Mark Johnson brings do-it-yourself approach to film-making
A black man in the Deep South is bound in chains, menaced and tortured by a stranger. It’s a striking image to start The Stone Circle, the latest film by Mark Johnson, a graduate of George Brown’s screenwriting program.
“We’re leading the audience to believe this is a script about race, or that this is some redneck guy,” said Johnson. The stranger who is menacing the black man, doesn’t care about his prisoner’s race, according to Johnson, he cares about a secret the chained man has.
The Stone Circle is Johnson’s first attempt at fundraising and his most ambitious project to date with a goal of $3,000 on Indiegogo. The project has raised $1,093. Johnson is proud of this achievement, as the money raised has already surpassed the budget of many of his previous films.
For his past films, Johnson mostly served in multiple roles, a do-it-yourself mentality born out of necessity. Johnson would not let lack of funds stifle his passion for creating. In his Fear the Flesh short, for example, Johnson is credited as a writer, director, video, sound, and visual effects editor and more.
Johnson’s tenacity to make do with less is likely grounded in his past, where he and his sister took care of themselves from a young age.
“My sister and me, we started paying rent when we were close to sixteen-years-old,” said Johnson. “We just maintained the household. Those type of situations you finish high-school but you can’t get OSAP, because we gotta pay rent.”
Johnson credits his emergence as a filmmaker to his time at George Brown College’s screenwriting program. But without a gift from a friend, money for course fees, Johnson doesn’t think he would have gone to George Brown.
“I would never have done it myself,” said Johnson. Hesitant to spend money frivolously, this unexpected present was the push Johnson needed to become a filmmaker.
Johnson’s previous eight films are available for free to watch online at his website, www.pressfame.com.