Michael Coulombe

SHRIEKFEST INTERVIEW

Michael Coulombe
Director of 2015 Official Selection “The Wrong Profile”

DG: What is your name and company URL?

MC: My name is Michael Coulombe. Bear Claw Films (http://www.bearclawfilms.com/)

DG: What is your specialty…filmmaking or screenwriting?

MC: well filmmaking is my speciality. Being a script supervisor for the last decade and working on over 200 films has really taught me a lot about the process of filmmaking itself. It has also really enhanced by screenwriting, which was what brought me to the industry in the first place: to write!

DG: What are you currently working on?

MC: I have several projects which are written. I am just working to get them funded – naturally. My first short film Ax did really well and – is to date – my most popular film. So I have adapted it into a feature and hope to move forward with that film later this year. I also wrote a couple of short films an action film called 42nd and Vine and a ghost story – Del Obispo Road – which is based on a story told to me by my friend Rochelle Robinson, an experience which happened to her. I thought the story was amazing. People are loving the script. I am submitting it into film festivals while we move forward into production with it. Once that film is made I will submit that into film festivals as well!

DG: That’s great! Who do you consider your mentor and why?

MC: I consider Victor Miller, writer of Friday the 13th, my mentor. Also Harry Manfredini, the composer. I was lucky enough to meet them when I started the Big Bear Horror Film Festival. We did the 30 year reunion. Victor and I wrote a script together with our friend Martin Rogers called Eden Falls. Being able to write with him was the most humbling experience. He is very intelligent, very kind, and a great teacher. Harry has become a good friend as well. Whenever I write anything new they always take the time to read it and give me feedback. I also meet amazing talent on set when I work – but these 2 always go above and beyond. Never in a million years would I ever have believed that when I grew up I would get to work with such amazing talent. And then not only work with them…but call them my friend.

DG: That is great you have such a wonderful support system! I know Harry as well & he is a lovely man. Why do you think the horror/sci-fi genres have such a large following?

MC: I got this question a lot when I ran my own film festival. I find it a hard question to answer though because there are many sub genres to horror – and it means something different to everyone. But I feel like horror helps people express themselves. I think generally people see horror as something dark. But in a strange way, it’s not. There isn’t a lot of judgement in horror – at least among those who truly enjoy the genre. With that said, there is something about enjoying the macabre….also the exhileration of being scared – or to appreciate something forbidden – such as staying up late past bedtime and watching a horror film. Also, I have found that most horror filmmakers are very sweet and good-natured, perhaps because they take their pain and frustration of life and express through the medium. Very cathartic, no?

DG: LOL very true! What do you love most about this business?

MC: I love that it is ever changing and that it challenges us as filmmakers and writers to adapt and challenge ourselves, especially in a day where we have so many more platforms in which to share! I also love being on set. I worked in an office for 11 years before working in film. Being on set is an amazing place to be…..and we are always in new places, new environments, with new people. It is always exciting.

DG: That is so very true! What do you dislike most about this business?

MC: Since it’s an ENTERTAINMENT business I find that there are a LOT of egos in which we work with. It’s hard to stay humble in an industry where you need to stand out. It’s also hard to find people who are interested in what YOU are doing when they are so intent on trying to sell you what THEY are doing. We need more artists who support each other.

DG: I hear ya! It is frustrating. I do think that is changing though. I see so much support amongst Shriekfest alumni! I love it. What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

MC: To date, I am proud of creating a successful albeit short lived horror film festival. I was able to reunite Victor Miller and Harry Manfredini at that festival, which is something I am very proud of. We also created The O’Quinn award in honor of Kerry O’Quinn founder of Fangoria magazine. The first year we presented it to him…after that he presented to a new recipient after that. Also…as a writer, to date, my proudest accomplishment: I was asked to write a virtual reality horror segment at the end of 2016. It was being produced by YouTube and BlumHouse – and in part by Crypt TV – and was being hosted by Jesse Wellens of Prank vs Prank (who has 10 million subscribers on YouTube) and included 25 of YouTube’s top influencers. I was invited to the YouTube space to visit the set, meet the creative team, meet the director and the influencers. I also got to meet Jason Blum. As a horror filmmaker – it was an honor to say hi to him. And then about 4 days before filming the producer called me to tell me that they got The Rock – the highest paid actor – to be in the project He was down in Hawaii filming Jumanji 2 so he wasn’t able to be on set…so I had to adapt the script in a way where they could shoot around him not being there. (they would shoot him against Green Screen and add him in later.) So…I haven’t met the Rock…yet…but I saw the trailer for the project a few months after we filmed and everything The Rock says in the trailer are words that I wrote. As a writer that moment felt surreal.

