An interview with filmmaker Tyrone Evans Clark
Tyrone Evans Clark is a prolific creator. From television series to movies, to video games, and more Clark is interested in all things entertainment. One of his most recent projects is Homeless Sam and Sally – The Movie, based on a television series of the same name.
Clark isn’t afraid to open up about the struggles he faced growing up & Homeless Sam and Sally is a perfect example of this. This hard working man has lofty goals and a determination to get there. We had the opportunity to ask him a few questions about his career. Here’s what he had to say.
Tell us about your journey into filmmaking. What did you do before becoming a filmmaker?
I am originally from Chicago, Illinois and I haven’t always had it easy throughout my life. My family and I were part of the low income community. My biological mother ended up marrying a man who was extremely abusive and he just couldn’t let go of the heavy drugs “crack/cocaine”. For years my mother put up with his BS while trying her best to raise my siblings and I the correct way throughout our adolescence.
Fast forward in my life I end up losing my two-year-old brother in a house fire during the time when I personally was experiencing all types of abuse from people I suppose to trust and along with constantly being bullied at school / my after school job for being different (We we’re living in Berrien Springs, Michigan during this time). Most of the time throughout my life as a child I was misunderstood because people didn’t know what I was going through every single day.
As a result of the house fire my family and I ended up being homeless for a while and had to move to Benton Harbor Michigan for a better life. There we stayed in a homeless shelter with questionable characters. Many years later my mother ends up being motivated by her children and a close friend to leave the wicked puppet master AKA my dad.
In 2005 I graduated from Benton Harbor High School with high honors and extremely popular scholarships such as the Horatio Alger Scholarship, Gates Millennium Scholarship, Rosa Parks Scholarship, Burger King Scholarship, Rainbow PUSH Excel Coalition Scholarship, and much more. On top of that I was the A.C.E Award Winner of 2005 and I graduated with a 3.8 GPA landing me in the top 10 of my class.
In 2010 I graduated from the Art Institute of California – Los Angeles with a Bachelors of Science in Game Art & Design. I flew out of AI (the Art Institute) with a 3.0 GPA and making it into the Principal’s List in spite of people picking on me and calling me crazy.
One thing I’ve learned in this world is to always have a good reason behind your craziness because most of the successors had to be in order to achieve such great success.
Shortly after graduating from [the] AI my craziness end up getting me a job as a video game artist / game programmer at some of the most popular creative studios in the world such as Beckman Coulter Diagnostics, QUALCOMM, STAGE (VR Company), NewtonX, Storymind Entertainment (Kyiv, Ukraine), [and many others.]
I end[ed] up creating my own technology / entertainment company called Tyrone Evans Clark Incorporation (TEC Inc.) where we focus on advanced technology, apps creation, film / TV production, health, robotics / artificial intelligence (AI), etc.
Now I am a American entertainer / actor / director and is famously known for my work on Homeless Sam & Sally (2019) (TV Series on Binge Networks), Homeless Sam & Sally – The Movie (2020), Reverie (2018), Netflix’s Velvet Buzzsaw (2019), Netflix’s Magic for Humans (2020), LIFETIME’S Seatbelt Psychic, E! Entertainment’s Dating #NoFilter (2019), BET’s Running Out of Time, AXS TV’s Women of Wrestling (2019), and so much more.
I’m even known for producing, singing, writing, and performing the songs “Look Me in My Eyes”, “Gotta Get Some Tissue!”, “We Gotta Figure It Out” (Homeless Sam & Sally – The Movie / TV Series Theme Song), “Video Game”, “Hope”, “Inside of Me!” (Courtesy of Tyrone Evans Clark Inc.). The majority of these songs are heard in Homeless Sam & Sally – The Movie.
Films are the windows of souls for people who want to be entertained.
Is there any particular film or TV show that inspired you to enter the world of film?
Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots (TV Series on OWN) and anything with Whoppi Goldberg / Eddie Murphy / Martin Lawrence / Halle Berry / Denzel Washington / Jim Carrey is in. I love all of these talented individuals and I enjoy the magic that each of them bring to the screen.
I enjoy the Sister Act Franchise and Whoppie as a comical nun (Deloris Van Cartier) who always brought the house down with her music and funk. Beverly Hills Cop is such an amazing platform in the filming/TV industry. Eddie Murphy who plays as a rebellious cop Axel who doesn’t play with all the rules. [sic] Plus Eddie is funny as hell.
