Last year, I attended The Matchbreaker movie premiere to film interviews and met several amazingly talented people in the process, including Wesley Elder! Wesley not only starred in the film (alongside Christina Grimme) but also wrote and produced the film as well.
The rom-com follows the story of an idealistic romantic who finds himself with a one-time gig of breaking up couples for disapproving parents that spirals into a “match-breaking” profession.
Back in October, I was filming interviews at the Christina Grimme Foundation Inaugural Event in Hollywood and happened to see Wesley there so we set up this inspiring interview.
What inspired you to make your start in the entertainment industry?
I studied abroad in Argentina right after high school and was there for a year and a half. During my time there, I took part of this touring drama ministry called “Renacidos”. It was super dark, about drugs and all that good stuff. Anyway, when I came back home, I told my mom one day that I thought I was supposed to act, like, maybe in movies or something. I had never been in theater or anything ever, so this was out of left field, but then I started researching a lot about it on my own and watching a ton of movies. And then next thing you know, it’s my career path, ha.
How do you balancing wearing multiple hats, so to speak, during production?
Dude, that’s hard. Especially on the indie level. Because not only am I worrying about my scene and my lines and stuff, but I’m making sure this actress’ flight arrives on time and I’m making sure lunch got picked up and that we’re on schedule and it’s just a lot. I used to say “this is fine” like the little cartoon dog who is in the burning house, ha. But if you just keep calm and treat people with respect and take care of them, typically it works out fine.
How does a feature movie project like The Matchbreaker go from an idea to a script and then onto the big screen?
A lot of time, ha. I mean, it took us three years from the original concept to the premiere. I think the biggest hurdle is diligence in the story part of it and staying on task in post-production. It’s really easy to slow down on those two parts of the process and let time get away from you, but if you can stay diligent and knock it out, then you’ll get it out into the world. And always put names in your movie if you can, haha. That’ll help it get made for sure.
What has been one of your most favorite experiences so far on a set?
Honestly, my more favorite moments are either when I’m doing something big that I haven’t done before (for example, I did a civil war VR shoot this past weekend), or when it’s super small with me and my friends and we’re shooting something. I have a group of friends that I call the Dream Team and it consists of about 6 people and if it all of us on set making stuff, I’d be happy for the rest of my days, haha.
What struggles have you faced in achieving your dreams?
Being young, haha. People don’t listen to you when you’re young. Which is why you just have to make stuff like The Matchbreaker.
What is your primary focus with entertainment and how have you been involved with it?
My primary focus is acting. Second to that is writing. Producing is a means to both. More often than not, you’re going to have to set in motion your ideas and that’s ultimately how producing fits into it all. However, I’d love to get to where I’m doing less producing and focusing on the creative more.
As a writer, how do you deal with writer’s block?
Talk with people. If nothing is happening on the page, then I go to talk to someone to get a little jolt. That or play ping pong, ha.
In your opinion, what do you think is the key to being a storyteller?
Study other movies and TV. And not just the old stuff, but the new stuff too. What are people doing right now? I think that’s crucial. Film school puts you through all of this old stuff which is sometimes great, but more often than not, it’s dated and is totally different to what audiences enjoy today. And experiencing life helps you tell a story. It’s easier to recreate life if you’ve experienced it.
Could you share anything you are currently working on and how the process is going for that?
TELEVISION! We want to get into TV. We’re working on two different concepts that are totally different. One is comedic, kind of like Master of None, and one is dramatic, kind of like Mad Men. It’s fun and challenging because within your larger plot, you’re creating much smaller ones. But I’m also trying to plan for 5 seasons because if it got picked up, I want to have a map as to where I’m going. I want these stories to be so strong that if we pitched it, nobody could say no.
What is your advice to aspiring filmmakers/actors/writers/creators?
Go. Make. Stuff. I’ve learned more from making stuff than I have anything else. Some of us are born with raw talent, but the majority are not, so we have to fail and fail and fail until we eventually succeed.
As a young storyteller myself, I find Wesley’s accomplishments and advice incredibly inspiring! Check him out online @thewesleyelder to keep updated on all of his projects!
at the Christina Grimme Foundation event with Wesley Elder, Eva Amantea, & Yising Kao (October 2017)