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SYS Podcast Episode 185: Writer / Director Aaron B. Koontz Talks About His New Horror / Thriller Feature, Camera Obscura (transcript)

This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 185: Writer / Director Aaron B. Koontz Talks About His New Horror / Thriller Feature, Camera Obscura.


 

Ashley:  Welcome to episode #185 of the “Selling Your Screenplay Podcast.”

I’m Ashley Scott Meyers Screenwriter and Blogger over at – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com. Today, I’m interviewing Writer/Director, Aaron B. Koontz. He just did a low budget horror thriller script called, “Camera Obscura.” It had a great story which I think a lot of people will be able to relate to. He had a career working outside of the film industry. And just decided to walk away and pursue his passion as a film maker. So, we talk about that transition as well, as digging into his new film. So stay tuned for that interview. So, stay tuned for that interview.

If you find this episode valuable, please help me out by giving me a review in iTunes. Or leaving a comment on YouTube, or retweeting the Podcast on Twitter. Or liking us on Facebook. These social media shares really do help spread word about the Podcast and are very much appreciated.

Any websites or links that I mention in the Podcast can be found on my blog in the show notes. I also publish a transcript with each episode. In case you would rather read the show or look up something else up later-on. You can find all transcripts and show notes on the website, just go to – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/podcast, and look for episode #185.

I’d just like to mention a free webinar I’m doing on Wednesday August 9th at 10:00a.m. pst. It’s called, “How to Effectively Market Your Screenplay and Sell It?” I’m going to go through all of the various online channels that are available to screenwriters, and give you my unfiltered opinion of them. I get questions all the time, about “The Blacklist” about “Ink Tip” about various screenwriting contests. So, in this free webinar I’m going to be talking about my experience with these various screenwriting services. Again, this webinar is completely free. Don’t worry if you can’t make it to the live event. I will be recording this event. So, if you sign-up, you’ll get a link to the recorded event after it happens. To sign-up, just go to – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/freewebinar. And “freewebinar” is all low case letters and all one word. I will of course link to it in the show notes as well. Also, if you are already on my Email list, you don’t need to register. Anyone who is on my Email list will get all of the details so that they can attend this webinar if they would like to. So, once again, if this sounds like something you would like to learn about. Just go to – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/freewebinar.

So I am going away for most of July, so I will be recording a bunch of episodes so I don’t have any real updates to report on my film, “The Pinch.” But, I do want to mention a live webinar that I’m going to be doing in August, where I will be going through all the steps, how to produce a micro-budget feature film. The webinar is called, of all things – “The Pinch” Producing the Micro-Budget Feature Film.” I’m going to go, I’m going to do this online webinar on Wednesday August 23rd at 10:00a.m. pst. I’m going to charge a small fee to attend. But, if you are looking to produce your own

micro-budget film? I think you will get tremendous value out of this. I’m going to go through all and every aspect of production, how to write the micro-budget feature film script. How to raise money for it, a micro-budget project, pre-production, and every aspect of post-production. As I close in on completion of my own micro-budget feature film, “The Pinch.”

I think this is a great time to do this webinar. As everything is fresh in my mind. I will be answering any and all questions that you have about this process. I’m going to be going through my own budget line-by-line, so you can get a first hand look at exactly where I spent the money. If this sounds like something you might like to learn more about it, just go to – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/class, again that’s – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/class, of course I will link to it in the show notes as well.

 

So, now let’s get into the main segment. Today I’m interviewing Writer/Director,

Aaron B. Koontz. Here is the interview.

 

Ashley:  Welcome Aaron to, the “Selling Your Screenplay Podcast.” I really appreciate you coming on the show and talking with me today.

 

Aaron:  Yeah, thanks, the pleasure is all mine, thank you for having me.

 

Ashley:  So, to start out, maybe you can tell us a little bit about your background. Where did you grow up, and how did you get interested in the entertainment business?

