Interview with Executive Producer, Christopher Garetano

Today I’m welcoming Christopher Garetano, the executive producer, director of re creation and co-host of the History Channel’s phenomenal new television series, The Dark Files! Thank you, Christopher for stopping by!

 

 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Here’s the short version: 🙂

I was born in Huntington, New York and I spent most of my childhood living just outside of a small harbor village called Northport, NY.
That area has many traditional small-town charms but there were a few local ghost stories that haunted us as well and there were others that made national and world news that were terrifying to me.
Regardless of how it might appear on the surface, sometimes pure evil hides in the shadows of small-town America. It lurks amongst the summer fairs and fall festivals, in the churches and schools, the forests and in suburban homes.
The seasons are well defined in that part of the country and each one has its own mystery.
I think it’s why I can relate so well to the works of Rod Serling and Stephen King because my small town experience could have been one of their stories.
You don’t realize, when you’re living in it, how bizarre it truly is. It’s not until you’ve had ample time to reflect on the past and that’s when it fully revealed itself to me.
I grew up in a place that was rich with atmosphere and I always had a sense of wonder and discovery.
I was crazy about mysteries and paranormal stories even before I was determined to make movies. I frequented book fairs and the local library when I was a kid. I collected books on BIGFOOT, UFO abductions, monster legends and hauntings.
There is also a geographical and even a historical beauty about Long Island.
It’s a variety unbeknownst to most of the world. There were Spielbergian type communities with town gatherings and seasonal festivals but there was also the “Say You Love Satan” murder, The Amityville Horror, and The Montauk Project right around the corner.

When I was a kid those local tales gave me many nightmares and further fueled my imagination.
I also had a few family ghost stories that stayed with me and couple of profound paranormal experiences.

I lived in New York City during my late teens and early twenties. I really grew up there.
I worked at a video store on Park Avenue and I went to film school while living in the city.
I loved music (punk and heavy metal mostly) and movies and art.
I later became obsessed with jazz, synth based music, and motion pictures scores.
I love my physical collection of vinyl records, books, and movies.

I couldn’t imagine my childhood being glued to an IPAD or a PlayStation.
There’s a lot lost with the digital format of everything. That tactile experience is gone if all you have is a collection of files.
I’m grateful that the download-technology didn’t exist back then.
What can and should be explored for a young child and an adolescent, during those formative years, are precious and infinite. We played outside all of the time and I know that helped shape me as a person; those early adventures.

I don’t live in New York currently but I love exploring new places.
I lived in Michigan for a couple of years and I’m currently in Florida.
The reason why I work so hard these days is to remain in that creative place, full-time.
I had to develop a good business sense to keep the artist in me safe and alive.
Movie making is such “an expensive paint box”, as Orson Welles said.
There’s no other way in life for someone like me. I need to do this.
I wasn’t born with a trust-fund or connections in the movie industry, so to survive I had to find a way to make things work and that’s really just trying to remain unique and creative.
I feel alive when I’m working on a movie.
Movie making encompasses a variety of wonderful art forms, so I feel like it’s the ultimate celebration of art.
I feel such a purpose in life with it.
During that dark period, in my late teens and early twenties, I had a few unfortunate brushes with death and some dangerous situations also found me.
I decided a while back it was either “get busy living or get busy dying.”
As a result, I’m in a place now where I’m spiritually and physically sober (and have been for years) so I can experience life without any interference.
I spent some of my youth romancing death and taking frivolous risks and I simply don’t feel that way anymore. That’s a distant memory.
I have no interest in anything but being alive and loving life.
I’m a temporary visitor on this planet so I want to experience as much as I can. I love life and I want to live as long as I can.
You cannot acquire true experience from just ingesting movies and books and pop culture so I do spend as much time as possible venturing out and experiencing this life.

 

 

 

What made you want to become a filmmaker?

It had a lot to do with a exposure to various movies and TV programs that just lit up young mind. It was just the right time and some of the greatest motion pictures ever were brand new at that time. It was overload. They filled that impressionable zone in my imagination.
Everything from Alien, Jaws, Blade Runner, Dawn Of The Dead and John Carpenter’s The Thing to Raiders Of The Lost Ark and the original Star Wars trilogy. They were all relatively new and brand new at the time. There’s just too many classics to list here but, my god, am I grateful to have been a kid at that time. It’s an ethos that’s popular again right now and I think it’s important to examine why that decade of culture is so strong.
My family would always tell stories during gatherings and late night talks, so observing that helped a lot.
I saw a lot of good and bad when I was a child so life experience added to it. I had my own stories to tell.
I should give some formative credit to playing with action figures in the early eighties. They had these incredibly well-established characters with starkly defined roles of good and evil.
There was a profound story for them all.
I’m convinced that this was an amazing early tool for imagining, designing and blocking scenes.

