God Made Man Frequently Asked Questions:
Who are the characters again?
Rhett: a homeless transgender (f-m) man and occasional prostitute.
Doyle: a gay drag queen and occasional prostitute.
Ted: a bi-sexual, sociopathic lawyer, who’s partially into “masking”-like activities and has scopophobia.
Wait, what is Masking?
A subculture known as ‘female masking’ is where men wear latex or silicone masks and torsos to make themselves look like women.
The result is a largely immobile face, giving the impression of a doll or mannequin.
Our antagonist character, Ted wears a very feminine/androgynous mask partly because he likes the idea of dressing up in a different gender but more likely because of his scopophobia and fear of being caught in his illegal transgressions.
Okay, so what’s Scopophobia, then?
Scopophobia, scoptophobia, or ophthalmophobia is an anxiety disorder characterized by a morbid fear of being seen or stared at by others. Scopophobia can also be associated with a pathological fear of drawing attention to oneself.
Our antagonist, Ted deals in some bad stuff. Plus, he’s running for District Attorney. Though his severe anxiety attacks (for which he takes medicine for) are never expressly mentioned in the film as “scopophobia” that’s what we researched and wrote for the character to have.
Is God Made Man based on a true story?
No. Though the subject matter was based on research and statistics. There are many in the LGBTQIA+ community that are suffering due to violence, oppression, bigotry and being treated as unequal. This can change but it’ll take people to change the way we view and treat our brothers and sisters. Once we realize we’re all humans and all connected regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious views and so on, then the hate will cease to exist. Until then you work on being the change. Respect each other and try to understand each other. And never forget we’re all on this Earth together and only for a short amount of time.
Why is it called, “God Made Man?”
See our post on, The “God” in God Made Man, [click here]
I see that it sort of deals with religion, so does that mean it gets all “preachy?”
We don’t think so. Our crew and cast were made up of all types of people with all types of belief systems. We respect and admire everyone to believe or not believe how they choose. Even though our characters deal with thoughts of a higher power we never judge anyone or put these characters or situations above anyone else. Our main goals are to be entertaining, help inform on some of the atrocities on the LGBTQIA+ community and to get viewers to think, feel and debate. Mainly, we just love cinema and creating dramatic stories.
Who are the filmmakers again?
Kayla Olson originally conceived the idea for God Made Man back in 2009 and wrote a short screenplay. The script was put on the back burner for other projects including the award-winning series Kayla and GMM director, Nate Locklear made titled, Once You Leave. Kayla won a Best Acting Award for her performance in Once You Leave. Over the years Kayla crafted the short screenplay that was God Made Man into a feature length script. But it still wasn’t completely ready. In 2015 a window of time opened, so Kayla handed the script over to her trusted friend and filmmaking collaborator, Nate Locklear. Nate took the script Kayla had written and re-wrote it, fleshed out the characters and situations all-the-while staying true to Kayla’s original intentions. Soon after they went into production.
Nate Locklear has been making films since the 90s in Austin, TX. Besides all the awards he won for their series, Once You Leave, he also won two Emmy® Awards for his work on the Texas PBS show, The Daytripper.
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Is God Made Man a religious film?
Yes and No.
What do you mean?
Is GMM a movie about faith and Jesus that should be watched in church groups? No. But it does deal with the belief in a higher power and how it differs between the three main characters.
If you dig deep and read into the symbolism of the three main characters, it breaks down like this:
The three main characters, Rhett, Doyle and Ted each represent one of the three states of being of the spirit or soul as believed by many religions: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell. Rhett represents the Heaven characteristic in that he is trying to better his life and make a change to be good. Doyle represents Purgatory in that he wants to make it to Heaven and is trying to make right choices but may be stuck there forever inbetween Heaven and Hell. And finally, Ted represents Hell. He has made his choices and lives an evil life. He’s not a caricature of a villain though but he is still pretty bad.
There are also supporting characters that can either be “angels” or “demons” and either help or hinder our leads. Sometimes they may initially seem to be a demon but then actually turn out to be an angel and are someone helpful but also visa versa, they can start “good” but actually be evil.
But you can also look at it another way: that these three leads are stuck in Purgatory. Each of them are trying to do good but they are stuck in an evil city and between “Heaven” (a better life) and “Hell” (a worse life, death, pain).
The title, “God Made Man” refers to the religious belief that an almighty being, a God has created man (and woman) in his image. Our film takes three very disparate and lonely individuals who all have various connections to a higher power. And throughout the film they question the notion that man was created in the image of a higher power. For instance, Rhett is a transgender female-to-male: so if God made man in His image but a transgender person changes their identity, have they then created themselves? Doyle, our gay drag queen, is Catholic and has to deal with the repercussions of living in a society and faith that often condemns the life choices of the LGBTQIA+ community. He too questions his existence and the fact that he only feels “normal,” or like his true self when he dresses in drag and performs. And finally Ted, the corrupt lawyer, is consumed by anger and pain and lives a conflicted life as a seemingly devout Christian man but in actuality he deals in many illegal transgressions. He questions, if God made man, how could he make men do such horrendous acts.
Is God Made Man a family friendly film?
No, absolutely not. GMM is for mature audiences and deals with some serious and sometimes disturbing subject matter.
Do you have to be religious to understand and/or like God Made Man?
Not at all. Regardless of your belief system, religious, not religious, atheist, agnostic, or undecided you can still enjoy GMM. The religious aspect really is just a backdrop. It’s more about these tortured characters trying to feel accepted and find peace.
