Your upcoming movie Velvet Vengeance - in a few words, what
is it about?
A young woman goes to hunt the person that
killed her brother but little does she know that she is going up against
an ax wielding maniac that dresses like a doll.
Little does the killer know the simple girl next door is a grade A
all American bad ass with a big gun. It's a good time for the whole
Velvet Vengeance is based on a short
film of yours by the same name. So what can you tell us about the short,
what inspired you to expand it to feature length, and what are the main
differences between the short and the long version?
The short honestly
started as a practice film but then really took off. People really liked
the idea of the girl next door becoming a bad ass. I started working on
the feature length script while I was shooting the short. It just felt
like there was more to the story that I was not able to include in the
short. Then once the short did what it did I decided that I should dust
off the script and make a go at it. The
big difference between the short and the feature is me. I've grown so much
as a filmmaker since that short. Now with a bigger budget, a better script
and a better director I think we can deliver a new type of horror film. A
hybrid of more old school hands-on action in the style of The
Billy Jack and Death Wish meets 80's style horror like A Nightmare On Elm
Street 4 and Friday the 13th Part 6.
inspired you to write Velvet Vengeance to begin with?
The thing that got the ball rolling first was the
Eric Morse novel Jason's Curse. It was a Friday
the 13th-novel that I read
when I was maybe 12. If you're a Friday
the 13th-fan then it's a really
fun read. I was writing a fan film based around that when I decided to go
ahead and throw out the Friday
the 13th-thing and make it more personal.
The longer I've lived with the story the more different elements have come
can you tell us about your directorial approach to your subject at hand,
and the intended look and feel of your movie?
The approach to this movie is trying to use all the
various tools to get a reaction out of the audience. When I'm planning my
shots I'm trying to do it in a way that will draw the audience in and let
them really jump feet first into the world that I'm creating. I want them
to have the same feeling I got the first time I saw Billy Jack kick the
shit out of the bad guys, or the feeling I got the first time I watched A
Nightmare On Elm Street and the mystery of Freddy was being revealed. Even
the feeling I get when I listen to Anthrax' Inside Out and I get that surge
of power that makes you feel like really getting out and doing something.
This movie in some ways feels likes it's been 29 years in the making. It's
made of so many elements from my various influences.
The look is going to be a late 80's early 90's action film mixed with
a top notch slasher film with a few western elements tied in cause nothing
beats a good western.
of Velvet Vengeance suggests quite a bit of gore. So how far are
you going in that direction, is there a line you refuse to cross, and how
important are blood and guts for your movie to begin with?
To me gore serves two purposes. One is the punchline
to a joke. It's almost like a 3 Stooges short.
Hatchet and Tucker and Dale
VS Evil are perfect examples. I plan on using gore for laughs during a few
scenes but the other purpose is to show the true lethal nature of the
killer. This is honestly more of the action influence. A good example
would be Predator. You're dealing with a very deadly killer. Yes we have a
strong hero but she is going up against someone that has no regard for
human life. A person that will tear into someone with an ax just to see
the look on their face before they die. So for this movie gore is more
important than movies I've done in the past. Luckily I've got a very good
effects artist that is loving the idea of getting to deliver these
effects. The line I refuse to cross is using gore to substitute for story.
If the story calls for gore, I'm more than happy to break out the guts, but
if you need extreme close ups of horrific violence or sloppy gore simply
cause you don't have a script worth bragging about then you're making
nothing more than a violent porno.
what I've heard, you also plan to feature quite a few strong fight
sequences in Velvet Vengeance - so what can you tell us about that
aspect of your film, and your preparations for those scenes?
You're going to see some major old school throw
downs. Luckily I don't have to do much to get ready other than plan but
our star Andee Martin is training 5 days a week to get ready. She working
on kickboxing, grappling, boxing and strength and conditioning. Not to
mention she is going to start gun training soon. She is already used to
handling guns but she has to pull off a few John Woo style tricks in the
movie. I'm a huge fight fan, and I've got a little training so I'm writing
the fight scenes myself based on what I would like to see in a movie.
Expect to see a few Aikido throws, some BJJ, lots of
Tai and lots of good old fashioned brawling.
can you tell us about your two female leads, Dani Bliss Gavit and Andee
Martin, what makes them perfect for their roles, and how did you first
Dani Bliss Gavit
are perfect for the roles cause they rule. I first worked with Dani during
a photo shoot. It was a burlesque style photo shoot inside a funeral home.
Dani is a competitive runner, burlesque performer and huge horror fan. She
is perfect cause she brings 3 key elements to the role of Dolly, our crazed
masked killer. 1 She is an athlete. This helps cause chopping people up
with an ax can be exhausting. 2
She brings the sex appeal. What is more fun than having a female Robert
Englund type that is attractive [Robert
Englund bio - click here]? 3 She knows the horror genre. She loves
the fans and knows how to really be scary.
Martin will be playing
the girl next door that turns into Charles Bronson. Andee really is
Alice. There is not much difference in my eyes. Andee is a great actor and a
even better friend. As a director it's very important to have a familiar
face on each project, someone that will not bail on the project without
notice or create drama cause they are bored. Andee is that person. She
shows up knows her lines, knows her mark and never has a bad thing to say
about anyone on the cast or crew. That is what I value in a actor. PK to
my KR :)
You of course also have to talk about the rest
of your cast for a bit?
