As an actor, Les Mahoney was constantly losing out to bigger names when it came to the parts he wanted to play on screen. As a solution, he started making his own Movies and fashioning roles specifically for himself. After cutting his teeth doing short films, Les started directing independent movies – his latest being “At Granny’s House.” After its completion, Les slept for two days! Clearly, making a film isn’t as easy as people think it to be!

Les recently spoke about this film and his experiences in show business via an exclusive interview.

Producing, directing, and TV

Meagan Meehan (MM): So, Les, how did you get into filmmaking, sir?

Les Mahoney (LM): Well, it started at a little theater production in Guatemala.

A friend of my wife was in a production of “Blood Brothers,” and I sat in the audience, wondering: what would it be like to act. That was 2004. By 2007, I committed to trying acting out, having never done it before, and I took a month-long conservatory course in LA. Before the end of the first week, I was hooked! Then it was just a matter of realizing, like many famous actors before me, that to get the parts I wanted, I would have to write them for myself!

MM: From this cool start, how did you get into producing and directing movies and finding projects to act in?

LM: I produced directed and starred in a short, filmed during a 22 Grand Canyon raft trip in 2009, called “Falling in Love…Without a Paddle!” It was pretty forgettable, but it set the stage for feature-length films shot while traveling, especially “Asian Treasure” which was shot in the USA and eight countries in Asia, and currently in post-production, and “Available” - shot in eight states in the USA, plus Germany and the Czech Republic.

By the way, we are filming the sequel to “Available” right now, it is called “Adrift,” and we have already filmed in Mexico, and will soon film in Japan.

MM: Have your creative projects gotten bigger and bigger over time?

LM: Yes, incrementally. “At Granny’s House” was our most “formal” production to date, and we flew in Hollywood actors Rachel Alig, Bill Oberst, Jr (the so-called “King of Indie Horror”) and Glenda Morgan Brown for our fourteen-day production. Our amazing DP, Michael Blue, also came out from LA to take part. My intention is to work bigger, and better, all the time, and eventually get funding for higher-budget scripts I have written—most importantly, a script I wrote called “Dancing with Rip,” inspired by the LA serial killer named “The Grim Sleeper.”

MM: Now you’re gaining acclaim, but during those early years did you also work another job, too?

LM: Oh yes! I am lucky in one way because I am retired from the US Air Force, and while my pension is not enough to finance movies, it is a nice cushion during the hard times.

I am still also active in Copper Canyon Adventures, a tour company I started in northern Mexico in 1999.

MM: Have you always been about feature films or might you get into TV too?

LM: I am open to TV, but I think the real quality is in feature films, although cable TV productions have become excellent in their own right over the last ten years.

MM: Can you please give the readers an idea of what a filmmaker does?

LM: A day in my life looks like this: Writing on future scripts, preparing for shooting “Adrift” with shot lists, script analysis and so on, promoting our movies currently on Amazon, editing on “Asian Treasure” with an eye to a summer premiere date, looking for “Adrift” actors in Japan, Alaska and Denver, and that’s just the start! Filmmaking is all about juggling many balls at the same time!

Responsibilities, film, and movies

MM: And what are your responsibilities on, say, a movie like “At Granny’s House”?

LM: WOW, it was a full plate as I wrote, directed and had a lead role in it! Plus, along with my wife, Tammy Ridenour, I produced it, which meant that I spent about a month getting ready for the shoot—there are infinite details to a movie shoot, and I was immersed in all of them! During the shoot, it was full go from 6 am till 9 pm or so. Even after shooting, there was getting ready for the next day. Fortunately, I had a great team—Charles Baird and Melissa Bazis were instrumental in keeping us on schedule.

MM: Is there a lot of pressure on you with a film like this, being that you’re the captain of the ship?

LM: You know it! After we were done the shooting, I slept for two days!

MM: So, given the stresses, how did you wind down at the end of the day?

LM: Most of the cast stayed in the same house—the house we filmed in and the house where my wife grew up. We would be bushed at the end of the day but would hang out and chat a bit to come down from the day. It was nice.

MM: If we were to watch one movie of yours – and your choice which one - which would you suggest it be?

LM: Good question! I am proud of all our movies, because finishing any feature, in my opinion, is a minor miracle, but I would say that I am most proud of “At Granny’s House” because we put together a great team of cast and crew, and we overcame tough schedules and budget limitations to make a movie that has won multiple awards at several film festivals. But, of course, I suggest you watch them all: “Available” is a spy thriller, “Asian Treasure” is about one man’s spiritual dramedy, and “Adrift’ is a James Kane spy saga.