Dog Days in the Heartland Cast & Crew Profile #13: Chad Carpenter


Chad Carpenter is the director of Dog Days in the Heartland.

"I have always wanted to make movies. I loved to escape and a chance to dream. The coolest heroes, the defiant misfits set the tone for who I wanted to be. We played make believe to our favorite movies. I would storyboard the movies I wanted to make. I would daydream in moving pictures. 

I considered studying film in the late nineties. The golden era for independent film. My parents encouraged me to focus on web design, another emerging medium. They said I could come back to pictures when I was older. I got my degree in design, got a job, started a family.

Still, all I wanted to do, all I would dream about was making a movie. Eventually, the mundane doldrums of corporate life got to be too much. In 2011, I got tired of complaining about work getting in the way and just started to write my movie. I got my employer to cover some film classes at Lindenwood, got access to equipment, learned to edit, and made a bunch of friends who were even more passionate about making film than myself.

In 2014 we decided to shoot a scene from the script as a short. A proof of concept. We shot it all in one day. It was the greatest high of my life. I felt out of body watching a scene emerge from my mind's eye right before me. A team of creatives were aligned and making this whole thing real.

The short not only gave me a taste of the magic, it is also when I learned young production artists needed an opportunity. Talking with our crew, I learned how hard it was to get fair pay while pursuing the dream. I decided after that day we needed to provide an opportunity for aspiring filmmakers. That's the day it stopped being about "my" movie and became an opportunity for others. That's when this thing got interesting.

Dog Days has been blessed in so many ways, by so many people. I believe things came together when this stopped being mine and became focused on others. I was blessed with Dylan Schnitker's vision behind the lens. Eric Schmidt's art direction. The Gundaker's making their track our playground. Harry and Jane Johnson opening their home. So many gave to this project. Their love is evident in this picture. I am proud of our movie, but it's all the relationships that make my heart warm and I will remember for the rest of my life.

So many of our production artists are thriving living their dream. I like to think Middle West Movies helped them move closer to their dreams. I am so thankful to play a part in their journey. 

Middle West Movies is continuing to provide that opportunity for production artists of the Midwest. MWM has three pictures in development for summer 2018. We are pursuing regional theatrical distribution, first with Dog Days, but then to offer that channel to other Midwestern filmmakers. We're starting in St. Louis and looking to grow across the region. 

It all started with a dream. It grew to an opportunity to serve others. The universe has blessed us in so many ways. I am very excited for the adventures ahead."