This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 370: With Writer/Director Steven Kostanski.
PSYCHO GOREMAN is available on DVD and Blu-ray March 16th.
Ashley: Welcome to Episode #370 of the Selling Your Screenplay podcast. I’m Ashley Scott Meyers, screenwriter and blogger over at www.sellingyourscreenplay.com. Today, I am interviewing Steve Kostanski. He is a Canadian filmmaker. He got his start doing special effects, makeup and creatures up in Canada, and he has now moved into writing and directing his own feature films. It’s a great story about how he progressed and he goes into it in some great detail. So stay tuned for that interview. SYS’s Six-Figure Screenplay contest is open for submissions, just go to www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/contest. The early bird deadline is March 31st, after that, it goes up by $10. So if your script is ready, definitely submit early.
We’re looking for low budget shorts and features. I’m defining low-budget as less than six figures, in other words, the less than $1 million. For shorts, we’re defining it as five figures or less, so well less than $10,000. We’ve got lots of industry judges reading scripts in the later rounds. We’re giving away thousands in cash and prizes. The winning script from last year was taken by one of our industry judges to a great production company that then optioned the script. They’re hoping to begin shooting later this spring, so hopefully I’ll have an update on that soon. Once again, if this sounds like something you’d like to learn more about, or perhaps enter, just go to www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/contest.
If you find this episode valuable, please help me out by giving me a review in iTunes or leaving me a comment on YouTube or re-tweeting the podcast on Twitter or liking or sharing it on Facebook. These social media shares really do help spread word about the podcast, so they 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 every episode in case you’d rather read the show or look at something later on. You can find all the podcast, show notes at www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/podcast, and then just look for Episode Number #370. If you want my free guide, How to Sell a Screenplay In Five Weeks, you can pick that up by going to www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide.
It’s completely free, you just put in your email address and I’ll send you a new lesson once per week for five weeks, along with a bunch of bonus lessons. I teach the whole process of how to sell a screenplay in that guide. I’ll teach you how to write a professional logline and query letter, and how to find agents, managers and producers who are looking for material. Really it’s everything you need to know to sell your screenplay. Again, just go to www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide. So now let’s get into the main segment. Today I am interviewing Canadian filmmaker Steve Kostanski. Here is the interview.
Ashley: Welcome Steven to the Selling Your Screenplay podcast. I really appreciate you coming on the show with me today.
Steven: Thanks for having me.
Ashley: 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?
Steven: I grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. I had a pretty creative upbringing. My mom was an artist and so she got me into arts and crafts very early on. My dad’s very technical, so he got me more into computers and that kind of stuff. And yeah, I was always an avid movie fan, but when my parents moved one of our VCRs into the basement and I had full control over it to watch whatever movie I wanted and like pause and back up and watch scenes over and over again, that really sparked my imagination to wanna become a filmmaker because I was able to obsess over movies and just start breaking apart how they’re made. Then also my parents got me Army of Darkness on VHS in the late ‘90s.
It was the Anchor Bay VHS that had special features on the end. So I watched the making of Army of Darkness and in that I saw the creature effects team at KNB EFX building all the ghouls and things and skeleton puppets for that movie. That was a huge inspiration for me and made me want to break into not just filmmaking, but also just creature effects specifically. So aside from making my own independent films I also work in prosthetics and I’ve been doing that since about 2004 pretty consistently. I live in Toronto now and I’ve been working for various effects companies through in the city on different shows.
Ashley: Got you. So how does one living in Canada, a young kid, how do you get into making prosthetics? Did you go to film school, did you just start, find some people that do this and became an apprentice? How does someone launch a career in that?
Steven: I found one guy in Winnipeg who did prosthetics, a guy named Doug Morrow, who’s the only prosthetics artist in Manitoba, or at least at the time he was. I just called him up and I wouldn’t leave him alone until he let me come to his shop and help him out. So I assisted him doing shop tech work, like making molds and casting pieces and things, and a little bit of sculpting here and there. So that was my introduction into prosthetics. Then when I moved to Toronto, that little bit of experience that I had already had helped get my foot in the door at bigger shops. Really, I just kept bouncing from shop to shop getting more and more experience, and I just kept getting hired.
At every shop I’d learn a new skill or something relating to the job that just helped inform subsequent jobs. It was just a case of meeting the right people and, you know, working hard and just busting your ass and getting your name out there was really all it took.
