Being told someone found your movie in the trash isn’t the easiest thing to hear as a filmmaker, but for Valencia High School graduate Shane Ryan, it was a formidable moment that would shape his career in the industry.
At the age of 5, Ryan was introduced to video editing by his father, as he watched and learned from him editing the original “GLOW” TV show from the 1980s on which the Netflix show is based.
“Then when I was 7, I saw a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie, and then I was like, ‘OK, that’s what I want to do,’” Ryan said, chuckling.
From that day forward, Ryan worked toward entering the film industry in various aspects, going from starring in films to making his own.
At 24, Ryan made a feature-length film and spent about three years trying to distribute it, until he got a call from someone who’d found it in the trash.
It was that someone, Gregory Hatanaka, who ended up directing the film and continued working with Ryan through the years and up to present day, as they work together to produce and distribute many of Ryan’s films, including two that recently premiered at the Santa Clarita International Film Festival.
Hatanaka directed “A Wiseguy Christmas,” which was co-produced by and co-stars Ryan, and “A Christmas Love,” which was co-produced by Ryan, both of which were shown at the Regal Cinemas Valencia during the festival.
“Of all the movies I’ve done in 20 years, I’ve never gotten to play locally, so I thought that that was amazing,” Ryan said of the Santa Clarita premiere. “I’ve been going to the Regal here since they opened… it was bizarre to see my film on the big screen.”
In the same week, Ryan premiered three other films, including “The Magical Christmas Tree,” which Ryan co-produced and starred in. The film also stars California Institute of the Arts alumni and teacher Socks Whitmore and is the first romantic comedy to feature a romance between two non-binary lead characters.
And while some of the films he produces are being shot around the world, many of the films that he acts in are shot in Santa Clarita.
This year alone, Ryan has released more than 55 films as an actor, producer and director, using his experience in each various role to his benefit, as he said he has an appreciation for what it takes to put together each facet of the production.
“I just want the movie to turn out as good as it possibly can,” Ryan said, adding that he’s constantly thinking of ways to improve the film and strives to understand every part of the filmmaking process.