Your new movie Dry Blood
- in a few words, what is it about?
is at its heart a ghost story. Brian Barnes is tormented by
horrific hallucinations that might simply be a symptom of his withdrawal, or
they might be the supernatural result of something far more sinister. It
doesn't help that his attempts to get clean are being impeded by an overly
friendly local cop. A mountain Sheriff who has taken way too much interest in
How did the project come into being in the first place?
Clint [Clint Carney interview -
click here] told me he had a story he had been working on and when I read the script
my first reaction was "holy shit! We have to make this!" I knew we
had something really original and smart, the passion we both had for the
project drove us to get it made. We went from screenplay to finished edit in
less than a year. In indie film terms that's extremely rare. Especially for a
film with this level of production value.
What can you tell us about your writer, lead actor and executive
producer Clint Carney [Clint Carney
interview - click here], and what was your collaboration with him like? And
how did you two first meet even?
Clint is a surrealist
painter, musician and one helluva damn good screenwriter. We met in an
informal writing group where members read each other's screenplays and
give unbiased feedback. I read his screenplay for The Violent and knew
this was someone I wanted to work with. We have worked together on many
projects since then and have developed a back and forth working style that
centers around the question "how can we make this even better?"
Do talk about your
movie's approach to horror for a bit!
We also wanted to
make a film that we connected with in the same way we did with the
brilliantly crafted horror films of the seventies and early eighties.
Those films built a mood and a sense of dread that relied heavily on the
intellect and personal beliefs of audience to create the desired emotional
response. We did not want to rely on jump scares, shaky cameras, and VFX
to do the work for us. We wanted to create a sense of unease and
foreboding that stayed with the audience long after they left the theatre.
What can you tell
us about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?
was also important to us to anchor the film in a sense of plausibility and
realism, no matter how out of whack things became for our main character.
As a director, it was important to me that these characters feel like real
people. We worked to avoid obvious stereotypes and dig deep into the
unspoken dialogue to deliver honest believable performances. Most of our
rehearsals were spent talking about who these people were before the movie
also play one of the leads in Dry
Blood, the creepy cop - now what did you draw upon to bring him to
life, how much of Kelton Jones can we find in the character ... and how
much fun was it to play him actually?
I never tried to be
creepy as the cop. Cops are trained to throw suspects off balance in order
to maintain control of the situation. It's a lot like directing actually.
Leading up to production, I did a lot of research into procedure and
techniques as well as reading books written by former police officers to
get a sense of their inner voice. When I was shooting my scenes I also
worked closely with the retired sheriff deputy who was our on set
technical advisor. He was a tremendous help in making sure I was giving an
acurate portrayal. I knew if I could get him to crack a smile, I had done
a good job of intimidating Brian. I think it also helped that my great
grandfather was the Sheriff of Amarillo, TX back in the old west. My
grandfather was a motorcycle cop that became the chief of police in Sante
Fe, NM. I guess I have a genetic predisposition toward being a cowboy cop.
What can you tell
us about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?
and I talked at great length about every aspect of the lead character. It
became apparent that he understood this character in a way that went
beyond the extreme depth that a screenwriter would normally have. I had
worked with him before on music videos and knew he was quite capable as an
actor. When we started talking about casting, it seemed very natural to
have him play the role. He had not written the role for himself but he
played it beautifully.
Jaymie Valentine was in the Day Dream From
A Deathbed music video I shot for Clint's band System Syn. Jaymie has a
natural strength and vulnerability combined with a striking ethereal
beauty that I knew would be a great fit for the role of Anna. I had seen
her and Clint act together and they had amazing chemistry in front of the
lens. We talked a lot about who ideal cast would be and we always came
back to Jaymie as our first choice.
Clint had suggested Rob
Galluzzo for the clerk and when I heard him deliver his lines I knew he
was the absolute best choice for the role. Rob is hilarious, he is also
completely natural and at ease in front of the lens. His understated
performance gives a nice comedic breath to what is otherwise a very
Graham Ehlers Sheldon was our cinematographer and
his wife Ren Ehlers Sheldon was our stunt coordinator. I knew that as well
as being producers they both had a great deal of experience as actors. I
loved the connection they had with each other when they worked together
and I knew that energy would work well to create the sense of alienation
for Clint's character Brian.
Macy Johnson was recommended to me by
a director friend. When we met her she told me she was a huge fan of
horror films. She said her favorite film was Hellraiser and I knew she was
a perfect fit for our film. She was amazing to work with, a total pro.
Kelton with Clint Carney
Blood looks as if it has been filmed right in the middle of Nowhere, USA
- so what can you tell us about your locations, and what were the
challenges filming there?
