.org.
Mo: Any other upcoming projects you want the readers to know about?
EP: I also have been asked to participate in a film project out of London, England called 60 Seconds to Die. It's a compilation of 120 one-minute horror films. I contributed 2 films-one starring Maria Olsen (Starry Eyes) and the other star is Steve Wu. (The Cohasset Snuff Film)
Mo: What would be your dream project?
EP: I've been able to make all the films I've wanted to make so far because I usually write what I can afford. I would however like to work with some of my favorite all time actors and actresses including Malcolm McDowell, Jim Sturgess, Natalie Portman, Uma Thurman or Leonardo DiCaprio.
Mo: Who has been your inspiration throughout the years?
EP: I have looked for inspiration from many different places. My main inspiration comes from filmmakers who have had limited resources and still were able to make lasting films. Some that come to mind would be George A. Romero, Lloyd Kaufman, Adam Green.
Mo: What advice do you have for digital filmmakers?
EP: Don't be afraid of getting as many takes as you need. I mean isn't that the main advantage of digital over film?
Mo: Can you please tell the readers where they can find more details about your projects?
EP: My website is Anantiheroproduction.com. The projects all have their own Facebook pages by name as well.
Mo: Anything else you'd like to add for our readers?
EP: I want to encourage everyone to follow their dreams, even if that means there are going to be hard times and eating Ramen noodles. There are opportunities everywhere, and the more chances you take, the more your chances of success.
Mo: Thank you for your time. We appreciate it.
Maureen "Mo" Whelan is a former automotive gear-head turned producer, director, writer, actress, and traditional artist. She has worked at several production and post-production studios in the Los Angeles area, and is currently working in Digital Media.
Previously, she was in charge of film licensing and acquisitions for Awntv.com and was a content producer for Animation Nation, a television series that aired on MyTV New England.
In addition; she wrote, produced and directed two short films "The Suburban Count" and "A Sin That Cannot Be Forgiven." She is a producer for the feature independent horror film's "Client 14", and "Polaris."
She has acted in several independent films, appeared on television shows and was a guest interviewee in a few documentaries including; "Bring Me The Head of Lance Henriksen", "Forgotten Tales," 7 Deadly Sins: Inside the Ecomm Cult","Adventures in Plymptoons!", and "Welcome to my Darkside!" She has also written several articles that have been published on-line and in print for various publications, including Girls and Corpses Magazine, and AWN.com. Her artwork has been featured at several art exhibits throughout the Los Angeles area.
Her second short film "A Sin That Cannot be Forgiven" was an Official Selection of the 2013 A Nightmare to Remember International Horror Film Festival and was an Official Selection of the 2012 AOF International Film Festival. Her first short film "The Suburban Count" was screened at The Bungalow Club in March 2011 and was released on Funny or Die in October 2011.
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