It’s probably too early to have giant white block lettering constructed on the hill above the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley announcing its place in the cinematographic universe.But that doesn’t mean it won’t have its time in the spotligh. Professional film crews are scheduled to arrive in the valley in late March to film “Die,” a short film written by Clarkston native, Rantz Hoseley. (Those interested in appearing in the film may submit a headshot by Sunday, see below for details.)
Hoseley, a 1986 Clarkston High School graduate, is a Los Angeles-based illustrator and writer who has worked in a range of creative enterprises, including as a storyboard artist, comic book illustrator and music video director.
His short film, “Die” is based on a real-life interaction Hoseley had with his father, in which a child’s innocent sketch of a game die — the singular of dice — with the word “DIE” over top is interpreted as ominous and threatening by the adults in his life. The story captures a moment when a child realizes that the adult world he is entering is more complex and multi-layered than he had understood.
Hoseley wrote a short story about this moment a decade ago, and intended for it to become part of a comic book. It sat on the side while Hoseley worked on other creative projects, including a full-length film script titled, “And Then … ”. That script also is based on Hoseley’s experience growing up in Clarkston, but is set in the early 1980s, when several people in the valley were murdered or went missing. Some speculate they were victims of the same person. It’s more about death than crime, Hoseley said, and explores the effect trauma has on a community.
The reaction to that script was fantastic, Hoseley said. Studios have high interest in the project, but they don’t want to bring crews to Clarkston for filming. It’s expensive to move entire crews to a remote location, Hoseley explained, and the area isn’t likely to have the filming infrastructure that studios are used to. But for Hoseley, the location is essential to the film; when one studio said they liked the script but wanted to shoot it in North Carolina, he refused.
“The environment is as much a character as the people,” Hoseley said.
Hoseley insists that the story is best told in Clarkston. Changing the location of the filming changes the look and feel of the whole production, he said. He knows this because he’s lived here and is familiar with the different nuances of life in Clarkston, as compared with those in southern California. He has to be able to prove this to studios.
Hoseley believes “Die” will do that. He turned his short story into a script and, using his connections in the valley, made arrangements to shoot the film at Clarkston High School during Clarkston’s spring break, when the school will be empty. The timing makes it possible for the film to be entered in the next Sundance Film Festival.
But there was a major obstacle: He needed funding for the project, and he needed it quick.
“No one makes money off a short,” Hoseley said.
Short films are done to garner attention — not only at a film festival, but also, in Hoseley’s case, as proof of concept to a studio that doesn’t yet see the value of shooting a film in a small town. As the writer and director, Hoseley can work for free, but a professional film and editing crew can’t be expected to do so. He raised $13,130 through a Kickstarter campaign that ended last week. That amount allows him to fund travel and pay his crew, while providing a financial cushion to produce the highest-quality film possible.
The short film is one result of his departures from hyped-up sci-fi and fantasy projects that rely on computer-generated images and melodramatic storylines. These formed a large aspect of his career. Three years ago, he made the decision to step away from that kind of work.
“There’s a fundamental lack of human connection in those stories; those are roller coaster rides,” Hoseley said.
Over the past couple of years, he has focused on projects that aim to build connections. He wants to tell stories that “remind us what it is to be human” — stories about loss and mourning, coming of age, discovering who you are and how you fit into the world.
“There are certain pivotal moments that we can all relate to,” Hoseley said.
That’s something Hoseley believes is captured in his script, and soon, on film in the location in which it originated.
People interested in playing a role in Hoseley’s short film, “Die,” can send a headshot to email@example.com by Sunday, March 8. A resume and demo reel may be included as well. Those who submit a headshot will be contacted later if selected to audition for a role. The cast list includes three adult males, one adult female and one young adolescent male. Additional information and full character descriptions are available at museandire.bauwauhaus.com. Filming will take place between March 30 and April 2.