We filmed most of the film in the
mountains north of San Bernadino near Big Bear Lake. The mountain roads
get very foggy and it was important to us that our crew was not driving in
unsafe conditions. Our solution was to rent a four story vacation house in
Lake Arrowhead so that the crew would not have to commute back to LA. This
helped a lot with making sure everyone got enough rest; everyone but
Clint, Clint never sleeps.
What can you tell us about the
shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
In a lot of ways
it felt a working vacation, not that it was easy, but that we were in a
beautiful environment with people we loved, making a story that we really
believed in. In thirty years of working on feature films, this was by far
the most fun set I've ever been on. It helped that we had great food and
found a great local coffee roaster. We went through a lot of coffee on
$64-question of course, when and where will the film be released onto the
That's a great question. We have submitted
it to several horror festivals so the horror fans will definitely get
first crack at it. We plan to do a theatrical release soon afterwards. We
have a website and a Facebook page that we will keep updated with showtimes and locations as they become available to us.
Anything you can tell us about audience
and critical reception of your movie yet?
We did a sneak
preview at this years Monsterpalooza that was very well received. I'm
really looking forward to hearing the response from the rest of the horror
projects you'd like to share?
Our next film "The
Violent" is a twisted drama set in the world of the punks and skins
culture of the mid nineties. It's going to be really fucking intense.
Over the years, you've
worked on movies in various positions, both in front of and behind the
camera - so what do you enjoy the most, what could you do without?
is my first love, the process of discovery is intoxicating. There is an
incredible mix of curiosity and reasoning that goes into finding the heart
and soul of a story. It's a bit like being an archeologist deciphering and
ancient and magical scroll. Acting is very appealing for the same reason.
My least favorite position to do is sound, but only because I'm a
perfectionist. When I do sound I obsess over the slightest nuances.
got you into the filmworld to begin with, and did you receive any formal
training on the subject?
I was cast in a western feature
film when I was sixteen. We shot in an old western town in Texas. While on
set I was watching the cameraman flying above my head on tulip crane and
thought that was the coolest fucking thing I'd ever seen. After I finished
with my scene, I asked if I could join the crew, I've been making movies
ever since then.
What can you tell us about your
filmwork prior to Dry
Blood, in whatever position?
I worked on the
lighting crew for many years so that could learn from as many great DPs
and directors as possible. By the time I was DPing I knew the exact
capabilities of every light on the truck and how to use them to create
whatever feeling I wanted to convey. I've also worked in just about every
department at one time or another; sound, make-up, visual effects, art
department, set stills, screenwriting, editing, producing, acting. I feel
like having experience in those other departments helps me recognize and
appreciate talent and create the collaborations essential to being a good
How would you
describe yourself as a director?
I would like to think I
have a good mix of preplanning and intuition. I spend a lot of time
digging into the subtext of a scene and planning out how to light it and
shoot it and how it fits into the larger flow but I still give the actors
room to explore. I'm very careful about avoiding over-shooting a scene and
lean toward a more minimalist approach. If I have to choose between a
connected, believable performance and a lot of coverage, I'll choose
performance every time. If an actor missed their mark, but makes me feel
something powerful, that's the take that's going to be in the edit.
Filmmakers who inspire
All of them. Seriously, filmmaking is hard. It takes a
lot of guts and perseverance to get a movie made. Anyone who has made a
film to completion has overcome not only the odds but their own self-doubts.
Your favourite movies?
I watch a lot of movies. It would be impossible for me to pick a
favorite. Though I do most enjoy films that I can't guess where they are
going next. One of the downsides to being such a huge film buff is that
you usually have the ending of the film figured out halfway though the
second act. Films that defy expectation and surprise me are really
... and of course, films you really deplore?
I detest lazy filmmaking. Every chance you are given a camera is the
chance to do something great with it. Something important. It's very
frustrating to see someone who has access to great actors and resources
not push themselves as artist. Usually this is a result of rushing a
script into production or trying to pander to an audience.
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten
Why did we make the film?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
I spent much of my developmental years in movie theaters. Movies go
such much further than just entertainment for me. They helped shape my
world view, how I react to other people, my sense of empathy and place in
the world. I have gained so much from movies that has helped me become who
I am. I feel an obligation to the filmmakers before me to keep that
tradition of story telling alive. To inspire viewers to question their own
perceptions of reality. We set out to make a film that lives up to the
standards of our favorite movies. My sincerest hope is that Dry
make into the viewers' list of favorite films as well.
Thanks for the interview!
Thank you for the opportunity, and thank you for supporting independent