Delaney Bishop

Delaney Bishop
Director | Writer | Editor

Delaney Bishop

DG: What is your name and company name and URL?

Delaney Bishop, BishopTakesQueen.com

DG: What is your specialty…filmmaking or screenwriting? If filmmaking, which aspects?

Hi! Directing and editing come much easier than writing, although I’ve spent at least 10,000 hours writing lol. What I really wish I could do is draw storyboards and score. šŸ˜ƒ

DG: What are you currently working on?

Currently raising money for a feature thriller called FARE GAME and writing a dark comedic pilot called SUBSTITUTE PREACHER.

DG: Who do you consider your mentor and why?

Ron Osborn was an instructor and is an incredible writer. Also my father, who is a great filmmaker. They both watch everything and the conversations have been formative, to say the least.

DG: Why do you think the horror/sci-fi genres have such a large following?

Horror/scifi genres have layers on top of, and interwoven into the traditional narrative film. The craftsmanship on set, and in visual effects can be appreciated as art forms independently, and/or within the context of story and character.

DG: What do you love most about this business?

I love the ability to create myths which echo our reality, including abstract ideas. And I love the collective coordination of crews creating an emotional experience.

DG: What do you dislike most about this business?

Bad news, rejection, and stubbing one’s toe on set.

DG: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of meeting some wonderful people and maintaining those relationships.

DG: Any advice you’d like to give to newbies?

Meditate.

DG: Anything else you’d like to say?

Follow me on….just kidding. But for real, I am grateful and privileged to have had so many opportunities in film and television. It’s refreshing to see the tools becoming more accessible and the creatives becoming more diverse all around the world. That said, this is still a very difficult industry in which to make a living, so embrace inclusivity every day.

Danny Matier

Danny Matier
ScreenWriter

Danny Matier

DG: What is your name and company name and URL?

MiLa Media is the company that produced The Unborn
Website: https://www.mila-media.com/

DG: What is your specialty…filmmaking or screenwriting? If filmmaking, which aspects?

Screenwriting.

DG: What are you currently working on?

A drama set around the drag racing circuit.

DG: Who do you consider your mentor and why?

I have had many mentors and still do. Iā€™m indebted to many.

DG: Why do you think the horror/scifi genres have such a large following?

Because they speak to the parts of us that believe in magic and the primal side that spots monsters in the dark. I can still freak myself out in a dark room and even though I know ghosts arenā€™t real, that doesnā€™t stop me from seeing them. Fear is very powerful and thereā€™s nothing scarier than the unknown, the parts of the world beyond our control. (Although, I never want to see a film about this virus.)

DG: What do you love most about this business?

That every day is different and Iā€™m always getting to meet and work with cool people. Getting to tell stories is magic, whether Iā€™m writing them or being a part of them as crew.

DG: What do you dislike most about this business?

Sometimes the hours. I have two little kids and weeks will go by where Iā€™m gone before theyā€™re awake and theyā€™re in bed well before I get home. But, thatā€™s how it is for most of us in this industry.

DG: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

A script I wrote that Iā€™ll be directing early next year. Itā€™s been an absolute passion and itā€™s finally happening. I know I didnā€™t answer that question directly but getting that one up is the best feeling to date.

DG: Any advice you’d like to give to newbies?

I can only say what works for me.
Keep punching those words into your keyboard and enjoy it. You also have your own voice, use it. As Oscar Wilde said, ā€œbe yourself, everyone else is already taken.ā€ Never directly compare your work to anyone else. It never turns out well.
At times you will have to accept the vision you had for a story may be changed by others and it may not be what you wanted as a writer. Depending on how much you believe in a project, will depend on how much you fight for it and sometimes you have to be prepared to walk away.
Rejection is all part of the game. Dust yourself off and knock on the next door. Thereā€™s a lot of them and sooner or later youā€™ll find the right fit.
Read Greek mythology and fairy tales. Read the Theban Plays. Read books. Read screenplays. Read every screenplay you can get your hands on and compare the script to the final film. Did it work? If yes, how, if no, why? Immerse yourself in story, especially myth. The more you delve into myth, the more symbology youā€™ll notice in well-crafted work. Read and recite poetry and have books on your phone so when waiting somewhere you can read.
Connect with others in the industry and network. Build rapport with people. Social media is great for this (Iā€™m not very good with it, but others get results).
Observe the world, especially nature, the way animals or a person moves can create worlds.
But above all else. Write. Doesnā€™t have to be full-blown features or plays. Write a one-act play. A short film. Just write.
This is the advice I was given and things that have worked for me. Take what you can use from it. One can never know too much.

