Meet the Filmmakers: Grant Worden and Kyle Homan, “Open Mic Night”

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
GW: Film kind of found me. I was the kid at the sleepover who was up last, finishing the movie. No matter the circumstances or number of times I’ve watched something, I have to see the end. Even last week, I stayed up way too late, just to make sure the ending of Braveheart hadn’t changed. When the film’s story and characters have that mesmerizing superpower, you cannot help but watch, relate and empathize. I love cinema due to the worlds they create, and I want to give my characters their own worlds.
KH: I’ve always loved telling stories, and in my opinion, film is the perfect way to tell a story. For the audience, it’s such an experiential piece of art that we as filmmakers get to play with, from conveying emotion through color to manipulating pacing and tone through editing. Make someone look badass with a low angle shot, bring a tear to someone’s eye with a swelling score. What drew me in as an audience member, the all-enveloping feeling you can get from watching a movie, is what keeps me making them.

Q: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
GW: Premiering publicly for the first time is Open Mic Night. This Colorado Film School 2018 production follows the ups and downs of a local bar’s last open mic night. Have a laugh, cry, or another round between the various patron’s performances. This love letter to dingy dive bars aims to sheds light on these smaller creative stages, and those pulled toward the open microphone.
KH: While we did get a chance to screen this film for cast and crew in the bar we filmed at, this is the first time we’re showing Open Mic Night to a public audience. We’re really hoping to get MC Manny’s story in front of as many eyes as we can, and to share the idea that you should always keep playing, regardless of who’s watching!

Q: What else are you working on?
GW: I have always enjoyed the question, “So, what’s next?” There are always a handful of creative projects in the pipeline. Writing-wise, I am dedicating 2019 to submitting original works to various writing competitions. I am also a writer/photographer/videographer for ondenver.com and aboutboulder.com. When I’m not writing, I work as a production assistant on local and out-of-state commercial, narrative, and documentary film sets. I am a freelancer for hire, fusing my advertising and film backgrounds together. My production company is also crowd funding for our next film production. More fun news to come!
KH: Grant and I are constantly mulling over potential upcoming projects. This year, we’re making a goal for ourselves to complete a 1-minute short film each month to explore different genres and shooting styles. Personally, I’m always working to build my brand, and to strengthen personal and professional relationships with the awesome filmmakers and videographers I get to work with at Lumenati Productions and Burning Script Pictures.

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
GW: One of the major quirks of set was the egregious call times and shooting schedule. Working around the bar’s closed hours, our cast and crew shot at location from 3:00am to 3:00pm for three days in a row. To say the least, people were very tired and running on fumes. Finding the right time to schedule each camera “oner” proved difficult, but was actually our saving grace. We would set up the bar scene similar to a theatre production and get everyone involved and aware of their main action and/or background action. By the end of the first oner on day two, the cast and crew were all jazzed up, thanks to accomplishing such a difficult chunk of the day. By the end of the second oner on day three, the production heads knew the schedule was working to our advantage. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of speed bumps that came with filming during the middle of the night into morning, but the entire production was confined to one location, so our set community grew insanely quick. Wouldn’t have planned it any other way.
KH: Another difficulty with bringing Open Mic Night to life was the fact that we needed to film in a bar, and 4 out of 5 of our production heads were under 21. This made finding a location the biggest headache of the production, since it was extremely difficult to scout locations we couldn’t get into. When we finally secured a location, the signed paperwork wasn’t able to hold up our agreement, and we lost our first bar on Grant’s birthday, on my drive to spend Thanksgiving with my family. Luckily, the production recovered. On the hunt for a location, we wandered into a bar called Pearl’s, and almost immediately met the owner, James Bedwell, who was more than happy to work with us. Pearl’s ended up being the perfect location, and James ended up becoming one of our freelance clients!

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
GW: My full portfolio can be found at www.ghimselfproductions.com. Check out Open Mic Night behind the scenes at www.facebook.com/OMNshort2018. Follow me on Instagram @grantworden. Read my On Denver article about artist Taylor Herzog at www.ondenver.com/denver-creative-artist-taylor-herzog/. Thank you for viewing, critiquing, following, sharing, and purchasing my work. I enjoy being able to creatively collaborate with others. Bouncing ideas off the endless whiteboard is a sort of sport. My short film productions, photography, doodles, and overall creative world would not be possible without the support of others.
KH: Check out my personal website at www.khomproductions.com, or follow me on Instagram @kylethehoman. You can also find out more about the companies I work for at www.lumenati.co and www.bspdenver.com.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
GW: This is the third short film I have had the privilege to show here at The Bug Theatre and The Emerging Filmmakers Project. This community of filmmakers is deeply devoted to individual voice. Every time I attend or premiere at the EFP I am blown away by the talent in the surrounding seats. Inspiration finds me here. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss my productions and the magic behind the scenes. Thank you again for showing Open Mic Night. The EFP board of directors and supporting staff helps emerging creatives promote their work. I love the stage and Q&A. Thank you again. Thank you to the amazing cast and crew and a special thank you to James and Matt from Boogie Groove Entertainment at Your Mom’s House on 13th street.
KH: Coming to EFP is always an awesome chance to put your work in front of an audience and see if what you tried to do actually worked. Meeting the fellow creative minds of Denver is always inspiring, and reconnecting with familiar faces is always awesome. Thank you to the folks at EFP who put this together, and for uniting this community by bringing us all together.

Open Mic Night will screen at The Emerging Filmmakers Project on Thursday, December 17th at The Bug Theatre.