in many rural locations. There were always those spots you just
didn't dare to venture into. In all seriousness, there
would be a good chance you might not make it back out of there. Those type
of farmers really don't think too kindly of someone messing with their
cash crop. It really started from just thinking about that concept.
I started writing it as a novel, then after it was on the shelf for
about two years I dusted it off and made it into a script. All in all it
was about a two year process.
A few words
about your main cast?
We were really blessed to have such
an amazing cast. Almost all of our cast were local, or
regional with the exception of Debbie Rochon. I had worked with most of
them before on other projects, and it only made sense to work with them
again. Stacey Gillespie (Stan) is a KY indie icon. It really is easier to
list what movies he has not been in around here, than to say all he
has been in. Nathan Day (CJ) was also someone I had worked with before on a
George Bonilla movie called Dance with a Vampire . He came into audition
and really nailed it. He is also a director and is working on a film right
now called Bullet Song. I met Karen Boles (Sarah) at a local film
convention in Lexington, and we were all very impressed with her. She
really stepped up her game for this project. She knew it was going to be a
very tough role to pull off, and she just blew us all away. We
had the entire cast with the exception of Bud. I knew this character had
to be cast perfectly in order to pull it off. I was describing the
character to our Production Assistant Claude Miles and he said I might
have the perfect person for you. He had told me of his friend and old
roommate Kevin Taylor. He sent me a pic of him the next day, and I knew
before I had even seen him act that we had found our Bud. Kevin had a lot
of theatrical experience and it all fell into place
On Stash, you also worked
with B-movie veteran/icon Debbie Rochon. How did you get her, and what was
it like working with her?
I had met Debbie on the set of a
good friend of mine, Jerry Williams. They were shooting Zeppo,
and at the time the producers (Billy W. and Denise Blackwell) and I were
doing a late night Arts and Entertainment show called Moonlight Café. We
got a chance to interview her for the show, and learned what a fantastic
person she was to work with. We later contacted her about the role, sent
her the script, and she was thrilled to be a part of it.
As far as I know, Stash
literally took years to make. Why did it take so long, and what can you
tell us about production of the film?
I'm sure many other
Indie filmmakers who are reading this could see how this could happen.
Most of our cast had their day jobs, so we could only shoot on weekends.
Due to other commitments and my own personal life, we could only shoot
every other weekend. That on top of some sickness we had on the set ... that's how it developed into a three and a half year process. I edited
along the way, so I would still be working on it, if I hadn't done that.
With Stash being a horror film, is horror a genre that has always dear to you?
would not really describe Stash as a horror film. I would say it's
more of a crime/thriller. Horror films have always been
my favorite type of film. I mentioned earlier how I grew up on them. I
still love them. That is really about all I ever watch, when I have the
time. I think they can become stale in today's market,
but there is always a film that seems to come from nowhere that will make
you say, that's why I love the genre. I would actually rather watch a bad
horror film, than the best blockbuster action movie or whatever.
easy or hard is it to get a decent cast and crew for a horror movie?
think there are good people wherever you are, you just have to go out and
find them. Get on other people movie sets, and make connections. It really
is all about who you know.
there's quite a bit of nudity in the film. Did any of the actresses have a
problem with that?
Everyone of my actresses knew about the
nude roles way before they hit the set. A couple of them were fetish
models so they were very accustomed to being nude in front of other people
on a professional level. They were all total pros. There were some very
demanding scenes in the film and they really were troopers throughout the
whole process. It was at least twenty degrees in the basement on a couple
of shoots. We ran a closed set, so there were no
gawkers looking on. If you were not working, you were not on the set.
was shot in Kentucky.
Why Kentucky, and what can you tell us about Kentucky's indie film-scene?
was shot in KY, because that is my home state, and where I currently
reside. I can't even imagine a better setting than what we were able to
have. KY has some of the most beautiful locations you could ever imagine.
With our landscape there are so many possibilities. The KY Indie film
scene is actually booming a bit. There are movies being shot everywhere. A
few of these Directors are: Jason Crowe, George Bonilla, Mark Poole, Jerry
Williams, Gregory W. Brock, and Stephen Zimmer to name
was picked up for release by POP Cinema (formerly EI Independent).
How did that come into being?
I have always been a fan of
Pop Cinema's films. I'm a huge Brett Piper fan and had a deep love for many
of their titles. I had become friends with cult Director Tim Ritter (Truth
or Dare, Killing Spree) and asked him what he thought about the company. I
had already sent out a screener to one distributor and
they wanted the film, but we were not happy with the terms. Tim gave
Alternative Cinema President Micheal Raso a heads up
about the film and I was asked to send in a screener. I sent off the film
and within a couple of days I got word back from Mike that they loved it
and wanted to distribute it. I was thrilled! Our first
feature and we landed a legitimate distribution deal. That does not happen
too often. You can learn more about the company at www.Alternativecinema.com.
debut feature film. How did you get into filmmaking to begin with, and
what did you do prior to Stash?
