Homeless Sam & Sally is the new film of Tyrone Evans Clark who went through a great journey in life from dealing with poverty and homelessness to becoming a filmmaker whose film is premiering and screening in film festivals. We spoke to Tyrone Evans Clark regarding his film and asked him our questions for an interview with Chicago Movie Magazine.
What draws you to filmmaking and cinematic language?
On January 21st, 1986 I was born in Cook County Illinois (Chicago). My parents are Gloria Hall (Clark) and Vincent Hall. I was given the name Tyrone Evans Clark at the time because my mother wasn't married and my Uncle Randall "Tyrone" Clark wanted me to have his middle name, Tyrone.
During my early childhood, I would watch movies with my parents for hours and this begins to slowly draw me to filmmaking and cinematic language.
Some of my favorite movies were the ones with Jim Carrey and Eddie Murphy, but my favorite --- favorite was anything that contains the spirit of Eddie Murphy.
Every film that Eddie has starred in such as "Coming to America", "Beverly Hills Cop Franchise", "The Nutty Professor 1 / 2", "Norbit", etc. has made me laugh so hard I felt as if my intestines were going to burst through my stomach. This man comes from a standup background but he also knows how to act just like Mr. Jim Carrey. In the film "Norbit", the character Norbit has major conflicts with his wife Rasputia. Eddie plays both roles so well. He knows how to dip and dab in the spectrum of characters. There really isn’t any limit when it comes down to this man’s talent.
On top of that, he uses cinematic storytelling in a creative way in his films such as camera movements, editing, playing camera tricks with different characters, etc.
For example, in The Nutty Professor Part 1 and 2, there are scenes where he portrays different characters in the same scene at the same time simultaneously. This is super incredible and has inspired other comedians such as Marlon Wayans in Netflix's "Sextuplets". This also has been done before with Michael J. Fox in "Back to the Future 2".
In 2002 at Benton Harbor High School I choose to create a feature relating to communication skills. The movie made my teacher's heart melt so he decided to share it with the entire school. This resulted in building my curiosity more towards filmmaking.
In 2010 I get my first tv appearance on Kevin Trudeau's Investigating Free Money (TV Movie - Distributors U.S. Farm Report). On the show, I talk to the reporter/host Misha Dibono about all of the scholarships I have received. I was so nervous about it, but I knew maybe my story can help others get free money for college.
In 2018 I make a come-back to tv on FOX's Phone Swap (inspired by Snapchat original show) where I had to show my phone's text messages to complete strangers while going on random dates.
On LIFETIME's Seatbelt Psychic (TV Series) I was able to get a personal psychic reading from Thomas John (Host of the show). Thomas told me that my relatives who passed away are so proud of me and I should stick with television. This really gave me the motivation to work harder and to stay in the entertainment field.
After the show Seatbelt Psychic within the same year, my TV and Movie Career took off!
Now I am a Multi-Award Winner American Entertainer / Actor / Executive Producer / Writer / Director and is famously known for my work on Homeless Sam & Sally (2019), Homeless Sam & Sally - The Movie (2020), Reverie (2018), Netflix's Velvet Buzzsaw (2019), Netflix's Magic for Humans (2020), LIFETIME'S Seatbelt Psychic, E! Entertainment's Dating #NoFilter (2019), BET's Running Out of Time, AXS TV's Women of Wrestling (2019), MTV's Flex on My Ex (2019), FOX's Phone Swap (2018), Awesomeness TV's Tri Me (2019) with Rickey Thompson, Face The Truth (2018) with Vivica A. Fox, and so much more.
What makes cinema stand out more than the arts for you?
I come from an animation and game development background and I can tell you that cinema stands out in so many ways because you can combine so many types of mediums together in order to make a film. You can do a combination of CGI, image stills, visual graphics, music, experimental lighting, etc in order to get your message across.
I worked for big clients/employers such as Beckman Coulter Diagnostics (Augmented Reality Developer), Bark.com (2D/3D Graphic Designer), Qualcomm (XR App Developer, Staff SW Engineer), STAGE (VR Technical Artist Programmer), Storymind Entertainment (3D Environment Artist), Sketchbox3D, Razor Edge Games, Visionaire77, Disney Interactive / Volt and so much more.
Around 2018 at Greenhaus GFX I created CGI / 3D trinkets, furniture, ballet shoes, sea rocks, and etcetera for the TV Show "Reverie" (NBC TV Network).
