Dan Sheldon is a filmmaker and writer who is currently enjoying the hype surrounding his latest film titled “Fate.” Dan spent several years as a professional football player, but the impact of his brother’s death in childhood resulted in him changing his career path in order to focus on their shared dream: making Movies.

As a child, Dan and his brother worked on many movie concepts together. Now that he is retired from athletics and living in Los Angeles, Dan is actively writing and producing films to honor the memory of his brother. “Fate” is his debut as a director, but he also has ample experience working in commercials.

“Fate” is about a quantum physicist who is about to discover the secret of the mysterious “space time continuum” right before the government shuts down his studies and research. Shortly after that, his fiancé is murdered which leads the physicist to use his knowledge to create a time machine to go back and save his beloved’s life.

Dan Sheldon recently discussed his career in film and more via an exclusive interview.

Directing, projects, and genres

Meagan Meehan (MM): What inspired you become a Director and how did you get involved with “Fate”?

Dan Sheldon (DS): At a young age, I had always been fascinated with movies as a medium to tell stories. My older brother and I had a dream to make movies together one day.

When he passed, I vowed to fulfill this dream. I got involved with my latest project when I decided I wanted to direct a film that exceeded what was possible with very little money. I wanted to create a story driven film that was also visually stunning.

MM: Why did you decide to delve into science fiction?

DS: I always found a fascination in time travel movies, and I wanted to make a visual effect driven movie to showcase all the great visual effect tools available to indie film makers.

Sci-Fi movies have a great fan base, including myself, so I wanted to contribute to that genre.

MM: How do you think this film reflects current society, if at all?

DS: This film reflects current society because it exemplifies how technology can exceed our wildest dreams which continue to happen every day.

MM: Do you feel that there could be a follow-up of this film?

DS: I believe this film would make an incredible TV show and at one point I was approached to turn it into one. That didn’t pan out, unfortunately, but I still have the pilot script and bible and hope to revamp it someday again.

MM: What are your all-time favorite scenes and characters?

DS: My favorite scene is when “Connor” played by Daniel Bonjour, confronts his former self to warn him about what is about to happen. The technical dance of an actor playing the same character, yet years apart, in the same scene took an incredible amount of skill. In my mind, this was my favorite scene.

MM: What was it like to shoot “Fate”?

DS: It was grueling. We shot the film in three major chunks. The night scenes that take place in the street was a challenging task on a shoe string budget, but it was crucial to the film that they are done right, so I withheld shooting them to raise more money to do it right.

Over all the principal photography took one year to fully complete. It was hard work to direct but worth it.

Movies, sports, and entertainment

MM: Genre-wise, what kinds of movies do you most enjoy making?

DS: I love story driven action, suspense, and thrillers. I love twist endings and movies that surprise the audience.

MM: Can you tell us a bit about your experiences on “Fate”?

DS: This film was my film school. After the year-long principal photography, the film ran into problem after problem in post-production which took another three years. It had over 150 visual effects shots, and we went through half a dozen flaky VFX guys until we found the magnificent four that made the film what it is today.

During post production, the film was twice held hostage: Once by a visual effects fraud and another by a shady company offering to finance the rest of post and supply distribution. Nearly a year was lost between these two crooks, but I was not going to let anyone get in the way of completing my film.

MM: What was it like to be a professional football player?

DS: There was nothing more exciting than stepping onto a field in front of eighty thousand screaming fans. Those are memories I will always cherish. Looking back now I wish I would have just enjoyed every second of my experiences in sports instead of worrying about what’s to come.

MM: Do you think your career in sports impacted your work in movies and writing in any way?

DS: My career in sports impacted all areas of my life. It impacted my work in films and writing by teaching me how to continually hone and develop my skills. I was once told it takes ten thousand hours of practice to become a professional at something. I apply that to my writing and filmmaking. I am constantly dissecting my work in hopes of continually improving.

MM: Your brother was a very important person in your life, so you consider making movies a way to honor him?

DS: I consider making movies as my way to keep him alive. He is present in every story or script I write. Movies are how I keep him present in my life now twenty years later.

MM: What commercials have you worked on and do you enjoy them as much as feature films?

DS: I have worked on commercials for Budweiser, Google, Mercedes, and many more. Commercials are a great way to keep up the production skills, but they do not compare to making movies. When you make a film, you create something lasting that people can watch over and over. I know I can’t live forever, but my hope is my films will.

MM: What has been the most rewarding thing about being involved in the entertainment industry, where do you want to go from here, and what advice would you give to aspiring directors?

DS: Creating something that could touch someone’s life has been the most rewarding part. I loved how movies could pull my emotional heart strings, so I set out to create that same experience for other people.

Nothing is more rewarding than taking something as small as an idea and turning it into an entertaining feature length film that can immerse people’s emotions for ninety minutes. In ten years, I hope to be where Christopher Nolan was when he was making “Batman Begins”!

As per advice, I’d say to get used to loving the setbacks you will encounter when making movies because YOU WILL ENCOUNTER SET BACKS! How you respond to this adversity will be what defines you as a director.