FARMINGTON -- Aspiring filmmaker Grant Johnson, of Kaysville and Burbank, Calif., often returns to Davis County to make his short films.
"I go between the two (locations)," said 28-year-old Johnson, who recently graduated from the two-year New York Film Academy at Universal Studios in Burbank.
The former Davis High student said his goal is to become a major motion picture director.
For that reason, Johnson said, he keeps a second residence in Southern California, to make it easier to stay in touch with the film industry.
Having a Burbank address makes it easier for him to get an audience with other filmmakers.
But for the time being, Johnson is busy producing, co-writing and directing his 15-minute short titled "The Tutor." He is in the process of shooting the film locally and hopes to have it released prior to July, in time to be considered for various film festivals, including the Sundance Film Festival in January 2014.
This particular short is about a female who has lost someone close to her, and is tutoring somebody with dyslexia, said Johnson, who will be filming his project in Davis and Salt Lake counties because of the different settings those areas afford him.
One of his film locations included the sidewalk pathways in front of the historic Davis County Memorial Courthouse, 28 E. State St., in downtown Farmington.
The Davis County Commission agreed to allow Johnson to film there.
It is not the first time the historic courthouse, with its granite columns and its fan of concrete steps leading up to the front door, has served as a set or backdrop for a film.
The building has been featured in several theatrical and made-for-television films, including "The Deliberate Stranger" starring Mark Harmon of "NCIS" television series fame, and the sequel: "The Crow: City of Angels," starring Vincent Perez.
Johnson asked to use the courthouse sidewalks to shoot two short segments for his project, said Curtis Koch, Davis County Finance/Audit Director.
Because the film shots are minimal, Koch said, Johnson will pay the county $150. The filmmaker has also accepted all liability involved with the filming operation, he said.
"I like Davis County the most," Johnson said of his preferred locations to make movies. "Most people are easy to get along with and a lot of fun.
"It is easier to film here (in Davis County) than L.A."
Filming in Los Angeles, Johnson said, can be difficult. Because the city is easily recognizable in film, it's hard to present it as another location.
That's why his short, Johnson said, will be filmed entirely in Northern Utah.
"The main cast is from Kaysville. I like working with people from Utah. There is plenty of talent here," he said.
This isn't the first titled film short Johnson has created in the Beehive State.
As part of his graduating assignment from the academy, Johnson said, in June 2012 he filmed a short titled "Everything's Fine" at locations in Kaysville and Layton.
"I love telling stories," said Johnson, who enjoys both the filming and the writing aspects of making a film.