Thanks so much, I really appreciate you checking that out!
Yeah, the thing with the horror films is that if you have a decent cover for the DVD, ANYTHING can actually get released. There are very few barriers to entry. The problem, though, is that hardly any filmmakers (I actually can't think of any) make enough money to quit their day job. Quite often, they make no money at all. So there are a lot of companies out there, straight-to-DVD distributors, that are just taking advantage of a certain situation: that people will rent and check out literally ANYTHING with a cool looking horror filmey-type cover. This is especially true at brick and mortar stores like Blockbuster, where the cool cover gets a lot of face-time with the customer, sitting right next to the latest big Hollywood releases.
I just think the landscape of indie film has changed so dramatically that it's almost unrecognizable to where it was just a few years ago. Part of it is the cost of technology coming down more than anyone had anticipated, and the other part is that the major festivals increasingly let in so few actual 'indies.' And to me, that means films completed... whoa, just had an earthquake here... 5.0... ok, regaining composure. That was pretty rough. ANYWHO... to me, indie means a film completed for less than 100k with no 'names' attached that guarantee distribution. I'm sorry to say it, but the 'entry fees' are a total crock of shit, especially 'late entry' fees, where the programs are probably already printed, but it's a way to make another $80 a pop off of a bunch of poor filmmakers. I'd pay money to see an expose on the actual process inside most festivals as I hardly see anyone in the major media calling them out on their B.S. I've had friends get films into major festivals (the Iraq doc Severe Clear was in South by Southwest this year) and friends NOT get into festivals with great work, and there is practically no rhyme or reason to it. When there is, it's political, like I said in the interview... and again, by political, I mean BOTH that it's who you know AND that your film needs to be some kind of 'message' film or doc, which shuts out a lot of people who are saying things but not being so obvious about it. You know... couching it in a "story".
And yeah, with the website and the poster, I figured that I have to play up the horror aspects so that a distributor can see a way to sell it. To be honest, if I could go back, I would have shot a science fiction/horror film, because I think if you can really pull that off, it's the path of least resistance to being able to quit the day job and make films for a living. There are just too many horror indies being made to rise above all the noise, and even if you do (like the Crook brothers with Salvage), you're still scraping together money to make another film. If you can somehow pull off science fiction on a budget and make it really compelling, it's as surefire a way as I can think of to get into the studio system.
Which brings me to the sci-fi Lonely Girl thing! Basically, it's episodic content for the web that I'm working on with some of the same people from Timid, and it revolves around a character named Woods Ulmann who wrote a book about alien abduction and has now decided to start a blog and to begin videotaping and posting his experiences. We shot four episodes (6-10 minutes long each) but the one I'm most excited about is the actual 'abduction/visitation' episode, which has come out much better than I expected in terms of effects and sound design. We (me, the co-producer, the actor playing Woods, and the tiny crew) want to tell a cool story with a lot of puzzle elements that all come together in the end. Hopefully, it could become something bigger if it's successful online but... I'm honestly trying not to think about that. I'm also writing two different versions of a feature with this character, one that could be done low budget and the other on a larger budget... so when I'm done, I'll definitely send you a copy!
USC's summer programs are pretty awesome. They just plunge you into filmmaking 24 hours a day, almost 7 days a week, and the industry exposure is great too. There are often industry people at the school for one reason or another that you run into, some of them are even on staff, and the Universal class in particular is great for the guest speakers and getting to shoot your 16mm project on the actual backlot.