Saturday, July 3, 2021


In 2015 burst in with "FOLLOW", later on in 2018 with "BLOOD FEST" and in 2019 directed his latest film so far "MERCY BLACK", and if that's not top leagues yet, he's author of novels such as  "The Book of Harold", "the Illegitimate Son of God""Marshall Hollenzer is Driving" and the short story collection "How Best to Avoid Dying".

Yeah, you know I am talking about OWEN EGERTON, such talented indie horror filmmaker from Austin, Texas. He took some of his free time and replied some questions I had asked him, because as I said and I really hope, many newbie filmmaker come here and read the interviews I post, no doubt OWEN had to be one name to post here, because his career is the stand case of how an indie horror filmmaker can grow and progress in every film and get better outturn in terms of cinematic quality and of course in budget, which also is the idea, be able to get more resources for the next film. 

We talked about his thoughts about his career, how he has seen himself during these years as a filmmaker and about his latest film "MERCY BLACK". I know you  will like it, just have to scroll down and read it... come on!

EFF: Owen, It's a pleasure have this talk with you, really. Where are you from and How did you get interested into filmmaking?

OE: Great to talk to you! I’ve always been a bit of film freak. There’s something magical – mythical – in these larger-than-life stories. When I was writing my first novel, I was lucky enough to get a job doing comedy at an independent movie theater here in Austin, Texas. It’s called the Alamo Drafthouse. I made jokes over movies along two friends (John Erler and Jerm Pollet). I got to watch movies for work! This taught me a lot about film. Even more so was staying at the theater late to see what the eccentric film programmers were watching. They introduced to some weird and wild films!
Owen Egerton

EFF: If someone check over your filmography could think your first appearance into the film industry was with you short film "Follow", but I have read you've been immersed in it years before of it. Could you tell us what did you do before you started off making films? I even heard you had a band.
OE: Ha! Yeah. I’ve been in a few bands. I continue to do comedy. I was once a youth pastor (very different part of my life). I was a host for a TV shopping show, a secret shopper of a fast food restaurant, an occasional actor, a YouTube parenting coach, and for a little while a door-to-door knife salesperson. During all of this, I was writing. Writing stories, novels, and screenplays. For years I wrote comedy screenplays with two dear friends Russell Sharman and Chris Mass. I finally took the leap into writing horror and directing my own scripts – that was FOLLOW

EFF: Let me ask you about your first feature, "Follow" because first times never be forget, never. How was the creation process of the film and how was the pitching process, raising funds?
OE: A hustle from start to finish! It is damn hard to get a film made. Even if you’re making it for a fraction of a fraction of what they spend on superhero film. There were key people who helped that film come to life – my producers Seth Caplan and Chris Colbert. A wildly talented and generous cast. An amazing crew. I’m so glad I continue to work with so many of these same people. My first investor is an avid film lover named Neil Wilson. I am forever grateful for his belief in me.  
FOLLOW (2015)
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EFF: After "Follow" you have directed two more films, "Blood fest" and "Mercy Black" and we see you are evolving either quality or budget, that's mean you’re doing the things well. Do you feel you have evolved during all these years as a filmmaker?
OE: I do hope I’m improving as a filmmaker! I’m definitely learning all the time. So I look forward, I want to be a more daring filmmaker. I’m hoping to shock and thrill and wow not just the audience but myself. So, I keep watching films, reading, thinking – I keeping growing.
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EFF: Let me ask you, as a writer. What is the most complex thing you face when crafting a screenplay? When do you know it's good stuff? How to balance all the elements of a horror story?
OE: Great questions! I’m not sure I have as great an answer. But I think it comes down to character. Can you craft a character as memorable as your monster? Does the horror move your heart? That’s key. Scares can only hold our attention for so long. We need characters that feel real. I also think about pacing. What is keeping the audience engaged every minute of the film? What is the tension? The fun? The scares? I often don’t know what is working as I write. In fact, I try not to think about it and I give in to the flow of the story. Sometimes thinking can get in the way, you know what I mean? There is a time for thinking and planning and outlining. And then there’s the time to let all the nightmare spill from your fingers and onto the page.  
EFF: Many films care more about the story background than characters compelling, do you think is more important the latter or doesn't matter too much?
OE: I think you need all of it, but character is key. This is something I’ve learned the hard way. We are asking the audience to fall in love with these characters. To follow them for a couple of hours, to feel frightened for them. To cheer for them! To see ourselves in their struggles.
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EFF: Your last film "Mercy Black" was Blumhouse involved, right? Tell us how the project emerged from the ground? Did you sell the script or they contacted you to write a movie, how everything was developed?
OE: Blumhouse is great. It had been a dream to work with them and I still get a thrill seeing that Blumhouse logo and the beginning of the film. I love what the films they make! The team there have an excellent sense of how to craft a film.
EFF: Could you tell us what problem you faced off during the making of your film and how did you solve them out? Any anecdote you could tell us?
OE: Problems and the unexpected arise every day while filming. It’s part of the fun! One night while we were filming a particularly quiet scene in a large warehouse. Turns out a huge storm was moving in. The winds outside really started blowing, rattling the huge metal doors and making all kinds of noise. As we filmed every cast, crew, and producer who wasn’t on camera held their hands against the metal doors to keep them from shaking so that is was quiet enough to film the scene. Seeing the whole team working together made me tear up! Filmmaking is a team sport.