I was also an outdoors kid, so I was outside and in nature all of the time. We went camping quite a bit. I remember running around barefoot all summer long, catching fireflies at dusk. My eyes were exposed to so many colors and textures, constantly.
But there were a few things in particular that I know made me want to make movies.
My parents owned a small video store in the eighties so I saw every movie.
I loved horror films mostly and I still love them; at least the very few good ones that are made each year.
My folks would take us to the Drive-In and the indoor movie theater a lot too.
One Halloween my father had a Frankenstein’s Monster Makeup Kit. He was applying the gelatin sections to his face and I was fixated while he was transforming into the monster right before my eyes.
So I later saw the making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller with the mighty Rick Baker (special effects wizard) transforming Jackson into a werewolf. There was also a documentary titled Scream Greats: Volume one. It was a Fangoria Magazine video about Tom Savini ( a horror renaissance man) and once I learned about him I was obsessed with becoming a special effects makeup artist as well as a filmmaker.
I later went to film school at The School Of Visual Arts, in New York City. I was there that I was introduced to an endless collection of independent movies and world cinema.

 

 

 

Tell us about your documentary, The Montauk Chronicles.

Montauk Chronicles is mainly a character study and it’s also an independent investigation of several gentlemen who claim that they were participants in a bizarre secret government experiment. They say that between 1971 and 1983 there was a covert program that occurred deep beneath the Camp Hero Air Force station in Montauk, New York, and that young runaway teen boys were kidnapped and brought to a secret facility to be put through a series of brutal mind control experiments.
The men (Preston Nichols, Alfred Bielek, Stewart Swerdlow and James Bruce) all claim that they were a crucial part of training the boys in psychic warfare as well as programming their minds to be triggered later on for assassination missions. In Jame’s Bruces Swerdlow’s case, they claim to have been the recruited boys.
In addition to the mind control experiments it is said that they were used as human crash test dummies for time travel and interstellar travel experiments, and all of the men claim that the technology was reverse engineered from extraterrestrials.
I began making the movie back in 2006. This wasn’t a very popular story back then.
It wasn’t until after Huffington Post / AOL NEWS did an article an interview with me in 09 that I noticed people really started to become interested.
That article went out to a lot of people and they showed my early trailers with it.
That was the first time anyone really saw an adaptation of those tales in a cinematic form.
Later, the story inspired the hit NETFLIX show Stranger Things.
The original title of their show was “MONTAUK.”
I made two movies actually. I finished the first one in late 2011 and I wasn’t very happy with it.
I started all over again in 2013. I finished it in early 2015 and that’s the movie that is out there right now.
I wanted to combine cinema and powerful interviews.
I wrote, produced, photographed, edited and directed the movie.
I also created the live and post visual effects and designed and edited the sound.
I feel that The Montauk Project is a horror story so my movie is quite bleak at times.

It was a huge project to take on but I’m happy with it and it seems to have a new life every week.
It led to my History Channel show (The Dark Files) and many other things so I’m grateful that I stuck it out and I’m grateful for the few folks that were dedicated to helping me make the movie.

 

 

 

What would you say to the skeptics out there who may question your research? 

I would tell them to please just simply look into it all. You must conduct some of your own research, even beyond Youtube, Google and Wikipedia.
Before you make any judgment call (on this story) you shouldn’t ignore the factual information that’s available about similar cases.
As part of my own research, I personally traveled to and I interviewed all of the men telling the tales. I spent a considerable amount of time at Camp Hero and at Montauk. I searched through the Montauk library archives and asked a lot of questions. I talked to the locals as well.
These secret programs aren’t fiction.
There are so many factual accounts like the Holmsburg Prison experiments and MK ULTRA that prove a great deal of what I’ve discovered is true and has happened in other locations.
So the more you research the more this story becomes less science fiction and more of something to be afraid of.

 

 

 

You have an amazing television series titled, The Dark Files that’s now on The History Channel. What is this exciting new series about and when will viewers be able to tune in?

I’m an executive producer, director of re creations and co-host of the Dark Files. It’s a two hour continuation of my investigation Of Camp Hero, that began in Montauk Chronicles.
I return to Montauk with my co-hosts Barry Eisler (author and an Ex CIA agent) and Steve Volk a writer and an investigative reporter. We conducted a true investigation that included a full site exploration with geophysicists and scientific equipment that wasn’t available to me before.
We also returned to all of the major witnesses and alleged whistle blowers for new interviews.
I truly love the show and I think between Montauk Chronicles and The Dark Files there is nothing better on the subject.
What we found is the bridge between fiction and fact. I’m convinced that we found something that is now the foundation to securing proof that The Montauk Project did happen. I believe at least that it was a secret mind control experiment.

The premiere on September 8th, for The Dark Files, was a strong open.
Even though we had this monster hurricane (IRMA) on its way, we still rated very well.
The weather channels and new stations dominated the ratings for the weekend.
That threw things off for everyone on TV.
Regardless of all of the above we still rated well, so right now History Channel is planning an additional October premiere and they’re going to test it, hurricane free.
After that the plan is, as long as it still rates well, we’re going right into the full series.
It’s a necessary process considering the amount of money and time that goes into making an entire series.
I’m excited and I trust that there will be many more Dark Files.

