DG: What is your name and company URL?
NA: My name is Nikhail Asnani and I'm a filmmaker from Hong Kong, currently in Los Angeles doing my MFA in Screenwriting at Chapman University.
DG: What is your specialty...filmmaking or screenwriting?
NA: I focus on Screenwriting but have been dipping my toes in directing some short film here and there.
DG: What are you currently working on?
NA: I currently have two horror/sci fi shorts in post production, one is a vampire film and another is titled Something Round starring iconic gender fluid actor Jason Greene aka Freckle. I'm hoping to use this short to gain funding to direct the feature. The feature script also just placed in the top 20% of the Nicholls Fellowship.
DG: Congrats! Who do you consider your mentor and why?
NA: I've had several mentors in my career, starting off with known LGBT filmmaker Casper Andreas. Then I participated in a various screenwriting workshops learning under Gordy Hoffman and now at school I receive lots of guidance from my professors.
DG: That's great. Why do you think the horror/sci-fi genres have such a large following?
NA: Personally I prefer art that makes the comfortable uncomfortable, and the horror sci fi genres are more allowing for this. It's also awesome to see movies come along that have a fantastical approach. People watch movies to enter another world and this specific genre does just that. I also have a fascination with vampires just like many other interested in mythical creatures. There is a tradition to storytelling and how it has derived from myth so I think people naturally drift towards hearing such stories.
DG: What do you love most about this business?
NA: The people. The energy. The magic on screen. And the fact that anything is possible, and you can be from anywhere, with any background and still have an amazing story to tell.
DG: That is so very true! What do you dislike most about this business?
NA: It's very competitive. Making art shouldn't just be about competitions and winning, however sometimes it feels like this is the only way to succeed.
DG: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
NA: I'm most proud of my feature script Something Round. It is something I wrote in one month because I was that inspired and that fact that it has just a tiny bit of recognition is amazing. I'm also very proud of the short, which took many months of planning. It was the first time I worked with industry professional actors and one badass DP and I learned so much in the process and can't wait to share the film with the world.
DG: Any advice you'd like to give newbies?
NA: Keep at it! The world is changing, there are more opportunities now for stories with women and minority leads, though there still needs to be more. Don't be afraid to go out there and make your films happen. It's like jumping into a freezing pool, at first it's like why did I just do that, but then the coldness settles and you have a great pool party!
DG: LOL Great advice! Anything else you'd like to say?
NA: Thank you to Shriekfest for this interview! We can always use a little positive publicity in life.
DG: Thank you Nikhail! It was great chatting!