Ashley: So at this point, it’s 2004, you’re starting this career in prosthetics, the special effects. Did you start to think, “Well, I also wanna write and direct?” Did you start writing scripts? Did you start working on shorts? How did that sort of dovetail and how did you make the transition from effects guy to writer-director?
Steven: Well, I actually started in stop motion. Like my earliest form of filmmaking was stop motion animation, which I was doing even before I started prosthetics. My dad loaned me his Super 8 camera when I was about 12. So I started doing these little animations on film, just frame-by-frame animations. That was my taste of, my first taste of filmmaking. So over the years I would improve my skills at that, but also switch technologies, switch to digital, doing stop motion animation with digital cameras. I started shooting live action movies and combining them with my stop motion. So everything I was doing was special-effects-based, which was helped by the fact that I was working in special effects as well.
So, yeah, since then my career has just been like jumping back and forth between either directing my own projects or doing jobs like directing jobs for hire or working in prosthetics designing and building makeup effects or creature effects. And yeah, it’s bounce back and forth between the two.
Ashley: How did you get that first professional job as a writer-director? At that point you had a bunch of shorts that you could kinda show as your resume and you knew enough people, you kinda up for these jobs. Maybe talk about that process a little bit.
Steven: Well, I had been making shorts and submitting them to local film festivals in Winnipeg. So I was getting a little bit of attention from that. Then it was around 2006, one of my shorts got into a festival in Toronto and won first place at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival. That actually opened the doors to me meeting a bunch of Toronto film people. So I actually, while I was still living in Winnipeg, I started shooting my first feature film, which is called Manborg. It was a movie that I made for no money, like pocket change, shot it in my parents’ garage on a green screen. It’s like a big sci-fi fantasy adventure movie for no money with where I utilized all of my skills, my prosthetic skills, my stop motion skills, all of that special effects work came into play on that.
So it was enough to be considered a feature film, and so I shot that around and actually a Toronto distributor, Raven Banner picked it up and said, “We could probably make you some money on this.” So, they bought it, they sold it to distributors, like Anchor Bay bought it in Canada, Dark Sky Films in the US bought it. That got me a little bit of genre recognition because the movie played film festivals and people watched it and liked it and wanted to see more stuff from me. So it really built off of that. So then my next movie, The Void, that I co-directed with my friend Jeremy Gillespie, that had a bigger budget. It was still independent, like still an indie movie, but it had a, I believe it ended up being like a $1.7 million budget and was this kind of dark and gritty horror movie.
Then off of that movie, that was when I started getting actual directing offers, like director for hire jobs. So that’s how I got the job on Leprechaun Returns for Syfy channel. It was like a made-for-TV leprechaun sequel. Yeah. That was 2018. I directed that. So, yeah, that gave me the extra funds to be able to make a movie like PG, Psycho Goreman, which was the movie I made after Leprechaun. That was another independently financed movie. So, yeah, I basically lived off the money I made on Leprechaun while making PG.
Ashley: Got you. Let’s dig into Psycho Goreman since that’s your latest film. Maybe to start out, you can just give us a quick pitch or a logline for this film.
Steven: Well, the basic premise is two suburban kids, a brother and sister dig up a monster in their backyard and he’s this ancient, evil warlord that wants to conquer the universe, but these kids have a magical gem that allows them to control this monster, who they name Psycho Goerman or PG for short. Once they resurrect him it sets off this chain reaction of events of his old cohorts coming to confront him on earth, as well as other heroes and villains out in the universe coming to have their final showdown with this resurrected evil that these two kids control. So it’s kind of a kid’s adventure movie with a dark twist and lots of horror and violence.
Ashley: Got you. It seemed, watching the trailer, I’ve not seen the full film, but watching the trailer, seemed like a good bit of humor as well. There was a real sort of tongue-in-cheek to it.
Steven: Yes. Well, it’s… I hesitate to call movies horror comedy or sci-fi comedy, because I feel there’s a stigma with those titles. I like to think of it just like, it’s just an absurd adventure movie that happens to be funny. I think the comedy is very situational and it’s very much comes out of the weirdness of the characters in the movie, but I do take the mythology of the movie seriously. The fantasy elements are like, those are my real passion. I just… while I also like to build on those mythologies and take the action and the spectacle of the movie seriously. I do also like to have fun and have a laugh occasionally. So I like straddling that line between intense seriousness and absurd comedy and kind of bouncing back and forth between the two and always just trying to keep the audience on their toes, not knowing what to expect, what’s coming around the corner is always my goal with this kind of movie.
Ashley: Got you. Where did this idea come from? What was sort of the Genesis of it?
