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An Interview with Brantley J. Brown, Writer of Bag of Tricks

by Mike Haberfelner

October 2020

Brantley J. Brown on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie Bag of Tricks - in a few words, what is it about?


Bag of Tricks is set on Halloween night, when a young couple find themselves in a frightening situation after pulling a seemingly harmless prank on a trick-or-treater in a ghost costume named Timmy.


What were your sources of inspiration when writing Bag of Tricks?


In writing the script for Bag of Tricks, I found great inspiration in the original Halloween and Trick r' Treat.


A few words about Bag of Tricks' approach to horror?


With this film, we took a more suspenseful approach. It's more about what you don't see, much like earlier horror films of the 60s and 70s.


Now how did the project fall together in the first place, and how did you end up producer of the film?


Early on in the early days of Horror House Media, in August of 2018, I wrote the script for Bag of Tricks to be the follow up to our first film Soundbite. Ultimately, due to budgetary constraints, we were unable to tackle the project, though we always planned to come back to it. Fast forward to May 2020, we found ourselves ready to pick a new project for Horror House. It was to be the first we had done since early 2019, so it needed to be something special. Michael Coulombe [Michael Coulombe interview - click here] and I felt that Bag of Tricks should be the one, and we began prepping for a mid-June shoot. I ended up co-producing this film because I was very protective of this story. It had always been one of my favorite scripts, and I wanted to be more hands-on to make sure that my vision made it to the screen.


What were the main challenges of bringing Bag of Tricks to the screen from a producer's point of view?


Overall, I found the production to be rather smooth. However, if I had to mention a challenge, I suppose making it seem like Halloween in the middle of summer would fall into that category. Especially hunting down candy corn, which is an element in the story.


Do talk about Bag of Tricks' director Michael Coulombe [Michael Coulombe interview - click here], and what was your collaboration like?


Michael is an amazing director with great vision. He is very collaborative, open to ideas. Most importantly for me, he appreciates what is in a script, and he makes sure to work very closely with me, the writer. If changes are necessary, I am heavily involved.


This isn't your first collaboration with Michael Coulombe - so do talk about your previous movies together - and how did the two of you first meet even?


Michael and I have now worked on five short films. Soundbite, Stalk, Love Me Not, and Bag of Tricks have all been produced for Horror House Media by Ray Mcann jr. Ezili was produced by Richardson Chery.


What can you tell us about Bag of Tricks' cast, and as a producer, to what extent were you involved in the casting process?


The cast was amazing! Jenna Nolen was captivating in the role of Tiffany, and Frank Smith [Frank Bernard Smith jr III interview - click here] was equally as mesmerizing as her boyfriend Ryan. Calisto Thompson was delightfully creepy as Timmy the Ghost. They were such a pleasure to work with. Calisto Thompson had been chosen to play Timmy two years prior, when we were first in discussions to do Bag of Tricks, so we already knew he would play the part, now. Jenna Nolen and Frank Smith were brought into the film by both Michael Coulombe and Ray Mcann jr. I was shown headshots and examples of work, and gave my input.


A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


There was so much laughter! The scarier the action was on the screen, the funnier it was on set. While we all were having a good time, we also were very serious about our work. We worked long hours, late into the night, but we never let our spirits drop. It was really an amazing group of people helping to bring this film to life.


The $64-question of course, where can Bag of Tricks be seen?


Currently, Bag of Tricks is streaming on Horror House Media's YouTube channel. It is also part of a feature length anthology that will be premiering soon on Tubi.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


We are in the early stages of preproduction on the next Horror House Media film, entitled Homebound. It is actually a prequel to our film Stalk.


What got you into screenwriting in the first place, and did you recieve any formal education on the subject?


Honestly, a love for the horror genre played a big part in my desire to start writing, but if I have to specific, it was watching Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers that really sealed the deal. It was my first horror movie in a theater, and after watching it, I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to make movies. More specifically, I wanted to write them. I didn't have a formal education on screenwriting. I was self taught. I found as many scripts on the internet as I could, and I studied them. I began writing fan fiction, refining my format with every script. When I was 13, I wrote my first full length, 90 page script (a sequel to Halloween 6), and by the time I was 14, I had written my own original script.


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Bag of Tricks?


Prior to Bag of Tricks, I have written four other short films that have been produced. I have also worked in the art department of a feature film entitled Dark. I have also done poster art for several short films.


How would you describe yourself as a writer, and do you have any writing routines?


I like to think that I'm very in tune with my imagination. No idea to me is too ridiculous to explore. I also am very fast. Once an idea takes hold, I can't stop writing until I get it out. It's like exercising a demon, I suppose. As for routines, I like to pour me a cup of coffee, or wine (depending on time of day), and play scary music while I write.


Writers, screenwriters, filmmakers, whoever else who inspire you?


Stephen King, Dean Koontz, John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Victor Miller, Don Mancini, Tobe Hooper, Steven Spielberg, Kevin Williamson... just to name a few. There are so many filmmakers who inspire me, and it would be impossible to name them all.


Your favourite movies ... and of course, films you really deplore?


My two absolute favorite movies are (drumroll, please) Halloween and The Wizard of Oz. They are on two completely opposite ends of the spectrum, but I love them equally. In choosing a film that I highly dislike, that honor is shared by both the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street and the remake of Poltergeist.


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Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


Well... I am currently in the middle of the feature length adaptation of Bag of Tricks for Horror House Media's first foray into full length territory!


Thanks for the interview!


Thank you! It was my pleasure!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD