Morphing into Action with The Ranger’s Matt Jayson(@MattJay_Son)

Matt JaysonMatt Jayson is an actor and writer who last year released a short fim called “The Ranger”. This reimagined version of what an adult Ranger would be like has gotten rave reviews all over the net. This is my interview with him as we talk about what influenced him to write this and his expectations moving forward.
Q1. How did The Ranger come about? What inspired you to write this story?

A: I just came up with this idea one day about a guy who we think is a former Army Ranger who has just been living in hell but then finding out that he wasn’t an Army Ranger, he was a Power Ranger.  I thought it could a cute little thing to do for FunnyOrDie.  But then as I really considered it, I thought to myself, “What happens to these guys after they finish serving as Rangers?”  It has to affect some of them on a very emotional level.  They were teenagers and their lives were constantly in danger…that’s not easy to deal with.  Then I started thinking about how their studies might suffer.  I mean they are in high school and instead of studying and doing homework they are constantly fighting monsters and commanding Zords.  Once these ideas started floating around, I was able to put Jasons backstory together.

Q2. Was it always a plan for this to be filmed? What steps did you have to go thru for it to be created? Also talk about the casting process for it as well.

A: As soon as I wrote the story I wanted to film it.  Then I started showing it to people.  The first friend I thought about asking to direct said that after reading it, it was very obvious that it was the first script I ever wrote.  He gave me a book called “The Screenwriters Bible” and said I should read it and go back and re-write it.  I didn’t.  Its still sitting on my shelf.  The first 2 people who I approached to produce were a pair of girls who said that they didn’t get the humor and failed to see how it was funny.  Then I sent the script to my writer friend Adam, who went on to direct it.  He loved.  He thought it was a great idea.  He punched it up a bit and quickened the pace of the story.  Then I called my friend Rydell who runs the production company Ynot/SinPelo and sent him the script.  He loved it and wanted to shoot it.  I guess in the end, I put together a team that got it and believed in it.  If I listened to the first few people who I sent it to, I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere.  I knew I had a good idea, I just had to get it to the right peopled.  Then came location scouting.  My friend James had access to this great loft.  I got a sound guy who did amazing things with his knowledge on post sound.  I found an amazing FX guy named Chris who was able to put the effects at the end in.  My friend Elliot acted as DP and did an incredible job filming.  All my friends came together to help me out and I couldn’t have done it without them.
As far as casting, I knew I wanted Harrison.  Him and I go back a few years.  One of the funniest guys I know.  I wrote the role as Billy’s son with him in mind.  He resembles Billy and his quirky and comedic deameanor I knew would be a good contrast to my very intense tone.
Q3. Watching The Ranger for the first time a few days ago was awesome! It was very impressive. What has the response been like since its first debut?

A: Well thank you.  It really is nice to hear that .  Means a lot to me.  It just exploded.  It was my first project and I couldn’t have been more nervous.  Would it piss off fans?  Would non fans even get it?  I was a nervous wreck.  And then when it started getting passed around Twitter, I knew I hit a home run with the fans.  Very quickly I started getting interviewed on different sites and then ended up getting invited to Morphicon which was a blast.

Q4. How much research did you have to do when creating The Ranger?

A: I went back to watch some of the original again.  I felt a few nice easter eggs in the film would suffice.  I didn’t want to overload the film with them.  I didn’t need to do a whole lot of research because I was a fan of the original and watched up until the end of Zeo so I was more than familiar with the characters.  I did have to IMDB Billy’s character though to find out what his last name was.

Q5. I’ve seen where Austin St. John(Jason/MMPR Red) gave a big cosign towards your project. What was that like for you?

A: Holy cow.  I was nervous as hell that I would piss him off too.  I hadn’t heard anything from him and just assumed he didn’t like it.  Then I met him at Morphicon, he couldn’t have been any nicer and his publicist Susan told me how much he enjoyed it.  It meant so much to me.  When I was in middle school, I totally wanted to be the Red Ranger and at that moment it all kind of came full circle for me.

Q6. You have gone to quite a few conventions even actually meeting Austin St. John and other former cast members. What is the atmosphere like when you step into a scenery such as those?

A: I actually only went to Power Morphicon in Pasadena.  Living in Los Angeles, that was easy to get to and they were very nice for inviting me.  It was awesome.  I only planned on going one day and I ended up there all three days.  I loved some of the panels.  I got to really learn about what went on behind the scenes as they made the show.  And I got to see some of these guys in person.  Austin St. John let me come to the front of the line and take a picture with him and as I said before, he just couldn’t be any nicer.  He’s a really good dude.  I had a lot of people come up to me letting me know how much they enjoyed The Ranger and asked if there would be more.  I loved seeing all the merchandise.  I didn’t actually buy anything as I’m not really a toy collector but seeing the White Tiger Dagger on display was a trip.  Actually I lied.  I bought a He-Man drawing that was signed by the artist.  I couldn’t help myself.

Q7. You announced that The Ranger: Comeback will continue this Spring of 2015. What can fans expect to see?

A: Jason is on his mission to rescue Kim.  He knows who has Kim.  He just doesn’t know how to get to him.  He visits a man from his past for help.  And when I say his past, I mean the past that I have created for him.  It’s a whole different take on Jason’s backstory.  I am just hoping the fans will enjoy the journey I take them on.  Its a big risk we are taking.

Q8. If you were pitching The Ranger to Saban or anybody else for a major film project, How would you sell it to them?

A: Been there.  Done that.  Saban responded with a request to take down my film.  I didn’t.  Hey, I get where they are coming from….sort of?

Q9. Your feature has been a success. There are others with PR fan films such as Zordon of Eltar, Teenagers with Attitude, MMPR Fan Film, Power Rangers Zenith, March of the Dragon, and even others that I haven’t came across yet. What do u make of these? What kind of influence does this have on the pop culture that is Power Rangers?
A: I saw an ep of Rangers with Attitude recently.  Thought it was pretty cool.  I saw MMPR way before I even made my film.  Thought it was a cool concept.  There were things that I thought worked and other things that didnt.  What ever happend to it?  I remember there being some outrage over them raising money on Kickstarter and then not making the movie.  I totally understand the movie making business and  see how that could happen.  But they are actually the reason I havent raised any money to make it.  Because that way, if it doesn’t deliver, no one can accuse me of wasting their money ;). Someone approached me at Morphicon and said he was affiliated with them and they were interested in having me play Jason in their film but I never heard anything about it ever again.  I’ll check out those other ones.

Q10. How can the people find you online and keep an update on yourself and The Ranger: Comeback?

A: Sure.  Anyone can go ahead and visit The Ranger fan page.  I respond to any message that people send me.  I also respond to every single tweet and almost every Instagram comment.  @mattjay_son on Twitter mattjay_son on Instagram and the Ranger page is at https://www.facebook.com/TheRangerfilm.

Q11. Again I just wanna say thank you for letting me interview you. Much continued success to any endeavors you chose to step in and to your latest project. May the power protect you. It really has been a pleasure. Any last words or shout-outs?

A: My pleasure!  Thanks for having me.  Much continued success to you as well Curtis.  I would love to should out to some of the amazing fans that have now become friends and who I respect the hell out of.  Eric Berry, Rankal and the entire crew at Ranger Command.  Jay Rodarte with Morphin Legacy.  Lance Mealer with Morphinomenal, Lee Roberts with The Monkey Grid.  Matt “Sleepy” Leslie, Silvestre Talavera, Joseph Michael Banas III and all my other fans who have welcomed me into their world.  Your support means the world to me.

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