Your upcoming project Snuff: The Anthology - could you give
us a quick breakdown what it's about?
Death caught on camera, plain and simple. And I want everybody to
submit. Not just straight white American boys, which pretty much all the
response I've had so far has been just that. That doesn't mean don't
submit if you are (hey, I'm one), but I'm specifically trying to let
people know I want far more than just that. I want the perspective on
snuff to be from everybody; women, men, white, black, native American,
African, Japanese, Russian, Gay, Transgender, Jewish, etc. Anybody is
capable of murder, and all nations, races, etc. love horror, so let me
have it. Give it what you got.
How did the
project come into being in the first place, and what are the inspirations
You know, my first big film deal was the faux snuff film Amateur Porn
Star Killer. I made that when I was down on my luck and everything else I
had made my entire life had brought me literally nowhere in film, and film
is all I know. Well, I basically have felt that same way again ever since
the Amateur Porn Star Killer trilogy buzz died down. I got all this
attention for a random idea/thought that I had one night and shot with 45
bucks in 3 hours. I realized, maybe you got to be stripped bare
(literally) of everything to make something stand out (although I've never
actually had any money or been what any sane or normal person would call
successful). I thought that Amateur Porn Star Killer
had actually ruined any chance of me
having a career (and perhaps it did) but it also gave me the only bit of
notoriety that I've had. Even My Name is 'A' by
anonymous, after being in
distribution hell for half a decade, finally got released based on a
contact originally made by me having done Amateur Porn Star Killer. I mean, seriously, this
film follows me whether I like it or not. So, after years of trying to
pretend that I never made Amateur Porn Star Killer, trying to claim that I'm an "arthouse
filmmaker" (which I know that I am) over a "horror
filmmaker" (which most everyone calls me), and even going as far as
using alias' on my movies to rid the Amateur Porn Star Killer
reputation, why not just stop
giving a fuck and accept it? I know what I am, and I can continue making
my other "artsy" films but why not just embrace the horror
community as well? And what better way than to get back to your roots,
right? I started with a faux snuff film, why not begin my work as an
anthology creator with the same thing? And why an anthology? I've worked
on more than half a dozen anthologies in the past year as one of the many
directors contributing to them. I've been watching how they come together,
and decided, I got contacts, I can get distribution, why not just create
an anthology idea myself?
You're presently still looking for filmmakers
to have their (faux) snuff films featured - so what kind of quality are
you looking for in these movies? And what are some of the restrictions you
impose on the submissions?
It's just got to look real. That is my
number one concern/request. Now, I know it's hard to fool people these
days cause everybody knows what a mockumentary is. But the mainstream
audience is still gullible to the underground world. I want this to be the
film that gets to the mainstream consumers, and makes them call their
friends after watching and go "dude, you have got to see this,
there's no way this is fake, what do you think?" One way to do that
is to not put credits on it, i.e. "Mike played by John Doe, Michelle
played by Jane Doe." When Hollywood makes a mockumentary, even
underground directors, they put credits at the end. Of course, people want
credit, especially actors. But, then you just fucked yourself on the
"is it real" factor. So, a major request/rule, is that there are
no credits or added text on screen of any kind. We will provide the maker
of the segment with credit, but not in the way that you'd think. It will
simply say "footage provided by (name of director)" and then the
name of the segment. That's it, as if this person (director) delivered, or
found, the footage. There will be no music added (you can not add music)
or editing effects, nothing of that sorts (you can add film effects,
however, if, say, you want it to appear like it's 8mm film, as long as it
looks legit, or actually is film).
Also, snuff means that somebody made a
murder film (which often includes rape and/or sex but it doesn't have to)
and is profiting off of it. But since the idea is that I, Shane Ryan,
sought out these segments for distribution, that means you do not
necessarily need to make your characters people who are purposefully
making a profitable snuff film. So, therefore, your segment could
simply be a caught-on-camera murder, or something of that nature, i.e. an
ISIS videotaped murder, a liquor store robbery where somebody is slain
(though I would love to see some kind of story or character development in
some of these). And "make it real" does not mean "make it
bloodier." You can apply the best FX team in the world but still have
bad actors, bad camera angles, bad editing, etc., ruin the believe-ability.
Or you can have no blood but an Oscar winning performance and death by asphyxiation.
Think about what feels real. Did the kill look real but the motive seemed
cheesy? Maybe dive more into why your character would kill this person
under these circumstances. Did you nail the psychology angle but it looked
bad when the actor fell after being shot? Look at some real videos of
people being shot and falling to the ground (I'm sure there's stuff on YouTube), or at least a film that you felt presented it believably, and
show it and go over it with your actor. And so forth.
How does one submit to your
Submissions are due by this Halloween. They must
be under 10 minutes. The full guidelines
and how to submit can be found here
Something makes me believe you'll be
contributing a segment to Snuff: The Anthology yourself as well -
am I at all right in that assumption, and if so, what can you tell us
about your segment?
Oh, perhaps, but maybe not. You know, one
reason I decided to do this is because I'm getting sick and tired of
making films. I can never find actors or funding. It used to be easy to
find actors, but now they all want pay, even if they've never done shit.
