Watching any indie short film or feature coming out of Kentucky, invariably the name of Stacey Gillespie will be found somewhere in the credits, and maybe more than once! Stacey epitomizes the indie film actor: hard-working, resilient, patient, able to put up with rough conditions for hours on end, and passionate about independent film. Without a doubt, he is one of the individuals that one can say has paid his dues, and then some.
With literally several hundred credits to his name over the past several years, I wanted to get a better look into the mind of Stacey Gillespie. With a humble and down to earth nature that is not altogether common in the entertainment industry, Stacey comes across as a soft-spoken and very laid back individual. Under that mild demeanor, however, is a guy that is zealous about indie film, and who is absolutely dedicated to improving his skills as an actor.
With no formal acting background, Stacey is one of those people who honed his craft by simply jumping into the deep end of the pool and doing it. From his legendary 17 acting parts in Zombie Planet, on up to the film he is working on now, Santa Vs. Zombies, Stacey has answered the call of director after director, becoming a real asset to any project that he is a part of.
Stacey is also a burgeoning filmmaker as well, currently immersed in the post-production phase of his fantasy feature Eyes of Darkness.
So without further delay, let's make a little foray into the world of Stacey Gillespie, from his acting roles, to his feature, his thoughts on indie film, and even a bit about the rumored Gillespie Fest coming this fall!
-Stephen Zimmer for Indie Movie Masters Blog, June 3, 2010
SZ: What inspired you to pursue acting?
SG: I sorta became an actor by accident. A good friend of mine asked me to go to an audition with him that he had heard about in a newspaper. He had never done any acting before and I did a play or two in elementary and high school. It was for a movie called Zombie Planet. So we went to it and talked to a few people who were cast in it, and some of the crew involved. We talked to the director George Bonilla and he told us a little about the film, and some of the acting roles and crew he had available. At the time I became quite inspired because I had never worked on a movie before, so I was pretty excited and wanted to learn more about it. They were doing a test shot called day for night, where they shoot in the day time, and later use the footage as night shots. I was asked to be a zombie for the shoot as a test subject. So they put me in a makeup chair for 4 hours, where they put latex and tissue paper and painted my entire face and arms. I wore this old torn shirt that said I Saved A Life from the Central Kentucky Blood Center, and we went downtown Lexington in an alleyway where I would have to jerk and growl and stumble and knock over trash cans and furniture, looking for pieces of human flesh to consume. Well I guess the director liked what I did, and he was so encouraging to me that I decided to get more involved in that side of filmmaking. I sorta developed what a lot of actors call the “acting bug”. It is the passion of it that gets in you, and you want more of it.
SZ: Did you have any acting background of any kind, in terms of theater or school?
SG: Not really. I mean I did a few things like Snow White And The Seven Dwarves in elementary school, and a play someone wrote in high school, but I didn’t do anything much other than that. I went to Berea College but I didn’t study acting there. Although, I became good friends with Jeffrey Reddick, who asked me to help him with some dialog in some of his screenplays he was writing. Who would have thought then that I was friends with the guy who wrote Final Destination, a Hollywood Horror original. Very cool.
SZ: What is the first independent film role that you had?
SG: Well, the very first was the zombie role that I had mentioned earlier, but the first speaking role I had was Fred the Dregg that was also in Zombie Planet, where I played a radio operator trying to get support and food from the government to survive the zombie plague. I got soup thrown at me by a bunch of bad guys called the Upper Class. My first bad guy role I played, if I may, was a racist redneck who pretended to be best friends with a guy in order to steal coalmining rights in the film Forever In Black Hills.
SZ: How many parts did you play in Zombie Planet?
SG: I played 17 different roles in Zombie Planet, and it started out just being around when they needed some people to play extras in different scenes. They would always grab me and place me somewhere and put me in the appropriate costumes for each scene. Well after about 6 different times doing that, they decided to see how many times they could get away with sticking me in the movie. They used hats and scarfs, coats, zombie makeup and anything to disguise me. The very last role I had a prosthetic nose made, darkened my hair, darkened my skin and put cotton balls in my mouth to make me look Italian where I got shot in the head. Now it is a drinking game too, so that when ever you see me in the film, you take a drink. You are guaranteed to feel pretty good.
