How did you get inspired to become a filmmaker?
This started off as a simple desire, to make a cartoon like the ones I use to watch growing up in the 80s. When I was a kid I use to make up my own stories to my favorite TV shows such as Transformers. I created characters similar to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I called the The Ninja Dark Cats, and I use to draw comic books that had character similar to Iron Man and the Avengers. Later on I became influence by video games. One game in particular, Mega Man and Mega Man X had a major influence on me as it would serve as the main inspiration to the creation of my Cybertech Series, However, the main reason I started creating animations and film other than the love of it is creative control. To many times growing up some of my favorite shows would often go in directions I didn’t like or put things in that they felt would make the show kid friendly but for me take me would take me out of the show and with me creating my own stories, I could finally put together the show I wanted to see. 90s anime would would solve some of the problem but the culture differences would soon turn me off to a lot of them, however, the art style and the visual story telling would have a major influence on how I tell my stories.
I’m out to basically make a Saturday morning cartoon like the ones I use to watch growing up in the 80s. The story of Cybertech is one that has been with me since 1995 when I was in High School. It features the main character of the show Cybertech Unit Greenstal and 8 villains that would be feature in each episode and a main villain that would be slow revealed as the series continue. Since most 80s cartoons are 30 minutes long, most of my episodes will be short films.
Who were the people that supported the making of this film?
For the longest time I felt alone in this adventure. My parents, while they did recognize my talent for art, wasn’t very helpful in my pursuit of animation. They pretty much left it up to me. They didn’t stand in my way but I was on my own. Opportunities were not there for me in the beginning. It was my pure desire to make these cartoons that kept me going in the early years. That and my love of art. I had to teach myself everything I need to know, however I do have to give credit to my Father for taking me out to the Art Institute of Pittsburg that one weekend in 1998. That one 3 day weekend changed me. It lit a fire under me that would someday lead me to finally create this film. During that time I had the chance to see all the equipment used by animators at the time and when I didn’t get the finances to attend this school, I decided to get the equipment I need myself. I said I felt alone in the beginning but in truth, I wasn’t. I was alone in my pursuit but I had my supporters. My Sister always believed this would happen for me even before I knew. My cousin Corey was always fascinated my art and was very supportive. He even lend his hand in the sound track of my current movie since he’s a musician. In the past 3 years, I’ve gain the support of all my family, former high school classmates, Coworkers and the owner of the medical device company I’m currently working for. They have all seen my drive and my enthusiasm for this passion project of mine and they all believe I will go far. They also all seemed to have enjoyed the film which makes me very proud.
What resources do you use as a filmmaker? Music, locations, props, editing, crew, etc.
I have to give credit to Blender.org. They made this possible. Animation software is expensive. For them to make their software an open source and free to the public so film makers like me could use it and make their dreams come true, I am eternally grateful. A special thanks also goes to theForce.net for making the Star Wars sound effects available to the public and sounddog.com was my source for all the other sound effects. And very special thanks goes to my Cousin Corey for lending his musical talent to this project and creating a kick butt soundtrack and the theme song I plan to use for future Cybertech films.
What is your next project?
Now that the first film is done, the other episode will be coming out as comic books. I already have 2 issues done and am currently working on the 3rd. Once the comic book series is complete, that along with my now award winning film, I hope to use to get financial backing so I can upgrade my equipment and animate the series.
The independent film business is a difficult one. What keeps you motivated? Where do you see the industry going in the future?
Last month, I won best animation in the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards. In the beginning of July 2016, I had the chance to be apart of an award ceremony at the Raleigh Studios in Hollywood. It was a dream come true. After not getting into art school, having no opportunity to pursuit animation in my area and having to subtle for labor jobs and working in the tech industry, I continued to do my art on the side. Independent film has made it possible for me to get my ideas out there even though I’m not currently working in the film industry. Now that I’ve won not one but four film awards, I’m starting to believe that my animation career may yet happen. This is all thanks to independent film.
Which filmmakers, artists or individuals have most influenced your work?
Walt Disney, George Lucas, Charles M Schulz and Keiji Inafune are just a few names that come to mind. Each of these guys I’ve admired or wanted to emulate at one time in my life. They have all created iconic characters. I can only hope that my character would someday be counted among them.
What advice would you give new filmmakers?
Do it for the love of it and don’t worry so much about the money. That will come. Even if the opportunities aren’t there, do it for the love of it. I had a mission after I did not get into art school. Find a way to make my film even if I had to do it all myself. I did not care how long it would take or how much it would cost, I was doing it. This was my driving force for most of my adult life and finally at age 38, things are starting to come together for me. I’m getting exposure and awards. Again I say do it for the love of it and the rest will take care of itself.
Watch and vote for Cybertech Episode 1 by Shawn Steven Myles competing in Animation Film Shorts. Remember you can vote once a day for as many films as you like for the duration of the contest!
Check out Shawnime.com
The Audience Awards provides filmmakers opportunities to create short video content for brands and win money. Sign up today for your free account and join film’s community.