us about the feature films you are releasing in 2013:
2013 will be a lucky year for Dear Skyyler Productions. Dear
Skyyler Productions is the group of filmmakers Alex Zizopoulos, Joel
Brook, and myself (Jack Skyyler). And
three of our features will be releasing this year:
Night Aboard the Salem
Isabel: a Love Story
the Hunt for Bigfoot
Your most recent film Skookum: The Hunt for Bigfoot - in a few
words, what is it about?
Skookum: The Hunt for Bigfoot is an adventure/thriller/horror film.
Itís set in the swamps of northern Louisiana.
To me itís a little bit like the Bigfoot-version of
with more crazy rednecks and a big twist at the end.
Actually to save myself from talking, check out the teaser: http://dearskyyler.com/skookum/trailer.html
What drew you to the project actually,
and how did it get off the ground in the first place?
Conveniently for me the
answer to both questions is: Debi King McMartin the writer/producer.
Debi is a great person, easy to work with, kind, personable.
The kind of person you wanted to go to bat for.
Debi was the one who drew me into the project, and that same
wonderful personality of hers drew in the necessary team to make the film
happen: Kristi Hale, Ginger Cerio, Chevy White, Shanda Lee Munson, Rob
Gaudet, and many, many more people who made this film work.
talk about Skookum: The Hunt for Bigfoot's writers Debi King
McMartin and Lyn Morgan for a bit, and what was your collaboration like?
I canít say I actually did much writing on the
script for Skookum. I added 5
or 6 scenes. But working with
them was great. Early in
pre-production I spent a lot of time sitting in Lyn Morganís living room
with Debi King McMartin talking through different little twists and
adjustments for the script which we wanted to make.
I got to both respect them as writers and love them as people.
beind a central theme of Skookum - do you at all have a personal
interest in cryptozoology and the like?
I do have a definite interest in cryptozoology.
An example I love is the dragon.
The dragon is a ďmythĒ retold by virtually every culture from
all 6 inhabited continents. But
today we firmly believe the dragon never existed.
Even when some of the accounts of dragons come from reputable sources of
their time. We as a culture
have decided whatever we believe in, whatever our science says is true.
Itís very similar to the type of closed minded thinking that
dominated the Dark Ages.
How did you approach your story at hand from a directorial point of view?
In directing this story I
attempted to tell the writerís story.
Iíve usually directed what Iíve written.
And thus I have a lot of respect for writers.
So I wanted to tell the story they created the way they wanted it
created. Thatís why it was
important to me to spend so much time with Debi King McMartin and Lyn
Morgan so that I could understand how they would have made the film.
you can tell us about your intended cast yet?
you of course also have to talk about your creature effects for a bit!
we kept the actual Bigfoot very minimal in this film.
When we were working on this film we often used Jaws as a guideline
for what we wanted to achieve. In
Jaws they rarely ever actually showed a shark they just maintained the
fear of the sharkís presence. Albeit
when we actually did bring bigfoot into the film we relied heavily on
Shane Dzicek to setup and execute the stunts with Bigfoot leaping onto and
attacking the moving vehicles.
According to my
information, you have shot at least parts of Skookum: The
Hunt for Bigfoot in the Louisiana Swamps during rainy season. So what
were the advantages as well as challenges in that, and in hindsight, was
it a good idea? And what can you tell us about the shoot as such?
Actually, we shot during the rainy season - but it
only actually rained twice! So
that wasnít a problem at all! The
biggest problem was: When I arrived on location it was brutally hot for
the first week. So I selected
all costumes appropriate to the heat.
Then when we began filming the temperature plummeted.
We had many nights below freezing which made working very
difficult. Particularly one
scene where Dianne Renee had to fall into quicksand.
The soupy water was so cold it would have been unbearable; but what
we did was fill up 50 gallon tubs with hot water and just before the
beginning of the take we poured the hot water into the ďquicksandĒ.
The hot water brought the overall temperature up to a bathwater-like temperature and then we shot out the scene.
Actually again I have to thank Dianna for her incredible
professionalism in doing what was needed to get that pivotal scene done!
I love Dianna!
when and where the movie might be released onto the general public yet?
and weíll get you more details as the time approaches.
also talk about another film of yours, Night aboard the Salem - we
have already talked about this elsewhere [click
here], but bring us up to speed, what is it about?
on the U.S.S. Salem itself - what was that like, and what can you
tell us about the on-set atmosphere?
Jerry Dwyer jr
Salem is believed to be haunted not only by the public, but by most
the shipís staff. When the
shipís staff heard that we were staying aboard the U.S.S. Salem, many of
them were disturbed by the fact that we were staying aboard overnight due
to their fear of the hauntings. So
being aboard the ship was like an adventure, not only in the coolness of
living on board a World War II battleship, but the sort of spooky vibe.
It was a totally unique experience and actually, cool thing, I,
Jack Skyyler, having been on the ship in both pre- and part of post-production, have lived longer aboard the U.S.S.
Salem than any other person since about 1960!
Thatís kind of cool! Anyway,
I felt like a kind of a captain walking those long dark corridors.