SZ: How many film credits do you have today?
SG: I have a scrapbook at home, and I try to remember to log everything that I do. I have been acting for ten years this year, and including acting roles and working on crew I estimate I have around 450 to 500 credits.
SZ: What film are you working on right now?
SG: I am working on Santa vs. The Zombies, a PG Christmas movie, and starting Bunker of Blood, a bloody soldier massacre. I finished up part 2 of a Dumb and Dumber meets American Pie film called Kildo 2 by David Gooslin, a sequel to the first which seemed to be a big hit. A few music videos and educational training videos as well.
SZ: What have you discovered to be the most important, in terms of continuing to be an active independent film actor?
SG: Well for me it takes ambition, dedication, passion (the biggest of all) dependability, and most importantly respect. I always try to give the director exactly what he or she wants, and to make sure I know my lines, and to always be there on time. I did a seminar at the World Independent Film Expo talking about different things an actor should remember, and knowing your character and giving respect to each project are two of the things that I touched on the most.
SZ: What are the most common mistakes made by independent film actors, in your opinion?
SG: Gosh, I guess some of the common things I see is being late for the shoot, not knowing your lines or what scene is being shot, or blatantly not showing up at all, and not calling anyone to let them know. I have seen issues of money get in the way of actors and projects. I have seen some actors deal with overbooking themselves with 2 or more shoots at the same time, which can cause relational problems in the future with them and the director. And occasionally, you will run across an actor that who has developed what I call “gone Hollywood”, where they get the Hollywood syndrome and tend to act as though they are on the same status as a Hollywood actor, and respect for the project has left the building in terms of the director and other actors. These are some of the things that I have seen over the years.
SZ: What are your long term goals?
SG: I guess the same as many other fellow actors, to perhaps one day make this a fulltime career, and try to grow to become a better actor, and taking on challenges that have not been explored yet, be it larger projects, more difficult roles, or roles that have not been done. For me I can’t put the money first, for I want it to remain a passion first. I don’t want to lose that “love for acting as an art”. I think one can lose who they are if this escapes them. I would love to perhaps move to New York or California and try my luck there. I want to try working with some national commercials, TV, and Hollywood film, perhaps even become SAG.
SZ: Rumor has it that there is a Stacey Gillespie Fest in the works, which will have films that you have appeared in. Is this rumor true, and if so, where is this very interesting project at right now?
SG: Ha ha yes, this is true although it may not involve me in every film, but Belinda Cook came up with the idea, and this year I decided to go forth with it. I plan to have it in Sept. around my birthday to celebrate that and my tenth year as an actor. My hopes are to have it at the Kentucky Theater on a weekend, and to have a possible premier of a film, some comedians, and a live band. But since I am passionate about the cancer society I want to donate some money to a cancer charity, because my mother had cancer back in ’97, which she was fortunate to survive. But I want to support that cause using this event. It will be more or less a celebration. I will even include the best Stacey joke contest where a prize will be given.
SZ: What are you favorite films as a movie fan?
SG: My all time favorite film is Lord Of The Rings trilogy. Love that genre. I own any movie that deals in that genre. But I like anything that has to do with action, sci-fi, comedy and even drama. And of course, I like a good horror film involving either intellect or just straight out blood and gore.
SZ: Who are your favorite actors?
SG: My favorite actors would include Harrison Ford, Jack Nicholson, Arnold Swartzenagger, Ashley Judd, Bruce Willis, Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, Scarlet Johanson.
SZ: What actors in Hollywood would you compare your style and look to?
SG: My aunt always says I look like Nicholas Cage or Bruce Willis. Charles Shouse, director of Forever In Black Hills always says I favor Jason Statum. I think my style would mostly represent, depending on the role, would be Harrison Ford for his great facial expressions, Jim Carrey for his outrageous extreme comic behavior, Bruce Willis for his sarcasm, and ability to play various roles, and Liam Neeson for his serious delivery.
SZ: Tell us a little about your fantasy feature In The Eyes Of Darkness. What is it, and when will it be premiered?
