Movies & TV / Columns

Raymond Wallace On Directing Call Sign Romeo, Upcoming Projects

July 4, 2023 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Call Sign Romeo Image Credit: Freestyle Digital Media

The 411 Interview: Raymond Wallace

Image Credit: Raymond Wallace

Raymond Wallace is a director, producer, cinematographer, and editor who has been making movies, according to imdb, since at least 2013. Wallace has worked on such short films as Beholder, Boy!, Night of the Fluffet, and Lost in Buffalo City. Wallace’s latest movie, his feature film debut as a director, is the drama Call Sign Romeo, which is set to hit all digital HD internet, cable, and satellite platforms starting on July 4th, 2023. In this interview Wallace talks with this writer about making Call Sign Romeo, what it was like to make a feature film as opposed to a short film, and more.


Image Credit: Freestyle Digital Media

Bryan Kristopowitz: Why did you want Call Sign Romeo to be your first feature film as a director?

Raymond Wallace: I was filled with immense excitement and gratitude when I received the opportunity to have Call Sign Romeo become my debut feature film. This particular production held profound significance for me as it beautifully conveyed a captivating and inspiring narrative, capable of showcasing the breathtaking beauty and unique essence of the Outer Banks—a place that holds a special place in my heart and is undeniably my cherished home.
Moreover, being part of this feature film presented an extraordinary chance for personal growth and professional development, allowing me to explore and expand my creative abilities. The prospect of testing my mettle in the realm of feature productions has always been a long-cherished dream, one that I had nurtured and pursued with unwavering determination, which I felt was reflected as a major theme in the film.

The fusion of my passion for storytelling, the allure of portraying an uplifting story set in the magnificent backdrop of the Outer Banks, and the long-standing aspiration to challenge myself within the gambit of feature filmmaking made this opportunity a truly transformative one. I eagerly embraced the chance to bring my skills, dedication, and artistic vision to the project, knowing that it would be a pivotal milestone in my career and a deeply fulfilling journey of self-discovery.

BK: Describe your working relationship with Sam Cortez, who was one of the movie’s producers and one of its screenwriters.

RW: Having the opportunity to collaborate with Sam Cortez has been an absolute delight and privilege. Throughout our journey together, I have witnessed firsthand his unwavering dedication and relentless commitment to bringing Call Sign Romeo to life. His boundless passion and tireless efforts truly serve as an inspiration to all those involved in the production.
Call Sign Romeo holds a special place in Sam’s heart, as it is a project that he has nurtured from its inception. His unwavering belief in the story and his determination to see it through to completion have been truly remarkable. Even in the face of challenges and setbacks that threatened the very existence of the film, Sam’s unwavering spirit and relentless work ethic shone through as he tirelessly pursued avenues to ensure its realization.

Personally, I hold Sam Cortez in the highest regard and consider him not just a colleague and friend but also a mentor. His guidance, support, and wealth of knowledge have played an invaluable role in shaping my growth as a filmmaker. I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to work alongside him on Call Sign Romeo’ and hope to collaborate on future projects together. With each interaction, I am continually inspired by his creative vision, unwavering commitment to quality, and his ability to ignite the passion within those around him.
Sam Cortez’s leadership and dedication have undeniably left an indelible mark on the production of Call Sign Romeo. I am honored to have had the chance to be part of this incredible journey.

Image Credit: Freestyle Digital Media

BK: Describe your working relationship with Stuart Parks II, who was one of the movie’s screenwriters and acts in the movie as flying instructor Digger.

RW: Stuart Parks is an exceptional and extraordinarily gifted storyteller, whose creative abilities know no bounds. His talent as a writer is nothing short of remarkable, as he possesses a rare ability to craft narratives that captivate and resonate with audiences on a profound level. Whether through the written word or spoken dialogue, Stuart’s storytelling prowess is a force to be reckoned with, leaving a lasting impact on those who have the privilege of experiencing his work.

