Jody Dean is an independent filmmaker. His film is entitled “Don’t Go on the Trail”. He was kind enough to grant me an informal Q and A. Check it out.
Let’s do this. First of all, can you tell me a little bit about yourself and what lead you to pursue a career in film making?
Well, my name is Jody Dean; I was born and raised in Largo Florida. I’m 28 years old. I’m a father to a beautiful little girl and a handsome young man. I have the best girlfriend in the world; she even plays the role of being a personal assistant on set/script supervisor. I have been addicted to good horror films since I was a little boy. I started writing music/songs at the age of 9 years old and was pursuing a career in music until the end of 2011. The music game made me sick after trying to catch my big break for 17 years and a couple years ago I started making films. I never thought I would be able to make movies. It sounded like only something Hollywood could do. But with technology and a little bit of money over time I was able to acquire all I needed to make feature film – straight to DVD releases.
I think what pulled me into this role of being a film maker is my passion for writing and making art, I’ve always had a very vivid imagination and what better way to use my talent than making movies of my own. Making films is so much fun, I can’t see myself quitting; only advancing and trying to always top my last piece of work.
One thing I think people will learn about me is I prefer to work with a small crew. My movie “Don’t Go on the Trail” was made by me and some help from my girlfriend. I do almost 30 different people jobs and that’s why I was able to pull this film off for $10,000 dollars. All the money went into equipment, sfx, make up and props.
Photo courtesy of Jody Dean
Okay, sounds good. Why horror?
I love horror, I love monsters, I love getting scared, and I really love seeing other people get scared. I have learned to enjoy my nightmares instead of fearing them and sometimes I even write them down thinking ‘hey this is a movie!’ Horror gets my blood going. For some its bungee jumping; for me its 1O gallons of fake blood and a crazy deformed killer baring a jagged blade standing over his victim.
Mr. Dean, I like the way you think. It appears to me that you subscribe to the ‘gore is more’ sub-genre of horror. Who and what were some of your influences once you decided to tread the dark path of horror?
Well thank you! In the beginning it was “Child’s Play”, Freddy Krueger, “Halloween”, “The Exorcist” and even “Scream”. But now “Wrong Turn”, “Resident Evil”,” Dawn of the Dead”,” The Last House on the Left”, “I Spit on Your Grave” and “28 Weeks Later” are some of my favorite films and I would say they’re influences. I would say learning Special FX has been influencing, knowing that I can bring nightmares to life by making them into a movie and I’ve always loved acting so to act in the kind of film I love is beautiful.
Photo courtesy of Jody Dean
From seeing the trailer for “Don’t Go on the Trail” it seems that the film is a combination somewhere between “Hatchet” and “I Spit on Your Grave.” Not to mention also that the title hearkens back to all those old films that had the word ‘don’t’ in the title. Am I fairly close? How did the project start for you?
Well, I have yet to see “Hatchet” but it looks great! I actually wrote the script (for “Don’t Go on the Trail”) before I ever saw “I Spit on Your Grave”, but I can see a connection as far as a girl gets raped and then seeks revenge, but like I said I wrote “Don’t Go on the Trail” a long time ago and until last year I’m sorry to say I didn’t even know “I Spit on your Grave” was a remake, late bloomer to the oldies. As far as how it started: I had a vision of the character, I saw the movie and how it would play out in my mind, I started writing and 3 months later the script was finished. Lots of blood, sex, profanity, intensity, scares and overall it’s a film that needed to be made.
How hard was it to raise the funds for the production? I did a similar Q and A with Christina Raia and she used kickstarter.com as a way to raise the $12,000 she needed for her first feature film, “Summit”. Was your experience anything like hers?
Well, not like hers at all. I have raised money before for other projects, but this particular project was funded partially from a settlement I received back in January of this year and the rest from my personal life savings. If this film doesn’t blow up I’m out 10k. But I have faith it’s going to blow up and if it doesn’t I’m okay with that, at the end of the day I’m proud I made something so brutally fucking awesome! But like I said I think this film is going to blow up and I believe it will have the same impact as a major when it comes to DVD sales.
So, is it safe to say that you still have both kidneys? As for direct to DVD I used to be a major snob when it came to that. But then I realized how much I was actually missing out on. There have been some great movies and there have been those that have been total shit.
Yeah, I still have both kidneys and I’m hoping to keep them. Yeah, I can see your point. I think there may be a time I probably felt the same, but I love the fact that when you hear about the movie you can also buy it on DVD a couple months later, opposed to hearing about a movie then having to wait 2 months until it hits theaters and having to pay an arm and a leg to go see it; then 3 to 6 months in some cases before it comes out. If your film flops at that rate you already missed time where you could have been on set working on your next movie. That’s just my minds comparison of straight to DVD releases and major releases.
Tell us about “Don’t Go on the Trail”. Who stars in it? When can we hope to see it?
“Don’t go on the Trail” is going to be epic! It stars a new face to the game, Allie Madison, who plays the role of the killer Hellady Marie James, and then you’ve got Morgan Middlebrook who has delivered an electrifying performance, and me.
This film has what the horror hounds want, lots of blood, real special effects; none of that CGI stuff, great music and scoring. It will keep you interested beginning to end. The actors all delivered a great performance and the style of my work will separate me from everyone else and give horror hounds something new to look forward to for years to come.
Photo courtesy of Jody Dean