Your new movie Dry Blood
- in a few words, what is it about?
is about a
man who is attempting to clean up his life and get sober, only to be faced
with the torments of some pretty grisly ghosts, and a malevolent local
sheriff. At itís core, Dry Blood
is a ghost story, but beyond that, it
deals with our mindís fragile hold on reality.
What were your
sources of inspiration when writing Dry
I had this seed of an idea, more of a
question really: what would happen if someone who was prone to
hallucinating actually experienced a supernatural event? How would they
know the difference? With that idea in mind, I starting writing the
script. I also wanted to pay tribute to many of the ghost films that I
loved from the late seventies and early eighties. I grew up watching films
like The Changeling, Ghost Story, The Shining etc. I
couldnít have made this film without a few nods in their direction.
Blood features several levels of reality and remains a bit vague
about what's real and what's illusion - bearing that in mind, how hard was
it to not just (literally) lose the plot when writing?
youíre writing a story that plays with your audienceís perception of
reality, itís very important that you as the writer understand what is
actually happening. Then you can judiciously chose the elements that you
want to feed to the audience, and also control the timing of those
reveals. I had to understand the story inside and out, and the full
sequence of events before I could even write the first word of the script.
I meticulously outline everything first, so that I always have that as a
reference, should I lose my way.
talk about Dry Blood's
approach to horror for a bit?
The most effective and
memorable horror films are the ones that give you the chills, rather than
just going for a cheap jump-scare. A jump-scare only works the first time
you see a film. Something that is really fucking creepy will work every
time you see it. So we really wanted to make a film that was just creepy
You also play the lead in Dry
Blood - so what can you tell us about your character, and did you
write him with yourself in mind from the get-go?
want to give away too much about the character before people have a chance
to see the film, but I will say that no, I definitely did not have myself
in mind to play this role when I wrote it. In fact, I never do any kind of
mental casting for characters as Iím writing a script. I prefer to let
them take on a life of their own, rather than thinking of them as a
character played by any specific actor.
in Dry Blood suffers
from severe withdrawal symptoms and the like - so how does one prepare for
such a role even?
I lost a lot of weight and sleep
preparing for the film. The weight loss was on purpose, but the lack of
sleep was just circumstantial. Still, those two things, combined with
building a very thorough understanding of the character in the writing
process helped me lose myself in the role.
Besides that, what did you draw upon
to bring your character to life, and how much Clint Carney can we find in
The only thing that I have in common with the
character is that we both drink a lot of coffee. Beyond that, it was those
things that I had already mentioned, combined with countless conversations
and rehearsals with Kelton Jones [Kelton
Jones interview - click here], our director, that shaped the
performance. It was a very emotionally taxing role, providing a lot of
opportunity to show some range as an actor. Iím very grateful that
Kelton believed I was up for the task.
What can you tell us about Dry
Blood's director Kelton Jones [Kelton
Jones interview - click here], and what was your collaboration
Iíve worked with Kelton on a number of projects.
Heís an incredibly talented guy, both behind the the camera and in front
of it. We met in a screenwriting group and have been good friends ever
since. Kelton has an amazing eye for detail, and it was incredible to see
his vision for Dry Blood come to life from our earliest conversions
about my script, all the way to the finished film. First and foremost, he
really understood the script. He got everything that I was trying to say
with it, and even unearthed the subtext that most would have missed.
Itís not an easy story to tell. It assumes a certain level of
intelligence from the viewer, and I loved that Kelton did not want to dumb
that down at all. He really went for it, and the result is this brutal,
scary, mind-fuck of a film. And as an actor, he also excelled, playing the
antagonist in the film. His performance was subtle, funny, and quite
disturbing. I fucking love it.
Blood's writer and producer and also being on set all the time as
the lead, how much creative control did you have or demand over the movie?
important to have a director on your film whose vision you trust, and I
very much trusted Keltonís vision. We were very in sync on what we
wanted from the film. It never felt like a power struggle, because we both
just wanted to make the best film that we could, and so we remained
completely open to listening to each others ideas and reaching a consensus
on what would serve the story best. When in doubt, I knew that I could
default to trusting his judgement, and it always worked out.
can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
was a relatively small cast and crew, and Iím happy to say that everyone
got along great. To me it felt like they all legitimately wanted to make
this a great film, and that is something that I appreciated so much. We
shot the film in just under a month, which required a real commitment from
everyone to stay on task and keep the quality top notch. The most I slept
in any one night that month was four hours but more often it was closer to
three. But still, when Iíd wake up every morning I was excited to be
working with the team. I have nothing but love in my heart for all of
them, and am excited at the prospect that our filmmaking paths will cross
again in the future.
