2016 Winner of Best Horror Short Film “The Cleansing Hour”
DG: What is your name and company name and URL?
DL: Damien LeVeck, Skubalon Entertainment, http://www.SkubalonInc.com
DG: What is your specialty…filmmaking or screenwriting? If filmmaking, which aspects?
DL: I am a Writer/Director. My production company, Skubalon Entertainment develops a variety of film, TV, and alternative media content, focusing primarily on horror/thriller/action.
DG: What are you currently working on?
DL: I am writing a pilot for a horror anthology series based on true stories that were recorded in Ireland. The series is similar to Black Mirror, except each involve demon possession and exorcism. I am also writing a larger scale horror/mystery feature that simultaneously investigates the paranormal and deeply-guarded secrets within the Vatican.
DG: Wow! Who do you consider your mentor and why?
DL: My friend Craig Titley is a film and TV writer from my hometown of Mattoon, Illinois. Since I moved to LA almost 20 years ago, he has been one of the most kind and supportive people I know, helping me every step of my journey into the entertainment business. Craig is not only incredibly smart and talented, but he’s a genuine and kindhearted person—a rare combination in this industry.
DG: Very cool. Why do you think the horror/sci-fi genres have such a large following?
DL: Fear is an emotion experienced by every human being across all cultures and religions. It is the only emotion that forces us to confront our own mortality. I believe supernatural horror has such a large following because it speaks to the very essence of the audience’s existence—this inbred awareness of our dualistic nature. We are physical and immaterial. Supernatural horror can raise the age-old question of what happens after we die? And, what if unseen entities in our universe are malevolent and dangerous? Films like this give the audience permission to delve into a dark and philosophical world where they can live vicariously through characters for 90 minutes and then retreat to the apparent safety of the reality with little to no consequences. That’s a fun ride, a guilty pleasure and I think the reason for the genre’s popularity.
DG: Well said! What do you love most about this business?
DL: The challenge. Every aspect of making a film is challenging and difficult for varying reasons. It keeps me on my toes but also increases my gray hair by the day.
DG: LOL. What do you dislike most about this business?
DL: Mean people and those who prey on others’ vulnerabilities are the worst part about this business. We’ve all worked for horrible people, and if you haven’t, you haven’t worked in entertainment long enough. It can be a traumatizing experience. The silver lining is that it can be edifying to teach you how NOT to behave. Regardless, I am saddened and disgusted when I hear any stories of abuse of any kind by people in authority. It’s deeply immoral, and I am proud of everyone who is taking a stand against it. I hope we are ushering in a new era of snuffing out bullies.
DG: I agree! What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
DL: In the last three and a half years, I made an 18-minute short film (THE CLEANSING HOUR), had two children, and made the feature-length version of the short, which will be released later in 2019. People like to talk about the challenge of parenting one child much less two or more. However, I can say with confidence that writing and directing THE CLEANSING HOUR feature was the most difficult thing I have ever done in my entire life—and it is the one thing I am the most proud of. However, it would not have been possible without the love, support, and hard work of my beautiful wife and producer, Natalie, and my bulldog producers Shirit Bradley and Dan Clifton. It was this collaboration that enabled me to make a movie that I am proud of while also doing the more important job of being a dad and husband.
DG: Any advice you’d like to give to newbies?
DL: Work harder than everyone else with a positive attitude, mindful of the fact that there will always be somebody willing to take your place. Be excited to work for free. Have a “yes” attitude, joyfully working through every obstacle and challenge in your way. So many young people today are entitled and think they are above low-level, hard work. This is a destructive attitude. Starting at the bottom and paying your dues will shape your character, work ethic, and build wisdom that lasts a lifetime.
DG: Great advice! Anything else you’d like to say?
DL: Skubalon Entertainment is accepting open script submissions for low-budget horror feature films at skubalonentertainment.com.
Set a Google Alert for “THE CLEANSING HOUR.” It will be released later this year. I recommend you don’t watch it alone or in the dark.
DG: Thank you Damien!