Steven: I mean, there’s key images from the movie that I’ve had bouncing around my head for a long time. One of them is the main monster, Psycho Goreman, sitting at a drum set playing the drums with a bunch of kids in their little kid band. It was an absurd image that I didn’t know what to do with until one day I was watching the movie Rawhead Rex and kind of ruminating on this idea. That movie is like this ancient evil being resurrected and terrorizing this small town. I felt like it was such a straightforward A to B plot of that movie. I thought like, well, how can you take this kind of idea and put a twist on it to make it a little more interesting? So that’s when I came up with the idea of like, well, what if it was like mashed with ET?
And it’s like this evil monster, this monster that should be in like a horror movie or the villain in like a Saturday morning cartoon or something. Like the most evil thing imaginable paired up with some rambunctious kids and not turning it into a morality tale where it’s like he learns to be good or something goofy like that, or obvious like that. Just really play with the idea of like, well, what if he’s evil and he’s evil the whole time, then what would happen? That to me was really the spark of the movie and the parallels between this evil, ancient warlord alien man against these two kids. These two kind of like firecracker kids who have all this energy and are living in their own weird fantasy world in the way that kids typically do, and are full of all the confidence of young kids before they get too much self-awareness and self-doubt.
I like that parallel between spunky kids and evil monster. The interplay between those characters to me is really the heart of the movie and was where a lot of the fun comes from. So once I had that idea in place, it was easy to just hang off all these other kind of crazy set pieces and things off of that basic through line, because I knew I had found the core concept of the movie.
Ashley: Yeah. It’s fairly high concept. I’m curious, did you… once you had the script, did you just send it out and try and just get it funded, you know, more traditionally? Send it to studios, send it out to agents, managers. Did you do any of that with it?
Steven: No. There was none of that. This was a like once-in-a -lifetime scenario where a friend of a friend was looking to invest some money in financing a movie and he wanted specifically to invest in me because he knew that I could do a lot with not a lot of money as my movie Manborg had demonstrated. So he basically said, “Make something that’s kind of like that.” So yeah. There was initially a completely different idea that I had started to pursue and as I was getting bored with that other idea was when I came up with the idea for PG, because I seem to be the most productive when I’m procrastinating on something else. So I pitched them the new idea and they were all over it and really liked it. So I started writing immediately.
I feel like that was like the spring of 2018 and by November of that year, we were shooting already. It was a very quick turnaround, whereas other movies that I’ve done, like The Void was a very long process to get that made. We went to the Frontières film market and pitched the movie, had meetings. There was like a way long, like years of process just to get that thing made. Whereas PG, it was a very quick turnaround from, I got an idea for a movie to I’m on set shooting a movie. It’s probably the fastest turnaround I’ve ever experienced for that.
Ashley: Yeah. That’s fantastic. Take us through your writing process a little bit. Where do you typically write and when do you typically write? Are you a morning person, night person? Do you go to a Starbucks, you need the ambient noise? Do you write at home in silence? What does your writing process look like?
Steven: I’m one of those people that needs like a full day to write and probably out of that full day is maybe two hours of writing, and there’s maybe four hours of video games and three hours of just messing around on the internet and talking to people on Facebook. I’m a procrastinator. I actually don’t enjoy writing very much. I find it very frustrating. Because I’m such a tactile person, words on the page to me are kind of like the lamest way of presenting my ideas. If I could get away with not writing scripts and just immediately be like, let’s go shoot tomorrow, I would be all over that. Also with this movie I find with writing, I like to make things as I’m writing, because I need physical objects to kind of help understand it.
So even ideas that I’m starting to hash out right now for other projects like you can see in the background, some stop motion characters I’ve been building. Those are like proof of concept characters, because I wanna make a thing. I wanna make like a trailer or a short film to go along with whatever my pitch is for that idea. But also just in making those things, like while I’m making them, I’m thinking up stuff for the script and I’ll write ideas down. So PG was very much like that, where I’d be building effects and sculpting things, and then while I’m doing that… it’s like I have to be doing something to make the writing the procrastinating part, you know? So it’s like I have to be playing video games to be like, “Oh, and then this scene should go like this,” and then I’ll run to the computer and write the scene out.
But if I sit down and I’m like, “I’m going to write today,” I will get nothing done because I’m just gonna stare at that blank page and think of the million other things that I would rather be doing. So it’s a frustrating process. I basically have to trick myself into writing and putting things down on the page.
