Q: You've made a bunch of low-budget dramas-- what inspired you to make a horror film?
When I made my first film WALKING BETWEEN THE RAINDROPS back in 1995, I wanted to make relationship movies. So I did, but then I realized that I had other interests. I was in film school at the time but not in production. I would hear about these other filmmakers who had made documentaries, horror films, mockumentaries and so I would go out and make those kinds of movies. I was on my own (basically still am) so I could make whatever I wanted.
In 2007 my mom passed away really suddenly. I knew my dad wasn't in the best of health. So, in trying to help him deal with his grief, I was dealing with all of these thoughts and fears because nothing can ever prepare you for losing your parents. I had this idea of insects (which really scare me) and that evolved into the monster in the movie. Basically, INSECT is about fear. It looks at how we think and how those thoughts can manifest themselves into something that we can't control.
Q: Why animation?
I had originally wanted to make this movie in the live action realm. In fact, at one point, after all the voices for INSECT were recorded, a company contacted me because they wanted to make INSECT. They had done some films with name actors and I was all for it. That interest, as it often does, went away, but I really didn't care because I still wanted to make this movie.
I love working in animation because I am in control. I get the actors in, they record their voices, and then it is up to me to bring that to life. I still make live action films but animation takes so much of the onus away from the actor. It's hard for there to be a false moment with an animated character because a viewer's expectation of animation vs. live action is different.
Q: How long did it take to make the movie?
I recorded the voices in 2010. I finished the movie in June 2014. The main reason it took this long is because, like a lot of people who make low budget movies, we have other jobs that get in the way. Over the years, some of those jobs have been paying writing gigs so I am not complaining. I just knew when I recorded the voices in 2010 that it was going to be awhile. I didn't think it would take 4 years but I also never thought I would have so many other projects come up.
Q: What do you want people to get out of the movie?
As you know this movie is also a love letter to the PHANTASM films. In the first movie there is the line "fear is the killer."
That also sums up INSECT.
In a nutshell, I would like people to enjoy this film for being kind of weird but not inaccessible. Ideally, they would see that the only way to really not be afraid is to confront your fears head on. That is easy to say but not so easy to do. Trust me, I know.
Q: The movie is open-ended. Do you plan a sequel?
When I finished INSECT I basically said I was tired of projects that required me to work on them forever. I still feel that way so something will have to be worked out.
At present I have a loose idea of where INSECT 2 will go. I figure that the characters will all be a little older but still teenagers for the most part. There was a villain in INSECT that I really liked but ultimately I couldn't find a place for him so he was cut out of the script. That character will be in INSECT 2. A lot of the original characters will be in the film, and it will also kind of be based on some real life events like the first one was.