 

Aaron:  Yeah. So, I grew-up in the Midwest, and then I moved to Florida when I was 12 or 13. My family were a little strict growing-up. And I wasn’t allowed to watch a lot of gore shows, and definitely not horror movies and anything like that. So, I had to kind of find my fix. You know and creepy enough, my grandmother got HBO for free, and this was like an epiphany for me. Because I could relive the fantasy of horror in my own setting. You know, felt as though, whatever the effect was? And pretty soon, it occurred, record overnight and then come back in the day time and record it. And whatever, it was like record overnight and come back during the summer at this time. And so, of course, the one HBO, you know, during the 80’s and 90’s were horror films running. And one of two show goes. And so, that is kind of my first film school I would say, which was soon kinda given my understanding of cinema. And figuring out these regulars and these weird movies, and you know, “A Clockwork Orange” was one of them. Wasn’t Clockwork Orange one of those as a ten year old, huge experiments, you know? You really learn a lot about cinema imaging. And just this world that I had no idea how they did it? And if I could do it? I was so fascinated by it. So, I ended up from there, you know, having an interest in writing, I was really into photography, and I loved music. And what medium combined all 3 of those, and that’s film making? So, I went to film school, you know, Full Sail, you know, and kinda got my feet wet. And that was a good experience for me, and I enjoyed my time there. Was fortunate to attend a school with some of the super talented people there. People who, you know, Adam Winguard, who was one of them, and real popular. And now he’s directing the new “Kong” gorilla movie. You know, which is so welcome to think of. But so, I have met some great kind of people to work with. And you know, transform reality kinda kid. You know working in the industry life. And how hard it is to you know, to truly get your feet wet, and get those kinds of gigs. So, I worked at Phoenix really, I mean, everything and anything at the time that I could do. I worked in copy, I worked on, show myself how to cut and type. Whatever it had been in the Orlando area, where it had been I went to school. And took some computer gaming. But none of them could related to film making.

And finally I got out of the industry for a number of years and worked in software, and what not. Then finally you know, this is what I am supposed to do, and I knew that in my heart of hearts. So, my Co-Writer,

Kim Burns and I went to film school together. Both kinda got sucked into the, you know, life. And when we both decided that, you know, let’s give it another shot. When I was looking at my, bottom index. Jumped in Aaron Cats, who also went to school. She girls and usually did finish work on “Small Crimes” and it turned out fantastic. And but, you know, I you guys, you know, they’ve done it. Just stuck with it, you know, and I’ve watched their careers blossom. It’s kinda pushed me to say, I need to try and do the same thing. And you know, I’m getting into, my 30’s I felt, if I don’t try this now, I’m never going to do it. So, you know, I wrapped this, kind of, you know, this safe job that, safe salary unit, safe life. And you know, remember that, and give a helping hand, and this is what I am going to do. And the outcome of that is killing spirit. Well with that kind of, the summary that I can give for my work out come is.

 

Ashley:  No, that’s a great story. I think that’s a great story, and I think it will be very inspiring because I know there’s a lot of people out here that listen to this Podcast. That are in a similar situation, where they were maybe interested in film and their lives kinda got side tracked. So no, that’s, thank you for sharing that. That’s fantastic. So, tell me.   

 

Aaron:  Sure.

 

Ashley:  At some point did you move out to Los Angeles California, I noticed on your IMDb page. You’ve done a number of short films to get to do those short films, while still working as a, at you job? Maybe talk about that transition and exactly what did you do? Like did you quit this job? What did you do then? Just start doing short films. Did you have the script for

“Camera Obscura” written, talk about those steps. Going from, you know, another career and getting back into things, film.

 

Aaron:  Sure, sure. It’s a great question. And you know, everybody is doing different, right? And it’s not necessarily any right way? And it’s definitely something to address. You know, I thought, subsequently going to L.A. that it is what it is? But then, I ended up getting, it was an internship. Working at Universal Studios, it was there at the production group. And then there was one intern, Scott Reardon, right. And while most people in my class went for it. And I remember all the other classes, and the film school. It was still surrounding you down there when I applied, and I got it. And it was a really big deal, I thought at the time. And was super excited about it. And then it afforded me the ability to work on, you know, this on a number of films coming through the area. And that also stopped me from going to L.A. I don’t know if that was right or wrong, good or bad? It’s hard, you know, hind sight is always 20/20. I you know, maybe had I walked like another did? And started making their movies, a next chapter, who knows? That at the time, I decided at the time, I think it was the one extremist for me. And then you know, that I actually started editing. Which was an easier way I found, to make some side money. You know it was a big editing company in Century Flee, down in Orlando. I took a part time position with them. And then when I was editing I just couldn’t do commercials for a theme company one day, that makes used sports, and all those good sportswear. And that was a transition because that, those production jobs, was jumping around. I remember I was going to work on a form puncture, that we made.

