Your new series On
the Trail of Bigfoot - in a few words, what is it about?
the Trail of Bigfoot is a concise look at the entire history of
subject as well as an in-depth investigation into the
the Trail of Bigfoot incidently isn't the first documentary of
yours that tackles Bigfoot
- so what makes you return to the topic time and again, and what's your
distinct spin on the topic this time around?
I think what sets it apart is the fact that all Small
Town Monsters films are centered around one small town or
geographical region and we cover that area's monster case without really
delving too deep into the phenomenon that case is a part of. For instance,
Boggy Creek Monster
is a documentary about the monster itself, the
sightings of the creature and how they’ve affected the town of Fouke,
Arkansas, but it doesn’t go into where that case is placed within the
larger scope of the Bigfoot
the Trail of Bigfoot not only
takes a look at some of these cases but places them within that wider
framework of the history of “Squatchdom”.
It’s also the first of our projects that I’ve appeared in. Also,
part of what sets the On the Trail of… series apart from our films
is the fact that we actually go out into the forests (or Lake Champlain in
the case of the first On the Trail ... of miniseries) and take part in, and
document ongoing searches.
you tell us about your research for On
the Trail of Bigfoot prior to filming?
most of the research was just knowledge of the subject that I’d acquired
in the… 12ish years that I’ve been into this. I got into all of this
through historical newspaper accounts of large apes and much of that work
is on display in the first episode.
about the interviewees in your series for a bit, and how did you find them
Well, I knew going into this project that a lot of
the people I was going to interview weren’t television personalities or
celebrities. I just wanted to have people on camera who are genuine in
their fascination with the subject and who know what they’re talking
about while also being a good representative for all the various types of
researchers and investigators out there. Obviously, most people who are into
Coleman, but some folks like Marc Myrsell not so much.
Marc is actually a great example of someone who’s really knowledgable
about his one specific area of research who doesn’t get a lot of
screen-time in mainstream shows or films about the subject.
With some of your interviewees, you've also been
on (in lack of a better term) Bigfoot-hunts
- so could you at all describe those experiences?
was a part of 3 different “expeditions” during the filming of the
series; one in southern Ohio, another in Western Pennsylvania and probably
the most intensive was in Southeastern Oklahoma. They were all
dramatically different from each other but each one helped illustrate a
specific approach to the actual search for Bigfoot. In the case of the
Ohio investigation, the guys that took us out in the woods are really just
looking for some sort of interaction with what they perceive as Bigfoot
while the Oklahoma group is actively in one area of the Ouachita Mountains
for months on end and they’re in there to prove scientifically that the
that in On
the Trail of Bigfoot, you didn't find any evidence for (or
against) the existence of Bigfoot,
do you believe in the existence of the creature at all, and how has making
your series changed your perception on the whole subject?
I’d argue that there was evidence in favor of the creature’s
existence all around us. People are finding footprints in the forests made
by something large that can walk upright that occasionally defies the
“hoax” explanation. People are recounting seeing things that
shouldn’t exist behind their own homes as well as the more densely
forested area of the US. Obviously, eyewitness accounts always have to be
taken with a grain of salt but there are thousands of those reports, and if
we write off 99 percent as hoax or misidentification you’re still left
with hundreds that seem to point toward the existence of such a creature.
At the same time, why don’t we have a body? Why don’t we have a
clear modern-day photo? I have all the same skeptical questions as anyone
else who applies some critical thinking to this subject.
My perception of the subject definitely has shifted. I’m much more
open to the possibility that these things exist than I was coming into
this project. I also have a greater love for the outdoors and the wild
lands of North America which is probably the biggest takeaway from the
entire endeavor for me. A bigger appreciation for what we do know exists
than for what we’re still trying find.
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of On
the Trail of Bigfoot, and did the series make any waves in the
The series is the most successful launch we’ve had since our film
The Mothman of Point Pleasant. It was in the top 20 best-selling new
releases on Amazon for 4 weeks straight (climbing as high as number 11 at
one point) and it was the best selling new release title in the Horror
and Documentary genres on Amazon multiple times during the last five
weeks. The Bigfoot
community seems to be enjoying it, with a lot of
discussion being raised by episode 5 between the “no-kill” and
“pro-kill” Bigfooters. I honestly just hope that people watch this
series and have a new perspective on the subject. If that’s the case
then the entire thing is a win to me.
future projects you'd like to share?
