Regular readers of It’s A Stampede! will know that I watch and review a lot of movies – from action blockbusters and tense thrillers, to sci-fi spectaculars, gripping dramas, and everything in between. Readers may also be aware that I absolutely love talking about movies.
Whenever I get the chance, I always welcome the opportunity to have a conversation with someone who is interested in film. This has led to some great discussions with people who love to watch movies, as well as those who are inspired to make them!
This week I got to speak to a young filmmaker who is currently finding her way in the movie making business. The person in question is Ashley Nicole, an indie filmmaker who specialises in producing short, low-budget films.
Over the past couple of years, Ashley has been working on her shorts, writing and directing the films from her home in Texas. Ashley has a lot of enthusiasm, and is keen to develop her skills, and this week she was kind enough to talk with me about what she has been up to.
An interview with Ashley Nicole
Hi Ashley, before we talk about your work, let’s begin with a few details about yourself. For those who aren’t familiar with you, who are you and what do you do?
“My name is Ashley Nicole, I’m 22 years old, and I’ve been making short films pretty much since 2020.”
To date, you have written and directed seven short films: Melan (Art of Sadness), Ghost in the Closet, Button Eyes, Stranded, Man Eater, Strange Land, and The Walk. What inspired you to become a filmmaker?
“What inspired me to do this was my love for movies, ever since I was ten years old or so, I’ve loved films! Whether they’re from the ‘60s, the ‘80s – I just love every kind of movie that has been made. But my main inspiration would definitely be Michael Jackson. He was a genius and although I don’t produce music, I find his short films like Thriller & Ghosts to be phenomenal.”
One of the overriding themes of your films appears to be identity – it is certainly a subject which is quite evident in shorts such as Melan, Ghost in the Closet, and Button Eyes. Tell me a little bit about this; are your films a reflection of perhaps your own quest for identity, or is the subject of identity something you are interested in?
“Well I’ve never really thought of my projects to be about self-identify, except Ghost in the Closet. That one is very personal to me and I’m sure it is to people who are dealing with their own sexuality. Melan is also a reflection of my own mental health at times, and what a dark place it can put you in, which is why you see a bunch of creepy masks in some scenes.
“As for Button eyes, I never thought of it as having a theme of self-identify, I just wanted to do something fun and weird. But I am glad people look deep into it.”
Something else which reoccurs in your short films is the subject of horror. Is this a genre you are drawn to and if so, why horror in particular?
“Yes! I absolutely love horror movies, especially ones from the 1980s. I feel like that was a golden age for the genre.”
You produce your shorts on a low budget at home, and you started making them during the global pandemic; did this restrict the films you could make?
“Yes, it did a lot actually, some of my very early short films are just filmed in my room and I didn’t even try and hide it actually, but I try to work with what I had or have since being creative is what being an indie filmmaker is all about! Using resources in a creative way.
“But as I kept making short films I found myself using different techniques to enhance the quality more and it seems to be working very well right now, and I’m happy.”
Are there any projects that you wish to work on but haven’t due to budget/location constraints?
“Oh no, I definitely go to work even if I don’t have a budget. I think what sets back a lot of indie filmmakers is budget, I personally think you don’t need a huge amount of cash in order to make a decent film. Just as long as you’re creative, and have a decent story you can pretty do anything.”
And finally, what is next for Ashley Nicole?
“Well, as of right now I’m working on a new horror short called Home Sweet Home, which is about a girl named Emily who has schizophrenia and believes her home is trying to eat her. I’m also planning on going on a festival run to get my work out to more people and extend my audience.”
Sounds great! Thank you, Ashley, for taking the time to speak to me and good luck with your future projects.
For more information about Ashley, check out her website. And for those of you who are keen to talk film, be sure to get in touch!