‘Find your passion’
Enterprising People Business Radio Talk presents
A BUSINESS CONVERSATION WITH LAMONTE FAISON
BY KIMBERLY BAILEY-TUREAUD
If “always follow through on your dreams” is a motto, Las Vegas resident Lamonte Faison certainly lives by it. Working for many years in Clark County Corrections and now in the County Public Safety division, Faison takes time out of his life to fulfill a passion for making movies. Self-taught, the up-and-coming filmmaker is making strides and plans to release his film, “From the Inside Looking Out,” in 2015. In an interview, he opened up about the business of independent cinema.
What is your current professional occupation?
I have worked for the County’s Department of Corrections and currently I work for the County Public Safety division. I have always been an entrepreneur on the side, and have written a couple of books.
Tell me how filmmaking became your new passion.
It all started about two years ago. I have always been a writer, and my work at the Department of Corrections sparked some ideas — I told a friend that I wanted to write a movie script. Initially it was a poem about the things that I saw within the prison system. But it graduated into a full-blown movie script. The thing that inspired me the most was the realization that those brothers I encountered while working in the prison could have been me. I have not always had my life on the right track. This is how my movie script, “From the Inside Looking Out,” came to be. The basic concept of the movie is about choices. A common question that is asked of prisoners within the prisons is, “What did you do in your life that resulted in you coming to prison?” My movie centers around two men who are faced with similar challenges in life, but make different choices.
How did you know how to write a movie script?
I didn’t know how, but I did get some information online about a piece of software called Final Draft that helps to automatically format my script into a professional movie script. That is what the movie industry uses.
What propelled you to commit to making your own movie?
It was a year-and-a-half ago and I told my friend that I was going to write my own movie. Initially, I wrote a … script to sell to Hollywood. I knew what I wanted from the start, and I wrote the script within 45 days. According to the industry standard, that is pretty fast. I sent my script to Hollywood production companies, and people in the industry take forever to call you back. So I took matters into my own hands, and decided to produce and direct my film myself. I am also financing every aspect of my film with the overtime work hours I accumulate. That has allowed me to pay for the equipment I have needed. I hired a director of photography who worked with me for several months, and after my ongoing research I knew I could do it myself. I didn’t go to film school, but I learned a lot because that is the type of person I am. I researched camera angles, and as a director I know exactly what I am looking for.
How do you feel about doing and learning all the roles that it takes to complete a movie?
I don’t recommend it, technically, because involving others in your project gives you more objectivity. But it’s always good to know exactly what you want to do and what it takes to get it done. The positive side about doing your own film and working in various positions is that if someone doesn’t show up while making your film, you can do it yourself. This makes me more self-reliant.
How much money will it take to make your film?
I have projected that I will spend $15,000 of my own money before I edit my film. We are in negotiations and talking to Netflix, theatres, and distributors to help offset expenses in post production. We are also completing a trailer that will go on Indiegogo, a crowdfunding website that will help generate needed funds to take my film to film festivals for added exposure.
How has technology helped you in the filmmaking process?
Technology allows the independent filmmaker to do the things that Hollywood does. Everything Hollywood does — such as using a crane to get high shots with the camera, and using a dolly to get moving shots — I have been able to obtain from the internet. I bought all the equipment needed to make my film look professional.
What do you say to others who don’t have the drive to make their passions become reality?
I often speak to students in Clark County, and I tell them to first identify their dreams before someone tells you to go to college. A person might not know the avenue they should take until they know what they are really passionate about. All of the excuses for us to fail, we have heard for centuries. Take the word “can’t” out of your vocabulary. Find your passion and come up with a way to say, “Whatever it takes.”