DG: Anything else you’d like to say?

Thank you for having us at Shriekfest, we are very excited to be involved.

Clark D. Schaefer

Clark D. Schaefer
Writer | Producer | Director

Clark D. Schaefer

DG: What is your name and company name and URL?

Clark D. Schaefer, SitkaBlu Productions, LLC.

DG: What is your specialty…filmmaking or screenwriting? If filmmaking, which aspects?

Writer first, Producer, Executive Producer, Director.

DG: What are you currently working on?

Promoting my SciFi Feature on Amazon Prime, called The Tangle. Also, in Pre-Production for my next film called Bestial. A script I wrote and will direct. Looking for funding and producing partners now.

DG: Who do you consider your mentor and why?

I donā€™t have a single mentor, but I do have many influences. Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino and David Lynch are my inspirations. A couple friends of mine have been my mentors or at least people that believed in me or helped me along the way; Fernando Gavira, Rick Ramage and Chris Kelly.

DG: Why do you think the horror/scifi genres have such a large following?

Great question. I think fantasy is one of the biggest reasons to turn to our media. So, sci-fi is for the promise of the future, horror is the escape and the excitement of being scared to death. Both genres cross over language and cultural barriers and makeups.

DG: What do you love most about this business?

Creating and completing. Itā€™s finishing a script, then having the personal satisfaction and sometimes accolades that follow. Then, creating and seeing the script come to life; the script you molded and killed yourself to complete, now comes to life. Nothing is greater and more terrifying, as seeing your film for the first time on the big screen.

DG: What do you dislike most about this business?

The pride and satisfaction that I created something and then the pure enjoyment I get from great films and TV.

DG: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

My first script, my first short film, winning my first festival, producing my first feature, directing my first short. Soon to be replaced by completing the whole thing; writing, directing and producing my first feature film.

DG: Any advice you’d like to give to newbies?

Do it! Start living it and creating with whatever assets and friends you have. Make something this weekend.

DG: Anything else you’d like to say?

I love how engaged you are with all of the many people that you have come in contact with over the years. I love the content, the festival, the engagement, the personal touch and knowing you and your own personal life.

Kai Thorup

Kai Thorup
Writer | Filmmaker

Kai Thorup

DG: What is your name and company name and URL?

My name is Kai Thorup. I am a film maker and author of the horror screenplay, “Sunshine State: Duende.”
Please follow me on Instagram @sunshine_state_duende or you can find me on IMDB at imdb.me/kaithorup.

DG: What is your specialty…filmmaking or screenwriting? If filmmaking, which aspects?

Film making pays the bills, but my passion is writing and I’ve been interested in scary stories as long as I can remember.

DG: What are you currently working on?

I was sad to finish “Sunshine State: Duende.” I was so excited by the voice and tone that emerged, I didn’t want it to end.
I believe the voice is what everyone is responding to. Immediately, I shelved my next project and began developing other “Sunshine State” stories. Darkly funny, truly horrific with twists and setting uniquely Florida. Fifteen stories sprang from this bout of inspiration. I am compiling the best into an anthology movie and four are big enough to carry a feature.
I am very excited to explore this world I’ve created.

DG: Who do you consider your mentor and why?

