Your new movie The Interview
- in a few words, what is it about?
is about a convicted killer released after 20 years when DNA
evidence sets him free. Living the
life of a recluse, he finally comes out of hiding to give an interview to a
What were your sources of inspiration for writing The
inspiration was the Stephen Avery case and the Making a Murderer
series. I was very compelled by
that and I wanted to film something. It
had been over a year since I was behind the camera and I was itching to film.
So, a short film was in order and to play with the idea of a killer
that may or may not be guilty sounded fun.
Of the three main characters in The
Interview, who can you identify with the most, actually?
think Katy, the journalist. By
nature, I want to do well and step out of my comfort zone to progress.
I think that when you write something, parts of you are in every
character you create, but I think that Katy has the most characteristics
that I have.
The action of The
Interview takes place mostly in one room - so how difficult was it
to keep things interesting from a director's point of view?
easy to lose an audience if youíre asking them to sit there and watch
two people talk in a room without any immediate action.
I was hoping that the story and the writing were good enough to
keep them watching and I used some editing, switching from different shot
to shot to mix it up and keep it fresh.
From a directorís point of view, it comes down to maintaining the
characters and keeping it believable. Thankfully,
the cast was very good and were very easy to lead.
Do talk about your overall directorial approach to your story at
I write and direct, I was able to start my direction well before the
camera rolled. I wrote the
stories of each character, their motivations, their insecurities and so
on, to help the actors get into the heads of who they are.
When they came to the shooting location, I had them act it out
prior to us rolling camera and began tweaking the scene, although, they
did come up with some things that were their own.
Jamie Engledow is a good example.
She played the role in a much more seductive way than I first
imagined it and I allowed her to play a little in the way that she saw it.
I feel that Iím still growing as a director. Iíve always
considered myself a writer first and Iím still developing my other
skills, but my directorial approach is making sure that the point is
getting across in the way that I think is most effective.
I watch it play out and if there is something that I feel isnít
pushing the story forward or not being said in the best way, Iíll step
What can you tell us about your cast, and why
exactly these people?
Northup plays Jake Martin, the recently released killer.
Brent and I have worked together on a lot of projects and have been
friends since 2009. Brent is a
great actor, a film producer and a teacher at a high school that even
teaches a film class. The idea
of shooting a short film happened when Brent and I had a coffee at
Starbucks. Christina Costello
and Jamie Engledow were both introduced to me during the casting of a film
we are doing in the near future called Unearthed.
It was postponed initially, but after seeing their auditions, it
wasnít difficult to choose them. Jamie
has this rocker edge that I thought would play out well in the role.
She brought that edge and more to the role.
Christina is just a sweetheart and she played the role exactly as I
thought she would. Morgan
Ashley, who has a minor role in this, always shines and I was happy that
she worked with me again.
Do talk about the shoot as such,
and the on-set atmosphere!
shoot was great. My crew, Neil
Vermette, Rick Caride and Chris Geoffrion, were awesome and the overall
fun nature of the shoot made it a great experience.
Everyone involved in this project was great and are in this for the
love of the game. They had
this fire in their eyes and put their all into it.
It was all I could ask for as the writer/director.
It was easily one of my best film experiences.
The $64-question of course,
where can your movie be seen?
Iíve also entered it into a few festivals with high hopes and fingers
crossed. Hopefully itíll be
shown at a few of those shows as well.
Anything you can tell us
about audience and critical reception of your movie yet?
the reception has been very good. I
am my own worst critic, of course, and I made some mistakes that I have
beat myself up over, but everything from the viewing public has been very
future projects you'd like to share?
have two films getting released worldwide this year. Sickle, my paranormal
monster movie and Scary Tales: Last Stop, my horror anthology.
Iím also working with John Reign, owner of Reignstorm Productions
and Andrew Bard of NeoPhoenix Studios on the biggest production of my
career to be announced in the near future.
Itís very exciting times.
