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William Rot!!!
This month, we are proud to present a FRIGHT exclusive interview with yet another promising independent filmmaker, Mr. William Rot. Will's debut short film 'THE JOURNAL OF EDMOND DEYERS' was one of the featured films on FANGORIA BLOOD DRIVE VOLUME 2. Will just wrapped on his follow-up short 'DE RIGUEUR' with Edwin Neal. Fellow Blood Drive alumni Adam Barnick got the full scoop! Read on! - by Adam Barnick. 5/06
What are your earliest memories of the horror genre?

I remember watching Night of the Living Dead when I was about eight years old. It truly terrified me. When I was a kid, I would draw monsters and other macabre scenes all the time. My parents never censored me, they always encouraged me to think for myself and develop my own opinions. So I could watch whatever the fuck I wanted. As far back as I can remember, I was watching horror films, I grew up with it.
Any particular films or life experiences that led you to pursue filmmaking?

I am not a huge film buff. I enjoy watching great films, but there is a lot out there that I haven't seen, and, to an extent, I don't wish too. So it wasn't any one film that made me go, "I want to be a director!" In short, when I was in high school I built a music studio and began composing. I stuck to music for awhile and then dove into photography in college. At some point two years ago, those works translated into film. The first real product of that merger was The Journal of Edmond Deyers.  

What scares Will Rot?  

Nothing as far as films go now. I think I have been desensitized through all the years of horror films and news broadcasts. I find war to be a frightening subject as well as the direction I see many societies going. It blows my mind some of the things happening in the world today, which led me to a Zen-Urban-Lebowski philosophy, "Fuck it." I just want to make films, not change the world. I dislike how many people blindly say, "I'm going to change the world." You can't change the world until everybody agrees on some fundamental concepts like love; a thing humans just can't seem to grasp as a whole. We as a species haven't really changed significantly in some time. Humans like to see violence, that's the bottom line. What happens when you drive passed an accident on the freeway? You look. To me, the people who are in tune with that, accept that, and funnel that into a creative and positive outlet are ready to move on. Which is why you'll find that in the horror genre, the people who are creating these really disturbing films are more often than not the nicest people in the world. It's the people who are out of touch with what is instinctively correct that you have to worry about, because that thing people fear about themselves usually comes out in more wicked ways than one.  

And do you think you'll work in other genres at some point?  

I like the horror genre and I am not interested in working in any others at this time. This seems to confuse some people, which I could never understand. It's like asking TOOL if they want to start working on a rap album.  

What inspired your first short film THE JOURNAL OF EDMOND DEYERS? Was it begun as a school project?

Yeah, it was my final for a production class. This helped me out because I only had to spend $80 on the film, everything else was supplied by the school (Community College of Southern Nevada). As for the inspiration for the film, it came from a dream and a story about a local madman who ran a bee farm. In short, this psycho bee farmer supposedly killed his five children and then himself. I was very close to shooting on the very same bee farm location where this supposedly happened, which is one of the most eerie places I have ever visited. Picture an old dilapidated farm with millions of dead bees everywhere. Although that story was pertinent to the film, it wasn't my main focus. To me, the story is secondary for this piece. The story is just supposed to give your mind some direction; the imagery and music is what is supposed to scare you. Many things were left open for the viewers' interpretation and made deliberately confusing. It's more of an experimental tone piece. If you watch The Journal of Edmond Deyers and ask yourself what was the point of that? You missed it. But if more coherent films tickle your fancy then you will enjoy my new film, De Rigueur.

Tell me Chaz Orion, your writing partner of this film, and how you approached the collaboration.  

We were in class together and this kid has seen every horror film ever created. It was fun working with him just because we are such different people. Originally he was supposed to be more involved, but he had some personal issues to handle. This is kind of when the film went in the direction that it did - as a tone piece. We wrote it and worked on some pre-production together, but that was about it. He has since disappeared, rumor has it, he is working on a rap album. Sounds like a joke, but it isn't. I don't foresee us working on another project together, because we are doing very different things. I am sure whatever he decides to do he will be successful at it. I just hope it isn't rap (Sorry Chaz, but you know how I feel about rap!).  