Thomas, and John Travolta, and I was so excited to work on one. I thought I was going to be a permanent position on the crew. I didn’t have the deep center reading, shooting, my biggest bits got smaller and smaller, and smaller. And then all of a sudden I was a P.A. and I was going to have those days. It was a little while with the film company. And it was just not reliable. And then the aid kinda came calling. And said, “Hey, we know what you’ve done in editing side. You think you could edit commercials for us?” And I remember between that you know, you could have a job with them. And that kind a stuck you into this other world. And like I said, from the white company. Okay, and they did a great job, you know, I really enjoyed my time there. And I got to do administration and software world for a long time.

But then, I moved to Austin, and took another position. One of the reasons I came to Austin. Is that I love the film community that’s here. They’re real, I just moved to L.A. I could just get swallowed up. Because I didn’t even know what I wanted to do? I knew that I loved movies, and I knew that I could write. Both, but did a have the ability and the time to earn a future here. While I work walls while I was working. It was tough, I felt bound. So, I said, I took this job in Austin. I knew a team here, and I started networking. And then the first couple of short films we made, were while I had day jobs. And you know, I’ve, and the way I looked at it was. My day job existed, so I would have the ability to make my films on the weekend. So, that’s how that had to make. So, I tried to be myself, took the time, you know. Worked those extra hours to make sure a had the money to be happy. And that’s where we started to change. Which was as, you know, your first two films, dark. I felt this great achievement to get one done, a little short. Result was dishearten because they were just not good. And it’s hard because, you just want to jump in. Look I’m a director now, I’m doing it. And wow, well, you are a film-maker. You just have fun boys. And you know, you just talent and you haven’t fallen on your face, not yet. And I see how to go through this moment, oh good. And you want ever project to just be a little better and a little better, okay. And eventually, hey I am a talent at this. And that’s okay, it’s okay to have that contrast, you know. And I think some people just you know, fallen success. It’s just not the case, you know. They will tell you, there’s strong quality film makers out there. If any of them want you to see. They are from the film school then, you know, and what not. So, you know, that’s where it started. But then, there was the company that I was with at the time. They were at homes, in Arizona and California, and in San Francisco. And they were going to close some offices, while they offered me a position in San Francisco. And I had just made some short films, and had taken those to festivals. Had a nice buzz, and I was starting to feel a little bit more confident film maker. And it was like, you can go to San Francisco now, or you can take the severance package? And I talked it over with my long term girlfriend. And we were like, you know, why leave, you know? If I keep this, a great job, I’m set for my career. But, I could take the severance. And have, and just live off of that for the next 6 months, spread it out, and just write, and do nothing but write. And that was the thing to do. I’m going to take this time, and use it as an investment. And that when I wrote, “Stir” was during that time. And it wound up to the point of a couple of other screenplays. While, I was hoping to start, the movie after this one. But, that’s where it all started. When I had to make a decision. Because it was tough, it was tough.

 

Ashley:  Yeah, yeah, no I can see that, it would be very scary. So, let’s dig into

“Camera Obscura.” Maybe to start out you can give us a quick pitch or a log-line for the film. And then we’ll dig into some of the specifics on it.

