Interview with Director & Writer of "Silently Within Your Shadow" - Scott Lyus
What is your background and what made you start writing/directing horror?
I started making films in my early teens through college. My real jump into the horror/thriller genre came in 2012 when I wrote and directed "Supernova". The film was my first with a real cast and crew, and my attempt at a home invasion thriller. I've always been such a huge horror fan, from Frankenstein to 80's Slashers to Scream in the 90's. Looking at it from a writing point of view, the genre is perfect for exploring so many different ideas and characters. My favourite horror films are one thing on the surface, the selling point if you will, but all have great subtext underneath and my ambition is to create that kind of horror and throw my hat in that ring.
What inspired you to write "Silently Within Your Shadow"?
The inspiration for "Silently Within Your Shadow" came from my personal life. The undertone of the film is the idea of putting all of yourself into your dreams and ambitions, and how that effects ones romantic relationship. When you're fully committed to making it within your chosen field you find yourself neglecting other parts of your life, and for me, that struggle was very real. Add in my obsession with ventriloquist dolls and haunted objects and the screenplay for "Silently..." was born.
How did you find casting for the roles in your film?
The casting process was amazing, and really helped move the film forward. First actor I cast was our lead Sophie Tergeist. Once I saw Sophie's audition tape, the search was over. I can't stress enough just how fantastic Sophie is, not just as an actress but as a supporter of the film. To this day Sophie is flying the flag and recently messaged me regarding her upcoming trip to Cannes and how she'd love to meet and discuss the film with anyone and everyone out there. And when you consider her performance and everything she put into the role, Sophie is for me one of the most amazing individuals I've ever met. Sophie was also my reasoning behind casting Bill Moseley as the voice of Hugo. With Sophie's American accent, I had to cast an American as the voice of her dummy Hugo, and so I shot for the stars and was lucky enough to land Bill. I now can't imagine anyone else voicing Hugo. Bill absolutely nailed it.
What were some of the obstacles you came up against during filming?
Our main obstacle, as with all indie films, was with budget. We partly crowd funding the film via Indiegogo, making only a quarter of our budget. We were luckily enough to lock in another quarter via private funding and then I put up the remainder. We also had the usual obstacles on set and with production, but each were easily worked out and we got through it. All in all, a very cool shoot. The journey has been amazing.
What do you think is missing from mainstream horror today?
For me it's really good story driven or character driven horror films. We've had a handful of really good horror over the last few years, but the main focus of the genre seems to be cheap jump scares, or over the top blood and gore. I'm not saying jump scares and blood and gore don't have their place because they do, but when that's all you've got, when that's the selling point of the film, it has no re-watchablity and that for me is why the genre as a whole is failing to create lasting cinema. What happened to making really well thought out horror like "The Exorcist" or "The Silence of the Lambs"? My hope is that we can take horror back to the Oscars, I want to see horror playing at that level again.
If you had the chance to reboot any horror franchise, with budget not being an issue, which would you choose?
To be honest I'm not really sure reboots are for me. Maybe the day will come when I hear a pitch for a reboot, with a great concept that I feel I can work with but for now I'm trying to stay clear of that crowd. However if we look at Hollywood's current obsession with adapting comic books, then if money was no object, I'd love to adapt Jae Lee's "Hell Shock". I'm a huge comic fan and Jae Lee is one, if not my favourite artist in the industry and "Hell Shock" blew me away when I first read it. The story and visual aspect of the comic is perfect for a cinematic adaptation, so if I had one, money is no object dream, it would be "Hell Shock". And if I had two, Neil Gainman's "Sandman" would be the second. Especially his most recent "Sandman Overture" work. I'd love to do that.
How would you some up your film in a few words?
A character driven, twisted love triangle horror.
Have you any future projects you would like to talk about?
Right now I'm really busy, busier than I've ever been. With the small amount of success Silently has had, projects have gone through the roof.
My main priority at present is my debut feature, a zombie survival film titled "Walking Against the Rain". The picture is a two character story, with work on the second draft well underway.
I also have a web series I'm developing which I'm really excited about. I've also just signed on to to write and direct a segment in an anthology film, but it's very hush hush at present, so there's not too much I can say.
I also just shot a short horror comedy I'm producing titled "The Ex", with post production getting underway very soon. And finally we're very close to finishing the extended cut of a short drama I made for a 60 Hour Challenge titled, "Holding Back". We've gone back and added over 2 minutes of footage, completed a brand new colour grade and sound design, both of which are spectacular, and right now I'm just waiting on the completion of a new title card.
We also have a new poster being designed by one of my favourite indie artists, which will be revealed very soon. Very good times a head.
We have had the privilege to view an advance of Scott's new film, "Silently Within Your Shadows". Click here for our review. Haunted Media would like to wish Scott and Crossroads Pictures the very best with their future work.
Interview conducted by TF Ryan © Haunted Media Ltd 2016