We Make Movies is a diverse, synergistic, sustainable ecosystem for artists and content creators that is paving the way towards democratizing storytelling, and the industry as a whole. Gone are the days when excessive financing, unattainable tools of the trade, and permission from industry gatekeepers unnecessarily limit us from telling stories. We’re dedicated to empowering creatives of all ages by providing free weekly workshops, discounted resources and services, educational industry events, showcases, and film challenges.Become a Member
MAKE IT FUN WHILE YOU MAKE IT.
ALWAYS DELIVER ON YOUR DREAM.
QUALITY = MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR RESOURCES.
HELPING THE COMMUNITY IS HELPING YOURSELF.
BE DIRECT. BE KIND.
MAKE THE MOVIE THAT YOU WANT TO SEE.
Founder / Chief Executive Officer
Sam Mestman is the CEO of We Make Movies, the Founder of Lumaforge (www.lumaforge.com) and the lead contributor for the largest Final Cut Pro X website in the world, fcp.co (www.fcp.co). As a professional editor and colorist, he has worked for Apple, ESPN, Glee, and Break Media (to name a few), and has edited or colored hundreds of shorts, features, web series, and probably every other type of content you can think of. He is also the architect behind some of the largest FCPX integrations in the world, including Focus, the world’s first studio feature edited with Final Cut Pro X. His current passion is video literacy and bringing We Make Movies' Smartphone Studio mobile filmmaking workshops to communities around the world.
Chief Financial Officer
Chief Strategy Officer
Sapna Gandhi is an actor, singer-songwriter, and content creator. In addition to TV credits such as BOSCH, SHAMELESS and SCANDAL, she has appeared in numerous shorts, features, and series, including festival darlings IN ABSENTIA (Raindance) and THUMPER (Tribeca). Gandhi created the comedic series BROAD STROKES, produced and starred in the short BREAK and feature ABOUT STRANGERS (both under the umbrella of her production company Elegant Grotesque), and has produced several series and films (most recently SCRAP, starring Anthony Rapp and Vivian Kerr, and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds’ STRANDED ON THE EARTH, directed by Mike Bruce). She is also 1/2 of the musical duo, VATAVARAN, was born in England, raised all over the states, studied English and Women’s Studies, and trained at the American Conservatory Theatre in SF. [email protected]
Eric Michael Kochmer
VP of Content
Kochmer is a writer/director/producer with a background in experimental theater, mentored under Elizabeth Swados at LaMama Theatre. Upon relocating to LA he produced and starred in avant garde filmmaker George Landow’s film DIALOGUES (2009). Kochmer’s directorial feature film debut WAY DOWN IN CHINATOWN (WMMFest) found distribution through 366WeirdMovies and Amazon. 2018 saw the release of his second feature film ABOUT STRANGERS: Road Series Volume I (Best Picture Award, Innuendo International Film Festival), as well as the first phase of the project I'VE SAID AND DONE THINGS THAT NO-ONE WILL EVER REMEMBER (over 100 episodes). He is currently in development on a live, multimedia version of the series, adapted for galleries and art spaces. His 3rd feature, HER AND HIM, as well as his 4th feature, the documentary JACK MADE A PLAY ABOUT JOHN, are both slated to premiere in 2021. [email protected]
Chief Technology Officer
Multitasking is a way of life for Eric, a self-described “Hollywood Hyphenate” who grew up in South Florida. When something needs doing and you aren’t sure exactly how to do it or who to call? The answer is probably him. A go-to guy for DIT, web, and pretty much anything involving being on or near a computer. As avid an actor and musician as he is a techie, he’s performed in the feature film LOVE LUST AND A ROOM KEY, Shakespeare, and in various internet shorts and sketches, some that he has penned. [email protected]
A Baltimore, MD native, Allyson moved to New York where she studied at The William Esper Studio and had her first feature film debut in Poultrygeist:_Night_of_the_Chicken_Dead. The slaughtered chicken decided the next best move would be to move to Los Angeles during the writer’s strike. Refusing to be derailed by her unfortunate timing, she appeared in and assisted on the Speechless Without Writer's campaign, directed by her mentor George Hickenlopper. After years in Hollywood, multiple acting groups, she was finally introduced to a community that, well, it's in the name, We Make Movies. Life altering. Family of creators, 8 Aprons production company formed, and a Hollywood Vampires web series evolved. Constantly continuing stuff in the works. Making movies you want to see. Stay tuned. [email protected]
Tehana is an actor, artist, entertainer and business professional who serves, uplifts, inspires, and empowers people to make our communities, societies, and world better. A native Houstonian with Liberian roots, she is a graduate of the Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business, has been nominated for several awards as an actress, and is an award-winning filmmaker. Tehana is a world traveler, a nature lover, a life-long learner and she delights in all things food! [email protected]
A Hawaiian producer, writer, director and performer, Chad spent nearly half his life performing in more than fifty plays, including two years traveling the world with STOMP. Chad’s film and TV appearances include ‘Charmed’, ‘Killian’s Chronicle’ and ‘Mid-Century’ with John Glover and fellow Boston University alum, Faye Dunaway. Since moving behind the camera, he launched a production company with his wife, Kendall Kanoa Kukahiko, with whom he’s completed a number of pieces; a motion comic, a transmedia piece that was featured on Wired.com and a one-man show. Chad now runs We Make Movies' expansion in Australia and New Zealand, where he moved in 2019.