Stash was my
first feature film as a director. I had worked on a few
other feature films on the crew and done some editing for some other
people. I have always been into films and had done many
little short films with my friends and family. I just decided that I
wanted to make my own feature. I had gained a lot of
technical experience from working in the TV industry for about 10 years. I
actually learned to edit on Non-Linear systems at the TV station and how
to operate broadcast quality cameras, and learned the
basics of lighting. I received a degree in Radio and
Television Broadcasting in '98, but learned more in the first few months at
the TV station than my entire time in school.
you have also directed a documentary, Haunted Kentucky: The Spirits of
Bluegrass - a documentary that interestingly also has a horror theme.
What can you tell us about that film?
Right now that film
is in post production. We have shot hundreds of hours of footage, so this
one is going to take a while to finish up. That one I financed myself so I
guess I have as long as I need to complete it to my satisfaction. I must
mention my great producer and chief investigator Bill Scott, without him
this film would have never been shot. I plan on having it completed
sometime in 2010.
Apart from that,
you have also co-produced the documentary Seven Signs: Music, Myth
& the American South, directed by J.D.Wilkes. A few words about
That was a adventure that I will never forget.
We met some of the must brilliantly unique people in the world.
It was great to work with J.D. and
my good friend and fellow filmmaker Blake Judd.
One thing I will never forget is waiting in
Adams Tennessee with Blake on the railroad track for three hours in the
100 degree heat to get a shot of the train. We did a segment on the Bell
Witch and we actually got to stay on the Bell farm. I
have to admit, I was a bit freaked by sleeping there. I
walk away with many fond memories with that production. I
think Todd Tue did a really great job with editing.
Having worked in both feature and documentary
filmmaking, which one do you prefer?
It's tough. I really
like both of them. There is a certain charm about capturing something in
the moment with a documentary. Film is a bit more like
a stage production without the stage and the live audience. I
would have to say film, because I love the production aspect of it and
also the directing and editing. They all work together, and having your
hands on all areas is a lot of fun, and for me essential.
Any future projects
you'd like to talk about?
Right now I am about to finish
principle photography on my new feature Red River.
It's a story that I co-wrote with my good friend and
fellow filmmaker Gregory W. Brock. I was approached by the distributor (Alternative
Cinema) due do the success of Stash and was
asked to shoot a film for them. They asked me to come up with a concept,
and Red River was what came out of that. I had wanted to do a film based
around that area for some time. The name was too
When it comes to filmmaking,
you are pretty much a hands-on guy, doing everything from writing,
directing and producing to cinematography and editing, with even a bit of
acting on the side. Is there any aspect you actually prefer, or any you
could do without?
That is a tough one actually. I truly do love all
aspects of it. The writing process is a lot of fun. There is this
adrenaline type rush that goes on with it. When the dialogue and story is
unfolding under your fingertips, or note pad. I do
still write a lot of free hand, there is nothing like
that feeling. Sometimes after I write a scene I will go back and not even
remember doing it. It is very trance like at times. Another
cool thing about that process is co-writing with my partner Gregory W.
Brock. We have written two feature length scripts together now and the
process has truly been unbelievable. I don't think there is another person
on the planet that I could do that process with. It's as
if we are on the same wave link or something when we write together. I can
start a scene and write a few pages, then send it back and he will pick up
and add something to it, that maybe I would not have thought of. The scary
part is we constantly pick up on each other's ideas and
will come up with the almost exact same shit or story ideas. Pre-production other than the script is the most important stage of
production. I cannot stress this enough. The way that
this film came about is we are pretty much under the gun. We have a very
limited amount of time to get the film done and handed over to the distributor. With
Stash, a film that lingered on for years, I now had to
turn one over from concept to a finished film in around six months. The
whole process has been a whirlwind, and I feel that some of our
pre-production might have been a bit rushed. We were lucky enough to have
so many talented people around us that we pulled it off. Let me also add
scheduling is so important. Keeping things rolling and on schedule is
crucial. You need a solid person on the set that this is one of their key
roles. Usually the AD handles this task alongside the production manager.
These are key roles.