I’ve never had a mentor in the traditional sense, but many have offered advice and encouragement. My work as a film maker allows access to many accomplished and creative people. I just wrapped on “Coming 2 America,” directed by Craig Brewer, a talented writer and director who came up through film festivals. He and the producers were aware of my success with “Sunshine State: Duende” and shared their own experiences. I am tremendously fortunate to have these opportunities.

DG: Why do you think the horror/scifi genres have such a large following?

I spent my childhood on a sailboat in the Caribbean. It was a catamaran and, at the bow of the boat, a net stretched between two hulls. This was the “front yard” where I played. During rough seas, we once experienced waves reaching twenty feet in height. I “rode” on the net as the boat crested each wave, crashed down, then topped the next. It was thrilling!
One particularly large wave broke above us and the bow of the boat went through the top, not over it. When the water cleared, I had been washed half way down the boat and my father was frantically trying reach me to pull me inside. I was nine!
It was an epiphanic moment. I had no understanding of death, but I knew it was lurking beyond the breach, waiting for opportunity. There was no contemplation in that moment, no time to mull it over. Instead, I was imprinted with the understanding life is fragile and I was at the mercy of a vast and indifferent ocean. I am no adrenaline junkie, but I’ve chased that ever since. Being terrified in a theater is a safe way to flirt with those feelings. They’re important. Like laughter, fear is true. Horror movies aren’t just fun; I believe they’re necessary.

DG: What do you love most about this business?

I have been around film making all my life. I’ve tried working in the real world and learned it’s not for me. It’s fun being around creative people. I honestly don’t know what else I would do. I was bit by the bug early. Having said that, writing screenplays has allowed me to learn new things about myself. There are few things more gratifying than writing and it’s still so new and exciting.

DG: What do you dislike most about this business?

The hours. However, if you can’t imagine doing anything else, it’s immensely rewarding. Even on the worst days.

DG: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

I am uniquely thrilled my screenplay is receiving the attention it has. I am so proud of my little story. As for the rest of my career, there’s no one thing. I’ve been a part of more than seventy projects in one capacity or another. I am now able to point to a body of work and, perhaps, that is what I am most proud of.

DG: Any advice you’d like to give to newbies?

If you don’t have to do it, run screaming from it. There are easier ways to earn a living. It’s just too hard if you don’t love it. It’s not rocket science, but the time required of you is hard on your relationships. Friends don’t relate, spouses become jealous of the time and you can miss out on life events. With that said, if it’s in your blood and there’s nothing else you can imagine doing, there is nothing else quite like it. It certainly checks all the boxes for those who dig it.
Direct advice? Always be working. If you write, always be writing. Supplement that writing by working on a set. Call up your film office. Ask for their crew directory. Everyone is freelance in film, their contact info is out there. Respectfully call them and let them know you want to work. Ask if you can stay in touch. It’s all timing. When you get the break, be there and make their lives easier for having you. Remember, there’s nothing truer than, “the show must go on.” It must go on even if your car breaks down, your dog is sick, your boyfriend is mad at you, you have concert tickets or your best friend is getting married. If those are more important, go deal with them and they will find someone to replace you. But know, they won’t call again.

DG: Anything else you’d like to say?

Thank you, Shriekfest. I get excited when someone just reads my script. I never dreamed it would receive recognized by such a cool event.
Keep reading, keep writing. Don’t wait for anyone else; get your friends and go make your movie!

Kenneth Lui

Kenneth Lui
Director | Editor

Kenneth Lui

DG: What is your name and company name and URL?

Kenneth Lui. Mental Pictures (Website).

DG: What is your specialty…filmmaking or screenwriting? If filmmaking, which aspects?

My specialty is directing and editing.

DG: What are you currently working on?

I’m finishing up my first feature film. It’s a mockumentary about assassins. Like Spinal Tap only with hitmen.

DG: Who do you consider your mentor and why?

I consider James Cameron a mentor. He inspired me as a child when I first saw The Terminator which he wrote, directed and designed. I was excited by the idea that there was a job that let you write, design, and shoot your own films.

DG: Why do you think the horror/scifi genres have such a large following?

