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An Interview with Eric Hollerbach, Creator and Star of Damien Shadows PI

by Dale Pierce

September 2012

Eric Hollerbach on (re)Search my Trash

 

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You have recently released a film titled Damien Shadows PI. Tell people about the plot? (It's an indie sitcom pilot)

 

It's about a guy called Damien Shadows. By day, he works in an arcade. By night, he hosts a ghosthunting show that he makes with his friend Adam Lansbury. Now, Damien is really into the occult, and actually believes himself to be a vampire because he "attained the magical right of Vampirism from Witchschool.com."

 

In this pilot, we see that his friend and co-host Adam is out for medical reasons. So Adam's twin brother Sean takes over.

 

What brought about the idea of a mockumentary of the ghost hunting shows?

 

I've been watching ghosthunting shows for a while. When Ghost Hunters first came out I was fasinated with it. This is a show where grown men walk around a house, listening to snippets of audio, capturing blurry images, and concluding that different places were haunted. Haunted in a sort-of impossible-to-measure way. You'd watch them connect dots between completely unconnected impossible-to-measure "experiences" and whip themselves into a psycologial state of self-delusion. This is what I think is interesting, and that's what I wanted to explore.

 

Lately, I'm personally much more agnostic about religion. I don't know. Is there a God? I don't know. But I think asking really spacific questions about evidence vs faith and belief vs delusion is where you can really get people thinking. I'm not really into bashing Christians. Or bashing Buddhists. But I am all about bashing ghosts.

 

Do you just not like these television shows or do you figure it was an idea that had come due?

 

I love Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventurers. It's fun if you look at it as a social experiment. I love to watch those shows and really think about the psychology of the people on the show. They get a little fame. There is a camera in their face. They have to make a fun TV show. Therefore, "Did I just hear something?" morphs quickly into, "I just had an encounter with a ghost."  

It's interesting.

 

What has reaction been to this so far?

 

The reaction has been really good. I was really careful not to make a direct parody of these paranormal investigation shows. I wanted it to be its own thing. So, people have been really responding favorably because the characters are relateable.

 

Your film will be seen at the big Shriekfest festival upcoming. What do you think the reaction will be?

 

I'm really honored that we got into Shriekfest. It's a great oppertunity for people to see it. Hopefully the audience is in a good mood, and they like it.

 

Are you afraid at all of negative reaction, since traditionally Shriekfest tends to lean to more graphic or outright horror?

 

Not at all. I mean, you can only really watch so many eye-gougings and disembowelments in one day. Hopefully Damien Shadows PI offers some light-hearted comedy to the lineup.

 

There are probably a load of others though who have been waiting for ghost hunter shows to be spoofed?

 

I'm sure. It's not really a concept you can copyright. In fact South Park has already made fun of Ghost Hunters in a really hilarious way. That's why I wanted to make it about paranormal investigaters, but not a parody of any one show. Because there are a ton of fun specifics that make Damien Shadows PI different.

 

Do you plan on presenting this at other festivals also?

 

Yeah. I'm still waiting to hear back from about 10 more festivals. Including Sundance. But, we'll see where we get in.

 

Where might people order the DVD?

 

Damien Shadows PI is an independent sitcom pilot. It's only 16 minutes long. So it's not really a DVD type of thing. But to keep posted on what's happening with this project, and other projects I'm working on, go to www.erichollerbach.com.

 

If the reaction is big, do you see a Part 2 in the works?

 

Actually we're currently in production on a Damien Shaodws webseries. This will be on YouTube, Vimeo, and a number of other platforms. That'll definitely be online by December 2012.

 

You act and write both. Do you have a liking for one over the other?

 

I came up at UCB NYC. So I have an improv comedy background. Improv really is both writing and acting. So ... when I'm acting in things I've written, I prefer acting. But if I'm acting someone else's script, I prefer writing. But I enjoy both very much.

 

Did you study filmmaking or acting in a school or pick it up on your own?

 

I majored in Writing and minored in Theater at Eugene Lang College in NYC. But I've been making short films since the 7th grade. Actually in the 7th grade my friend and I would make one comedy short-film per week, and show it to the class. We called it The Eric & Jeff Show. So, way before I did stand-up or improv I learned how to be funny on film first. (When I say "film" I mean an old VHS recorder that my parents bought me.)

 

Any future projects in the works?

 

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I'm currently working on Damien Shadows PI the webseries. After that, my editor and I are going to make a documentary about dating. But my big personal project for 2013 is going to be stand-up comedy.

 

Any interesting behind the scenes stories related to Damien Shadows PI?

 

Damien Shadows works in an arcade, so one day we had to shoot in an arcade. So we shot some things at Nickle Nickle in Whittier. It was really fun walking around the arcade as actual patrons started walking in, when I was dressed in full goth clothing.

 

Anything in general you would like to touch on that we may have missed?

 

I've financed this project myself, working my day job to pay the production costs. I really have this dream to sell Damien Shadows PI and make it happen on television. I really do live for my art. My art just happens to involve filming myself in goth makeup, pleasuring a ghost. To all those dreamers out there, no matter how stupid it will make you look, go for that crazy dream.

 

Closing comments?

 

I want to thank Denise Gossett for letting my little project into Shriekfest. Also, if you like alternative comedy mock-u-mentaries I think you'll like Damien Shadows PI.

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© by Dale Pierce


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