On the tv show Reverie, we used a combination of CGI and live-action stills in order to help get the story across to the masses.
Cinema will always stand out and it was here way before interactive media and Virtual Reality (VR).
Currently, filmmakers like myself are using the combination of VR and AR (Augmented Reality) to make features that spectators can enjoy on their Gaming Headset and Controllers (e.g. - Oculus Rift S, Oculus Quest, Samsung Gear VR, PSVR, etc.).
In the past, I even played with a mixture of MR (Mixed Reality), XR (Extended Reality), Computer-Generated VR (CG VR), and 360° video for some entertainment/game development studios.
"Cinema will always stand out more than the arts for me because you have so much wiggle-room to display your art in a digital way with vivid images and emotions." - Tyrone Evans Clark
Did you choose a certain directing style for making this film based on the script?
Yes; I did and it was somewhat a challenge to make the "Homeless Sam & Sally - The Movie" Script because I have a habit of describing everything in a book format. There were even some people on the production team who felt as though they were reading a book, but at the end of the day, they loved it.
My directing style was a combination of dictating, negotiating, and just being a creative artist.
There were areas of production I was forced to be a dictator. For example, I had to be dominating in order to make sure that process was flowing correctly when it comes down to the actor(s) going in and out of their scenes.
I was willing to negotiate certain lines with actors from the script in order to make special individuals comfortable on-set. I even changed my style of direction a few times as a Director / Executive Producer so we can finish a scene on time.
As a creative artist, I totally respect input from my actors regarding the production pipeline and film. Plus I was also an actor (played as the lead role "Sam") as well for this film "Homeless Sam & Sally - The Movie".
Playing with a different type of directing styles are so fun, but it's super important to be prepared. No one wants to work with a production team and director who doesn't know what they are doing. So always be ready so you don't have to get ready!
How did you choose the cast and the crew of your film?
Fortunately for me finding the cast and crew for this film was super easy. I already have a production / interactive media company titled "Tyrone Evans Clark Incorporation" (TEC Inc.). So I really didn't have to scout out a production crew for "Homeless Sam & Sally - The Movie". The casting process was almost as easy as making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich except I had to look through online casting platforms and places like Craigslist. Some actors want more money than others and if you trying to cast a SAG or SAF-AFTRA they can be very expansive. Luckily for me, I was able to get my buddy Margaret Newborn to play as my mother "Sally" in this film. Margaret and I met on the set of BET's Running Out Of Time. I decided to play the role of "Sam" because we couldn't find anyone who can play the younger version of myself well. The rest of my characters grew into their roles naturally and I knew from that point I didn't have to keep looking such as Romeial Hilaire (Foolish), Mehmet Edip (Landlord - Josh), Camille Calvin (Susie), Max Aria (The Red Face Creature Thing), Mark Schaefer (Officer - Stokely), Darnell Baldwin (Officer - Idris), Kevin Scarlett (The Creature Thing), etc. Thus, I end up saving lots of money due to having an advantage with selecting an incredible cast and crew team.
How did you fund your film and what were some of the challenges of making this film?
I fund the film 100% all by myself from saving and working hard for technical / entertainment companies.
One of the challenges from making this film is the fact that I was paying for it all by myself. If you don't have any investors or partners you can find yourself paying for everything. It is expensive and it adds up. The actors, props for the scenes, shooting locations, meals, etc can hurt your pockets. There were days during production when some actors would drop out or just didn't show up to set. It puts me behind schedule when everyone doesn't do their part. I had full control of everything during the production pipeline period because I was the Actor, Executive Producer, Writer, and Director for the "Homeless Sam & Sally - The Movie" feature.
Another challenging thing I was forced to face while making this indie feature is trying to capture specific scenes throughout the day without going overtime. Some cinematographers can't be on-set beyond 8 hours. Actors can become moody if all of their needs aren't met. It is a requirement by law that everyone on-set receives a break/lunch.
Editing and technical difficulties are huge challenges too! Today I still have scenes missing because of a technical issue with the camera sim cards. Sometimes during shooting, you might not be able to capture everything due to camera problems. Thus I'm forced to edit more shots during post and pre-production.
At the end of the day, all of the challenges are worth it, and spending all of my money because I enjoy expressing myself in a creative way to the world!
Do you consider yourself an indie filmmaker and what would most be the most difficult thing about being an independent artist?
