Friday, February 22, 2019


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Filmmakers around the globe welcome to my blog, a place where you can read the vicissitudes of lots  of indie filmmakers like you, some od them have many movies on their backs, others one only have one, but from each one of them you can learn how was the route they took, the problems they had to beat and the great sensation of ends well the work and watch your movie done. Today, I post this chat I had with John Ward, an indie filmmaker as many out there that have to scratch out the ground to make a movie but when he get the resources to make it, all endeavour and blood puts out there on the battleground and the final work is worth it. John, kindly let me chat with him about his short films AXEMAS and AXEMAS 2 and his feature directorial debut film MEATHOOK MASSACRE 4. I know you will like these words, how an indie film it's done.

EFF: Salute you Mr. Ward, thanks for take some time out and give an eye my questions. Where were you born and raised? Did exist an inflexion point where you realized you wanted to make movies?

JW: I was born in Los Angeles. But I was raised In Marin County, the Bay Area. I was ten when Star Wars came out. I knew I wanted to make films from that moment. Close Encounters of the Third Kind and the re-release of Jaws were big influences too. In addition, I watched many horror and sci-fi movies on television when I was a kid like the original Dracula and Frankenstein. I would stay up late on Friday nights and watch the more adult horror and sci-fi films from Hammer. That was really fun.

EFF: Your beginnings shooting commenced with a short film called AXEMAS, how begun this project, explain us how the story was born, how was the shooting process and the casting chooses and where it was shot, not the storage facility ha-ha?

JW: The idea for AXEMAS is around twenty plus years old. It was a different story back then. When I worked at a storage facility tenants would always tell me how creepy it was at night. I wrote a standard slasher script called, Blood Storage. I thought it was boring and added the killer Santa and a new story emerged. I changed the title to  AXEMAS and the rest is  AXEMAS history LOL. I casted actors that I already knew from films that I worked, so I didn’t have to have them audition. The film was shot in Las Vegas, NV.
Axemas (2017) Imdb |  Vimeo Amazon 

EFF: How long it took you shoot AXEMAS, what setbacks, anecdotes, can you tell us? What did you learn from the whole process? 

JW: We shot the film over four very cold nights in February. We had to shoot when the grounds were closed, so around 10pm-6am. We had no setbacks to think of. We all knew how cold it would be. We shot the film in a big concrete and metal building, so at 3am it was pretty darn cold! The cast and crew wore heavy jackets. I brought in two space heaters and some blankets. Oh, lots of hot coffee! No deaf aloud! LOL, I basically learned what I needed to do on AXEMAS 2 (and 3 and 4) to make the cast and crew happy, warm, and comfortable. Also, we learned about prepping the FX as early as we could. FX take a long time to prep, so on AXEMAS 2 we made it a priority.

EFF: How it has been the audience response, have you broadcasted it at festivals? If yes, how has been the experience? 

JW: The audience response has been great! I tend to make more commercial films, so I can reach a wider audience. Most people have been inside a facility and it’s creepy and people that haven’t still think it’s creepy! LOL So, audiences watching the film on the big screen look scared. People yell and laugh at the right moments. It’s great meeting people that have never seen or heard of AXEMAS. They come up to me and tell me how much they loved the film and some of them have told me their creepy stories about being inside a storage facility late at night.

EFF: Now we have come to your feature film debut MEATHOOK MASSACRE 4, which you also wrote it and produced it, so was Dustin Ferguson's connection that he invited you direct the fourth installment of his trilogy. Anyway, tell us, how you got involved into the project? 

JW: Dustin was looking for a director for Meathook Massacre III. I asked if I could direct it. The problem was I had nothing under my belt, directing wise. He gave the film to a different director. The following year he was looking for a director for MM4. I asked him to watch AXEMAS. He liked the film and brought me on as producer, writer, and director. 

EFF: First off, when is it going to be out officially? What can you tell us from the plot, what things will be different from the other movies? 

JW: I’m hoping for a February 2019 release date. It’s kind of a weird love story between two family members that are cannibals. I think releasing the week of Valentine’s Day would be funny. The film is more-or-less a stand alone film. There are references to the other three films. Part 1 and 2 go together. Part 3 is a prequel. And, part 4 is its own film. A person could watch MM4 by itself and still understand what is going on.
Meathook Massacre 4 (2018) Imdb |  Facebook 

EFF: Short films and a feature film, now you have the thread from both formats, besides the obvious length difference, what other different aspect could you tell us that you have felt doing this movie?

