Kevin: "I was heavily influenced by the horror scene as a youngster".
Conducted by Phil
June 26th, 2006
Kevin Woods will be a new name
for many of you, but the man has big plans for the genre and is set to be
here for quite a while.
I caught up with Kevin ahead of the shoot for his
latest horror movie Survival. Read on to hear how Kevin plans to shoot
his latest film in six days! Now that's real passion for the genre right
How did you get into
Filmmaking became my passion at an early age. I was heavily influenced by
the horror scene as a youngster, taking in as many scary movies as I
could. I particularly enjoyed the films of the genre from the 1970ís and
early 1980ís. There was more originality then. The filmmakers had a better
understanding of what it took to get under the viewers skinÖ..to scare
them. As I grew older I began making my own backyard movies with my
family and friends as the cast. I shot everything from horror to sci-fi to
comedic shorts. I read up and studied on the art of filmmaking. It was my
A few years ago I met with an independent filmmaker
named Adam Minarovich who had been doing his own movies with a moderate
degree of success for quite some time. I offered him my services to help
out on any of his productions and he brought me on to produce Wiseguys Vs.
Zombies (Troma Entertainment). From pre-production all the way through
post and on to distribution, Adam let me take the ride with him, teaching
me the ins-and-outs of the indie biz. We later worked together again on
Buy Sell Kill: A Flea Market Story, which has been my favorite picture to
work on so far. I got to work with a lot of talented actors on that one,
including Joe Estevez, someone I had been a fan of for years. His work in
the horror genre and beyond has always impressed me. Adam took me under
his wing and brought me into the game, and for that I will be eternally
Since then Iíve been able to work on several other
productions, getting my hands dirty and my mind immersed in the indie film
world. Iíve written a few screenplays and networked with many talented
filmmakers from all over the world. Filmmaking is more than just a hobby
to me. Itís my passion.
Whatís the scoop on
Survival was the brainchild of Joe Francis, an aspiring filmmaker that I
met online. He had posted a brief synopsis of the plot on his MySpace blog
and I happened across it. It was an intriguing concept to say the least,
and we began chatting about the project. He asked me to come onboard to
help co-write the screenplay and produce the movie. I looked at it as an
opportunity to do for someone what Adam Minarovich had done for meÖ.give
them their first taste of independent filmmaking. So Joe and I began
collaborating on Survival, expanding on his original storyline and taking
it to the next level.
We went through several drafts, even going as far as
tailoring parts for specific actors so that they can really shine
onscreen. The best part of pre-production is how excited everyone has
remained to be a part of this movie. Usually before a production I have to
try to keep everyone motivated and interested, but with Survival the
entire cast and crew have been our most ardent supporters. They love the
script and their feedback keeps Joe and I pumped up about the shoot.
Joe was fortunate to find an incredible DP in Joe
Hamann. Hamann really has an eye for the camera and should give the movie
a distinct visual flair. Hamann will also be co-producing the movie
alongside Joe and me. This team that weíve put together is incredible.
Survival is the story of a group of college students
that take a camping trip into the wrong part of the woods. Letís just say
that things get messy real fast. Thereís a brother-sister combo who lives
on the outskirts of the forest who are into capturing and torturing
unsuspecting campers. But thatís not all they do to them. Without giving
too much away Iíll tell you that when the siblings are finished
ďexperimentingĒ with their prey, the victims are not the same. They revert
back to natural human drivesósurvival, hunting, killing. Itís pretty
How did you find your
Some of the cast were found at open auditions held by Francis and Hamann.
They saw a lot of talented people over those two days of auditioning, but
had no trouble at all finding the perfect actors and actresses for the
roles. Francis explained to me how after seeing the readings he knew who
he wanted immediately. They found Vanelle, Lisa Burns, James Smith, Hannah
Reynolds, Chrissie Zullo and Vic Aviles through the auditions. I had
previously worked with Aviles on Buy Sell Kill and he just blew me away.
The guy is an actorís actor. Incredible timing and delivery, so I look
forward to working with him again.
The rest of the cast were so impressive at the auditions that Hamann and
Francis knew we had a winner on our hands. These are all incredible actors
and I feel blessed that weíve gotten them for this movie.
The rest of the cast were actors that Iíve networked
with over the past few years. We had been looking for the right
opportunity to work together and Survival seemed to fit. Matt McClure had
moved out to LA to pursue his modeling and acting career and has been
really getting his name out there so for him to put his work in LA on hold
to come out and be a part of Survival means a lot to me. Heís an
incredible actor and a wonderful friend. I just want to ride his coattails
when he blows up! And Don Prentiss was a no-brainer. Iím a fan. Weíve
been chatting online for a while and heís a good friend, but weíve yet to
meet. Iíve wanted to work with him since seeing him steal the show in The
Ancient. I pushed for him to be the lead in an upcoming movie that I wrote
called The Tenth Axis. I love this cat. The camera loves Don. He has this
presence onscreen that canít be denied. I canít wait to see him sink his
teeth into his character in Survival. Ian King lives in my town and had
just finished up working on Tromaís Poultrygeist in New York. We met up,
he gave me a reading, I sent the tape to Francis, and he was in. Then we
pulled a whammy on him and made him our wardrobe supervisor on the
picture. Ianís a talented kid.
