Jonathan Lawrence

Jonathan Lawrence
Director | Cinematographer

Jonathan Lawrence

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

JL: Individual: www.DirectorLawrence.com

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

JL: Filmmaking. Director / Cinematographer

DG: What are you currently working on?

JL: Season 3 of Duke and Dammit (YT,IG,TT) and Feature SciFi.

DG: Who do you consider your mentor and why?

JL: (Directors) Sergio Leone – Rawness and precision with characters and story telling. Steven Spielberg – Masterful Blocking and detailed spectacle. Orson Wells – Nuanced Gravitas and Cautious Forboding.
(Cinematographers) Jorden Croneweth for his work on Altered Staes and Blade Runner. Roger Deakins – Perfect blend of documentary and motion pictiure style lighting. Perfect lensing choises… every image serves the story. Emmanuel Lubezki (Chivo) – Masterful use of natural lighting and lensing.

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

JL: Horror taps into our primitive fears and allows us to experience terror from the safety of our viewing space. It is a thrill place yourself in the situation and to get the adrenalin going – knowing you aren’t going to die. There is also the morbid fascination with gore and death. Someone jumps from a building – the masses clamor to get a photo.
Science Fiction at its best tells stories of our potential and warns us of the pitfalls of the human condition and poor individual choices. It can cover politics, religion philosophy, ethics, morals, good and evil, and even science from time to time – set against intricate and spectacular backdrops that inspire the great ‘what if’.
Both genres are popular for two basic reason. On a one level they take us out of an average world give us a bigger than life experience. On another level they make us think and feel. They scare the hell out of us and they give us hope. (oh, and cool characters to cosplay.)
No one has ever summed it up better than Rod Serling – – “You unlock this door with a key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension. A dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance – of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into the Twilight Zone”.

DG: What do you love most about this business?

JL: Working with other creatives to build an experience that resonates with people and is entertaining.

DG: What do you dislike most about this business?

JL: I don’t like abrasive egos or incompetence in charge.

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

JL: Advice is not something I may be qualified to give. All I can do is share the things that I think about on my own path. Take what is useful to you and ignore the rest.
We live in a time where most everyone has the technology in their pocket to make a movie. Perhaps we stop making movies just because we can. It’s okay to emulate what we see in other shows – those things speak to us for a reason and we can try to relive that experience by copying it and building it ourselves.
The Nice Shoes music video is a prime example of re-creating things that Tommy Mack, myself, and others have enjoyed. Reverse engineering is a good way to learn the language of cinema. But then learn to tell stories that come from you that you enjoy. Or explore ideas that interest you, that inspire you, that challenge your values or support your experience (without getting preachy – a skill that challenges me – clearly).
To do that effectively I think its important to live life on life’s terms. Turn off the computer and put down the phone. Hang out with people, get a hobby, and travel as much as you can. Be of service to others and support their goals as well as your own. Look for a team of people who support you and whom you support.
(transparency) I have a long history of emulating existing work as well as isolating and doing many things myself to get them done My Way. On the one hand I have developed very useful and fine-tuned skills across many departments in the technical craft of filmmaking. On the other hand I think these are choices that have limited me the most.
We need others to be and do our best. What I have learned from emulating and isolating with an unequal ratio of effort to success is that I need to comprehend and even sometimes embrace ideas that are not my own. This can bring understanding to my voice. And if I do not know my own voice – then no one will ever want to hear it… or in the expression of cinema – no one will ever want to see it.

DG: Anything else you’d like to say?

JL: Explore. Have fun. Treat people well…. And in the wisdom of Buckaroo Banzai (google it), “Remember…no matter where you go – there you are”.

Luke Asa Guidici

Luke Asa Guidici
Editor | Screenwriter | Director

Luke Asa Guidici

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

Luke Asa Guidici, my production company is “yetiesque” and my website is www.lukeasa.com

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

I’ve always written and directed my own work, but never thought of myself as a “writer” until after I made CERTIFIED. I realized that in order to find projects that were the right fit for me, I’d need to write them myself. My day job is a “film editor”, I so guess you could say that’s my specialty.

DG: What are you currently working on?