DG: I love that! How exciting! Any advice you’d like to give newbies?

MC: Never give up. There is a moment once a day – I promise – where I am like…I should stop chasing this dream and be practical. I won’t lie this industry is tough. But I worked in an office for 11 years and let me tell you, there is nothing better. Also, never stop learning. If you attend seminars, or festivals, or screenings try and talk to established filmmakers (but if you approach them don’t be over eager) and listen to what they say. And above all…never stop creating!

DG: Great advice! Anything else you’d like to say?

MC: I work hard to remain humble. I respect any director I work with…as well as any PA. I could dedicate an enitre blog to just to these two things: 1) you never know who knows who 2) you never know who you are sitting next to..so be nice to everyone.

DG: I agree! Thank you Michael! It was great chatting!

Nate Barlow

SHRIEKFEST INTERVIEW

Nate Barlow
Co-director of 2004’s Best SciFi Feature film “Tales From Beyond”

DG: What is your name and company URL?

NB: Nate Barlow, Lowbar Productions

DG: What is your specialty…filmmaking or screenwriting?

NB: Both! But of late I’ve mostly been screenwriting. As a filmmaker I am a director, producer, and actor.

DG: Wow, that’s a lot of hyphenates! What are you currently working on?

NB: A Western biopic

DG: Cool! Who do you consider your mentor and why?

NB: Leslie Belzberg. I was her assistant and she still is a sounding board for me.

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

NB: They tap into visceral emotions and take us to other worlds.

DG: What do you love most about this business?

NB: The combination of creativity, technology, and business.

DG: That is so very true! What do you dislike most about this business?

NB: It’s so difficult to get any film made, we never get to make as many as we like.

DG: I hear ya! It is frustrating. What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

NB: Having the opportunity to see myself on the Chinese Theatre screen, and having my first film distributed.

DG: I love that! Any advice you’d like to give newbies?

NB: Always keep plugging away!

DG: Yes! Anything else you’d like to say?

NB: Enjoy the ride!

DG: I agree! Thank you Nate! It was great chatting!

Matt Fowler

SHRIEKFEST INTERVIEW

Matt Fowler
Writer of 2016 Official Selection “Darla”

DG: What is your name and company URL?

MF: Hi I’m Matt Fowler and you can find me on the web at www.mattyfow.com also you can find my production company Mirrorscope Productions on YouTube.

DG: What is your specialty…filmmaking or screenwriting?

MF: I’m an actor by trade. I started writing directing and producing kind of by accident. I just always have crazy ideas and happen to be in LA at a time where it’s really easy to make cool stuff with a relatively small budget. Also I have a network of insanely talented friends that can do all the jobs I can’t. And it helps that my wife (Kelsey Boutte) is a special effects makeup artist.

DG: That is awesome that you have all of those resources! What are you currently working on?

MF: I’m currently acting in “Game of Thrones: The Musical!”, playing Jaime Lannister. It opens in February 11th at the Macha in West Hollywood, go to www.gotthemusical.com for info, Hodor! It’s hilarious with great singers. I’m also co-producing a western short film called “The Trapper” that is coming along at a breakneck pace. We wrap production on that on February 7th.

DG: Wow! You’ve been busy! Who do you consider your mentor and why?

MF: Unfortunately I don’t really have anyone I would call a mentor. I’ve always been a bit of a loner and diy guy, don’t get me wrong, I’d love a mentor! I love working with more experienced performers and artist, so I guess they’re all really my mentors.

