Larry & The Monsters was actually one of the first movies I ever made alongside Keith Melcher. The second film, in fact. Keith was the one who came up with the original script, which was simply called, "Vampire Short." You can still see the original concept video on our YouTube channel. Shortly after making the movie though, Keith and I both had a mutual epiphany: that it could make for an interesting show. We co-wrote and developed four more episodes featuring a completely different cast and they were made much the same as the first one. We then had some casting issues and the show got put on hold for about three years, while we worked on other things. I always really, really, really, really wanted to go back and revisit the concept so I got an idea and ran with it and wrote the current "reimagining" of the show on my own. Keith came back on board as a producer and reprised his role as the title character, and we were able to hire on professional DP Shaun O'Connel out of Aberdeen, South Dakota.
Any plans for Larry and his crew in the future?
As for the future of the series, I actually came up with a concept and Keith and I co-wrote what was supposed to be the 2nd season of Larry & The Monsters. However, we got a little more ambitious this time around and we've thus far been unable to secure the funding. The show itself has been struggling to find an audience. Not enough friends and family sharing the videos on social media, etc. It took almost the full three years that the first season has been up to get episode one over 1000 views. The other episodes are still struggling. If we can ever get the funding for season 2 then we will definitely make it. But until then it's sort of taking a back seat to other projects. I hate doing that because it really is a passion project for me, but there's just no way I could ask anyone to do this season for free. Too much work would have to go into it to make it the way we want to make it and it wouldn't be fair to the rest of the cast and crew to work for free. I'm always willing to sacrifice the paycheck to make my own projects but it's tough to ask others to do the same.
You seem to do it all! You produce, act, direct, write, etc. Do you have a favorite?
Acting will always be my first passion, but directing is a VERY close second. Writing is fun but, I have a hard time finishing scripts due to my anxiety. It's too easy to talk myself out of it. So I really have to run with an idea when I get it because if I wait too long, I completely lose interest.
What are some of your biggest challenges as an independent filmmaker?
The biggest challenge as an independent filmmaker is just getting a movie made. Finding local talent and crew that actually have a passion for filmmaking and aren't just there for the fun of it. Don't get me wrong, I love to have fun with filmmaking, you always should, but there comes a time where passion and desire need to trump fun so we're not waiting four months for everyone to get their schedules straight. It can be frustrating working around people's personal lives but, when you live in small town South Dakota, the "pickins' are slim" as they would say.
I'm intrigued by the Dead End teaser trailer. What can you tell us about this story?
Dead End was a story I collaborated on with a buddy, Kris Monroe. We wrote it together, intending to make it together but, he got busy with other things and I eventually just sort of took the reigns on it. It's intended to be a dramatic zombie film but that might change, depending on the digital FX guy and whether or not he can fix certain bits of footage. As for the story, it's about a mother and daughter surviving in a world overrun with the undead. At its heart, it's all about family versus survival. Maternal instincts versus survival instincts.
What direction do you see horror movies going in the future?
Horror movies have come a long way but, at their core, I feel like horror films are very much the same as they always were. Netflix and VOD have been a bit of a game-changer, as far as securing distribution. I see sooooooo many movies, some of which are just so absurd (perhaps even too absurb to have ever been made) and they are getting an awful lot of attention. That probably wouldn't have happened back in the 80's and 90's (though the 80's certainly had its fair share of questionable horror films). There are almost too many "bad" horror films these days. Like it has become a competition to see who can make the "best" worst horror film. I'm really hoping that more filmmakers step up and focus on making more intelligent horror films. It's been a while since I saw something that actually scared me AND made me feel something.
What's up next for Magic-Time Films?
Right now, Magic-Time Films is working on putting together a couple more shorts. Keith Melcher has his first feature horror film that was just released on Redbox and Amazon Video yesterday called "Bonejangles." We have a new horror feature which I wrote alongside Mr. Melcher called "Something," that we are slated to begin filming June 1st of 2018. We are currently in talks with Erin Hogan ("Paranormal Entity", "Hold Your Breath", "Ray Donovan") to star alongside myself, as well as Apryl Crowel of "Zombie Isle," and Allison Berg ("Until Forever", "Zombies"). I'm really excited for it. It's an homage/satire of the "unseen" monster. The first "origin" teaser was just released a couple of weeks ago. Otherwise, I'm just trying to get "Dead End" finished and focus on a personal project called "Alone," which is a psychological drama about a man who suffers from a strange form of OCD called Mal-Adaptive Daydreaming.