Tuesday, May 6, 2014

This Man Likes Michael Bay -- The Josh Mason Story

Joshua Mason founded Mason Studios in an attempt to bring explosions to the world of movies. And now he runs an independent film studio based just outside of Memphis, Tn. He produce everything from independent films, comedy shorts, TV commercials, music videos, to much more!

And he likes Michael Bay. That alone makes him worth getting to know. 

Tell us a bit about your latest work.

My two most recent projects are both fan films. One is Star Wars: The Coming Darkness, a fan film set during the time period of Lucas' original trilogy but featuring all new characters. The other project is my third and final installment in my Super Mario Bros. trilogy. We did a very dark and gritty take on Mario. I tried to think about what those videogame characters would be like if Christopher Nolan directed a Mario film. However, I don't want people to think that's all we do. We also do original films, it just so happens that are most recent were both fan films.

What are the themes and subjects you tend to revisit in your work?

I think the two themes that are probably the most present and consistent throughout all my projects are the concept of a hero and what defines a proper code of ethics and morals. For me, being a person who stands up for what is right is very important but often those who stand against evil can be considered the bad guys depending on which side of the fence your standing on. This grey area between right and wrong has always fascinated me. There have been many times in my own life where I feel I have stood against people who committed injustices but those same people would make me out to be the villian for standing up for what I thought was right. I think it's a position that everyone has been in at some point and a theme most everyone can relate to so that's why I love having that be a focus of my films. My film "No More Sorrow 2: Rebirth" really brought that issue to the forefront.

What would be your dream project?

My dream project would be basically anything where I got to work with Michael Bay. The man is my hero despite the fact he has a lot of critics. I'm in love with his film making style.

If you have any former project to do over to make it better, which one would it be, and what would you do?

If I had one project I would redo it would be No More Sorrow 1 that I directed in 2010. It was the first film I directed after giving my studio an upgrade that costs in the thousands of dollars and it was really the first big film that I did so it was a big learning experience for me. But because I wasn't used to all the new tech at the time, the effects were really bad and then I had wrote the lead character to be really self doubting which looking back was a huge mistake. It's hard for audiences to root for a guy that can't make up his mind.

What inspires you to create?

Basically anything that I see that I feel could be done better. Like what I did with my Mario Bros. film series. I was inspired to create a mature Mario because these characters I had loved as a kid failed to grow up with me so I felt the need to correct that and make the Mario bros. the way I thought they should be, like the expendables. But it really just inspires me to keep making films every time a fan tells me they love one of my projects. As long as people keep watching movies, I'll keep making them.

What screenwriters/filmmakers have influenced your style and technique?

Well I already discussed that Michael Bay is my biggest influence but Christopher Nolan is probably a solid second. Ridley Scott is also a genius. I'd love to get to sit in a room with those three and get to pick their brains for a few hours.

Where would you rank screenwriting on the "Is it an art or it is a science continuum?" Why?

I would say it's somewhere in the middle but probably more toward the art side. Screenplays are written after all for the sole purpose of being turned into a film which in my opinion is probably the highest art form. And I know every artists tends to think their art form is the highest but film making is definitly the most complex in that it requires an army of people to pull off the final product. But since screenwriting is a branch of film making, it definitly is a part of that artistic process and therefore probably more of an art then a science.

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug?

Would just like to say I'm really excited for everyone to see our new Star Wars fan film and some of the other stuff we've got cooking. Can't say anything about some of the projects just yet but I will say we've got some really cool stuff planned for the end of this year and 2015 will be a huge year for us because it's the 10th anniversary of Mason Studios. If anyone wants to check out our work, they can visit www.themasonstudios.com