Interview with Ty Hodges

Ty Hodges is an indie filmmaker with roots that stretch back to The Disney Channel. He shared the small screen alongside Shia LaBeouf in the popular tween show Even Stevens, and has had various roles in television series including Felicity, NYPD Blue and Boston Public. Most recently he's been making a name for himself as a writer/director. 

Hodges kindly answered some questions for Reel Artsy about his craft, upcoming projects and the state of black cinema.

1. Coming from an acting background, what's your approach as a director? How would you describe your filmmaking style?

I think with me being an actor and growing up in this industry I've always been fascinated with the whole big picture of what it takes to get a project done and the details. From television to film... It's one industry where all different types of people, from all different walks of life come together with their talents to work towards one common goal... It's beautiful.  When I was growing up on set, I would talk to everyone and learn about every department that makes up a production. Instead of going back into my dressing room between takes, I would just stay on set and talk to whoever. I also paid attention to the director at all times and who he would talk to. At the time I didn't have any ideas that directing will be in my deck of cards but I've always loved everything about the film making experience and this is one industry that everyone is important and valuable to a production. 

When it comes to my film making style, I think it just stems from my personality. I'm very much about detail and subtext but I pay attention to human interaction. The details. I guess you can say I love people and paying attention to what makes them special. On my sets I always encourage everyone to work as a team and lets make a great movie. To me every detail of a person and the way you communicate you are responsible. With my storytelling... I make sure that I am responsible for the story and its details.

2. Are you a fan of doing several rehearsals or do you like to limit rehearsal time and "save it" for camera? 

I like to work shop the script with actors. Not really into rehearsals. Once we get on set, lets just be present in the moment. 

Ty Hodges & Meagan Good
3. How did your creative collaboration with Meagan Good take birth? What was it that you and her connected on deeply enough to forge a camaraderie to last over the years that lead to Miles from Home and Video Girl?

Meagan and I grew up together in the business. She was on Nickelodeon and the time and I was on Disney. I respected her as an artist and I encouraged her to get into producing. At the time I wrote a script Miles From Home and the lead role Natasha I offered it to her. At the time she was starting to get type casted and knowing her as a friend I wanted to support her and let her show audiences she was more than a pretty face.

4. I feel like Meagan Good is a bit misunderstood in the realm of black cinema... Could share a bit on what it's like directing her in those dramatic scenes? 

I know her so it's kind of easy for me. It's like when you know a person so well.... You know when they are not telling the truth and when they are being honest. I'm also an actor myself that really studies and respect the craft. It's all about being present.

5. You did a short video with Christel Khalil (from Young & The Restless) set to the music of Drake's "Shot For Me." There were some interesting visuals going on. I couldn't help but notice your chemistry with Christel, and hope that this was some kind of strange promo for an upcoming project. Do you and her have anything in the works? 

Yes, that short video was shot/directed by my talented director/DP friend Dez Davis. We are actually starting a commercial and music video production company. Soon you all will see more of her work but she had this vision and was inspired by Drake's song and asked Christel and I to do it. LOL...  I think Christel is a beautiful girl and I'm sure we will work together in the near future.

6. You have experience working in TV and film. In front, and behind the camera. A bit of producing and promoting. With all your skills I'm surprised that you haven't jumped into the web series arena. I could see you crafting out your niche in the digital landscape like Felicia Day. She has a lot of creative control with The Guild and has built a strong fan base. Does the idea of doing a web series appeal to you?

I think its important to master your craft. I think the digital world is progressive and I'm looking forward to getting involved with some creative content but as of now I am enjoying my evolution as an actor and filmmaker. 

7. Growing up which filmmakers inspired you the most? Was there a specific character that stuck with you? Perhaps, a scene you liked to act out in the mirror (as a kid).

I love directors that have a voice. My favorites are Alfred Hitchcock, Quentin Tarantino, Spike Lee, Clint Eastwood, Woody Allen and one of my favorite new filmmakers Nicolas Winding Refn.

8. There's a shift happening among black filmmakers, a home-grown DIY type vibe. I've labeled it as "Subtle Core" where we're seeing a burst of indie films with fresh perspectives hitting the scene (i.e. Ava DuVernay's I Will Follow, Dee Rees' Pariah). Your film Video Girl was four-walled through AMC. What would you like to see happen in black cinema? And how do see yourself within its context? 

There are some innovative stories that are being told that reflect the black experience. From a intimate truth. It's fresh. So I think its great that these voices are being put on platforms for the masses. I would just like to see it to keep growing and evolving. For me I just love making films. I think there is a culture that is out there searching for films that mirror their life experiences. The human experience. That's want I'm really into. Each filmmaker has their voice and they are entitled to tell the stories they want to tell. 

9. The trailer for You, Me &The Circus looks promising. Could you tell us a little about that film and what the plans are in regards to distribution? 

You, Me & The Circus (YMC) is a special film for me. It's playful and fearless. I learned a lot from making that film. I mean, it's a original musical about love and relationships so I'm interested to see what audiences think. It will be distributed through GO DIGITAL late Spring.

10. The film industry is full of highs and lows, ups and downs. What drives you, keeps you going on those days when you don't get the part, or a film project gets indefinitely put on the back-burner? 

I think life is full of highs, lows ups and downs but when you're an artist you can be super sensitive to it especially because its a industry full of gifted dreamers. For me it's important to not let my career to define me. But, to have fun and be challenged always. I keep my faith in my purpose and God willing I will continue to create honest work. 

11. Anything else you'd like to add?

Thank you for the interview and to all the dreamers out there. Love yourself more and be patient with yourself. God Bless!


Anonymous said...

Very Nice!

Rain said...

I remember him from Even Steven Oh I loved that musical episode What's the matter with Ren. Lol Very nice post I hope to see him and future projects !

deb said...

Enjoyed the interview,nice to see more talented arising .

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