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Power of a Dream
Taylor James Johnson
2016, 112m, biography, documentary, sport
Taylor Trash Productions presents “The Power of a Dream” The story of #38, Eric Castillo, a former 30 year old senior defensive back at Incarnate Word University lives his dream as a part of the Cardinals squad. At the age of 28 after being knocked down by life and with no prior football experience, Castillo had a dream to get back up and play collegiate football at the University of the Incarnate Word and decided to make it his reality. Castillo will share his experience and journey but it’s what he has done off the field that has already begun to change lives forever.
Cast: Eric Castillo, Ricky Williams, Lenny Walls, Tre Spragg
10 questions with Power of a Dream director, Taylor James Johnson at the half-way mark.
Thursday, July 28th, 2016
1Hi Taylor! Thanks for being a part of our 2016 Summer Festival. First, what was the initial seed that made you want to make this film? Thank you so much for selecting my film "The Power of a Dream" to be a part of the 2016 Summer Festival. Very honored to show this documentary along side some really great films. I first wanted to make this film after hearing about a local college football player. Some were calling him "The San Antonio's Rudy". After meeting this athlete I decided to follow him around with a camera to capture his athletic and spiritual journey.
2The subject of your doc, Eric Castillo, is such an inspiring guy. How did you two meet and what was it about him that made you want to make a documentary about him? I had seen many news stories about Eric Castillo. The headlines would read, "Football player overcomes all the odds and gives back to community." The city was talking about him. We met on social media and discussed possibly making a film. At first it was going to be a theatrical narrative feature with actors portraying Eric and his family, but after meeting him I knew the film had to be a documentary. Why recreate a story that is happening now in real life? Eric was so driven to get his story out there, all I had to do was press the red button on the camera.
3You produce, direct, shoot, and edit. Do you think it's better if all those departments fall into one unified vision or do you think it's better to have more collaborators? I actually enjoy every aspect of filmmaking. I love producing, directing, shooting and editing (and even acting.) I have to admit that sometimes it is hard and there is not enough time in the day to do every job. But we just really didn't have to budget to pay more people to help with those things... leaving me to take over those tasks completely. But don't get me wrong, we had many collaborators on this film: such as the wonderful musicians Nick Mery and Nathan Felix who really brought the film to life with their awesome tunes. Plus, we had a very talented drone operator named Rogelio L. Zamora Chávez. Not to mention my lovely producers Dianne Russell and Donna Swafford. I could not have made this film without them.
4At the heart of this film is an inspiring story about a guy who turns his life around at 30 and does some remarkable things. It really shows that you're never too old to change or try something new. Was that the message you wanted to put in there or did it just happen by telling this story? The mission of this film is to inspire. No matter the age, no matter the dream. I wanted to make a film that everyone could relate to, not just football players. Personally, I relate to Eric's dreams of playing on the football field through my own dreams about filmmaking. Everybody has a dream, it just happens to be football in this film.
5You also work at the massively popular JoeBlo.com. Did working there help educate/prepare you for making films? I would actually have to say it is the other way around. I made films before I started working for JoBlo.com. So making films prepared me to work for JoBlo, which requires a fast turn around on video content and a knowledge of film and filmmaking. But I would say that being a fan of JoBlo did help educate/prepare me for making films. Before I worked for them, I was just a lonely film student surfing the web trying to fill my brain with cinema. JoBlo helped with that. I could never thank them enough. It is so cool to work for my favorite web site...
6What's the film that made you want to become a filmmaker? I remember going to see Jurassic Park in the theaters a few times when I was a wee child. I would bring my favorite dinosaur toys. That is my first memory of really understanding the "magic of movies." Also, at a young age was also very fascinated by the original King Kong film and the Tarzan films of the 30s. I think I was the only kid in the world to not care about movies being "black and white" and "old". I still didn't fully understand what a movie was... it was just magic.
7I loved the scene where he's talking about his first game and how his kids were on the sidelines to support him. What's your favorite scene and how difficult was it to capture? Thank you very much. Any scene that took place during a football game was my favorite. It felt like I was a part of the team and I wanted the audience to feel like they were on the sidelines waiting to join the team too. The coaches and the teammates took me in and gave my cameras complete access to every moment of the game. Sometimes the camera got too close and I actually had to dodge a few out of control footballs... and running backs.
8You also used a drone to get a lot of great footage (I think it was a drone). What was it like having that on set and how difficult was it to get those shots? The drone was done by drone master Rogelio L. Zamora Chávez. We met a at film festival and instantly really wanted to work together. I invited him down to the field one day and he captured some great moments. At first, I was nervous because I had never even seen a drone before but it ended up being one of the easiest shooting days I have ever had... all thanks to Rogelio, of course.
9If you had to completely start all over again and do something completely new, what would you do? Just the thought of starting over scares me... I think everything happened for a reason and I wouldn't change a frame of my film career. Not saying that I never made a mistake, I made many many mistakes but all of those mistakes lead to a learning experiences that lead to a positive cinematic experiences.
10What's next? What's next? Too much is next... I've got some documentaries sitting in my hard drives that need to be edited. I am balancing that with producing some new shows for JoBlo and making commercials for an amusement park called Morgan's Wonderland. Very exciting stuff happening here at Taylor Trash Productions!
About the Interviewer: Ben Hicks
Ben Hicks is a writer/director and co-founder of Fandependent Films. Ben is currently working on making Fandependent Films awesome and is finishing up his first feature film entitled Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time which was selected for the 2017 IFP Narrative Lab.
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