 

Aaron:  Yeah, sure. So, the chemistry of science around Jack, who is a war photographer. That witnesses pretty, some pretty atrocious things of the season. It’s about a woman there, out there, she is from Germany. They decided to come back, and proud to be back in the United States. They decide to get married and start a family. But then watching and witnessing war time efforts begin to sink in. And she starts to sink into PTSD. And it begins to threaten their relationship, the both of them a bit. So, then they go through some therapy. When we start to obscura, it’s about 18 months into their relationship. She finally starting to be kind of getting a grasp on what’s going on, and the guilt as a photographer as a whole. And their anniversary is coming up, and Clair gives Jack a gift. And it’s a solid old antique camera that she got at an auction where she works, she’s a realtor. And she comes out, tries to take out, you know, it’s always been your passion. I can’t see you, I can’t imagine you not picking up a camera. And that is the catalyst to Jack’s proving to the world, and to himself that he’s better. And during that process he starts taking these photographs, and these mysterious images starts showing up and she starts to kind of  in-question his sanity, and what’s wrong and what’s really going on? And Jack starts spiraling his madness a bit. And becomes a darker, psychological thriller.

 

Ashley:  Hum. Now where did the generalness of this film come from? And I can’t help but sort of notice your own story. Where you kinda got diverted from your true passion. Then here you are coming back to it as a film maker. But, what is the seed sort of the genesis of it, this idea.

 

Aaron:  You know it really kind of formed out of a lead story for them to tell. In another film, it felt right, how more of it was I was working up north out of Chicago more of a software or something, a game company that is. And a man on the elevator, this co-worker. And he mentioned that he had been on vacation, to South America and was taking boat rafts. But none of the workers would let him take their photographs. And the workers would kind of shy away. They wouldn’t allow him to have them photograph them. Because they believed that it would steal their soul. And he would laugh about it. And I told him, you know what? It was already interesting kind of idea there. But then I needed a kind of pulpy-back form before I’d seen this before, the last haunted camera movie. You know, that could be a big hit. As long as, almost an affects subject on the attitude or what was it? Eh, but I liked it still, I still was intrigued by it. So, I had that, and then I also brought, this is really good material for a script. That, the first part, it actually became a short film called, “Aperture.” Completely new come together the way I expecting it to? And I tried to keep it, even though it didn’t really look good. But I really didn’t know how? And then cheap too, a couple of years later. I was living, I wanted to do something, I thought the most horrific, horrific, genre films, is when you would take ordinary people, and force them to do pretty gruesome things. Or force them to become a killer. Or revenge stories, or things like that. And then again, I’m keen on those movies. So, it’s okay, I love that concept, but where does it fit?

And the third element was, mental illness and PTSD. And you know, just in the news, you know, there seems symbolic energy there. All those horrible things that are happening, over seas bound. We were going to do this to me, you know, you see it too often in our country and what not. And I just held it together in my head. And the more I come up with, if I scroll through this, and I see this, you know, on the internet and I can’t deal with it, people getting eaten. What about the person who took that photograph? You know, what about this person’s talking about. What did they have to go through? And, okay, that’s interesting. You know, and then it’s, they also suffer from PTSD.

And they don’t have to be soldiers or have surgeries to have this happen to. I’m just saying, there’s no limit. So, you start to put al that together. And then I found, hey, wait a second, if I market these? I can create this unreliable narrator, which his age. More story comes to life, we all love. Ever since then, the usual suspects. That’s just something that I just love how that could be utilized. So, I felt that, gaining are going to love it. Because we still don’t know how PTSD really works? You know, there’s therapy, and all this research, and there are treatments. But, there’s still a lot there to explore. And kinda scary it is. One of which there was a man, it had gone viral, what anyone knows, he was running down the street. And he had tackled them in their cars. And everybody and people had thought he was just some “Road rage.” And people had thought he was crazy. But then, when you did research on it, and you found out, you realized this was actually a man who had, had a recent and something triggered in him, and it was PTSD, saved up essentially. And he went out, and he was trying to do this. He had no idea he had hurt people, he had no idea he was kicking and had battled with a golf club onto these cars. And that’s in part, because, look at someone who is in golf clubs and doing this stuff on the fly. But then, as I was exploring everything, now I have it ready. If Michael Cavity does and this is part possible with this world. Now, I have this, you know, freedom, literally, from a script stand point to really explore this psychological side of what these characters might go through. And it gave me this power, that play that I never expected to have. And that’s kind of when this all mixed and came together. And my collaborator and Co-Writer and team and I noticed that now. And so I can work I think I’m going to work the short film, “Aperture.” These things have researched community about PTSD, and another time to. And the next step I’ve done. These two things I know from an internalize and luckily have it there. And then have someone finish the principle, and I think we can put this together. And put it in a blender and see if it would come out a movie. And finish the whole script.

