A view through the lens

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John Lyde has been going to the movies since he was a little kid — as in, two or three years old. His dad took him all the time, and Lyde developed a love for film at an early age. He remembers seeing the movie “Willow” and being enthralled by the emotions of fear, excitement, humor and romance it evoked in him. It captivated him. It inspired him. Simply put, Lyde knew he wanted to make movies.

Now, more than two decades later, he is fulfilling his dreams by producing movies as a local independent filmmaker.

“I couldn’t see him doing anything else,” Lorien Lyde, Lyde’s wife said. “It’s what he’s being doing since he was 12.”

At age 12, Lyde bought his first camera — VHS-style, of course — and began making short films with friends for school projects.

Lyde said he was self-taught and learned the art of editing over the years, eventually becoming skilled enough that producers hired him to edit films. While he paid the bills by editing, he continued shooting his own projects.

Since then, Lyde has produced and directed various films that have received national attention, such as “Osombie” and “Take A Chance,” as well as several YouTube videos that have had over 8 million views.

But, there are challenges to being an independent film director, not the least of which is money.

“It’s unsteady work,” Lorien said. “You never know when you’re going to have money come in.”

Lorien said there can be issues being a filmaker’s wife, or “filmaker’s widow,” as the industry calls it, due to the long work hours of filmmaker husbands. The couples sometimes worry about things that make being employed nice, like insurance. But thankfully, things have always worked out.

Lyde’s biggest advice to future filmmakers is to make sure it’s fun but to spend the least amount of money possible. He added there’s more to making a film than being creative with a camera.

“There’s a passion in going out and being creative, but some of the most successful filmmakers have business degrees and look at it from the business side,” John said.

He said that with his first big films, he failed to look at them as a business endeavor, and thus, his investors didn’t get much of a return. Having learned this lesson, now he looks at film projects as both creativity and business.

Paul Hunt, a local actor and business partner with Lyde, said Lyde is a director who has learned how to make a very high-quality film project with a very low budget.

“He’s not just an editor, not just a director, he’s got a good business mind too, which has contributed to his success,” Hunt said. “His style is about as indie as you can get, lots of guerrilla film making, but he doesn’t sacrifice quality.”

Lyde takes making successful films out of a small budget one step farther with his ability to make <em>clean</em> films.

“I really like producing my own projects because I can have a say content wise, and I can control the amount of swearing, sex and nudity,” Lyde said.

Lyde said that while working in the mainstream industry would give him a bigger budget for films, he prefers the amount of control and constraint he has in the independent industry.

“He’s very close to his values; that’s one thing I like about working with him,” Hunt said. “He’s still able to pull off interesting, good-quality films without sex in them — that’s a true professional, a true artist.”

Not only do Hunt and other actors enjoy working with Lyde because of his values, they also enjoy it because he is easygoing on the set.

“John’s probably the busiest one on the set, but he’s still super patient with everybody, and he always seems happy,” Spencer Barber, a local actor who has worked on two of Lyde’s films, said, “He’s really easygoing, easy to talk to.”

Lyde hopes to keep making movies for the rest of his life.

“It’s so much fun, I don’t want it to stop,” Lyde said.

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