Q: Tell us a bit about yourself-- where you're from, what influenced you…
I was born in New York City but lived all over the world as an Army brat. Moved to LA in 1976 to pursue a career in "underground" comics and eventually landed in animation, then movies, doing storyboards. Which were sort of like comics but with certain crucial differences, mainly being that the end product was film, rather than the printed page. Film has its own interesting special rules like screen direction, and the fact that the frame you are drawing in (for storyboards) is always the same proportion . This led in time to a desire to make my own movies.
Q: You've done the storyboards for a great number of films, including NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET III and IV, DARKMAN, MARS ATTACKS, THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION and THE MASK. How did you first become involved with doing storyboards for films?
Like I said, through animation I learned about storyboarding. I met Kevin Altieri, a "live action" guy who wanted to get into animation and recommended him to someone who was looking. (He did great and has been involved with the Batman shows and many other things since.) He then returned the favor and gave me a contact to storyboard in live action where I learned how it differed from animation, primarily in existence of a REAL CAMERA which couldn't be just anywhere like the imaginary camera in animation could. At least back THEN it couldn't.
Q: What are the most recent films you've done storyboards for?
SEED OF CHUCKY, AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, CAT IN THE HAT.
Q: You've also directed movies- Full Moon produced PREHYSTERIA and PET SHOP. What was your experience working on these two projects and working with Charlie Band?
Full Moon was a place of great opportunity. I'm glad I got some films made and got some experience directing. The less said about Mister Band the better though.
Q: You also formed a record company with Donald F. Glut, creating collections of songs about dinosaurs that are sold in Museums across the country. How did that come about?
Don and I are both musicians who had careers as such when younger. But when you play music, you never just leave it behind. So we decided to dust off our instruments and chops and record some tunes. We made three albums as FOSSIL RECORDS' Iridium Band. It was a lot of fun- we did many musical styles and the songs are funny and entertaining as well as educational. We never looked down on the material or acted like it was just for kids although kids certainly seem to enjoy it.
Q: Tell us about DINOSAUR CIRCUS, your children's book…
That was just one of those ideas that wouldn't go away. A circus of dinosaurs seemed like something that would be fun to see, even though I'm not at all a fan of traditional circuses where animals are made to do stupid things under dubious conditions. It's self published and I have some copies left if anybody's interested! It's all color art with a real boy and his dog photo-shopped in; the dinosaurs being factual and accurate- except for the fact that they are doing tricks and performing for the audience.
Q: You've also been involved with comics and animated cartoons…
I have some new comics out from Dark Horse, called Pete Von Sholly's MORBID, where I sort of combine my love of comics with my love of movies in a new form (at least I think it is) of fumetti, or comics using photos. The degree of manipulation of the photos being the "innovation". The stories are a blend of horror and humor. Got great quotes from Sam Raimi and Frank Darabont (both of whom I have enjoyed working with) which are printed on the book's covers. In the same format I adapted John Stanley's DREAD END story in the latest issue of FROM THE TOMB, the great British horror comics zine. TwoMorrows also just published a spoof of old monstermags like Famous Monsters of Filmland called "CRAZY HIP GROOVY GO GO WAY OUT MONSTERS" (CHGGGWOM for short) which I did with a partner, Mike Van Cleave.
Q: NEARLY DEPARTED and SPINECRAWLER are two films you're currently trying to direct/produce. Tell us a bit about them…
Nearly Departed is in the "Reanimator tradition" and features some really different zombie types, also including a lot of humor. SPINECRAWLER is more a "monster bug" story about the true rulers of the earth and a young girl who finds out more about them anybody should know.
Q: If you had to pick just doing two things, creatively, what would they be and why?
Comics, in my style, because it's immensely satisfying to create finished work. Movies are sort of nothing until (and if) they get produced somehow. But comics are completely personal, and something one man or woman can do exactly the way they want. You don't need other people's blessings or money. I have a ton of comics work in the pipeline. And after that, I do have a bunch of movies I'd like to make…. Everything I do (excepting "real" work) is because it is something I want to see.
Right, last but not least there is also my own site www.vonshollywood.com which features even more stuff.
Q: Final comment?
Thanks for asking, I hope your readers will comment. (email me at firstname.lastname@example.org) I don't get much feedback from MORBID and CHGGGWOM…. And I hope some people will get some pleasure from my efforts. I certainly derived a lot from the artists and writers I love and if I can pass a little on, I'm happy.