I’m developing a feature version and TV show concept based on my short film SUNDOWN TRAIL — which screened at Shriekfest last year.

DG: Who do you consider your mentor and why?

I’d consider my friend and former boss, Davis Doi to be one of my most valuable mentors. He’s one of the best directors I’ve ever worked with. Nearly every day I’d marvel at his artistic skill, ability to collaborate, and grace when receiving notes from the executive producer. I learned so much by just observing him.

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

I think storytelling is ingrained in our collective DNA and part of that is our desire and capacity for imagination. We want to experience worlds beyond our understanding, we want to dream of things we haven’t ever seen. Horror and sci-fi are a way for us to access these worlds in our waking lives.

DG: What do you love most about this business?

I love the collaborating aspect of filmmaking. It’s incredibly rewarding to be faced with a creative challenge, and come together as a team to find a solution. Filmmaking is a puzzle that’s operating in multiple dimensions at the same time and being able to solve those puzzles with people is pretty awesome.

DG: What do you dislike most about this business?

The insincerity. People say “yes” when so often they really mean “no.” If you don’t like a project or don’t have the ability to help someone—just say so. Don’t string people along or blow smoke.

DG: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

Oddly enough it’s probably my found photo book project, “Found in Kitsap.” I found a bunch of cameras people had donated to thrift stores with undeveloped film inside… and used the photos to make a 200+ page coffee table book full of poems and short stories. It was a project that I stumbled across and over the course of several years shaped it into something I’m really proud of.

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

Keep going. I once heard a saying that everyone has “10,000 bad drawings in them” and the only way to get to the good stuff, is to get the bad ones out of the way. The first things you make won’t be great… but if you keep practicing, keep refining your work… you’ll get there.

DG: Anything else you’d like to say?

Thank you for everything you do and for being a voice of positivity, love, and sanity in the genre community!

Rami Kahlon

Rami Kahlon
Screenwriter

Rami Kahlon

What is your name and company name and URL?

My name is Rami Kahlon and my company name is Rani Pictures. Named after my Mom. =]

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

My specialty is screenwriting, however I love to make films and am happy spending time on both!

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently writing a feature script based on revolutionaries in colonial India. In addition, I’m in pre-production for a horror comedy loosely based on Christmas romance films.

Who do you consider your mentor and why?

I was connected to Sara from Chroma Films through a wonderful initiative – #Startwith8 which helps womxn of color find mentors in their respective fields. Sara has been wonderful and answers any questions I have about the filmmaking process.

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

I think it has such a huge following because it’s an exciting way to talk about real concepts. For example, with “Odd Girl”, we were able to talk about loneliness in a way that kept the audience engaged throughout the film.

What do you love most about this business?

I love all types of storytelling. I am constantly in awe of the fantastical stories that people come up with and the nuanced ways in which these stories relate to people’s lives. We are human with varying emotions and I think filmmaking is a beautiful way to connect all of us together.

What do you dislike most about this business?

The turnaround times can be so short when it comes to getting something in by a deadline. It’s a lot of pressure and can be too much to handle when you’re working on a lot of different projects.

What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of how well “Odd Girl” has done! The whole team put a lot of effort into every element of the filmmaking process, and it really paid off. We are now currently featured on ALTER’s shorts channel and on Samansa, which is a Japanese-based startup.

Any advice you’d like to give to newbies?

Post-production festival submissions and distribution plans are essential for the success of your film. Make sure you have a plan in hand during pre-production so it doesn’t become a daunting task once you’ve finished your film.

Anything else you’d like to say?

Go tell your story! Everyone has something really important and interesting to say, and there aren’t enough diverse voices out here. So go for it!

Charles de Lauzirika

Charles de Lauzirika
Director | Producer | Writer

Charles de Lauzirika

DG: What is your name and company name?

I’m Charles de Lauzirika. I own two companies: Lauzirika Motion Picture Company for the behind-the-scenes and promotional content I produce; and Iron Helmet for the narrative films I direct, like CRAVE and LOVE BITE.

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

Filmmaking. But as I like to say, I direct out of love, I produce out of necessity, and I write out of desperation. In a perfect world, I’d only be directing because that process gives me the most joy.

