Wednesday , 26 October 2016
Ben and Renda Ward
Ben and Renda Ward

Local Filmmakers Ben and Renda Ward Follow Their Dreams

imageWhat does it mean to dream? Or hope? When we are all children, we have thousands of hopes and dreams. Whether it is to be a doctor or a dad, we believe all of those things will come true.

For a select few they do come to fruition. But for most of us, the dreams fade — or change.

Recently, I was fortunate enough speak with a group of everyday people in McKinney who have made their dreams come true at different times of their lives.

Sitting in Starbucks, no one passing by would think the three people speaking quietly at a table were talking about what makes horror movies great. But with Ben and Renda Ward, the founders of Stranger Mornings, that’s what they do. To put it simply, they make films from moving dramas to frighting horror. These two are following their dreams.

Though they’ve always been film fanatics, it wasn’t until they decided to enter short film contests that they realized they could pursue a career in film. After some success with a few short film contests, they were ready to move onto bigger and better things: A feature film. Titled Soul Gatherer, Benjamin and Renda not only stayed true to the material in which the film was based on but they even allowed the playwright to help in the production of the film.

“We went to great pains to preserve the elements from the play that we liked,” Ben said.  But at the screening of the film, Renda said they received some mixed reviews. “There were comments of , ‘There were no zombies!’ ” she said.

Straying from their previous short horror films, they  intended to make Soul Gatherer as something people didn’t expect. “The horror genre comes with a lot of baggage, which can either be a good thing or a bad thing,” Ben said. “Because people who like scary movies have probably seen what you’re going to do a millions times — and better versions of that. But on the other hand, they are also more inclined to like what your presenting.”

So whats next for Stranger Mornings? Two horror movies, a drama and a few more projects up their sleeves. “We have a few stakes in the fire, and we do that because you don’t know which ones are going to take off,” Renda said

Dreams take time. But Benjamin and Renda Ward are already ahead by committing to seeing their dream come true. While the material may be dark and scary or funny and heartfelt, what always remains is the dedication to the art of making movies that lies within Stranger Mornings.

And for anyone looking to break into the film business, Ben has some advice that it’s certain he has followed himself.

“Any time there is a competition or any opportunity where you can show your movie to a room full of people who don’t know you, do it,” he said.

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