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Meet Al-e McWhorter

Today we’d like to introduce you to Al-e McWhorter.

Al-e, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I have loved art for as long as I can remember. For the most part, I grew up in parts of Northern California — I spent my days running around outside with my three younger siblings making forts, climbing trees and going mushroom hunting. My parents taught me how to appreciate the world around me and how to find the beautiful parts of life and then hold those experiences close. I had a nearing obsessive tendency to capture everything I experienced.

When I was little, I would carry these small black journals around with me everywhere to make sure I never forgot anything in my day. It then progressed to include painting and drawing, a more abstract reflection of my days. And then there was that one small point and shoot camera I would stick in everyone’s face from about second grade on. I took photos and videos left and right but never really thought anything of it until I looked back on it as an adult.

The older I got, the more invested in studio art I became. While I loved cameras in the way that it captured reality around me, I also loved to paint and draw versions of the moments I found while scrolling through the thousands of photos I took every year. It was a way for me to meditate on past memories and hold their place in time in a form other than pixels. I did not find filmmaking until after I graduated high school. I had planned on getting a degree in studio art until a few weeks after school started. It was then that I started to see filmmaking as something more than going to the movies on the weekend – it was everything I loved about art and life in one package.

A beautiful film combines mastery with so many different skills from so many different people as everything has to fit and move together like clockwork. Each film is a new problem to open up and solve, and once you finish you get up and start all over. There is no finish line because there will never be a shortage of stories to tell or people to meet or images to make. It’s brilliant! So with this excitement, I switched majors immediately and went full steam ahead. These last few years I have learned so much and gained so much appreciation and love for the artists and filmmakers around me.

One thing I find in common between all these people I have met and worked with is this sense of urgency to create. There is no other option or plan B. There is making films … and that’s it. There are some days it almost feels like a curse because no matter how awful and miserable it can get (and it definitely gets like that) there is no turning back. So I guess that’s where I’m at right now, somewhere in the beginning – making, learning and eager to keep going forward.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Oh hell no, but sometimes that’s the best part. Nothing rewarding comes easy and struggle is what lays the foundation for creativity, persistence, and success. Especially in the beginning, as independent filmmakers, it’s a skillful game one has to learn and master. Is it possible to make a budget with no money? Can we find great actors that are okay with working crazy hours? Are we going to be able to fit four hours of camera setups into about 2o minutes? Can I go for days without sleeping? Is this shot worth possibly getting arrested for? The answer is always yes.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
As I mentioned before, I am still at the beginning of this lifelong endeavor where ideas are forming into actions. A few other filmmakers and I are in the beginning stages of creating a production company. We want to be our own source of creativity and eventually have a sustainable way of creating and telling stories. Community is one of the biggest aspects of filmmaking I love and being able to have a group of people around me that I respect and admire is so important in any future endeavors I pursue.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I was around 9 years old. It was late in the afternoon one fall day and I had been watching my sisters and brother all day inside. If I can remember right, I think our eyes were glazed over from watching too much Full House. So we decided to spend the evening outside.

We made these eggs in blanket sandwiches on the stove and packed up a picnic. Blankets and food in hand we marched down the hill from our little ranch house, hopped some fences and climbed up on a big hill about a mile away from our house.

We could see the ocean from the top of the hill. We spent the evening watching the sky turn orange and playing a board game my brother cut out from the back of a cereal box. I don’t know how long we spent out there but it seems so slowed down in my mind. That’s what’s funny about memories. There are so many sped up blurry moments behind you it’s hard to pick them apart; and then there are those slowed down 60fps kinda moments that you can remember so clearly.

Those are the things that really interest me in storytelling, the small moments that happen in between the chaos of life. The small moments that when you look back on them, you realize they were actually enormous gestures. I want to tell the untold tales of the ecstatic in the ordinary from my corner of the world.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Colton Garner, Ly Tran, Trae Whyte

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