How long has it taken to get
the project to the stage you are at now?
Francis and I began writing in December for a planned May shoot. We pushed
the date back to get everything in order and finalize the script. In the
past few months Francis and Hamann have secured the locations and
equipment while I created a shooting schedule, prop list, and worked on
getting pre-shooting publicity. Six months of planning are about to
culminate in six rigorous days of shooting. Iím praying to the Movie Gods
that they shine a little light on us.
The locations look pretty damn
creepy, who found them?
Our main location is an old plantation home from the 1800ís that Joe
Francis found while driving through his hometown. Joe took Hamann back to
the house and they decided to take a chance and knocked on the door to
speak to the owners about using their home and the land surrounding it for
the movie. They were more than happy to let us shoot there. The house is
historical and is the perfect setting for our story. And since a large
part of the movie is set in the forest the surrounding woods was a bonus.
Francis and Hamann basically found everything we needed in that one place.
Thereís a lot of atmosphere at that location. Itís going to help set the
mood of the movie.
Is it true that the film has a
shooting schedule of just 5 days?
It did, but now weíre up to 6 days. Yeah, that isnít a lot of time but I
have so much faith in this crew that I know weíll pull it off. Weíve
planned this production out carefully and are hoping for the best. Luckily
we have surrounded ourselves with a dedicated bunch and weíll see our way
through any obstacle that comes up.
Iíve shot films on a limited schedule before. I know
that it isnít easy but it is possible. We just have to expect the
unexpected and keep our fingers crossed. On Buy Sell Kill we had a
shooting schedule of 8 days. Somehow, miraculously, we pulled it off.
Going into Survival with that experience under my belt I think we can pull
off something truly extraordinary.
How was the project funded? I
believe you sold credits on eBay?
Yeah, we utilized the internet to raise the money necessary to shoot the
movie. EBay has been great to us. We found that there are a lot of people
who want to help make a movie, even if their only contribution is with
funding it. Thanks to these good people Survival will be made. They
probably didnít realize it when contributing but they are the ones truly
making this picture a reality. They not only get a credit and a copy of
the finished product, but they have earned our gratitude. Making a
low-budget movie is hard enough, but doing it without the help of a few
financial backers is almost impossible. They understood that their
contribution wasnít an investment but they helped us out anyway. We hope
to make them proud with this picture.
What are your hopes for the
The movie will be in good hands after shooting. Joe Hamann is the senior
editor and Joe Francis will be with him every step of the way. Theyíre
going to be taking their time in post-production to deliver a movie that
will be a cut above other indie horror fare.
Once it is ready to be seen weíre going to shop it
around, maybe hit a few film festivals, and try to find Survival a proper
home. I think this movie has the potential to be a fan-favorite. I donít
want to use the word cult but with the interest weíve generated in the
project so far it could very well have a nice following. We hope so
Have you had any interest from
Yeah, weíve already been contacted by a couple of companies interested in
seeing the finished product. Itís great that these companies have perked
up and taken notice of this picture this early in the game. The buzz on it
has so far been positive and we plan on delivering a great little horror
flick. Iíll be busy on other projects by the time we start seeking
distribution but I trust that the Joeís will find it a good home.
Whatís next, a sequel
We havenít ruled out the possibility of a sequel, but weíll just have to
see how well the movie is received when it is released. There are a few
different directions we can take a sequel if we decide to revisit this
storyline. Time will tell.
Following Survival I will be producing Desolation, a
horror film starring Trent Haaga, for director Krist Rufty who did The
Cutting Room. Krist has delivered on a truly original screenplay that
really grabbed me when I read it. Itís a different kind of horror film,
one that packs an emotional punch and will leave the viewers shocked. And
it will give Mr. Haaga the opportunity to show the world a different side
of his acting abilities. Heís never played a character quite like this
before. Should be a lot of fun.
In September Iíll be heading to Texas to produce The
Tenth Axis, another horror movie that I wrote. It will be shot as part of
the Texas Indie Meet, a filmmakers collaborative. Indie filmmakers from
all over the country will be there to take part in bringing this movie
together. The Tenth Axis was actually my first screenplay ever, but it was
set aside for a few years while I tackled other projects. Iím excited that
it was chosen as the project to be shot at this years Indie Meet. Iíve
been going through re-writes with my writing partner Danny Wolfe to
deliver something scary and exciting.
And later this year Iíll be producing a new picture for
director Adam Minarovich. This one should be a real surprise. Iím not
supposed to say anything about the movie just yet, but I can say this:
Adam has been talking to a few genre veterans to appear in the movie, so
expect to see some familiar faces gracing the screen. Adam has a truly
unique vision for this picture and I think everyone will be surprised at
what he has in store for you.
Check out www.kevinwoodsonline.com for more!
"Thank you ever so much for taking part in this interview
And we wish you the very best of luck in the future."