Q: When did you first know you wanted to get in to directing?
To tell you the truth, I had always been into horror movies since I was little, and my mom had a VHS camera, and I'd borrow it and reinact scenes from the Friday the 13th films. My sister would play the victim, and my brother would get in a plastic hockey mask which we bought from a novelty shop around Halloween time play Jason.
As for directing, probably back in 1996. That was the first time I saw Halloween. It made me want to make a film just like Halloween. So basically, three years later, I decided the college I would go to of choice was Five Towns College on Long Island, since they had a pretty extensive film program. Also, from watching a lot of DVD's, the behind the scene features really struck me as fun and inspiring. So that sort of launched my directing career.
Q: You're a big fan of the "Slasher" movie... ..why does this sub-genre appeal to you so much?
I guess it started in the late 80's, when I was about eight years old, I would watch the Friday the 13th films, and I became addicted to them. Believe it or not, I was introduced to John Carpenter's Halloween in 1996, at the age of 14. I was a late bloomer, but since then I have seen over 100 slasher films and really do love the sub-genre. Slasher films had a big influence of my filmmaking, as did horror movies.
Q: This new film you are working on, Danielle's Revenge, how did that come to fruition?
Basically for the film Danielle's Revenge, it was written in late 2003, right after I shot my first indie feature, Dead End Massacre, I wanted to make a sequel. I got in touch with an aspiring filmmaker, Jason Costanzo, and we worked on a couple of short films before co-writing the first draft of Danielle's Revenge. In early 2005, I met Peter Bron from New York City, a well known actor, and we discussed what we both were looking for in a film, and we decided to work together. Then we brought in a ghost-writer, and he revamped the script and make it amazing. We really have a great script on our hands and it will show when the film is finished.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit of who is in the film? Anyone we'd know from past horror films?
Yes, Felissa Rose is playing the role of Jenny Stevenson, Paul Kratka, who played Rick in Friday the 13th Part 3 is playing the role of Mr. Lawrence Zerner (paying homage to his actor/friend Larry Zerner who played Shelly in Friday the 13th Part 3), Ron Millkie, who played Officer Dorf in Friday the 13th will playing the role of Officer Charlie Biscardi, and we are in talks with a bunch of other horror film actor and actresses. We are still currently casting and who knows what tomorrow will bring.
Q: It seems like you're giving back to the horror community what they have handed down to you back in the 1980's.
Yes, most definitely so. I believe in everything coming full circle. The beauty of horror icons acting in an indie film and having the faith they do in the script, director, and story, is very nice as an director and writer to see. We are blessed to have the talent we have in the film.
Q: There seems to be a lot of filmmakers coming from Long Island nowadays.
Yes, and it's really nice to see actually. From Steven Mena's film Malevolence, to actors and filmmakers growing up in the area, such as Felissa Rose, Robert Brodermerkl, it's quite a feeling of joy to know that Long Island can produce such good talent. I'm happy for Steven and his film. He seems like a great guy and he seems to know what he's doing.
Q: What are some of your previous works?
I have done some short films. Zombie films, slasher films. My latest film is, The Day They Came Back, starring Paul Kratka. Paul was nice enough to travel from California to New York for a weekend to partake in this film and I am quite grateful.
Q: So Paul was your first big name actor I guess you can say?
Yes, you can say that. It's funny, because as we were shooting he had to tell me to not think of him as a big movie star. It's weird because you have dissociate being a fan from being a director. At times I was like, "Wow, I can't believe I'm working with the lead of Friday the 13th Part 3", and the fact of the matter was that Part 3 was my favorite Friday the 13th film. So yeah, I got into my directing mode, buckled down and we shot the scenes.
Q: What was it like working with Paul?
Paul was nothing but a great sport. During the filming of his scenes, he came down with a terrible stomach virus and was in pain, but he did the scenes! No stomach pain was going to stop Paul from doing what he loved doing, which was acting. I mean, it's been 23 years for him, and he's missed acting so much that he decided to get back into it for the craft, and that's why it was so great to work with Paul. I have nothing but respect for the man.
Q: Who is your favorite horror director?
Well, I have a couple. I love John Carpenter's films, such as The Fog, Halloween, They Live, and I'm also a big fan of Wes Craven, Tim Burton, and Tobe Hooper.
All have their own unique styles as do I, and I hope people enjoy the films I put out and will continue to put out.
Q: Do you have a favorite horror actress or actor? Any big name horror movie actor or actress you'd like to work with?
If he was still alive, Donald Pleasence. He seemed like such a class act, and he proved it on and off the camera.
Gaylen Ross, Ken Foree, Robert Englund, Crispin Glover, Thom Matthews, Tom Atkins, Heahter Langenkamp, Stephen Dorff, and many more.
Q: A lot of independent filmmakers discover that they have to fund the movie themselves in order to get it done. How did you get funding for DANIELLE'S REVENGE? What is it being shot on (digital, etc?)
The thing that helps the most are investors. Either Wall Street Investors looking to get their name on a project, or production companies interested in a film. We are shooting on digital, using the XL-2 Camera with a 35mm lens to give it that film look. The thing that is so great about the media of digital is that you can make a feature look like it's shot on, or close to film, without spending millions of dollars. A lot of independent filmmakers are doing that.
Q: What is the weirdest thing you've ever had happen when shooting a movie?
I was shooting a short film called 'The Night They Came Back', and this was my college thesis, and I wanted to pay homage to the man who has brought us some of the best zombie films, George Romero. So, basically we rented out the school from 7 am until up 4 am to shoot some scenes for the film. There was this one scene in where a zombie was shot in the head (Chiko Mendez) and since we had a very limited budget, the lights kept on shutting off during each take when he'd slide down the wall and leave a trail of blood.
Little did we know, that the blood was very thick and that the wall had little crevices in them. So basically after we finally got the take, after about 9 takes, we were packing up the equipment, and one of the PA's was cleaning up the wall. The weird thing was that the blood was NOT coming off! So basically, here we are at the college, very early morning, very tired, trying to clean it up (the blood was staying in the little cracks in the wall). We basically had to come back the next day and clean it up some more due to the fact that the whole wall was pink, and they knew there was only one group shooting in the hallway the night before, and that was us.
Q: What future projects do you have planned? Where do you think you'll be ten years from now?
Ten years from now I hope to be making horror films non-stop. The great thing about making films, is that you get better and better and learn more and more. Being that I am 23 years old, in the past couple of years, being on sets for both film and other media's such as DV, has helped expand my filmmaking capabilities. I would give the advice to anyone who wants to make films, to start from the beginning and start doing some Production Assistant work on some films, and build your resume there. After 'Danielle's Revenge', I will be working on some indie short films, as well as a few features possibly lined up.