Every one of our students has a unique story of what brought them to the New York Film Academy. Evening Filmmaking Workshop student William Wonders’ short film, Fear Itself, has recently been accepted at a number of film festivals, and he was kind enough to share with us how he ended up at NYFA and conceptualized the film.
How did you come up with the idea for the film?
Most of my family are either ministers or pastors. My mom in particular was cop and reverend. Many times as a child I would get nervous about my mother walking the beat. Sometimes on Sunday’s when my mother would preach, a person she knows from the street would come in to service. Nothing happened, but it never stopped me from being scared. I drew the story from that – what if something happened and how would my family and I deal with it?
What was your production experience like?
This being my third film produced at NYFA, I wanted to do something different from the other films I did. I wanted to step out of my comfort zone. I decided to work with sound or the lack there of to immerse the audience into the film. From the beginning I wanted the audience to feel what the main character felt. To keep cost down, I filmed half at my house in Brooklyn and the other half at my church. I knew both locations well, so it was easy to visualize the shots from the scripts.
Did you collaborate with anyone else on the film?
For the sound track I collaborated with Daniel Stewart who is a gospel artist and played the character of the young man. I collaborated with the Onward Ministries, Inc. They provided the extras for the crowd scene.
How did you end up at NYFA?
Well, every time I would get in trouble my mother would make me write an essay. So after a while I asked if I could write a story. She said okay, and my imagination began to run wild. Which tells you how much trouble I got into. So from then on I knew that I wanted act in movies. Ever since I was a T.V. head and movie buff. 20 years later I began working as a teacher in Brooklyn. I decided to start a video production class in after school to help keep certain students out of trouble. We came in first place in NBC digital media contest. My students where so affected by it, as well as I was, that I finally made the decision this is what I want to do with my life. And I kept seeing advertisements for NYFA that I joined last September.
How did your NYFA education affect the making of the film?
My NYFA education came in extremely handy. The day of the shoot two of my classmates did not show up. My DP got detained over the weekend. So I was there on set with actors, crowd and just me. At that moment I remember one of my teachers, Bart [Bastronadi] in particular. He always said, ” get it done, get it in the can.” So I proceeded to do the jobs of lighting, DP, and director. Think goodness it was 16mm, or I would have had to tape the boom pole and microphone to my head. The training and wisdom of my teachers got me through that shoot. The experience was worth it though.
What are your plans for the future? Do you have any new projects in the works?
Right now I’m working on my thesis film for the one year program. I plan to continue to the two year program (God willing). I am writing two features already and preparing for a short called “Inside out.”
william wonders III