"Homeless Sam and Sally" is a new campy show about a mother (Margaret Newborn) and her son (Tyrone Evans Clark) who happen to be homeless. They cope with their current situations with daydreams, being silly, and doing random stuff. We recently spoke to the director of Sam and Sally about the making of this film and his life as a filmmaker.
Why do you enjoy making films? My passion all started in 2002 at Benton Harbor High School when I was forced to make a film for class. I choose to create a feature relating to communication skills. The movie was so successful that my teacher at the time 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 glide 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.
You also act in your own film. If you have to choose between acting and directing, which one would you choose? I really enjoyed acting and directing while creating this film. It was so worth it due to the fact that it is my film and I am the one that’s running the entire production pipeline. I made the executive decision to play as the role of the character “Sam”. Previously when we were casting for this show and film I couldn’t really find anyone who could pull off a younger version of me. I wanted to do it because I’m the only one that really knows my story. As far as directing it truly was a piece of cake. From my past experiences working as an actor most of the time, you have to listen to what the director is saying on-set. When I am the director I am pretty much God of the entire production. It feels good being God. I know how this story will start and end. Yes; it is a lot of work, but if I have to choose most likely I probably will select directing over acting. Actors are puppets and the director is the puppet master. I get the kicks out of being the puppet master. So —- so cool! “Directors captures the vision and the actors make the vision come true to the screen.” - Tyrone Evans Clark Who is your most favorite director that inspired you? The legendary Quentin Tarantino with all of his twisted artistic/magic dust. Every film that he has ever created such as Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill Franchise, Death Proof, Jackie Brown, etc. has been a gigantic part of film culture. He has inspired the masses of all ages/generations with I consider personally his classics. I grew up watching just about every film he has made and along with watching the behind the scenes during the time when DVDs were hot. Now it’s all about Blu-ray disc and watching movies on your Sony PlayStation / Microsoft‘s Xbox. Who doesn’t love Netflix? It is practically a drug for me! Quentin knows how to be serious but also enjoys adding a taste of comedy to his scenes. For example, in "Pulp Fiction" there is a very popular scene titled by fans “a shot of adrenaline”. In this scene, the character Vincent (John Travolta) has to make a major decision to puncher Mia (Uma Thurman) chest with a gigantic shot in order to bring her back. When Mia finally gets punctured in her breastplate by the shot she jumps up with a huge rush as if she is a whack a mole (Whac-A-Mole: Arcade Spelling/pronunciation) from some type of arcade game machine. This scene is everything! When I watched the film "Jackie Brown" all I can think of is smuggling suitcases of cash and not being caught by the cops. He knows how to capture the attention of his audience and his stories are so vivid and touching. Quentin will always be one of my favorite directors in the world who influences me and gives me a hell of a ride of inspiration! Who are your most favorite actors in the world and why? Jim Carrey is one of the Kings of comedy and he has the ability to be possessed by a variety of interesting characters. Characters you can never forget. For example in the movie “The Mask” (1994) allowed him to be this green character who is pretty much invincible to everything. This character gave me classic cartoons from the 80s and 70s era. Everyone knows some of the favorite lines from the movie. One of my favorites was “Smokin”. This line stayed in my head throughout my entire childhood. Everywhere I would go I would scream out smokin. I couldn’t help it. It was just stuck in my head and I had to just say it out loud. Eddie Murphy is another king of comedy for me. Every film he 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. 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.
Tyler Perry is one of my modern time comical actors. His career started off as a play writer and performer many moons before he hit the television/movie screen. One of his most popular characters I enjoy him playing is the infamous Madea. Every movie and TV show that this character “Madea” has been part of really adds an extra delicious elemental quality. On top of that, I can’t stop saying the characters popular phrase “Hellur”. It is so addictive, it’s like an itch that you just got to keep scratching!