Actually, we had a shaman aboard the ship with us (one of our crew
members), and he described the ďhauntingĒ of the ship as a spirit of
pride. This ship was
constructed during World War II and launched right about the end of the
way. So the shaman described
the ďhauntingĒ as a spirit in oneís nation, oneís work, and
particularly this massive 717 foot heavy gun cruiser!
And honestly, I can say I agree with that.
Everyone of our crew feels that connection to the ship, a sense of
possession and pride. The U.S.S.
Salem gets under your skin, and I canít wait to go back to shoot Haunted
How did you
approach your film from a directorial point of view, and what can you tell
us about your collaboration with your co-directors Joel Brook and Alex
Directing particularly when youíre directing and
producing, itís hell. Itís
the hardest thing you could ever possibly do.
So the key to directing is find people you believe in and trust,
and then you and your comrades go to war.
You just have to talk about your key cast,
and why exactly these people?
Jerry Dwyer Jr. [Jerry Dwyer interview
- click here], Anna Shields [Anna
Shields interview - click here], and Vanessa Gall all
played in the award winning short film Infested Ship, which we (Dear
Skyyler Productions) shot aboard the U.S.S.
Salem. Actually Anna
Shields is an actress whom you already wrote a story about primarily
discussing her amazing film Little
Bi Peep .
Anyway, Jerry Dwyer Jr. and Anna Shields made a
beautiful screen couple and honestly, the leads in Night aboard the Salem were written for them.
Please check out the short film Infested
Ship here: http://www.dearskyyler.com/infestedship/film.html
Ice was the most interesting cast. After
seeing her audition I really wanted to work with her, but she didnít fit
any of the parts. So I changed
a male character into a female character so that we could get her in the
Medvicick, this guyís a damn rockstar.
He brought things to the character that I would never have
imagined, watching him perform was like Christmas morning, seeing new and
Since this film was a documentary-style of found
footage, the actors were operating their own cameras, and Joe Michael
Philips played the camera character. He
actually did a beautiful job running the camera.
Gave it a lot of life and maintained a professional looking
Again, any idea when and
where the film will be released onto the general public?
Night aboard the Salem will also be releasing
Tell us about your film Isabel: a Love Story!
a Love Story
is a feature romance/drama about a broken family.
Jon Briddell (Copycat), Emmy-Award-Winning Actress Sharon Wright,
Joanne Willson, and Benjamin "Coach" Wade (Survivor).
Jon Briddell stars as an ex-husband / failed-father,
who's unable to move on after his wife, Isabel, left him, and he's lost touch
with his daughter; and in this story he has one last chance to redeem
himself when his daughter needs to move back in with him for health
reasons at the same time heís had to rent out a room in his home to a
woman in the midst of bad divorce. So
heís forced to deal with both falling in love again and rebuilding a
relationship with his daughter.
Itís a simple, subtle, beautiful drama.
And itís possibly favorite film Iíve worked on.
Iím actually not going to talk about it too much at
the moment. Iíll be
releasing a trailer in the next few weeks.
And youíll be able to find it through the Facebook page:
written by Monica Moehring and directed by Tim Moehring.
I am also co-producing Dance of the Mescaline Spiders with Glynn Prasael.
This is a film you actually covered in this interview with Glynn Praesel [click
here], and again, thanks for that coverage.
Anyway I am producing Haunted
Ship along with the rest of the Dear Skyyler Production team and
weíre very excited to announce the film will be directed by Joe
Charbanic, director of The Watcher
which was #1 at the box office for 2 weeks running.
This film will also be shooting aboard the U.S.S.
Salem (the shooting location of Night
aboard the Salem).
Anything else you
are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
Oh, as is standard with Indie films: In wrapping up Skookum:
The Hunt for Bigfoot, we need to raise some more money to complete
post-production appropriately so weíre raising fund through various
fundraisers and through a site called GoFundMe:
But I donít like
people who just demand other peopleís money for no return, so we built
in a bunch of cool things! Like
you can get a digital download of the film for $10!
(Thatís a great deal!) Or
you can get an executive producer credit in the film and IMDb, you get
to come to the world premiere and walk the red carpet with stars youíve
seen in theater like: Paul Logan (Code
Red), Shane Dzicek (Surrogates),
David Joseph Martinez (X-Men: First
Class), and Tom Malloy (The Alphabet Killer).
my favorite: For $600, I will make you your own 30 second short animated
film in 3D! And Iím so
confident about the success of this, if we agree on the story, Iíll
guarantee you get an award on it in festivals or Iíll give you your
money back! And if you donít
have a story in mind you can borrow one of my mini stories, and we can do
it together! How can that be
beaten? You get to write and
co-direct an award-winning animated 3D film!
Robots and rats,
demons and potholes, cuddly toys and shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between, Tales to Chill Your Bones to is all of that.
Tales to Chill Your Bones to -
a collection of short stories and mini-plays ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle,
all thought up by the twisted mind of screenwriter and film reviewer Michael Haberfelner.
Tales to Chill Your Bones to
the new anthology by Michael Haberfelner