Ashley: Got you. So how do you break out your scripts in terms of like outlining index cards versus in final draft, you know, cranking out descriptions and dialogue?
Steven: Usually, and I have it open like right now I’ve got just word documents that I’ll just throw single line ideas or a line that a character says and it’ll be for different movie ideas. I just fill those up, those word documents just with stuff. Then eventually that stuff when I get to that point where it’s like, I have to make this into a thing, I’ll have another word document that becomes the treatment where I start taking the stuff and I start arranging it in a rough structure. Then usually I get like halfway through that and I get bored of doing that and then I open final draft and then I’m like, “Well, I’m gonna make a more polished version of this thing that I’m not even finished.”
So I’ll start taking that treatment, the word document, I will start putting that into final draft and giving it scene headers. Once it starts looking like a script almost, I start to feel good. Because when it’s in the word document, it just looks like a jumbled mess, but once I start giving myself scenes, that’s when I start to build a little bit of momentum. Because I’m like, “Oh, this is starting to feel like a real thing now.” So what I like to do, when I… the point that I like to get to where I feel like I’ve actually accomplished something, is when I have a treatment that’s in a final draft document where I have roughly every scene blocked out just with like, even if it’s just like one paragraph kind of explaining what’s happening, but I know what all the scene breaks are and the overall arc of the movie in a final draft.
That was the thing that I circulated to everyone for PG when I had… When I first showed it to people, that was my first pass of the story, was like treatment in final draft.
Ashley: Got you. So let’s talk about that process a little bit. I’m always curious to hear people’s development process. So you had this sort of incomplete script, which kinda laid out the story roughly in script format. Who did you send that to? Do you have some trusted writer, producer, director friends that you get notes from? Who are those people that gave you feedback?
Steven: Well, for PG specifically, the treatment I sent to the producers/financiers of whatever project it was gonna be. Because I wanted to know, like if they aren’t into this at all, then I’m gonna scrap this thing. I have a friend Peter Kuplowsky, who’s a film programmer in Toronto, producer. He’s worked on a bunch of my movies. I like bouncing ideas off of him because he can be very blunt and tell me if something is not good. So I sent him the treatment because I knew if this is bad, he will tell me it’s bad. But he actually called me a day after I sent it and was like, “This is really awesome. You got to keep going with this.” Yeah, I do have a trusted circle and it’s, I also have a trusted circle of people in different spheres of filmmaking.
Certain people are more genre-oriented and certain people I trust more purely just for the writing process. Like I have one filmmaker friend, Jason LaPier, who is a great writer. I like to send stuff to him because I feel like he gives me notes. Notes coming from an actual writer who writes screenplays is like the best one you can get, somebody who’s actually successful at that job. Because he always has really insightful notes and advice and ways to change stuff around to make it work better. Because he… also people who have skills with… even just dialogue specifically, I’ll send it to that friend who I know is good… who comes up with good dialogue. Because they’ll give me suggestions on how to punch up that kinda stuff.
I like having a variety of people because everybody usually comes… I usually come back with something, something that the other people aren’t picking up on. Everybody’s looking at a different thing. So I think the more eyes you have on it, the more you can kind of pick and choose what stuff is actually beneficial to you and then combine all of that advice into hopefully the best course of action for your project.
Ashley: Yeah, for sure. I always like to just wrap up the interviews by asking the guests something that they’ve seen recently that they thought would be great for screenwriters, Hulu, Netflix, HBO. Is there anything you’re watching currently that you thought screenwriters would get a kick out of?
Steven: Does it have to be a recent thing?
Ashley: No, no, no. Just anything, yeah, anything you think would be good.
Steven: I had never seen the movie Judgment Night up until about a week ago. I don’t know if you’ve seen that.
Ashley: I have not.
Steven: Okay. So it’s got Emilio Estevez and it’s about a group of guys who they pile in an RV. They live out in suburbia and their wives let them have like a guy’s night. So they all pile in an RV and they drive downtown. They’re gonna go to this boxing match that they’d got tickets to go watch boxing. They end up taking a wrong turn and they end up on the wrong side of the tracks, they end up in the bad part of town and it all just spirals out of control from there. It’s basically then like evading gangs and just basically escaping death at every turn.
Ashley: What’s it called?
Steven: Judgment Night
Ashley: Judgement Night. So well, perfect. That is a good recommendation. Not one I’ve seen. This, I’ll have to check it out. Hopefully it’s on Netflix.
