Your short Helpless
- in a few words, what is it about?
Helpless is about a
family that is traveling at night and run into trouble. It is story that
has been told before, e.g. Texas Chainsaw Massacre or
Wolf Creek. The
difference is that we do not see the face of the monster. We do not know
if it is outside the car or inside with them. Plus, the thought of being
that vulnerable with a baby and no help is terrifying.
What were your
inspirations when writing Helpless?
inspiration was seeing the film Hitchcock and re-remembering how
scary those films were without the use of gore. I wanted to see if I could
do something like it myself as a filmmaker.
is extremely limited in terms of of location - so to what extent was that
limiting to you as a director, to what extent inspiring, perhaps even
The fact that we only used one location was
great. It's almost like a play. With darkness we created an atmosphere that
leaves the viewer feeling isolated and alone.
being a horror thriller - is that a genre you're fond of, actually, and
I have always loved horror. It has been very
exciting to get back to what inspired me to make films in the first place.
And after ten years of doing gangster films, this has been a blast for me.
Do talk about Helpless's
cast for a bit, and why exactly these people?
Scholtec and Lonnie Appleby are both from a theater background and to my
knowledge this was their first film. I am now a true believer in
working with theater people more. The level of professionalism and work
ethic is unmatched. The were incredibly prepared. In addition, bringing up
James Lukenbill Jr from Texas was a no-brainer. He has a wealth of
talent and knowledge as an actor.
James Lukenbill jr
you tell us about the actual shoot, and the on-set atmosphere?
set was an old dirt road that has one way in and one way out. We were
about five miles from the nearest town and it was scary out there - which
I'm sure helped the actors get into the right frame of mind.
future projects you'd like to share?
What most people don't
realize about Helpless
is that it is actually the first episode to a
web-series. We begin shooting other episodes in November.
What got you into
filmmaking to begin with, and did you receive any formal training on the
I have always wanted to be in films in some
capacity. Once digital filmmaking became an option for me in about 2002,
I started making films with family and friends. From there I started
making music videos for bands. Finally in 2010, I made my first feature
film I Think I Just Saw the Devil and then Iowa. This year I have made
a few short films that have allowed me to touch on subjects that I wanted
to explore like Colorburn starring Annette Duffy [Annette
Duffy interview - click here]. It is a 25 minute drama
that is doing well in festivals right now. I have had no formal training.
I feel as though I put myself through film school by simply making movies.
What can you tell us about your filmwork prior
and your growth as a director?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
I feel that I can see growth
from every project. I think in the beginning, I was so grateful to have
people show up on the set that rather than push them for better
performances, I would settle. Over time I have become less passive and I
tend to push the cast much harder. Now I realize that what we all want is
the best film we can make. Sometimes you have to be pushy or demanding to
get the story told the correct way.
How would you describe
yourself as a director?
As a director, I try to
create an environment that an actor can feel safe and secure. I want them
to feel free of judgement on my set. I have expectations of the cast
and I make sure they are clear from the start. You better know your lines
and you better not be late. I hate wasting time.
Filmmakers who inspire you?
filmmakers that I am inspired by are the Coen Brothers, Tarantino,
Hitchcock, Fabian Bielinsky, and Paul Haggis are a few.
favourite movies ... and of course, films you really
There are films that I can watch over and over
again. To me they never get boring. Films like Miller's Crossing,
Pulp Fiction, The Aura, 28
Days Later, and so on. But movies that make me angry
because they are so bad are films like the The Purge or most romantic
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
Anything else you are dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
I want to thank you for your time! I invite your readers to check out my
films and I hope you enjoy what you see!!!
Thanks for the interview!