However, Stuart’s talents extend far beyond his exceptional writing skills. His prowess as an actor, both on stage and screen, is nothing short of awe-inspiring. When he steps into a character’s shoes, he fully immerses himself in their world, embodying their essence and bringing them to life with remarkable authenticity. Stuart’s commitment to his craft is wholehearted and unwavering, evident in his ability to breathe genuine humanity into each and every character he portrays.

BK: Where was Call Sign Romeo filmed?

RW: The production of Call Sign Romeo took place amidst the breathtaking landscapes of the outer banks of North Carolina, serving as a stunning backdrop that not only accentuated the film’s visual appeal but also highlighted the intrinsic beauty and allure of the region.

Image Credit: Freestyle Digital Media

BK: How did you cast Call Sign Romeo? What was it like working with the assembled cast?

RW: The cast of Call Sign Romeo brought together a diverse ensemble, blending seasoned professional actors with a group of local high schoolers who were venturing into the world of acting for the very first time. This deliberate casting choice aimed to infuse the film with a unique dynamic, capturing both the seasoned talent of experienced actors and the raw energy and authenticity that untrained individuals could bring to their roles.
During the casting process, Sam and I sought young actors and actresses who possessed the necessary physicality and experience to participate in the demanding wrestling scenes. This meticulous approach aimed to ensure that these pivotal moments in the film would resonate with an unparalleled sense of realism, enhancing their impact and immersing the audience in the narrative.

Witnessing the untrained actors rise up to the challenge and surpass expectations was truly exhilarating. While they embarked on a journey that was entirely new to them, they wholeheartedly committed themselves to the film’s vision. The dedication and passion they brought to their roles were palpable, and when everything aligned, their performances ignited the screen, delivering a fiery intensity that resonated with audiences.

Of course, the journey was not without its challenges. There were moments that tested the resolve of both the seasoned professionals and the young newcomers. However, through their unwavering commitment and shared determination, the entire cast embraced the demands of the film and pushed themselves to new heights. It was during these moments of cohesion and alignment that their performances truly shone, showcasing a synergy and collective energy that breathed life into the characters and their stories.

The collaborative spirit and mutual support among the cast members fostered an environment where each individual felt empowered to explore their characters and bring their unique talents to the table. As the film unfolded, the blend of professional actors and untrained high schoolers created a dynamic that yielded unexpected and captivating results, amplifying the film’s authenticity and emotional resonance.

Image Credit: Freestyle Digital Media

BK: What sort of wrestling training, if any, did you have the cast go through?

RW: Throughout the filming process, we took great care to ensure the authenticity and safety of each wrestling scene and practice in Call Sign Romeo. To achieve this, we had the invaluable support of real high school wrestling coaches who lent their expertise in choreographing the matches and safeguarding the well-being of our actors. Their presence not only elevated the realism of the wrestling sequences but also provided a professional touch that translated seamlessly onto the screen.

While the majority of our wrestling talent brought with them extensive backgrounds and experience in the sport, their prowess and dedication truly shine through in the final film. The depth of their understanding and skill in wrestling is palpable, enhancing the authenticity and capturing the nuances of the sport in a way that resonates with audiences. Their commitment to their craft is evident in every move and every moment, infusing the wrestling scenes with an undeniable sense of credibility and captivation.

The collaboration between our talented wrestling actors and the high school wrestling coaches resulted in a harmonious blend of technical expertise and artistic vision. The coaches’ guidance and knowledge contributed to the seamless execution of the wrestling sequences, ensuring that the actors could fully immerse themselves in their roles while maintaining their safety throughout the process. This collaboration exemplifies the commitment of the entire team to delivering a film that not only entertains but also honors the essence and spirit of the sport of wrestling.

BK: What was the hardest part of making Call Sign Romeo for you as a director? What was the easiest?

RW: While filming Call Sign Romeo, one of the most challenging aspects for me personally was the intricate juggling act required to synchronize the on-and-off filming schedule with my full-time job at the time. This task became even more complex as we strived to accommodate the schedules of our exceptional cast and crew, who were equally dedicated to our production while maintaining their commitments outside of the film. Despite these logistical hurdles, the dedication and passion of everyone involved prevailed, ultimately leading to a remarkable collaboration.

