Your upcoming movie Haddie - in a few words, what is it going to be
Haddie is a
character-driven horror story about a couple who has to doubt what they knew
to be real. It's also about lies and deceit at the hands of a loved one.
According to my information, Haddie is based on a novella
of yours, Aunt Haddie. So what prompted you to bring exactly this
story to the screen?
The chance to do a good, old-fashioned
horror story was just too cool to pass up.
What were your inspirations when
writing Aunt Haddie to begin with, and how faithfully will the film
follow the book?
started writing Aunt Haddie with the thought of "What happens when a
couple, arguing as couples sometimes do, travel to the deep woods?"
Then, "What happens when things get scary?" The
basic story of the movie is from the book. You always have to add or
take away when adapting from one to the other. Adding characters to
fill out what, in the book, might have just been in a character's head,
etc. It's a fun process.
What can you tell us about the intended
look and feel of your movie?
of the story takes place at night, so it will have a cold, blue,
"steel" look. The intent is to not do a slasher movie,
but to concentrate on the nightmare that the characters are going through.
I particularly liked the movies The Strangers and Rob Zombie's Halloween
II, so the feel of
some of the shots in those movies I plan to ste... borrow.
You of course have to talk
about Haddie's monsters for a bit!
creatures will be amazing! Facade FX, an award-winning SFX company,
is part of our team and I've already seen some of Phil's designs.
He read the script, took information on what we were looking for and went
from there. They blew us away! In addition, we're currently
talking to a couple of different VFX artists to add to the team.
I think one of
the key aspects of Haddie is its location - anything you can tell
us on that front yet?
is very important. My partner in all things Haddie, Wain Bradley (www.BradleyMediaLLC.com), has worked really hard to find the perfect
locations. We will be taking advantage of the beauty (and
creepiness) of the Ozark Mountains. He's located some very cool
"cabin-in-the-woods" type houses, and the owners are very
obliging and interested in what we're doing.
What can you tell us about your
intended key cast, and why exactly these people?
time around, we held our casting call online, asking those interested to
send a demo. We chose several, then sent them sides to perform an
audition. We selected the strongest and sent them the script,
letting them know which roles we wanted them for. Each of our cast
members have worked, and are working, on several projects (one in the
upcoming Transformers movie) and it floored us when we saw them in
character. It was really hard narrowing down the actors we wanted
because there are so many great ones out there! If you want to check
out the cast of Haddie, visit our Facebook page
speak, Haddie's still in pre-production, right? So what can you
tell us about your schedule, and any idea when and where the film might be
released (and I know it's waaay too early to ask)?
Donovan Rodriques (www.RodriquesLaw.com) is working hard for us so we can
keep our fall 2013 schedule to begin production. Release date, I'm
not sure yet. That will depend on who picks Haddie up for
distribution and what they're schedule is. I can tell you this:
Expect to see Haddie on the big screen next year.
far as I know, you're toying with the thought of extending Haddie
into a franchise - so what can you tell us about these plans?
the beginning, Wain has wanted to create a sequel, so the scripting for
that is already underway. We've received some interest on a possible
Haddie franchise, so now we're coming up with ideas for a third
installment and will soon start looking for an additional writer to help
with the task. When we first started talking to people in the
industry about Haddie, it became very clear that there was interest in the
possibility of sequels, so we went with it.
(other) future projects you'd like to talk about?
am in option negotiations now for a 1970's comedy/horror that I want to
remake. I can't mention it by name, since negotiations are still
going on, but I can say that my version will focus a little less on the
comedy, a little more on the horror. And
got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal
training on the subject?
formal scriptwriting training. I've written short stories most of my
life, and earned a degree for creative writing, but I picked up basic
formatting, etc for screenplays from books and online.
You of course have to talk
about your first movie, The Devil Lives in Hot Springs, for a bit,
and lessons learned from it?
The Devil Lives in Hot Springs, the story of three sets of (disturbed)
neighbors who meet over the course of one night, was a work of passion.
It started when a friend of mine, Tony Gschwend, suggested we make a
movie from one of my stories, Oct. 21. Having never made a movie,
it was intended to be a YouTube video, and one thing led to another
until we had a feature. Almost. We learned then that for
film festivals, your film better either be a "full length"
feature, or it better be really short. And also, for festivals, it
probably shouldn't be too controversial.
The Devil Lives in Hot Springs was shot on a borrowed SD
camera, on the weekends, with (mostly) our friends for actors.
Colleen, who plays Laura, the only true "victim" in that
movie, was a friend of a friend who happened to be in town for a summer.
I could give details about what we should have done and should NOT have
done, but it would take up a whole page... Two interesting things
about that movie:
1) One of the kidnappers is Tony's cousin
who got so tired of hearing us complain about not being able to locate
our final actor that he agreed to do it - and was awesome.