Yes; I consider myself a Super --- Super -- Super Star Indie Filmmaker because I'm doing everything 100% on my own and I don't have any network or AAA Production Company backing me up, but my own "Tyrone Evans Clark Incorporation". Again I'm funding my film "Homeless Sam & Sally - The Movie" 100% all by myself and this can be very difficult at times during the production process as an independent artist. Going Indie has tons of perks, but at the end of the day, you are running the show unless you have a team behind you. On the set "Homeless Sam & Sally" there were moments of conflict because of disagreement or a misunderstanding of giving directions from me the "director". One of the things I've learned as far as being an independent artist is the fact everyone isn't going to get your vision. Sometimes you have to really break it down for others to understand your point of view and plans for production.
Please expect sometimes that there will be some disagreements and maybe a little drama on-set, but at the end of the day, it is all worth it at the end. Story creators like myself have to bleed a little bit to make things happen during film creation.
"Homeless Sam & Sally - The Movie" even won a few awards so far such as the September 2020 Best Comedy of Toronto Film Magazine Fest (Toronto Film Magazine Winner), July 2020 Finalist of Independent Shorts Awards (Certificate of Achievement), August 2020 Semi-Finalist of IndieX Film Festival (Certificate of Achievement), August 2020 Honorable Mention: Best Comedy of Kosice International Monthly Film Festival (KIMFF), August 2020 Best Feature of Hollywood Blood Horror Festival, being nominated The Monkey Bread Tree Film Awards' Best Genre (Spring 2020), August 2020 Honorable Mention: Feature Film / Best Comedy of Prague International Film Festival (PIMFF), September 2020 Semi-Finalist of Indie Short Fest Award (Certificate of Achievement), August 2020 Best Feature Comedy of Cyrus International Monthly Festival of Toronto, and been selected by prestigious film festivals. I even received the Best Supporting Actor Award (August 2020) from Hollywood Blood Horror Festival and Best Feature.
I was also just informed that I have been awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award ("Homeless Sam & Sally - The Movie") for Best Actor, Feature Film, and Cult Film / Underground Film / Exploitation Movie / Midnight Film / Para Cinema from the Cult Critic Movie Awards. I was Nominated at the Alternative Film Festival (AltFF) Best Actor and Best Writer for the Fall Award. Couch Film Festival honored me as the Winner for Best Director and was Nominated for Best Long Short Film. I was also honored to be August 2020 Best Actor, Best Director, and Narrative Feature of Druk International Film Festival (DIFF). Homeless Sam & Sally - The Movie even made it into the Festigious Los Angeles - Monthly Film Competition as a Semi-Finalist. At Virgin Spring Cinefest I was awarded as a winner for Amateur Film (Gold Award), Best Actor (Silver Award)(Tyrone Evans Clark), and Best Director (Silver Award) of August 2020.
This film has even been officially selected by Chicago Indie Film Awards, Montreal Independent Film Festival, Virgin Spring Cinefest, Asian Film Festival, Los Angeles Hollywood, Venice Shorts, New York Movie Awards, Florence Film Awards, Toronto Film Channel Festival, Venice Film Awards, Monthly Indie Shorts, and so many more.
"Independent artists just need to focus on getting their story across and it's not about the amount of money you spent, it truly is about the effort and allowing your spectators to have a ride in your world." - Tyrone Evans Clark
What is the distribution plan for your film and where do you want to go from here as a filmmake
My plan for distribution is to submit it to a few VOD platforms. Everything is digital Today and this generation loves their smartphones. Some of the VOD platforms that I am considering is Amazon Instant Video, Comcast Xfinity, DirecTV, Dish, Google Play, Hoopla, InDemand, iTunes, Microsoft Movies & TV Store, Sony Entertainment Network, Steam, Vubiquity, and Vudu.
The main ones I'm shooting for are Amazon Instant Video, DirecTV and Dish, The Microsoft Movies & TV Store, Sony Entertainment Network, Steam, and Vudu.
Amazon Instant Video will be able to sell my content and people will also have the option to download it. Plus everyone that I personally know has an Amazon Prime Video Account and I already have a movie actor/director profile on there (https://www.amazon.com/prime-video/actor/Tyrone-Evans-Clark/nm9505160/).
DirecTV and Dish are big service providers. They both have thousands and thousands of subscribers to their movies/tv shows. DirecTV now has an estimated 16.3 million customers and who doesn't want to be part of that. All I'm thinking about is the Green - Green Benjamins (money) and the massive number of views.
