During my adolescence, a lot of my classmates and fellow coworkers/bosses at my afterschool job Meijer (Benton Harbor, Michigan) didn’t know what I was experiencing at the time. Most of the time during my youth a lot of people made fun of me and tease me for being different. They didn’t know there were moments in my life that I had to stay in a shelter with questionable characters. They didn’t know sometimes I had to find places to rest my head or even food to eat.
In “Homeless Sam & Sally – The Movie” the character “Sam” who is played by me represents my inner past demons that I was going through during my younger years as a homeless man. The character “Sally” who is played by the fantastic actress Margaret Newborn represents all of the motherly figures I had at the time during my traumatic years. She plays the motherly role well and she is funny as hell. Very —- very talented lady.
Cult Critic – How was the filming experience? Are you professionally trained? Was there a script?
Tyrone – The filming experience was incredible in so many ways because I was able to be the director, executive producer, actor, writer/screenplay creator and so much more for this feature “Homeless Sam & Sally – The Movie”. I found tremendous struggles throughout this project but I was able to think beyond the box in order to come up with quick/helpful ways to resolve them. At the beginning of the casting process, I found it very interesting on the massive number of actors and actresses who want to portray as my friends and of course the sexy Land Lord of the building. It seems as though they already knew the potential behind this project “Homeless Sam & Sally”.
I’m not professionally trained, but I do come from a performing arts background and I attended/graduated from The Art Institute of California – Los Angeles with a Bachelor in Game Art & Design. In my past life, I have taken tons of courses in computer animation, video game development, storyboard building, storytelling, character development, professional speaking, etc. Now when I think, I guess in a way I do have somewhat filmmaking training because video games/cartoon animation is very similar to live-action films.
A lot of people don’t know this but low-key I created the entire movie trailer 100% all by myself and along with graphics and key art for this feature and the TV series (Binge Networks). I even did a lot of the editing for the film itself and along with adding in VFX(s), color correction, closing title credits, and music/sound.
I’m also a songwriter, performer, and sound mixer. For my first film (“Homeless Sam & Sally – The Movie“) I produced, sang, wrote, and performed the songs “Look Me in My Eyes”, “Gotta Get Some Tissue!”, “We Gotta Figure It Out” (Homeless Sam & Sally – The Movie / TV Series Theme Song), “Video Game”, “Hope”, “Inside of Me!” (Courtesy of Tyrone Evans Clark Inc.). The majority of these songs are heard in “Homeless Sam & Sally – The Movie“.
Yes; this feature has a script and I made it one-hundred percent all by myself. The script was written so well that some of my actors hope it becomes a book. Most likely it will sometime in the future. By the way, all of the scenes weren’t shot from the script due to editing reasons and due dates.
Cult Critic – What do you think, Indie film should be made for Festivals only or it should be made for audience? How effective are the laurels of Indie Film Fests for commercial success?
Tyrone – I feel the film should be made for everyone, not just the festivals. Also, you have to take into consideration that your film can be possibly rejected from Festivals/Movie Events. Why keep something so amazing inside of a box? It should be shared with the world for everyone to see. Laurels can be helpful for commercial success because it shows other festivals and including big entertainment platforms how serious you are about filmmaking and your project. It is always an amazing feeling to win and be honored for your accomplishments, but it’s not always about honors. There are a lot of amazing films in the world and some of them haven’t won a single award or some fancy laurel.
Fortunately for me “Homeless Sam & Sally – The Movie” has won the September 2020 Best Comedy of Toronto Film Magazine Fest (Toronto Film Magazine Winner), July 2020 Finalist of Independent Shorts Awards (Certificate of Achievement), August 2020 Semi-Finalist of IndieX Film Festival (Certificate of Achievement), August 2020 Honorable Mention: Best Comedy of Kosice International Monthly Film Festival (KIMFF), August 2020 Best Feature of Hollywood Blood Horror Festival, being nominated The Monkey Bread Tree Film Awards’ Best Genre (Spring 2020), August 2020 Honorable Mention: Feature Film / Best Comedy of Prague International Film Festival (PIMFF), September 2020 Semi-Finalist of Indie Short Fest Award (Certificate of Achievement), August 2020 Best Feature Comedy of Cyrus International Monthly Festival of Toronto, and been selected by prestigious film festivals. I even received the Best Supporting Actor Award (August 2020) from Hollywood Blood Horror Festival and Best Feature.
I like to win and be honored for the hard work that I put my soul into, but at the end of the day, It’s not always about the honors/awards. The most important thing for me to do is to spread my messages to the world through my interactive/digital media.
Cult Critic – Will you tell us a bit more about the main protagonist of Sam? Audience will love to know the director’s perspective behind portraying the mental dilemma of Sam & Sally.
Tyrone – “Sam” is a character who represents my inner demons and my past self during the homelessness period of my life. “Sam” and “Sally” represents a relationship between a mother and her child. “Sally” tries everything in her power to keep a roof over their heads and this even includes sleeping with the landlord a few times in order to get by. “Sam” on the other hand doesn’t take things so well and begins to develop mental breaks and along with pockets of delusions.
