While in college, Mike Cowen was taking classes in Network Design and Administration. His father had discussed a book that was written about a member of their family who was supposedly a convicted ax murderer, in Georgia. His father had always said that there was a screenplay in the book just waiting to be written, but he really didn’t have the know-how at the time to make it come to fruition. During one of Cowen’s classes, he picked up the Fall/Winter course catalog and saw FILM/Screenwriting, so he inquired about the class and he was told that it would not be covered with his current class background. That night he decided to change his course of study and immediately signed up for the class.
Cowan has spent his entire life in the theatre. He would go to the theater with his father and would play on the swing sets, help paint flats, backdrops, and move stage lighting. He recalls the Director for one of the plays, being stern, but fair, and he wanted nothing but the highest quality of a performance from his Actors. The Director would let Cowan watch what he was doing, but at the time Cowan had no idea of what he was truly seeing. “I couldn’t understand the concept. It was when I grew older and saw my dad pick up the position of Director at a different theater, this time in Columbia, Missouri that I understood.” “I spent every summer there, for about four years. During the Summer I would do construction, painting, but mainly lighting. I did some acting, but always loved being behind the scenes.”
Cowan’s newest project is in the process of being filmed and is heavily influenced by The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock. The name of the project is “Bedtime Stories.” It is mainly short films compiled into about an hour long episode. Each story is different, but each has a connection to the previous one. The storyline for this is simple. Remember when grandma would read bedtime stories to you? Something like that, but grandma is either in dire need of some meds or is it something more sinister? Most of the stories I wrote and let my creative core read them and add input. We have another story that is mainly written by one of the creative team members, Kerri Miller.
“The thing I enjoy most about writing is that you have some much freedom to take a story into an area, mull it around, shape it the way you want, make it sad, happy, or even terrifying. It is something that can be simple and plain, or powerful and emotional. It is whatever you want the story to be.”
What is the greatest misnomer of being a Director? “I think this can be summed up in one term by saying, not all Directors are Dictators. The same can be said for the ones that are Divas, ego driven maniacs, etc. There are a great number of Directors that are huge in Hollywood that are very down-to-earth, while others are just getting their feet wet and have an ego bigger than a hot air balloon.”
Cowan is currently re-writing the first screenplay that he ever wrote, “Sins of the Blood.” It is a thriller/suspense film. The original story content involved Jack the Ripper background.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
“I had kidney cancer in 2015, had it operated on to remove the tumor, and had no chemotherapy or radiation treatments done. I changed up my diet and immediately set my mental attitude to one of “ I own MY life, not you.”