Steven: Yeah. It’s one of those movies, I watched it and as I was watching, I was like, “Why have I not seen this movie before? This is so great.” It’s a movie… I recommend it because it’s one of those movies where I really felt the structure of it. I was really into the way it was setting up the pieces and how each piece just built a little bit more attention. Like setting up things like one of the friends has a gun. He just has a gun with him for some reason, and he, they make a conscious decision of showing him putting it in the drawer at the front of the RV. It’s such a thing in this type of movie, you’d clock that, and you’re like, “I need to remember that gun because I hope they remember to take that out later.”
There’s those kinds of moments where you’re participating with them as the movie plays out. So yeah, I think it’s a good thing to analyze just in terms of story structure. I thought it was really well put together. Just a really good movie all around.
Ashley: Perfect. Well, yeah, that’s a great recommendation. How can people see Psycho Goreman? Do you know what the release schedule is gonna be like?
Steven: Well, January 22nd is the theatrical, whatever that’s gonna mean, on January 22nd, but then also Video On Demand, digital. So it’s available, it’ll be available on iTunes, and then any kind of digital download provider, I think it’ll be available. I don’t have all those details totally memorized, I probably should. But yeah, I think if you look for it, you’ll be able to find it on the 22nd as far as it being available digitally to download and watch or something like that. So that’s the 22nd, but then also in March, we’re gonna release a Blu-ray and DVD, and then in May, it’s gonna be available on Shutter for streaming.
Ashley: Perfect. What’s the best way for people to keep up with what you’re doing? Twitter, Facebook, a blog, anything you’re comfortable sharing, I’ll round up for the show notes.
Steven: The only thing I really post any kinda fun work stuff to is my Instagram account, which is @kill_kostanski. That’s where I like to post my effects work and stuff for people to see. That’s the best place if you need to get in touch with me or see what I’m working on.
Ashley: Okay, well, perfect. I’ll round that up and I’ll put that in the show notes. Well, Steven, I really appreciate you coming on the show and talking with me today. Good luck with this film. It looks amazing.
Steven: Oh, thank you very much. I enjoyed talking.
Ashley: Thank you. We’ll talk to you later. Bye.
Steven: All right. Good night. Bye.
Ashley: I just wanna talk quickly about SYS Select. It’s a service for screenwriters to help them sell their screenplays and get writing assignments. The first part of the service is the SYS Select screenplay database. Screenwriters upload their screenplays along with a logline, synopsis and other pertinent information like budget and genre, and then producers search for and hopefully find screenplays they wanna produce. Dozens of producers are in the system looking for screenplays right now. There have been a number of success stories come out of this service, you can find out about all the SYS Select successes by gonna www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/success. Also on SYS podcast Episode #222, I talk with Steve Deering who was the first official success story to come out of the SYS Select database.
When you join SYS Select you get access to the screenplay database along with all the other services that we’re providing to SYS Select members. These services include the newsletter, the monthly newsletter goes out to a list of over 400 producers who are actively seeking writers and screenplays. Each SYS Select member can pitch one screenplay in this monthly newsletter. We also provide screenwriting leads, we have partnered with one of the premiere paid screenwriting leads services, so I can syndicate their leads to SYS Select members. There are lots of great paid leads coming in each week from our partner, recently we’ve been getting five to 10 high quality paid leads per week. These leads run the gamut.
There’s producers looking for a specific type of spec script to producers looking to hire a screenwriter to write up one of their ideas or properties. They are looking for shorts, features, TV and web series, pilots all types of projects. If you sign up for SYS Select, you’ll get these leads emailed directly to you several times per week. Also, you get access to the SYS Select forum where we will help you with your logline and query letter and answer any screenwriting related questions that you might have. We also have a number of screenwriting classes that are recorded and available in the SYS Select forum. These are all the classes that I’ve done over the years, so you’ll have access to those whenever you want once you join.
The classes cover every part of writing your screenplay from concept to outlining, to the first act, second act, third act as well as other topics like writing short films and pitching your projects in person. Once again, if this sounds like something you’d like to learn more about, please go to www.sellingyourscreenplayselect.com. On the next episode of the podcast, I’m gonna be interviewing Oklahoma filmmaker, John Swab. Another great story of someone just getting out there and making things happen for themselves. He’s written and directed a crime thriller called Body Brokers about the addiction treatment industry here in the United States. It’s a fascinating take on something that’s very timely and also very important too obviously to all of us in this country.
