Indie Movies can sometimes make a big impact on the film industry and an engrossing new action-thriller titled "Stray" is aiming to be just such a film. The movie is based on an award-winning screenplay that focuses on Jennifer, a female contract killer who is looking for the right man to settle down with and subsequently start a family. The movie is the brainchild of Nena Eskridge who was the first woman at Ithaca College to earn the Pendleton Award. “Stray” is both her screenwriting and directorial debut.

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Recently, Nena spoke about working on “Stray” and her experiences in the entertainment industry. 

Beginning 

Blasting News (BN): What drove you to become a director? 

Nena Eskridge (NE): Honestly, I've never wanted to direct. I'm primarily a writer and producer. Writing is tough for me because I dive so deeply into the characters and story. Producing is what I'm best at and what I love doing. With “Stray” I produced AND directed because I couldn't find a director who understood the lead character.

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“Stray” is about a killer but isn't about the actual killing. It's more about why she does it and how much she hates doing it.

BN: What other movies, TV series and/or other projects have you written and/or directed?

NE: “Stray” is my first. I also did one or two shorts in film school, but that's about it. 

BN: How did you initially think up the idea for "Stray”?

NE: It's been years in the making.

I wrote the first draft many years ago but it took another one or two years of polishing it to get it right. Then came the impossible task of financing. That is always the biggest hurdle for indie filmmakers. I knocked on so many doors, but just couldn't pull it together. And then Kickstarter happened! I couldn't have done it without Kickstarter!

BN: Which of your projects has been the most rewarding so far?

NE: “Stray” by far, has been the most rewarding. I like the story, I think it delivers an important message, the cast and crew were all amazing. And then the friends and family who worked their butts off for because they believe in the you. I've heard about this happening, but never thought I had enough of either group to pull off a feature film. I was wrong. 

BN: What is the best thing about working in the entertainment industry? 

NE: That's a tough question.

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It's not a fun business to be in since there are more failures than successes, I think. It's so easy to become cynical about the whole industry. All of the cliché's about it are pretty much true. It's mostly about who you know, lots of luck and timing. Talent figures in there somewhere I suppose, but it's not always required. So, to answer your question, the best part for me, is the end of a project.

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Revelling in the fact that you actually pulled it off!  

Upcoming 

BN: From a career standpoint, where do you see yourself in ten years? 

NE: Completing my third or fourth feature! 

BN: Do you have any upcoming projects or events on the horizon?

NE: I'm working on a new script and hoping for a larger budget to work with. And funny enough I've had a few requests for a sequel to “Stray”. I laughed it off at first, but realized the other day that the idea is actually rolling around in my head. I'm curious, too, about where Jennifer might show up next.   

BN: What advice can you give to aspiring filmmakers, especially fledgling directors? 

NE: First, remember that not everyone is a director. It's a huge industry with lots of fun and interesting areas to work in. But if it it's directing you want to do, work as much as you can in all areas of production. Learn the craft which includes learning how to work with actors. Learn to love and respect actors, that's number one on my list.

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