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Kevin Woods

Kevin: "I was heavily influenced by the horror scene as a youngster".

Conducted by Phil Davies Brown
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 there.

How did you get into filmmaking?
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 obsession.

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 grateful.

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?
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 insane.

How did you find your cast?
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 finished film?
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 anyway.

Have you had any interest from distributors?
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 perhaps?
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 Kevin.
And we wish you the very best of luck in the future."

Don't fall behind, make sure you get help
writing college papers fast.


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