Accidental filmmakers: A chat with Thomas Denvir and Dave Hickin of 'Accidental Heroes'

Filmmakers Thomas Denvir and Dave Hickin
Dare I say it? Making an independent movie is no simple task. (There, I said it.)

But the trials and tribulations rarely slow passionate filmmakers. When they get bit by the bug, the press forward, regardless of the pain and pressure. Much of it self-inflicted.

In the end, dedicated filmmakers wind up with a finished product that seems to happen quite by accident. In truth, all the pieces come together right when they’re supposed to: the concept, the crew, the cast, the creation - even the craft services.

And in a lot of ways, everything’s coming together for Cleveland filmmakers Thomas Denvir and Dave Hickin. When the duo met while attending the Ohio/Illinois Center for Broadcasting in 2009, the two became fast friends. After graduation, they started shooting sketch comedy for YouTube. Then one thing led to another and now they’re making their first feature, a comedy titled Accidental Heroes.

We sat down (via email) with Tom and Dave to get a closer look:

Midwest Movie Maker (MMM): Tell me a little bit about yourselves. How did you get into moviemaking? What was the spark and what have you done so far?

Thomas Denvir (TD): I am a veteran of the United States Air Force. I joined when I graduated high school. I served four years active duty. It was a great experience but it wasn't a career for me. Since then I've worked at places just to pay the bills. I'm leaving that type of mindset and starting to enjoy what life has to offer.

I've loved movies ever since I was old enough to turn on the television. It wasn't until recently that I told myself, "I want to do that!" I sat down one day and started writing a movie. Now here I am making that movie.

Dave Hickin (DH): I'm a TV and movie junkie.  My tastes range from Due South to SOA.  From the Wizard of Oz to End of Watch.  I wrote my first script when I was 18. It’s only taken 13 years for me to bring words on paper to the silver screen.

On the set of 'Accidental Heroes'
MMM: How did the two of you hook up to create T&D Films? And what’s the mission of your film company?

TD: Dave and I met at The Ohio/Illinois Center for Broadcasting in 2009 and instantly became friends. After we graduated we stayed in touch and decided to start up a comedy group via YouTube.

The group failed, but we knew we had something. We knew we could make people laugh. We decided YouTube wasn't for us and decided to venture out into movie making.

We formed T&D Films this year.  

DH: Our mission is to make movies and television shows right here in Cleveland.

MMM: Tell me a little bit about Accidental Heroes. What is it about and how did you come up with the idea?

DH: Accidental Heroes is a comedy about two guys framed for a hit and run.  They set out to clear their names and end up growing up in the process. Tom had an idea about a stalker I believe. After talking about it, it turned into Accidental Heroes. Tom wrote a great script!

TD: Accidental Heroes has a lot of my life in it. From failed jobs, failed relationships, and having really weird and funny friends.

I took pieces of my life, added some of my friends personalities, and put them in situations that everyone could relate to and laugh about. When you watch the film not only will the main character share my name, he'll also share my life struggles.

The biggest thing we can reveal about the film is that it takes place at a Halloween party. The two main characters, Tom and Dave, leave that Halloween Party and stumble across some bullies picking on a kid in an alley. Through some really random events, the thugs end up dead. Now Tom and Dave have to enlist the help of friends to keep them out of jail.

MMM: What’s the hardest part, so far, of getting your script to screen?

DH: After living with these characters, it was difficult to find just the right people to bring these guys to life!

TD: The hardest part is finding time to do things. With both Dave and I working full time, there aren't enough hours in a day to work on the little things that are key in this process. We are both fathers, too, so we have to juggle family time in there as well.

MMM: A lot of filmmakers struggle to get the film in the can. What’s your plan to make the film happen?

The cast of 'Accidental Heroes'
TD: Our plan is knowing that it will. We have dreams of Hollywood, but we are humble enough to know our dream right now is to make a movie. We don't care if only our friends and family see it, we are making a movie. I'm trying to show my son that if you put your mind to something, and you want it bad enough, it will happen.

Not to mention our cast we picked is amazing! We have local comedians, local theater actors, and all around fun people getting involved in this project. I can see most of these actors making it somewhere in Hollywood and I am so glad we get to be their catalyst.

DH: Truthfully we've been lucky!  Our actors are willing to do this film for a cup of coffee, so our funding really goes a long way.  

MMM: What's the easiest and hardest thing about being independent and micro-budget?

DH: The hardest parts for me are scouting locations and not being able to quit my day job.  I honestly don't know the easiest part, but it has all been fun so far.

TD: The easiest thing about this type of project is we get to do things our way and on our time. There aren't too many hands in the cookie jar.

The hardest thing is asking people to do it for free. We want to pay our actors at the end of this film if we have any finances left over from our funding campaign, but we don't know if that will happen at this point.

The beauty of this cast is they don't care if they're paid. Most of them want to be a part of this for the experience and for the love of acting.

MMM: Final thoughts?

TD: I read a book recently by my favorite director Kevin Smith. His words and his adventure to where is he is now has inspired me to go out and do it! Why not? That was his mantra for the entire book and it has burrowed into my tiny brain.

If by any chance Kevin Smith is reading this blog, I'm doing it man! I'm chasing whimsies!

DH: I'm loving this entire process.  I wish I would of done this a lot sooner.
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