Actor and producer Kyle Hester discovered his love of acting at an early age, getting his first taste of it when he enrolled in a drama class in junior high. After that, he attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, Texas, double-majoring in theater and dance in his senior year. As a professional in the field, Hester has had the honor of not only working with several renowned directors, such as John Frankenhiemer, Bruce Beresford and Mark Shelton, but also gaining experience on both sides of the camera. In addition to acting, he helped build 1/3rd scale sets for the film Team America and was the art department lead man on the television show Wipe Out. This allowed him to become acquainted with many aspects of film-making, which would prepare him for being a producer down the line.
Acting-wise, Hester has worked on a variety of projects, including the movies Last Dance, Revelation Road 2: The Sea of Glass and Fire and The Book of Daniel as well as the short films Kill Quincy Wright, The Hanging Tree, A Day in the Life of Plain Jen, The Peters Case, Descending Harmony and Dead North. He also guest-starred on the shows The Resolve, Project Hollywood and WMM Sketch Show. Now, he is preparing to launch a crowdfunding campaign for the new original project Preacher Six, a supernatural action thriller centered around a preacher who discovers that he has been chosen to fight the forces of darkness. I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Hester about this new project, his goals in regard to the crowdfunding campaign and his love for Star Wars. Check it out below!
What inspired you to go into acting?
Well, I was watching a TV show called “Fame.” Do you remember that show?
(laughs). I do. I remember that show.
Right on! There was this character, Leroy, and he was dancing and doing his thing, and he jumped over a mannequin on stage, and I was like, “Oh my god, that’s the best thing ever! I have to do that!” So, it’s been–yeah, it’s been as long as I can remember.
Were you always interested in producing as well as acting, or did that develop later?
No, as a matter of fact, I consider myself to be a reluctant producer. That was never something that I originally thought would happen, and when it did, I was like, “Ok, this is happening.” So, I’m just rolling with it.
Alright, let’s talk about your new project “Preacher Six.” Can you describe it for me?
Absolutely. “Preacher Six” is like an action, Grindhouse type film with some elements of horror in it but it’s not a horror film, per se. I would say that it’s more Grindhouse and action. Basically, “Preacher Six” is a–he was just a regular guy at first, and then he’s brought to another church and in this church, he finds out that there is all kinds of craziness going on in the city and people dying and all this kind of stuff. Then, he finds out that he was actually summoned there and chosen to be the person that actually fights real evil, like literally. So, there’s the inner conflict of what he has to go through–battling his own sense of what’s right and what’s not right–and then the struggle that results from taking on that persona once he realizes that he has no choice. I’s gonna be awesome! And then there are other characters that you’ve probably seen me introduce on Twitter, like The Blue Nun and The Alchemist and legions of people that he meets in the film that will be his team members, so it’s kind of like Legion of Doom–you know, that kind of thing.
How did you come up with the idea?
My wife did, actually. She’s writing it. So, I’ve just been helping her with the story and giving her ideas, but it’s pretty much her baby.
That’s awesome that you get to work with your wife on this project! It has to make things easier to work with someone who you’re that close to.
(laughs) I think so! It works well. You know, you have to have a good working relationship and I think that if you have a good marriage, that should be ok. But I do know that it’s like a typical kind of relationship situation; there might be some other stuff that creeps into the work but if you keep it all cool and focus on the task, then it should work. It works for us, so…
How would you say this project is different from other projects in this genre?
Well, I don’t think that people have seen anything like it. Basically, Preacher Six is like a superhero and I don’t think you’d ever see a preacher fighting demons in the literal sense and taking on that kind of Batman role, if you will. Yeah, I don’t think that it’s like anything else.
What made you decide on a crowdfunding campaign for this project?
I think it gathers interest and it gets people involved, and I think that there are a lot of really passionate people out there that want to be involved in the film who also want to have a little keepsake from it. And that’s really what the crowdfunding is: it’s kind of giving back. It’s not just “Hey, give us money!” which is unfortunately what some people do. This is more like “Here is all the awesome stuff that you’re going to get that’s like “Preacher Six” stuff”–bumper stickers and cups and shirts, all kinds of swag and signs and posters–that kind of stuff. So it’s like you get something for helping, and I think that’s important, you know? I think people like to have cool stuff that’s kind of on the house!
Moving forward, what are you most excited about in regard to this project?