What are you currently working on? “Homeless Sam & Sally - The Movie” is doing really well at the film festivals. Again it has won numerous awards from all over the world. On top of that because of my technical/gaming developer background, my plans are to eventually turn “Homeless Sam & Sally” into a Virtual Reality Game for everyone to enjoy. This feature should be available 100% to purchase/rent online through a lot of VOD platforms hopefully sometime mid-year after all of the festivals' seasons have ended. Also, I have a few science-fiction, fantasy, and horror action young adult novels that will be coming out soon. These books will be available on just about every digital platform such as Amazon Prime Books, Barnes & Noble, etc. I even have the official music video coming out soon for my song “Gotta Get Some Tissue!" (Courtesy of Tyrone Evans Clark Inc.). This music video will be made up of cartoon animation and vivid graphics with a taste of comedy Presently I am filming the documentary titled "The Corona Hour!". "The Corona Hour!" is a delicious documentary hosted by me who shares stories about people living in the time of COVID-19. This feature will also be made up of cartoon animation mix with live-action imagery. My popular podcast "CALL TYRONE!!!" will be having some new episodes coming soon. "CALL TYRONE!!!" is about me talking about my day-to-day life in Los Angeles; and along with random things that unexpectedly come to my mind. This podcast is available everywhere such as Stitcher, Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Radiopublic, Spotify, Pocket Casts, etc. "I think you better call Tyrone because I got something nice waiting for you on the other side of the phone." How did Homeless Sam & Sally do so far in the film industry? At the ending of 2019, I commence writing a screenplay for the tv series "Homeless Sam & Sally" (Binge Networks). Unfornatually production was paused in the middle of filming episodes due to COVID-19. So, later on, I decided to create the film "Homeless Sam & Sally - The Movie" in the year 2020. "Homeless Sam & Sally - The Movie" is a new campy feature about a mother (Margaret Newborn) and her son (Tyrone Evans Clark) who battle homelessness with laughter and being silly. At the beginning of creating this film, I was so nervous displaying part of my life story to the world in a form of a film, but deep down inside I knew it was worth it. As a result "Homeless Sam & Sally - The Movie" has won a ton of Awards and making me a Multi-Award Winner. The awards that “Homeless Sam & Sally - The Movie” has won is 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 This film has even been officially selected by Montreal Independent Film Festival, Virgin Spring Cinefest, Asian Film Festival, Los Angeles Hollywood, Chicago Indie Film Awards, Venice Shorts, New York Movie Awards, Florence Film Awards, Toronto Film Channel Festival, Venice Film Awards, and so many more. "It is really clear at this point, "Homeless Sam & Sally - The Movie" is a success and I am a star!"
What is the most challenging thing about making an indie film? If you don't have any investors or partners you can find yourself paying for everything all by yourself. 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 because I get to share my story with the world! How did your real life experiences inspire the making of your film?
In 1986 on January 21st I was born in Cook County, Illinois (Chicago). As the years went by I begin to have a few more siblings. My mother ends up having another son. Later on, as time goes by my father starts to get hooked on drugs while physically and mentally abusing my mother. There was even a time my father would beat my face so badly that I couldn't even go to school. Around the age of 6 in Berrien Springs, Michigan I lost my two-year-old brother in a house fire. This fire destroyed my family home and forced my siblings, parents, and myself to move to Benton Harbor, Michigan in order to start a new life. In Benton Harbor, my family and along with myself had to stay in the shelter. From that day I for the first time had the experience of being homeless and staying in a shelter with questionable characters. Many moons later my mother and siblings and I ran away from the wrath of the abusive father. My mother raises us on her own with the help of family members. My family and I survived off of food stamps and assistance from the government. Around 2004 I leave my family by cab because at the time I didn't agree with everything that was going on in the house. As a result of this, I end up being homeless again and was forced to live in a shelter with questionable characters. There were moments I was able to stay with teachers, friends, and the school's counselor/nurse (Alvin Davis and Deborah Davis) from Benton Harbor High School. A few months later in the year, I received assistance from a professor name Mrs. Collins (Sherry Collins) and her husband Mr. Collins (Solomon Collins) with applying for scholarships and grants for college. This was very overwelling for me in the beginning, but I realized at that point I needed to vent and be more transparent. The majority of the scholarship applications required me to write tons and tons of essays. I even had to do some volunteer service in order to meet the criteria. As a result of my hard work, I end up being accepted to a lot of colleges/universities. After graduating from the Art Institute of California - Los Angeles with honors in 2010 I end up homeless again due to not being able to keep up with my expansive rent in Los Angeles. My past really inspired me to want to share my life with the masses. A lot of people assume that homeless people are on drugs, mentally ill, dangerous, or just plain beggers. The reality is homeless people are like everyone else. Homeless people are usually misunderstood. The sad news revolves around issues of the system not providing enough resources for the homeless community. It can happen to anyone. "Homeless Sam & Sally - The Movie" was made to inspire and give the world a reality check when it comes down to the homeless world. I wanted my audience to feel my pain, but also squeeze a few laughs out of their stomachs. "Inspiration derives from everything!" - Tyrone Evans Clark
When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