We are still putting the cast in place, but the ones
we have lined up are some great ones. Only a few of the original cast will
be coming back. A lot of the characters have changed so we were not able
to bring back everyone, while other actors - who knows why some actors do
what they do lol.
Nathan Ducker is an actor that will be returning. He
played Vince in the short and will be reprising the role again with a few
twists. Nathan is another pro like Andee. He even showed up during the
short on his days off just to help with the crew. Guys like him make
dealing with actors worth while.
Roger Walker is also coming back. He
played Sherriff Kilmaister in the short and is coming back as Sherriff Van
Cleef. Roger is a guy that really brings it. He is going to be bringing
the creepy by the gallon in this one.
is also getting a mini me. You will be seeing a young
that will be played by Kelsey Walton. She is the youngest cast member, but
think she has more credits than anyone else. That kid is always working on
also has parents in this one.
Carl Bailey will be playing her father. We
wanted someone that when you see him you would say that is how she got so
tough and Carl has that factor. His wife will be Joy Freeman Deleon. She
played the psychiatrist in the short and was nominated for best actress
based on that performance.
Taking the role of the psychiatrist in the
feature is Elisa Castillo. We also have a few people coming in for some
hilarious cameos. These include Kevin A Green, Chris Macone and Laiken A
Thompson. We are still casting,
but so far we have a terrific cast. So far so good but there is always a
drama queen lurking in the dark. Let's keep our fingers crossed we avoid
them this go around.
As far as I know, the film is
still in pre-production as we speak. So when will you go into production,
what's your schedule ... and even if it's waaay too early to ask, any idea
when the film's going to be out yet?
We start shooting this May. We are now 3 months away
from rolling and I can't wait. The schedule is 12 days total. The life of
a indie filmmaker right? The plan is to have the movie ready to be
delivered this October. It will not be a full on release cause we are
still looking for a distribution deal, but expect lots of film fest
Any future projects
beyond Velvet Vengeance?
None. I have a ton of scripts written and I'm always
writing but this is it. I'm putting everything I've got into this project.
We have not even started shooting and I've worked harder on this project
than any other. I plan on this movie being a game changer so hopefully the
movie after this will be even bigger.
Let's go back to the
beginnings of your career: What got you into filmmaking in the first
place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?
Film is in my blood. Some of my earliest memory's
from before I stared school is movies. I grew up in video stores. When I
was a kid I would go to local video stores and just hang out. I could not
afford to rent a movie so I would just read the back of the boxes and
spend hours inside cause I wanted to be around movies. It was when I was
25 or 26 when I finally took the leap and started directing. My wife
bought me a $200 camcorder from Best Buy and the next day I made a short
with my nephew as the star. After that I would spend almost every weekend
shooting something. That was my film school. Teaching myself every aspect
of film from the ground up. I would write a short, shoot it, edit it and
show it. Other than that I watched at least one movie a day and read at
least one script a week. As I got better so did the gear and the projects.
Then after a year of that I got into my first film fest and even got
nominated for best short film. Now three years later I'm working on my
first feature and there is a real interest in the project. I'm thankful
and blessed to have even been given a chance to make that first short let
alone be where I am today. I have not slacked either. I know I need to
improve so I still study film, techniques and take my camera out every
chance I get just to practice new camera moves and editing techniques.
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Velvet Vengeance?
I've shot a lot of stuff lol.
It all honestly feels like practice. Every time I start a new
project I know that I'm only going to get better from it so the next time
I do something then it's going to be better than the last. In my first
year of directing I did 6 short films, 2 music videos and 3 online
commercials but I'm proud of each one of those projects. Velvet Vengeance
the feature though really is my calling card. Now is the time to step up
and really show what I can do.
can't help but notice that pretty much all your films are of the horror variety - a
genre at all dear to you, and why?
I've done a few comedies and people enjoyed them, but
yeah ,horror really seems to be the one that I'm know for. The best way that
I can sum it up is that horror films are like the bookmarks of my life. I
grew up with them and have always loved them. If I want to recall a
chapter of my life then I go back to what horror film was I watching at
How would you
describe yourself as a director?
That seems like a question that is better for the
people I've worked with. Just make sure to ask the ones that like me. If
nothing else I would say the best way to describe me as a director is
determined. I try to keep the vibe fun and fast paced on set but I'm able
to do that cause I know way ahead of time what it is I want when I get on
Filmmakers who inspire
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
The biggest influence is John Carpenter. I even keep
his trading card in my wallet with a note that say's you are your way to
reaching this level. To me John Carpenter is a real filmmaker. He is a guy
that knows classic films like Howard Hawks and John Ford. He frames his
shots, edits his movies and writes the scores. He is a guy that is in
charge of his vision and knows what he wants. Sergio Leone, John Woo,
Steven Spielberg, Howard Hawks, George Romero and Wes Craven are a few
Your favourite movies?
Jaws, Once Upon A Time In The
West, Rio Bravo, Texas
Chainsaw Massacre, Escape From New York, Rocky, A Nightmare On Elm
Street, Matinee, Wayne's World, Clueless, Some Kind Of
Wonderful, Hard Boiled, Die Hard, Tucker and Dale VS
Evil, Trick Or Treat - and the list just goes on
... and of
course, films you really deplore?
Rob Zombie remakes, torture porn and
website, Facebook, whatever else?
We have a Facebok page. I suggest everyone add it to
your likes cause we are always updating it with new announcements.
Anything else you are
dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
Dude you covered it all lol.
for the interview!