“Sam” knows deep down inside that they are going to become homeless. He doesn’t want to face his new reality so instead, he developed mental psychosis and along with imaginative enemies such as the “Creature Thing” and the “Red Face Creature Thing”.
In a nutshell, this young man comes up with ways to cope with his traumatic new life. His mother seems to take it somewhat well, but on the inside mentally she is breaking too.
“Homeless Sam & Sally – The Movie” is breaking all barriers with a taste of comedy!
Cult Critic – Do you think Indie filmmakers should directly go for digital streaming (VOD) rather trying to get their films released in theatrically? Or they should try for it?
Tyrone – personally I feel Indie Filmmakers should try to shoot for the theatrical release if they have the proper funding to back them up. If you don’t have the funding then maybe you should go straight to a VOD platform. Currently, a lot of films during this pandemic (COVID – 19) are doing very well on these digital streaming platforms. Right now it would be better for all filmmakers to place their films on a VOD Platform until this pandemic is under control.
Placing your film on a digital platform allows your short/feature to get exposure and possibly even being picked up by a network. I even heard of some people getting funding for their film after it’s been submitted to a digital platform.
Plus we live in the world of digital /Interactive media and everyone is glued to their phones and tablets. Filmmakers would be a fool to not want to try to put their feature on some type of mobile application, but again this is my personal opinion.
There really isn’t any rule about where to place your film. The filmmaker just has to figure out what would be the best way for him or her to show off their film to the masses.
Cult Critic – You have portraying the serious concept in a very amusing or entertaining way is there any special strategy behind this.
Tyrone – Yes; I realize by studying some of the biggest filmmakers in a world that laughter is really good medicine for the soul. I don’t think it’s a good idea for your spectators to always be serious or even sad while watching your film. I enjoy putting my audience onto an emotional roller coaster ride where they can have emotions swinging all over the place. Spectators should be able to feel all types of things while watching your feature. I personally enjoy movies that don’t take life so seriously unless there’s a real reason/method behind it.
In “Homeless Sam & Sally – The Movie”, “Sam” is a very interesting character who sometimes doesn’t take himself so seriously. In this film, it shows him having a mental break, but I didn’t want my audience to be so sad.
I really do believe that laughter is good for the soul even during the most serious times in our lives. During my adolescents, while battling the homelessness world I would try my best to make the best out of every horrific situation even by laughing and making fun of myself. It was a survival instinct for me and I wanted the audience to look through the eyes of the character “Sam”.
“Life is too damn short to be so serious all the time.” – Tyrone Evans Clark
Cult Critic – I find many Indie filmmakers saying they don’t believe in grammar of filmmaking. They just want to break the rules and to be creative? What is your opinion?
Tyrone – every artistic medium has a language/grammar behind it, but it’s up to you how you want to express it. Please keep in mind there’s no such thing as a new story, it really is all about telling it in a different way. There are tons of stories about poverty and people battling with homelessness. I personally feel that my feature “Homeless Sam & Sally – The Movie” is special and different for me because it’s personal. I really do know how it feels to live a life of homelessness while battling mental demons.
I feel everything has rules but if you share a story to the world that you truly believe in I don’t think it really matters if you break the rules or not. It’s all about expressing your inner truth and being authentic with the world.
Cult Critic – What are the challenges that you have faced while making and releasing this film?
Tyrone – Some of the main challenges I face was the financial barriers. As a filmmaker most of the time you are the one that has to come out of your pocket unless you have some type of funding partner or network backing you up. With that being said you have to stay loyal to the due dates and making sure that the whole entire production team is running smoothly.
On the set of my feature, I provided all of the props, meals, costumes for my cast, money, etc. if anyone needed anything I was the one who they would go to. I don’t regret being an Indie Filmmaker because I have full control of my project but at the same time it doesn’t hurt to have a financial guru to back you up for developing proper production pipelines. In my case, I had to do that too.
When it came down to releasing the film we end up having a few slip-ups such as scenes missing from the feature. Today I still have tons of scenes missing from “Homeless Sam & Sally – The Movie”. We even had issues with editing because I was still in the process trying to pull scenes from individuals of the production team. There were moments when I was about to cry, but I took responsibility for the project and decided to do a lot of the editing on my own. I even filmed a few scenes on my own. I wanted this feature to be a success and clearly, it has become extremely successful. I am now a multi-award-winner actor and filmmaker who is also known for making this delicious masterpiece “Homeless Sam & Sally – The Movie”.
I just found out that I also have been awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award (“Homeless Sam & Sally – The Movie“) for Best Actor, Feature Film, and Cult Film / Underground Film / Exploitation Movie / Midnight Film / Para Cinema from the Cult Critic Movie Awards. I was Nominated at the Alternative Film Festival (AltFF) Best Actor and Best Writer for the Fall Award. Couch Film Festival honored me as the Winner for Best Director and Nominated me for Best Long Short Film. I’m also honored to be August 2020 Best Actor, Best Director, and Narrative Feature of DRUK International Film Festival (DIFF). “Homeless Sam & Sally – The Movie” even made it into the Festigious Los Angeles – Monthly Film Competition as a Semi-Finalist.
So the challenges I faced while making and releasing this film was so-so worth it!
Cult Critic – My last question, what would happen if Tyrone didn’t come to the film industry?