John has wrapped it all into an entertaining film. So we talk about that film, how he got his start. He actually got his start doing a short that was sort of the prequel to this Body Broker’s feature that he eventually got made. He talks through that story, how he got the short made, how he was able to take the short out and ultimately turn that into a feature film. So keep an eye out for that episode next week. To wrap things up, I just wanna touch on a few things from today’s interview with Steve. I love how he began his career. He wasn’t out looking to make lots of money, he just had a genuine interest and passion for doing these practical effects and modeling. So he looked around locally found opportunities and started to grow from there.
I get so many emails from folks outside of Hollywood who think that getting to Hollywood is the answer. While Hollywood might be a bigger market than your local town or city, it’s also a much more competitive market. So even basic stuff like this job that Steve talked about, being a workshop PA in an effects company here in Los Angeles, that would be an incredibly competitive gig to get. Just think about that, like the lowest position at a special effects company here in Los Angeles, it would be very, very difficult to get in. Or they’re gonna have a hundred resumes, 150 resumes just for that PA job, which essentially requires no real skills. So keep that in mind. If you can get some experience outside of LA, you’re probably in a pretty good position to do it if you live outside of LA.
That experience can actually lead to things, it can actually help you build your resume. Really think about Steve’s journey and how he was able to find these local opportunities and again, just build his career from that. There are probably more of these local opportunities out there than you might think. Again, I wanna emphasize this, I’m not suggesting that we all run out and become workshop production assistants at special effects companies, but think about where your passion, your interests lie, and maybe there are some opportunities within that sort of bucket of things that maybe really interest you or things that you are passionate about. The other thing that Steve has done, he’s separated himself from other filmmakers, including filmmakers like myself.
I mean, I’ve made films, but I don’t know really anything about this sort of special effects, how to use this, how to direct this, how to work with actors with this sort of special effects. So no production company is going to hire me to direct a film like this until I can prove that I understand how all of this stuff works, obviously. Now, I’ve spent my time writing and learning to write, so maybe I can lean into that. I can lean into the screenplay a little bit, at least that’s the hope. But the bottom line is these types of movies, these sort of effects-heavy with a lot of costuming and just practical effects, modeling, these movies are very popular and I don’t really ever see that changing. They’re always gonna be fun movies.
That’s really the bottom line is that the people that know how to use these effects and really understand how to incorporate them organically into film, there’s gonna be a market for those folks as a director and a writer as Steve is finding, because he knows how to use this technology. Again, it doesn’t come from a place where he learned it to become a director. It comes from a place of true interest and passion. He got into effects to learn about effects and to learn about that stuff. It’s a great place now that he’s positioned himself and he sort of built a moat around his niche. There’s not always gonna be a ton of directors that can direct these types of films. He’s leaning into his experience as an effects artist.
Again, I’m not suggesting we should all become effects artists, but maybe there is something in your own personal experience, work experience, whatever, that you can lean into with your writing, with your filmmaking. If this movie really takes off or even is just a modest hit, Steve could start to really move up the ladder in terms of what he’s directing, the budgets. Think about how many big movies need exactly this sort of experience, the Star Wars movies, the Marvel movies, Transformers. All of these really high end movies have a lot of these types of effects, CGI, modeling. Those directors that they’re gonna pick to ultimately direct those movies are people that really have experience with that and understand that.
I saw a quote from Quentin Tarantino once about The Hateful Eight and he was talking about, “Oh, well you just did Django Unchained which was also a Western, why did you wanna go back and do a Western?” His answer was very practical, was like, “On Django Unchained, we learned how to do…” and when he says, we, I’m sure it was a cinematographer, his team, they learned how to shoot horses. They learned how to work with horses. They learned how to shoot sort of those Western scenes. So it actually makes a lot of sense for him then to go and do another Western. I can’t tell you how much these sort of practical experiences actually do help. They actually do play a part in filmmaking and certainly in your writing.
A friend of mine when I first got to LA, this was years ago, he dated a woman who was staffed on one of those law type shows. She was a staff writer on one of those law type shows. Her only, only experience, if you can say only she had actually been a DA in New York City. She had been a public defender in New York City. That experience obviously is great to have, obviously she was a good writer and stuff, but she was able to lean in and get on staff on some of these procedural shows. Again, I just really emphasize that it shouldn’t be something where you’re going out to do it in order to get to that next step. Find something you’re truly interested and passionate about and try and lean into that and maybe somehow coordinate or find some synergy between that and your writing and your filmmaking.
Just exactly like what Steve has done with his own background and experience in the effects industry. Anyway, that’s the show. Thank you for listening.