We all have fears and fantasies and I think the horror/scfi genre is perfect for exploring the “what if” in the existential endeavor we call human existence.

DG: What do you love most about this business?

Coming together with fellow artists to create new worlds.

DG: What do you dislike most about this business?

Posers who don’t have respect for the craft.

DG: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

Finishing my feature project.

DG: Any advice you’d like to give to newbies?

Do your homework and endeavor to create something no one has seen before.

DG: Anything else you’d like to say?

Be kind to yourself and others.

Michaela Zannou

Michaela Zannou
Actor | Screenwriter | Producer

Michaela Zannou

DG: What is your name and company name and URL?

MZ: Michaela Zannou, www.michaelazannou.com.

DG: What is your specialty…filmmaking or screenwriting? If filmmaking, which aspects?

MZ: I am primarily an actor and screenwriter. This past October I dipped my toes into filmmaking and was an executive producer for a pilot I wrote.

DG: What are you currently working on?

MZ: Currently, I am in the post-production process of “Couples Therapy”, a pilot episode I wrote, produced and starred in. “Couples Therapy” tells the story of Natalia, a couples therapist who treats high-maintenance New York couples while her own marriage is falling apart.
I am also working on finding the right “home” to produce my feature screenplay “The Retreat”, a horror/mystery about an immigrant girl and a corporate retreat gone wrong, which was a finalist on the “Shriekfest” screenwriting competition.

DG: Who do you consider your mentor and why?

MZ: That would be my screenwriting teacher Jason Greiff. He is a wonderful teacher and an even more wonderful human who has been incredibly supportive, patient and generous with his time and advice throughout my screenwriting endeavors.

DG::Why do you think the horror/scifi genres have such a large following?

MZ: I think people are drawn to the excitement and thrill of the genre. Each story is a mystery that unveils itself piece by piece while we are at the edge of our seats, uncertain of what may come next. I believe the audience enjoys trying to figure out what is going on and make speculations only to have their “theories” shattered by an unexpected twist. At the same time, I find that horror/scifi movies are a safe way to channel our inner darkness and live vicariously through the characters in the safety of our home or a movie theatre.

DG: What do you love most about this business?

MZ: I love the endless possibilities in storytelling. Screenplays and movies tell stories in a very direct and realistic way, it’s so easy for the audience to relate and feel a part of the movie themselves. We can tell the stories of real people who could be your friends, neighbors, or you. We can tell stories about alternate realities and fairy tales, going as far as our imagination is willing to take us. We can make people laugh, cry, reflect on things and maybe even change perspective. By telling the stories of people who are not a part of our familiar world, who perhaps have different problems, upbringing, views and surroundings, every movie has the ability to expand our horizons and open our minds just a little bit every time.

DG: What do you dislike most about this business?

MZ: I don’t like that it’s so hard for filmmakers to get their projects produced. It really is a shame that many talented artists are limited by lack of money and connections. Of course, that makes one work harder and I like to believe that their perseverance will eventually pay off. I can’t help but wonder, however, if things were a little easier on filmmakers and they could focus their time and energy on new projects and developing their talents uninterrupted, how many more wonderful films and stories would have come to existence?

DG: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

MZ: I am particularly proud of writing, producing and starring in the pilot episode of “Couples Therapy”. It was the most exciting and educating experience I’ve ever had as an artist and it opened up a whole new world for me.

DG: Any advice you’d like to give to newbies?

MZ: Believe in yourself and your artistic voice. Collaborate and be open to other people’s input but, at the end of the day, trust your instincts. This is a marathon not a sprā€‹int. Enjoy the journey.

DG: Anything else you’d like to say?

MZ: I would like to thank all the people who have inspired me as a writer and an actor. Actors, writers, directors, friends, lovers, coworkers, classmates, teachers, people who are no longer part of my life. They all left their mark on me and ignited something in me that I somehow turned into art. For that I am grateful to every single one of them.

Sean Olson

Sean Olson
Screenwriter | Director | Producer

Sean Olson

DG: What is your name and company name and URL?