Google Play and iTunes are platforms for digital content such as music, video games, films, etc. I have tons of experience adapting interactive media/shorts (movies) on this platform for clients in the past before and everyone just about knows who Google is. If you don't know anything about Google Play I'm sure you are living under a rock.
The Microsoft Movies & TV Store offers movies/tv-shows on tons of platforms such as Xbox devices, Windows 8 computers, phones, etc. Microsoft Movies & TV are extremely delicious because they have commercial-free TV shows like the popular Netflix. I enjoy commercials when I have to take a bathroom break, but not all the time so this platform I will be seriously taken into consideration.
I'm also considering Netflix as well. Netflix is a very popular platform and offers a wider range of award-winning tv series, movies, anime, documentaries, etc. There are even a few features and tv shows on there with me in them such as Magic for Humans (TV Series), Velvet Buzzsaw (Feature), and Running Out Of Time (Feature). I would be a fool not to try to attempt to put my own personal project on that platform.
Sony Entertainment Network is a digital platform that allows you to purchase movies/tv shows on the web/Playstation devices. Who doesn't love playing their Sony Playstation and I can't wait to purchase the Playstation 5 (PS5).
Steam is known for being one of the biggest digital distribution platforms for PC gaming, but now customers can buy video content through their platform. I have experience working with this platform and one of the video games "Roller Coaster Rampage" I worked on for Pantera Entertainment as a 3D Environment Artist at the time is on here.
Vudu is an online platform that allows customers to rent titles. This platform had 25 million users as of October 2018, according to Walmart, but it's still popular today. As long as it's popular I want to be on it!
During the Corona Hour (COVID-19)(Also the name of my documentary that will be coming out soon), most of the films and tv shows are now being placed on VOD platforms or just going straight to On-Demand. Being head of the curve wouldn't hurt and a lot of filmmakers like myself really don't have a choice due to this virus pandemic.
What is your cinematic goal in life and what would you like to achieve as a filmmaker?
My cinematic goal in life is to be a well-known Multi-Award Winner American Entertainer / Actor / Executive Producer / Writer / Director. Currently, I am a star in little Koreatown, Los Angeles based on the awards and achievements that I have received so far for "Homeless Sam & Sally - The Movie", but being famous isn't everything.
I realize being on this earth there are so many talented filmmakers and regular people who don't receive any praise for their work. People who don't receive praise or honors doesn't make them less talented than the individual who won an award for their work.
"Homeless Sam & Sally - The Movie" was rejected by tons of festivals, but I didn't let it stop me. I don't want to end my career and passion-based on rejections. I feel personally that rejections are what fuels your fire to success.
"There is creative magic in everyone, we just have to learn how to tap into it!" - Tyrone Evans Clark
What kind of impact would your film have in the world and who is your audience?
I want people to show more compassion for the homeless community. There are so many homeless people all over the world and this includes woman and children. These hidden jems are most of time are misunderstood. All homeless people are not crazy, thieves, criminals, rapists, etc.
Homeless people are regular people just like us. I was homeless numerous times in and off the street during my adolescence and the main thing I have learn from these experiences is the fact that most of them didn't have a choice.
Some people are forced to be homeless or live in a shelter due to a natural disaster, common evictions, or house fire. For example around the age 8 my family and I had to live in shelter because our home in Berrien Springs, Michigan was destroyed by fire. As a result of the house fire my family and I was homeless for a bit and we end up losing my 2-year-old brother from the house fire (This was broadcast all over the news during the time).
You really don't know a person's sitautaion unitil you actually get to know them on a personal level.
It is estimated that One Hundred and Fithy Million people are homeless all over the world. Habitat for Humanity estimated in 2015 that 1.6 billion homeless individuals all over the globe live in "inadequate shelter"
In "Homeless Sam & Sally - The Movie" the characters Sam (Tyrone Evans Clark) and Sally (Margaret Newborn) are forced to be homeless because Sally couldn't keep up with the rent. Sam represents my past experiences of being homeless during my earlier years on earth. Sally of course represents my mother and people I knew back in the day who seem like an adult / role model figure to me at the time.
"Yes; my story is sad and that's why I added a taste of comedy to this feature. Sometimes the best ways to deal with pain is to laugh. Laugh so hard until your stomach feels like it is going to burst." - Tyrone Evans Clark