EFF: Speaking of "Mercy Black" what can you tell us about the audience reception? 
OE: Yeah. I think people like it!
EFF: How long it took you to shoot "Mercy Black"
OE: Twenty one days, I think.
EFF: Cinematography speaking, what style did you want to print over the film? Maybe any references of movies or Directors?
OE: For Mercy Black, I can feel the influence of James Wan and Scott Derrickson – two filmmakers I very much admire. The cinematographer, Elle Ann Fenton, and I watched a number of films as we approached production including works by Wan and Derrickson as well as THE ORPHANAGE and THE OTHERS. We wanted to dance with shadow and create a space that hinted at hidden rooms and watching eyes.
 "Mercy Black"

EFF: What scene was hard to shoot and why?
OE: The scenes in the water were difficult. We were filming in mid-winter and it was damn cold! I was so impressed with those young actors – Sophianna Smith, Jamey Lentz, and Elke Boucher-Depew - standing waist deep water, crawling in rocky creek beds, and dragged through the mud all while giving excellent performances.  
EFF: What camera did you use for "Mercy Black" and why? 
OE: We shot it on Panasomic Varicam LT. Ellie Ann Fenton did some testes with a few cameras and we all thought this one gave us the best picture – it catches the shadows in a really wild way.
 "Mercy Black"

EFF: What is the hardest thing about being a horror director?
OE: Keeping a fresh mind. It’s not that scary to film a horror movie – you see all the jumps coming. The same in the editing room. You already know something is going to jump out of the dark. You wrote it. You filmed it. So you need to keep your mind fresh, think about how a first-time viewer will experience this.
EFF: This blog is aimed (I Hope) at indie filmmakers whose dreams is to shoot their first feature film and maybe get success on the road. If you let me, I can say you are a good example of that, even though you were in the industry, you made your first feature and you have improved so on. What advice would you give to those filmmakers who wants to make a living from it? 
OE: Such a good question! I’d say, keep making things! Make shorts on your phone. Writer stories online. Find friends and keep making things. How to make a living? That’s a difficult question. I’m not sure I know the answer yet! Finding representation in LA has helped me move in that direction. And the key to doing that is making and writing things.
EFF: What are your references? Movies and Directors.
OE: A few of the filmmakers I’m being inspired by right now: Issa Lopez (Tigers are Not Afraid), Jennifer Kent (The Babadook), and Ingmar Bergman. I often go back to my favorite filmmaker, Federico Fellini.
EFF: How have you lived this pandemic? Personally, Professionally...
OE: This year has been a wild, hard time. Our family has done pretty well – laughing and dancing in our small little house. I usually head to a shed in our backyard and do my writing – working on stories and screenplays and some fun stuff for TV. I’ve been reading a lot – trying to keep my soul growing and my mind fresh. It’s been hard to work while so much pain and suffering is happening. Sometimes the best we can do is grieve, is listen, is let the rain soak in. Sometimes the seeds are sprouting and stories are growing, but they haven’t burst through the soil yet. That’s okay. It’s okay to take a breath and let the hidden things grow.
 Owen Egerton - BTS "Blood Fest"

EFF: On IMDB appears you are writing two comedies movies, is that right? Aren't you thinking of writing something in horror soon? What new projects are you working on now, anything you can anticipate us now? 
OE: Definitely have some good things on the way! I’m working with Rooster Teeth (Blood Fest) again on a horror podcast and doing some thrillers and dark comedy for TV. I can’t say much more – but good stuff is on the way! Part of the job is having several projects going at the same time. With luck, one actually moves forward.
EFF: If a producer gives you a chance to direct a horror film remake, what would it be and why? 
OE: Oh wow! That’s a good question! I think I would love to remake Charlie and the Chocolate Factory but as a horror movie! It’s scary as it is! But imagine going full horror!
EFF Would you like to say anything else?
OE: I want to see more movies from more voices. I want to see stories I could not have imagined. Your blog is read by those upcoming writers and filmmakers – I want to see their movies! Read their stories! Hear their podcasts! So thank you for making stories! Our world needs your stories. It’s the heartbeat of the planet. 

**OWEN EGERTON'S | IMDb Twitter **

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