“Give me a script. Any script. I don’t even need to like it.” And I really didn’t care if I liked it. “I need to make a movie again.” And I really needed to. That’s what I told Gus in 2010. I was nearly two years out of film school. Film school made me not want to make movies. It made me disillusioned, discouraged. For a year and a half, I didn’t do a damn thing but work my retail job. Thank god I stayed friends with Gus.


He’d been one of my professors but not in the production side of ASU’s film courses. Gus taught the history of cinema. I took every class he taught: Third World Cinema, Foreign Film (Parts 1 and 2), Independent Film. He recognized my face semester after semester. We started to talk after class. Every now and then we’d get lunch. In my final year, I took an independent study with Gus concentrated on Film Noir. Every week we met, usually at a restaurant, and talked cinema. I learned more during those lunches than in any other class I had in four years of college education. I graduated, Gus retired, and we kept meeting every week. Gus and one other professor, Paul Cook in the English department, are the only two good things that came out of college. I’ll write more about Paul another time.


“Give me a script. Any script.” And he did. Gus gave me a short play he’d written called MAN / WOMAN / MOTEL ROOM. Lucky enough, I did like it. I still would have made it even if I didn’t. I needed to make a movie. After a year and a half, I was hungry. I was starving to get back behind the camera.


I defied everything they taught me in film school. I had no budget to speak of. I had a crew of one. We had a simple camera, ironically borrowed by the cinematographer from the very school whose teaching I was revolting against. We had little can lights with cheap bulbs and nothing to rig them with. We had to hold them.


A seedy motel room on Van Buren. Two actors. Me and the DP. Six hours of shooting. A Little Caesars pizza for dinner. The whole thing cost me 60 bucks. I cut it together on a weekend. I’d made a film. It was not my first but really it was. I didn’t make it for festivals. I didn’t make it as a calling card. I didn’t make it as a concept for something more. I made it to make it.


I showed it to Gus. He thought it was pretty good. I told him to give me another script. I wanted more. I was still hungry.


Running Wild Films was born.


***The photographs were taken by me on set that night***