Our crew and cast were made up of all types of people with all types of belief systems. We respect and admire everyone to believe or not believe how they choose. Even though our characters deal with thoughts of a higher power we never judge anyone or put these characters or situations above anyone else.
“Initially, I decided to write the story of God Made Man because I wanted to see something on screen that I felt I could relate to- “Queer Cinema.” But more importantly, I wanted to realistically and dramatically showcase some of the issues that are destroying our society and ruining humanity. In doing this, I hope that this film will help shed a light on these horrible atrocities and create and/or enhance a dialog towards change.
Human Trafficking in the United States:
I know these are startling statistics (and this barely scratches the surface), but that’s why they’re important! Yes, God Made Man is intended to be a dramatic and entertaining film that also makes you think and a film that is not only for the LGBTQIA+ community but all types of people. In addition, I hope the film and the topics raised will spark your interest in researching into these issues and help bring change.”
It’s so important to tell gay, lesbian, transgender, bi-sexual and overall diverse stories and tell them in a real and honest way. The word “queer” can be a very polarizing term. To some it’s a term of hate and oppression, while to others, who are, “taking it back,” it’s an all-encompassing term for a community of people who know humans don’t all have to fit into gender norms, sexuality stereotypes or even “traditional” body identities. For too long has “queer” been looked upon as something different and therefore “bad.” When instead it should be celebrated. The God Made Man team supports the LGBTQIA+ community: gay, lesbian, trans, bi, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual and even allies. So raise that rainbow flag and tell your stories.
God Made Man is about a transgender man, a gay drag queen, and a bi-sexual, “masker”-like lawyer. The story also holds a series of other unique individuals: lesbians, gender neutrals, drag queens and more. We as filmmakers had a duty to make sure these characters were represented truthfully and not in a stereotypical, or stereo-negative fashion. We did our research and hope it will show in the story of these lovely humans.
Our entire filmmaking team was made up of everything from gay men, lesbians, transgender, cisgender, gender-neutrals, non-binary, heterosexuals and more! We all worked together and we all respect and love each other. And we hope you will enjoy our film regardless of your gender or sexual orientation.
The following is a note, director Nate Locklear wrote for crew and cast on the intent of God Made Man. The actors/crew definitely helped pull this off!
“Just wanted to fill you in on what exactly we’re trying to get with, God Made Man:
We want the audience to be fully engaged and even exhausted (in a good way) after the film is over. Every character and bit part is important to the story and builds upon the overall theme and emotions.
The majority of the film will be handheld camera or steadicam. We’re shooting mostly in close up. We intend to use strong colors, neon, and streetlights.
The story takes place all in one night, 10 days before Christmas. Decorations will be adorning the sets. Characters may have on holiday attire. And we’ll even have some holiday music.”
God Made Man creators, Kayla Olson and Nate Locklear created a Pinterest board that served as their “look book” for the film. Olson had been adding to it for years while she crafted the original draft of the screenplay. Later, Locklear was added to the board and began pinning as well. Look books are often created for films to help the filmmakers get on the same page as to how the film should look and feel. Pictures, paintings and artwork created by other artists are usually what is used. It can also help illustrate the intended film to potential producers, studios and financiers and serves as inspiration.
Locklear took it a step further and created a set of rules that he and his lighting team would follow while shooting the film.
GMM Cinematography Rules by Nate Locklear
1. Use available light when possible (street lights, indoor dramatic light, lamps, practicals, Xmas lights, neon etc)
2. Make light seem natural if not natural (i.e. pump light thru windows w/ blue gels, or colored gels for neon signs)
3. Light should bloom. And flares are good!
4. Use in camera filters as much as possible but also leave room for heavy post color grading
5. Use unidirectional lighting (with a distant backlit source) as much as possible (see Bill Henson photography)
6. Use negative fill
7. Use as much saturated colors as possible
8. Think of interesting ways to add colors to scenes (even if it breaks rules 1-2)
9. Use shallow depth of field but also use wide angle lenses for texture and curvature
9b. If wide angle on Close-up of a face- try to shoot 45° angle (above actor)
10. All camera work must be handheld, shoulder rig mounted or steadicam (unless for special optical effects). Dolly/wheelchair is permitted but no tripod
11. Use prime lenses as much as possible (no quick zoom in for effect unless absolutely necessary)
12. “Drifting” is encouraged but also find that “handheld stillness”
13. Try to plan out shots more (in accordance with drama/story) rather than just getting coverage. Try longer takes.
14. Try to block actors in interesting ways to change shot sizes (see Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe)
15. Don’t be afraid of the dark. Slivers of light are good. If unsure on light amount err towards trusting your gut rather than pumping in more light.
16. No matter what, get eye light in every shot, especially darkly lit shots (unless there is a reason for no eye light)
17. Refer to look book often but don’t be afraid to get creative
18. Shoot consistent f-stop f2.8-f4 split unless too extreme shallow depth of field- then stop down. Critical focus is a must. But don’t be afraid to have subjects move in/out of focus
19. What’s interesting is what’s important. Shoot what is stimulating rather than just what’s happening
20. Try china-balls on boom pole (with battery power) for traveling face light
21. Don’t ever let the cinematography style detract from the story or emotions. It should help enhance them
22. The point of this movie is to capture intensity and movement- character movement and camera. Majority of shots will be Close-up (see Blue Is Warmest Colour and/or John Cassavetes films, 21 Grams)
23. Any of these rules can be broken but only with an inspired reason