SG: Well, after about 3 years into being apart of the independent Kentucky film culture, I had gained a lot of experience in front of the camera and behind, so I decide to tackle a film of my own. So I bought a camera and asked a few writers about how they chose the film that they did. From what I gathered, I learned to write what you know, and are passionate about. My passion was in the fantasy realm, and Lord Of The Rings was my favorite film, so I decided to do a fantasy feature. I titled it In The Eyes Of Darkness. It is about a kingdom called Graystone, where all is peaceful and good until people of the region start to disappear. Well, men were sent out to investigate the problem and they would end up missing as well. Therefore, even more people such as soldiers and rangers were sent to investigate as well and, of course, they would not return either. So within a monk village an elf and his sister decide to go and figure things out for themselves knowing they have no experience in such things. However, one of the monks of the village demand that an experienced holy warrior go with them. So along their journey they team up with a cocky barbarian and his strange sidekick dwarf, as they go seek to find the evil taking over the land. They come across the evil lair of an ancient creature, where they find themselves helpless as they battle the evil force, trying to survive themselves. But that is the premise of the film, and it is, as I have been told, the first attempt to do a fantasy feature on a independent level. The film is in the editing stage, and I hope to have a premiere date sometime in early 2011. The film is encased with swords magic, battle scenes, drama, gore, unique creatures, and mind-blowing scenery. The films website is geocities/eyesdarknessmovie.com.
SZ: Where can people find you or connect to you on the internet?
SG: I can be found on Myspace, Facebook or Twitter under my name Stacey Gillespie. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I am working on a Man Of A Thousand Faces website, to be available soon. I was given the nickname earlier in my acting career.
I wanted to thank Stephen Zimmer for his interest in the independent film community in Kentucky, and wanted to encourage anyone to check out his ingenious writing abilities, including his new book The Storm Guardians, Book Two of the epic urban fantasy series The Rising Dawn Saga. Stephen is a very talented writer, and is now doing book signings across the country. Thanks Stephen for the wonderful interview, and look forward to connecting with you again.
One of the more unusual fellows that you will encounter in the Kentucky indie film community, Eric Butts is a very talented guy who brings a depth of technical and historical knowledge to any project that he delves into. In addition to being a filmmaker, he is also a very capable talent in music, perfectly capable of being a one-man rock band in a studio environment.
I had the pleasure of working with Eric when I directed Shadows Light, and I can say that you will find few people as passionate about film and storytelling as Eric.
More recently, Eric has dived into the world of CGI, including 3D modeling and animation. In this IMM spotlight, we visited with Eric to find out how things are going, what's on the horizon, and to give readers a little idea about the man himself.
-Stephen Zimmer, for Indie Movie Masters Blog Interview, March 10, 2010
SZ: You are a man capable of wearing many hats, in terms of writing, producing, directing, doing CGI, editing, etc. How would you describe yourself these days, in relation to your career?
EB: I've started referring to myself as an artist, but I always cringe a little, because it sounds so pretentious. I've also enjoy being called a Renaissance man. Ultimately, I'd like to be known as a director, maybe an editor and musician as well. I love doing all the other stuff I do, because it's fun to want to learn something and then actually do it, but I really only do it because not a lot of other people can in my current budget levels. I've found it to be a lot cheaper to buy a book and spend some time and just do it myself. That just spilled over to my friends, most of whom are film people as well. A lot of them are very talented too and sometimes they have projects I HAVE to be a part of. I just love making stuff!
SZ: What first got you into pursuing an independent film career?
EB: I was just sort of born wanting to do it. I started playing music at 2 and started writing by 3. I just never wanted to do anything else. Part of it is because I grew up loving movies. My folks let me watch whatever I wanted at a young age. I spent so much time in video stores, that at one point I actually listed a video clerk as an emergency contact for my school. My mom loved horror and my Dad's into Sci-Fi. My first movie ever was "Alien" when I was 6 months old. Everyone in the theater thought "Oh great, here's comes the screaming baby" but I apparently stayed transfixed on the screen the whole time. Plus, my folks have always been very supportive of my creative thinking! Reality can suck! Sometimes I'd rather create and live in my own worlds and film making allows that on a constant basis.