The production phase whenever all of your hard
work in pre-production and scriptwriting is complete, now you get to see
your vision come to life. I refer my projects to a movie fetus. Whenever I
get that initial idea that is the moment the egg is fertilized. I then go
into the scriptwriting stage and that little sucker
starts to sprout some arms and legs. As we go into production
the fetus begins to grow inside the womb. During editing the baby is
nearing its completion. After all of the many hours of cooking that movie
fetus it's time for its birth. The birth is the first time you show your
completed movie fetus to a real audience. Will they accept it? After that
screening the film will hopefully be able to walk on it's on.
I know that is a silly little analogy but I have always thought of it that
The production part of it can be very stressful at
times. It can be tons of fun, but you will run into many problems
guaranteed. It's all about what you can do on the spot to make the shot
happen. So all in all the editing process is my favorite. All the stress
of getting the shot ready, dealing with the outside elements that you deal
with in an outside shoot, worrying about coming in under budget, dealing
with that crazy person who got on your set and tried to extort you, you
get the idea. As long as you got your coverage on set than the editing
process for me is tons of fun and very little stress. This is where all
the hard work pays off, and you soon forget about all of the little
aggravating things that happened to you during production.
What can you tell us about your
production company, TuckyWood Productions?
TuckyWood Productions in late 2003. I wanted to be an official
company and be an LLC before I started Stash. After we wrapped Stash
I made the leap, and operated the company full time. I
shoot a lot of TV commercials and music videos. That is a big part of my
income. I hope to be able to make enough money from filmmaking to do it
full time. People think that because you have your movie in major rental
chains and retail outlets that you are rich or something. I will tell you
that the odds of that happening while making indie films, are really slim.
It's all about building your resume and keep getting your work out there
for a mass audience to see. Hopefully this will lead me to some bigger
or your company's website/MySpace/Facebook/whatever else?
who inspire you?
of the first horror films I remember watching as a kid was Night
of the Living Dead, so of course George Romero has been a huge influence. Llyod
Kaufman is another one. I would spend my late night weekends watching USA's
Up All Night, and getting hooked on Troma films, especially
The Toxic Avenger. And wrote a sequel to it when I was like 9. Sam Raimi has
inspired me immensely. Some other indie filmmakers I respect is Brett
Bite Me), I love his work.
I think Eric Stanze (Deadwood Park, Ratline) [Eric
Stanze interview - click here] does some good stuff,
Ryan Cavalline (Day of the Ax) [Ryan
Cavalline interview - click here], Scott Goldberg (The Day They
Came Back) [Scott Goldberg
interview - click here],
Jerry Williams (Purvos, Zeppo), Tim Ritter (Killing Spree,
Truth or Dare).
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
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Your favourite films?
a big fan of 80's horror. There are so many I don't even know where to
start. A few of my all-time favorites are: Killer
Klowns from Outer Space, Gremlins, The Monster Squad,
Night of the Creeps,
of the Living Dead, Dead Alive and The
and of course some films you deplored?
The kind of films I hate are really
Blockbuster type films. I get really bored with huge budget action stuff.
I know that sounds odd maybe but I really don't care for Super Hero movies
or multimillion dollar action films. I absolutely hate Romantic Comedies,
and movies where black dudes dress up like old black woman.
I like my movies like I like my woman, dirty
and cheap. I would rather watch a B-Movie any day. I even like Z grade
films. I respect anyone that actually gets off their ass and makes a film.
People have no freaking idea how hard it is to make a feature film, until
they get out there and try it. A completed film gets the utmost respect
out of me for sure. Even if it needs some work it's a great accomplishment.
There are tons of people who will sit around and bash non-Hollywood films
and say they are not real or whatever. Hey it has picture and sound and
acting (most of the time). What is fake about that? There will be more
people that will try and bring you down than up. Just ignore the naysayers
and make your film. I can't tell you how many people over the years have
come up to me and said hey I'm making a movie. Most of the time they never
do, and all they do is make excuses and talk about it. They will say
well when I get that new camera that is coming out I will shoot it, or I
don't have enough money , or insert reason here. Just because you
might not have access to all of the fancy new gear on the market, you
don't need it. When you start out, hell use your mom and dad's old VHS
camcorder that is collecting dust in the closet. It's not about the
equipment when you first get started (or anytime really). Just go out with
your friends and start shooting something. About all respected filmmakers
I like got their start when they were kids making their little backyard
movies with friends. You will learn hands-on and each time you will get
better. Study up on the subject and help out on other people's projects.
One more thing is, don't start out shooting a feature or an
over-ambitious action script. Start shooting short films with things that
are accessible around you. Do you have a gnarly old rusted out truck in
your back yard? Add that to a scene, maybe make it a sub plot in your
film. Just get out there and do it, and as I like to say "Let's shoot
Thanks for the interview!