AbsolutSin: Writer/Director Ryan Reels Interview

A tweet led me to AbsolutSin’s website where the moody graphics and intriguing title piqued my interest. The fact that The Mentalist’s Owain Yeoman is the lead actor here didn’t hurt either.

The short film also features the talents of David Winston Barge and Nate Reese. I look forward to seeing it’s progress. I suspect it will be very well received at any festival it will screen at. In the meantime, here’s an interview with it’s writer/directed Ryan Reels to whet our creative appetites.

Q1. Thank you for doing this interview. Now I did some research about you. Can you tell us how you made the transition from being a broadcast journalist to a director?

My passion for storytelling.  I loved reporting the news and putting together packages but I realized film is what I have always loved and wanted to be a part of .

Q2. Would it be accurate to say that you’re a self-taught filmmaker?

No, I went to film school. One that will remain nameless but I did learn a lot from the ground up.

Q3. Can you tell us a little about your production company? What types of movies do you aim to create?

It’s Reels Pictures. My aim is to create pictures in all genres with a realistic feel to them. I love fantasy when there’s a hint of “this could be reality” to temp your imagination. If it’s reality then I want to be “gritty” and not shy away from the drama.

Q4. I’m sorry, but I have to ask, is Reels your real name? At first I thought it was just the company’s name, (“reel” as in “film reel”), so I was surprised when I realized it was your surname too.  

Yes….I am the real Ryan Reels (LOL). Growing up, it was always “are you 4reels?” Then in film school it took on a vocational purpose where everyone said “that’s the perfect film name”.

Q5. Do you feel that there is a lack of good scripts? Is that what motivated you to write your own script for AbsolutSin?

I feel that there isn’t a lot of opportunity. Young filmmakers have to make their own movies to create their own voice. So we write, produce, direct, and wear whatever hats in our productions to get these films done.

Q5. How did you get the idea behind AbsolutSin?

The idea is from my partner Coby Richardson. He is the executive producer/editor of this project. He had the idea behind the movie. He had the elements to tell the story and I just wrote it out. I wanted to add layers to the great idea that he had because I felt the topic was timely.

Q6. Are you more interested in screenwriting or directing?

The two are synonymous. Directing is my craft and screenwriting is the only way to strengthen my artistic voice.

 Q7. You have a fabulous cast. Did they audition or had you already known who you wanted and offered them the roles?

We had such little time to put this together that I had an idea of which actors could play each role.  I talked with each of them and then formally started rehearsing the actors once I knew they were on board.

Q8. A lot of my readers know Owain Yeoman from the Mentalist and are huge fans. Can you share how you two met?

I work on The Mentalist. Owain and I have always joked around with each other and I knew he would be great for this part but he took this movie to another level that I wasn’t even expecting.  Definitely was a joy to see him give that character layers and breathe life into the complexity.

Q9. I’ll bet. Can you tell us about your job on the show?

I’m a production assistant. On this show I’m the background (extras) guy. I usually sign background in, wrangle them throughout the day, and sign them out. Finish the day with a breakdown and I’m gone.

Q9. And who did the cinematography for your film?

The cinematographer is Leo Ibanez . Leo is awesome. A very astute player in the game and it was a blast working together. Remember the name because he is on a path that will definitely find his place among the greats.

Q10. As screenwriters, we’re always told to not to write in directions like transitions, camera pans, etc. As the writer/director here, I assume you didn’t face this problem?

There’s a transition in the film which I always envisioned and scripted. Coby nailed it, though. It’s teamwork that makes any film go.

Q11. The setting looks gorgeous. Is the set an actual church? If so, where is it located?

That’s St. Andrews  in Pasadena, CA. I pushed for three months to shoot in there. The place is beautiful and I knew it would photograph itself.

Q12. Can you elaborate on the film’s theme and your main character?

He has a long road to absolution, but God has given him a way out and it’s up to him to find his path to happiness. Here’s another clue: during filming the project was called “The Confessional”. But I wanted the film to be about forgiveness so Absolution came about. But my wife said Absolutsin and it totally capsulated the guilt Owain Yeoman’s character feels.

AbsolutSin is a CrossFade Production and Reels Pictures Film. Image is courtesy of the aforementioned companies. For more information visit the film’s website and IMDB page. You can also follow AbsolutSin and Ryan Reels on Twitter. 

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