 

 

 

Where can fans follow you and your work?

They can check-in with me and find my work on my website www.montauckhronicles.com, Facebook, Instagram, and on my Youtube channel GARETANO7

 

 

 

Aside from The Dark Files, what else does Christopher Garetano have planned?

I’m working on a bunch of things that I’m really excited about. I’ve been crafting the ultimate BIGFOOT movie for a while. It’s a really a perspective on the beloved cryptid that not many have considered.
Our country was forged in war, violence and genocide and I suspect part of the creature/species elusive behavior is a result of what they may have witnessed, looking out at us from the forest.
There are so many noteworthy books on the BIGFOOT subject but nothing really to speak of in a decades worth of movies and TV.
I’m crafting a movie of timeless stories, mystery, eyewitness accounts and a very spooky atmosphere. I want the audience to feel like they’re in the forest alone at night and the creature is moving nearby in the darkness.
It’s important to bring the audience into its world and out of our own.
There were a few programs worth remembering like In Search Of (With Leonard Nimoy) but it seems that modern TV programs tend to lose focus on the proper mystery and atmosphere for Sasquatch stories, and I want to bring that back.
My goal is not to necessarily find BIGFOOT or but to examine its history as a collection of incredibly rich stories.
I’ll be back to work on BIGFOOT in the spring of 2018. It’s just such an enormous project that needs a little more for the production. I’m going to take advantage of the many doors that have been opening lately and make this the right way.
I’m also working on a few more TV projects. One of them is a fictional tale (a dark Science Fiction story) that I wrote and will direct for Television.
Another is my first independent horror movie and I’ve already shot various pieces of it.
It’s a macabre story of witchcraft and a family house that’s haunted by an ancient energy.
I don’t want to say too much more about it right now but I promise it will be a unique take on all of the above.

 

 

 

Any words of wisdom you’d care to share?

Just be thankful. Be grateful. It’s all a gift. This entire experience is a gift.
Some of my most painful and excruciating moments were followed by me making a point to be grateful, before I fell asleep that night. Of whom or what you should be grateful to is entirely up to you.

 

 

 

 

 

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Interview with actor, Robert John Burke

Today I’m welcoming actor, Robert John Burke. Thank you, Bobby for stopping by!

 

 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I am frighteningly ordinary.

 

 

How did you get into the career of acting?

I got into acting through an experimental acting class in my high school. It also offered an internship with the professional equity acting company. Then it was onto college, where I attended the acting conservatory at SUNY purchase.

 

 

In one of your earlier films, you played the role of the well-known character of Alex Murphy in RoboCop 3. What was it like playing the part of a cyborg?

It was very daunting playing RoboCop three. I thought Peter Weller did such an amazing job that it should have been left alone. No Peter no sequel. I was resistant for about eight months and then I finally acquiesced. The physical demands of the role were great. It involved movement training with a man named Moni Yakin, who had also worked with Peter. He is a teacher at the Juilliard school and he’s amazing. I think if I did anything at all right in that role, I owe it to him.

 

 

In the horror film titled, Thinner, (that was based on Stephen King’s novel) you portrayed the main character of Billy Halleck. Tell us about that and did you encounter any challenges in playing such a diverse role?

Thinner was the ultimate role for me to play. Getting to hide under five hours of make up should excite any actor. But the schedule was pretty grueling. I would get in the make up chair at 2 o’clock in the morning to be ready to start shooting at 7 AM. Then shoot to about 10 PM in the evening.

I was a little disappointed with the way the film turned out. There were lots of different directions that people were pulling it in. Although I must say, quite a few people really enjoyed that film. Meeting Stephen King was a complete thrill.

 

 

Your other on-screen accomplishments include Limitless, 2 Guns, Safe and Dust Devil, just to name a few. Aside from your films, you’re also on the t.v. series: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Allegiance, Banshee, Nurse Jackie, Army Wives, and Rescue Me… (the impressive list goes on)… How do you maintain such a balanced schedule?

On paper it can look like I’m doing a lot of different projects. The reality is that I lead a very balanced life. There were times when I was doing two and three television shows at a time. But somehow it was always manageable. And to tell you the truth, it keeps things interesting that are a hell of a lot of fun.

 

 

Is there any one role that you find in particular to be your absolute favorite?

People ask you what’s the most fun or is there any one role that you find to be your favorite. I think there are several for different reasons. I’ve met a lot of really amazing people on all the productions I’ve been on. Got to travel to exotic and beautiful places. The work I’m most proud of is probably the work that the least amount of people have seen. Films like First Love Last Rites, The Unbelievable Truth, and No Such Thing, are among my favorites.

 

 

Aside from being an actor, you’re also a NY State Certified Firefighter. You helped with the rescue efforts during 9/11, mind telling everyone about that? 

