First of all, why don't you introduce yourself to those of us who
don't already know you?
Iím your atypical grassroots indie filmmaker, working myself up from
the bottom, (always) learning and growing along the way. I
currently live and work in Los Angeles, writing, directing and producing
films through my company Dream Seekers Productions. Iím
known mainly for horror and fantasy, but am a fan of, and indeed have
delved into, several genres. What matters to me most is
an interesting and challenging story.
What can you tell us about your
production company Dream Seekers Productions, and the philosophy
Dream Seekers was originally formed to
serve as a focal point for my creative endeavors. The
goal was to produce high quality content despite uber limited budgets,
learn as much as I could along the way and eventually use the complete
body of work as a way to gain exposure and to break into the (often
elusive) feature world. Despite the limited scale of my
productions, these films have attracted name talent and have received
Let's talk about some of your recent movies
then, and your motivations and inspirations behind them:
Death is an important theme to me, though not
in any kind of macabre way. Itís just this THING that
hangs around us at all times, as the sands of our life slip down the
hourglass one grain at a time. It plays an important
part in who we are and how we live our lives, so itís a theme that runs
through several of my stories. Anyhow, Iíd long
wanted to take on the Reaper, but it took a long time to figure out what
angle I wanted to approach him from. As it turns out,
Iíd done a lot of broody psychological pictures in recent years and I
was looking to just make something fun and lighthearted. As
I looked at it, I realized it was a great combo for this particular story.
Death and humor. After that, the script came
about very quickly and we were off and shooting.
Beast was my ode to the classic horror films of yesterday.
Films that relied more on atmosphere, tension and imagination than
a full frontal gore/shock assault, which weíve been oversaturated with
these days. To each their own, of course, but for me I
lean towards a more subtle approach to horror.
Beast was my attempt to remind viewers that horror has many different
faces. I hoped that young people in particular would
find it refreshing because a lot of these kids have grown up with a very
limited perspective on what horror can be, and I want them to see it can
be so much more.
I was on a bit of a fantasy kick at the
time. Iíd just finished The New World, another
fantasy film of mine, which had gotten pretty good press and had just won
Best Sci-Fi Film at the Burbank International Film Festival. I
intentionally set out to make something as a nod to the darker fantasies
of the 80ís ŗ la The Dark Crystal, Legend, The Secret
of N.I.M.H. and Labyrinth. There were many things that inspired the
story, but one of the biggest was literally just a snow globe.
The idea of living inside a world within another world, and being
entirely unaware of it. Funny where inspiration can
kick in sometimes. It can be anywhere anytime if you
know where and how to look.
Any future projects you'd like to
Iíve just green lit another short horror film,
though I need to keep the details under wraps for the time being.
Itís in the initial stages of financing and I hope to be shooting
by January or February. Iím also working hard on a
few different feature projects. Iím attached to
direct a horror (creature) feature starring Gabrielle Stone (Dee
Wallaceís daughter), Jessica Cameron [Jessica
Cameron interview - click here] and DJ Perry. Iím
developing three of my own spec features, one of which has rising horror
icon Bill Oberst, Jr. attached in a lead role and, finally, Iíve been
talking with a couple of different companies about possibly hopping on
board to direct their upcoming features, slated for production next year.
These projects will either reach fruition or they wonít.
Iím pretty even keel about the whole thing. Itís
just a funny business like that.
What got you into filmmaking to begin with, and
did you receive any formal training on the subject?
always loved telling stories and letting my imagination run wild.
It was only natural that this eventually lead me into a filmmaking
career. I attended film school, graduating in 2001.
Learned some things about production, but mainly learned a
tremendous amount of film HISTORY, and I think thatís proven itself
invaluable to me, in terms of what kind of filmmaker I wanted to be.