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

MF: I’m a huge sci-fi guy. I believe that sci-fi is actually a part of human nature. Our ability and desire to image the future is what allows us to create it. Sci-fi has always been around, before film it was radio, before radio it was books, and before books it was story telling and spoken word. Love it. Horror on the other hand I believe comes from the fact we, at least in the 1st world countries, are so “safe” that we yearn for fear. Fear is deep in our nature as well, and until very recently in human history was an invaluable defense mechanism. It makes us feel alive, I think that’s the draw.

DG: LOL very true! What do you love most about this business?

MF: I love seeing people perform, I love the idea of making my own hours and I love that I get to play pretend for a living.

DG: That is so very true! What do you dislike most about this business?

MF: Scammers. They’re everywhere. Also people that bitch all the time. You don’t like it, go do something you do like, otherwise suck it up.

DG: I hear ya! That is frustrating. What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

MF: I am very proud that my first short film DARLA was accepted to Shriekfest 2016. It was a great experience. Also really proud to have co-produced No Exit last year in Hollywood. I think I’m just proud that I’m still optimistic.

DG: I love that! You have to stay that way! Any advice you’d like to give newbies?

MF: Don’t stop. Ask questions. Pay for workshops, they work even if you think it’s criminal. Do stuff! It’s so cheap to make stuff and the more you do it the better you get. Make small daily goals. Put together a speadsheet of all your auditions and gigs and workshops, it’s super easy with google sheets. Getting your bearings is hard as hell. IT IS HARD AS HELL. But once you get there, it’s magical. Embrace it and kick it in the teeth!

DG: ooh! Great advice! Anything else you’d like to say?

MF: Thank you so much for having me on Denise. Let’s grab coffee sometime soon!

DG: I would LOVE that!! Thank you Matt! It was great chatting!

Ian Truitner

SHRIEKFEST INTERVIEW

Ian Truitner
Director of 2016 Official Selection “Teleios”

DG: What is your name and company URL?

IT: Ian Truitner, Thousand Mile Media (http://www.thousandmilemedia.com/)

DG: What is your specialty…filmmaking or screenwriting?

IT: Writing and directing

DG: What are you currently working on?

IT: Promoting Teleios, which is being released in the U.K. and Japan in the next couple months, plus screening at the New York Science Fiction Film Festival, Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival and Galactic Film Festival.

DG: Wow! You’ve been busy! Congrats! Who do you consider your mentor and why?

IT: I don’t have a mentor in the traditional sense, but there have been many people who have helped and inspired me on my journey as a filmmaker.

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

IT: Because Sci-Fi expands the imagination in ways no other genre can.

DG: What do you love most about this business?

IT: Limitless possibility

DG: That is so very true! What do you dislike most about this business?

IT: Continual derivative work at the studio level. It’s like Hollywood has run out of ideas.

DG: I hear ya! It is so frustrating. They need to take a closer look at filmmakers like you! What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

IT: My last film, Teleios, which was too ambitious for its own good, but we pulled it off.

DG: Yes, you did! It’s a lovely film! Any advice you’d like to give newbies?

IT: Put in at least 10 years of hard work before expecting anything of significance to happen.

DG: Anything else you’d like to say?

IT: Don’t just follow your dreams, but follow your nightmares too. They are probably more interesting.

DG: LOL I agree! Thank you Ian! It was great chatting! Good luck at the screenings!

Samuel & George Clemens

SHRIEKFEST INTERVIEW

Samuel & George Clemens
Filmmakers of 2016 Official Selection “Surgery”

DG: What is your name and company URL?

SC & GC: Our names are Samuel & George Clemens, proud sons of the late screenwriter Brian Clemens (The Avengers, The Persuaders, Highlander 2, Blind Terror, Captain Kronos, Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde). We are The Clemens Bros and our company is Clemens Enterprises Ltd and our URL is www.clemensbros.co.uk

DG: That is awesome you had a Father who was so successful! What is your specialty…filmmaking or screenwriting?

SC & GC: I trained as an actor at The Drama Centre London and continue to act, George trained as an editor at the London Film Academy and continues to edit. In 2005 we decided to combine our skills and experience and make films. Being able to work with the actors and direct performance is what drives me most, whereas George loves the the camera and composition, plus having the editor on set is very helpful indeed. We both produce our projects too, I focus more on pre production and production and George takes over on post. I also write our projects too. This was primarily out of necessity but has become a joy to do and now I write everything we do and George provides the perfect critique. So we do both really.

