Conducting a phone interview with the Blaze brothers turns out to be somewhat difficult. It’s not because 18-year-old Nathan and 17-year-old Jon are reluctant to talk. It’s just that their voices sound rather similar, and they tend to pick up each other’s thoughts without segue. “We finish each other’s sentences,” Nathan (I think) said. “We have the same tastes.”
The brothers have worked separately as professional editors, but they have already completed one short film together and have more in planning stages. The Blazes can work only on weekends, though, since they’re still completing their studies at Boswell High School in Saginaw.
The two of them got their start early. “I started editing stuff when I was 9,” Jon said. “I made music videos out of songs that I liked. It was more like a hobby.”
They began film work in earnest while they were taking advanced classes at Hollenstein Career and Technology Center. Their teacher, Jerome Butler, introduced them to the members of Oh, Sleeper, the Christian metalcore band whose music the Blazes liked. The brothers were soon shooting and editing videos of the band’s live performances, earning them the job of making the official video for the acoustic version of “Means to Believe.” “We were excited and a bit nervous,” Nathan said. “The band was very laid-back and told us to just go ahead and do our thing. They were very nice, very helpful.”
The Blazes’ first short film, The Morning’s Cold, was made in a hurry, as the brothers were applying for a scholarship from the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers. “We found out about the scholarship two days before the deadline,” Nathan said. The application required a short film project, so the brothers fleshed out an idea about the thoughts going through a hunter’s mind before he kills a stray dog for food in a post-apocalyptic world. “We had some props lying around from other videos,” Jon said. “We shot it at Eagle Ranch next to my neighborhood [in Fort Worth]. It was the first week of January , but it wasn’t too cold.” They’re still awaiting word on whether they’ve received the scholarship.
Their latest project, The Path of Least Resistance, currently exists only as a “concept video,” a short film designed to show potential investors the atmosphere and production values of the planned work rather than its story. A thriller about a young amnesiac who finds himself imprisoned by a mysterious jailer, the work was launched as a Kickstarter project that ultimately failed to meet its target, but the Blazes aren’t fazed. “We really just wanted to draw actors,” Jon said, adding that he had found leads for the project by putting the video online. The project is slated to be a 30-minute short but might be expanded into a feature.
Currently, the Blazes are preparing to start shooting on a short film next week as a project for Full Sail University, a Florida technical school for entertainment professionals that has accepted the brothers. They’re studying whether their finances will allow them to attend immediately, but they plan to earn money with freelance work in the meantime. Via Craigslist, they have already gotten work editing commercials and trailers for low-budget films. They credit their parents (“our biggest fans”) for supporting them. “You have to be diligent to do this,” Nathan said. “But it’s not as hard as you think.”