DG: What are you currently working on?

Working on some promotional videos for a new horror feature coming out later this year, pitching a new making-of documentary about a legendary filmmaker that’s going to blow people’s minds, and developing what I hope is my next feature as director. Finding the sweet spot between a concept that interests me and a budget that’s obtainable in this volatile climate has been taking forever, but I’ve finally got something that fits the bill.

DG: Who do you consider your mentor and why?

I guess I’d have to say it was Ridley Scott, since I worked with him for so long and learned so much from him. But since I’ve left that nest, I’m on my own now, putting those lessons to work.

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

People get a thrill from seeing things they don’t get to see in normal life. Oftentimes, the best films in those genres rely on our imaginations, so when we’re partners in the storytelling like that, we have more investment in the experience and the characters.

DG: What do you love most about this business?

Telling stories visually. And collaborating with so many creative people who inspire me to do better in my own work.

DG: What do you dislike most about this business?

That it takes so long to get things done, and that it’s increasingly difficult to get people to take a chance on anything original. That’s only gotten worse in the COVID era.

DG: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

Getting my first feature made, and having CRAVE do so well on the festival circuit, was a huge dream come true — not only for my grown-up self, but even more so for my 7 year-old self who saw JAWS in a theater and decided then to become a filmmaker.

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

Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity you’ve fantasized about. Just dive into something that interests you, take that chance, and remind yourself that it’s okay to fail so long as you learn, grow and do better next time. But also, once you’ve committed to making something, prepare, prepare, prepare. You can have fun, but take the process seriously.

DG: Anything else you’d like to say?

Thanks for the questions, Denise. And for those interested, you can find me on social media: @lauzirika.

Pat Semler

Pat Semler
Screenwriter

Pat Semler

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

Pat Semler. I don’t have a company. You can find examples of my writing at www.patsemler.com. The website is still under construction so there’s not a lot up just now.

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

I’m a screenwriter. I’ve done features, shorts and 3 original television drama series. I dabbled in production and directing many years back when I had no clue what I was doing, but plenty of ambition and a lot of friends who volunteered their time and talents. I got a trailer for one story and a ten minute short out of the effort. To be honest, I’m happiest at the keyboard.

DG: What are you currently working on?

I’m working out the kinks in an older SciFi detective script I had in the files for too long. It started out as a simple murder mystery, then the backstory kicked in and tried to take over. It’s been a fight, but somehow the timing is right for this script now. I also have a new story idea inspired by current events that’s in very early stages of musing. Could be my first disaster script.

DG: Who do you consider your mentor and why?

Unofficially I’d have to say Hal Croasmun of Screenwriting University. A real cheerleader, he’s expressed faith in my skills, nudged me to get out of my shell and self-promote.

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

Horror and SciFi are the what if playgrounds most adults might say they’ve outgrown. They provide an opportunity to be wide-eyed kids again, to indulge in fantasies or role playing or face down the things that frightened our younger selves under the covers. Star Trek said it best. To boldly go where no one, that is ourself, has gone before.

DG: What do you love most about this business?

I love the breadth of creativity and the generosity of talent. As a reader for multiple competitions, I’m always amazed by how others see the world.

DG: What do you dislike most about this business?

The process of gaining traction and entry for new writers and ideas versus the regurgitation of studio owned IP. If writing/selling screenplays was easy everyone would do it, and it sure feels like everyone is sticking their toe in the water these days, but damn there has to be a better way to get in the door.

DG: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

My first contest win was for an action/adventure feature. It was a small contest but the judge’s comment that I showed a real voice in the writing made it feel as big as the Nicholls Fellowship. A close second would be premiering my short, Five Card no Peek, at the Central Florida Film Festival. Lesson learned – partner with someone who knows promotion to get a career going.

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

Learn the formats. Proofread with eyeballs, not just Spellcheck. Don’t use Flashbacks in the first 5 pages. Contests that offer feedback can be a good source for finding the sticking points but make the presentation as flawless as possible so we engage with the story. Not all feedback is generous or objective. If the notes feel wrong, toss them. If more than two people point out the same issue, consider they may be onto something. Sometimes you’ll get tough love notes from contests or professional script services. They’re trying to help you make your story better. Digest them well before jumping into a rewrite. Read produced screenplays then write some more.