Sean Olson, Trash Panda Entertainment, www.trashpandaentertainment.com

DG: What is your specialty…filmmaking or screenwriting? If filmmaking, which aspects?

I specialize in filmmaking. I started out my career as an editor in both television and film, and then transitioned into writing, directing and producing.

DG: What are you currently working on?

I’m working on a new sci-fi film called Integrating Anna. It’s Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner with artificial intelligence set 50 years into the future.

DG: Who do you consider your mentor and why?

When I first started out in the business, Lori Allred gave me my first shot as a news editor in the Phoenix market. She really took a shot on someone fresh out of college and pushed me to become the editor I am today. She focused on my fundamentals and gave me a lot of time on the AVID (this was in the early days of non-linear editing, so our news station only had two). When she moved to the Denver market, she brought me with her and created an environment where we could experiment, especially during sweeps. She even gave me an opportunity to edit my first documentary which further enhanced my storytelling skills. We ended up winning an Emmy for the doc.

DG: Why do you think the horror/scifi genres have such a large following?

I feel the horror genre is so big because people love to be scared, especially when they are watching with an audience. With sci-fi it’s all about the imagination and the creation of worlds and characters; you get to see something that isn’t part of the real world.

DG: What do you love most about this business?

I love collaborating with so many creative people. The whole process of making a film is different each time, because each film’s needs are unique. That’s what makes it challenging and rewarding at the same time. We’re all constantly learning and innovating.

DG: What do you dislike most about this business?

The word deferred… it’s a nice way of saying you won’t get paid.

DG: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

Taking my two sons to the theater to see a movie I directed on the big screen couldn’t be beat. Winning “Best of Fest” at the Bentonville Film Festival comes in second, it was a total shock.

DG: Any advice you’d like to give to newbies?

Work hard and don’t give up. Do it because you love it and you can’t live without it, because to make it you have to be devoted. Networking is key, you never know where people’s path’s lead, one day someone’s assistant could be your boss, so treat everyone with respect.

DG: Anything else you’d like to say?

I feel very fortunate to be doing what I love and have met so many people in the business that I’ve become lifelong friends with.

Mark Steensland

Mark Steensland
Director | Screenwriter

Mark Steensland

DG: What is your name and company name and URL?

I’m Mark Steensland and my website is www.marksteensland.com.

DG: What is your specialty…filmmaking or screenwriting? If filmmaking, which aspects?

I have directed a couple of features and a bunch of shorts, but I’ve always been a writer first and I’m focusing on that much more than anything else these days.

DG: What are you currently working on?

I’ve got lots of projects in various stages of development. I find it it’s really helpful to have more than one thing going so that I can switch to something else if I get stalled on one of them.

DG: Who do you consider your mentor and why?

So many people have helped me over the years in too many ways to count. I feel as though I’ve been mentored by the filmmakers I grew up admiring. Brian De Palma’s PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE was the movie that made me want to make movies and then John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN convinced me it was possible to be successful with limited resources. I was lucky to have some teachers who really made an impact. Frank Tomasulo when I was working on my undergraduate film degree and Victor Comerchero when I was doing graduate work. Both of them really changed my perspective about things in a profound way.

DG: Why do you think the horror/scifi genres have such a large following?

Story-telling is obviously very important to us. I think we especially like things that are fantastic because they get at the truth in a way other things don’t. Take the ghost out of HAMLET or the witches out of MACBETH and you don’t really have any story left, do you?

DG: What do you love most about this business?

The people! As an artistic person myself, I love to interact with other artists. I think all of us really do follow a different beat and it’s so cool to be in the same space with lots of them. Like at Shriekfest, for instance!

DG: What do you dislike most about this business?

The waiting. Now more than ever it seems like things move at a glacial pace. That’s one of the reasons I am focusing more on writing. I can always write–even when I’m waiting for a producer to read a script.

