SHERIDAN — A young Sheridan filmmaker will make his directorial debut early next year and he has his hometown to thank for much of the film’s production.
Josh Lobo’s “A Man in the Dark” is a twisty, supernatural thriller that takes place on Christmas. Lobo estimated 95 percent of the movie was filmed at two locations in Sheridan in late December 2016 and early January 2017.
Lobo graduated from Sheridan High School in 2012 and despite his filmmaking talents, described himself as not one to always have a camera in hand.
Lobo’s true love lies in the art of writing scripts and finding the right support system to make those scripts come to life.
“Without my collaborators, I would be nowhere,” Lobo said. “I’m a writer first, a director second.”
Lobo admitted to not knowing the technical side of filming well but looks at projects from a story perspective and relies heavily on his collaborators to help with the creation of his idea. To build the network he has today, though, Lobo had to be persistent at times with film industry professionals just out of his reach.
“I just spent a lot of time basically harassing people,” Lobo said. “I moved to L.A., and there’s just a lot of cool spots in L.A. and I would just show up.”
His persistence paid off in obtaining AJ Bowen as his lead actor. Five years after his first interactions with the well-known actor, Lobo landed Bowen for the film.
“‘You know I remember you, right?’” Bowen told Lobo. “‘You’re the guy who wouldn’t leave me alone.’”
Lobo said he never was one of those kids running around with a camera. Initially, the Sheridanite desired a career in law, but after an ugly family legal debacle, he turned to art as a way to cope.
“As a knee-jerk reaction I segwayed into art,” Lobo said. “I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I’ve always loved movies.”
When he did dive in to the world of film, he discovered a natural talent in himself that would eventually lead him to Los Angeles. He moved almost immediately after high school and attended film school for two years before dropping out to start in the industry on his own.
“I think film school is a joke,” Lobo said. “It’s a lot of money and it doesn’t really teach you anything. They basically teach you the same information that you can learn on your own.”
While he found film school to be less helpful for him, Lobo did emphasize the need to know the fundamentals of crafting a movie script and understanding the skeletal structure of how to direct a film.
In that time of self-teaching and submerging himself in the film industry, the Wyoming native quickly came to the conclusion that the City of Angels was not the place to meet the most gracious people. Lobo said in L.A. it is easy to put on a facade, puff your chest and talk about what you think you know, but nine times out of 10, people don’t actually know what they’re selling. While people may show an interest in your work, Lobo felt like most saw his raw talent and wanted to utilize it for their benefit and not to push him forward.
Lobo happily returned to his home state of Wyoming, where he found the people more willing to work as part of a team effort. Wyoming was also a place where Lobo found fairness in the actual filming process.
“I love Wyoming because people aren’t necessarily out to get your dollar,” Lobo said. “Whereas a lot of other places the only thing they can get from you is your money. [In Wyoming] people just genuinely want to help you.”
Linda McCoul, hometown supporter of Lobo and advocate for his upcoming works, watched Lobo grow up and appreciates the work he put in to reach his potential.
“It’s been a long road for him,” McCoul wrote in an email. “Going to school in California to learn his trade, being in a place he knew no one, separated from his family and friends, but he accepted the bumps along the way with grace and stuck it out.”
Lobo remained fairly quiet about the movie through the entire filming process, quietly flying well-known actors and their spouses into Sheridan. He kept the movie secret until it was picked up by Yellow Veil Pictures.
Now, Lobo is in conversation with a few film festivals in hopes of putting his feature film on the big screen, and he anticipates a premiere showing between January and March 2019.