For some, living in a small town can be hell. In Harvey, co-written by Shawn Golden and Ranelle Golden, and co-directed by Johnny Alonso and Ranelle, a tiny community is a breeding ground for insufferable behavior by many of its residents, setting in motion a series of events that change several lives, including young, angry loner, Harvey.
Darkly comedic and anchored with some solid performances, Harvey is an enjoyable, indie genre entry. We were happy to have the opportunity to discuss the duo’s production company, Macro Vision, how they teamed up with co-director Alonso, and juggling multiple roles while making Harvey.
PopHorror: Staying true to indie filmmaking, Harvey utilized local filming locations and tried to stay as self-contained as possible in these times of COVID, but what I found most intriguing was that this effort was the first for your mother/son team, Macro Vision Films. How did this collaboration come about? What kind of films can we expect to see via Macro Vision?
Shawn Golden: Ranelle and I have talked about stories my entire life so it seems inevitable that we’d work together. Though we write all genres, we particularly like psychological themes like those seen in Harvey. I’m proud of what the cast and crew were able to do, especially with so many restrictions in place. It was amazing to see Harvey come to life and I’m looking forward to our future projects with fewer restrictions.
Ranelle Golden: I love writing with my son. He’s been my muse since 2009 after recovering from going blind, and in 2015 our ideas and stories started growing. In 2019 we started our own Production Company Macro Vision Films. Our first film was actually Empath – we got the POC Trailer made just before COVID placed us on lockdowns in March of 2020 and our investor left. Harvey was born out of the desire to complete a film despite covid. Shawn suggested we come up with something and get it down, not letting COVID stop us. Harvey was born. We decided on a location/concept and wrote the film in nine days. Reached out to Johnny Alonso to see if he wanted to work with me on the production. He said yes. Then I asked him to Co-Direct because I knew I’d be wearing a lot of hats with the COVID protocols. Shawn and I wrote him a great role in the script too, Keith.
For the future, we’d already written several more feature films. We are finding we are enjoying the Thrillers. But we write in all genres.
PopHorror: What were some of the benefits of working with someone who knows you so well?
Shawn Golden: The biggest benefit is communication and knowing what they want already. Which really helps when making decisions.
Ranelle Golden: We can be frank with each other in what we are looking for. Shawn keeps me in line and organized too. I tend to be a zombie when I am writing and can do nothing else until it’s done. My son is more methodical, making outlines and thinking the process through. We really complement each other.
PopHorror: The talent you found to round out your cast in Harvey was fantastic. What was this process like for you?
Shawn Golden: This question is better answered by Ranelle.
Ranelle Golden: I’ve been casting for over a decade. For the leads it was pretty simple, we wrote the script with them in mind. Johnny Alonso is such an amazing actor; I knew we’d want him. He also makes a great producer. Erin O’Brien, Eliza Kelley were part of the Empath team, that we didn’t get to complete so I knew I wanted them in there too! Darius Autry who played Harvey had been in three other of my films, and writing Harvey, he kept coming to mind. You might say I wrote it for him. Allison Meister had been on four other projects with me. I’ve watched her grow and achieve so much with her talent, that I knew she would be perfect for Madison. Andrew Rogers, I’d been wanting to work with for a long time, so this was the perfect opportunity to bring him in. Johnny suggested his friend Irv Becker for Randy, and he was the perfect pick. Kevin Winn another local I’d worked with before in multiple projects was the perfect fit for the bad guy. It all came together so smoothly drawing on talent Johnny and I knew we wanted. I was so happy with it. It may have helped that it was COVID time because more actors were available.
PopHorror: Ranelle and Shawn, both of you committed to several responsibilities making Harvey, taking on multiple roles during the entire production. Was this difficult at all for either of you?
Shawn Golden: I’m very lucky to work with Ranelle, and the rest of the Harvey team, who did a wonderful job bringing the production together which allowed me to focus more on writing though I helped in many areas.
Ranelle Golden: While I handled contracts, unions, schedules, locations and casting and so much more – we are only as good as our team. But due to budget, the team had to come together when production started. Then Johnny took the lead on the Post with our Editor Shannon Lanier.
The music is all Johnny’s doing. It’s amazing. So much talent. Shawn showed me just how good he is in this industry. He reviewed my contracts, all the footage after we were done filming, and helped in so many other areas, getting his feet wet. I also had my partner Mohan Vaidyanathan from Rock House Productions for help with inventories, equipment, onset crew roles, and reviewing footage. So it all came together, but it was a beast and the workload with the COVID protocols was crazy. There’s was one time I couldn’t come to set, per the nurse because my tests didn’t come back on time. Thankfully Johnny and I were a team on set.
PopHorror: What’s up next for the two of you? Where can folks find and follow your work?
Ranelle Golden: We just completed our biggest screenplay to date for a client, that we hope will lead us into the WGA once made. We hope to find our investors to complete Empath, and then we have two other screenplays ready to produce Rockslide and Demon Daughter. You can also follow here:
We would like to thank Ranelle and Shawn for their time. Harvey is currently streaming on Vudu HERE and is also available through Midnight Releasing.
Watch the trailer below!