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Home | Interviews | Exclusive Interview: Jeffrey Hollins (Troubleshooters)

Exclusive Interview: Jeffrey Hollins (Troubleshooters)

What made you want to get involved in the film industry?
My love for watching my favorite TV shows and movies went from wanting to watch to wanting to do. I had heroes and characters in my head that I wanted to see come to fruition and the only way to do that was to do it myself. I started out doing my own comic book publication, which I enjoyed immensely. It was a gas seeing my book in the same catalogue with the Marvel, DC and Dark Horse comic books. Being distributed by the #2 comic book distributor at that time, Capital City. That is, until the #1 comic bo0k distributor, Diamond, bought out the #2 and weeded out the smaller publications. My interests then went to filmmaking after acting in a few low budget films and realizing, “Hey, I can do this.”

From script–to–screen, how close did TROUBLESHOOTERS come to its original vision? Dead on. I say that, because 9 times out of 9 when I’m writing the script and storyboarding, I only include what I’m going to shoot. And I usually know who will be playing what role, so I can see the film in my head real early on. And I have a folder full of green screen FX and stuff, so when I wrote those scenes with the Troubleshooters helicopter assistance and all the laser blasting stuff, I knew I could film them, because I had the FX. And I knew what it would look like. We’d change some dialogue a little along the way. Roy ‘Rusty’ Jackson, who played the technician Cooper, likes to improvise a lot, so some of his adlibs made it into the scenes. As long as it doesn’t change the intended flow of the scenes, I welcome it. Same with David E. Chapman, III, who played Duckett. He made that scene with Demorian Lizana funnier than what was written because of his adlibs. He and Rusty are very good at it. So other than stuff like that, the finished sci-fi movie that you see on Tubi TV was the intended vision for our final budget.

What was your favorite day on set and why?
Well, actually there are 2 answers to that. One of my favorite days was filming the Casser and Duckett scene with Demorian and David, because it was a funny scene in the movie. So, the filming was fun. Full of laughs and such. And after wrapping we stood around telling film war stories about auditions and other stuff film related. Now, the other side of that coin was that there are a lot of scenes in Troubleshooters where my character Sandoval Wolf is the only character in them. And on those days, I was alone on set as well. But they were the easiest scenes to do, because I didn’t have to direct anyone and I knew my lines in the scenes where I had lines. Like all of the psychologist scenes where Sandoval is talking to Doctor Toliver, I was alone. I didn’t even have the doctor’s dialogue playing on tape. I had to time it all, just right, in my head. So, on a typical day, because I was filming comfortably at home, I would place the lights and camera where they would go for the first shot the night before. Then I would wake up, make my glass of Lipton iced tea and get started at around 8am. The camera was on a tripod or stabilized on something and if there were shots that required camera movement I would just wait until my brother Gorio was there and pick up those shots another day. I really enjoyed those days.

What scene did you enjoy directing the most?
I’d have to say the earlier mentioned Casser and Duckett stuff with Demorian Lizana and David E. Chapman III. Also, the Brian Lanigan, Roy Jackson scenes as ‘Sparky’ and ‘Cooper’.

What is the biggest obstacle you faced while making TROUBLESHOOTERS?
We filmed on Thanksgiving Thursday, where I spent the entire day drinking about 6 or 7 sodas and only half a bottle of water. Don’t try this at home kids. The next day the room was spinning. I went to the hospital where they ran all kinds of test on me over the weekend. It ended up being dehydration, which I had told them it probably was, because my first 90 days working at the post office as a carrier I experienced that same thing, which included a 15-pound weight loss from working in July and drinking nothing but sodas and tea. Both diuretics. I resumed filming the next weekend.

What was your proudest moment during production?
My proudest moment on all of my films is when everything is filmed and edited and I finally get to watch it, not in bits and pieces, but completed. I watched it on my wall from my projector with the sound cranked up. Now, one of my proudest moments as an actor since starting my filmmaker journey doesn’t involve Troubleshooters, but, instead, was when my brother Gorio and I acted in a scene with Michael Madsen in the movie ‘Arena Wars’ in 2021(directed by Brandon Slagle) and also when we acted with Kevin Sorbo in the film ‘Devil’s Knight’ in 2022(directed by Adam Worth). Both films, soon to be released, were produced by Mahal Empire brothers Michael and Sonny Mahal. That really put a smile on my face, especially having Gorio there as well.

How do you get a film to stand out in the crowd in today’s landscape?
Do what you feel you should do with the film. Don’t just copy what others are doing or have done. It will be hard to cover a film topic that hasn’t been done already, so you have to take that topic and add whatever new spin you can put on it. Make it yours. Omit the cliches and don’t worry about what anyone has to say about what you are doing. If it is GOOD different, then people will start to talk to their peers about it. Tarantino, Spielberg, Spike Lee, Wells, Sergio Leone, Chaplin, Jerry Lewis…The one common denominator with those guys is that they did their films their way. Be inspired, yes, but be original. Be you.

What other filmmakers inspire you to do what you do?
I was obsessed with various filmmakers at different times in my life. Charlie Chaplin, Jerry Lewis, Sergio Leone, Orson Welles, Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee and Quentin Tarantino. Before filming I usually watch these directors for different reasons and I listen to a lot of John Williams before laying down a film score. Not to copy him, but strictly for inspiration.

What is your favorite horror decade and why?
I don’t really have a favorite horror decade, because all of my favorite horror movies were don in different decades. The original ‘The Thing from another world’ and the original ‘The Blob’ were done in the 1950s. ‘The Exorcist’, ‘Jaws’, ‘Duel’ ‘Gargoyles’ and ‘Alien’ were all done in the 1970s. John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’ and ‘Nightmare on Elm St.’ were done in the 1980s. ‘The Thing’ pre-quel was done in 2011. ‘Nope’ was done in 2022. These are the movies that scared me the most in my youth and today.

What is the next step in your filmmaking career?
My ultimate goal is to do something steadier, like a series. I just finished writing a horror/crime/thriller that I will either do as a movie or expand on the script and do it as a min-series with an option to continue. I also have people interested in my feature film ‘Tales from the Murder Room’ (Also on Tubi TV) to possibly do it as a continuing series, which would be quite an original idea for an on-going series. I’m now writing a sequel for ‘Troubleshooters’ just in case in stays on its wonderful climb, I’ll be ready. Whatever I decide, when it comes out it will be 100% King Jeff.

Watch Troubleshooters on Tubi:

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