Los Angeles resident Branden Cobb’s journey over the past decade in the video and film production world has taken him from learning the ropes on location inside a classroom at Urbana High School to serving as production manager of “Gold Dust,” an upcoming feature film being shot on location in the Mojave Desert.
While a release date for “Gold Dust” has yet to be announced, Cobb, a 2007 UHS graduate, confirmed the film is currently in preprodution until the end of September with filming expected to take place over a 24-day period in October.
“Much of my experience has been in broadcasts, documentaries, non-scripted TV, and commercials, so I am excited to work on a feature in an influential position as production manager,” he said. “The story is great, and much of it will take place in the Mojave Desert, so I am most excited about a little travel and the awesome landscapes we will be working with.”
Marketed as a wild adventure of treasure and ghosts, mirages and orphans, shattered dreams, and lost loves, “Gold Dust” blends the stark deadly beauty of the desert with a villain so disarmingly dangerous he becomes terrifyingly elegant.
Information released to the press by the filmmakers contains the following movie synopsis: “Somewhere along the border with Mexico, two lifelong friends – prospectors – use moth-eaten maps and passed down legends in a lifelong search to find a ghost ship rumored to have been buried in the desert sand over millennia as the seafloor dried up. Today, Mexican drug lords operate here, using a fleet of children in ultra light airplanes, flying in a new type of treasure – heroin – modern gold dust.”
Journey to feature film production manager
Cobb said his decision to go down this particular career path was a direct result of being given the opportunity to learn the basics of the business as a teenager.
“The video production program at Urbana High School, taught at the time by T.D. Evans, was extremely influential in my decision to study film in college,” said Cobb, who attended college at the University of Toledo, where he obtained a B.A. in both film/video and communications, as well as a master’s degree in business administration.
Having tinkered in a variety of production genres, Cobb has spent 2016 focusing on fictional feature filmmaking, which has already proven to be a successful endeavor.
In April, Cobb worked in the locations department for “What’s The Point?,” a feature film starring the likes of Mary Steenburgen, Paul Reiser and Ed Helms.
Cobb followed up his work on “What’s The Point/” with a position on an indie feature film in New Mexico before turning his attention to a job working on “Ingrid Goes West,” a feature film staring Elizabeth Olsen (younger sister of the Olsen twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley) and O’Shea Jackson Jr. (son of actor/rapper Ice Cube).
“A couple weeks ago, I production managed a well-put-together, professional short film, and I have produced or production managed other non-feature length projects, so now it will be exciting to use what I learned from experiences on other projects on a more lengthy project (“Gold Dust”) I am passionate about,” Cobb said.
Back in 2010 when Cobb was getting his feet wet in the video/film production world doing freelance work, he came to the realization that starting his own company – Starring Entertainment – was the right move for him at that point in his career.
“My resume was getting too long with all the project-to-project gigs, and to make it appear less scattered, I consolidated a bunch of work under the name – Starring Entertainment.”
Registered in both Ohio and California, the Los Angeles-based company produces content while also providing production and consulting services for hire.
If Cobb has it his way, one day the Starring Entertainment logo will become a reoccurring image at the beginning of feature films.
“I want to build the brand into a recognizable name within the film industry and set it up for long-term success, enabling the ability to choose which stories are brought to life with the goal of making content that has a positive influence on this world and provides enjoyment to billions of people across many cultures,” he said. “A big goal is to start to gain ownership percentages in movies and get the logo to appear in the opening title sequences. That type of placement is a permanent advertisement should the movie be well-received.”
Based on recent inquires from some of the biggest players in the film and television industry, the future looks bright for Starring Entertainment.
“The brand is starting to take notice as I have received phone calls from top content creating companies such as Disney, HBO, and others who were interested in hearing what Starring Entertainment is all about,” Cobb said.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-652-1331 (ext. 1774) or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.