Filmmaker Spotlight

Doug Szczesny:A Filmmaker and a Gentleman

  FAME: Tell us about yourself.

Doug: So I’ve always had a love for film, any kind of film from your blockbuster to your little indie art house film. Anything that let me escape for a couple of hours, because that’s what film is to me, escapism. I ‘ve always loved writing but never wanted to be a professional writer, it was kinda always just therapeutic for me, so I’m always writing scripts or stories, like most filmmakers.

After a while I thought, “Why not make my own films?” so I gave acting a try. I enrolled in the Theater Program at Genesee Community College and gave it a shot. I liked performing in live shows but theater wasn’t the movies. A friend of mine at the time, Joe Black, was also at GCC and was making a short film and asked me to be in it, which turned out to be the first short film that I was part of. That short eventually turned into a feature and ended being distributed on VOD and other brick and mortar retailers, Wal-Mart, Best Buy. After that I went on to act in another feature and other short films, I loved acting but it still wasn’t quite cutting it for me.

FAME: What was your inspiration for the short film "Lily"?

Doug: I took some time off, got married and joined the Army Reserves and ended up being deployed to Afghanistan. While I was over seas I really missed making films but knew I wanted more, so when I got home I enrolled at MCC in their communications program and during one of the classes we had to make a video project about awareness. Lucky for me I was in the class with a couple other talented filmmakers so we decided to team up.

I mentioned I had a story about a guy who pretty much pays attention to everything unimportant in his life except for what’s most important and is always right there in front of him, his wife or family. I’ve always written what I knew, which later on I’m told is a good starting point. This story I knew as I’ve been that man who has neglected what’s right in front of him, and than I wondered what if that was taken from my life. So me and another member of the class wrote the script from my story and we planned it out and shot and edited it in three quick days. That’s the story of Lily.

  FAME: What do you want people do take away from watching Lily?

Doug: What I hope people get from this...worry about the here and now. Enjoy what you have while you have it. I still have to remind myself of this all the time. This was especially taught to me while serving overseas.

FAME:What have you learned from making "Lily" that might be of value to aspiring filmmakers?

Doug: I don’t consider myself to be a professional filmmaker at all, so I don’t know how much advice I can give to other filmmakers. I will say this, do anything because you love it, at this level of filmmaking I’m a hobbyist at best, I do it cause I love it. I don’t work on a project every month, I work on what I enjoy and with people I enjoy working with. I will also say check the ego’s at the door, if you do this for a living, that’s awesome, but don’t stick your nose in the air to others, instead help and educate, support the little guy and surround yourself with people who support you and vice versa, because if one of you does well so will the other, positivity is contagious.

FAME: Any other films of yours our readers can check out? What about upcoming projects?

I have a feature film I produced with Director Joe Black called Grace is Gone. It stars UFC Hall of Famer and former WWE wrestler Ken Shamrock. It’s post apocalyptic story about a family trying to survive. We just released a teaser for that.

Also I am producing (or trying) a TV series called What I Would Do, a comedic anthology series with each episode focusing on a specific genre and characters talking about what they would do in certain situations. The pilot episode is on Amazon Prime now, and focuses on the thriller/slasher genre and three friends talking about what they would do if serial killer broke into their house. Actually a script I wrote for the series What I Would Do If I got Fired has been accepted in the WNY, Film, Art, Music Event, so needless to say I’m pretty stoked about that.

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