He was one of the ones who inspired me to move to California in order to pursue my dream in entertainment. Low-key a lot of people don’t know my secret, but only close family members, but when I was a child the first thing I wanted to do was to be a comedian just like my boy Eddie.
I would talk about butts and my people (beautiful black people) and of course use vulgar language now and then. I would even do a small stand up in front of family members around the age of 5 – 6 years old. At that time they were my audience and in my head I was the little Eddie of the family.
I love just about everything Martin Lawrence was in, but my favorite is the Marin Show that aired between 1992-1997. He pretty much plays as himself. This is a show worth watching and a big key to black culture / excellence that really opens up the door for other black/brown creative individuals like myself in this industry.
I feel personally Halle Berry and Denzel Washington both bring tons of spirit and emotions to every film/TV series they were cast in. There are so many I can name and talk about, but out of all of the movies/shows they have been in my favorites are the Perfect Stranger and Man on Fire.
I personally find Jim Carrey to be one of the encyclopedias’ guides to comedy, and along with his other comedic counterparts, but this guy knows how to go in and out of character similar to Eddie Murphy. My favorite movie he starred in was The Mask. I enjoyed his humorous energy to every scene he walked into when he put on the mask.
My [favorite] unforgettable line from the movie is “sss-smokin”. At 10 years old I would go everywhere screaming out “sss-smokin” to everyone who came in my path. Damn I love some Jim Carrey!
What made you want to work in the film industry?
My love for video games (PAC-MAN, Super Mario Bros, Sonic The Hedgehog, Street Fighter, Resident Evil, Mortal Kombat, etc.) and binge watching TV shows for hours on a regular basis. I am a media whore with a taste of millennial.
I enjoy the energy films bring to my spirit such as Whoppi Goldberg in The Color Purple, Halle Berry in 2004’s Catwoman and many more. Films are supposed to create an emotion and be able to make you feel something in your soul. No one doesn’t want to watch a movie [sic] with no meaning or purpose behind it.
Evey film/movie that I have watched in the past made me want to be part of the magic. I wanted to be in their stories and work my way to a happy ending. In life I can’t always get a happy ending or get the plot that my story is craving for, but in movies I can. I can be anything I want to be and I can make my characters do anything I want them to do because it is my story.
When I am the filmmaker I become God, who controls the story and narrative to all of the characters in the beautiful cinematic masterpiece.
What inspired you to create Homeless Sam & Sally?
Throughout my life I was battling with homelessness, especially during my time of youth. I wasn’t completely stable and my family was struggling a lot while my mom was trying her best to keep her children well fed. Later on around my 20s I ended up homeless again numerous times because I couldn’t keep up with the high-rent.
On top of that, I also stayed in homeless shelters with questionable characters in Michigan and California. Many moons later I shared my story in Kevin Trudeau’s Investigating Free Money. This aired on TV for the entire world to see. I told the interviewer / host of the show Misha Dibono about my trials and tribulations from being homeless. I also gave her info regarding the prestigious scholarships I’ve received throughout the years such as the Horatio Alger Scholarship, Gates Millennium Scholarship, etc.
Homeless Sam & Sally – The Movie is a manifestation of my life with a twist of comedy and quirkiness. When people watch my movie I want them to feel the energy/essence of my story. My life is the main inspiration for everything I have become today and along with the Homeless Sam & Sally Franchise.
Around January 2018, 552,830 people were reported as homeless in the United States and this is including a combination of sheltered and unsheltered individuals.
Homelessness is just as real as racism and they both need a major cure.
Homeless peoples lives matter, Black lives matter, trans lives matter, LGBTQA+ lives matter, immigrants lives matter.
Walk us through your creative process and why these themes were important to you in your film.
My creative process consists of a pipeline with good references and excellent actors, but a lot of it comes from within me. I lived the life of homelessness so I really didn’t have to do the research for creating Homeless Sam & Sally – The Movie or Homeless Sam & Sally (TV Series on Binge Networks).
Before anything I spend a few days writing a script and allowing my mind to drift off to la-la land so the creative juices can merge onto the paper. I take time studying/watching films which possibly contain similar story synopsis. There really isn’t such a thing as a new story. It is really all about telling the story in a different way.
For example, Cinderella has so many versions of itself all over the world on various platforms such as video games, movies, toys, etc. Another major example are movies containing superheroes. We always wonder how they get their powers. Some might have got them from birth, mutation, some type of horrible accident, etc.
At the end of the day it is the same story about a typical superhero or regular heroine. These stories are not original, they are just told in a different way. With that being said, I feel personally strong about having a good story overall beyond any process when it comes down to filmmaking.