 

Ashley:  Yeah. So, let’s talk and sort of dig into the logistics of writing. You just mentioned your collaborator. And maybe you could talk about sort of how that process works for you guys. Do you sit in the same room, and come up with an outline, are you in different rooms, do you then divide up scenes to write a scene. And then critique each other’s scenes. Just maybe kind of run through just sort of logistics of your process. I know there’s a lot of people out there who have collaborators. And so I’m just curious on how other people do it?  

 

Aaron:  Yeah, well, you know, there are a number of different ways to create something. And just like getting into the chemistry. There doesn’t seem to be any wrong or right way. You know, Cameron and I, we get along really well, I think that really helps. You know, you have that nice kind of film comaderadity because one of the techniques that is the same. If you have two people that you can feed off of, and you can have fun with. I think it makes it easier. So, that’s something that helps. But as far as the real process? He’ll come over to my house, we do the primary from that immediate learn. Sometimes we’ll put on the background, some and a lot of times we would start you know, fuel writing does not just words to a page. If all fails the conceptual pieces that you are trying to put together. And we are also observing the world. Because the true mystery. So, I’m always intrigued with these in coming up with, and finding all these leads to the story. It isn’t as easy, exactly, you want with that. You know, did you rip off this guy? This is kinda crazy, this is possible. What I would say if we did that? And that’s part of the discussion. You talk about what that’s going to do wise. And you come, and that’s part of the discussion. And that’s something I try to do, at the beginning of our writing session.

And then now, let’s say, already in a script we wrote, it’s a project. We’re already trying to and go that direction. We really outline together, for the most part. They don’t we’re not necessarily writing together, a screenplay at that time. It’s more of a just an outline to see. And then, just I’ll take another scene. And when we come back the next day, or the next week. It’ll depend on the alternative. Then, we will share, you know, see each other feed towards, and then nick-pick and divide it, you know, each other’s side. And then move onto something else. So, but a, one interesting thing that it too was? I for some reason? I write better in my car. Not write, not physically the act of. But, you know, the flow of which when I’m driving. So, I’ll take a recorder, a recording device on my phone. And I’ll just ride around. And I’ll just talk out ideas. And then the things that clicks. I just record it onto, I have an app. on my phone that I record the scenes. And then we’ll go back and start writing it. And then like, he said, “Hey, that’s great.” Or a scene really address a screenplay. We’re in the process of recording it right now. And that stands from that process. So, that is the final delivery. But yeah, I mean, the big things, talking picture. And these story ideas. And then the dialog and all that. That kind of comes in the usual sessions, when we try to piece this out.

 

Ashley:  So, let’s talk about sort of the next step. Once you have the script written. What were your steps to actually get this movie produced? How did you go about finding the money, finding the producer, or how ever you ended up getting this made?  

 

Aaron:  I usually bid on, once the script is written. I usually like to shelve that script for a little bit, and then write something else. And the reason is? Is because once you get so close to something, and it’s hard to see the forest from the trees. And I think that I miss little issues that pop up. That’s pretty much it, you’re so lost in what you are writing. And you notice that. I started writing something else, that it kind of becomes the power cleanser. It’s kind of like the tuna in your sushi. And then I use that. In order to have the properly written piece. So, if I start writing something, even if it’s for a couple of days, my mind shifts off. When I come back, it is a whole different script, I find problems with it. So, you know, if how to find those holes before you send it out to somebody else, that points out those holes too. So, that is something that is important, you don’t want somebody shocked because the script is. If you find someone. I want to make sure that this good enough. That I really put everything I can into it. It’s like, when you do it again, obviously it’s part of the process. But, that’s something that I do on say before I get to when you’re talking about.

