You have recently directed the episode Selenophobia of the webseries In
Fear of - in a few words, what is it about?
Selenophobia is a dramatic
tale about a cursed woman’s decision to be executed, before transforming
into a werewolf on the night of her first full moon.
were your inspirations when writing Selenophobia, and
how can you relate to this phobia on a personal level? And what are you,
personally, afraid of?
I’ve wanted to tell this story for
a while. I’ve mostly done comedies, but never had an opportunity to
demonstrate something dark and serious until now. The inspiration comes
from 30-plus years of being a horror enthusiast, as well as having an
appreciation for the classic monster movies of the 1930s and 40s. I was
going for that old school style. I also wanted to do a project that
would welcome the audience’s imagination.
I personally don’t have a fear of
the moon, but I do fear mother nature - catastrophic storms, tornados,
tsunamis, earthquakes. Unstable people with weapons scare me, as well.
I'm probably not the first one
who sees traces of the werewolf genre in Selenophobia - a genre at
all dear to you, and why (not)?
love the werewolf genre as much as I love the zombie and vampire genre.
Ten years ago I decided to make a werewolf film, because vampires were
overused and “the children of the night” were being neglected. That
film never got made, but when I wrote Selenophobia, it was my
chance to fulfill that desire. Although I’m not quite finished with
werewolves yet; there’s another story I’d like to tell.
How would you describe your directorial
effort to your story at hand?
is something I’ve practiced and studied since I was 12-years-old, using
my uncle Matt’s camcorder. I had some professional experience in the
late 1990s, but nowadays, when all we need is a DSLR and a computer, the
filmmaking world became a friendlier place for me. Especially after
viewing some of Scott Perry’s films, I realized, “ooh, I can do this
properly now!” [Scott W. Perry
interview - click here] But, aside from the technical aspect, my direction on Selenophobia began with locations and storyboards. I illustrated all
of my visions on paper, scanned them and edited them as a simulated movie
in advance. With the simulation, I composed the soundtrack and knew
exactly what the final film would be.
can you tell us about your cast, and what made them perfect for their
Louisa Ward, Mike Lane
Mike Lane auditioned for me in 2002.
He got the part, and then I didn’t see him again until 7 years later,
when I watched Scott Perry’s vampire film, Insatiable. So,
thanks to Scott, I reunited with Mike, who later starred in my zombie
comedy, Dead Drunk - a webseries he and I continue to make. So,
Mike to me is what Depp is to Burton; I’ll always include him in my
projects. He’s a very talented actor and a good friend.
Louisa Ward was one of two
recommendations that I initially received from Jeremiah Kipp [Jeremiah
Kipp interview - click here] and
Dominick Sivilli. I viewed their demos, both were excellent, but Louisa
blew me away. I was confident that she could give me the performance I
needed. She did.
You just have to talk about the actual shoot and
the on-set atmosphere for a bit!
enjoy having a loose atmosphere on-set. Everybody was professional,
cooperative, collaborative and we had fun. It was a fantastic 15-hour
shoot. Having pre-designed the production, the schedule, etc. I was able
to guide everybody through the day without any issues. I woke up at 4am,
picked up the cinematographer (Steven-Mark Glassner [Steven-Mark
Glassner interview - click here]), and then dropped him
off in the woods to shoot 2nd unit footage. While he was doing that, I
collected the cast and crew from the house location and brought them back
to the woods. We used the 6am lighting to achieve the nighttime scenes in
the forest. From there, we returned to the house and completed all of
Louisa’s scenes by 3pm. The remainder of the day was with Mike, which
included a 3-hour lull, where we had to wait for sunset to complete
another sequence. During that lull, we had a little film festival in the
living room; Scott screened the other five In
Fear of-episodes for
left to right: Morgan O'Connell, assistant
director; Mike Polizzi, director; Steven-Mark Glassner, cinematographer;
Jay Priole, production assistant; Scott W. Perry, series creator
How did you get
involved with the project in the first place, and what can you tell us
about the series' mastermind/co-producer Scott W. Perry [Scott
W. Perry interview - click here]? And what was your
Scott and I met in a video production
class in 1993, during high school. We collaborated on several projects,
and then went on separate paths after we graduated. But, thanks to the
benefits of social networking, he found me in 2009 and impressed me with
everything he was doing (Insatiable, Something Just). He
also introduced me to great people like Jeremiah Kipp [Jeremiah
Kipp interview - click here], Dominick Sivilli,
Michael Gingold, Alan Rowe Kelly [Alan
Rowe Kelly inerview - click here], Bart Mastronardi, David Marancik - all
talented people, who’ve inspired me to get behind the camera again.
Scott knew that I had the filmmaking
bug, and when he mentioned his idea for a web series based on phobias, I
told him about my story for Selenophobia.
Working on In
Fear of, how much freedom were you actually given
concerning story, look and feel of your movie?
Story, look and feel was all me as
far as design goes. I collaborated with Steven-Mark Glassner [Steven-Mark
Glassner interview - click here] (cinematographer) on achieving the appearance and mood. He did an
amazing job and was great to work with. Scott recommended him, after his
work on Jeremiah’s Apehephobia episode.
