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"It's time to Go Indie Now..."

Heart and Fire Productions is the brain child of Jimmy Lee Combs. A Full fledged Production Company out of Denver, Colorado, Jimmy hasbeen making Independent Films and Web Series for the better part of a decade, almost two now. 

For Jimmy, he can't remember a time when he didn't want to make films but also never let thing slike budget, time, and technology stand in his way. Instead he embraced it and met the challenge head on. His feature film Hans Crippleton: Talk to The Hans made its way across the world in several festivals, all the way into a distribution deal.

As they get ready this fall to release there next feature film, Terror Tales and their webs series Bored As Hell, Jimmy took time out of his busy schedule to give the GoIndieNow faithful (as he has done for us countless times already) a glimpse into his world and a share of his expertise. 

After this Q & A and checking out Heart and Fire and all they do you can go back into time a little bt on our YouTube Channel and see Jimmy, along with his producing partner Kevon Ward as GoIndieNow's very first guests .  Also as a panelist on our filmmaking panel back in October of 2016. 

Here though is a little Q & A with the one and only, awesome Jimmy Lee Combs.
  1. What is one thing about making movies that everyone should understand but probably don’t know?

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    One thing that definitely comes to mind is all the behind the scenes work that goes into making a film especially in the set design. When you do a really good job at something on film, the audience watches in a seamless experience not knowing that one 10 second shot could have literally involved months of work.
  2. What’s one part of a film’s budget you shouldn’t skimp on, a element that you think is the worth paying for?

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    I would say one part of a film’s budget to not skimp on is audio. Whenever possible either invest in your own audio equipment or hire a professional sound mixer. Never settle for internal camera mics just to save money. It doesn’t matter how much you spend on the rest of the film because if your audio is bad it is not very forgiving and will end up spending more money to fix all the bad audio.
  3. Conversely what’s one where you can make a significant cut and not lose the integrity of that need?

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    I would have to say locations. Sometimes when you’re writing a script you write in this big elaborate location to film a scene and find out for budget reasons that it will be too expensive to pull off. This is an example of when you can get creative and not lose the integrity of the scene by reworking it to a more practical location for the budget.
  4. How do you know when a script is ready to shoot or head into pre-production?

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    One key factor and I believe this to be true even when test screening a film and that is to be observant of unbiased recurring feedback. If multiple people keep pointing out the same flaw in your script/movie, it is very important to fix it because chances are the audience is going to pick it out as well. So after several rewrites and applying the feedback is one indicating factor that your script is ready for pre-production. Also they’re certain plot points and story/character arcs that need to be met and satisfied so once you feel you have written the best structured story and characters possible, it’s time to get this baby made. And just know that the script is always subject to change even the day of a shoot so spend ample time getting the script at its very best but don’t spend years and end up procrastinating.
  5. Rank by importance, in your mind, when you are trying to fill a role in auditioning process what you most look for: Ability to Improv or think on their feet, The look of the character, The interpretation of the sides they are reading, their own personality, their experience.

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    This would be my rank of importance during the audition process and I’ll even add one more: -Their ability to take direction -Their Interpretation of the sides they’re reading -Their own personality -Their experience -The look of the character -Their ability to improve or think on their feet
  6. Have you ever had to fire someone on set and if so how did you handle it?

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    Yes I have. It was the worst experience of my filmmaking career. I dealt with it by talking with the person in private and letting the person know they would no longer be involved in the project.
  7. Looking at your first film and the last thing you shot, what is the major difference in your mind?

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    Audio. Audio. Audio. I’m so much more mindful of audio on all my later projects. It is mind numbing to watch my first film or I should say listen lol. You don’t have to have the greatest cinematography but you damn sure better be mindful to the audio of your film. Trust me, when you watch your film on a theater system, all your bad audio will be enhanced so make sure you record the cleanest audio possible.
  8. You have embraced, used, and honed the digital revolution beautifully but is there still something within the digital field that you are waiting for technology to come up with?

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    On the topic of audio I would really love it if someone created a recording device that just recorded pure clean vocals of the actors with the touch of a button. No annoying back ground noise what so ever because once that gets embedded into the audio it’s a nightmare to get out if at all. So say goodbye to that airplane flying by overhead killing your perfect take, train nearby no problem, dog parking at the mail man absent, cast/crew member forgot to turn their cell phone off no sweat lol. No more would you hear the words hold for audio while you wait for all those back ground annoyances to pass.
  9. Have you written anything for screen that you don’t plan to produce or do under the Heart and Fire productions, meaning, that you are trying to sell? If so , what have you learned about that experience?

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    You know it’s interesting that you bring this question up because I have a great example. So there is a Super Natural Action Western that I’m writing called Spirit Reckoning that I submitted to the Project Green Light Reel Fear Horror Contest with the knowledge of knowing that if the film won the contest it would no longer be a Heart and Fire Production, it would be made by the Project Greenlight team with hopefully my involvement. What I learned about this particular experience is to be extra careful when entering contest like this because it turned out to be total a scam of a contest and waste of time. The moral of this story is to never rely on a contest or something similar to get your film made. If nobody else is going to finance your film, figure out a way to make it on your own. Heart and Fire Productions will absolutely be producing our film Spirit Reckoning and making it a reality.
  10. A studio comes to you and says we want to make your movie and you have a choice, we will give $10 million but you have to shoot everything in 10 days or we will give you $1 million and 10 weeks to shoot. What do you choose and why?

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    That’s a tough one but I got to go with my gut and say 1 million with 10 weeks. I fear with 10 million I would exhaust the hell out of my cast & crew trying to cram my 10 million dollar vision in to 10 days lol. Having produced great results on such a low budget, I’m confident I could deliver something very satisfying with 1 million and more shoot dates.
  11. What’s 1 indie film you look at and say, damn they did that just about perfect?

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    This is a very tough question so many amazing indie flicks that did it just about perfect. You know I’ll go with my favorite horror flick the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
  12. What has been your shortest day shooting and what has been your longest?

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    I’d say maybe like a 4 hour shoot day was the shortest. And longest shoot day I would say there was a few of those shooting our first feature Hans Crippleton: Talk to the Hans where we had at least one 14 hour shoot day.
  13. What is next, and on the horizons for you and Heart and FIre Productions?

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    Next will be the release of our second feature film, a horror anthology called Terror Tales. Next up will be our third feature film Spirit Reckoning, a supernatural action western that we’re billing as John Woo meets Sergio Leonie meets the horror genre. Pre-production and raising funds for the film begin this year and we’ll shoot it summer 2018. Also, we’re in post production on season one of our horror comedy web series Bored as Hell co-created with my partner in crime Kevon Ward that we’ll release online in September.There is a drama I want to write a pilot episode for called “Scar” along with a proof of concept trailer to compliment it and submit to Amazon Studios (if Amazon passes on it, we’ll film it ourselves). We did a photo shoot recently for some publicity stills for “Scar” that came out amazing! Also, incredibly excited to partner with local acting coach and a dear friend of mine Christine Reed with Peak Acting Studios to help bring her vision to life of a film camp program for kids where we shoot a short film and cast kids in the roles. Our first film camp will be shot in Kansas and has potential to expand in something bigger!

​​SOME OF HEART AND FIRE PRODUCTIONS' WORK: