||How did the idea for the film HEAD
TRAUMA come about?
The concept for HEAD TRAUMA stems from
two unrelated events in my life. The first was a
head on collision that left me in intensive care
and erased a number of days from my memory in
1994. The second seems a little more abstract in
its connection to HEAD TRAUMA but nonetheless is
very important. For a little over two years I
worked to get a TV show that I co-created off the
ground with a major network. We eventually got to
shoot a pilot, which tested well, but never got
picked up. Soon we found ourselves in development
hell. The process reminded me of the five stages
of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression
and Acceptance. So I decided to incorporate the
five stages of grief into the script for HEAD
TRAUMA. They provide the backbone to the story,
which plays out over five days. Each day
represents a different stage of grief.
Do you have a favorite scene from the film?
have a couple favorite scenes for different
reasons. The ring of fire scene is exactly the
way I envisioned it. I really enjoyed shooting
the scene where we blew up the car and also when
the house was knocked down. Its hard to
find a favorite. But I also love the run through
the cemetery its funny a lot of people
have thought that was a steadicam shot but it is
just a car with the DP shooting out an open
window and me driving. Poor Vince (George Walker)
had to run so many times and the sun was setting.
We didnt have permits and we were trying to
steal the shot. In the end we nailed it just as
we lost the light.
One of the strongest things about the movie is
its ability to sustain an unsettling mood. As a
director do you have any secret for achieving
I was trying to keep things off balance and in
the process I wanted to create a sense of
tension. The films that effect me the most tend
to be the ones that take their time and build an
atmosphere. You want to create a balance between
story, character, tension and full out scares.
What you think on set is often challenged in the
various parts of post. The advice Id give
is the chill factor. Does it give you chills when
you write it, at times when your shooting it,
during the editing and when its married to sound
design and music? If you hit any number of the
above you might just end up scaring someone.
So how can our readers check out the movie. I
know you played Sundance and Cannes...but are
there any pending plans for a DVD release?
The movie actually played
the LA Film Festival and a couple other festivals
in Europe, Asia and South America. HEAD TRAUMA
had a 17 city theatrical release late last year.
The movie is currently available on DVD in the US
and Canada. It can be purchased online and also
in retail outlets. For more info visit http://headtraumamovie.com In addition Im doing a number of special
screenings across the country and in Europe this
summer. The screenings are what we call a Cinema
ARG (alternate reality game) they are a mashup of
movies, music, gaming and theatrics. The movie is
scored live, characters emerge from the audience
and viewers can interact with the movie by using
their mobile phones. The next screening is in NYC
on July 14th, then the movie will travel to LA,
San Francisco, and Europe.
Is there are specific reason for the 8 year gap
between this and your first film the acclaimed
'The Last Broadcast'?
I was working on a TV show that I created for
FOX, started a tech company and was directing
commercials and music videos. When the TV show
fell apart after shooting a pilot I took the
frustration of the process and started writing
How do you think you grew as a filmmaker between
your first effort and the second?
In so many ways. Ive found a confidence in
my work and my voice as a writer and director.
Im more comfortable with the business side.
Plus most importantly, Ive slowed down to
enjoy the whole experience. I feel like the
luckiest guy on the planet that I can do what I
love to do for a living. And Im happy to
say that the same obession to make movies is
still there. Like it was when I first picked up
my first camera at the age of 16.
And as a filmmaker who or what have been your
The biggest influence to my work are my own life
experiences. Drowning at the age of 10 and being
ressecitated. Losing everything we owned in a
house fire when I was 14, hiking the Appalacian
trail, living out of my car, hitch hiking through
out the United States and South America and
almost dying in a head on collision with a
garbage truck. Outside of life experiences.
Im a fan of narrative, doc and experimental
films. Stan Brackage, Roman Polanski and Fredrick
Wiseman have had an impact on me. Music is also
is a large influence from jazz like Sun Ra and
Rashid Rollin Kirk to bands like Can, the Minute
Men, the Clash, the Rolling Stones and many many
also currently working on a book,
'Putting the Mass Back in Media'.
What's the general thrust of the work?
The book is part of a free resource that
Ive started for filmmakers called workbook
The book is about changes in media creation,
distribution and consumption. It is meant to
bridge the gap between tech and filmmaking.
Do you have any other upcoming projects you would
like to let the www.racksandrazors.com
readers know about?
Im working on two dark and twisted
flicks. Both are based on events in my own life
mixed with fiction. Similar to how HEAD TRAUMA
dealt with my own head on collision with a
garbage truck that left me plagued by vicious
nightmares, these new works draw from some of the
darker experiences in my life.
'Wired' magazine named you as "one of the 25
people helping to reinvent entertainment and
change the face of Hollywood". If you could
reinvent Hollywood instantaneously through some
magical means what would be some things you would
change about it?
That content creators would see a fair share for
the work that theyve made. A reduction in
sequels and remakes. And a focus on stronger
stories, characters and writing.
Okay, we're pulling the car into the Lance
Weiler Drive In. What three horror movies will
you show on the triple bill for the night and
what goodies are they going to be serving up at
the concession stand?
1. the tingler gotta love the first LSD
trip on film
2. the exorcist
because I saw it when I was 11 and it still
freaks me out
3. If its cool Id like to hold this
space for my next dark and twisted flick.
The concession stand full bar PLUS all the
regular concession fare.
What scares you in real life?
Not too much