What was the biggest lesson you learned while making this film?
It is just as important for a filmmaker to know how to technically make a film, as it is to visually tell the story. The ultimate question for an indie filmmaker is how to make the film on a low budget, but still be as effective and have as high a quality as possible. Yes, we would all like huge budgets to work with, but the reality is that we do not. So instead of attempting to emulate a huge budget look, work with what you have and turn the limitations into a style that works. For my next period piece film, I already know how to shoot it on a low budget. Producers should appreciate a director/filmmaker that can walk in and let them know that the filmmaker is confident in their story and ideas on how to make them come to life with the budget they have to work with. Two suggestions I would have to other indie filmmakers: 1) Make sure to do as much pre-marketing on the film as you can afford. 2) Make the film at the highest level of quality, story and technically, you can within your limitations. I always say I would rather watch a film shot on VHS that tells a great story than one shot on 35mm that looks great, but has no story or feelings for the characters. Additionally, try to obtain the best cast and crew available as well as getting your film in the Hollywood Reporter to let others know you are serious about your filmmaking career.

Has it been easy getting your film screened?
It’s funny you ask that. Being this is my first feature film, it is difficult to get the attention I would like it to have. Like many other filmmakers, I too send out screeners, never getting them back or even a call or email answer. I recently started my own email marketing campaign on my web site, where people that are interested in seeing my film can directly email arthouse theaters in their area and let them know what the public is interested in seeing. People from all around the world want to see my film. I have received emails from Australia, Japan, Germany, Scotland, UK, Italy, and from people across the U.S. telling me they want to see my film. It’s time for indie filmmakers to take matters into their own hands, instead of spending all of our money on festivals and sending them to theaters that may not screen their films. I am doing this now, but it is my intent to figure out alternative methods of getting my films seen by the public. Like everything in life, filmmakers have to be proactive in getting their work seen and distributed. We have to convince those with power and money that we are serious by creating great films and also knowing how to market it.

Are you holding on to any of the props to throw an intense Halloween party?
Dimas (associate producer) and I are well known for throwing killer Halloween parties! Yes, I do have many of the props such as the dissection table, gallows miniature, as well as costumes. When the film hits big I’ll auction them off on ebay! There was a huge amount of work done in selecting costumes, designing props, and planning how to build the second floor chute, where Holmes dumps his victims’ bodies. I really have to thank the cast and crew for working hard and using their skills to bring my vision to life. I sent a package to Korn’s Jonathan Davis, who was starting a serial killer museum, and told him that I would be willing to donate the dissection table to the museum if he wanted to have a display on Holmes. I’ve yet to hear back from him.

Any future projects?
My next feature film is still under wraps, but I can tell you that it will focus on a serial killer in pre-1950’s America. I’ll announce the production soon. There are two other serial killers that I’m interested in making films on, then I can move on to other subjects. I have a strong interest in horror films, but also in other genres and universal themes such as mythology and spirituality. I have stacks of original treatments and scripts ready to be filmed. In my future, I would love to see continuing my filmmaking career and working with such greats as composer Jerry Goldsmith – that’s always been my dream. With the success of other lackluster horror films such as Freddy vs. Jason, isn’t it time for well made horror films to make a comeback?

Visit John at his official website, as well as the official H.H. Holmes movie website.

Posted on September 9, 2004 in Interviews by

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