DG: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

Winning Best Horror Feature Screenplay at Shriekfest in 2015 with JAKOB’S WIFE is definitely one of the highlights. Especially now that Barbara Crampton has made it into a movie with herself in the title role! I’m also especially proud that my short film PEEKERS opened for Dario Argento’s MOTHER OF TEARS when it played at the Fantasporto Film Festival.

DG: Any advice you’d like to give to newbies?

The most important thing is to never give up. If this is what you want to do, you won’t be able to give up.

DG: Anything else you’d like to say?

Shriekfest is truly one of the best fests in the world and that is due to you, Denise, and the incredible love and support you have for all of us Shriek Geeks! None of us can ever thank you enough. But I’ll keep trying!

Jen Badasci and Christopher Allan Poe

Jen Badasci and Christopher Allan Poe
BadPoe

Jen Badasci and Christopher Allan Poe

DG: What is your name and company name and URL?

Our writer/director partnership is named BadPoe, short for Jen Badasci and Christopher Allan Poe. You can find samples of our writing as well as short films at https://badpoe.net/

DG: What is your specialty…filmmaking or screenwriting? If filmmaking, which aspects?

Our first love is screenwriting. There is something about building worlds, creating entire Universes on paper that excites us. We’re driven by putting our characters into seemingly impossible situations and then sorta bearing witness to how they navigate their way out of it. We’re also passionate about producing short films. After years of producing sci fi/horror music videos, it seems like a natural transition to get into making narrative shorts in the same genre. We like to tell stories that are very visual, with as little dialogue as possible–more of a less is more approach. Shadows and smoke are so much creepier to us than showing the entire creature in full light. At some point, we intend to tackle a feature.

DG: What are you currently working on?

Right now, we’re working on writing and directing a short film in the same Universe as our screenplay, DARK NOISE. After that, we’ve got a new screenplay–mostly beated out–with a new concept that even our spouses don’t get to know about. Loose lips and all that šŸ˜€

DG: Who do you consider your mentor and why?

JEN: Actually, I met Chris through our writing mentor, Bonnie Hearn Hill. She’s a California author who taught us how to write fiction and non-fiction for publication. She’s also the first person who showed us that we could have careers in writing. After I graduated from college, I called Bonnie to find out if I could come to her writer’s table. Although we kept in touch through email, I hadn’t seen her in 15 years. It was a three hour drive to get to her table, but I didn’t care. Like a lot of writers, my motivation to produce is driven by having deadlines, so the trek once a week was completely worth it. Bonnie said, “Oh my god, yes. I can’t wait for you to come meet your brother.” Which I thought was such a bizarre thing to say, but she was right. Chris was most definitely my brother.

CHRIS: Jen nailed it. Neither of us would be here without Bonnie and what she’s done for new writers. As far as our influences, I lived a decent amount of time in Maine. Most people regard King as the most prolific and successful horror writer of all time, but in Maine, he’s a god. Apparently, every person who ever lived in Maine was his neighbor at one point. Jen and I have both read him since we were kids. We also appreciate how much he’s willing to do for new talent. As far as directing, it’s John-motherfucking-Carpenter for both of us. Jen even got me a THEY LIVE poster signed by Carpenter. She has THE THING šŸ˜€

DG::Why do you think the horror/scifi genres have such a large following?

CHRIS: Shit, this dates back to the beginning of human writing. The Bhagavad Gita. Most of the Bible is a horror story. The Grimm Brothers. The Penny Dreadfuls. Red Riding Hood is a cautionary tale of wandering off into the forest. The kids who heeded that warning lived. The rest were wolf food šŸ™‚ To add to that, these days, most people reach old age. In the absence of Darwinian law for humans, we crave living in those life-or-death moments that provide the visceral reaction that makes us feel alive.

JEN: I agree. I also think it’s about straight-up caveman shit. That primal part of our brain that forces us to ask ourselves what we would do in a situation like those in horror/sci fi films. Unlike almost any other genre, horror and sci fi tap into the foundation of who we are as a species. I think most of us are pulled into our innate sense of survival when we watch horror or sci fi, and if the film does its job well, we, as our caveman selves, will feel satisfied that we would have survived that situation.