DG: Wow! That is so great that you both work so well together. What are you currently working on?

SC & GC: We are currently working on two projects. A new short film, ‘Say No’, co-produced by The Rose Theatre in Kingston, London. ‘Say No’ is a drama about school girl Rossella, who has just split up with her boyfriend and is travelling to school with a handbag full of guns. The films explores the ever present dangers of gun crime.
In terms of horror, we are in the process of setting up our supernatural horror feature ‘The Still’. It is the last script our father ever wrote. We were writing it together and now it is finished and we are sourcing producers and financing.

DG: Wow! You’ve been busy! How amazing to be able to work on something that your Father worked on. Who do you consider your mentor and why?

SC & GC: Our father, for unknowingly giving us a film education by showing us films and television since the birth of cinema. His love, passion and sheer unquenchable knowledge for film was astonishing and aspirational. His motto for writing was ‘Arse to chair, pen to paper’. We have taken that motto into our work in that, it’s all about doing, actively pursuing and doing. No one is going to make your film but you until others want to.

DG: I love that! He had great advice! Why do you think the horror/sci-fi genres have such a large following?

SC & GC: Because they can take you to worlds beyond our own both in terms of science and spirit. From visual, philosophical, technological ground breaking 2001: A Space Odyssey to the universally frightening, birth of the blockbuster Jaws, they simply have the freedom in either a real based setting or fantastical setting to do anything you can think of. So many of our favourite films are these two genres. They allow you to see the future, the past, the real, the surreal, they fascinate, horrify, scare, overwhelm and give us a timeline to the worlds attitudes at particular times in history.

DG: very true! What do you love most about this business?

SC & GC: When you are working on a project time ceases to worry you. Doing what you love is very special and lucky and if you get to work on a film you are lucky and understand the feeling we are describing. The fact that everyday is different and you have the opportunity to meet and co-ordinate so many talented people in so many varied fields, it is a privilege to learn from them.

DG: That is so very true! What do you dislike most about this business?

SC & GC: Three things, one, talented people being asked to work for free or little money with promises of credits. Two, there are so little repeated viewings of films that they disappear very quickly and aren’t loved and given the attention they once were. Making your film for second viewings is great but how many people do give them second viewings anymore? Lastly, the lack of faith in original ideas, so few get through. TV seems to be the place for different and challenging stories

DG: I hear ya! What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

SC & GC: We are very proud of the inception and execution of ‘Surgery’. Being our father’s final idea before he died and getting to make it so quickly and all the help financially from crowd funding and talent was very humbling. But the success of ‘Surgery’ on the festival circuit was incredible but hands down the audience response to the film has been truly amazing. We’ve had people faint in three screenings we’ve attended so far. We wish we had thought of that as a marketing tool!

DG: LOL I love that! You guys did an amazing job on Surgery! ! Any advice you’d like to give newbies?

SC & GC: Don’t talk, do. That doesn’t mean just go out and make it but hustle, talk to people, go to film nights, talk to the filmmakers whose films you enjoyed. Use every connection you can and try and build a supportive team that want to work with you and help you. Very few people come up on their own. Make sure your script is great, if the blue print isn’t good or has problems so will your film. You won’t be able to solve story problems in the edit. Write it, take a break, come back, rewrite, send it to trusted people, get opinions and then throw it all out of the window and go with your gut. Our father once said “You’ve got to have the freedom to break the rules, if I looked at your script I’d want to change it and do it my way but maybe with years of experience my way isn’t the best way as new rules need to be broken”.

DG: Great advice! Anything else you’d like to say?

SC & GC: From cold London to sunny LA, we’d like to thank Shriekfest for allowing us to do this interview. Follow us on twitter @ClemensBros for our latest film news.

DG: Aww, thank you! It was great chatting!

Steve Desmond

SHRIEKFEST INTERVIEW

Steve Desmond
Director of of 2016 Official Selection “Monsters”

DG: What is your name and company URL?

