I can’t think of anyone more creative and resourceful than independent filmmakers, so we are starting an interview series with them. First up is Virginia based horror filmmaker Jonathan A Moody!
He was born and raised in Williamsburg, VA. He started to write scripts at the age of 13 and started acting at the same time. In 2009 he started Sick Flick Productions, a horror and sci fi company, and finished his first feature film “Scary Story Slumber Party” in 2012. He’s done many shorts and acted in other peoples films including “Zombie Isle”, “Plan 9”, and “Bite School”. He is currently shooting his next project, “Echo Lake Massacre,” and he’s got a whole slate more coming up!
Q: Tell me about the projects you have going on now.
A: We are currently shooting “Echo Lake Massacre.” We also are finishing up the original series “The Invited” planned for April, and “Dracula’s War” we hope to shoot in the summer.”
Q: You live in Virginia, correct?
A: Yes I do.
Q: What are some of the advantages of making films there?
Q: What about disadvantages?
A: There’s not as much work here as there would be in Atlanta or New Orleans, or places like that.
Q: Have you ever considered relocating to a larger film market like Los Angeles or NY?
A: I hope to do that in 2017. I just have a few projects I wanna get finished here and then when I got enough to showcase I’ll move.
Q: Do you have a project or accomplishment you’re most proud of?
A: I think “The Invited” pilot came out amazing, and I can’t wait to finish the rest of the series.
Q: What is your advice for others who want to make their own films?
A: In the words of Nike and Shia LeBeuof “Just do it”… as simple as that. But learn from other people first. Listen to commentary. Watch movies but don’t just watch them learn from them. Then get a bunch of like minded friends and go make your own short film. If that one isn’t good which it might not be, figure out why it’s not good and make another one. Then keep at it.
Q: If you could go back in time and give some advice to your younger self, what would it be?
A: Just so ya know if I could go back in time, myself would be the last person I wanna talk to haha…but I’d say keep doing everything the way you are doing it. You’re gonna run in to lots and lots of obstacles but keep doing it, or I won’t be here doing this interview! Haha.
Q: How do you find actors and crew for your projects?
A: Networking. A lot of my friends are local filmmakers. I also do this Virginia Production Alliance Meeting every year and I get to meet new actors and filmmakers in Virginia. Facebook is another good way.
Q: What are some of the challenges in collaborating with others?
A: Different visions. What a director wants is what really matters on top of everything. But it starts with the writer. It’s his original vision. Then he gives it to a Producer. Who then has a new vision. Who gives it to a director who has the final vision. Sometimes people don’t agree. But the director is King.
Q: What is the biggest challenge in filmmaking that you’ve encountered?
A: Scheduling has been the biggest bitch. Also if you’re doing an outdoor shot weather can really suck.
Q: Any funny stories from set you’d like to share?
A: My favorite on set story involved “The Pledge” a short film we did on “Scary Story Slumber Party,” the first film I ever produced. It was an anthology of shorts and we shot the original version of “The Pledge” that never got finished at this guys house he was renting. We got the landowners permission and things were just not going our way. I get called outside to deal with a situation. Turns out two nosy neighbors were not happy with us having bright lights in the yard. They weren’t distracting at all to anyone else. I go over to the ladies who were in a car and they asked me if I was the producer and I said: “yes, how can I help you?”
They said: “What kind of movie are you doing here?”
I said, “a horror film” (Advice to independent filmmakers… never say horror film. Say thriller or suspense or mystery, but never horror).
They said, “Oh great… just what we need here. We’re going to report you guys to the police.”
I said, “Okay. Sorry ladies,” and they left.
They did call the police who showed up and said, “We have never gotten a complaint about a movie being made. So do you guys have permits?” My other producer said, “We don’t need permits. We have the landowners permission,” and they said “okay carry on.”
Our lighting guy didn’t feel comfortable with the lights being up with those ladies around so we moved the scene to the back yard instead of the front. It worked better. I guess everything works out for a reason.
Thanks to Jonathan for taking the time to answer my questions! You can learn more about him and his production company by visiting: https://www.facebook.com/sickflickproductions/