As the saying goes, if you want something done right, do it yourself. More and more this is applying to creatives. We now live in a time when we can forge our own ways through the fire, we don’t have to wait for the approval of the powers at be. The realization that we can green light our own stories means that not only are there a plethora of projects for everyone, but also that these stories are more intimate than before. The films of Blayne Weaver fall into this category, with Cut to the Chase being just the latest one.
Cut to the Chase is a film about a brother who will go to the ends of the earth to save his sister from the mistakes of his past. It’s a film about family and unconditional love, and sometimes how those relationships are the hardest to keep strong. For this film, Weaver used elements that he was connected with to create the heart of this story, a connection with a fellow actor and his home town. This may not be his most personal film, but it’s hard not to deny the present elements of the concept.
In all of his works, Weaver has not only written and directed them, but he’s also starred in them as well. There is a consistency that flows through each film, forming a strong bond between the space that lives off screen as well as the world on screen. The role of writer-director came from a natural progression through his experience as an actor.
There are many times actors get pigeonholed in a character, causing an opportunity for something fresh to be few and far between. Weaver’s solution was to create his own challenging roles, the first being the script Manic. The experience on this particular film eventually lead to his eventual role of director.
“The experience on that film (Manic) was very intense and the director and I would often clash. I decided that the director's chair was where I wanted to be,” Weaver says. “I sold the house I had bought from acting and financed my first feature where I played the third lead. It felt natural to me and fulfilled me. I've gone back to that formula again and again.”
This also offers the opportunity of creating work for fellow creatives. There is the ability to choose people and locations that we want to explore working with or revolve a story around. For Weaver regarding Cut to the Chase, that meant writing roles for actor friends and shooting in his hometown of Shreveport.
Weaver had worked with Erin Cahill when she had a small part in 6 Month Rule, and they formed a great bond. He decided to create a script that utilized their great chemistry, where they would be siblings, and continued to put the pieces together for his next film.
“I had been carrying around that idea (Cut to the Chase) for years and this was the perfect opportunity to tell that story. I made a list of my assets in Shreveport: Locations, actors and support crew... And I started writing,” Weaver says. “I wrote specifically for the great actors I know. When we got to Louisiana and did the read-through, I did another pass on the script. These parts are really tailor made for the actors portraying them.”
The story was heavily influenced from his respect and familiarity of Shreveport. The film captures the essence of the city, the multiple facets of life in a big city, and never hides the areas of darkness so often prevalent in a city of this stature.
“Shreveport is my home town and I set out to write a script specifically around that area of the country. Every character and location is distinctly part of that world,” Weaver adds.
This continued journey through creating your own stories has lead to the newest film, an action thriller. Part of the reason Weaver felt comfortable in taking the leap was because our technologies have advanced along with the creative minds of our filmmakers. Nothing is off limits, and doors are opening at an extraordinary speed.
“Now with these amazing and affordable cameras and lights we can stretch our dollar further. We can do digital effects on a home computer and shoot an action sequence dozens of times to get it right,” Weaver adds. “I love all genres of movies and it's amazing that in the time we live in I have the opportunity to vary the kind of work I'm doing without having to raise millions of dollars.”
Cut to the Chase may be a new film genre for Weaver, but it’s one that has been a part of film history for generations. One so rich in techniques can sometimes be hard to navigate in the new world of film. Some might find that challenging, and run from films of the past. For Weaver, however, he was fearless in his exploration of the genre. He used techniques that have been proven to work and mixed them with his fresh story ideas, creating a film all of his own.
“I love this genre and we weren't afraid to rely on its familiar devices. We used the structure and dialogue style of a hard boiled detective film and I also like the hero being the least-bad bad guy out of a group of bad guys,” Weaver says. “But, that being said, I think the Shreveport setting, the sibling relationship, and Max's own growth are things that make the film a stand-out.”
The inspiration he found for taking the path down this new type of film wasn’t limited to the techniques of the past, but from the future of filmmakers. People like Paul Osborne and Zak Forsman provided context of great films shot on a small budget, proving that anything is possible.
This quality over quantity approach has not only found it’s way into his new film, but into Weaver’s filmography as a whole. He has never collapsed under the pressure (or lack of opportunity) issued by others, but instead he forged his own path telling the stories he was passionate about. He himself has become an inspiration to the next generation of filmmakers, proving that heart can smash financial institutions everywhere.
Cut to the Chase is currently available on VOD.
Written by Lisa Mejia
Images provided by Cinematic Red