How did you get started making films?
I dreamt of having a film camera all of my life, but I didn’t get one until I was 18. I immediately went to malls and interviewed people, promising that after I get two hours of footage, I would send everyone a VHS tape. My interviews started as normal, but they eventually became absurd. I also did “Jackass” type hidden camera stunts before there was a jackass. And of course, I made skits.
I edited from one VCR to another, which was tedious and aggravating. I could never be sure of an exact cut in a shot because the tape rolled back or forward, and almost never ended up where I wanted. Whenever there was a commercial that gave out promotional VHS tapes, I called multiple times, and I just dubbed the best of my material on those and handed them out to people wherever I went. Eventually, I started selling them at stores on consignment.
When I was at a horror convention, a friend introduced my to his girlfriend, a scream queen. She offered to sell my VHS tapes at her booth. After she watched my skits, she offered to act in them, and she eventually told me to make a feature. I didn’t know what the word meant. If I made a skit that sucked, it was just five minutes lost. I couldn’t bear to think of wasting 90 minutes. I didn’t know how to write a script, so I went to a bookstore and bought the only book on the subject, which was written by Syd Field.
I wrote Metalheads as a practice movie, and I shot it on a camcorder to get an idea of how to translate script to video. It was only meant to be my personal training, but I paid all the girls who were in it. I considered that to be my tuition. I handed out VHS copies of it, and you can imagine my surprise when a distributor asked to carry it. My first seven movies were shot on a camcorder, with me having read nothing about cinematography because those kinds of books weren’t in stores.
“It’s simple. I use what I have at the moment rather than waiting for resources. Waiting means not doing anything…”
You are extremely prolific having made more than 50 features that I’m aware of since 2002, what’s your philosophy when it comes to filmmaking?
It’s simple. I use what I have at the moment rather than waiting for resources. Waiting means not doing anything. I can always remake a movie that was shot with very little. By the way, I have made over 100 films. I forgot to drink when I passed that tally.
Are you actually making a living as an indie filmmaker? Tell us how you do it.
I am, and this infuriates people. I was making a good living in the computer field and I left it for movies. But this was a surprise. I didn’t think that it was possible for someone with my odd humor to have achieved this, especially when I go out of my way to do things wrong. It’s not that I am a rebel. I just like to test things. If you tell me that I can’t do something, I ask why, and if I don’t get a satisfying answer, I test it.
Go to Walmart.com and type a search for Dickshark. Yes, my crazy packed-with-boobs movie is sold at Walmart! I don’t know how these things happen, but I am grateful that they do.