What got you into
making movies in the first place, and did you receive any formal training
on the subject?
was 12 years old and my parents had one of those clunky VHS-loaded
camcorders. I had watched a
Don Dohler film by the name of Galaxy
Invader and it was very low
budget. I had never seen a
movie that looked like that and I had been writing since the time I could
hold a pen. So, the idea of
making my own low budget production was very appealing to me. I began
shooting short films with my friendsÖ just stupid skits with aliens,
zombies, and every other stupid monster that you can think of. My love of
film was born. My training has
been ďon the jobĒ. I have
brought in film people and Iíve become a sponge as much as I could,
learning the craft and trying to become capable in all categories.
What can you tell us about your filmwork
prior to The Interview?
first feature film, Evil Awakening, was shot in 2001.
My group of friends and I were shooting short films on a weekly
basis, basically, and I was renting horror films from Hollywood Video and
Blockbuster a lot and saw how these no to low budget films were getting
released. I shifted from short
film to feature and we gave it a shot. I followed up with Rise of the
Scarecrows, my most popular title still, in 2003, and got a distribution
deal in 2008. Both films were
ďbackyardĒ films and amateurish, but they got me in the game.
In 2009, I made Family Secret, which is still my sentimental
favorite film. It was a huge
step up from the other two and was my throwback to the seventies with a
whodunit killer and twist after twist.
It still was low budget and I didnít make a perfect production,
but I was very proud of my step forward.
Scary Tales, a horror anthology was next, Lone Gunman, a conspiracy
short, Sickle and Scary Tales: Last Stop was next. I directed
The Cowboy and the Tavern, a comedy/drama, written by Brent Northup and being
released worldwide in the near future. I was fortunate to be involved with
Samurai Cop II: Deadly
Vengeance as well.
entire body of work never strays too far from horror - a genre at all dear
to you, and why (not)?
written dramas, comedies, action films, but you canít make a low budget
action film. A horror film is
affordable and thatís where I am currently, although I have a great love
for the genre. I own a horror
review website (scaredstiffreviews.com) and I gravitate to the dark stuff,
but I feel that I can write just about anything.
There is a silly side to me, a serious side, and the dark side.
Depending on my mood will dictate what I write.
I am a compulsive writer as well.
If I printed out all the screenplays I wrote, I could build a house
with them, and collectively, Iíve written about 60% horror.
I desperately want to make an action film.
I was fortunate to direct a drama: The Cowboy and the Tavern and I find my
horror work (minus my first two titles) were dialogue-driven films that
rely on the story and writing to carry them.
So, directing a drama proved to be more of the same.
How would you describe yourself
as a director?
work in progress. I feel that
I am capable and Iíve gotten a lot better over the years, but I think
that I am still growing and improving.
Your favourite movie?
Angry Men. A great example of
a great script and actors coming together on a project.
This was a test of the writing and acting.
It all takes place in one room and it zooms by at a rapid pace.
Iíve watched it a million times. I
also dig The
Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Children
Shouldn't Play with Dead Things and Die Hard.
and of course, films you really deplore?
am not a fan of found footage, for the most part.
The subgenre has ran its course but filmmakers havenít gotten
the memo and keep on producing these easy films that have very little
thought. Of course, if done
right, they can be great, but very few are done right.
You see a great deal that fill 85 minutes with meaningless
conversation, leading to a shocking ending.
The spoof movies can go too. The
Wayans brothers need to pack it in and move on.
Specifically films I do not like, and there are many, but anything
Rob Zombie, Iíll usually pass. Credit
to him for making a career and you canít argue with success, but I find
his work to be piss poor.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
can go to scaredstiffreviews.com or my
Xposse Productions Facebook page:
I accept all friend requests and appreciate any and all support.
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
really. I really appreciate the interview and positive feedback for my
short film The Interview. I just encourage anyone and everyone to
check out my work, including Evil Awakening and Rise of the Scarecrows
(both on Vimeo), Family Secret, Scary Tales, and to look out for Sickle
and Scary Tales: Last Stop. I
appreciate any and all interest in my work.
for the interview!