DG: Anything else you’d like to say?

I’ve had a blast reading first round submissions for Shriekfest for a number of years. It’s been a fascinating education in what works and what doesn’t, whether the script is a blood-soaked slasher or a brooding subversive thriller. Making the finalist round this year (2020/21) was a real confidence booster, and the weekend filmfest of blood and gore and new friends wasn’t bad either.

Daniel Talbott

Daniel Talbott
Director

Daniel Talbott

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

My name is Daniel Talbott and I’m only on Instagram now at danielcamerontalbott.

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

I’m a screenwriter, director, producer. A theater, TV, film person infinitely, all together as one.

DG: What are you currently working on?

I’m really lucky to be finishing up post on my first feature as a director and screenwriter. It’s called MIDDAY BLACK MIDNIGHT BLUE and I got to co-direct and co-write it with my sister Sam Soule. I couldn’t be more thankful, especially to be working with my family. I’m also writing a feature about Katharine Hepburn.

DG: Who do you consider your mentor and why?

Oh man, that’s a really tough question. There are so many people in my life who I love and look up to and who I learn from constantly. First and foremost my brother Will and my sisters Sam and Lucy, and my wife Addie. They are home to me and who I turn to, always. My manager Liz is extraordinary, and I feel so lucky to be walking this path and world with her. Christian Thorpe and Amanda Segal for sure as a TV writer and screenwriter. I love them both very much and owe them so much. Estelle Parsons always. Olivia Colman. I don’t know her but she’s my favorite actor and she blows me away. I’m so thankful that she’s out there in the world working and killing it.

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

Terror, imagination, and limitless possibility. We’re all scared of death, of the unknown. Horror explores all of that in profound ways.

DG: What do you love most about this business?

The work.

DG: What do you dislike most about this business?

The business, social, networking part. I just want to work and especially work with my family and other folks that blow me away. I want to always be working and growing, expanding. The universe of film is limitless. I love that.

DG: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

Working with my family and being a parent that works in theater, film and TV. It’s a beautiful, tidal, unpredictable life and I’m really proud of how we fight hard to navigate that and keep our family at the center of it all. I’m proud that when we fall on our faces, we’re able to get back up with each other and endure.

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

The film is the thing. The work is the thing. You can’t work hard enough, the work is all that exists in the end. Fame is the worst reason to tell stories.

DG: Anything else you’d like to say?

That you Denise and your film festival are both incredible. I’m so thankful for Shriekfest. The generosity, the film community you foster and create. You all are wonderful.

Jonny Zeller

Jonny Zeller
Director

Jonny Zeller

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

Jonny Zeller, http://www.jonnyzeller.com

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

I’m a Director and do a lot of TV commercials and branded content, but have recently been working more and more in the narrative space.

DG: What are you currently working on?

I directed a few commercials recently that I’m excited about and are almost ready to release. On the narrative side of things, I’m working on adapting my Shriekfest Best Sci-Fi short film SCARS into a series of books and a feature film. SCARS is a short film based on a response to a reddit.com writing prompt.
I also have two features and a series with my producing partner Tim Frazier that keep me inspired (and busy). Always important to have something special to work towards!

DG: Who do you consider your mentor and why?

I’ve been fortunate to have several great mentors over the course of my career. My father has always pushed me to be better in whatever ways I can and has been a constant mentor from day one. Cinematographer Jeff Stonehouse was my first professional mentor, and he took me under his wing when I was a clueless PA running to crafty when someone asked for an “apple box.” The late Ric Waite (Footloose, Brewster’s Millions, The Great Outdoors) was also very influential in my early career. My current mentor, Producer Robert L. Levy (Wedding Crashers, Point Break, Pay It Forward), has been helping me learn to navigate the business side of the industry.
Whew, that turned out to be a lot! But I wanted to make sure the right people got credit!

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

I think horror/scifi draws a large following because audiences like becoming immersed in a unique world. It’s easy – and fun – to get lost in a film or series that makes you wonder “what if?” and just dive down the rabbit hole.

DG: What do you love most about this business?