SD: My name is Steve Desmond and my website is www.dreamingants.com

DG: What is your specialty…filmmaking or screenwriting?

SD: Both really. I work professionally as a screenwriter but recently directed a new short film. Directing has always been the ultimate goal.

DG: What are you currently working on?

SD: I’m writing a TV pilot for IM Global based on a sci-fi graphic novel, have a sci-fi horror screenplay with Davis Entertainment that was recently voted # 1 on the 2016 Blood List, recently optioned a Hugo award winning short story to adapt, and am also in the midst of writing a new spec horror script that I plan to direct.

DG: Wow! You’ve been busy! That is a great way to start the new year! Who do you consider your mentor and why?

SD: This is a tough one as I’ve found it difficult to find a good and consistent mentor in this business. I certainly have people that I look up to and admire but not a mentor per say. My heroes are Spielberg, Serling, Scorsese, and Hitchcock.

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

SD: When it comes to horror, I think a lot of us enjoy getting scared within a safe environment – a movie theater or our living room. As for Scifi, it taps into our desire to imagine the future or alternate realities, whether they’re awe inspiring or terrifying or both.

DG: Love that! What do you love most about this business?

SD: I genuinely love crafting a story and taking it all the way from the inception of an idea to a finished product. It’s a truly amazing experience. Specifically, I love the rush of production and being so in the moment.

DG: yes! What do you dislike most about this business?

SD: The ups and downs. We all get knocked down a lot and have to keep getting back up.

DG: I hear ya! It is frustrating, persistence is key! What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

SD: I’m very proud of my short film “Monsters.”

DG: So am I! It’s an amazing film! Any advice you’d like to give newbies?

SD: Expect a lot of rejection, especially in the early years. It’s normal and it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

DG: Great advice! Anything else you’d like to say?

SD: Check out my short film “Monsters” here – https://vimeo.com/143211613

DG: yes, please do! You will love it everyone! Thank you Steve! It was great chatting!

Winners 2016

Shriekfest 2016


Best Horror Feature Film:
Capture Kill Release
Directed by Nick McAnulty & Brian Allan Stewart

Best Sci-Fi Feature Film:
Occupants
Directed by Russ Emanuel

Best Thriller Feature Film:
Dead Awake
Directed by Phillip Guzman

Best Horror Short Film:
The Cleansing Hour
Directed by Damien LeVeck

Best Sci-Fi Short Film:
FlySpy
Directed by Daniel M Smith

Best Super Short Horror Film:
The Maiden
Directed by Michael Chaves

Best Horror Feature Screenplay:
Wolves at the Door
Written by Pardeep Aujla

Best Fantasy/Sci-Fi Feature Screenplay:
The Conspiracy Smith
Written by Chad Allan Jones

Best Thriller Feature Screenplay:
The Bride in the Box
Written by Doug Bost

Best Short Screenplay:
The Wishing Tunnel
Written by Travis Gentry

Best SciFi Demo Reel:
Alan Chan

Best Horror Demo Reel:
Cornelius Broderick

Best 2016 Shriekfest Commercial:
Jennifer Taylor Lawrence & Jon James Smith

Russ Emanuel

SHRIEKFEST INTERVIEW

Russ Emanuel
Director of 2016 Best Sci-Fi Feature Film “Occupants”

DG: What is your name and company URL?

RE: My name is Russ Emanuel and my company name is Russem Productions (www.russem.com)

DG: What is your specialty…filmmaking or screenwriting?

RE: Filmmaking is my specialty –directing.

DG: What are you currently working on?

RE: I am currently working on the action film The Assassin’s Apprentice which will shoot in early December, starring Tarah Paige, Robert Picardo, and Marina Sirtis. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6151014/?ref_=ttfc_fc_tt

DG: Wow! You’ve been busy! Who do you consider your mentor and why?

RE: I would say Professor Richard Friedman at the UCLA Extension Program. He is the one who made me think seriously about the production aspects of filmmaking.

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

RE: Because people love to see what is possible, including the horrific and fantastical aspects of life.

DG: very true! What do you love most about this business?

