Emmy Winner Brandon Walker Launches Nano-Budget Movie Studio
“The movie that never gets seen, is the one that never got made.”
For co-founder Brandon Walker, launching the newly formed Ghost Machine Pictures meant embracing the real possibility of failure. An Emmy Award-winning writer and fine art photographer, Brandon admits that making any kind of motion picture without experience or money sounds absurd… at least at first. But rather than waiting for the perfect time to start, he and his producing partner Ashley Park threw themselves into the process of writing, shooting, and most importantly… finishing a micro-budget feature film. This is how their DIY project launched a mini movie studio.
HNN: What can you tell us about Ghost Machine Pictures?
BW: Ghost Machine Pictures is a film production company founded in 2021. This new enterprise focuses on the production and distribution of independent horror films with a supernatural component.
HNN: Everyone knows that filmmaking is difficult. Why attempt something you knew almost nothing about?
BW: As a writer, I’ve watched several of my scripts march toward production before ultimately failing to launch. With so many variables beyond my control, I started to realize that without drastic action, I would never get a movie made. No matter how much filmmaking technology evolves, the barriers to entry don’t magically disappear… you have to give yourself permission to be bold and take chances. For us, that meant green-lighting our own project, STAY.
HNN: Once you committed to making a film, what were your first steps?
BW: We took stock of the things we had on hand and wrote a screenplay that integrated those assets. Some of the more useful items included a new cell phone and a decent point-and-shoot camera. We embraced these simple tools and embarked on a hands-on, no excuses approach to filmmaking.
HNN: Did you set a specific budget for the film at the beginning?
BW: We had a ballpark number in mind that was modest yet flexible. I knew that by filming in my apartment, we could amortize the costs over time. With that said, we wanted to tell this story as inexpensively as possible. Two years later, if that money magically reappeared in our account, we could probably buy a used car or take a small vacation. Honestly, this process can’t be about funding or lack thereof, it has to be about creating something new. The movie that never gets seen, is the one that never got made.
HNN: What can audiences expect from the movie STAY?
BW: STAY is a supernatural thriller about ambition gone wrong. It’s a “fear meets fashion” concept that blends the allure of America’s Next Top Model with the terror of Paranormal Activity. It stars Ashley Park (Rosewood), Dre Davis (Pretty Little Liars) and Jesse LeNoir (Project Runway).
HNN: How did the completion of STAY lead to the formation of Ghost Machine Pictures?
BW: Producing STAY was baptism by fire. What we learned from making our first film became the blueprint for what we feel is an exciting and viable form of filmmaking. At Ghost Machine Pictures, we choose to embrace limitations as a creative catalyst. Telling a good story despite the extreme budgetary constraints means being inventive, flexible and willing to do most of the jobs yourself. It also means focusing all of your energy on essential storytelling ingredients and not expensive VFX shots or gourmet catering. Our projects are extremely lean, and it demands a certain kind of tenacity to see them through.
HNN: Do you have any advice for people making their first film?
BW: People are eager to remind you that your movie won’t be good, that you won’t make money… that you will FAIL. You have to tune out the naysayers! While it’s guaranteed you will make mistakes, you have start where you are, use what you have, and do everything you can to complete the journey. By finishing that first project, you can truly call yourself a filmmaker… nobody can take that away from you. The next and perhaps most important step is to assimilate everything you learned and begin the whole process over again. Go out and make something, then make another something. If you are waiting for the perfect time to make a movie, you’ll never make one.
HNN: When and where can we see STAY?
BW: You can watch STAY exclusively on AMAZON PRIME this March.