I'd love to pay people, but I live penny by penny, literally. I'd love for
my art to pay me, of course, and pay people I work with. But I can't get
funding. So, I simply create to be artistic, and hope to fuck I can
finally afford bread one goddamn day. It's either, "let's make a
movie for nothing, or let's make nothing." It sucks, but it's not
like I have a choice. There's not any money that I'm hiding in my pocket.
I try over and over to get paid, to raise the money, but after a lifetime
of this shit, I realize I'm not a guy who can raise money, nor do I know
anyone who can. With most people, it's reversed. They can easily get
actors, and many people can raise a little bit of money, but they can't
get exposure, get tons of reviews/press, distribution, theatrical play,
etc. They can get the movie made, but then it just sits there. Whereas, I
can usually get all that, but I can't get the damn movie made. It makes no
sense at all since financiers and/or the people working for free usually
only want to do it if you can get all that shit, but that's just how it is
for me. So, I figured, in between trying get money and/or some fucking
actors to show, why not get other people to give me their films? I got
distributors asking me for stuff, I just need a film. So, with this
anthology idea, people can send me their films, then I go right to my ways
of getting it out there to the world. And because it's an anthology (not
somebody simply giving me their feature) and it's my concept, I get to
feel a tiny bit of creative satisfaction by picking the best films and
putting it all together to fit my concept idea.
But back to your question. I don't know.
Maybe if an actress comes along and says, "rape and kill me on
camera," and she can display incredible acting chops and emotion,
then I'll do it. But I'm done looking for actors and money.
You have tackled faux snuff before
with the Amateur
Porn Star Killer movies - so what makes you return to the genre?
aside from embracing it, as mentioned, I haven't really seen it done.
Everybody's doing anthologies right now, like everybody, but nobody's
doing a snuff one. There's stuff like Faces of Death from
decades ago, but that was just one director. Guinea Pig films, same thing,
one director at the helm of each movie. So, nobody was doing one, and even
though I, myself, don't watch faux snuff movies, it's the world that I
came from. So I can use that. It's where I got a tiny bit of pull, I
guess you could say.
might be waaay too early to ask, but any idea when Snuff: The Anthology
might be released yet?
I'm hoping, hoping, the Halloween of
next year. Submissions aren't due until this Halloween, and then we need
to go through them and splice them together and handle masters, delivery
material, etc. So, we should be done by February, which gives the
distributor 8 months, so that could be realistic if all goes well.
Any future projects beyond Snuff:
Oh yes, I just wrapped Paper
Kids, as you
know. It's a 21 minute version of an experimental feature that I've been
shooting with real kids over the past year. It's about child abuse,
bullying, a bit of a social commentary. Since it's partial documentary and
I'm just shooting on free time as I find subjects and figure out the
eventual story, who knows how long I'll actually be shooting that. I'm
still editing The Owl in Echo Park, that's the biggest post-production
project of my life, going on 3 years now [Owl
in Echo Park interview - click here]. Samurai Cop 2, which I
co-produced and co-star in, should hit theatres in LA this October, and I
got a bunch of anthologies I directed segments for, including Virus of the
Dead (my segment is called American Virus, and it stars Clint Eastwood's
daughter, Kathryn Eastwood, myself and Tommie Vegas [Tommie
Vegas interview - click here]), and I'm directing
segments for Grindsploitation 1 and 2, plus I acted in yet another
Grindsploitation segment for director Jim Towns [Jim
Towns interview - click here]. And Troma will be
releasing an anthology I have a short in called Theatre of the Deranged II
(although totally the wrong anthology for my film, talk about being
mislabeled "horror filmmaker" my segment is an artsy
Japanese-language segment, but hey, at least it's coming out) and Wild Eye
will be releasing my feature The Girl Who Wasn't
Missing, it's about a
homeless teen prostitute. So, lots of past things, lots of post-production
hell, and lots of anthologies. But I'm still dying to act. Especially in
action films now that I got to do some awesome stunts and action scenes in
Samurai Cop 2, it was the most fun I've ever had as an actor.
I'm also looking to start accepting
submissions for the Amateur Porn Star Killer
anthology soon, it's called
Ted Bundy Had a Son, so keep an eye out. If Snuff: The Anthology goes well
I have plenty of non-horror anthology movies I wish to make, including
documentaries about the homeless, abused children, and ones on the
universal languages of love, sex and violence.
Your/your website, Facebook, whatever
Plus, the submission guidelines for Snuff: The Anthology are at
Anything else you are dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Yes. While I get lots of press and
distribution and all that shit, this anthology is scaring people away.
Nobody will cover our call for submissions - aside from you, of course,
and just a couple people - but everybody else I'm sending it to horror
wise, all the magazines, major news and horror sites, etc., are turning a
blind eye to this. So, that means it must be offensive by name and idea
alone. That means it must be made because it's so hard to scare people
with horror these days, and if people are already being chicken shits
about this, let's do it! I got distribution for us, so they'll pay
attention once it's out and legitimized, I just need fucking submissions!
And I won't get submissions if people don't know to submit, so spread the
word. Horror filmmakers, women filmmakers, LGBT fillmakers,
African-American filmmakers, Japanese filmmakers, etc., I want YOU!
Thanks for the interview!