Hello Johnny, welcome. We're thrilled to have this discussion with you, as I'm sure the community is - to gain some exciting incite into whatever plans you have. First, let's get people acquainted with who you are, and the business you're involved in.
You have a background in acting; classically trained. What drove you to refocus your energy from a role in front of the camera, to one behind it?
Honestly, I just kinda fell into it. I was still in college studying acting when I was presented the opportunity to make a reasonably small investment as a producer for an indie horror film. It just kind of snowballed from there. At this point, I don't even use my own money. My network is such that rather than investing myself, I hunt down funds through other channels. Honestly, it's very similar to my many "day jobs" I have had in sales, but I am much more passionate about it. Now I am getting more and more involved in the creative aspects like casting and such.
You've been pretty busy in 2017. Tell us about some of the work you're representing and helped to produce this year?
This year, I have helped with a ton of movies such as Don't Fuck in the Woods (one of the highest trending horror films of the year on IMDB), Crepitus (starring horror icon Bill Moseley as the titular child-eating clown), Betsy (a werewolf film by Shawn Burkett, director of Don't Fuck in the Woods), and the soon-to-be-filmed Safe Place (starring many indie scream queens such as Ashley Nunes, Lara Mummert, and Genoveva Rossi). I've also had smaller funding involvements with Bigfoot's Bride and UK retro slasher Clownface, both of which will be finished filming soon. In addition to this, I am also now partnered with the sales agency Cyfuno Ventures were I scout for prospective films to shop for distribution.
Are there specific qualities you look for in a film when scouting for distribution or production? Following that, conversely, any that raise red flags or would be classified as deal-breakers?
Oh, yes, there are qualities that are very desirable. Groundswell from a solid fanbase is a big one. Another big greenlight is cast. For example, a film we are currently shopping around is called Scrawl. It is a 2015 indie horror film starring Daisy Ridley (yes, Rey from Star Wars). We expect very big things from it. There are even subgenres that, if done well, are easy sells, such as werewolf films.
Adversely, there are redflags too. Running time can be a big issue. If a film is less than 60 minutes, we really can't do much with it. And if it is over 2 years old, a lot of the companies we work with won't be interested. Another thing that makes things a little harder but isn't a deal-breaker, are foreign films with subtitles. If they have English dub, that's no harder than any stateside film. But if it has another language dub with English subtitles, that does make things a little more difficult. Some of the companies we work with won't go for those. But, then again, we have some really good partners that still might be interested.
Looking ahead, what can we expect from you and your team in 2018? Any big surprises you can hint at?
2018 is looking to be amazing! Don't Fuck in the Woods, Crepitus, and Be My Cat: A Film for Anne (named the most revolutionary found footage film since Blair Witch Project, among other accolades) will be released. Safe Place, Don't Fuck in the Woods 2, The Dark Heart of Jason Voorhees: The Making of the Final Friday, and international horror anthology Wander Tales will be filmed. And I have just spoken to one of my good friends about doing a Christmas horror film next year starring an amazing horror icon!
Besides film, are there other media formats you're involved in?
Well, I do dabble in comics. I have a comic miniseries that is sort of stalled atm. It is called We Kill The Dead and features a government agency called the Supernatural Special Tactics Bureau (or SSTB). They go after undead or otherwise supernatural killers in the vein of Freddy or Jason. In this 4 issue mini series, we see team leader Nathan, the deranged Agent Cooper, and newbie Joanna as they face off against a demonically enhanced Jack the Ripper and his army of killers under his thrall. I have a ton of great cameos lined up too, such as Leslie Vernon and Stitches the clown! I cannot draw unfortunately and I recently had to let my artist go. So, even though issue 1 was released, I will be having it redone with another group hopefully late next year.
Anything else you'd like to say in closing?
If you have an indie horror film you want to get out there, hit me up! All of the distro companies we work with at Cyfuno are honest, have fantastic reach, and pay out well. And remember to support indie horror! And don't pirate or I will sacrifice you to Elder Things.