My best friend was in FDNY, captain named Patrick J. Brown. He fell on 9/11/01. Because all of Long Island New York is voluntary fire service, I decided to join my local department and dedicate my service to his memory. It’s been 16 years. I think I missed my True calling.

 

 

What’s next for Robert John Burke?

I’ve taken some time off recently but I’m also developing several projects and working hard on them.

 

 

Where can fans follow you and your work?

I don’t really have a website or anything like that. Sometimes I’ll post pictures of a particular project I’m working on on social media. Certain shows I’ve been on, particularly SVU have legions of very loyal enthusiastic fans. So I treat them with great respect and try and post stuff that keeps them in the loop.

 

 

Any positive words of advice you’d like to share?

I rarely give advice. But I do make suggestions. I suggest people remember to be kind to each other. And I say remember because people forget. I have a coffee mug that says “be kind” on it. It reminds me because I don’t ever want to forget to extend even the smallest gesture to another person that could mean a great deal to that person at that moment. If we take care of the little stuff, the big stuff takes care of itself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview with actor, Dave Buzzotta

Today I’m welcoming actor, writer and singer, Dave Buzzotta. Thanks, Dave for stopping by!

 

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Buzz (what his friends call him): Well, I’m a triple Aquarius, so for the most part, I go with the flow. Now, I’m always pursuing some artistic endeavor, and though the bulk of my work is in the theatre, and on camera stuff, of course, but I’m at my best as an artist when I’m also working on music. And I’m putting a new project together. Growing player by player. Free flowing jams we record and take home and work on our own perspective jobs and bring it in. Plus, I have some original songs of my own that I’ve worked on since my former band crashed just when we were releasing our EP at The Viper Room. And I also enjoy hiking up Runyon Canyon, gigs, museums, dogs AND cats and putting my headphones on to a little Pink Floyd.

 

 

What made you want to be an actor?

Buzz: Truthfully, a few little gems mesmerized me quite young and felt like they literally became the strength of my young, growing bones. I remember seeing a scene my mother was watching on American Playhouse or something. It was James Earl Jones and Mary Alice in Fences. I didn’t quite understand it, but I knew it was me. I also remember walking from the kitchen, and on my way to the bedroom, I was paused by Alfre Woodard’s Hill Street Blues episode where the cop shot her boy. I was chilled. I think it was in reruns, but I was quite young and can still see them both. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that probably what solidified it was Star Wars. I was a little drawer and painter very young before I understood what acting was. So everyone thought I’d go in that direction. And I still do, but after seeing the film, I sat right down and drew all the characters and memorized the album my mother bought me of the actual dialogue of the whole movie. I memorized and mimicked every character, sound and death and performed it for my family who felt I might need special help. I started as a kid starting with print and commercials. As a teenager, I did a Dayrunner ad with Jessica Alba. So funny what 20 years in the business throws your way. As a child I was cast as Snoopy in a New York production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” “The Babysitter’s Club, as a boy sitter. Fun then. Embarrassing now, also a Broadway production, a couple off-Broadway stints, a cabaret show, a punk band while studying with Sanford Meisner as his youngest student. That’s where I learned how to act. So many a-ha moments and it gave me a technique that I’ve made my own. New York did me well. And whenever I’m not working, I’m in class to keep the muscles toned.

 

 

You’ve played roles in the films Last Resort, She’s All That and Prophecy 3: The Ascent. What are some of your other onscreen accomplishments?

Buzz: I’ve always liked the indie scene, so my most fulfilling projects are usually gritty roles like: Fuel, where I played the lead character, based on a real heroin addicted genius who, developed a magnetic engine (which took the highest honor in the Lisbon Film Festival and did well on the indie circuit with Al Gore as a producer), If Tomorrow Comes where my role as a teenage porn actor gave me quite an education in the Los Angeles sex working industry (with James Franco as my best friend) and two action films shot last year: Wolfmother and Water. I also did a short where I played an 80s rockstar called Jon and the Wolf that was a hell of a lot of fun. We even made a cheesy video for the film called “Feeding Frenzy.” And She’s All That was a hell of a lot of fun.

 

 

You’re also a singer. Tell us about your band.

Buzz: I had to take some time off, but at the moment, I’m playing with an amazing guitar player and talking about what we want to do. Then we’ll approach the guys we want and continue writing while we start playing out in LA. I’d also like to use my previous band’s EP for a web series I’ve nearly completed.

 

 

Do you have any current and/or upcoming projects you’d like to share with everyone?

Buzz: In addition to Water and Wolfmother, I have an offer I’m considering and I’m shopping two television series, an action drama called Stage and a children’s animation series starring a cat called Geep. Being a member of a few theatre companies, I am always interested in doing a great play when I’m not shooting or developing something. I have to do at least one play a year or I feel like I’m starving. I was nominated for an Ovation Award last year (the closest event to the Tony’s in LA) which validated my fears of coming back to my career. I’m very excited about ARULA (Artists Rise Up Los Angeles), a theatre company formed the day after the election. In order to do our part in our way as a faction of the tremendous anti-White House agenda. Our first production, E Pluribus Unum (Out of One, Many) performed to a sold out crowd with rave reviews, spawned a New York chapter and a follow up production, Transparency, Taxes & Tweets April 17 & 18 at Atwater Village Theatre.