After the homeless journey, I get an Internship at 9K9 Interactive where I worked on the video game WWE SmackDown vs. Raw (PS3, PS2, Xbox 360, Wii). Around the same time in the same building, I worked with VW Scheich on the film Wallenda (Rareform Pictures). I Modeled 3d assets and edited scenes with the software Nuke. Later on, I became a 3D Environment Artist for Pantera Entertainment where I worked on Roller Coaster Rampage (PC Game). I produced in-game assets for the HiOctane and Boardwalk Zones (Levels in the video game). A few months later I start up a game company with a friend titled JASTEC STUDIOS. At the company, I was the CEO and technical lead artist for every project that went in and out of the door. Unfortunately, the business lasted for a few years and later on, end up moving to Japan. A few years later I get a job at Macy's as an Associate working in shoes, clothes, and fragrances. Within that time frame, customers would come to the store trying to motivate me to quit and get a job as a performer or to even start my own business in the entertainment field. Most of the time I felt somewhat ambushed, but the reality is the fact I knew they were preaching to the choir and they were right about everything. I needed to move onto something better! I created a website Tyroneevansclark.net (used to be tyroneevansclark.com) for my own business Tyrone Evans Clark, LLC also known as Tyrone Evans Clark Inc. My business would provide VR/AR Development (Python, C++, C#), 3D modeling, animation, identity design, HUD / Ui Templates, branding, Game Content Creation, integrated marketing, advertising, web assets, pre & post-digital printing processes, graphic reproduction, color coding and typography for clients. My website and business eventually got me out of the world of sales/retail. Fast forward I end up working 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). I was even a teacher/professor at a few schools and universities. At STAR Education I worked as a Tech & Games Teacher where I taught children about game development and math while creating worlds in the video game Minecraft. I taught students about game development and computer science at UCLA Recreation as a Computer Science Instructor. I was an amazing Game Programmer Teacher Assistant at Digital Media Academy that was held at UC Irvine at the time. On top of that, I was a Digital Animation Teacher at STEM3 Academy where I taught students with learning disabilities about 3D Animation and Game Development. While all of these events and activities that were going on in my life, filmmaking would pop up now and then. I always wonder how to take my interactive media experiences to the big screen of films and television. I am now working extremely hard in the game development and filmmaking world. I believe in respecting the language of filmmaking while having fun. It is about getting your message across to your spectators in a creative way without giving away your recipe to your sauce!
How important are film festivals and awards in the career of indie filmmakers?
Film festivals and awards are somewhat important in the career of indie filmmaking because honors aren't everything. Some of the best indie films in the world don't have awards or even been accepted into a festival/event. I have major influencer / public figure friends in my circle who hasn't won an award in their entire life, but they are extremely successful in the indie universe. So there is hope for everyone in the filming sector.
I, on the other hand, have won tons of awards since my adolescence. In 2005 I graduated from Benton Harbor High School with honors and a 3.8 GPA. I even made it to the top 10 of my class. I received a few scholarships as well such as the
Push Excel Scholarship,
Horatio Alger Scholarship,
National A.C.E. 2005 Award Winner,
Rosa Parks Scholarship,
Gates Millennium Scholarship, Burger King Scholar, etc. The Horatio Alger Scholarship allowed gave me a full paid trip to Washington D.C. with other scholars from all over the world. I was even able to spend time with public figures and celebrities such as Quincy Jones (CEO, Quincy Jones Productions), Ed McMahon (Television Performer), Billy Graham (Evangelist, Author & Educator), Jeno Paulucci (Chairman & Owner, Luigino's Inc.), Vincent G. Marotta (President, Marotta Corporation), Joe L. Dudley, Sr. (President/CEO, Dudley Products, Inc.), Don Shula (Former Head Coach, Miami Dolphins), and so many more. Maya Angelou even wrote me a personal poem. This poem made me melt with so much joy and hope. Being the National A.C.E. of The Year 2005 gave me a full paid trip to Salt Lake City (City in Utah) for a week. There I gave speeches to thousands and thousands of people about my hardship and the life I wish I obtain years to come. So many icons and public figures took pictures with me. Some even told me in private that I give them hope. I even came close to meeting Bill Cosby face-to-face in person. Push Excel Scholarship open doors for me to meet Jesse Jackson in person with other scholars at the Push Excel Scholar Event in Chicago. I was even able to get a picture taken and a write-up with Jesse Jackson in the JET Magazine with other recipients. Rosa Parks Scholarship honored me in the Detroit News Paper with other scholars and a side by side pic of Rosa Parks herself. Gate Millennium Scholarship had similar perks to the Horatio Alger Scholarship, but the GMS gave me a full-ride scholarship (covers all college expenses) at the Art Institute of California - Los Angeles. Burger King Scholarship gave me some press exposure in a few newspapers and some including The Herald-Palladium. I was even inducted into
The National Honor Society and Marquis Who's Who Registry.
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), and so much more. I was just informed a week ago that "Homeless Sam & Sally - The Movie" is an official selection of the World Premiere Film Awards and a WINNER at the 34th season of Virgin Spring Cinefest. The categories I won at the Virgin Spring Cinefest is Amateur Film (Winner - Gold), Best Actor (Winner - Silver), and Best Director (Winner - Silver).
Again honors, achievements, and being part of a film festival isn't everything but it is nice to have for experience/exposure.
"Continue to work hard because eventually the awards and honors will come!" - Tyrone Evans Clark