Writer/Director/ Producer Shane Stanley
Writer/Producer/Director Shane Stanley is a man of many talents. He has had brief stints as a motocross racer and a drummer in the 90′s opening for such acts as Lenny Kravitz, The Black Crowes, Stone Temple Pilots. He won his first Emmy at age 17 alongside his father Lee Stanley for their work on the “Desperate Passage Series”, which earned thirty-three nominations and thirteen statues. He has worked on such shows as Roseanne and SeaQuest.
Shane is probably best known for his work on “Gridiron Gang” with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and from his work with Bret Michaels. He has directed several of Bret’s videos and is featured as co-author of Bret’s upcoming autobiography “Roses & Thorns.”
His latest project is a film titled “My Trip To The Dark Side”, starring Emmy nominated Sean Kanan, Jason Pace, Ryan Judd, Brienne De Beau, and Courtney Gains. It is a tale of a man, who after a successful film career can only find work in the porn industry in order to provide for his family. It is loosely based on a chapter in Shane’s life.
Q: What was it like to win an Emmy alongside your father at the age of 17?
A: It was an amazing time. I was still in high school, so it was a bit overwhelming for a kid. Our television special “Desperate Passage” with Michael Landon was up for four Emmy’s that night (winning two) and it was a show that no one wanted or believed in. It took us four years to get it on the air and even though our budget was originally one million dollars, we ended making the entire project for about $30,000. That night launched a whole series of television specials for us that went on to receive 33 individual Emmy nominations and 13 wins. My fathers book will be coming out in February or March by Zandervan Publishing. It’s called “Faith in the Land of Make Believe.” You can read all about that and his struggles in Hollywood. It’s a great read. It’s available now at amazon.com for preorder on hardback.
Q: Do you think what you have learned from working with you father has served you well in your career?
A: Absolutely. I never went to film school so everything I learned early on was from my father. To this day, I call on him for advice and suggestions to make my work better.
A: My grandfather was Frederic Stanley, a very well known illustrator in the early 1900′s. In fact, he and Norman Rockwell shared a studio and painted side-by-side for many years. He was best known for his “Village Blacksmith”, a very famous ad for Coca-Cola that Coke still uses to this day. I’ll see it on trays, artwork and other nostalgic Coke ads all the time. Also his Mobil Oil flying horse Pegasus is still the company’s logo. I’ve heard the well-known spoof with the Army guy holding a cup of coffee that says, “how bout a cup of shut the fuck up” is his as well. He was very giving, loved his fellow man and was a golden gloves boxing champion back in the 1920s. I always make sure somewhere, somehow one of his paintings make it into a film.
Q: Do you feel blessed to have come from such a creative family? Where do you think your own creative ideas come from?
A: I do. My great-grandfather was a well-known actor long before television but what’s funny is everyone on my mother’s side of the family is doctors and lawyers. Smart people as I call ‘em. I don’t know where creativity comes from good or bad, I think it’s a gift. We all have gifts; some are in the arts while others are in medicine, law or whatever. I never question it, I just roll with it.
Q: Your latest project is loosely based on your own experience writing in the field of pornography. What was that like?
A: Well, considering I was offered fifteen grand to write a feature-length script for a porn company, they used it and never paid me, I guess it was similar to mainstream Hollywood (LOL). Seriously, it was an interesting time and much of it was well documented in “My Trip to the Dark Side.” I’ll let the film do the talking on that subject.
Q: Is there anything about your latest project you’d like to share with our readers?
A: Yeah “be careful making auto biopic projects”, sometimes turning the microscope back onto your private life can be quite a ride, not all bad, just strange.
Q: You had some webasodes on Youtube. Señor Toro and something about a Samurai. What led you to do those? Can you explain a little about them, the samurai one in particular (it seems to be full of dark humor that would appeal to our readers)?
A: “Lessons in Seppuku” was the creation of my friend Josh Baerwald. We had been writing for television for about a year and a half and I was getting restless. I wanted to shoot something, anything just to get out of the writers room. He mentioned the idea of a series (or web-a-sode) that followed a samurai that used seppuku (an ancient ritual) as a way to end his life for making every day mistakes, spilling the garbage, missing a phone call, not having a spare tire in his trunk when he got a flat, etc. We shot five or six of them in one day for virtually zero money. Fun while it lasted, just a couple of adults trying to be childish with a camera. Nothing more, nothing less. You can find ‘em somewhere on youtube under “Lessons in Seppuku.” They’re pretty self-explanatory. As for “The Adventures of Señor Toro”, again, two guys looking for some trouble to get into. My wife bought me that toy bull and one day we just got a camera and started messing around with it. One thing led to another and another and all of the sudden I realized we had wasted a lot of time again, more youtube crap. LOL.
Q: Seeing as this is a publication for fans of horror,sci-fi, and dark fantasy. Are you a fan of that sort of thing? If so what are some of your favorites and why? All things aside what appeals to your own..darker side?
A: Absolutely! Why do you think I never make films like that!? I’d hate to insult the genre. LOL. I think horror and sci-fi are some of the most influential projects in media. Think of what films and shows like SAW, Star Wars, Star Trek and even THEM did for movie making and story telling. I marvel at what those guys do and learn a lot from them. I was offered a sci-fi thriller to direct recently and after reading it was like, “this is great,but I’m not the right guy for this,you need someone who can really break the mold with this script, not just shoot what’s on the page.”
Q: Do you have any future plans to work with Bret Michaels? Ever consider making Roses & Thorns into a movie?
A: Well my door is always open to work with Bret. We just finished his new video for “Riding Against the Wind.” It airs on VH1, and supports his new show, “Bret Michaels: Life As I Know it.” As I’ve said before, he’s like a brother to me and I always enjoy working with him. His life story would make a tremendous film, as there’s certainly more than enough material for a great motion picture.
Q: Other than “My Trip To The Dark Side” what projects are you currently working on?
A: I’ve been loosely involved in the Untitled Coach Ed Thomas Story. He was the high school football coach in Iowa that was shot and killed last year by one of his former players that made all sorts of national headlines. I’m not supposed to talk about it but I can say it has been something I have been very close to for the past five months. I am hoping to finally shoot CORNERS in early 2011. Looks like we’re finally getting that going (again) and if we do, “My Trip to the Dark Side” will be released on DVD as well.
Q: What is the best advice anyone has ever given you? Who was it?
A: Funny you should ask as I quoted BOTH just the other day. When I was a senior in high school my photography teacher Kern Neely said to me, “Don’t be a jack of all trades, master of none,be great at something.” Around the same time, my high school drama teacher, John Kilpatrick (who I still speak with today) said to the class,”When you create something, think of three ways to do it and go with the fourth.” I thought that was a pretty cool way to remind actors and filmmakers to be original. I don’t know why but I always remembered those words of wisdom from those teachers. I think that’s all I learned from my years in school, LOL.
Q: What hobbies do you enjoy when you aren’t working?
A: I try to go snowboarding and scuba diving whenever I can. I’ll always be up for a pickup game of football and of course love to throw a leg over a dirt bike whenever the opportunity arises.
Q: Where can fans go for the latest information on your projects and career?
A: That’s a great question and sadly, I don’t have a good answer. I have never been one of those that takes the time to update people on what I’m doing until it’s too late. Promotion has never been something I think of and I’ll admit I need to get better at it.
One day when I come up for air, I’ll re-connect my company’s website www.visualartsentertainment.com or www.shanestanley.com but for now, you can follow me on twitter. Seems to be the only thing I remember to update these days. http://www.twitter.com/shanestanley