Last year I was working on a short horror film set for a movie called “Forced Entry” where I met some really great people from around the area, mostly outside of Peoria, Illinois. One of those people was the director of photography, Travis Legge. Travis is from Rockford, Illinois and is not only a filmmaker, but also a publisher of pen and paper roleplaying games–the kind where you sit around the table and roll dice, a web designer, and provider of ad hoc media production. His latest feature film, Dry Spell, is making its rounds at film festivals this year. I recently had a chance to talk to Travis and ask him about how he got started in filmmaking.
Originally Travis was studying journalism at Rock Valley College when he was assigned to write a story about the Mass Communication program there. Until he got the assignment, he had no idea there was even such a program at the college.
“I did an interview with the department chair, Brian Shelton, and toured the production facility, which is amazing,” he said. One of the reasons he got into journalism was he wanted to be a writer, as storytelling was in his blood, and since filmmaking was moving into a digitally dominated format, he made the leap and switched majors the next semester. He wasted no time once he made the switch, filming his first short, “Skeet Shooting” a couple weeks into the new semester.
He learned a lot at Rock Valley College, but learning to be a filmmaker can’t only be taught in classrooms. Travis worked on actual film sets, both his own, and those of other filmmakers, because as he says, “Filmmaking is learned by doing. I highly recommend […] working on as many low to no budget sets as you can.”
Travis loves being on set, the collaborative efforts of everyone involved in the making of a film bringing a story together to tell it is what he feels it’s all about. “I wanted to tell stories,” he said in a recent interview. “I love nothing more on this earth than the simple art of storytelling. Filmmaking is a direct and straightforward way to tell stories.”
But Travis hasn’t stopped at just filmmaking. He also publishes roleplaying games and roleplaying game material under the Aegis Studios imprint, a wholly owned subsidiary of Plastic Age Productions. His current project is preparing the second edition of their modern horror/urban fantasy game Contagion, due for release in July this year.
Aegis Studios also puts out a line of Lovecraft-inspired games called Glimpse the Beyond and supplemental material for the super power RPG Mutants & Masterminds based on his web series Legacy of the Masque. With comics and an impending graphic novel under his belt–inspired by a mock movie trailer he wrote–Travis is keeping busy.
He’s already begun pre-production work on his next feature film, Bloom, while his latest, Dry Spell, is making the rounds on the festival circuit, in locations like the Hoboken International Film Festival.
Travis has some good, sound advice for young, budding filmmakers, and it is quite simple to remember: “Make movies. There’s no reason not to. Get your money together, shoot, edit and just create. Do a short [film] a month if you can swing it.” Adding to that, advice he would give his younger self, if he could, would be to “just be patient. Do it right.”
Here are links to some of his projects:
Dry Spell Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJMYpY3TV0Q
Dry Spell Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/dryspellmovie
Travis’s You Tube page with tons of footage: https://www.youtube.com/user/Travis2577?feature=watch
DriveThruRPG page for Contagion and other gaming materials: http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/index.php?manufacturers_id=338
Graphic Novel Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Monster-Mash/162450607150351
Blackheart Comics that published two comics of his in 2006: http://www.blackheartcomics.com
Hoboken International Film Fest: http://www.hobokeninternationalfilmfestival.com/schedule-ticket-informat…