And another thing I do is, while easy writing. And I know that stuff is common process, but in a different way. We do it from a purely writing stand point. And it’s not about actors. Although what we’ll do is? We’ll get local actors in front of ours to read on certain parts. And then he and I and another writing partner and what not. Well understand, we’ll record everything. And then the dialog, oh wow, look where we’ve been off now. Or when we see it be performed it’s just turns a whole other perspective. The groove once we’ve done those two things. And then I edit that. And go, okay, that’s sounds good. Then we figure it out who to call for feedback.

And then, and only in all of that, do we finally say, okay. It’s going to be a film. But, one of us is editing it. And now, it’s fine. And talk this thing up in front of a company. And figure out a way to get it in front of people. And you know, get going together, the processes to you know put the screen up.

 

 

Ashley: And so, specifically, what was it that got this doing it?   

 

Aaron:  So, I don’t know? The whole process, it is a package. So, from a producer’s stand point. I look at this, I usually do the pitched at. I want to see some visuals. I want to have an idea of how it’s going to sell on film, and then go for it. And that’s turn of the turn wheel. That can be edited together with other films, that evoke that kind of emotion. And that kind of, you know, jemity, I think, you will like. Because if we tell it together. And then, you know, I start, with IMDb Pro, next to the catalog section, and meet people. Not that I have a popular personality. At least in the industry that is. I would look up more friends. That has some of what similar budgets. And show it out to them, in my research. And then I would reach out to Dave’s Production Company. I am on IMDb Pro. I found this script. Or I couldn’t do it with the script before. I just pitched it out. And hopefully it’ll be kind of what they are looking for. And then they will request the script. We’ve been doing that process for a while. One individual who, kind of stumbled early on about, was a music fest. And he was wanting one made in a Milwaukie City. He was a best friend. We actually all did film school together. And he kinda put me on, he you know, me and him jumped into bed, that production in New York subway, in a corner, you know six inches from the wall. And you know he used me as the producer on the project. And he happened to live near Boston, and he happed to have had went and saw one of my short films, and really liked it. And so, we met, and had lunch. I, he we were going to see if it would open a few doors. You know, and it got to one probably. He read the script, and you know, gave me a bunch of notes and I was very grateful for all that. And so, that opened some possibilities, but nothing really happened. You know, and I did so many good pictures, with so many good people. And every time I thought we were close, it would fall through, and this went on for years. Originally, all told, you know, it’s never as difficult to write a film, as it is for 5 or 6 years, 8 years from the first concept. And that was

5 or 6 years in. I like people to get a good idea, I’d like to get it made. Oh, that company definitely wants to do it, and that fell through. So, it’s difficult. And then, you know, I think it was a three years ago. I reached out to Modern Cinema and Ingram Grand Huff. And he came out producing at the time, that he was a pitch deck. And stock there was an opportunity there. And envisioned a bunch of genre films and style, Jetsons, you know, the foreman. With lucky and everything. So, keep your connection and I had known Jonathan for a while. And I was super stoked when he responded. But, you know, he was someone who could fund the film. He was, he knew some people. So, you know, that opened some doors. And from there, we kinda decided to partner on the project. And he really got behind it. And he really got behind it and still had a nerve behind it. So, he could sell the producer some activity, which mattered, you know. And there was still the international sales and what not. When you get it all back together. Things go multiple times, you know, it isn’t going to happen. And actually, one month before happened, we lost another one. It finally happened in November, 2015. Is when we finally got the first, “Yes.” That in October, I had devastating, “No” I remember I actually started this kind of, I call it my, “AA” for filmers in Austin. I take Directors, and Writers, and just all in there. And it’s just about dealing with all the struggles and the pains of getting movies made. And the movies and scenes made, and what does it all mean? And I started this group in October, and you know, just a kind of community. I needed to know there were other people out there that were doing what I was dealing with. Because I just needed a whole new ball game. Now, as I mentioned, why need some therapy life decisions for personal sorts. So, you know, I was really depressing. And I had to go back and take a couple of jobs and stuff, you know, just to sustain myself.

