Resident co-writes, directs first feature film

Published 5:58 pm Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Barry Battles (center, standing) talks to crew members during a break in filming of "The Baytown Outlaws."

Barry Battles (center, standing) talks to crew members during a break in filming of “The Baytown Outlaws.”

“Cut! Check the gate. Moving on!”

Movie directors have said these words for decades to their casts and crews as they wrap up one scene and move on to the next during the filming process.

These words represent both the accuracy and urgency required of directors as they discern whether the last “take,” or performance, of a scene is good enough to move on to a different scene in order to stay on schedule and on budget for a movie’s production.

Chilton County resident Barry Battles has said these words while managing a movie set and making quick, important decisions about the quality of scenes.

Battles directed a set full of actors, actresses, cameramen, and sound and lighting equipment operators last year as they shot “The Baytown Outlaws,” a movie Battles co-wrote with Griffin Hood, starring Billy Bob Thornton, Eva Longoria and Gadsden native Clayne Crawford.

Battles co-wrote the original script of "The Baytown Outlaws" with Griffin Hood.

Battles co-wrote the original script of “The Baytown Outlaws” with Griffin Hood.

But Battles’ rise to the status of a Hollywood movie director and his prerogative to say things like “Cut! Check the gate. Moving On!” didn’t happen overnight.

His progression from a child desperately wanting to be a “Star Wars” Storm Trooper to an adult desperately wanting to get his foot in the film industry door has been a constant learning experience, sometimes akin to jumping out of an airplane without the promise of a parachute.

In a career field that seems to flip and tumble and change shapes and colors like a rotating kaleidoscope, Battles isn’t taking for granted his long-awaited, hard-earned piece of the Hollywood pie.

Two men and a script

Battles, an Anniston native, and Hood became writing partners after Battles and his wife, Charity, moved back to Alabama from Los Angeles in 2001.

The newlywed couple had moved to L.A. so Barry could get plugged into the movie circuit via acting, but after a yearlong stint in Tinseltown, they were ready to return to the South and be closer to family.

“We knew no one,” Barry said of their risky move to L.A. “It was hard, but an opportunity came up for us to come back to Chilton County. We took that as an opportunity to reset.”