We actually just
wrapped post production on our eighth feature, Terror in the Skies, and we
start shooting our ninth this Friday titled Momo: The Missouri Monster.
Terror in the Skies is a look at the winged monster sightings around the
state of Illinois starting with Thunderbirds and ending with the Chicago
Mothman. Momo is a loving tribute to 70s drive-in Sasquatch horror movies
like Creature from
Black Lake and Legend of Boggy Creek. Past that, we
start shooting The Mothman Legacy later this year followed by The Mark of
the Bell Witch.
What got you into
filmmaking, and into documentary filmmaking at that, in the first place,
and did you receive any formal training on the subject?
guess my mom must be to blame for my love of film. She got me hooked on
Hammer Horror and Ray Harryhausen movies at a young age and that love of
something like Harryhausen, especially, was what opened my eyes to
filmmaking as a craft. I wanted to make movies as a kid but it took years
to get to the point where I actually did it and now that I’m doing it I
probably draw, subconsciously, on a lot of the things I learned from
reading books about making movies growing up. I never received any formal
training, outside of watching a lot of Film Riot and Indie Mogul on
YouTube and taking some online classes in stuff like lighting and audio.
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to On
the Trail of Bigfoot?
We started making movies in 2014 with Minerva Monster, which was a local
case here in Ohio. I think our total budget was maybe around $500?
Something like that. Anyway, that movie took off and ended up making some
money so we took that money and put it into making another movie called
Beast of Whitehall that has gone on to become one of our best-received
docs. We did Boggy Creek Monster in 2016 followed by
The Mothman of Point
Pleasant and Invasion on Chestnut Ridge in 2017, followed by The Flatwoods
Monster, On the Trail of Champ and The Bray Road Beast last year. We
crowdfund everything at the start of the year and that’s actually been
really fun to watch grow over our five campaigns. The first campaign
raised around 6000 and our most recent closed at just over 56k.
Our biggest objective continues to be growing the quality of what
we’re putting out so that when it’s all done you can look back and
just see the through-line of our growth as filmmakers. I think that will
be pretty evident watching something like Minerva Monster and then
watching Terror in the Skies. It’s night and day.
Even besides your Bigfoot-documentaries,
you quite often tackle cryptozoological topics in your movies - so why is
that, and what do you find fascinating about the whole subject to begin
Yeah, well, I got into the paranormal and
cryptozoology with no intention of making movies about it. I just thought
the subjects were fascinating and fun; even if I didn’t believe in the
factual reality of a lot of the phenomena I was reading or learning about
I found the stories so fascinating. Which I think just boils down to a
love of the unknown in all its facets and forms.
Filmmakers who inspire you?
this question. I mentioned Harryhausen and he was definitely the first but
I love the work of David Lean and Alfred Hitchcock. I’m a huge fan of
Cameron Crowe and Spielberg. Billy Wilder is a favorite. Richard
Linklater, Kevin Smith, and Soderbergh were all guys who taught me a lot
about filmmaking through behind the scenes extras on DVDs. Stupid as that
may sound. I love Ridley Scott. I could go on. I probably shouldn’t.
is my favorite film, period. But I love Psycho
and Vertigo, Lawrence of Arabia, Rushmore, Dazed
& Confused, Touch of Evil, Double Indemnity… there’s a lot.
Within the genre I make my living now, I’m a big fan of Charles Pierce
who directed The Legend of Boggy Creek and The Town that Dreaded Sundown,
and I watch a lot of old 70s Bigfoot horror movies; I adore Creature from
... and of course, films you really
I’m over the Marvel
movies. Probably over most
gore-porn horror too. This is a total cop-out but as a filmmaker, I find
it hard to really hate anyone else’s work. Getting a movie finished is,
in itself, a minor miracle so even if I don’t care for something I
understand a lot of time and effort and even love went into the worst
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results?
The links below
will take you
and Onthetrailof.tv are the
best places to find us. We’re on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and I
co-host a Small
Town Monsters podcast called Monsteropolis that delves into
a lot of weird subjects.
Anything else you're dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
Not really. Next year is the five year anniversary of Small
Town Monsters so we have a ton of cool stuff planned for next
year’s Kickstarter. Stay tuned for that.
Thanks for the interview!