 

 

What would you say is the most rewarding part of your career?

Buzz: The energy of performing live, whether the theatre or music. It’s always emotional for me which is what I think attracted me to performing in the first place. I remember my mother telling me at a young age when I was upset. She said, “It’s ok my love, you just feel things more than most people do.” Though acting and singing and shaken’ it are distinctively different, there is that rush of feeling the audience and feeling them feel you and I approach them the same way. Not much different than a roided out tennis match, feeding off each other and connecting on a more spiritual level than every day human contact.

 

 

At the end of a busy day, how does Dave Buzzotta unwind?

Buzz: Well, if I’m staying in, I get straight into my fleece pjs, pet the cat or dog while watching msnbc, eat and then write.

 

 

How can fans follow your work and find out about updates?

Buzz: I can be followed or reached on FB and Twitter, as I do post my projects. My website was badly hacked and will be up again soon at: Dave Buzzotta.com. I may not be prompt, but I always get back to my peeps.

 

 

Any words of wisdom you care to share?

Buzz: I would never say I have much wisdom to offer, however, I think we all should pursue art and creativity in our lives. Not necessarily as a career, but as a way to appreciate the beauty and freedom we do have, especially in the midst of what is going on in the world. And if you’re an aspiring actor, I’d say first buy a copy of Sanford Meisner’s book, On Acting. See what you think, find a great teacher and do the two year technique. And go where the work is or make it yourself. Thank you, Sheila for this opportunity.

 

 

 

 

Auld Lang Syne

“Should auld (old) acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should auld (old) acquaintance be forgot, and auld (old) lang syne?” Ahhh…. the long familiar song associated with this time of year.

Auld Lang Syne: “For (the sake of) old times.”

‘Tis the end of another year, my friends. 2016 is coming to a close as 2017 approaches. Did you all have a wonderful Christmas? I sure did. I was extremely grateful to spend a relaxing holiday at home with my family. We carried on the annual Christmas Eve tradition of driving around looking at the local Christmas decorations and lights as we sipped on our milkshakes. Then, once we arrived home we watched the classic film, A Christmas Story starring Peter Billingsley as Ralphie Parker, along with Darren McGavin and Melinda Dillon who played his parents and Ian Petrella who played his pesky little brother, Randy. My family and I have seen the movie countless times, but every time we watch it, it still cracks us up.

And then on Christmas day, we stayed home opening our gifts as we sat by the fireplace. It was definitely a wonderful time!

Tomorrow is the first day of the new year and I’m certainly ready for it. Are you? I’ve got some exciting projects that I’ll be working on and I promise to keep you all posted with the updates as time progresses. I’m really looking forward to this next year! What does 2017 have in store for you? I’d love to hear about it! What are some of your holiday traditions and what exciting plans have you got for the upcoming year?

As we celebrate this festive holiday season, always be safe and enjoy. Life is for remembering, not regretting!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!!!

~ Love & Light, Sheila

 

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

 

 

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Happy Halloween!!!

I know it’s a day early, but I just wanted to take a very special moment to wish you all a Happy Halloween! As I’ve said before, this is my absolute fave time of year. The temperatures become cooler, warm Autumn smells fill the air and holiday baked goodies tend to be at their yummiest!

Carving pumpkins has always been a huge tradition with my family. The creativity involved just adds to the excitement. And then… there’s the baking of the pumpkin seeds! Right before putting them in the oven, I like to add some sea salt to give them a little extra bit of deliciousness. Oh, and did I mention that as we carved pumpkins yesterday, we baked nearly three dozen peanut butter cookies. Yes, we did and I would love to share them with you! 🙂

There’s also the marathon of fave horror movies to make this haunted holiday all the scarier. Earlier in the week I recorded Masque of the Red Death (a short story by Edgar Allan Poe) starring the late, great Vincent Price. A true classic in my opinion, another fave. Since my childhood, I’ve always loved the works of Poe and his creative ingenious as he brought out an eerie darkness that has resonated amongst his fans.

With so many different fun things going on this time of year, I decided to explore the stores to see what I could find to add to this season’s decorations. A couple of weeks ago I went shopping and found an adorable, yet simple, witch’s hat. (An image of this sweet addition is even included at the end of this post.)

When I got to the register, the cashier asked, “Are you gonna be a witch for Halloween?” I casually laughed and answered, “I already am one.”

She jokingly replied, “I thought you were kidding.” I grinned while shaking my head and told her, “Actually, I’m Wiccan.”

Then, we had a brief conversation about spirituality. The young lady was very cool and extremely open-minded.

The encounter made me giggle because of its innocence, which made me want to share it with you. As I always say, “Be Original. Be True. Be YOU!” 😉 )O(

 

Alright, everyone, I’ve shared with you a few of mine and my family’s Halloween traditions, would love to hear what are some of your favorite things that you like to do? Don’t be shy, this is an open-minded site where everyone is welcome to share!