For nearly 20 years, Ron Dawson has been a professional video producer, content marketer, and influencer in the visual arts industry. Most recently he was managing editor of the Frame.io blog and currently is managing editor of the Film Riot Blog and a podcast Story Producer for Wistia. He created and produced "Radio Film School" which NoFilmSchool called "The filmmaking podcast we've all been waiting for." (It's often described as This American Life for filmmakers.) As the owner of Blade Ronner Media, he helps brands and creative artists tell their stories using blogging, podcasting, effective SEO strategies, and video production. (A little-known fact: he used to dance on a semi-professional Lindy Hop dance troupe where his signature move was leap-frogging over his partner and landing in the splits).
Social Media Director
Serene Zloof (aka Datgirl) is a writer, producer, actress, and electronic music producer/MC, with a flair for magical-surrealism, crazy-for-real characters, and techie-satire. She loves bringing episodic comedy and electronic rap videos together -- writing, producing, editing, scoring and acting as many characters in the new pop-culture music-festival comedy series POP&SPIN. Datgirl also tours internationally as a DJ/live producer/MC, and writes and performs one-girl multi-character metaphysical comedy plays (now turned into the podcast “datgirl presents”), hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as “hallucinatory, funny, and provocatively perceptive.” Find all thingsss datgirl on www.datgirl.tv, instagram, or on Youtube. [email protected]
Improv / Sketch Outreach & Performance Lab Coordinator
Jack Zullo is a Los Angeles based actor, writer and filmmaker, born in Manhattan and raised on Long Island, New York. He burst onto the LA scene in 2007 with a 6 month run in the hit sketch shows, "Friendly Neighbors" and "Bathroom Talk," and hasn't looked back. Most recently, he earned accolades in 2016's mixed-media bio show, "Live From the Grave....It's John Belushi!" playing the title role. His film and TV credits include, JIMMY KIMMEL, EPIC RAP BATTLES OF HISTORY, and BRICK STONE NEWS. He is stage trained by Sondra Lee (contemporary stage method) and The Actor's Gang (The Style), improv trained by Keith Johnstone, Groundings (I, II), and is a Westside Comedy graduate, plus a litany of on-camera workshops. He's also produced four short projects. [email protected]
Post Production Lab Coordinator
Patrick began his filmmaking career producing, writing, and starring in SO, WHAT’S IN JERICHO? in 1998. JERICHO? was an early example of digital filmmaking and raising money by a primitive form of crowdfunding (he asked family and friends for money and promised perks without use of the internet). Moving to LA in 2000, he wrote, produced and directed the short films HOLLYWOOD, THE HARD WAY, THE SHABBOS BIGFOOT, and A MOCK TIME: A ‘STAR TREK’ WEDDING, as well as several industrial films for UCLA Medical. He joined WMM in 2012, wrote and acted in the WMM Challenge winning sketch MISERY DATE, and then wrote, directed, produced and edited the award winning short JES AND LORA. As an editor, he worked on the award winning features, CARBON NATION and ASSISTING VENUS. His latest acting and filmmaking project to be released soon is the short comedy LIFE’S A PITCH, and as an actor he’s appeared on GUIDING LIGHT, DAYS OF OUR LIVES, & PARKS AND RECREATION. [email protected]
A graduate of UC Santa Cruz, it was over a decade ago that Michael moved to Los Angeles to work as an actor. He had early success with a small role on the NBC show FREAKS AND GEEKS, and in the years that followed, Michael has worked on well over one-hundred projects playing everything from a serial killer, to a mentally challenged man-child, from God, to the devil, from a peeping pervert, to a romantic leading man. While acting will always be his first love, since coming to We Make Movies in 2010, Michael has written numerous short films, three pilots and even a feature film script. He’s also become known as an editor and producer.