Is there a feature length script version of DEYERS? The short feels like a squeezed synopsis of a longer story,with a lot of backstory behind it.

A feature length script of Deyers does not exist, it was written to be about twice as long, but due to time constraints, being that it was my first film, and only having maybe one crew member to help out, many things were inevitably cut and or twisted around. Which is probably why it feels that way.

Had you always pictured it in its bizarre style and soundscape that it has?

It's chaotic. This style isn't something you picture or plan all the way out, it's more experimental. You know what you want to accomplish in it, and when you edit it you just explore different possibilities. The key components are composition and structure, if either are mediocre it just won't hold up.  

What was your reasoning behind the style, was it to bring us into your killer's mindset?

As far as the vertical cutting goes - absolutely. It's a technique rarely touched in mainstream films, I always enjoyed its use in Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers. Its purpose in my film is to give you more information about the killer's mindset without demystifying him with backstory.

Thoughts on the abrupt ending? I felt that the cops just underestimated the threat and Deyer's legacy, and paid for it with their lives.  

I always just felt at some point making this that it needed to have this ending that felt complete but wasn't. It's a fun ending to watch in a theater.

Deyers was one of Fangoria's selections of America's Best Short Horror Films from their Blood Drive II DVD a few months ago. Not bad to be in the original horror magazine with the first film! What's it been like for you, getting the film out there on DVD in several countries? Plus you flew to New York to appear on stage in their panel.

It's been good and bad. At first it was just all so surreal. I love Fangoria - I know a lot of people say that, but I was reading Fangoria since grade school. I LOVE it. I remember looking through Fangoria as a kid and seeing an advertisement for Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors wishing I could go... but I was a little kid living on the other side of the US. when I found out my film was selected for Blood Drive II I was so fucking excited, I bought the first Blood Drive the day it came out. The only bad thing about the exposure was having something out there this early in my career. The Journal of Edmond Deyers was just my warm up, I am just getting started. It was never done with the intention of it going where it did. It's kind of weird having all these people criticizing the first thing you have done, but that is a small complaint regarding the overall picture. When the winners were asked to speak at Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors in September of 2005, I couldn't believe it.

I really enjoyed meeting the people at that convention especially the other Blood Drive winners. The people I met out there were all very talented in very unique ways. You (Adam Barnick), Paul Solet, Jake Hamilton, Jason Alvino, Robg. (Robert Galluzzo) & Christopher Garatano, these are names I would recommend familiarizing yourself with because you will be seeing a lot of them. I just loved the community on the East coast - it's a completely different vibe from what I have experienced here on the West. Everybody on the East coast seemed very humble and supportive of their community.

How did you become involved with A Beginners Mind originally, and are you going to be doing more videos for them?
I have been friends with the guitar player, Aaron Harmon, for a long time and I always thought he was a musical genius. I became friends with the rest of the band through him. They were mutual fans of things I had done so we just put it together.

Between DEYERS and the music videos for A Beginners Mind, you've certainly got a good eye for lighting and shots... did you specifically focus on that in school or do you just have a knack for it?  

Thank you - I guess I just have a knack for it. I have taken some classes, but not many. I just try to show things in a way that most people haven't seen before and tell the story with as much emotion as possible. I think a problem with many people starting out is they shoot everything at eye level. That is how we always see the world, so we get bored fairly easy with it.  

And why did you choose not to be the DP on your newest film?

I wrote, directed, and produced it. I am now editing it. It is a big project, I needed some really talented people by my side to lighten the work load. Also, everything I have done up until this point has been done pretty bare bones. On previous films I would be doing everything, and if I was lucky maybe have one crew member. This time around I had a crew of about 15 people, and film is such a collaborative effort that having that many creative people around me brings everything to a whole new level. I think the most important decision a director makes is his team(cast / crew). I know what I want when I direct, but if someone like my DP or Edwin Neal do something that I haven't thought of, and it is better, I don't let my vision cloud my judgment. I am just here to tell a story, and if someone brings more life to that story, who am I to say cut? With that all said, my Director of Photography on this film, Tony Quirk, and I just have such similar tastes and influences that many times I wouldn't have to say anything... he just knew what I wanted. It is a beautiful way to work. We are actually gearing up to do a feature together.  