 

Blessed Samhain! )O(

Love & Light,                                                                                                                         Sheila

 

 

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

 

 

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Pumpkins my son and I carved yesterday. 🙂

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Interview with film director, Michael G. Kehoe

Today I’m welcoming back director, Michael G. Kehoe to discuss his new horror film, AliceThank you, Michael for stopping by!

 

 

Tell everyone a little about yourself.

I was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up going to a Catholic school. My mother was a theater director in the local parish. One of the first films that caught my attention when I was very young was a film by an Australian director Nicolas Roeg titled “Walkabout”. Roeg was a Cinematographer on such films like “Fahrehheit 451”, Second Unit on “Lawrence of Arabia” just to name a few. So his attention to detail as far as composition and light was something that caught my attention for some reason.
My family moved to Ithaca and while I attended high school I became interested in drama and started acting. I wanted to direct so I approached the school and a sports booster club to produce the play “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. I produced it, directed it and played the leading role of R. P. McMurphy. The play was a success for the sports booster club and I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I was then approached by my high school English teacher to apply to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. I then waited for word, and was finally accepted.
After completing my studies there I left for California and took a job as a bartender. There is a longer story, but it would end up being a book!

 

 

Your latest horror film is titled, Alice. Prior to it becoming a feature film, it was the short film called Hush which received more than 30 phenomenal awards. Share with us Hush’s success and how it became Alice.

I had been developing an idea that would take place in one location with female leads. I happen to have 4 sisters, they’re independent and their personalities are very strong. I have a great relationship with all of them. My mother, was a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock, and she was a very positive inspiration for me to pursue a career as a filmmaker. All of this is what lit the fuse of inspiration. I began writing a screenplay and did not have a title. The screenplay was written quickly and I knew that every screenplay I write will have a follow up journey of a rewrite and another rewrite and another and a polish and a touch up, this is the life of a writer! Within the untitled screenplay I pulled a scene that although was less than 5 minutes long, it had somewhat of a three act structure. I then decided to take that scene and shoot it as a short film. The scene itself is the catalyst of the third act in the feature script.

I had several ideas on how I wanted to shoot the film and then contacted cinematographer and long time friend John Connor. We met and discussed the approach to the film for several months. We created story boards, developed movement of the shots and composition. John suggested we shoot the film with anamorphic lenses and that was the scope I wanted for the film giving it a grand look. We then discussed lighting. Lighting for this genre is extremely important and the right lighting can give the film a style that remains in peoples minds after they’ve left the theater. I must give credit to John Connor for the style and the lighting. At first he was reluctant when I said I did not want to use any lights at all. We looked at dozens of films that inspired us over the years and John came up with an idea that created the style of the film. It has his mark on it. I then brought on a talented editor Michael Trent. Michael and I had a friendship already through our sons, he loves filmmaking as much as I do and I felt as if we were old friends when we began discussing the short film HUSH. Michael talked about the science of the horror genre. I loved those discussions we had over coffee. Each and every moment was touched upon and I knew Michael Trent was the right choice. I not only consider him a friend, but he is my editor!

We shot the short film in one day, less than 11 hours. We came prepared and the cast and crew were spot on! At the time, I fooled around with different titles such as “Dark Rain”, “The Night It Came” and several others. Then, a friend of mine read the short script and in the script there was dialogue that the baby sitter had: “Hush, I’m coming”. So, we decided to use “HUSH”. The short film went on to win 34 awards, including a Wes Craven award. The buzz for the short was extremely rewarding and it gave us faith to continue with the feature.

I then received a call from producer Malek Akkad (producer of the HALLOWEEN franchise), he had screened the short film and read the script. We met, solidified a deal and went over the ideas for the story. Malek is a passionate producer with attention to story. He and I worked diligently on the script and spent hours going over the approach of the cast. We both agreed to avoid the cliche’ of nudity and blood and worked the relationships out that would be relatable to the female audience. We moved on and scheduled the film to shoot with an 18 day schedule that ended out being shorter than that. Believe me, if I had more time we would have used it! But we accomplished what we set out to do and I am very proud of this film.

 

 

What makes Alice the “must see” film for all horror fans?

I think the element of “what’s behind the door?” is always something that horror fans love. I learned quickly that horror fans are loyal and sharp. You can’t cheat a horror fan, if you do, you’ll never hear the end of it. The genre itself has many flavors, there’s ghosts, vampires, monsters, killers, demons and the list goes on. Each of these flavors has a following that is dedicated to the history, the tone and the style. I hope we can give the fans a ride that will open the doors to a sequel! I think they’ll enjoy this as the fans enjoyed the short film. We want to scare the crap out of the audience!

 

 

What are some things people are saying about this exciting film so far?

