Steve Wollett took some time to share insight into his world as a filmmaker,  an author, and a director

by Gordon Shelly

Steve Wollett is a multi-award-winning filmmaker, author, and app developer. He took some time out of his busy production schedule to complete this interview, share some of his experiences, and tell us about what we can expect to see from him in the future.

INFLUX: Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you got into the world of independent filmmaking?

STEVE: I got started in filmmaking as a hobby in 2006. After producing a number of films I got the itch to write and direct. My first foray was with “Word from a Gamer” — A documentary about tabletop gaming. Once I made the one I had the itch. I wanted to do more but life was always in the way. 10-hour-a-day job, 6 days a week, and no real time for me. In 2020 my wife passed away and I decided to close shop and go full-time as a filmmaker.

INFLUX: What are you currently working on? Is it something you can share with us?

STEVE: Several projects [are] in the works. A television series about tabletop gaming, another which is a competitive scavenger hunt, finally a feature called “Heading West.” As I am writing my responses for the interview, I am in an airport waiting on a flight to Bangkok, where I am directing an episode of a docuseries about American ExPats.

INFLUX: What goals do you have for these projects?

STEVE: I just want to tell great stories. If my works give just a few people a moment of happiness, then I feel successful. My films are written for me but I hope others find some merit in them. With my current project, we are working with a twenty-two million dollar budget. That’s huge for me as I normally do six figure projects. I am totally stoked.

INFLUX: Life as an independent creator can be challenging. Is there something that has been particularly challenging in your experience?

STEVE: Successful distribution. It’s easy to make the film and far harder to get the word out. You can have the best project under the sun and if no one knows it’s there, then no one sees or talks about it. Finding honest distributors and making successful marketing decisions have been a very real struggle for me.

INFLUX: Is there a particular project or moment in your career you would consider to be one of your most significant accomplishments?

STEVE: Making my first narrative feature during the height of Covid was truly one of the most difficult things I have done. We shot for eleven days but did thirty days worth of work. I had an amazing team of professionals that made it all possible. Everyone from our production manager, Michelle Brown Houston, to our lead talent, Vernon Wells and Bai Ling, brought their A-game and made “Jack Be Nimble” a success. With an ultra-low budget, filmmaking is always a tad difficult. The team went above and beyond. “Jack Be Nimble” won numerous awards in the festival market including Best picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Sound Design, and many more.

INFLUX: You seem to be a very goal oriented person. What goals do you have for yourself moving forward?

STEVE: As always, self-improvement. Every project I work on has elements that do not live up to my expectations. I hope to someday be able to bring my imagination to life in a way that is remembered long after I am gone. A legacy for my grandchildren and their grandchildren. Each day is a new learning experience. Each moment a chance to do better. I hope that someday I am as good a man as my dog thinks I am.

INFLUX: As a creative artist, what else have you done?

STEVE: I am an author and game designer. [I have written] twelve books, including “The Gorgon’s Lament,” “God’s Assassin,” and “Blasphemous Cocktails.” More than a dozen gaming apps including Nerds in Space and Nerd Rage Uprising. Currently working on Timelords 5th edition. The game is a mascot tabletop RPG that came out in the early eighties. I am revamping and updating for the modern gamer.

INFLUX: Lastly, what advice would you give to your younger self, just starting out?

STEVE: Just do it. Jump in with eyes wide open and share your skills and talents. You can’t succeed without first trying. Listen, observe, learn. Set boundaries. Don’t put yourself in dangerous situations. Don’t step in front of a camera without a contract in place. Use common sense. If you get an agent, don’t pay up front. Only pay the agreed percentage after they get you work. Be your own advocate.

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Photo Credit: Furious Nerd Productions