Colleen took a trip during that summer and came back with a substantial
haircut. The problem was, we weren't finished shooting and the
story takes place over the course of one night. We had to quickly
write it into the script, but, it turned out to be one of the funnier
scenes in the movie.
Also, the title was originally Oct. 21.
It was changed to it's current title after over-hearing a young woman at
a bar state that she "didn't go to Hot Springs because she heard
that the Devil lived in Hot Springs."
The one big thing learned from this
project: Do a shot list next time!
A few words about Tuckerman?
Tuckerman, about a man who learns of
his first love's alleged suicide and returns to his hometown to
investigate, was made by some great people. We had no budget but a
lot of desire and took about a year, shooting and editing when we could.
Everyone had full-time jobs and there were a number of cast and crew
involved, so that's a lot of jobs to work around. Once complete,
we probably got in too much of a hurry to sign with a distributor with
no real track record. They did take it to a couple of the film
markets, but couldn't find interest in it since we didn't have
"name" actors, and pretty much set it on the shelf.
We're now waiting on our agreement to end and the rights to revert back
to us. We'll decide then what we want to do with it.
note on Tuckerman: It's a thriller, yet we ended up with three
comedians in our cast: Angry Patrick Beam, Michael "Doc"
Davis, and Chucky D. Not one joke cracked on-camera, but plenty
The one big thing learned from this
project: Do a storyboard next time!
also a writer, and as I understand it, not only Haddie but all of
your films are based on novellas of yours - so do talk about Jett West the
writer for a bit?
I love to write. The great
thing about making movies is the collaboration with everyone involved, but
the great thing about writing stories (when you self-publish anyway) is
that there is no collaboration except between writer and reader. I
love the act of sitting down and creating a story from a blank piece of
paper (or blank computer screen). My favorite way to write is to
start with an idea, or a character, and start writing and see where it
takes me. Then, I re-write a couple of times from the first draft.
Jett was a nickname and, several years ago, I started writing what I call
Streaming Fiction because I wrote in a forum with no actual storyline - I
just started writing, and readers would offer suggestions, so the story
would continue with their input - "Jett" was my screen name in
that forum. Once I decided to self-publish, I felt I needed a
"catchy" name for the book jacket, so I took my nickname,
shortened my last name, and stuck them together. And, as anyone who
writes under a pen name can tell you, there is a bit of a
split-personality that goes with that too. The book writing has
slowed due to the amount of time required to produce/direct films, but
there is a novel in the works titled The Gathering about the local band
scene, cannibals... and Lynyrd Synyrd, as well as another collection of
Your films and stories all seem to be
of the horror variety in one way or another - a genre especially dear to
you, and why (not)?
I dig horror. As a child, I
loved the Universal Monster
films, the Hammer films, the horror
at the drive-in, everything. I'm a fan of detective novels, but my
real love in books, too, is horror. I enjoyed Poe from a young
age, then early Stephen King, then Dean R. Koontz (back when he used the
"R."). I write drama and sci-fi on occasion as well, but
mostly it's thriller/horror.
How would you describe yourself as a director?
Learning. I've only got the two
projects in the can, but I've learned a lot from both of them. I'm
not a stickler for getting the dialog exactly as I've written it, as
long as the important points are hit, the emotions are there to carry
the scene through and everything looks and sounds believable. I
like to work with the actors to make sure they understand what's going
on, the frame of mind of the characters, etc. I'm also
spur-of-the-moment on certain things. An example: If we're
shooting a night scene where the script calls for it to be a warm
summer's night with a slight breeze, but as soon as we get all the cast,
crew and equipment there, it starts raining - the script will then be
re-written for a stormy summer's night. Whatever you have to do to
make it work is what you do.
Filmmakers, writers, whatever else who inspire you?
the authors mentioned earlier, I love reading David Morrell and Mario
Puzo. Someone else who shares my love of the genre and is a great
writer, is Kat Yares. S.E. Hinton is also another favorite.
Film makers, I'd have to say Robert
Rodriguez, Craig Brewer, Charles B. Pierce, Roger Corman [Roger
Corman bio - click here], Rob Zombie, and
every person who, independently, takes on the task of making a movie with
no budget and a lot of heart.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
give a short list: The Crow (the first one), Jeepers Creepers (the
first one), Grease, The Outsiders, The Godfather, Eddie & The
Cruisers, Hustle & Flow, Black Snake Moan, 8
... and of course, films you really
The Crow (any
after the first one), Glitter.
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
Anything else you are dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
hoping to convince Kelly Griffin to join our team as a writer for the
upcoming Haddie sequels, and Wain and I are already discussing creating
the movie version of Sage, the fourth and final story in QUAD.
It's a drama about a stripper and her brother with Sudden On-Set Rage
Thanks for the interview!