Saturday, December 1, 2018


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Toledo, Ohio has a very large group of talented indie filmmakers who are digging into the national indie filmmakers rally and a few time ago I had a chat with one of them, this is mr Michael E Cullen II a talented local Toledo filmmaker who has shot three films so far: FINAL ACT, PIE DAY DIE DAY and SHELVED, all of these movies are based in toledo with actors and crew members from that striking side of the country. I really passionate talk with indie filmmakers who usually shoot micro budget films and whose concentrates their artforce in their community. I invite you to read this interview and you can know more about this man, his community and their works.

EFF: Michael I salute you today and I hope you be well, let’s start out, where are you from
Where did you study filmmaking?

MC: I am from Toledo, Ohio. I'm 40 yrs old. I studied filmmaking at the University of Toledo.

EFF: Tell us the right moment when you said: "Hey, make movies is what I want to do for life".

MC:  I always loved art. I was a visual artist and in High school I became an actor. Once I was in college and after viewing years of American Movie Classics, I decided that combining my love for all the arts in the form of Film would be a great way to get messages about humanity out in the world.

EFF: Three horror feature films you have on the record so far, right? Tell me about your two latest films: Pie day die day" and "The Shelved".  You didn't write them, so, why you decided shoot them and tell us all the process until final stage and how long it took you shooting them.

MC:  I choose to direct “Pi Day Die Day” and “Shelved” based on their screenplays. They were both written by my good friend Lindsey LaForest (of One Stoplight Productions). I have been friends with her for years and we share a similar sense of humor and both films were as much comedy as they were horror and I loved the originality to both screenplays. Shelved is still one of the best screenplays I will probably ever read.
 Pi Day Die Day (2016) Imdb | Amazon Buy Webpage 

EFF: It has always intrigued me the indie films budgets, so, how much was the budget from your feature films?

MC: Each one was roughly $7,000 but more money may have gone into somethings.

EFF: From your first work to now, what has changed in you as a person and as a filmmaker?

MC: I've become more confident and also more focus. I feel that I am also better at working with others than I was when I first started. Film is the most collaborative art form there is and you can't let egos get in the way.
 Shelved (2016) Imdb | Amazon Buy Webpage Kunaki |

EFF: For casting, how do you do your casting publications? Do you post them in social medias or do you have a formed group already?

MC: We have held local and video auditions as well as just cast people we knew already who were right for the roles. The Toledo, Ohio area has a great abundance of talented actors.

EFF: Can you make ends meet doing this? Indie films or do you work in something else?

MC: I have yet to make this my full time gig. I work in retail 40 hrs a week to pay bills.
 Stills from Shelved

EFF: Something remarkable you wanted to tell making of your movies or any anecdote.

MC: One of my favorite things so far in filmmaking is the opportunity to direct Ari Lehman in “Pi Day Die Day”. He is a great talent and was the first Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th(1980). He stayed around after filming his scenes and entertained the cast and crew playing piano and singing and he is just a great and kind person.

EFF: Are you a horror fan? What horror films and directors you like most and why?

MC: I'm a horror fan but love all genres. I love films like Halloween and Psycho. The films that are more psychologically scary than anything.
Michael ECullen II Shooting
 Michael ECullen II 

EFF: What equipments, cameras did you use for your films?

MC: I have typically used Canon dslr cameras to film with a tascam recorder for sound. As I will say more in a later question, gear doesn't matter as much as story.

EFF: Do you see yourself making horror films always? Or do you see shooting another genres?

MC:  I love horror films but I am currently taking a break from them and focusing on more drama and comedy. I am currently in development of an anthology film of short films that are loosely connected and directed and written by several different people, it is called “Sullivan Street”. I'm also working on a faux-documentary about a musician who disappeared 20 years ago with no trace and telling his story through his children and friends, It is called “Down Along The Road: The Life And Times of Fulton Williams”. I also should be making a couple other documentary features in the near future that are too early in development to go into more detail about and I am also about to start the first podcast from Cullen Park Productions called “All2Reel Podcast” It is a fun podcast about biopics and the true story behind them.

EFF: If a rookie filmmaker with no experience at all, goes to you and ask you for advice about a cheapy camera or equipments he or she can uses to make his or her low budget film, what would you recommend to him or her?

MC:  I always say nice equipment is good but not needed. Get your hands on any camera you can and just shoot. If you want to make a film you can even use a cell phone to film it. The story is king in my opinion. Cool effects and expensive gear are great and all but if there is no story to tell then none of that matters.

**Michael E Cullen's | Imdb | Webpage | Facebook | Youtube |**


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