The Many Hats of Marx Pyle

Photo Courtesy of Marx Pyle

Marx Pyle is an author, screenwriter, filmmaker, podcaster, adjunct professor, and martial artist. Pyle is the author of the Obsidian Monsters fantasy serial and co-editor/co-author of the Dragons of a Different Tail anthology. He is also a cohost of the GenreTainment podcast. Pyle sat down with the Daily Dragon to discuss his diverse career choices.

Daily Dragon (DD): Your website bio says you grew up in Indiana but attended film school in Vancouver, British Columbia. What led you to Canada?

Marx Pyle (MP): When I decided I wanted to get into film, I tried a few schools and was accepted to one in Vancouver. At the time, it seemed like everything sci-if or fantasy was being filmed up there, so what better place to learn? I got to experience filmmaking and a new country at the same time.

DD: How did your film studies steer your career choices?

MP: It really opened my eyes to all sorts of creative possibilities. It was like walking into a wardrobe and discovering Narnia. I suddenly made friends in all sorts of creative fields and was confident that I could take on projects which seemed impossible before. Web series and filmmaking turned from dream into something normal.

And after a few years, I found great joy in writing books and short stories. There is a wonderful freedom that comes from not having special effects budget limits. It also opened the door for me to become an adjunct professor. Besides creating my own stories, I love helping others create theirs.

DD: Do you have a favorite role in film and television production?

MP: I’ve done almost everything at least once at this point, except for working in hair & makeup. Trust me, no one wants me getting around their hair or doing their makeup.

My favorites are always writing, directing, producing, and fight choreography. With that said, much of my freelance work has been for camera or sound. If you want job security in film, become a boom operator/sound mixer. Not many people train for it or have the necessary skills. If you’ve heard any films with bad sound, you know how crucial it is. Plus, holding that boom pole is an amazing workout.

DD: In addition to traditional film and television work, you’ve been active in the production of web series, including a Star Trek one that was nominated for a Hugo award. How did you get into working on web series?

MP: I love TV series, so web series is a format that really appeals to me. Besides making my own web series, I’ve worked on other series and was a board member of the International Academy of Web Television (IAWTV).

A friend of mine was working on Star Trek: Phase II and he suggested me for director of photography. I had a great time visiting the “original” Star Trek set. They are masters at duplicating the sets, clothes, and props of the original show. It literally felt like I had traveled back in time. It was an honor to work on the series. That particular group is no longer making new episodes, but you can still see the sets at the Star Trek: Original Series Set Tour in Ticonderoga, NY.

DD: What is Silence of the Bell?

MP: That was the first short film I wrote and directed after film school. It’s a modern-day dramedy that turns into a silent film drama with a brief tangent into 70s Kung Fu. A young woman is trying to decide between two ex-boyfriends who want her back, but when she has an office accident, she goes on a wild trip of self-discovery. You might be able to tell that I love mashing genres and experimenting.

DD: Please tell us about your book on web series production.

MP: At the time I wrote Television on the Wild Wild Web, there were few, if any, books on web series. I struggled when creating my first web series and wanted to create the book I wish I could have read. Things have evolved over the years, and I feel like saying independent series (like independent film) is probably a more accurate term now. The book covers all of the steps of making a web series and also gives a history on the format. There are plenty of tips that are useful for filmmaking in general.

DD: What inspired the GenreTainment podcast, and what topics do you cover?

MP: While in film school, I started writing for different entertainment news websites, which led to some interviews and eventually being asked to guest host on podcasts. As a result, I caught the podcast bug.

There is something special about getting to chat with talented creators. Learning from our guests has been like a second film school. I’ve made a few genuine friends from the podcast and a few mentors. My co-host, Julie, (who is also my wife) and I interview different filmmakers, authors, game designers and other creators. We like to learn about their creative journeys and pick up some tricks to share with our audience. We sometimes experiment with round table discussions, short news episodes, and even a game show episode.

DD: You’re proficient in a wide range of martial arts and have studied fight choreography. What inspired you to turn your skills to walking actors through fights?

MP: After writing and filmmaking, my favorite thing to do is martial arts. I’ve trained in over a dozen styles and dabbled in more. Once I started making films and web series, it felt right to mix in some fights. I had to take some workshops to help me to shift from hurting opponents to pretending to hurt opponents. Good fights tell stories, and if I can mix a fight scene into a project, you bet I will.

DD: How did your work in film and your undergraduate studies in psychology and computer information lead to fiction writing?

MP: According to researchers, there are a few key elements to creativity, and one of those is knowledge. Every experience, everything learned only adds to my creativity and the kind of stories I can tell. Psychology is wonderful for building characters that feel real. Computer science gave me an organized way of troubleshooting problems, plus it helps if I have to write anything computer related. My voice as a writer is shaped by all of my experiences, so those studies—combined with martial arts, film school, and grad school—all helped.

DD: Do you have any advice for anyone seeking a path into film, television, or web production or looking for entry into the market as a writer?

MP: If you go to film school, go somewhere that makes films and make connections, because those connections (hopefully a few become friends) are a huge help. But school or no, start looking for local filmmakers, and volunteer on sets. Get experience, make connections, and find what brings you joy on set. If you help someone, work as hard as you would if it was your film. It will be noticed. Find where your talents lean towards, and learn everything you can about it. Whether that is through school, on-set, YouTube videos, books, etc., become a sponge. Grit and professionalism will help you go far.

DD: What’s next for you?

MP: I am working on publishing a second anthology: a similar concept as Dragons of a Different Tail, but this time with less popular monsters of folklore and mythology. The stories range from hilarious to truly creepy. I’m lucky to have the trust of many talented authors who joined the anthology. We are almost to the editing and cover art stage. I am aiming for early next year for publication.

Otherwise I have more urban fantasy stories coming, some script projects at different stages, a new non-fiction book, and likely a third anthology starting up next year.

DD: Thanks for your time.

For more information about Marx Pyle and his work, visit his website,

Author of the article

Nancy Northcott is the Comics Track Director for ConTinual. She's also a lifelong fan of comics, science fiction, fantasy, and history. Her published works include the Boar King's Honor historical fantasy trilogy and the Arachnid Files romantic suspense series. Collaborating with Jeanne Adams, she also writes the Outcast Station science fiction mystery series.

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