Filmmaker Spotlight | Tommy G. Kendrick of Orange Buffalo Productions
In an effort to bring more cinematic stories to life, Dadley Productions is proud to highlight filmmakers across the country producing cinematic stories in their local communities. Today we are featuring Texas filmmaker, Tommy G. Kendrick of Orange Buffalo Productions.
Location: Round Rock, TX
How do you like to tell cinematic stories?
I like to tell stories that have ‘some meat on the bone’. Stories that both entertain and give rise to some further thought and discussion. Since movies are a visual medium it’s important to make sure you or a key team member excel at visual storytelling. This is where a great DP/ Cinematographer comes into the equation. I also think it’s important to work hard on the screenplay, developing the story and themes to be explored well before moving into production.
How did you get started as a filmmaker?
I’ve been a professional character actor for about forty years. I’m actually late to the game as a filmmaker. I owe my start as a filmmaker to my friend and fellow actor/producer Keith Rushing. A few years ago I was still producing a podcast called Actors Talk. Keith found me through the podcast and asked me to mentor him as an actor. Keith was a very successful businessman who had sold his business and ‘retired’. Keith had a long-held desire to pursue acting and now had the time and security to do so. About a year or so into our mentoring relationship and after our friendship had grown, Keith approached me about doing a film together. That began a process that resulted in an award-winning short called SOMEWHERE BETWEEN HEAVEN and HELL (available on Amazon Prime). And I could now call myself a filmmaker. My second project as a filmmaker is a new short called THE DARK PLACES, a faith-based film that deals with depression and self-harming. It’s a dark topic but is actually a film about God’s love and our hope.
What inspired you to pursue filmmaking locally?
I think I answered this in for the previous question. But to people who think they have to move to L.A. or ATL or elsewhere to become a filmmaker or actor or writer, I’d say don’t believe it. Start where you are. If you don’t see creative opportunities there, look harder - they are all around you.
What do you love most about your local film community?
The Austin area is well known for its large community of artists, filmmakers, writers as well as experienced crew people. There are unbelievably talented people in this area.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone wanting to tell their own story?
Take stock of your assets, your talents, your calling. Assess your strengths and weaknesses. Your financial resources. Be honest with yourself. Know your story inside / out - well beyond having a ‘good idea’. Assemble a team of people who are better at what they do than you are at what you do. Filmmaking is a team sport. As with any team sport, you learn more and improve more by working with people who are at least a little farther along the path than you are.
What is one *practical* way people outside of the filmmaking community can get involved in cinematic storytelling in their hometown?
Become a joiner! Join your local film society, volunteer there and/or at your local film festival. Join a writers group. Look for actor and/or filmmaker or producer networking events often announced on Facebook or Twitter. Find local filmmakers through local press or attending screenings etc and follow their social media. Don’t talk at first. Listen and learn and then ask an informed question or make an informed comment and start relationships. People like to work with people they know, like and trust. Build relationships.
Tell us about a recent film or TV series that inspired you in some way.
TV: I love THE KOMINSKY METHOD (mature audiences)- stellar acting, storylines I can relate to, it addresses aging and loss, incredible dialog, FUNNY.
Film: I STILL BELIEVE - the Erwin Bros are first-class filmmakers and that they make films about faith is the icing on the cake. This is a powerful, entertaining movie that will grab you by the heart.
How can people best keep in touch with you?
Web Site: tommygkendrick.com