Your new movie The
Ghost Club: Spirits Never Die - in a few words, what is it about?
It's a loving but
tongue-in-cheek look at ghosthunting shows and the sport. It is not
found-footage and shows people what they always wanted to see happen in
you ever been part of an actual ghost hunt, and how much research went
into that part of your story?
I interviewed many ghosthunters and organizations and did a great deal of research.
We built a participatory platform and Ghost Club University. I also
did a number of actual hunts in famous places that were posted to Theatrics.com. Most ghosthunting groups are very small and exclusive so
we tried to open that up to a larger community.
(Other) sources of
inspiration when writing The
Ghost Club: Spirits Never Die?
Houdini and Sir
Arthur Conan Doyle, the original skeptic-and-believer ghosthunting duo. Poltergeist,
The Shining, Ghost Hunters and all the cable shows, Scooby
Doo, and most importantly, Jay and Mark Duplass and the mumblecore
movement of mixing improv with scripting.
What can you tell
us about your co-writer Jason Nunes [Jason
Nunes interview - click here], and what was your collaboration like?
and I passed the screenplay back and forth and tried to push
the envelope of an artistic ghosthunting script. Appreciative of the
genre, but also trying to do something different than the muddy-looking,
grim, found-footage genre. Some of William's dialogue is very
experimental. We also were thinking about a transmedia property that would
work in other media. Jason and I both have done many digital media content
experiments online so we looked at how this story would expand a mythology
two main characters, the sceptic Jimmy and the overly enthusiastic Tab -
who do you identify with more, and maybe related to that, do you actually
believe in ghosts?
I'm more of the skeptic, but
open-minded. I have heard many chilling first person stories so I think
there is something going on. Jason and I have tried to evolve a
quantum model that will explain real ghosts—that will be in
Do talk about your directorial
approach to your story at hand?
Enisha Brewster, Jason Mac
My first goal was achieving
authentic performances. We cast for months and improvised a great deal
with the actors. William Forsythe came in 3 days early just to do his
homework and rehearse. Second was to create a camera-style like the
TV shows that slowly evolved into a more filmic style. The look evolved
from standard Panasonic HD P2 news cameras to a top end SLR with rented
fast lenses. However we also had a set of "rules" including that
the camera always followed the characters. Third, we tried to create a
subtle suspense like the TV shows, that we continually topped with each
new ghost event. It is sort of a "what if" applied to the ghosthunting show genre.
What can you tell us
about your cast, and why exactly these people?
Well of course, William
Forsythe, is a great actor, from Raising Arizona to the Rob Zombie films.
He is well-known in the horror community but also does wonderful work on
shows like Boardwalk Empire.
He helped ground
the story and make the early exposition fun—and you have to watch for
his twist at the end. The rest were unknowns from Atlanta when we
shot it, but have all gone on to key roles in TV and movies. Enisha
Brewster starred in the Halo: Forward Until Dawn movie and Jason
Mac has been guest starring on many TV shows. Jeph Cange was a regular on Army
As far as
I know, The
Ghost Club: Spirits Never Die was filmed in an "actual"
haunted house - so do talk about your location for a bit, and how did you
find it in the first place? And any creepy anecdotes?
related my haunted house stories to the real Ghost Hunters, who featured
them in an episode about Rhodes Hall, our location. There were some
suspicious locking of doors and one take interrupted by loud footsteps on
the fourth floor. There was no one there.
Clark Sarullo, Jason Nunes, William Forsythe
can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
was a fantastic crew who worked happily and well together. It was
hard because we shot all nights but we were very lucky in getting so much
accomplished in 10 days.
Ghost Club: Spirits Never Die is supposed to be more than a movie
but rather a transmedia experience - care to elaborate?
was conceived as a transmedia storytelling experience that would
allow people to engage the story in many ways. Some people created ghosthunting personas on Theatrics.com
and did their own ghosthunts. Others
played the iPhone and Android augmented reality games we created. A web
series started appearing a year before the movie was released and featured
The Ghost Club Girls, and featured origin stories about the team.
few words about audience and critical reception of The
Ghost Club: Spirits Never Die?
We have had a very
good, but mixed reception to The
Ghost Club: Spirits Never Die. The
reviewers have mostly got it and had fun watching it but it
has not fit exactly into genre expectations. We applied to the top
festivals and most were not enthused about the horror genre, while horror
festivals found it a little cheeky and unusual. I have had a great
deal of previous success with indie art films, so this was more of a
challenge to find an audience. Now that we are on digital platforms, it is
finding an audience that is looking for spooky, fun entertainment and
happy to take the ride.
Will there ever
be more Ghost Club movies ... and other future projects you'd like
to talk about?
This was conceived as a
franchise so we'll see if any companies have a transmedia vision. I would like to
explore the characters more.
My next project is about Fairy Tales
2.0— reconceptualizing a modern take on emerging stories. There
are are also a few movie projects in various stages of development.
What got you into filmmaking in the first
place, and did you receive any formal education on the subject?
went to NYU Film School and started from there. I started directing for
The Great Space Coaster but then moved into AD work, then UPM, and finally
producing many movies including In the Soup.
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to The
Ghost Club: Spirits Never Die?
I have produced many indie
movies out of the New York film scene that were released theatrically, on
TV, DVD, and many big festivals. I worked as director of production for
Arrow Entertainment, and director of post-production for IFC Films. I have
a number of scripts in various stages of development.
How would you
describe yourself as a director?
I try to push the envelope,
defeat expectations, and be true to a vision. However, I hate
pretentiousness and think big ideas can be contained in an entertaining
Filmmakers who inspire
This movie was inspired by the work of Mark and Jay
Duplass. Just go out and do it, and make it real and fun. Also Spike Lee,
who I worked for, who has surmounted many obstacles to make his movies.
Beyond that, of course, Scorsese, who also attended NYU Film. Alex
Rockwell, who I did two movies with, was also an inspiration to get
website, Facebook, whatever else?
The Ghost Club Girls: A
web “reality” series, which introduces viewers to The
Ghost Club team and their investigations. Watch the first episode here:
Ghost Club University: Do your own ghost hunting:
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Social networking, which includes Facebook and Twitter pages
Ghost Club, as well as for a couple individual characters from
Ghost Club Facebook page here:
Android Ghost Hunting App: Free augmented reality app so you
can “find” ghosts at your current location and create photo
evidence. A demo of the app can be viewed at:
Ghost Club website: http://www.ghostclubusa.com/home.php
The Skeptics Diary,
Ghost Club comics following its leader
Anything else you're
dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
really want people to enjoy the movie but then go out and do your own
ghosthunting. This is about creating new ways to have fun and peak
experiences with your friends.
for the interview!