SZ: What are some of the things that you like especially about the world of indie film?
EB:No release date deadlines, which is great when you can't spend money, cause time is usually the indie film maker's friend! That can also be a problem. I come from the school of thought that art is never released, it escapes! There's always going to be more you can do to make things better and the more time you have with a project the more things you start wanting to fix. Eventually, you have to just let it go and let it be what it's going to be, then maybe, someday, you can pull a Lucas and go back and fix things, something I've never had a problem with people doing by the way. Other than that, I've never seen much difference between indie and Hollywood for me. I'm going to make what I want to make, period. I would like to make a living at it eventually, but I HAVE to make what makes me happy first! Luckily, most of my ideas are for summer blockbuster types of films, which makes it hard for me to write scripts I can afford to do. Now, with my CG, I'm capable of a lot more!
SZ: Conversely, what are the biggest negatives about working in indie film, besides the obvious money restraints?
EB: Really all the drawbacks stem from lack of funds. Scheduling is next to impossible. If you need more than a couple actors to get together at the same time, you can quickly find your hair turning gray... ask Jerry Williams. Extras are impossible to find in any large number. The talent pool is thin compared to the choices you have when you can pay people. Sometimes getting people to take what you're doing seriously can be difficult, because a lot of times they think it's just going to be something fun to do and don't realize how much work it actually is!
SZ:You’ve been delving into the world of 3D modeling and animation lately. How is that going?
EB: It has been insanely fun! CG was something I used to think was way out of my abilities, but I've always had ideas that require CG! I made a short 30 minute film when I was 15, so it would have been around 1995, that movie had a bunch of CG morphing in it, some of the shots were even pretty good. Last year I upgraded all my software and had some minor 3D capabilities, which gave me some really cool Ideas for some CG movies. I quickly find I couldn't do too much with what I had. I started looking into videos of CG programs and quickly found Lightwave and out of the three major CG programs, it was the one in my price range, but also seemed easy to use. I decided to get it. I also knew I was limited in my 3D motion tracking and after some research found a great program called SynthEyes. It's one of the industry standards and surprisingly cheap, for what it is. I then found out, my favorite show, "Battlestar Galactica" (Modern) used Lightwave and Syntheyes for 95% of their CG and their CG is incredible! So I was totally sold. Lightwave is amazing. Right out of the box with very little knowledge at all I was able to start making some cool stuff and within a month I had some shots that could have been in Galactica! So I'm very pleased. Don't get me wrong, I love practical effects too, I grew up a Savini fan, but I'm also a George Lucas fan. So I've always loved both and some projects of mine require more CG and some require more Practical and I don't understand why so many people hate CG so much, I've always believed one of the reasons people like movies is to see things they never could in real life.
SZ: Rumor has it that you have a "modest" DVD and BluRay collection, and that you are a "bit" of a film historian. So, name a few of your favorite directors, and why are they your favorites?
EB: He, he, ha. Yeah, "Modest." I have around 2,000 DVD's and about 600 Blu-rays. Plus, I still have a bunch of laserdiscs and some VHS. My dad has a collection bigger than mine! I LOVE movies. You learn more about filmmaking from watching movies than anywhere else, except on-set experience. You even learn more from bad movies than you do good ones. As for my favorite directors, Lloyd Kaufman I believe to be an underrated genius. Most people just lumps his films in with the rest of the Troma catalouge, but his films are so much more than that! It's kind of like Jerry William's films. On the surface that can be enjoyed as gross out weird comedies, but if you look deeper, you start to realize how well thought out, clever and smart his films are. I'm also a huge fan of George Romero, I love the way he gets very real performances in bizzare situations. He know's how to make the characters matter. I love the visual style of Dario Argento and Peter Jackson. I love the "Lord of the Rings" films, but his earlier work is just as incredible, especially "Heavenly Creatures". Some one who's new to directing, but has been around as a writer for a while is Ron Moore. This guy changed my life and the way I approach writing. I will see ANYTHING he's involved with and know it will be good!