Some of this is really disheartening. But, then we went to AFM, at the end of November. And of course everybody said they all had found, it doesn’t work and all this. We failed again, but you know, isn’t that traditional period. Self-indulgence is what really didn’t battle more so. There’s something about our strengths, you know. And then, there happened to be a really ambitious, super-intelligent another producer named, Justin Smith. Who works with Chillers, Sy-Fy, USA networks. And they were trying to do more, another person’s term. But, that elevated genre forms. And you know, smart thrillers, horror, sci-fi projects. And so, we wanted to get away from what ever we needed to lock this, “Sharkanado” films or whatever? But, we needed the support and get model of a different type of movie. And we cruised very quickly type of void expecto-vision, that I love. It was this really dark, moody, 80’s serial thriller origin film. And it’s about this one kid. It was like an abandoned hotel. It was kind of like what his childhood looked like. And I just found it, dark, and mysterious, and the silver, and it’s totally different from what I thought Chiller and Sy-Fy were all about. And then we knew how to, happened to uniform corpsman, years ago. And until the Stephen King novel. And then they had just cancelled the slot. And so much as what a time slot. And for our film to fit in that time slot. And we just happened to be there. The one type of thriller, and I have this script. And to meet him, with a brand-new film. And we had this long talk, you know, and that. And then the next day, I’m just like, I think we’re going to make the movie, and everything changed. I mean, it was an amazing experience. They were such a great partner, Justin was the best. And yeah, I mean, and now we’re rock and roll.

 

Ashley:  Yeah, yeah. That’s a great story. I know we’re out of time. So, I’m just going to fire off these last couple of questions? We can do kind of a lightening round here. How can people see “Camera Obscura?” Do you know what the release schedule is going to be like?   

 

Aaron:  Yes, it should be in the theaters in Austin, across the U.S. New York, and Minneapolis. So, it happens to be in the next cities, and then August 15th everywhere. So, you know, iTunes, and all that. So, if you go to the website, you can on www.scaremovie.com. You should be able to find some links to my movie. If you do any kind of regular screening search, you should be able to find all that out. And it’s out June 13th.

 

Ashley:  Good. What’s the best way for people to follow what you’re doing if your on Twitter, Facebook, anything you’re comfortable sharing. And you can give us that now. And I round this stuff up and put it in the show notes. So, people can click over. But, just anything you’re comfortable sharing?

 

Aaron:  Yeah, sure, sure. So, you can find me on Twitter, it’s @Aaronbkoontz – k-o-o-n-t-z. And I am happy to talk to anyone that, you know, I love talking about making movies, and what that’s like, you know. And I know how lucky I am now, now that I got this one made. And I know how hard this life, true how hard it is. So, you know, folks there, stuck in that rutt. Just know that, everyone I feel like, has a similar story, you just got to keep going. So, you know, if you ever get down, maybe you want to talk about it? By all means, I’d be happy to discuss, the only thing if I can help somebody else moving forward.

 

 

Ashley:  Perfect, perfect. You kept mentioning the “Pitch deck.” For “Camera Obscura” is that online, or is that anywhere where we can actually get a look at that? Because I’m honestly not sure of what that even would look like. And it sounds like that was a big piece to getting people interested in this film.

 

Aaron:  Yeah. Unfortunately, I don’t  know that I can make that public. I feel now that the film is, it’s not, you know what I mean?   

 

Ashley:  Sure.

 

Aaron:  I just can’t, all I’m talking about there is a visual representation, where I say, one of two key players, outline the film, put a synapsis in, And you find this photography, and imagery, and anything that evokes, you know the style you want. And you know you put together casual cast list. You give up files of who all is involved. And then you know, there’s this you know, it starts to talk about why you think this film might be right for the market. You know, everything is kind of you know, fits in. And to me, it’s different when, a deep proposition. Like a very formal tone saying. You know this is just a high level of object a high level of understanding, what the film is about, who the film’s silent partners are? What kind of trailer you will make. And then sometimes we will have other versions out there talking to. But then imagine it, you know top sheet or what not, it’s just as well. You see, this kind of investment. So, they kind of meet on it. So, all the people involved. And you know, it looks like there’s going to be a film. And you need to have something that attracts their attention. And it gives a good idea what the story is. Just by thumbing through it real quick.