  1. It’s possible for an idea in my head to come to life on a screen and be shared with people all over the world.
  2. I get to work with amazing people both behind and in front of the camera.
  3. I get to travel the world and explore cultures I never would have been able to in any other way.

DG: What do you dislike most about this business?

Ego and/or fear all too often stand in the way of greatness.

DG: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

The easy answer is SCARS! But honestly, it’s also the most accurate. I haven’t put that much of myself into any other project I’ve worked on, and to see other people enjoy it and hear them talking with each other about what it means and where it could go next… It’s the kind of thing that makes people like me want to direct in the first place.

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

Work after you get home from work. Some of your biggest career progress happens outside of normal working hours. If you have a day job, get used to spending your off-time networking, writing, creating, collaborating. There’s a lot of competition so all that extra time you spend honing your craft and building your network will pay off.

DG: Anything else you’d like to say?

Big thanks to Shriekfest and to everyone who screened their film at the festival. It was inspiring to watch so many incredible films and really an honor to take home one of the awards.

Michael McCartney

Michael McCartney
Actor | Director | Screenwriter | Producer

Michael McCartney

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

Michael McCartney and I work with Gill Holland and The Group Entertainment.

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

I started as an actor actually and have worked for years writing and producing for myself. I fell into directing pretty naturally, but a bit later in life, so I still consider myself to really be developing. I hope to always keep evolving as a filmmaker and balancing what I continue to learn about performance, script, composition, design, light, camera, action.

DG: What are you currently working on?

I’ve just completed delivery of ROOMMATE WANTED to Indican Pictures for our worldwide release in January 2022. My next project will be directing my breakout cannibal horror/comedy SMOKEHOUSE that we’re planning to shoot in Kentucky early next year.

DG: Who do you consider your mentor and why?

My father Laton McCartney is my greatest mentor. He taught and encouraged me to write, critcally think, be creative, and question authority. I’m lucky to have been reared by such a tremendous dude.

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

I find that we genre fans are typically odd balls and misfits, with great imaginations, and who are not afraid of delving into the dark – I know I am. I think we empathize with each other through our simalarities, as well as support our efforts to escape into lovely, bizarre and terrifying worlds.

DG: What do you love most about this business?

I love creativity and being a part of the creative process in any capacity. I love being on set and working hard to create something compelling and honest. I love artists and working with them. I love the history of filmmaking and the ever evolving form. I love people seeing my work and hopefully appreciateing something about it.

DG: What do you dislike most about this business?

But alot of the time it’s all business; raising money, selling, hustling, shmoozing, paying bills. It all part of it, just not my favorite part.

DG: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of the film we’re showing here at Shriekfest, my directorial debut, ROOMMATE WANTED. I put blood into this film.

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

Stay a newbie! Keep learning, growing, evolving, and working your ass off to tell your story.

DG: Anything else you’d like to say?

I have so much respect for Shriekfest and how Denise runs this incredible film festival. I know it’s not easy, but Denise is a force of nature who gives her attention and support to every one of us that are lucky enough to be involved. Thank you!

Erik Bloomquist

Erik Bloomquist
Actor | Writer | Director | Producer

Erik Bloomquist

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

Erik Bloomquist / @ErikCBloomquist
Mainframe Pictures / @MainframePictures

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

Acting, writing, directing, producing!

DG: What are you currently working on?

In post on NIGHT AT THE EAGLE INN and CHRISTMAS ON THE CAROUSEL (coming out later this year) along with SHE CAME FROM THE WOODS (starring Cara Buono, Clare Foley, Spencer List, and William Sadler), premiering next year

DG: Who do you consider your mentor and why?

I learn from everybody I collaborate with in different ways.

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

They awaken the imagination and remind us of our humanity.

DG: What do you love most about this business?

The unexpected.

DG: What do you dislike most about this business?

The unexpected.

DG: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

Depends on the day, but I am proud to have stayed as creative as I was able to during the pandemic.

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

Find like-minded collaborators.

DG: Anything else you’d like to say?

If you dig our movies, please leave a review on IMDb, Letterboxd, and your viewing platform. We live and die by the algorithms!

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. ?

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.