Director of “Lo,” 2009’s Audience Choice award and 2011’s Best Super Natural Film “The Dead Inside”
DG: What is your name and company URL?
TB: Travis Betz – DrexelBox Films – www.TravisBetz.com
DG: What is your specialty…filmmaking or screenwriting?
TB: I am a writer/director of the weird and wonderful.
DG: What are you currently working on?
TB: Oodles of fun stuff! I’m currently finishing up my horror-comedy novel, Stabbers, as well as a number of new horror, comedy and thriller scripts. I am seeking funding for a new horror anthology I want to direct, and I also have a horror-thriller in development. I wish I didn’t have to be so vague, but at the time of this writing I shouldn’t be saying much more. But really cool things are on the horizon.
DG: That is great! Who do you consider your mentor and why?
TB: I never really had a single person I would consider a mentor. At least no one that I knew personally who I worked alongside. Two of my biggest influences growing up were Sam Raimi and John Landis. When I started actually making movies, establishments like the New Beverly Cinema and The Cinefamily were two of the best mentors I had. I cut my teeth on the French new wave at the New Bev, amongst other things. I’d go every week by myself and just experience all walks of cinema. To me, sitting in those theaters watching great films was the best inspiration and education I could ever get.
DG: Why do you think the horror/sci-fi genres have such a large following?
TB: Perhaps because horror and sci fi films have the ability to create communities and fans. When’s the last time you geeked out at a drama convention and had a nerdy discussions about The English Patient? Genre films allow us to dream as big as we desire. It lets us open forbidden doors and peek inside without getting hurt. They are beautiful, violent, grotesque and meaningful. I mean…I love them.
DG: Nicely said! What do you love most about this business?
TB: Probably that I’m surrounded by like-minded artists whom I can gab the night away with about cinema.
DG: That is so very true! What do you dislike most about this business?
TB: The lack of risk taking. Seems, in many cases, the only thing your original script is good for is to get you into the meeting for the over-processed, market tested, re-hashed ideas that they want you to make. It’s a real challenge to make something new, and can be very disheartening. But this is the path I chose…so be it.
DG: I hear ya! It is frustrating… the whole industry has put way too much focus on the making of money instead of the making of quality work. What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
TB: Honestly, I’m most enthusiastic when random strangers send me messages about how much they loved my movie, and how much it means to them. Those are worth the most to me. I’m a weird filmmaker who makes bizarre little films. I accept that the mainstream is not where I swim. When I find people who love and get what I’m going for it lets me know I have an audience who appreciate the same things I do. It makes me happy that there’s a place for my stories in the world.
DG: I love that! Any advice you’d like to give newbies?
TB: I guess it depends on what you want out of your art. You wanna be a big time studio director and work deep inside the system? I guess you need to play the game. Meet people, work as a P.A., get an agent and manager. If your interests are being an artist and making your own stuff…well then pour your heart and soul into it. Be open and listen to criticism, but only use what you feel applies to better the story. Write every day, knowing you’re gonna fail over and over – but the one time you do win it will be worth it. Actually, the latter advice should also be applied to the first bit of advice. Passion, confidence and a good work ethic will get you far in any world you want to be a part of.
DG: Great advice! Anything else you’d like to say?
TB: Can you buy me a drink?
DG: LOL Thank you Travis! It was great chatting!