Film school or no film school, thereís no training like first
hand experience. Thatís where my real training came
about. Getting on to sets or just shooting my own
films. Getting out into the trenches and learning from
the bottom up. This kind of experience will tell you
pretty quickly if the life of a filmmaker is what you really want!
can you tell us about your directorial debut Halo,
and how did it come together, and lessons learned from it?
been making films ever since I was little, but Halo was the first film I
ever shot on actual FILM. 16mm. It
was a student film, and a very personal one to me at the time.
Iím still very proud of it, but itís an interesting peek back
into that part of my life. Comes off a bit dramatic
nowadays, ha! In terms of what I learned from it, Iím
sure there were things, but honestly, I learn something on literally every
single film I do, even to this day. Weíre all
students of the medium until we retire or die.
What can you tell us about
your evolution as a filmmaker?
As we all grow older and more experienced in life we change, even if
only in subtle ways. The same thing goes for filmmakers
I think. Certain core aspects of what kinds of stories
I tell, and how I approach them remain relatively constant, but otherwise
Iím a much different filmmaker now than I was when I was 18 or 20.
How I perceive the world and my place in it is much different now,
and that invariably affects what kind of storyteller you are, and what
kinds of stories interest you.
Now, in terms of my evolution from a ďtechnicalĒ standpoint, Iíve
evolved quite a bit obviously. A goal of mine early on
was to learn about every piece of gear on set, and how it works.
So, now I know exactly what I need and donít need, where I can
cut corners, where I canít, etc. A director who is
knowledgeable in these matters is a much stronger asset on set than one
who isnít, particularly if youíre dealing with tight budgets and
shooting schedules. Iím also far more experienced in
the ďmechanicsĒ of filmmaking, and what all goes into, from
pre-production through post. Iíve also dealt with all
kinds of cast, some easy to deal with, others quite a challenge, but all
have helped me sharpen my skills as to how to cast the people I want and
how to get the performance I want out of them. But
donít be fooled, I have a long way to go, of that I have no doubt.
Itís a tough job and thereís always more ďevolvingĒ to
Peter (right) on the set of Little Reaper
The $64 question of
course: Where are your movies available from?
All my films are available through our main website, Youtube and our
social media channels. You can find those links below.
Check them out. Enjoy them. Thatís
what theyíre there for!
movies, you never seem to stray far from horror and fantasy - genres at
all dear to you, and why (not)?
I have a soft spot for
horror and fantasy because they allow for a lot of creative flexibility,
and that meshes well with how my mind operates. As
mentioned earlier though, Iíve toyed around with other genres, and have
an active interest in continuing to do so as long as thereís an engaging
story to tell.
How would you describe
yourself as a director?
Ha, best to ask someone else.
I suppose I would consider myself a focused director, with a clear
vision of what I want. Iím also pretty good at
keeping the ship upright and sailing straight, which is not always easy.
Productions can get crazy. Thatís one of the
reasons Iíve done so many different kinds of films, with all sorts of
varying logistical issues to deal with. Iíve been
through the fires and it takes an awful lot to rattle me or throw a
production off course. Thatís important because there
will almost ALWAYS be things that pop up that will push you to your limit
and threaten your production. Finally, Iím not one of
those ďgeneralsĒ you hear about from time to time who make being on
set miserable. Weíre making movies, not saving lives,
so if at all possible I keep my sets calm and respectful.
Filmmakers who inspire you?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
are many but Iíll just name two, each on opposite sides of the
filmmaking spectrum. Steven Spielberg and Krzysztof
Kieslowski. Both true auteurs. They
both influenced me a lot.
A constantly changing list, but I love Let
the Right One In, which basically restored my faith in modern day
horror, Duel, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind,
Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T. (picking up a Spielberg theme are you?),
Lawrence of Arabia, The Lost Boy, The Thing, The
Colours TrilogyÖoh good grief. I could go on and on.
And letís not forget books. Iím a book
junkie. Thatís actually where most of my influences
... and of course, films you really
The ratio of good films to bad films produced on a
yearly basis is pretty wide. I think Iíll
leave it at that :)
Thanks for the interview!