Not long ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing a filmmaker & screenwriter whose star is rising and this talented individual is Everett Mason. According to his official website, Hollywood I’m Coming, Mason lived in many different places due to being a Navy brat. His resume includes commercials, music videos, and short films like Happy Birthday & Getting to Know America. Recently, Mason’s short film, The Audition, was announced as an official selection for the inaugural Black Web Fest 2017.
Check out my interview with Everett Mason where he discusses The Audition, what he hopes audiences will take away from the short film, what’s next for him, and more below.
1-How did you first get into directing, producing, and screenwriting?
I first realized it was my calling my third year into college. It was finals week and I had a 15 & 10 page paper due, as well as a 100pg minimum movie script for my advanced screenwriting class. It was easier for me to finish the 100 pages than the other two papers. After that, I knew what I should be doing.
As for how did I start writing and directing after college? I’m very passionate. I knew that I had a gift and uniqueness about me, so I just went for it. There was one time where I walked around L.A. for three days “knocking” on doors from production companies and literary agencies. I probably went to about 20 places and got kicked out of 17. I was able to actually get some of my scripts read, but nothing came about. That’s when I decided on another route to make a name for myself, which was shooting my own short films with friends.
2-Who’s your favorite director? Why?
Call me crazy, but I’m the worse person to ask. People always ask me who is my favorite director or writer but I don’t have an answer because I want to change the industry. Not many films or TV shows that are out today catch my interest because there’s not much change. I’m more of a fan of older movies TV shows from the 90’s/early 2000s. But if I had to pick one, I would say F. Gary Gray.
3-How did you come up with The Audition?
One night after watching 12 Years a Slave, I became frustrated. Another movie telling me about how my ancestors were just slaves for two hours. I immediately went home and wrote the script. I knew why the big studios created these movies, but I wondered why black actors kept accepting these roles. I specifically focused on the scene in 12 Years a Slave where slaves are inside the house being auctioned off as slave owners have a “look around.” I then thought to myself, how could I show a modern day auction block of black actors in the entertainment industry? An audition.
4-The Audition is an official selection at the first ever Black Web Fest. How does that feel?
It feels amazing because this is the first selection ever for this film. I’ve become weary of entering this film into competitions because I know most competitions wouldn’t understand, or want a film like this to be put on there. I’m pretty much taking a shot at the industry. I truly felt only competitions that focus on black filmmakers would understand.
5-At Black Web Fest, what do you hope audiences will take away from The Audition?
That the goal of this film is to show that we need a change in the industry, and we need it now. My generation has two options when it comes to film making: continue the path of creating the same stories, typecasting, withhold truth, and create 40 remakes of the same movie, or do the opposite and start a new rave.
It’s important to know that although my focus on this film is with African Americans, I’m also speaking about other ethnicities accepting stereotypical roles, as well as major film industries constantly offering those roles, and those roles only.
6-You also created another interesting short film titled Getting to Know America. How did that come about?
I took the notes from an anthropology class in college and created this film. That was one of my favorite classes in college. You learn so much about other ethnicities, societies, counties, etc. I combined that with my own feelings about America and American cinema.
7-You have also directed & written music videos, commercials, and promos. Which one was your favorite to shoot? Why?
The basketball videos I made for the Drew League were my favorite. I’ve played sports since I was four all the way through college, and I still play to this day. I love sports with football and basketball being my favorites. Being in that atmosphere, meeting NBA players, celebrities, and networking there is always fun. Plus there are multiple media outlets getting the same footage that I am, so the challenge of who can make the most engaging highlight video is fun. I’m very competitive.
8-What is your dream project that you would want to make including your dream cast?
I couldn’t narrow it down to one project. I have a plethora of ideas. As far as talent, I would love to work with Jamie Foxx, Denzel[Washington], Idris Elba, Terrence Howard, Kerry Washington, Rachel McAdams, Sandra Bullock, Laurence Fishburne, Leonardo[DiCaprio], Will Smith, to name a few.
9-What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into directing, screenwriting, and/or producing?
Make your own content! Especially with this age of social media. You can create your own following, and then try to attract the companies you want. The hardest thing for an unknown writer(like myself) is to get established people to read your work. Damn near every place won’t read unsolicited material but claim they are looking for undiscovered talent. IT’s easier to get them to watch your film and fall in love with your writing that way.
10-What is NEXT for Everett Mason?
To get discovered. I’m still trying to break through the industry, so I will continue to write and create engaging short films in hopes to get noticed. I just want my films to reach the masses. I’m not worried about the paycheck.
Photo Credit: Everett Mason/Hollywood I’m Coming