An aspiring and successful actor, Che is deeply immersed in the Rochester cultural scene. So much so, we’ve named him Che of The Town!
Exclusively for Talker, Che has solicited and is conducting interviews from about 80 Rochestarians working in a diversity of creative fields.
For the full series, see Che of The Town: Interviews
Getting To Know Don Casper Of Epic10 Films
Tell us a little about yourself, where you’re from, grew up, what H.S./College you attended etc.
I grew up in a small town called Scotia, NY near Albany. I moved to Rochester in the mid-80s to attend RIT and have been here ever since. After college I held many different jobs in the film production field… I was a producer/director at NTID/RIT promoting deaf awareness, countless freelance gigs as videographer, audio engineer, grip, editor, etc… then in 2000 I started specializing in post-production by taking a job fulltime editing corporate videos and TV commercials.
Not sure if it was one thing… I was always a ham as a kid and I guess loved to make people laugh to get attention. I was always around music, acting, playing instruments and performing. Around 8th grade I became involved in the school TV club/program and started making my own films during my spare time all through high school. Once I started looking into careers/schools, that is what I wanted to do. There was never a plan B.
What is Epic10 Films, what inspired you to pursue it? Can you give us a little background?
In 2013, I set out to form my own film studio called EPIC10 which was initially just me in a home office but has now grown to a studio space downtown with 2 part-time employees. I like to think of it as a filmmaking collaborative. We tell stories on film that entertain and inspire.
Talk about a time where you have faced adversity/conflict and have triumphed.
In 1989, I was in college working on a short film called Certain Death which was never completed to my satisfaction because of timeframe and budget. I finished it enough to screen it and get my grade, but I remember talking to my professor saying that someday I would go back, shoot some additional scenes and finish it the way I wanted it to look. He told me that most likely, I would never do that, not to worry, and learn from the experience. He didn’t know who he was dealing with.. 🙂 Years later in 1995 I used an old 16mm Bolex and shot a few of the additional scenes, then got busy with other things. Fast forward to 2006… I caught the bug again and shot the last few scenes, and edited it together. 17 years after the initial shoot, out of the blue, I reached out to the original actors to share the finished piece along with submitting to film festivals. It was screened at a festival in Cape Cod later that year. Looking back, the film itself wasn’t the best thing in the world, but it always was something I wanted to finish and it jump-started my entrance into the independent film world.
Tenacity. I never give up until I have uncovered every stone to make a project the best it can be. Sometimes that can work against you, but ultimately I feel it’s a strength which pushes me put out the best product I can given what I have to work with.
Do you have other interests or hobbies?
I’m a recovering golfer, an out-of-shape mountain biker and occasional guitar player that’s been in an out of bands for the past 20 years.
Any projects you have out or currently working on?
Recently I completed editing The Last Dalai Lama?, a feature documentary directed by Mickey Lemle about His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet that has played to sold out audiences at film festivals around the world. In 2009, I produced and directed the feature documentary Signs of the Time, which investigates the origins of baseball hand signals and their links to Deaf Culture. Narrated by Richard Dreyfuss, the film was featured in the New York Times, aired internationally and received the New York Emmy® Award for Outstanding Documentary.
Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
Really just continuing to do good work with awesome people. I’m lucky in the fact that I’ve been able to sustain a career in this field and just hope to continue doing projects that interest and inspire me and that people want to watch.
What advice can you give to aspiring artists/entertainers?
Always work on your craft. Learn as much as you can from others and continue to make stuff. It’s the only way to learn and grow. For aspiring filmmakers… make as many friends as you can and offer to work on others projects. Filmmaking is a collaborative medium – you can’t do it all yourself. You’ll need to lean on others and require their inspiration and abilities to make your visions come to life.
How can we follow along in your journey? Social media?