Devon Bray: From Wichita’s Void to Hollywood’s Limelight — A Filmmaker’s Journey

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Today, we dive into the captivating world of DevonBray, a filmmaker whose creative journey began with a mission to provide a platform for the talented individuals in his hometown of Wichita, Kansas. From shooting music videos to directing full-length features, Devon shares pivotal moments, challenges faced during “Buy Her,” the dynamics of working with family at Bray Films, and his unique approach to storytelling. Join us as we explore the lessons learned, the balance between quality and quantity, and the aspirations that shape the future of Bray Films in the evolving landscape of the film industry.

Hi Devon! We’re thrilled to interview you today and learn more about your creative journey in the filmmaking business. What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

Devon: Filling a void in my city Wichita, KS because there are so many talented and gifted people with no platform, support or resources so I provide it.

Your journey from shooting music videos to releasing your sixth film is impressive. Can you share a pivotal moment that defined your transition from music videos to short films, and eventually, full-length features?

Devon: The pivotal moment that defined my transition from music videos to short films then later feature films, was endeavoring to bring someone else’s vision to the past. Short films and music videos gave me the work ethic, patience and stamina to later shoot feature films. My motto is (The more you do the more you can do).

With over 900 music videos under your belt, what valuable lessons from that experience have you carried into the world of filmmaking, and how has it shaped your unique approach at Bray Films?

Devon: My experience and lessons after shooting 900 music videos gave me the foundation of understanding film work, storytelling, directing, creativity, how to scout for locations, video coloration, editing, lighting and most of all making people look good. I was always known for covering flaws through my lens.

“Buy Her” has been in the most popular list for two weeks — congratulations! What challenges did you face during its production, and how did you overcome them to create a film that resonates with audiences?

Devon: My challenges with Buy Her would have to be that we had to rush filming it. So I wish I had more time and actors availabile because I have actors with full time jobs & limited resources. But we got it done and overcame it by being proactive. We came on set every shoot day giving it our all and doing the absolute best with what we have without cutting corners.

Involving your family in Bray Films is a unique aspect of your business. How do you navigate the dynamics of working with family members, and how has it contributed to the success and identity of Bray Films?

Devon: Working with family can be a challenge but what I have learned is consistent communication, respect, honesty and having each other’s best interest at heart goes a long way.

Quality over quantity is your motto. How do you balance maintaining high standards while also meeting the demands of the fast-paced film industry, especially considering the continuous evolution of technology and storytelling techniques?

Devon: The demand in the film industry is very fast paced and very competitive. I just stay true to myself, the vision and making a good quality film. So my focus is on the production and how the film looks as well as the story. We’re now working a little harder on getting our actors confident on camera.

Your film “Pearl” premiered at AMC theater and later streamed on Amazon. How did these experiences influence your subsequent film projects, and what lessons did you learn from navigating both the traditional and digital distribution landscapes?

Devon: My first 2 movie premieres set the tone for my filmmaking because they were sold out experiences. The theaters let me know that I was good enough to do this. I got my family, friends and city to see & believe in what I was doing.

Streaming took it to another level and now I have the eyes of the world and now they can help me fine tune my skills because they will tell you the honest God truth. I take it all in and adjust if need be.

“Joint Custody” and “PPP Loan Gone” suggest a blend of serious themes and humor. How do you approach finding the right balance in storytelling to engage audiences while addressing important subjects?

Devon: I look at my filmmaking like real life, life is full of ups and downs. Life is full of drama, comedy, suspense, and crime everyday. In real life, a lot of time we experience all these emotions in one day so we depict real life in our films.

As an entrepreneur in the film industry, what advice would you give to aspiring filmmakers looking to build their own production companies, especially those who may face challenges similar to what you’ve overcome?

Devon: Entrepreneurs in the film industry master skill sets. Do what you can on your own or recruit close friends and family. Be sure to communicate clearly about your vision and plan. Be patient, be consistent, be willing to work for free starting off to build your resume for real work.

Network, research, watch lots of movies & TV shows, take some masterclasses and connect with like minded people.

With the release of “Buy Her,” what message or emotions do you aim to evoke in your audience, and how do you ensure your films leave a lasting impact on viewers?

Devon: We like to create films that are engaging and start conversations. We want to make you laugh, cry, yell and cuss at the TV or even take the conversation to social media.

Looking ahead, what are your aspirations for Bray Films, and how do you see the future of the film industry shaping your creative and business endeavors?

Devon: As for aspirations and the future for Bray Films, we plan on building the first film studio in our city so that upcoming filmmakers don’t see the grind we saw.

We also plan on executive producing films for other aspiring filmmakers in the future as well as TV series.

Follow on Instagram @brayfilmswork

Ethan Chan

Ethan Chan is a talented senior correspondent for Los Angeles Magazine, known for his incisive reporting and in-depth analysis of local and national issues. With over 15 years of experience in the field of journalism, Ethanm has established himself as a respected voice in the industry.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Ethan's passion for writing and storytelling was evident from a young age. After completing his education, he began his career as a reporter for a local newspaper before joining the team at Los Angeles Magazine.

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