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Owen Mulligan p2

Horror movie-maker Owen Mulligan lists some excellent books on movie making...

READERSVOICE.COM: You mentioned a couple of interesting books in your blog about getting around traditional distribution methods. How does traditional distribution work exactly, and how are movie-makers getting around it?

OWEN MULLIGAN: Traditionally, you usually give up all your rights and let someone else handle all the details and maybe see some money, if you’re lucky. Nowadays, you can do it yourself with all the tools on the Internet, keep all the rights to your work, and possibly make some money without worrying about the books being cooked.

RV: What are some of your other favorite books on movie making, or movie makers, and what sort of magazines do you read on horror or movies or anything else?

OM: I would say The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide by Kelly Baker, Sell Your Own Damn Movie by Lloyd Kaufman, Rebel Without a Crew by Robert Rodriguez, and Think Outside the Box Office by Jon Reiss. The only magazine I read is Open Minds, which covers UFO news and investigations.

RV: What are some of your favorite works of fiction, whether horror or not?

OM: Almost anything from Dean Koontz and Ray Bradbury.

RV: How did you learn the basics of movie-making?

OM: The Internet. Everything from articles, blogs, forums, and YouTube tutorials. Several books helped as well and, of course, just going out and doing it!

RV: How did you meet the people you made your short films with?

OM: Started with a few friends and Craigslist.

RV: You like John Carpenter, creator of horror masterpieces like Halloween, and you called one short movie The Smog. What do you like about John Carpenter’s movies?

OM: Most of his movies have this great atmosphere and characters. He’s just amazing and I’m not completely sure why. Gotta be magic.

RV: Your horror short movies have appeared at many festivals, and is this the payoff as far as you’re concerned in movie-making?

OM: Sure, but there are many payoffs for me. Any kind of feedback I get from someone who’s enjoyed one of my films, whether it’s online or offline. If my movies have affected someone in some way…a laugh, a scare…I can’t say how much that makes my day.

RV: Before starting the shooting of your latest short Pumpkinbane you had to do about a month’s preparation. Can you walk me through what you had to do up to the shooting of the film?

OM: It started with the script which didn’t take long because it’s only about four pages. From there, I cast the actors I already had in mind and two of them were my producers. I then began a prop and equipment list and slowly worked with my producers Jay Vos and Zak Frederick to get everything we would need to shoot. While doing this, I also did FX testing to make sure everything would work OK. I also had an FX artist named John Dean in Proctor, Vermont help with some of the props. Zak Frederick also helped with many of the FX as well. Pumpkinbane was shot at one location which we already knew we had access to. It was a real collaborative effort so the month and a few weeks we had for prep went very smoothly.

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-copyright Simon Sandall