SZ: Zeppo was one of the bigger projects that you have been involved with. How was it working with Debbie Rochon and Loyd Kaufman?
EB: Well "Zeppo: Sinners from Beyond the Moon!" was an incredible experience. It took us 3 years and a lot of learning, but the whole thing was just one fun experiment. I love the movie and it is pretty much everything Jerry Williams and I wanted it to be, but we knew starting out that part of the fun of the project was going to be in how we tried doing a little bit of eveything, it was my first time compositing shots. A couple of them turned out pretty good, but I learned A LOT about green screen from that shoot. The whole thing was like that, just always trying things and sometimes being succesful and even when we weren't it still worked for the type of film it was meant to be. It was sort of like the idea of film school, it was a safe place to fail.
One place we did NOT fail was in casting Lloyd and Debbie! Jerry and I both had grown up being Troma fans, so Lloyd Kaufman is just a god to us, and as I've gotten older and continued to love his films, I've learned how much of a truely underrated genius Lloyd is! And Debbie... Debbie I'd been a fan of for a long time and even though she's appeared in a few films that weren't quite as good as others, she's always been consistently exellent. Lloyd and Debbie both are the kind of people who, before you meet them, you think they're going to be cool, but once you meet them, they're WAY cooler than you could have ever imagined! We still all keep in touch and will be working together soon. Debbie stepped my game up as an actor on Zeppo. Getting to work with her so closely as an actor taught me alot, and ever since then when I act in films I try to bring that level of focus.
SZ: How have things gone with Zeppo since completion? Where can people buy/rent/view it right now?
EB: Well after screening Zeppo in a few festivals we had tried to get distribution and we kept hearing the same thing... " we love Zeppo, but can't do any foreign sales with black and white movies." So for a moment we made some dvds and started selling it ourself, but that kind of became a pain for us to deal with, so we finally found this thing called Create Space on Amazon. It's a pretty cool deal. We have control over what the product is and all we have to do is collect a bit of money for the discs. This is a great sevice for indie filmmakers, especially one's like me and Jerry who just want to make movies and not deal with all the rest of it! So, with in a month or two, Zeppo will be availbe on VOD and DVD through Amazon.
SZ: You have worked quite a bit with rising cult film legend Jerry Williams. Do you consider him to be sane? Secondly, can you give some really good dirt on him? (humor intended in this question!!!!)
EB: Jerry Williams is INCREDIBLE!! He has a completly unique vison in his films. On the surface they're these weird random comedies, but if you pay close attention you see there's a definate message and interesting storyline going on. He deserves major cult status, because his films are always hilarious and within seconds, you KNOW it's a Jerry William's movie. He's also a great guy, he's part of my family. Much like Lloyd Kaufman, you can't judge Jerry based on his films alone. He's a down to earth guy who's nice and willing to help everyone as long as they're not being too crazy.
Is he sane? Yes, but I belive that's because his films are outlets for his insanity. I'm actually slightly worried about what will happen to him while he's on hiatus to raise his new baby, but luckily he's spent a great deal of time getting footage lately, so he'll have plenty to edit. I have some dirt on Jerry for sure...so here's a little bit. Jerry drives his car very slow!
SZ: One of your newest projects is Girl/Girl Scene. What is it? Who’s involved?
EB: Girl/Girl Scene is amazing! It's not something I would have expected to be involved with, but it was such a great opportunity, I'd be a fool to say no. It's executive produced by Nic Brown and Written by Tucky Williams. Nic called me up and told me he and Tucky were wanting to make a dramatic lesbian web series. At first I wasn't so sure, but I really enjoy hanging out with Tucky and Nic and I was excited by the idea of getting to focus on Directing. Then I got the pilot script from Tucky and I was sold. I knew she was a talented actress and I've come to realize she is an equally talented writer. The script was really good. In my first reading I found that I cared about the characters and was left wanting to know what happens next, so that was a good sign. Then Tucky started casting all these incredible actors which made my job a whole lot easier. All I ever really had to focus on was how I wanted to tell the story visually, and having that much time to devote to one line of thought led to some really great choices.
