Subscribe for 17¢ / day

Age: 39

Hometown: Billings

Title of film: "Retirement Plan"

Description of film: This short is shows a small glimpse into a world where an organization of trained assassins operate in secret. The film starts out with one of these assassins on a mission that doesn't quite go as planned. In this film, failure is not an option so another is sent in to clean up the mess.

Where was the film shot? The film was entirely shot in Billings. The two houses in the film where friends' houses located in the Heights. And the middle scene of the film was shot on the Rimrocks overlooking Billings.

Your background in filmmaking: I took an interest in film when my parents bought their first VHS camcorder when I was 13. I started making really dumb skits with my friends and then moved into stop-go animation. And through most of my teen years that is mostly what I did. I set the filming down for awhile in my early adult life but took and interest again when a friend of mine wrote a screenplay back in 1999 that he wanted to make into a film. We started doing some tests for that but the project never made it off the ground. My filmmaking still hadn't taken off at that point yet, but I had the bug. I watched every behind-the-scenes documentary I could get ahold of. Trying to soak up as much knowledge as I could on the process called filmmaking. Then in 2006 I wrote a small screenplay that a friend of mine from work and I started filming together. But scheduling conflicts shut that project down as well. In 2007 I went back to the drawing board and came up with a short film idea that only had one actor in it, me. And I had friends and family members run the camera for me. That was the first project that I ever actually finished from start to finish. It was called "Alone." I was proud of the accomplishment, but later remade the film and called it "Joe's Nightmare." In 2009 I followed that with a sequel called "The Gnome Hunter." In 2010 I moved onto an assassin character named Ethan Barringer (again taking the lead). At this point I was still having family and friends help run the camera when I could not. But later in 2010 I met someone else who was interested in film, Zach Roth. That partnership lead to many fun little test films. And then we made our first short together called "The Cabin," where I played an ex-cop trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. The film was a real accomplishment, for we employed some visual effects that still turns heads whenever we show it. Fast-forward to late 2011 — I meet Trevor Styles. With Trevor I found someone really passionate about filmmaking. And for the first since I have been making films I was able to make a film without me in it. I helped organize and film Trevor's "No Service" in the summer of 2012. And in turn he helped me film "Retirement Plan," where I reprise my role as Ethan Barringer and assassin. Along this slow but very fun journey I have learned a lot about filmmaking and about myself as well. We hope to make a feature film at some point soon.

Inspiration for your film: Hard to say what the inspiration for my film really was. I just like films about secret organizations and espionage. Truthfully I wanted to make something that felt less like a backyard film. And I wanted to introduce the Ethan character to see if I could get anyone curious about him.

What makes this film unique? Well, what makes the film unique, at least in our area, is that no one else around here is really trying to make these types of films. Mostly people locally lean towards documentaries. I want to make action films here in Montana, made with Montanans.



Entertainment Reporter

Jaci Webb covers entertainment for The Billings Gazette.