Published on July 29th, 2019 | by Jessica Williams


Exclusive Interview with Mack Wilds: From Behind The Camera

Actor, singer, and Grammy-nominated songwriter Mack Wilds has teamed up with Director Greg Cally, to try his hand at producing and directing short films, a major difference from his in front of the camera persona.

Known for his roles as Michael Lee on HBO’s original drama, The Wire, and Dixon Wilson on the CW’s 90210, throughout his career Mack Wilds has been able to authentically showcase his versatility while playing various characters in front of the camera. But this new endeavor will allow his to showcase a different type of versatility while standing behind the camera.

A few weeks ago, I got the opportunity to sit down with Mack Wilds and his business partner, Greg Cally to discuss this new project.

When people think of you, Mack Wilds, they think of you as an actor or a recording artist. But now you are venturing into the world of directing.

I got the opportunity to sit down with actor and GRAMMY Award nominee Mack Wilds and his business partner, Director Greg Cally to discuss their new film, “Fifteen.”

You  premiered your short film in New York for the Gentleman Jack Real to Reel film competition. How did that feel?

Greg Cally: We were so blessed to have screened our film in New York in front of a few hundred people. It was super cool because we were able to take our film for a test run and really see how people felt about the film. And we also got to sit alongside other amazingly, talented black filmmakers and African American storytellers.

Is this your first time directing and producing?

Mack Wilds: It is actually our second time working on a film together. But on our own, separately,  we have both directed various projects.

As an up and coming filmmakers, what does it mean to you when it comes to the importance of being in attendance at the American Black Film Festival?

Greg Cally: For me it just means more opportunity. It’s a door opening. So the Gentleman Jack team and the Jack Daniels team opened the door for us. They have given us a platform. They have empowered us. It is very powerful. It is a great way to network and a great way to show the people exactly what you are capable of doing

Mack Wilds: And with everything happening on a weekend such as ABFF where everyone involved has so eloquently made our stories relevant. They gave us a place to tell our stories. And it just makes sense. So I am very happy that Gentleman Jack decided to take a chance on us.

Do you have any words of wisdom for any upcoming filmmakers who may be working a full time job and may want to test out making films, but are unsure on how to get started.

Greg Cally: For me it would be to follow your heart. First of all you have to make sure what you are doing is a passion play and that you are not just in it for the exposure, because Hype Magazine isn’t going to interview you everyday. That really only happens on special days like today. You have to really love it and be passionate about it because it isn’t necessarily fun work. It’s definitely a grind.

Mack Wilds: Another very big thing that I will tell everybody is that I think a lot of times we get nervous because there are people who tell us not to do it or kind of steer us clear saying things like ‘If you do it, you won’t make any money’ or ‘It don’t make sense.’ Whether it’s music, whether its filmmaking, whether its acting, painting, whatever it is … I would tell you to do it, and do it scared. Sometimes we get nervous and we get into our own head. At that moment when you start thinking ‘i don’t know if I should do it,’ that is the moment that you should push through.

Are there any other projects that you are working on or anything coming up?

Mack Wilds: I honestly think we both are working on a quite a few upcoming projects. But contractually we can’t talk about them yet. But just know that even though we are in the middle of 2019, it’s really only the beginning. Just remember the film we are previewing is a prequel to another project. This film is just an introduction to a much bigger world.

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