Scott was on-set the entire time, but
he let me do my thing. It’s his series, he edited Selenophobia,
and I financed the episode as executive producer. Having Scott around in
that environment was nostalgic.
also composed the score for your own and a few of the other episodes of In
Fear of - so what can you tell us about your scores, about
scoring other people's films as opposed to your own, and about Mike
Polizzi the musician to begin with?
I fell in love with film scores when
I was a kid. Growing up in the early 1980s gave me the privilege to
enjoy some of John Williams’ outstanding music first hand. Later on, I
was influenced by the music of Danny Elfman, and then eventually Bernard
Herrmann, after seeing Psycho for the first time.
Scott always knew my passion for
soundtracks, and then after he listened to some of my original
compositions, he noticed the Elfman influence and asked me to score Monophobia. It was the first score I composed for someone else’s
film and it was a very rewarding experience for me. I probably composed
too much music for it, but it gave Scott options. He also asked me to do
the series’ theme, which I came up with while scoring Monophobia. With
Achluophobia, Scott wanted something
atmospheric. He was initially just going to use the rainfall and thunder
sounds, but I proposed an ominous track that met his approval.
I really enjoy scoring films. When I
made Dead Drunk in May, it was my opportunity to demonstrate my
music, in addition to my filmmaking skills.
you tell us about audience and critical reception of the series and your
episode in particular so far?
The series received a tremendous
amount of interest, support and praise. In mid-October, we had an event
arranged by Jeremiah and Scott, which screened all 6 episodes to a live
audience and the reactions were very flattering. We anticipated a huge
Halloween release on YouTube, but instead suffered the catastrophe of
Sandy - a perfect example of why I fear mother nature, by the way.
I received great compliments on Selenophobia. Scott and Jeremiah were very impressed; our friends
and colleagues really enjoyed it. Some articles had great things to say
about it. One or two blogs mentioned that it might have been too slow;
nevertheless, in only 6-minutes, slow, dark and eery was the intention.
It’s about the mood, the atmosphere, the music and the characters’
Let's go back to the
beginnings of your career - what got you into filmmaking in the first
place, and did you receive any formal education on the subject?
I was kid I wanted to be an archeologist, because of Indiana Jones,
and then I wanted to be an astronomer because of Star Wars and
Star Trek. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that I just wanted
be an actor, so I can be everything. From there, I realized I wanted to
create my own movies, so I started with a camcorder in the 80s. When I
reached my adolescent years, I took it seriously and began writing
screenplays. In high school, I took that video production class, where I
met Scott, and began making films on a proficient level by 1997. I had
taken a few classes here and there, I self-studied and watched a lot of
movies. Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez and Kevin Smith were emerging
and I learned a lot from their success stories. Rebel Without A Crew
by Rodriguez was very helpful and inspiring.
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to In
of my work from the late 90s and early 2000s was trial and error; it was
my hands-on experience and education. Those years are very precious to me,
I met a lot of great friends; however, never had a project worth sharing -
especially nowadays, when everything looks so much better in comparison.
When I reunited with Scott in 2009, I had a few projects that I wanted to
do - Selenophobia being one of them - but it just wasn’t the
right time. I didn’t have the money to make these projects. Earlier this
year, the universe called me back to filmmaking and I made Dead Drunk with three actors, a make-up kit and an iPhone. It received
amazing feedback and got things rolling again. That led me to my
involvement with In
Any future projects you'd
like to talk about?
recently completed a second part to my Dead Drunk film, which is
titled Dead Drunk Returns. We will be making more of these films as
we enter 2013. In addition I am developing an episode for the second
season of In
Fear of, which will be published on the internet next
would you describe yourself as a director?
apply my managerial experience to the process. Time management is crucial.
In pre-production: I am very thorough, I organize everything very
carefully so that the shoot goes smoothly as possible. My earlier
filmmaking experience prepared me for everything that can and does go
wrong. So, I know what to expect and how to avoid certain things. I know
what I want in the end and I’m relentless until the project is
musicians, whatever else who inspire you?
Steven Spielberg inspired me
tremendously, but when it comes to a specific style, I’m inspired by
some of Tim Burton’s work and Sam Raimi. If I had to pick just one, it
would be Raimi; he knows how to make films fun, he knows slapstick and
he knows horror.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Musically, I am very inspired by
Bernard Herrmann’s work. Danny Elfman was influenced by Herrmann,
which is probably why I am so fond of both. Jerry Goldsmith was another
one of my favorites and John Williams is legendary.
Your favourite movies?
Raiders of the Lost
Ark, The Empire Strikes Back, Jaws, Ed Wood, The
Big Lebowski, Ghostbusters, Gremlins, The Dark
Crystal, The Goonies, Evil Dead,
V for Vendetta and
The Dark Knight to name only some. It’s a very long list.
and of course, films you really deplore?
to say, considering I avoid films that don’t interest me.
Your/your series' website, Facebook,
YouTube, whatever else?
Drunk is my new and growing web series, which can be viewed at
and more details and videos can seen at flickgorilla.com,
which contains a link to our new Facebook page.
Anything else you are dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
think we covered everything. Thank you very much, these were excellent