If your story is crap then all of your viewers will feel like crap while watching it. Creating a story with substance and a type of energy. My energy could be the feeling of sadness, happiness, scariness, confusion, etc. I want my audience/spectators to feel something. At the end of the day I don’t want them to be the same after they have watched my film/show.
Lastly I feel casting should take place because at this point you should know what you want for example the type of characters you want in your movie/show. Actors can bring excellent production value, but the environment and the story can also bring major value to your digital medium.
In my case it was super smooth when it came down to casting. I chose to play the lead Character, Sam, because we couldn’t find anyone who could really pull off being me. This made the casting process so much easier. Plus I’m the only one who knows my story well. So I should be crazy, over-the-top, spicy Sam.
Overall, I respect the process but without a good story you have nothing.
What was the first project you worked on, and what did you learn from it?
The first project I worked on was a film relating to communication skills while I was a student at Benton Harbor High School around 2002. What I learned from it is the fact that I really enjoy the film pipeline and everything relating to production. I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it similar to Homeless Sam & Sally – The Movie. My film was played to everyone on a regular basis because my teacher loved it so much.
It taught my classmates about communication/people skills. Pretty much the things you need to know when you’re interacting with others throughout this world. After I was awarded with praise from my fellow-classmates and teachers I decided to pursue my career in the arts / interactive media field.
I wanted to share stories with people and make them feel something. I don’t care if they feel it through a movie or a video game. I just wanted them to feel something. When my spectators feel my films/video games it really shows me that my work has a soul. I want everyone and this is including myself to feel the soul of my interactive / digital media.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself being an extremely wealthy American entertainer / actor / director who is known for success. I am very confident because Homeless Sam & Sally – The Movie has won numerous awards such as a [the] July 2020 Finalist of Independent Shorts Awards (Certificate of Achievement), August 2020 Semi-Finalist of IndieX Film Festival (Certificate of Achievement), August 2020 Honorable Mention: Best Comedy of Kosice International Monthly Film Festival (KIMFF) [and many more.]
I like to win and be honored for the hard work that I put my soul into, but at the end of the day it’s not always about the honors / awards. The most important thing for me to do is to spread my messages to the world through my interactive / digital media.
Interactive / digital media always stimulates the senses.
If any director could direct the story of your life, who would you choose and why?
Just like me, Tyler Perry / Quentin Tarantino because they both direct, produce, write, and act pretty much in all of their films. I know I’m cheating for picking two, but I can’t help it. Both of them are crazy, funny, and somewhat have a darkside. Both of these incredible guys are very similar to me.
For example just about every character from the Tyler Perry’s universe, such as Madea, can easily fit into the world of Homeless Sam & Sally, and this is even including my own personal life. Quentin Tarantino would be the person that would easily get me. I can honestly see myself going to a bar and drinking with him while talking about life and a bunch of movie ideas. My story is dark, but at the end of it there will be sunshine. I need a director who isn’t afraid to be funny, but at the same time respect[s] the darkness too.
You have to have the darkness in order to appreciate the light.
What indie creators should we be keeping on our radar?
Me of course, because I’m very relatable to people and I have so many more stories to share. I’m even working on a few fantasy/sci fi young adult novels. Eventually I plan to turn these novels into video games for VR / AR experiences. As an indie creator I have total respect for the creative process and I am well versed in everything such as producing, writing, acting, along with creating the 3D VFX(s), etc.
I’m technically considered the renaissance man. I do it all and along with creating educational material for students and engineers in the tech field. I am a manifestation of growing technology in the world who is influenced by social media, video games, music, and a bunch of other stuff.
So please keep your eyes open because I am the modern rock star that isn’t afraid to tap in and out of the 80s now and then.
What is your next film project?
First of all I plan to turn Homeless Sam & Sally – The Movie into a VR/AR Game for people to play and enjoy. I really want to take my story of the Homeless Sam & Sally franchise to the next level. Interactive media always win[s], especially at a time like this one. Most of this generation comes into this world with smartphones and are already married to their favorite apps. I’m obsessed with emojis and gifs. I can’t help it! I love avatars and being able to express myself any way I can and that includes different types of mediums.
The next major genres I would love to play in are fantasy, more comedy, horror, action, thriller, and some syfy. I love aliens, monsters, and creatures of the night. Yes; I’m a freak, but at the same time I want to make people laugh now and then.
I’m not completely sure what film / genre I will do next, but I know for sure whatever it is, it is going to be a masterpiece.
Art is just like beauty, it is in the eyes of the beholder.