 

Ashley:  Perfect, perfect. Well, Aaron I really appreciate, this has been a great interview and you know, your story at the end of the day. It really comes down to persistence. And I think that’s a fantastic story. So, congratulations on getting this done and I wish you all the luck to you in the future.

 

Aaron:  Yeah, no thank you so much, and I think you know how to sell those scripts, and best of luck with that. It’s great to hear from, you know, other writers out there. So, really, really, happy to be sitting here talking to you like this. And thank you for my friend and I hope the other people enjoy it. And yeah.

 

Ashley:  Perfect, it sounds good, I wish you luck, take it easy.

 

Aaron:  Thank you so much, cheers.

 

 

Ashley:  A quick plug for the SYS Screenwriting Analysis Service. It’s a really economical way to get a high quality professional evaluation on your screenplay. When you buy a 3-Pack, you get evaluations for just $67.00 per script for feature films, and just $55.00 for tele-plays.

All the readers have professional experience reading for: Studios, production companies, contests, and agencies. You can read a short bio on each reader on our website. And you can pick the reader you think best fits your script.

Turn-around-time is usually just a few days but rarely more than a week.

 

The readers will evaluate your script on six key factors.

 

  1. Concept
  2. Characters
  3. Structure
  4. Marketability
  5. Tone
  6. Over All Craft – Which includes – Formatting, Spelling, and Grammar.

 

Every script will receive a grade of – Pass, Consider, or Recommend, which should help you roughly understand where you script might rank if you were to submit it to a production company or agency. We can provide an analysis on feature films or television scripts. We also do proof reading without any analysis. We will also look at a treatment or outline and give you an analysis, or give you the same analysis that I just talked about on the treatment or synapsis. So, if you are looking to vet some of your projects. This is a great way to do it.

We will also write a log-line and synapsis for you. You can add this service to an analysis or you can simply purchase service as a stand-alone product.

As a bonus, if your script gets a Recommend, from one of our readers? You get a free Email and Fax Blast to my list of industry contacts. This is the exact same Blast Service I use myself to promote my own scripts. And it is the same service I sell on the website. It’s a great way to get your script into the hands of producers who are looking for new material. So, if you want a professional evaluation of your screenplay at a very reasonable price, check out- www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/consultants, that’s www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/consultants.

On the next episode of the Podcast, I’m going to be interviewing, Writer/Director, Joe Taylor. He recently did a short film, which you can watch for free at www.screeningnow.com. The film is called, “Last Call.” And again, you can watch it free at www.screeningnow.com. And I recommend that you do that hopefully before next week’s interview. Just see the movie will give you a bit more context as I said, it’s free. There is really no down side to just going and doing it. It’s a fairly short film, I think it’s less than 12 minutes, something like that. He spent around $4000.00 on producing this film. So, again, that will kind of give a good idea about what sort of production value he was able to bring for the money. This is the third installment of the short film showcase. I’ve been doing over the last few months. I’ve been interviewing some short film makers and bringing them on to talk about their short film, this is the third one. We started out doing a low-budget to interviewing a Writer/Director, who had done a short film for $200.00 and then a few weeks ago, we did one for $1500.00 level. This is the $4000.00 level. And in a few weeks I’ve had one more on who did a short film at about the $15,000.00 level. So again, if you are thinking about doing a short film yourself. These are great interviews for you to listen to. These film makers are super down-to-earth with them. And really learn to dig into a lot of them, and the nitty-gritty details of how they went about producing these films. I’m a big proponent of writing and directing, and potentially producing a short film. It’s a great way to get some credits. It’s a great way to get an IMDb credit. It’s a great way to see your work in action.

You will learn a tremendous amount by actually writing a script and then seeing it perform by actors, and going through that whole process. So, hopefully these are very helpful to you. But, in any event, that episode will be out next week.

So, that’s today’s show, thank you for listening.

 

 

 

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