During post, the technicians have stated that “ALICE” is creepy with great jump scares. They’ve said “you took us on one path and then jolted us to another”. No one on the outside has even seen the film, not the crew, not the cast. Only the small circle that pulled this all together. The word has been very positive.

 

 

Is there a teaser trailer available?

We’re working on a trailer right now. In fact, we will be announcing a contest on social network very soon!

 

 

When will Alice be released for all to see?

At the present time “ALICE” is due to be released in February.

 

 

Where can horror fans find updates about Alice?

Right now people should log on to Facebook and “Like” the “ALICE The Movie” page: https://www.facebook.com/alicemovie2017/?fref=ts
There will be updates and information being released. Be sure to keep an eye out for the big event we will be announcing.
People can follow me on social network: Instagram; @mikehoe11 Twitter: @MikeyKehoe https://twitter.com/MikeyKehoe

 

 

I want to thank you Sheila Renee Parker for your support and your dedication to the paranormal. Your voice should be heard all across the country. I hope you will continue to support the films I make in the future! I would also like to thank the people you inspired to follow me. I hope I can bring the film to a theater near you!

Thank you,
Michael G. Kehoe

 

 

alice

 

 

 

Interview with Blaine Duncan

Today I’m welcoming Blaine Duncan, director of the upcoming film, The Paranormal Diaries: A Documentary Film. Thank you, Blaine for stopping by!

 

 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I grew up in a very small, rural community about 45 minutes west of Minneapolis, Minnesota where I lived with my family. This is a small town that’s filled with a few farms, a bar, a church, a small Catholic school and not much more. It’s very much your typical small, Midwest community that you see in the movies and on TV. The house I grew up in always had some strange things going on inside of it. Things would disappear. Lights would turn on and off by themselves. There would even appear this strange smell of cigarette smoke that would fill the air out of nowhere. And this wasn’t like a cigarette that you would smell out at the bar on a Saturday night, this was the smell of distinct, old tobacco. My brother Austin, who is actually out filming with me this summer, had an incredibly scary experience when he was only four or five years old that involved a door slamming shut and a disembodied voice telling him to “be quiet”. So there were some really scary things that were happening all around me and to family living there. As a kid, even from a small age, I was very interested in the paranormal. So interested in fact that the only paranormal book that was in my school’s library was removed from school because some of the nuns felt that I was reading it too much. Pretty funny stuff. But as the only person in my family at the time who was into the paranormal, and even the only one who believed in the paranormal to a degree, nothing ever happened to me outside of smelling the old cigarette smoke. I wanted to interact with whatever was there so bad that I went as far as playing with the ouija board by myself, but again, nothing ever came of it. It was like whatever was there knew I was onto it and it wanted to stay clear of me. So then fast forward 20 or so years and here I am now, still interested in the paranormal. I’ve since then had several paranormal experiences myself at other locations and finally had that moment where I could no longer question whether or not the paranormal was real. I became very interested in filmmaking growing up which has led me to the point I’m at now shooting my own film documenting the paranormal. In a way I kind of feel like whatever it was that avoided me as a kid in my own home has driven me to want to discover the paranormal in every corner of the world.

 

 

You’re currently working on the film titled, The Paranormal Diaries: A Documentary Film. What is your film about?

The Paranormal Diaries: A Documentary Film is exactly what the title describes it as, and that’s a video diary about my road trip across America in search of some of the most haunted locations I can find. The idea for the film started back in 2009 or 2010 when I decided I wanted to create my own film on the subject. I’d always been into the paranormal and I really began to develop a love for independent filmmaking. So it took me from 2009 up until this point to really play around with the idea and get everything in line exactly the way I wanted, and I’m finally at the point now where I’ve gathered my equipment and have taken the steps needed to turn this idea into reality. We’re really hitting the back roads of America and finding these unknown locations that most people have never heard of when it comes to paranormal investigating. When we think about the paranormal we automatically think about places like Amityville and The Stanley Hotel, but what people have to realize is that there are just as active of locations as Amityville and the Stanley out there, they’re just completely undiscovered yet. So by us grabbing our film equipment and hitting the road, we’re stopping at any location we can come across, sometimes in these small, rural towns that are barely a blip on the radar. You’d be really surprised at the amount of places that we have stopped at where people will gladly point to a creepy house on the corner in town and say, “go talk to them about their house”. And then we do and find all kinds of crazy things are going on there, but it’s been so hush-hush in the community that no one has ever investigated it. So we’re really excited to have the opportunity to be the first ones into a lot of these places. We’ve had some really positive experiences so far and we’ve also collected some really great evidence along the way.

 

 

What has been the driving force behind creating such a production?

My driving force is, and always will be, my passion for the subject of the paranormal and filmmaking. In my opinion when a spirit gives me a really great EVP or a really great visual piece of evidence, the best thing I can do is to present that to the world. I mean when you sit back and think about it, how cool is it that we are actually communicating with people that are no longer living? It’s sad that they’re no longer living, sure, but that is just the unfortunate truth about life. But if I’m given undeniable proof of the existence of the paranormal, I believe it’s my job to pass that along and show that to the world. So my driving force will always be my love for this subject, my passion for filmmaking and of course my desire to present the best possible evidence to the world.