I am most excited about working with the other actors and basically setting up the fight scenes and the stunts and all of the kind of magical special effects that we’re going to be doing. Grady Earls is our director and he has a visual effects background and is amazing. He did all of the character art for the film so far, and I think that he’ll be the only one doing it. He’s really good at what he does. I think it’s going to be very, very creative because we have a lot of creative minds coming together to make something really cool. I think we all started by considering what people want and then figuring out how we do that. I think we’re going to come up with something cool.
How would you say that your experience as an actor has influenced the way that you produce?
That’s a good question. I think the artists kind of take it for granted sometimes, so I think that coming from in front of the camera–like, I know how important everyone is because it’s like a big family of creatives making one thing that ends up being the film, so there’s no one person that’s like “I’m making this film, and no one is going to see it if I’m not doing it.” I think if people can stay away from that kind of stuff, which I do. I know that this is such a great concept and a great idea and I’m lucky to be a part of it, even though I’m the one that’s going to be producing it.
Have you already had a chance to sit down with the other actors involved in the project and discuss how the project is going to go, or will that come later?
That’ll come later. A lot of the actors that I’m bringing on are friends that I’ve worked with in the past, so I’ve kind of let everybody know “Hey, this is what’s happening and do you want to be a part of it.” For example, Tomas Boykin–I’ve known him for years and he’s playing The Alchemist, and he’s awesome. Bill Oberst Jr, who will play The Warden, he’s another one that I’ve known for years and he was like “Hey man, whatever it is that you’re doing, I want to be a part of that so let’s go!” That’s kind of the vibe that I’m getting from everybody, and it’s really awesome.
Which character are you most excited to see brought to life?
I think what you’ll see is that there are a lot of really cool characters–like, you have The Thunder Brothers who are mechanics, and I have not announced who will be playing those roles, but they are kind of like brothers who fight and are really funny, and they work together, so I’m really looking forward to seeing that relationship happen. Then of course Bill Oberst, who is amazing and he’s going to be like the arch-nemesis. So, I’m really excited about it. There is a lot of really clever writing and dialogue and it’s going to be a lot of fun for everyone.
How much money are you hoping to raise from this first Indiegogo campaign?
We’re going to try to raise $200,000, and that is a lot of money but it’s a small amount when you’re talking about making a movie, because there are so many people that it takes to make a movie. For example, I have this other film that I’m involved in and the budget for that one is something like $1.5 million. And, I mean, we’re gonna do with whatever comes down the pipe, but we’re gearing up for at least $200,000 in order to film it, and that’s not including post-production. We’ll probably do another Indiegogo or Kickstarter for post-production and give away all of our costumes and signed costumes, signed scripts and all that kind of stuff. Basically, what I’m trying to do right now is get a bunch of people who are ready to go on the first day, because that first day of any kind of crowd-funding campaign is so important. So often you see these people who are like “I launched my Indiegogo and I have 60 Twitter followers and I have $25” and every time I see that, I’m like “Oh, you did it wrong!” There’s so much work before anyone can even have a successful campaign. There’s so much work that you have to do leading up to the campaign to make it exciting, and I see people do it wrong all the time.
Do you already have a set schedule or is it more flexible depending on how the crowdfunding campaigns go?
That’s a great question! I would never tell my actors to be available for a certain date without having all the money in the bank, and people also make that mistake and you can lose face by doing that. I think that we will greenlight when we have the budget. Then, I will say when we’ll start shooting, and not before that. I don’t want to jerk anyone’s chain and say “Oh, we’ll start shooting in October!” and then “Oh, we only have $100,000. Well, we could maybe do this one scene…” No, I’m not doing that (laughs). It will all be in place when we go. If we don’t make it all in the first Indiegogo, I’ll relaunch it. It’s one of those “This will get done” situations. I’m hoping that it catches on like wildfire for people and that we earn more in the first campaign, and then we can plan on when we will shoot.
What shows, movies, books, etc. bring out the nerd in you?
“Star Wars!” I would have to definitely, definitely say “Star Wars!” My wife and I brought lightsabers down the aisle at our wedding (laughs). After we said our vows and everything, we walked back down the aisle with lightsabers out to the “Darth Vader Death March.” So I have to say that would be it!
You can begin to show your support for this amazing new project by purchasing one of these awesome t-shirts: https://www.booster.com/preachersix
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