Whit Spurgeon was born in Wichita, KS, raised in Muncie, IN, schooled in Syracuse, NY and London, England, forged as a performer in Chicago, and presently resides and works as an actor and director in North Hollywood, CA. His Chicago years include over three dozen TV commercials, as well as parts in numerous Jeff Citation and Award-winning plays, including "Hizzoner" at Prop Theatre, the world premiere of Rebecca Gilman's "Glory of Living" at Circle Theatre, and Clifford Odets' "Awake and Sing!" at Timeline Theatre. While in Chicago he helped form the National New Play Network with Prop Theatre, where he worked extensively in script development. Since moving to LA, Whit has appeared in dozens of short films, directed half a dozen of his own shorts, and played featured roles on TV in COUGAR TOWN, FRESH OFF THE BOAT, and the YouTube Red Series, LIZA ON DEMAND, as well as being featured in two modern cult horror films, CHASTITY BITES and VICTOR CROWLEY. [email protected]
Writers Lab Casting
Thanks to her parents’ love of acting and the theater, Christina Gray grew up backstage and on stage in her small Texas hometown. She is now a seasoned SAG-AFTRA actor, as well as a producer, writer, 1st AD, and script supervisor. Christina is particularly proud of her first original short film called HAPPY HOUR which she wrote, co-produced, and also starred in, and which won several awards in the festival circuit. This past summer, she went back to her theater roots and performed as one of an eight-woman ensemble cast in a play called SPEAK I WILL, based on the unique Fractured Shakespeare concept. Christina has run an internationally successful script consultant business for almost 15 years, and she also works as a literary editor and has worked on all types of material from technical user manuals to full length sci-fi, action, thriller, and romance novels to illustrated children’s books. [email protected]
Performance Lab Coordinator
David is an actor, writer and filmmaker whose work includes THE WASTELAND, GET SPY, THE HUMAN PROJECT, LIEN ON ME and the feature film SURVIVING NEW YEAR’S currently streaming on Amazon Prime. His production company, Double Yellow Line Films, continues to produce short films, TV shows, new media and feature films. David received his BA from Adams State University and MFA from the University of California Davis, where he also taught courses in acting, directing and screen writing. You can learn more about David by visiting www.davidbeatty.net
Veteran Team Members
Joe Leonard works as an editor, producer and director. As an editor, he has cut on GLEE, AMERICAN HORROR STORY, EMPIRE, STAR and THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE. His feature credits include the Blumhouse film THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN (directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon) and 3 DAYS OF NORMAL (directed by Ishai Setton). He wrote and directed the indie feature HOW I GOT LOST (produced by Jared Parsons, Massoumeh Emami and Sam Mestman), which premiered at the Newport Beach Film Festival in 2009. He is proud to have helped develop the Writers Workshop, as well as the first two slates of WMM Originals. Joe directed SNUGGLE BUNNY (co-written with Stephanie Sanditz) as part of that first slate.
Tara Samuel hails from Toronto, Canada, where she was classically-trained at the George Brown Theatre School, and began her career on the professional stage. She has appeared on several TV shows but is most widely known for her role "Tara Williams" in SUE THOMAS: F.B.EYE. She received a Best Actress Award from the Manhattan International Film Festival, for her role "Ruby" in the film RUBY BOOBY. Other film credits include WILD PRAIRIE ROSE (Winner, Audience Choice Award, Sedona International Film Fest), STAND THE GAFF, TIGER ORANGE, WAY DOWN IN CHINATOWN, HUNT THE MAGUFFIN, THE INTERVIEW, THE RWANDA BLEND, TANYA & GARY, PRAIRIE SONATA, THE DRAIN, and THE THURD EYE. As a filmmaker, Tara wrote, directed, produced and starred in the Oscar- qualifying FIND (The Journal of Short Film), which screened at festivals around the world , she co-founded Busterhouse Productions, and is CEO of www.scriptkicker.com .
Director of Community
Christopher Frederick joined WMM when he was cast as the SNUGGLE BUNNY (directed by founder Joe Leonard). He directed the web series How We Make Movies, created "Improv Night" that gave birth to sketch challenges that were eventually shot for the WMM SKETCH SHOW, assisted with the "Up On Our Feet" Night, assistant produced the "Equal Writes" program, and sat on the operations board. He also designed the current logo, and contributed his talents on design work for the group across print and web. As an actor, he trained with Dan Harmon (for improv), Upright Citizens Brigade, and the William Esper Studio (NYC). Current projects include a TV pilot based on the short film BAKED ZITI, and the short film HER & HIM (created with WMM member Susan Louise O'Connor).
Writers Queue Management / Director of Sponsorship
Lynette is a Marymount Manhattan College trained Latin actor, producer, and story teller, known for her work in LUX IN EFFECT, OVERNIGHT, and PROJECT HOLLYWOOD. She has worked as an actress in film, theater and TV in New York, Puerto Rico and Los Angeles. Lynette is passionate about improving the representation of women of color in front of and behind the camera. She is currently developing and producing two forms of original content that reflect her artistic voice and vision; short doc series BARE IT ALL, and a seven episode anthology for TV. Lynette recently worked as the associate producer of the award winning short MEDIATION with Freddy Rodriguez (Six Feet Under, The Night Shift) and Marley Shelton (Sin City) and also produced the feature LET'S GET TO IT.
Valentina Vee is a filmmaker working in the digital space on branded and charity content. She’s worked with Sony, National Geographic, Mashable, YouTube, AT&T, Adobe, and Apple. She hopes to educate the WeMakeMovies community on digital strategies and filmmaking for the web.