 

 

What are your views regarding the ghostly realm?

That’s a really great question and I think it’s such a deep and intense question that I don’t know that I can truly answer it entirely for you. There’s no doubt in my mind life after death. We all know that we’re made up of energy. It’s a scientific fact. And it’s also a scientific fact that you can’t destroy energy. So where does that energy go once we die? That’s what I’m trying to figure out. I believe there are probably spirits around us in many places throughout our lives, but we just don’t have the ability to interact with them. I believe there is such a thing as residual ghost activity and that some of the spirits that still walk this planet may not realize that they’re even dead. This could be in many cases those spirits who lost their life suddenly like in a car accident or a murder, something along those lines. But then I think there are other times when spirits are fully well aware that they are no longer alive and they are here for one reason or another. Maybe unfinished business, who knows? Maybe they feel such a strong desire to watch over their loved ones that they can’t pass over. I look at the steps that have been taken scientifically over the last two decades in regards to documenting paranormal activity, and the leaps and bounds we’ve taken to document proof of the afterlife. I truly believe we are on the cusp of revealing to world the most scientific research that proves ghosts are real. And I also believe my film will support that.

 

 

When will The Paranormal Diaries: A Documentary Film be released for all to see?

We are out filming right now, this summer, across the country. We should wrap up filming in late August and will take the fall and winter to edit and focus on marketing. Hopefully by early spring we can start a few screenings and feel out how receptive people are to it, make any changes that are needed and then have the official release date be sometime next summer. I’ve been telling people August of 2017 is what we’re aiming for, but that also gives us a little wiggle room in there for any unpredicted roadblocks. But I wouldn’t be surprised if you see it before then.

 

 

You’ve recently launched an Indiegogo page. Share with us where people can find your Indiegogo page so they can help take your project to the next level.

Yes! I launched an Indiegogo campaign a few weeks back to help support the film financially. For those who are not familiar with Indiegogo or crowdfunding in general, it’s really become the new way to get a lot of projects completed on the independent circuit. Initially when I first began filming, this was going to be 100% out of pocket and I didn’t want to rely on anyone else to fund the film. Well, a few weeks out on the road made me realize that in order to accomplish what I want to get done in a timely manner, there is really no way I can continue at my current pace to support the film entirely by myself. So I started my Indiegogo campaign and am trying to raise $15,000 for the film. This will cover travel expenses, filming costs, equipment costs, those kinds of things. For anyone who knows anything about independent filmmaking, $15,000 is really not a lot of money. In some locations we’re going to film at, they want over $1,000 just to film there. So any little money that people are willing to give would greatly be appreciated. If you go to http://www.indiegogo.com and type in The Paranormal Diaries, our page will pop up and you can read through it. And people should also know that with each donation you give you can get different perks ranging from a signed promotional card all the way up to credited as an associate producer in the film, which you’ll actually be allowed to partake in conversations down the road and make some production decisions with the rest of the team. I keep saying that this film is being done by paranormal enthusiasts, for paranormal enthusiasts, so for anyone who is interested in donating to the film, I promise you that you’ll get every dime of your money back with the finished product.

 

 

Where can paranormal enthusiasts get updates about this exciting film?

We’re currently working on launching a website for the film, but for the time being they can track me down on Facebook or do a search for The Paranormal Diaries film on Facebook. Feel free to send us any messages you have whether that be comments on the film or ideas for locations to investigate. We’re always open to suggestions and love being able to interact with people who are interested in the film.

 

 

What’s next for Blaine Duncan?

That’s a great question. This film will get finished by me one way or another. Sure, I’m hoping I can get some money to help financially support the film, but even if I can’t, I care so much about it and my passion for the paranormal that it’s going to be released one way or another. So hopefully next summer you see us release the film to the world and it can gain exposure through social media and we can travel around and show it off. This whole project has really been a dream come true for me and I hope I can keep it up for years to come. Who knows, maybe we’ll do another film and travel around Europe doing the same thing? I’m just happy to have the opportunity to expose my work to the world, and hopefully people will enjoy it and it will give them something to talk about. It seems the paranormal community in general has been at odds with each other, so maybe my film can be something that can bring everyone back together.

 

 

Any positive words of advice? 

I would tell anyone out there who is reading this to stay focused on whatever your goals and dreams are. If you want to be a professional NFL quarterback, get out there and start throwing some footballs. If you want to be a rock star and make your own music, grab a guitar and start practicing. I wanted to make a paranormal documentary that would be different from anything that had ever been done before. It was my dream to do that and I’ve finally gotten the opportunity to take this head on. My passion and drive to see this thing come to fruition is beyond anything I’ve ever done before. The only person out there who can stop you is you, so don’t be your own worst enemy and make whatever goals you have happen.

 

 

Blaine Duncan

The Paranormal Diaries

Blaine Duncan 1