I've been editing it and have most of a rough cut done and it's great! It really draws you in and engages you, plus it's got some great humor in it. Shooting on HD has really been amazing. I've watched some of the scenes on Blu ray and it's a REAL show. You could put this next to any drama out there and it looks just as good. I've since read the script for episode 2, and oh man... The pilot does a great job of letting you know who these people are and what they're about, but episode 2 is going to hook people! We're about 4 to 6 weeks away from revaling the pilot for free, online at girlgirlscene.com
SZ: The trailer has been having some tremendous success recently. Describe how that all unfolded and what kind of response you are seeing.
EB: It's been great! At first we posted it on the Girl/Girl Scene FaceBook group page. It was there for 24 hours first and we had great feedback pouring in. Then we posted it on YouTube and DailyMotion. YouTube was getting about 500 views a day in the beginning and DailyMotion wasn't doing much, untill AfterEllen.com posted our trailer on their site. Within six hours the trailer gained over 2,000 views. The real good part is, now, about a week after posting it, we're still seeing really good traffic. Some days are fifty views, some days are two hundred, this leads me to belivie Girl Girl Scene is building some word of mouth. After about 2 weeks we're at around eight thousand views total. I knew this was turning out to be a great project on all parts, but I am a bit surprized how quickly it's getting out there when we've barely even promoted it!
SZ: What other projects are on the near horizon for Eric Butts? Can you give us a scoop perhaps?
One of the downsides to people finding out I'm as good as I say I am, is that I now get offered all kinds of stuff all the time. Sometimes I have to miss out on things I really want to do because I'm too busy. I mean, people should still ask me, because if I can help I will. Right now I've been directing and doing all of post production on "Girl/Girl Scene", I've been editing a behind the scene documentary for Jacob Ennis' "Red River", I'm helping out with a fun project Billy Boyd is doing as an actor and VFX, I'm acting, composing the score and doing MAJOR VFX on Roni Jonah's "Malfunction" with Billy Boyd and Sven Granlund, plus I may be editing it as well.
I've got one more role to film for Jerry Williams before his baby break. I'm trying to write a couple new scripts for myself and finish a new Record I've been putting off for a long time now. I'm also starting advance pre-production on a feature film I want to make this summer, it's a very dark fun monster movie in the tone of "Feast" or "Return of the Living Dead." But I need to work on a beach for a week and that may prove just out of reach of our resources for this year, in which case I'll move to a back up script I have for a much darker Argento inspired Giallo film. I have a bunch of stuff coming out soon too. I acted in Roni Jonah's "Trepan: Redux". I was a HUGE fan and supporter of the original and when I was given the chance to be in a new version of it, I came prepared and gave the best performance I've given yet. I was also in "The Last Temptation of Fluffy" and did a VFX shot for it, as well as creating the poster. There should be countless Jerry Williams films coming out soon that I'm in. "Zombie Hombre" was just released for free online and I played my twin brother. The cool thing was that the footage was shot a few years apart and I look very different in both roles. Also, I'm in "Cornball Classics" that is available on Amazon Video on Demand. Plus, how could I forget the upcoming "Trouser Snake!"
SZ: Anything else that you feel inquiring minds want to know about Eric Butts?
I'm obsessed with the modern "Battlestar Galactica" and "Caprica" and you should be too! I LOVE action figures and have a HUGE collection of modern "Star Wars" figures, including hundreds of Clone Troopers. I can't get enough U.K. Wildcats basketball!
SZ: If people would like to follow or connect with you or your projects(including beautiful single women), what are your links for sites and social networking?
The IMM spotlight turns next to Cherokee Hall, whose activities in the independent film world run the gamut from directing and producing to acting and events.
One of the most prolific individuals within the Kentucky independent film community, Cherokee is on the cusp of completing and releasing his first feature film, Mountain Mafia. As if that was not enough to occupy his time, in the past year, Cherokee moved forward with Dark Woods Con, a convention project that is going to be a fantastic addition to the constellation of independent film events in the region. The addition of Dark Woods Con to the region's schedule can only help to strengthen independent film, and create more opportunities for fans and filmmakers alike.
