2004: The Diamond Years

Diamond Pictures logo

In 2004, Stephen White set out to follow his dream: to make movies. Having no real experience, he wasn’t sure where to begin. But with a camera and a pocket full of ideas, he decided to try anything he could to see what stuck. But before cameras even rolled, he decided to brand his content based on a name that dated back to his high school days. A name that was created by his best friend, Jamin Sponaugle to brand their comic creations: Diamond Comics. This is a journey through Diamond Pictures.


Stephen’s first experiment involved doing magic tricks with basic camera techniques. Eventually, he put his two oldest daughters in front of the camera to see how they could act. Soon after he wrote a simple piece for them to act out as two sisters fighting, only to learn that one of them was a witch. This minute long short was eventually dubbed “The Witch Sister”.

The Witch Sister (2004)


The Witch Sister 2 (2004)

Feeling good about the short, Stephen decided to expand on the idea and make a sequel short, picking up where the second one left off, allowing the other sister to get revenge with the help of her father. The idea was to feel slightly bigger and more exciting. With a quick turnaround, the Witch Sister 2 was completed nearly a month after the first. This also marked Stephen’s official on-camera debut as the aforementioned father.


Having already gone this far with the narrative, Stephen decided to expand the story further and explain the events of the day while pushing boundaries even further with the Witch Sister III. Knowing that the short would be devoid of big effects, he did his best to craft a more intriguing narrative and put his editing skills to the test.

The Witch Sister III (2004)


Suicide Story (2004)

After crafting three kid friendly shorts, Stephen decided to make his next short land on the opposite end of the spectrum. With this mindset, he worked out a short solo piece about a man contemplating suicide. This piece also allowed him to work on his acting abilities, to really stretch what he was capable of. Suicide Story was finished in May of 2004.


Almost a month later, Stephen White, Stephen Foster and William Patrick came up with a short film idea one afternoon and scribbled out a working script. That same evening, they filmed the short and had a work print put together by the next day. It was planned to be a silent short from the start, but White embellished it in the edit to add some style. It was finished in June 2004 and is considered the “cult” hit of the shorts, appealing to a certain group but they’re rabid for it.

Heaven or Hell: A Silent Movie (2004)


Amy & Poochie (2004)

Wanting to challenge himself further, Stephen White thought about his next short. He considered dabbling in the realm of stop-motion animation but wasn’t sure what the approach should be. He began taking note of his daughters’ favorite toys and began crafting a tale around them. Soon after he spent an entire weekend filming the toys in various situations, either in stagnant situations or moving through some form of puppetry. He also practiced his work on stop-motion with varying results. After finding the right voices for the various characters, he went to work editing together all the pieces to create Amy & Poochie which was completed in July 2004. While he wishes there were ways to improve the work done here, Stephen is proud of the work performed for a first pass.


In August 2004, Stephen White and Stephen Foster reteamed to collaborate on another project. This time looking to spoof various martial arts pictures. While the narrative of the short was created on the day of shooting, the fight choreography was the primary focus of the short. They wanted everything to feel as authentic as possible, with the humor coming from other elements not the fights themselves. White worked to ensure the fights came out intense in the edit, hoping to thrill viewers with the showcase. In September 2004, Revenge for Murder was completed and is considered the best short out of the 2004 era.

Revenge for Murder (2004)


Will & Bobby (2004)

[Some music was changed from the original version to avoid copyright blocks.]

With the desire to film still burning hot, Stephen White was trying to think of his next experiment. During this period of his life, he had been subjecting himself to more indie films looking for inspiration. He knew a big studio film wasn’t feasible, but a great story done on a budget could be plausible. He had also wanted to do a project with his brother, so he began crafting a story about two brothers. Over time, he decided on the overall narrative of the project and even some artistic choices he had in mind to give it an indie feel of the times. By December of 2004, Will & Bobby was complete and remains one of Stephen’s personal favorites.


Entering 2005, Stephen wasn’t sure what was next on his agenda. Luckily, his friend William Patrick was directing a new short and needed an editor. Being impressed with his editing skills in the past, William offered Stephen to edit his short film Hurt after Stephen took a pass on one scene. The first cut retained every scene filmed which caused some pacing issues. Eventually, various bits were removed, and Stephen even took some liberties to help embellish certain sequences. The only thing the film lacked was a proper ending. Something that William realized and filmed new shots to add into the final product, which allowed it to be completed later that year. While he wasn’t directly involved with the production, Stephen enjoyed having the opportunity to edit something that was not his own work.

Hurt (2005)


Twins (2005)

Eventually the desire to do something new came about which led to the split screen experiment, Twins. While it’s nothing more than a technical trial run, it was meant to be the start of a larger project. It wouldn’t be until 2008 when all these shorts found their way onto YouTube for the first time.

In 2005, Stephen White decided to create a new name for his film production after it was learned that Diamond Pictures had some… other implications associated with another type of film industry. So the quest began to think of a new name. Stephen was adamant about it being personal in some way. When the question arose of where do these ideas start? Pencil and paper were the answers, and the name was born.


The Witch Sister gag reel
“I Wish I Could Kill Myself!” – Suicide Story outtakes
Will & Bobby bloopers


 In 2019, Stephen White re-released each short remastered (as best as they could be salvaged) and, in some cases, recut with new content in hopes of improving things that nagged him. Furthermore, he created a watch-along commentary as a companion piece to each short, to give insight to the shorts themselves.

These are the humble beginnings of a man’s desire to be a filmmaker. While he would never say these shorts are undiscovered gems, he would rather them be seen in contrast to his later works to showcase that anyone with a creative desire can improve their craft. Always keep working at it. You can’t start at the top of the mountain. But the journey there is the best part.