JW: It was very different from making a short film. It was a good, but tough shoot. I should have planned more days and better days off. Most of the cast and crew (from AXEMAS and AXEMAS 2) that I have worked with in the past worked on MM4. We worked very long days and it was hot. There’s two degrees of weather in Las Vegas, cold and hot. It’s only one or two months out of the year that feel like T-shirt and shorts weather.

EFF: Tell us, what setbacks you had to overcome throughout the film shooting.

JW: MM4 I took over shooting and now I’m editing it too. I was kind of forced into learning the camera and editing software to make SKELEVIL and now finish MM4. I now believe that all directors should know how to use the camera and editing software. The more a director knows the better s/he can work with cast and crew.

EFF : Tell us for real, how much was the budget of the film? And what item extracted more money from you? How long it tookyou shoot the film?

JW: Well… MM4 had a $2,000.00 budget. It’s now over $3,000.00+. AXEMAS and AXEMAS 2 had roughly the same budget, $500.00. SKELEVIL was a couple hundred. The problem with MM4 was I wasn’t watching the budget. If we needed something, I have a production assistant go buy it. That was 100% my fault. I had a great crew to work with, but I didn’t have anyone watching the money part of it. MM4 was a HUGE learning experience for me.

Even though SKELEVIL was a short I tried my best to take from what I learned (my mistakes) from MM4 and made sure that didn’t happen again. Over all I think we all did a great job on MM4. We all learned from it.
Meathook Massacre 4

EFF: Are you a horror fan? What horror films and directors you like most and why?

JW: I’m a HUGE horror fan! My favorite horror film is the original Night of the Living Dead. Surprisingly, my two favorite directors are Steven Spielberg and James Camron. The original Jaws is my second favorite film. I think the greatest action film make is the original Terminator. Here’s another surprise… my favorite film is The Graduate (1967) starring Dustin Hoffman. In my option, it’s the best film ever made and it’s NOT a horror film! LOL Right now my go to horror director is Mike Flanagan. He directed Oculus, Ouija: Origin of Evil and the series The Haunting of Hill House. He’s not made a bad film or series in my option. I really look forward to his films when I hear about a new one coming out.

EFF: What advice would you like to give for those want-to-be filmmakers who are undecided in how to make their first film?

JW: I would tell them to work on as many films as they can. It doesn’t matter if you get paid or not. The more credits you have under your belt the more other filmmakers will want to work with you. Learn as much as you can on these shoots. Meet and reach out to as many people as you can. Social media is great for that! Most indie filmmakers are open to talking to an aspiring filmmaker. Don’t over do it. Be cool about it. It’s okay to be a fan just don’t be a stalker! LOL A first time filmmaker can buy a whole camera/sound and light package online for cheap. Spend some money and get good equipment. Also,the more equipment you own and learn the more films you can work on. Take that first step. Don’t let ANYONE tell you that you can’t do it. You can do it. Believe in yourself.
John Ward shooting

EFF: What is new in your career, what people can expect from you forwards and do you see yourself making horror films always? Or do you see shooting in another genre?

JW: I will continue to work crew on other filmmaker’s films. AXEMAS 3 and 4 will be shot early next year. I’m writing a couple different feature screenplays. I plan on directing one of them mid next year. I’ll be producing AXEMAS 5, but not directing, next year. I would like to continue making short films for different anthologies from different producers. I would like to direct a music video. I think that would be fun. I don’t plan on making horror films for the rest of my life. It’s what I’m doing now, but down the road I would like to branch out and work more in science fiction maybe even crime-drama.
Axemas 2 (2018) Imdb |  Facebook Youtube 

EFF: If a producer gives you the chance to direct a horror film remake, what would it be and why?

JW: I have two films I would LOVE to remake. Surprising both are not horror films! I would love to remake I am Legend. I’m a HUGE fan of the novel. There’re three films based on the book and none of them are the book! Also, I would love to remake D.O.A. (crime-drama film) there’re are three versions of that film too. I think Las Vegas is the perfect location for that remake. I’m going t add a sequel to this list. I really liked all the House on Haunted Hill films. Hey! There’s three of those too! LOL I would love to make a part 3 to that series. I guess I’m big on threes!

**John Ward's | Imdb |  Facebook **

**Axemas (2017) Imdb |  Vimeo Amazon   **

**Axemas 2 (2018) Imdb |  Facebook Youtube  **

**Meathook Massacre 4 (2018) Imdb |  Facebook **


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