An Interview With Paul Myzia: An Inspiring Storyteller

Hello Paul! Welcome! Could you tell us a bit about yourself? Give us a brief introduction!

Paul Myzia is a writer, director, and editor living in Nashville, TN with his wife Arianna, and their two children. He began studying film at the age of 11 and has a passion for strong, visually-driven narratives.

Where are you located?

Nashville, TN

city lights during dawn

What is a quote that summarizes everything you’re about as a filmmaker?

“A filmmaker’s most important tool is humanity. You want to be able to capture humanity in your stories and bring out the humanity in your characters.” – Ryan Coogler

I only saw this quote a few days ago, but it’s exactly how I feel. It’s why I love drama so much, humans are fascinating and human connection is everything, they can make or break you. Putting the human condition on a screen can be challenging, but there’s always going to be someone who can relate, or who’s touched by what you made. I want my films to either give someone a new perspective or change them in some way.

What inspired you to start creating films?

It all started with Brendan Fraser’s “The Mummy”. I was 9, and before we got to watch that movie, my dad showed us the behind-the-scenes videos. I was absolutely fascinated by the fact that computers made some of the images we were seeing, and that it wasn’t real. So at 10 years old or so, I started recording things so I could do visual effects. Didn’t take very long to figure out people only watched these videos because they knew me, not because they were good.

I considered what draws people into film, what I was missing…and that’s a good story. So I shifted into making sure there was a good story involved. As a young filmmaking kid, very few people care as much or want to put in the same amount of work…so I started studying everything about film that I could, and that’s how I fell in love with writing, directing, camera work, editing…all of it. To this day, I can’t tell you which part of filmmaking I love most. It’s all so much fun.

Who most inspires/influences your style and specific execution currently and why?

Christopher Nolan, Aaron Sorkin, David Fincher, and a dash of J.J. Abrams.
Fincher, because of his relentless attention to detail, and perfectionism.
Sorkin, because of the depth of his characters, and musical dialogue.

Nolan especially…he just has this ability no matter the setting of a film, to put in these little sentences that are simple, but pack such a grandiose gut-punch about the human condition, right-and-wrong, and the lasting impact of our decisions on this earth. Also, I’m a naturalist like him I think…I don’t want visual effects unless it’s to accomplish something that I just can’t do in-camera. Go practical or go home, I say.
Abrams, because of how well he does endearing, and heartfelt moments (I’m not here for the lens flares).

What is your favorite film of all time?

That’s really, really hard to say. For the time being, I think I’ll have to go with Cloud Atlas. It’s beautiful, it’s got everything, and it’s so well executed.

As a creator, what do you find to be the thing that most drives you to succeed? We like to use this portion for others to learn from you!

Time on this earth is short. You never know when your last day will be, or the last day of a loved one. I want to strike a balance between cherishing what’s right in front of me and creating art that will encourage people to do the same, long after I’m gone. If you want to create art that impacts the human race in a good way, do it — but not at the expense of the humans that share a home with you.

What is your overall dream in life?

To make unforgettable movies that are fun, but change lives for the better.
And for my wife and children to know that I love them more than anything in the world.
And to outlive the normal lifespan of type 1 diabetic haha (boooo my failed pancreas)

What’s the title of this project?

The Masterpiece

What is your role(s) in the film?

Writer / Director / Editor

Who is the director & who is the writer?

I am, Paul Myzia

What is the film’s genre?


What is the film’s logline?

The cinematic, dramatized, but true story of Cristian Fredrick — from a terminal diagnosis at age 16, to being alive and thriving as an artist and therapeutic painter.

What inspired the way that you went about executing this project?

All the aspects of Cristian’s life…and music. Cristian asked me to tell his life’s story, but also promote who he is and what he does. He’s an artist, and he paints—so I wanted this film to be like a painting. If you pick it apart into the individual scenes, a lot of things don’t make sense, or they look like continuity errors. But if you blend them all together and look at the whole picture…there’s a clear journey, a very clear arc. Like layers of paint strokes that comprise the final image, I wanted certain elements to blend between scenes, like objects, sounds, and motion. Our composer, Brandon Blanchard—a dear friend—had recently released an album titled The Hero Within, and I had it on repeat while writing this script. I mean I knew he would be composing for this film so we’d get a similar vibe, but also he’s been friends with Cristian longer than I have, and they’ve inspired each other so much in the past it felt wrong not to draw inspiration from them both. Brandon is a huge part of the heartbeat of this film.

What was the most difficult part in the process of creating this film? How did you overcome it?

Wow, the most difficult part was definitely principle photography. Due to gear rentals with our budget, we had only 5 days to get approximately 200 different shots, over 9 locations, with quite a bit of setup time for many key shots…and we only had an 8 person crew. On average, all 5 days we were at it for over 12 hours, and it was stressful.

How we overcome it? Haha…albeit small, our crew is insanely talented. I didn’t have a 1st AD during preproduction so I drew up the most detailed schedule I could, with shot list, outfits needed, locations, what props had to be where and when…then gave it all to our production managers, McKenna and Arianna. They were excellent, kept us on task, and had everything where it needed to be when it needed to be, so I could just focus on directing. And in between all that, they are also makeup artists and covered all Cristian’s tattoos for half of the production. Andrew Smith (DP) and Ben Richardson (producer) tag-teamed lighting since we didn’t have a gaffer.

They traveled from Oklahoma to help me on this shoot, so we never had time for previz, no storyboard, no mood board…just a shot list and the vision in my head. We had to decide how to light each scene at the moment and set up/tear down ourselves. If it weren’t for their expertise, great working relationship, and how well they just understood my vision…this film wouldn’t look a fraction of how good it does. Last but not least, our composer’s wife is a photographer, but in addition to BTS work, she was a set dresser and grip. In short, we overcame it with good communication, attention to detail, and non-stop HUSTLE.

What was the most fun part of this entire production?

That’s hard to say…difficult as production was, it was an absolute blast. But I’m gonna have to go with post-production…the magic of it all coming together makes me giddy like a 5-year old on Christmas morning. I’ve been in love with editing since I was like 12, so stitching this thing together, hearing the gorgeous score Brandon wrote, designing the sound of the film…it’s just so rewarding to create an experience like this, and even more so, allowing different artists to apply their own vision freely.

I’m a sucker for good color correction, and we had the amazing Arianna Shining Star on board for color. For her and Brandon, I try not to give too much direction, I just give them the film and let them do what they think is best. Let me tell you, they did not disappoint. I’m over the moon with how good it looks and sounds.

What is the single greatest lesson you learned along the creation of this particular project?

Oh gosh…um…probably: hire the 1st AD as early as you can, and whatever you plan to pay them…double it.

Is there anything else you would like us to know? Or any final thoughts/things you’d like to share with our readers?

The film premieres on YouTube and Vimeo on January 22nd! It’ll also continue to be in festivals for the next year or so.
This film is a true story, it’s obviously visually dramatized…but everything that happens in it happened in real life. Cristian reversed his terminal diagnosis by eating healthy, working out, and expressing himself through art. Please please please head over to his website,, check out his work, and you can purchase some of his paintings, including “The Master” that he painted start to finish in four hours while we shot this film!

Thank you so much for being a part of The Film Festival Network Community, Paul! We can’t wait to see what you do next.

Keep up with Paul and all his incredible work to come!