Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Interview: James D. Schumacher III, Filmmaker and Writer

It is not uncommon to see a comic book writer to dabble in movie making or a movie maker use his talents to make comic books.

Writer James D. Schumacher III is sharing with the trailer for his short film THE ASTRONAUT and his comic book INHERITANCE (brought to life by the amazing artist James Burton of Angry Brain Artworks). 

We reached out to James Schumacher to ask about "runnin' down his dream" being a filmmaker and comic book creator.

QUESTION: We saw the trailer for THE ASTRONAUT.

It seems like it is a story about a guy pretending to be an astronaut for his sick son.

JAMES SCHUMACHER: It is a story between and father and a son, and the pain that can drive a wedge between the paternal relationship. It follows the relationship of a retired astronaut, Thomas Niccol and his young space-bound son, Charlie Niccol.

As for the answer to [the] question, you will have to come see the film in its Academy Award Qualification Theatrical Run, starting on March 6th, in the North Hollywood 7 Theaters in Los Angeles.

QUESTION: Can't wait! What inspired the story? 

JAMES SCHUMACHER: Late 2013, I found my father desperately fighting for his life a mere four years after we lost my mother, in a very similar fashion to the way we tragically lost my mother.
Life has a macabre way of repeating itself.

My father was bleeding internally and the doctors were struggling to keep him alive. He was going through daily blood transfusions, just to keep blood inside of him. They began to realize that he was not getting oxygen into his blood stream and they began to increase his oxygen intake.

One day, I went to pick up my little sister, we entered his hospital room and found that he was no longer there. We were notified that he was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit, and was put on a intubation unit that forced Oxygen into his lungs. We found out that he had a very small chance of survival.

My father was fighting for his life.

My father and I had a very small relationship, not because we hated each other, but because he worked so much to keep our family going. My mother was diagnosed with cancer when I was young, and it cost so much money to save her life.

[I] never really had the 'ideal' relationship with my father, but after the death of my mother brought me to my knees, it was my father who helped direct me back to filmmaking and the following years our relationship rebuilt.

The ICU nurse told me that, his condition was worsening, and that 'This is where he comes to live or die.' so late one night, I entered the ICU alone, held my father's hand and both of us looked at each other and I had to speak the hardest words I've ever spoken "Do you want to be kept alive, should something happen?" My father had tears in his eyes, as he shook his head "No."

It was that moment, shared between a dying father and his son, that the idea of a father and son standing together on the moon together popped into my head. And over the next couple days, or so, I wrote the first draft of THE ASTRONAUT.

QUESTION: Wow...just...wow! That is so personal and honest! Thank you for sharing that. 

Now if I can ask an obvious question, what does a short film show other people in the film industry?

Is this a chance to show off what you as a director can do? 

JAMES SCHUMACHER: Short films are as they are - short films.

It's a proving ground so to speak. It's the place where filmmakers find their style, their aesthetics, the tone and the their through lines, but quite literally this is where your skill set is honed.

It also serves as the place where the industry can see the talent of the writers, directors and producers of the films.

QUESTION: Kevin Smith said he paid for CLERKS with credit cards. How do raise funding for a project like this?

There's Kickstarter, but I would imagine that Kickstarter campaigns can only go so far.
How did you fund this? 

JAMES SCHUMACHER: I've entertained the idea of going the crowd sourcing route to find financing for THE ASTRONAUT, but then an executive producer from a previous project, Michael Galea, got into contact with me.

He read the script, loved it and identified with the characters and the emotions of the story and green lit the budget necessary to bring the film alive and here we are now with a finished film and we could not be more proud of the hard work and dedication it took to create this film.

QUESTION:  Besides making movies, you make comic books. You have worked with the amazing James Burton (someone I have worked with a couple of times), can you talk a little about the story of INHERITANCE?

JAMES SCHUMACHER: I met James Burton within the year after my mother's death, and as providence would prove impactful, James was also fresh out of a horrific battle with stage 4 lymphoma.

I put out an ad Craigslist for a storyboard artist, and he was the first person I met. We clicked and worked together a lot after that.

Then one day we were talking about projects, that we as children absolutely loved and topic of paranormal and haunting stories came up. We both gravitated to and loved these types of storytelling, where the horror was not tactically there, where it was devoid of a corporeal form, it wasn't a possessed person coming with a  knife to kill you. It was omnipresent force that is inescapable.

INHERITANCE hearkens back to those stories, those fables and the lore that kept us up as children, hoping against hope that spirits were not real. It is a story based on real life circumstances. Circumstances that if left unchecked, could bring about horrible things.

INHERITANCE is a paranormal horror graphic novel about a mother and son who share a vile family lineage, and one that threatens their survival.

QUESTION: Also, can you say a couple of things about working with James Burton? AHEM...Are those stories about him being a CIA Assassin true? 


I cannot confirm, nor deny your assertions of Mr. Burton being a CIA Assassin.

James Burton is an amazing artist, and collaborator. He brings a realism to the artwork of INHERITANCE, that so easily allows the readers to escape into the stories, it's something that is so difficult to do properly, but he does it effortlessly. That is the best thing about him, well minus what he calls his 'Mini-Dwarven-Cabbage-Patch-Dance".

If you've worked with him, you've seen it. 

QUESTION: In closing, what is next for you and where can we find out?

JAMES SCHUMACHER: THE ASTRONAUT is about to start its Academy Award Qualification Theatrical Run, starting on March 6th running through March 12th, in the North Hollywood Laemmle 7 Theaters in LA." You can find more information at the Facebook.com page.

INHERITANCE is in the process of submissions to publishers. Inheritance's Artist James Burton will be at SAC CON debuting some artwork from Inheritance and his other work. 

Also INHERITANCE will be making some rounds to several paranormal conventions here in this coming year. You can follow it's progress daily at the Twitter page.

You can find me on my site and on Imdb.com

QUESTION: Thank you, James, for your time!



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