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!

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