RE: I love meeting fellow filmmakers and seeing what we are all capable of doing when working together. That’s what make filmmaking an artistic and worthwhile venture.

DG: That is so very true! What do you dislike most about this business?

RE: To be honest, it’s more of a critique of Los Angeles, but I hate the parking situation here. And Hollywood is located in Los Angeles, so it’s a necessary evil!

DG: LOL too funny! I know, when I’m meeting a friend I always ask what’s the parking like? What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

RE: “Occupants” and “Girl With Gun” are my best films to date. And honestly, the Shriekfest award is definitely the highlight of my filmmaking career.

DG: AWW, thank you! I love that! Well, you deserve it! Any advice you’d like to give newbies?

RE: Just take the plunge and don’t give up.

DG: Great advice! Anything else you’d like to say?

RE: Thank you to Shriekfest again for the “Occupants” win for ‘Best Sci-Fi Feature’. It was an honor to just be included in the Shriekfest family let alone win.

DG: The honor is all mine! Thank you so much for making our 2016 extra special! It was great chatting!

Jeff Bassetti

SHRIEKFEST INTERVIEW

Jeff Bassetti
2015 Semi Finalist Screenwriter with “Children of the Dead”

DG: What is your name and company URL?

JB: Jeff Bassetti and my company is “Omega Tots”, which was the original title for CHILDREN OF THE DEAD a few years back. A buddy convinced me that it was a silly name for a horror film … tonally, more comical than serious so I changed it and kept it for my company name. www.omega-tots.com … although, the site is currently under construction, so there isn’t much to see right now I’m afraid. The facebook page has a few photos from our concept trailer shoot.

DG: What is your specialty…filmmaking or screenwriting?

JB: I am still figuring that out. Both, screenwriting and filmmaking [directing]. I was fortunate to have worked as an intern at Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light and Magic [back in the analog days] I’ve co-written, co-produced and directed the indie feature, F-STOPS [2001], which was an incredible learning experience for me. We made all sorts of mistakes… the biggest was rushing the edit to make a film festival deadline for the Houston World Fest where we did win the Silver Remy for Best Thriller. The biggest success on F-STOPS was being able to go back in and recut it thanks to Mike Cavanaugh and David Sconyers at Key Code Media. Since then I have been spending time writing, perfecting story craft, but I am looking forward to getting back on set soon.

DG: Wow! Very cool What are you currently working on?

JB: I’m writing several projects actually, although CHILDREN OF THE DEAD is my primary focus right now. My compadres in the craziness, Fiana Feldman, Roland Feldman, Lawrence Kim, and Brian Hillard are all working really hard to raise financing to shoot COTD; ideally in the spring or summer of 2017. Beyond that we are spending time figuring out how do we deliver a high dollar value project on a lower budget without it looking like a lower budget. Aside from that I am tinkering around with the second chapter to the COTD story.

DG: ooh! That is great! I can’t wait to see it. Who do you consider your mentor and why?

JB: I admire quite a few filmmakers… David Fincher, Ridley Scott, James Cameron, Guillermo del Toro, Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarantino, Tyler Perry, Lucas, Spielberg, Kubrick and Scorsese… Yeah, there are a lot of them actually. To this day, I still am finding nuances in all of their work.

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

JB: It’s a safe place to explore and experience the thrills and terrors of “what if?” Digging into the sinners and saints of the human condition. I think we simply like a good scare every once in a while. Especially now, with everything going on in the world… You would think people would gravitate more towards comedy [and they are], but I think this cathartically is backwards… I think that when we get stressed out, we seek out something to analyze it. Look at the Blumhouse Purge series of films… they’re reflecting our fears of what America is and could become. That we are incapable of keeping our inner beast contained and controlled. With election season upon us… we’re fearing both sides probably pretty equally about what is going to happen if either Hillary or Trump get into office.

DG: LOL very true! What do you love most about this business?

JB: I’ll let you know when I think I’ve really gotten into it. Maybe in 2017 I will know more. Standing in the back of a theater gripping your hands tightly until you hear the first laugh at a legitimately intended joke was the biggest thrill for me during F-STOPS screenings.

DG: I’m sure! All those nerves! What do you dislike most about this business?

