Thursday, 13 November 2014

interview: Cory Turner

Cory Turner, director of Savage Spirit and They Feed, kindly answered some questions from me when I e-mailed him in July 2006.

Where did the inspiration for Savage Spirit come from?
“As a young boy I was terrified by a 1980s movie titled The Changeling starring George C Scott. Since then I have always been intrigued by ghost stories. So when our producer rep called wanting a really gory movie loaded with beautiful women, I figured this would be a great opportunity to give a ghost a try.”

How did you assemble your cast and crew?
“We were fortunate enough to work with some great people on They Feed. Drew Waters was in that film and has become our Actor Liaison on this project. Our goal was to take such good care of actors that they would want to work with us again. We assisted them with their reels and made sure to let them know how special they are to us.

“At the film’s premiere we thanked them individually and made sure they understood that the movie’s success was a result of their hard work and talent. As a result, they not only want to work with us again, but they are telling others to work with us. Take good care of them and they will take good care of you.

“As for as crew goes, I am blessed with the best people in the world to work with, including Ben who is a hero. Evil John Mays happened to be at a convention we were attending and the rest is history. You dream it and he’ll make it even bloodier.”

What lessons that you learned from your first film were you able to apply to this one?
“Making a movie is the most rewarding stress trip you can take. I do a lot of consulting for producers and directors looking to make their first films and I state to all of them: ‘You are about to get into a train wreck. You may walk away and get on another train, or you may decide it’s not the right thing for you, but either way it is going to be one heck of a ride.’

“I think the most important thing I got from They Feed was the confirmation of my belief that if you keep a level head, if you keep your emotions in check and handle everything in a calm and professional manner, then those around you will trust your instincts and work even harder for you. It’s hard to be inspired by a director who blows their top every time a light bulb blows out. You follow that person by fear. But if you can inspire people and let them know they can trust you and be safe with you, they will in turn inspire you with their level of work.

“That is how our set was run on They Feed, and because of that people are being drawn to our productions.”

What sorts of constraints of time, money, equipment etc. were you under?
“Since we didn’t have presale money, we were under every constraint you can think of. When you try to raise money for a movie, people just stare at you. Movies are just dreams, it is hard for people to understand that you can make them and make money at them. So most of the money was raised in-house. Because of that everything had to happen quick.

“Principle photography took nine days. From the day we started writing the script till the day the completed DVD was on our rep’s desk was 74 days. (I got pneumonia otherwise it would have been 60 days.) Luckily we have our own equipment so that wasn’t that bad. We have upgraded our audio equipment since then.”

How closely does the finished film match what you set out to make?
“We have big budget scripts, we have mid level scripts, and then we have these fun movies. Keeping in mind what this film was meant to do, I would say we did a really good job. If I had to be hard on anything, it would be a directing error that I made. I did not deliver a vital point that is beginning to haunt me in all interview and reviews.

“In my mind’s eye, the matter of soundproof walls wasn’t an issue because once the ghost was engaged with you, you were no longer of this realm. For instance the blood and bodies disappearing. So when you were fighting the ghost, you were in the same place the ghost was, so your screams wouldn’t be heard.

“I attempted to deliver this information during the death scene in the bathroom which was being seen on the TV. There was no sound coming from the TV and if you listen closely, when the camera is in the bathroom during the death scene you can hear her screams and the sound of the couple banging on the door, but when the camera is outside the bathroom, you only hear the couple banging on the door. I was far too subtle in my delivery of those thoughts so most people, rightfully so, think we screwed up. It was a good lesson for me.”

What future projects do you have lined up?
“We have a suspense thriller that will have name talent and will be a mid level film for us which we plan on filming toward the end of the year. We just wrapped on an incredible children’s DVD entitled Mr Heath. It is geared for kids aged one year to six years. It is already being picked up by large retailers within the US and we are hoping to find distribution in other countries as well. As for our fun Savage Spirit type movies, we are trying to get a lot of fan input. From bigfoot to zombies, we can make it, we just want to know what our fans are hungry for.”

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