Welcome back to filmmaker Conrad Glover, currently on set in Las Vegas filming his series “Shades of Sapphire.” I’ve been following Conrad’s work in film ever since he hired me to do some set photography for a horror feature he was directing. (2005’s Woods of Evil.) Since then, he’s been doing ever bigger and better things with his production company, JOCO Films. He’s in the middle of production and all the craziness that entails, but he stopped by to answer a few questions and give us some quick peeks into the world of Sapphire.
Q (Infamous Scribbler): What is your current project?
A (Conrad Glover): Sapphire St. Clair, known as Queen St. Clair, has a heart of gold, but is the most feared woman in Las Vegas underworld. This is her story. She is the great granddaughter to Stephanie St. Clair, who was the right hand man to Bumpy Johnson, Harlem’s notorious gangster and crime boss. This is how Sapphire learned the street game that was passed down to her as a small child.
Once released from Danbury federal prison after doing a 10 year stretch, Sapphire St. Clair moved to Las Vegas to start her own criminal enterprise. As Sapphire’s success grew in her many businesses, this brought on unscrupulous attention from dirty law enforcement who tried to stop her, all for a piece of the wealth that they knew Sapphire obtained from her illegal dealings.
“Shades of Sapphire” is a crime action/drama that is full of plot twists and turns. Las Vegas will serve as the backdrop of this web series. The show will be shot at a high production value. The WIRE meets POWER type of story, but with more action!
Q: There are tons of filmmakers out there, trying to bring their project to life. How did you get yours off the ground?
A: I was able to get this project off the ground after talking with my distributor Doug Schwab, CEO of Maverick Entertainment. We have had a long working relationship for over a 10-year span. We talked about “Shades of Sapphire,” he liked the concept, so he decided he wanted to come on as the Executive Producer on the project.
Q: What are some of the challenges you have faced doing the project? How did you overcome them?
A: The biggest challenge with this project I would have to say is scheduling the day-to-day shoot. Shooting a series is much harder than doing a feature film, because you’re casting more actors, and you’re constantly on the hunt for new locations for each new episode. It can be very stressful at times.
Q: You are working in a bit of a stylized genre. What do you do to keep the project aligned with your vision?
A: This project is more of drama/action. I think what’s different about this project is that the female lead is black for one. Second she’s running a crime organization in the heart of Las Vegas. Plus no one is squeaky clean in this series. We have all types from the Russian mob, Italian mob, street thugs to the Mexican cartel, etc.
Q: What are some aspects of working with actors that you find integral to the process?
A: I love working with actors. Acting is where I started in this business. I love being able to speak the language of an actor, knowing what strings to pull to get the performance I want from them. (IS Note: For more of Conrad’s insight into the craft of acting and film, check out my 2013 interview with him on filmmaking and the work he was putting in to his career.)
Q: What is the next step in finishing the project? What comes after that?
A: Post- production, which usually takes two months if everything goes as planned. Once that’s done, the project is sent to the distributor to be cleared. Then it’s just a waiting game on a release date. In the meantime, it’s back to writing and preparing for the next project.
Q: Anything to add?
A: Anyone thinking about becoming a filmmaker? Learn to write, write, write, I can’t stress this enough. Everything starts with a good script. Also learn to write stories with a budget you can put your hands on to make your movie. I’ll close this out by saying…. Always follow your dreams, never give up.