The Heights is about the Jackson’s family life of wealth, tragedy and acknowledgment/ Clinton P. Gasaway is a actor/filmmaker who has won numerous awards for three of his projects. It started with the comedy short Wrong Number which has won 2 awards. LGBTQ film Betrayed which has garner 1 award. And the pilot The Heights trailer which has won 3 awards so far. It was our pleasure to interview him for LA Indies.
What was the inspiration behind the making of your film?
The Heights came to me because I was looking for a strong Black Drama. Dealing with a father and son family structure. Showcasing a successful Businessman raising his son to be the best person to take over his business when the time comes. It’s show a very dominant father and a son who feels nothing he does is right. Ollie feels he can never measure up to his father lofty expectations. I pitch this idea to my business partner Cam Cashaw and wrote an incredible pilot. That has garnered rave reviews. With only a teaser trailer out we have won numerous awards!!
What is the most challenging aspect of working in this genre?
The most challenging aspect is just coming up with topics that everyone can relate to. We want to talk about all society ills. Warts and all. We want to deal with racism, classism, wealth, politics and more. But told from a Black Family Dynamic. It will be very important to show Hollywood that we have a story to tell also. And that we matter!!
When did you realize that you wanted to work in media and make films and what was the first film project that you created as a director?
I always wanted to an actor every since I was a painfully shy kid. I remember telling Bossman (my dad) that I wanted to be an actor. Which is ironic since I was too shy being around anyone that I didn’t know. However I could never stop thinking about acting. I set off to move to Los Angeles but I had car issues. And my mom (Dorothy) called her sister (Aunt Verna) in San Francico. To see if I can moved there. My plan was to stay for a few months but ended up staying 15 plus years. I truly loves the Bay Area culture and city. Met some wonderful peoples and had some great experiences. I started a record label with friend Andre Louis and my cousin Corwin Cooley. We had a few artists including Cooley being the first. But dealing with the politics of the music business wore me out. And that old familiar feelings came back stronger than ever. I started working on any indie movie or production available. I eventually garnered into the Screen Actors Guild. But it was not until I visited another fellow actor in Los Angeles. Carlos King Martin. That inspired me to go ahead and moved to Los Angeles. Which some peoples questions why I would leave a great job with benefits. But money does not motivate me but acting does. So I moved to a two bedroom in San Bernardino Ca and then to Los Angeles. Working on balancing acting gigs with regular work. To my astonishment I found out there’s not enough work in background. Yes I don’t mind working from the very bottom and working my way up. It just be hooves me that I was having issues with finding background work. So since Hollywood did not want me for feature work nor background. What am I’m supposed to do give up? No I did not leave Beaumont Texas for this. So since Hollywood not going to hire me than I will hire myself. I met one of partner Ryan Phillips a comedy writer. And we came up with Wrong Number. It’s a comedy short about a female giving a guy a phony number. So far we have won two awards in the festivals for our short. But The Heights is the one everyone is talking about. It’s in post production and I’m actively pursuing a distributor.
How did you choose the cast and the crew of the film and what was the most challenging aspect of production?
Choosing the cast for The Heights we placed an ad and had overwhelming response. Over 70 peoples responded!!! There were some great auditions and we picked the best cast. During filming my work in past production helped immensely. Since I already knew everything would not go as planned. Do it definitely helped in the production for The Heights pilot. And now for a comedy feature Hollywood Hustle.
What genre of filmmaking fascinates you as a director and which genres do you prefer to work on?
I love urban drama and definitely comedy. I love telling a story about all Americans involved. Not just white or black. But Asian, Latinos, and all other ethnicities. I would definitely like to tackle a comic based moved in the near future.
How can cinema change the world and have an impact on society? 7- What is your next film project as a director?
I believe cinema can helped teach and educate the masses about topics most may not have been privy to. To show humanity to a group of peoples who society has deem hostile.
What is your next film project as a director? My next project after The Heights is Hollywood Hustle and also a series title Ordinary Peoples (Rolfolfo) So two comedy that will be produced by Another Coach Productions In Association with Clinton Pernell Gasaway Films and Ruby Street Entertainment. For more info on future projects be sure to check out my Instagram @anothercoachproductions