DG: What do you love most about this business?

CHRIS: Pure creation.

JEN: Yep. It’s a great mixture of creating worlds as well as having an avenue for telling powerful stories that people can relate to.

DG: What do you dislike most about this business?

CHRIS: Dishonesty.

JEN: Yeah. There are a lot of bullshitters in this business. The closed system is also really disheartening.

DG: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

CHRIS: It’s not pandering when I say winning the award for Best Sci-Fi Screenplay at Shriekfest. Jen and I have won awards for different things, but we’ve never felt more at home or with our people than we did at the festival.

JEN: Ditto.

DG: Any advice you’d like to give to newbies?

There are gonna be a million people telling you what you can’t do. Ditch them and surround yourself with the people who are doing it, or at least willing to get out and help push the car. Also, take control of your own narrative. In other words, if you want to make a movie, make one. Don’t give up your power to the industry machine. Dictate your own terms.

DG: Anything else you’d like to say?

Denise, you’re a badass, and we appreciate all you’ve done šŸ™‚

Samuel Peirce

Samuel Peirce
Journalist and Film Reviewer

Samuel Peirce

DG: What is your name and company name and URL?

Samuel Peirce, but I usually go by Sam. I write film reviews under the moniker Listener Sam at http://theoverlooktheatre.com/ and as an occasional guest contributor to Bloody Disgusting at https://bloody-disgusting.com/author/samuel-peirce/

DG: What is your specialty…filmmaking or screenwriting? If filmmaking, which aspects?

Screenwriting for sure. I’ve shot a few shorts and plan to shoot more, but it’s the writing and storytelling that appeals most to me.

DG: What are you currently working on?

I’m currently sharing a feature-length horror western, SALT WEST. I’m also working on revisions on MESSIAH COMPLEX, another feature about a cult in an apartment complex. I’m also outlining another feature, THE CENOTE, about a honeymooning couple who become trapped in a Yucatan denote, and researching a historical piece. I like keeping a lot of irons in the fire. I get bored when I’m not telling stories.

DG: Who do you consider your mentor and why?

Luis Camara (Writer/Director of Steel Trap, Silencio, and writer of You’re Killing Me Susana) — As a freshman in college, I took a course that he taught on Creative Storytelling. At that point, I was studying biology, and while I’d done some creative writing in the past, I’d never been introduced to the screenplay format. We bonded over a mutual appreciation for horror (including his own goofy flick, Steel Trap) and Luis taught me about screenwriting and sewed the seeds that grew into the passion I have now.

DG: Why do you think the horror/scifi genres have such a large following?

With regards to horror, I think taboo plays a major role in creating such a large and cohesive community. It’s a genre that allows for films that are transgressive in a way that other genres aren’t, and the films that get made tap into subject matter that’s often unpleasant to talk about. Because of that taboo, horror fans and creators latch on to one another to share their love of topics that others don’t as readily accept. I think sci-fi has a large following for similar reasons, but instead of being transgressive, it explores stories that can’t exist in other genres by design.

DG: What do you love most about this business?

The people. I’m normally a pretty introverted guy who’d rather spend his time somewhere isolated writing page-after-page than going to a social gathering, but without fail, I’ve found friendship and camaraderie at horror festivals. Seriously, horror filmmakers are the best.

DG: What do you dislike most about this business?

The hustle. I’d much rather just spend my time writing and seeing people enjoy my work then have to split focus into marketing myself.

DG: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

Earlier this year I optioned my screenplay THE SUBURBAN KALEIDOSCOPE.

DG: Any advice you’d like to give to newbies?

Make writing a habit like showering or brushing your teeth. Write even if you don’t want to write, and write even when what you write sucks. Eventually, you’ll find the good stuff, and if you don’t, don’t be afraid to start over.

DG: Anything else you’d like to say?

Thanks so much for the interview! If anyone wants to connect you can find me on twitter @samuel_peirce