Give us a synopsis of your new film, DE RIGUEUR, and how the idea came about.

De Rigueur is about two friends who make lunch plans and on their way to meet up one of them tries to help out a damsel (Alexandria Bevilacqua) in distress, which as you can guess probably wasn't the best idea. The entire film takes place in one day and is about opposite extremes. Two very different types of people. The normal people who go through their daily grinds, and then we have these two outlaws. These two worlds collide for some interesting results.
The main conflict is loosely based on an experience one of my friends (Victor Whitmill) had. The film just shows a different way the situation could have gone. It really isn't a horror film until the last few minutes, it is very different from anything else I have done. One of the ideas I had as far as the violence goes is that I chose to focus almost solely on the enjoyment of the outlaws torturing their victims, as opposed to the victims being tortured. To me that is more terrifying-to me that is frightening.

How would you compare the style/approach of the film vs. Deyers?  

Completely different - the movie jumps around a lot as far as style goes some stuff early in the film is very soap opera-like. But near the end you will see some familiar things from Deyers, style-wise. Because once again we have a killer's mindset to think about...

How's it been working with a full on crew instead of wearing 8 hats this time?  

As I said earlier it was wonderful. I had a really great crew.

Smooth shoot? Crazy shoot? And tell us about your new actors, including a certain Hitchhiker…?

Everything went smoothly, we finished early on every location except when shooting the ending, which was the last location on the first day. This is the only thing that didn't go as planned. This is where all the SFX gags came into play as well. That was hell because a bunch of problems came up which pushed shooting back. This was also a good thing because it really added to the ending of the film and brought it to an entirely different place. I feel the ending is very iconic.

It is one of those signature moments that people are going to remember for a long time. I feel weird talking about my film in this way, but these are just feelings I have thought while editing it. As far as actors go, Frank Corto is returning from Deyers, outside of that the only name you would recognize would be the hitchhiker from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Ed Neal.

Had you hoped to cast Ed Neal from the start? And what type of person is he playing?  

I never really planned on casting him, although I did write that part with him in mind. It is completely funny how everything worked out. I was talking to Christopher Garetano (Director of "HORROR BUSINESS") on the phone during pre-production and was explaining the story of the film. I told him how I was having trouble casting this one part in my film, which I wrote with Ed Neal in mind. Unbeknownst to me, he was friends with Ed. Chris basically set it up from there. So if you enjoy this film, everybody e-mail Mr. Garetano and say thanks.
And as far as Ed Neal goes, nobody else could have played this role. He brings so much to the table, if you give him the freedom he just shines. In many ways he plays the same type of character that he did in TCM, although now it is more like he is a little older and he knows he is crazy and is a little better at controlling it. There are scenes in the film where Ed and his partner in crime Alexandria Bevilacqua have to pretend that they aren't crazy, the end of the film is the reveal of their true personalities. Ed Neal fans will not be disappointed.
Did Tate Steinsiek (special makeup effects) really call De Rigueur the sickest film he'd worked on so far?

Yes. I guess that is a real compliment in this genre. Tate Steinsiek is the fucking man. He did an incredible job, we were lucky to have him involved on this project. I can't wait to work with him on future films.

Where are you at with the film, what are your plans for it and the future?

The film is at the end phase of editing, sound design is almost into full swing. The sound design and score is being done by a duo only known to the world as The Rewriters of Reality, and they are fucking nasty. It has been a very long process, but I think everyone will enjoy it. I am shooting for a June 6th release. Hopefully that scheduling will work out. After it is done I am just going to be touring with it. Hopefully I will get to meet some of you people that are reading this. After De Rigueur is complete and I finish up with the horror circuit, I am going to dive right into a feature that I have wanted to do since I started this project. All I can say about that right now is it is called "Paris Lost" and it is in its early stages of development right now. Simultaneously, I have some photography projects lined up, which I think people reading this will enjoy. You may even notice some names mentioned here involved with it.

Thanks for talking to us, Will!!!

Visit: www.WillRot.com.

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