First off, congratulations on the successful festival run. We certainly enjoyed Egomaniac, and it's great that many more will have the opportunity to do so as well through video streaming. Care to tell us how the film came to be; was there a cathartic moment where you realized, "Yes! I need to make this eff'n film!" ?
I made 'Egomaniac' when I was on the verge of giving up filmmaking. It was a choice of ever making this film and with what ever resources I had, or finding a new career path. I decided to just go out and do it. I hope the film will encourage people to do the same. I wrote the script in a month and in total it took 12 months from script to final edit. It was an intense year-long process and we basically had no money (£5000 was the budget of the film.) However, I don't think the film would've turned out as good if it hadn't have been made under those circumstances.
What was the message you wanted to convey with Egomaniac most of all? Do you feel like you were successful in doing so?
The message that I want to convey with 'Egomaniac' is that if you have an idea just go out and make it. Don't let anybody hold you back. It's very easy to get discouraged in the film industry, but we're living in a very exciting time where filmmaking resources have never been so available. There are films being filmed on iPhones that are getting into Sundance. All you need is a good idea, and a hell of a lot of determination and passion to make it happen.
How was the casting process for the film? Anyone in particular surprise you with how well they worked out?
The cast of 'Egomaniac' was made up mostly of people I had already worked with before, and I very much wrote scripts with those people already in mind. I’m fortunate in the fact that I know a lot of super awesome talented actors. Nic Lamont, the lead, I have known since university and couldn't imagine anyone else playing the role. Think the cast did one hell of a job in the film and I think the performances are one of the films strongest points.
Was it difficult balancing humor and drama - especially given the genre? Were you ever afraid one tone would drown out the other?
I think all good comedy has a tragic element to it, otherwise it wouldn't be funny. The comedy I've loved has always been very dark, and that's something I want to emulate in my own work. When directing 'Egomaniac' it was always important to remember that at the heart of it, there is a tragic story, and that the characters in the story had a sense of tragedy themselves. Therefore no matter how funny it got there is always an element of sadness in each situation.
Did your earlier short film Gimp, help you in learning how to strike that balance?
The balance between comedy and tragedy is always going to be something that I'll be obsessed with as a director. 'Gimp' definitely helped in exploring that as did my other short film 'Send in the Clowns'. I will also be continuing to explore that in my next film 'Bloody Burrito'. For me, horror-comedy balance so perfectly together, because in many ways they are quite similar genres. It’s all about creating a powerful response in the audience, whether that response is hysterical laughter or hiding behind the sofa.
By the time people are reading this, Egomaniac should be available on VOD on Amazon and iTunes. Was securing distribution through a digital streaming platform, a difficult process? Any plans to branch out to, say, a physical release?
Organizing distribution to any film is always a difficult journey, which is why so many films do not achieve distribution. For The VOD release I decided to self-distribute which involved a lot of learning. I don't think this is the right route for every film, but it felt right route for 'Egomaniac'. I would love to get a physical release of the film and I'm looking into options about how this would be best done.
Speaking of branching out, your film is also being made into a video game; that's a rather unique endeavor for an independent horror filmmaker. How did you arrive at the decision to get that going, are you a fan of video games in general?
Featured Games very kindly offered to make the game for 'Egomaniac'. I've never considered a game for the film before, but when the offer was there you just can't say no. It was such an exciting idea and I had complete faith in the team behind it. Paddy Murphy has done an excellent job and has been working around the clock to make the game happen. When I first played the demo I was completely blown away. It is now available on Google Play to download.
Moving past Egomanic, you currently have your hands full with yet another horror film, Bloody Burrito. Tell us a little bit about that.
There's a lot of blood and there's a lot of burritos. It's a script I wrote a number of years ago and has always been one of the stories I felt most passionate about telling. It's shaping up to be a very exciting project and I'm incredibly happy with the cast and crew that we have involved. I don't want to give away too much, as I want people to be surprised when they see it. However I feel confident it is going to be something rather special.
Is it safe to say that horror is your favorite genre? Care to tell us what some of your favorites are, maybe any that inspired you to tackle film-making perhaps?
I have a very eclectic taste in films and draw inspiration from many different sources. Sometimes it can be the most random things. I, of course, absolutely adore the horror genre, but also draw a lot of inspiration from comedy. I was also greatly inspired by Roger Rodriguez and his approach to filmmaking, which I think has inspired many filmmakers to just pick up the camera and make their project with whatever resources they have. My favorite film of all time is ‘Nightmare before Christmas.’ I remember watching it as child and having my whole imagination completely change. I don't think I'd be making the kind of films I make if I hadn't watched that film at the right moment.
Any parting words of wisdom for your fellow filmmakers and artists hoping to realize their own visions?
Just do it. Don't worry about failing or succeeding. You just have to go out there and do it. There are a lot of people who talk about making films, but actually very few that go out and make them. Chances are your first feature film will not be on your dream budget, but a lot can be achieved on a little. Always be true to yourself and trust your instincts, but my main advice to anyone is always, just do it.