JB: I’ll let you know when I think I’ve really gotten in. The difficulty in piercing the veil. Some people seem to be fortunate or skilled at getting in… I probably just made a few wrong turns on my path and I won’t realize the value of that until later on. Either way, I’ve been writing, so it’s been time well spent.

DG: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

JB: F-STOPS was my first. Good or bad… the film has a manic passion within it that audiences [the few who have seen it] have connected with. From standing in the back of a theater, you can tell when they [audiences] are genuinely laughing or gasping. That’s the end-game, the thrill you hope to experience as a filmmaker. I think CHILDREN OF THE DEAD will be my next.

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

JB: It’s a marathon, not a sprint… unless your path turns out to be a sprint and then in that case, run your ass off! Rewrite your first draft and be happy about doing it. Sorry to say that no one’s first draft is genius. Hemingway said “The first draft of anything is shit.” And it hurts when you come to this realization… if you are fortunate to have this realization, but it is something you need to come to grips with. COTD was not well received in the festival circuit when I started out… but I’ve been rewriting it, taking in and considering opinions as I go and a lot of the critiques have helped. It also helps a lot when people are diplomatic about telling you what you’ve written sucks and has problems. In kind, you have to take it in and then consider what they’ve said. I struggle with that one a bit still. If you do have the luxury of time, walk away from your story for a while and start another one, spend time with your family, go camping, do a job which frustrates the hell out of you, anything to clear you head so that when you come back to your story, you can see the mistakes. My festival acceptance rate has gone up ever since, so I must be headed in the right direction. The really funny thing is when you look at it and ask yourself, “Why didn’t I just do that in the first place?” And, Filmmakers can get myopic if they are the writer, director, editor blah blah blah… I don’t like to actually edit myself. I want that objective perspective to challenge me and bring something new to the table with the material I’ve written and shot. If this really is a collaborative medium… find people who are smarter than you and collaborate. If people are bringing you solutions as they point out the problems / issues / mistakes… they are worth their weight in gold [IMO]. You may not like what they are telling you, but give it a listen, and you might find clarity from their perspective … unless they are just hateful trolls.

DG: Great advice! Anything else you’d like to say?

JB: I’d like to thank my wife, Elizabeth for putting up with me when my mind goes elsewhere. Thank you!

DG: Thank you Jeff! It was great chatting!

Alan R. Baxter

SHRIEKFEST INTERVIEW

Alan R. Baxter
2006, 2007, 2014 Screenplay Finalist & 2015 Screenplay Semi Finalist

DG: What is your name and company URL?

AB: Alan R. Baxter, http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1433225/

DG: What is your specialty…filmmaking or screenwriting?

AB: Screenwriting. More specifically, writing for television.

DG: What are you currently working on?

AB: A thriller/mystery series set in a small rural town in Florida. Think True Detective meets The Killing.

DG: Oooh, sounds cool. Who do you consider your mentor and why?

AB: Irvin Paik. He was an assistant editor on the show, “ER.” At the time, I was a post PA and eager to learn the ins-and-outs of editing. He went above and beyond to teach me, including meeting up outside of work. I will never forget his kindness and generosity

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

AB: Sometimes the real-life horrors are too much to handle. These genres allow people a safe way to tap into these fears and be entertained.

DG: So very true! What do you love most about this business?

AB: I love the shared enthusiasm and passion for film and TV

DG: That is so very true! What do you dislike most about this business?

AB: People who talk the talk, yet don’t have anything to back it.

DG: I hear ya! What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

AB: My reps took out my pilot and I had a bunch of meetings at companies. For my first meeting, I remember sitting in the lobby and just admiring all the posters: Terminator 2, Aliens, The Walking Dead. I thought to myself, “This is pretty freakin’ cool.”

DG: Yes, it is!!! Any advice you’d like to give newbies?

AB: Join a writers group. It really forces you to push yourself and hone your craft. Plus, everyone is really supportive.

DG: Great advice! Anything else you’d like to say?

AB: Don’t forget to live life. Spend time with your family, travel and meet new people.

DG: I agree!, so important! Enjoy that adorable little baby! Thank you Alan! It was great chatting!