IMM visited with Cherokee a couple weeks out from the premiere Dark Woods Con event, which is taking place from March 5-7 at the Landmark Inn, in Pikeville, KY.
In my opinion, it is really beneficial for independent filmmakers and fans to have an event like Dark Woods Con in this area of Kentucky, at this time of the year, as it will be a great compliment to Lexington events such as ScareFest, and Louisville events such as the Fright Night Film Fest. At the end of the day, Dark Woods Con represents good overall progress for everyone, making all of the events in the state, and the independent film community as a whole, that much stronger. Cherokee Hall and all the staff of Dark Woods Con should definitely be commended for this very considerable, and worthwhile, undertaking.
-Stephen Zimmer for the IMM Blog Site, February 10, 2010
SZ: For those that might not yet be aware of Dark Woods Con, give us the particulars and what to generally expect as far as activities.
CH: Aside from the vendor booths and celebrities to meet, we’ll have free daily contests for door prizes, as well as a scream contest and costume contests and some other surprises. Plus we have the Rad Girls there, and they are always doing stunts.
SZ: Focusing in on the film festival. How big is the film festival going to be at this initial event? Any premieres that you would like to mention?
CH: We got the word out a bit late about the festival so it’s mainly going to be short films. Yes, John Cosper’s Fluffy 3 will premier at the event.
SZ: As far as advance registrations go, are you seeing primarily a regional audience, or do you see some attendees coming from farther distances?
CH: We’ve been hit up from as far away as Rhode Island, but mainly it’s all regional.
SZ: I always applaud sponsors that come behind a first event. Feel free to highlight any companies/organizations that have gotten behind you on this premiere event.
CH: Southern Steel Tattos, Bourbon n’ Toulouse, David Fultz, clearmyrecord.com, Eagle Creek Massage, Page 3 Comics, Crawford’s Roots, Jim Hinkley’s Motorvation Car Care, YellowBird Insurance, Stewart & Stafford Tire & Custom Wheels.
SZ: What was your inspiration for starting Dark Woods Con?
CH: It was an idea that me and David Gooslin had back in 2007 but realized just how successful one could be after Scarefest had their 2008 show. It’s been something that both of us have wanted to do for a long time.
SZ: As a very busy actor and filmmaker yourself, who understands just how tough the indie world is, how can attending a convention such as Dark Woods Con be beneficial to other actors and filmmakers?
CH: Networking, networking, and networking! You meet so many people that can help you out along the way. All you have to do is talk to them.
SZ: Who are some of the other “big names” involved with Dark Woods Con?
CH: Michael Berryman, Tiffany Shepis, Al Snow, Daniel Emery Taylor, Jim O’Rear, Dick Warlock, Ari Lehman, Stephen Zimmer…We got a lot for our first year. The list keeps on going.
SZ: About a month out from the big event, how are things shaping up, in your estimation?
CH: We are right where we need to be. Of course I’d be a little less stressed if we were a little bit ahead of where we need to be too though.
SZ: I cannot resist asking you one humor-laced question, regarding one particular guest: Do you have to import extra security to deal with cult indie filmmaker Jerry Williams? Is it wise to have Jerry Williams as an official guest Don’t you fear massive community protests?
CH: We have had more females ages 75-90 call us and tell us that it’s about time someone brought in a real man to Pikeville Ky!
SZ: Give us some contacts, websites, Facebook pages, etc. where people can connect with Dark Woods Con?
SZ: Finally, what’s coming up on the near horizon for Cherokee Hall, (at least once you’ve taken a few days off and rested up, following the big Dark Woods Con weekend)?
CH: Actually I’ll go back to work on my film. My first feature film is rapidly approaching post production and we’ve already secured a distribution deal. You’ll be able to get Mountain Mafia (Staring Rupert Boneham, Tiffany Shepis, Al Snow, Tim Wilson, Amy Hayes, Casey Miracle, and Mike Holman) this summer at Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target, NetFlix, and the Redbox too.
Indie Movie Masters is a new collection of indie films organized into genre-specific series. Distributed through DVD and emerging new media such as video on demand, it is a series designed by indie filmmakers for indie filmmakers.