Conversely, the planning stages of Call Sign Romeo provided a refreshing and invigorating experience. During this phase, the realm of imagination and creative visualization reigned supreme. It was a time of conjuring the possibilities, meticulously crafting the envisioned scenes, and conceptualizing the vivid visuals that would bring our story to life. This period of exploration and mental exercises allowed us to delve into the depths of our imaginations, igniting the creative sparks that fueled our anticipation for the shoot.

BK: How long did it take to make Call Sign Romeo, from finishing the script to completing post-production?

RW: In the grand scheme of things, I recognize that for Sam Cortez, the journey of bringing Call Sign Romeo to life was a multi-year endeavor, marked by numerous triumphs and setbacks, in which my role was relatively small. From my perspective, my involvement in the film spanned approximately a year and a half, encompassing the period from when I initially joined the project to its culmination with the premiere at the local theater.

Image Credit: Freestyle Digital Media

BK: Do you agree with the PG-13 rating for Call Sign Romeo?

RW: Although I respect the rationale behind the PG-13 rating assigned to the film, I must express my disagreement with it. Personally, I believe that a PG rating would align more accurately with the content presented in the film.

BK: According to imdb you’ve directed a number of short films. How did your experience making those short films differ from your experience making your first feature film? How was it the same?

RW: The process of filming the movie proved to be remarkably reminiscent of creating a short film. In fact, the experience of making the feature felt akin to embarking on a series of interconnected short films, with each scene or compilation of scenes unfolding simultaneously. However, the most notable disparity arose during post-production, where the vast multitude of digital assets (footage, audio, music, graphics, etc.) necessitated extensive storage capabilities, a departure from the comparatively smaller storage requirements of a short film.

BK: Any moviemaking heroes?

RW: I draw inspiration from a diverse range of filmmakers who have made a significant impact on the industry. Figures such as George A. Romero, Steven Spielberg, David Lynch, James Cameron, Peter Jackson, Vince Gilligan, and countless others have left their indelible mark on shaping my love for filmmaking, and inspire me to push harder and work towards accomplishing my goals. Each of these talented individuals has contributed their unique vision and storytelling prowess, and I find inspiration in their works as I continue to explore my own creative journey.

BK: Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

RW: Presently, I have a sci-fi short film entitled THE SIGNAL – CASE #CE2-09031996-252 that is currently making its rounds at various film festivals, serving as both a standalone work of project and a strategic proof of concept. My intentions behind this endeavor are twofold: to captivate audiences with the short film itself and to utilize its success as a springboard for securing financial support for a larger, feature-length project. So, fingers crossed!

Image Credit: Freestyle Digital Media

BK: What do you hope audiences get out of Call Sign Romeo?

RW: I aspire for Call Sign Romeo to serve as a source of inspiration for viewers, urging them to relentlessly pursue their dreams, regardless of their nature. Just like Sam Cortez, I hope they embody the unwavering determination and strength to wholeheartedly dedicate themselves to their aspirations. By embracing teamwork, I believe they can transform their dreams into tangible realities.
Additionally, I aim for audiences to find enjoyment in the film, leaving them with a sense of satisfaction and a resounding declaration that “that was a remarkable movie.”

BK: Would you like to fly a fighter jet in real life? What would you want your call sign to be?

RW: Absolutely! The thrill of piloting a fighter jet is undeniably captivating. I can’t deny that I’ve indulged in daydreams about what it would feel like. Growing up watching Top Gun has certainly fueled those fantasies even more.

When it comes to selecting a call sign, I believe “Rayolight” has a strong and appealing ring to it. It captures a sense of radiance and energy, making it a fitting choice.

Image Credit: Freestyle Digital Media


A very special thanks to Raymond Wallace for agreeing to participate in this interview and to david j. moore for setting it up.
Call Sign Romeo is set to hit all digital HD internet, cable, and satellite platforms starting on July 4th, 2023!

Check out the Call Sign Romeo official website here and official Facebook page here and official YouTube channel here!

Raymond Wallace directing image courtesy of Raymond Wallace. All other images courtesy of Freestyle Digital Media.