#BonfireStories — Introducing Filmmaker and writer Stephen Ohl

Our Campfire
3 min readFeb 1, 2019
Stephen Ohl

1. When it comes to storytelling, where do you get your inspiration from?

I guess I pull most of my inspiration from my own life. It’s the most immediate and there. But I guess the other way of saying it is simply from everything around me. But everything around me is happening through me. So, me is the only thing I know. But for a writer and director, the more “me” that you dive into, the more relatable and human your work becomes. Because although we are all different, we are all so very much the same. So, I also pull inspiration from other great humans throughout history. Paintings, novels, poetry, music, and movies. Work from people I connect too.

2. What is the toughest challenge you’ve faced so far?

The toughest challenge I’ve faced so far as a director was probably my first feature shoot, which was in December 2018! It was a 15 day shoot and it was a big film with stunts and lots of makeup fx. 12 hours starts to feel like 2 when you are trying to capture such a big vision on such a small budget in such a short amount of time. But it was a blast and I’m excited to get into post. However, it was definitely the hardest thing I’ve done as a director, which makes sense. But night shoots and cold and aliens… made it quite difficult.

3. What kind of world do you want to see now that “White River Tales” is made? (For clarification) We know that there is a message you as a filmmaker are conveying to your audience, what is that message?

It’s awful to say that a film you make has an intended message. But I know that everything I make has a strong meaning and message to me. Whether I think the audience should come away with that themselves is a whole different story. This film was something I had to make. And in a way, it was a message I was reminding myself of. Most my films are a way for me to solidify an idea that I have in myself. A way of moving forward in my own life. This one was about decisions and making the right ones. It was about not always following that little animal inside of you, looking for a good time or a means of survival. But instead, listening to that human part. And that mind on your shoulders. It’s also about forgiveness! We have a choice on how we react to things even though we often don’t feel that way.So, I want to see a world where people forgive and they think with the humanity in them before they act.

4. As a filmmaker, what are some key lessons learned so far?What do you know today that you wish you knew when you began your journey as a filmmaker?

I’m learning every day and still consider my self very much a novice. But things I’ve learned. Time! Time is everything. Film is an artform of playing with time. You also need time to make a movie, so your currency is time. Spend it wisely. And also, things take time. Be patient, do the work, and let time do the rest.

5. What would you say is your unique responsibility as a filmmaker?

Your unique responsibility as a filmmaker is to remain true to yourself and your own vision. It takes a lot of people to make a movie. And it’s very challenging. It’s easy to lose sight of why you are doing something and what it is you want to say. It’s important to the people entrusting you with the responsibility, as well as all those who may stumble upon your movie, that you make something good, and the best way to do that is by trusting your vision and perception.

How can others reach out to you and/or stay informed about your upcoming projects?

My Instagram is @sohlranger I’m on twitter @stephenohl and maybe I’ll update my website every now and then Stephenohl.com



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