$64-question of course, when and where will the film be released onto the
Weíre taking Dry Blood on the
festival circuit now and are hopeful that weíll have some release info
to share in the near future. Weíll be announcing festival screenings and
release news on DryBlood.com
as soon as things are locked down.
Anything you can tell us about audience
and critical reception of
Dry Blood yet?
So far itís been incredible. We did a
test screening at the Monsterpalooza convention in Pasadena, CA a little
while back, and the audience response, as well as the press reviews, were
overwhelmingly positive. Everyone laughed, squirmed, and shuddered in all
the right places. Many of the people in attendance also made a point to
tell me that they liked it so much that they were eager to watch it again.
I was very flattered by all of the positive attention it has received thus
far, and Iím hopeful that the trend continues in our future screenings
Any future projects you'd like to
Kelton and I are collaborating again on a teenage
punk rock crime drama called The Violent, with him at the helm as
director, and me as the writer / executive producer. I also have several
other projects in the works as a writer/director, including a feature
film, a documentary, and several music videos. Iím currently in
preproduction for a music video for the artist Elias Black. This video is
going to be absolutely insane so keep an eye out for it.
So what got you into the filmworld in the first
place, and did you receive any formal education on the subject?
been a huge horror fan all of my life. I started making my own short
horror films when I was in high school. I never had any formal training
but I read a lot about the process, and still actively study the craft as
much as humanly possible. Iíve also been fortunate enough to work on
some movies by other filmmakers whose work I truly admire.
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Dry
Step Right Up, oil on canvas
Iíve worn a number of hats as a filmmaker
over the years. I got into the business from the art department side of
things. In my career Iíve created artwork and props for films by such
directors as JJ Abrams (Star Trek Into Darkness), David Fincher (Gone
Girl), Oliver Stone (Savages), Wes Craven (Scream 4), Cameron Crowe (We
Bought a Zoo), and many many more. These days though, I find that my
passion falls more in line with writing, acting, and directing.
As far as I know, besides making movies
in various positions, you are also a painter and musician - so what can
you tell us about those aspects of your career, and how do they and your
filmwork influence one another?
Iíve worked as a
recording artist and touring musician for many years (and still actively
write music). To date Iíve released seven album with my band SYSTEM SYN,
and have also been a live performer with the bands Imperative Reaction and
God Module throughout the years. As an oil painter, Iíve been able to
show my work in galleries and collections all over the world. Rather than
saying that one influences the other, I think that itís more accurate to
say that my music, art, and film work are all the product of the same
creative vision; so in that regard, I think they all evoke similar
emotions, and are definitely on the darker end of the thematic spectrum.
writers, musicians, artists, whoever else who inspire you?
could write a book on all of the people that inspire me, but for the sake
a brevity, Iíll stick with my top favorite filmmakers for now: Joel and
Ethan Cohen. Their films are brave, funny, fucked up, and extremely
intelligent. Theyíve perfected their story telling craft and even their
worst film is better than most peopleís best. Of course, many of the
usual suspects are also favorites of mine: Spielberg, Stone, Kubrick,
Craven, Carpenter, Tarantino, ScorseseÖ the list goes on and on. One
relative newcomer that I think should be on everyoneís radar is Jeremy
Saulnier. If you have not seen his films yet, go check out Blue
Ruin and Green Room as soon as possible. Even his very
first film, Murder Party is super fun, but the subsequent two are
some of the best, most intense thrillers Iíve seen in a long time.
Here are a few that come to mind off the
top of my head, but there are many many more (and in every case where
there is a remake, my list is referring to the original): Dawn of the
Dead, Millerís Crossing, Poltergeist, The Texas Chainsaw
Exorcist, The Shining,
Taxi Driver, A Clockwork Orange, Platoon, Jaws,
Menace II Society, The Godfather 1 and 2, The Big Chill, Narc, Boyz N the
Hood, Robocop, Star Wars, Creepshow, Fargo, An American Werewolf in
LondonÖ As Iím typing this Iím realizing that this list will never
stop if I donít stop typing, so Iíll just cut it short their.
... and of course, films you really
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
If I hate a film I generally donít like to spend
too much time thinking about it. Also, since you never know who youíll
end up working with in the future, Iíll keep my mouth shut on this one.
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
for the interview!