Filmmaker Scott W. Perry Up Close and Personal
Scott Perry is an independent filmmaker who is a Long Island native, born in Bethpage and raised in Amityville, where he still lives to this day. Scott is with me today to talk with me about his love for filmmaking.
Tell me about how you began filmmaking and what your main inspiration is?
I’ve always loved movies and enjoyed going to the movie theater. At the time, slasher films were becoming very popular and my parents wouldn’t originally let me see R rated movies, despite the fact “Poltergeist” was rated PG and still scares me to this day. At the age of seven the one movie that I wanted to see was “Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter” and my parents allowed me to see it on one condition which was to watch a videotape of the special effects first to show me that it was all fake. I was immediately fascinated by how they made the magic work and was allowed to view horror films, but instead of being scared, I was looking to see how they did the effects. It was when I saw “Goodfellas” when I realized I wanted to be a filmmaker. It’s an exciting, entertaining medium where you lose yourself for a while and can create an entire world.
Tell me about Slick Devil Entertainment and how it began?
Slick Devil Entertainment began when I was a teenager, making little projects and editing them in video class. It was mainly just making fun videos with friends and we all helped each other out. When high school was over, a lot of them didn’t want to pursue it as a career and drifted off into other endeavors. After working at MTV for four years and moving on to A&E, I had a passion for screenwriting and attempted to sell a few screenplays. After advice from script doctors and those within the industry, and with the rise of digital technology, I realized the best way to get these scripts noticed is to do the job yourself. I also had been laid off three times in the span of a year, and I used my severance money to make my first film “Unadulterated”. After “Unadulterated”, I’ve been working various jobs and acquired my own equipment. “Insatiable” was in pre-production for over a year before we shot the film in early 2008. The goal of Slick Devil Entertainment was to make quality, entertaining genre films that emphasize on a story.
Where did you come up with the idea for “Insatiable”?
“Insatiable” was based on the combination of a few things going on in my life. I had written a feature script that I was shopping around to studios and every time I was rejected with the reason being that they weren’t looking for vampire scripts. They didn’t hate the script. They weren’t interested in a vampire film because they felt the genre had been done to death. This was when “Saw” was just released, so torture porn became the trend. I wanted to see if it was possible to make a unique film about vampires and I recalled one of my duties working at A&E, which was to quality control programming before it reached primetime. A&E is reality crap now but back when I worked at the channel, there were some intriguing programs on such as Cold Case Files and Investigative Reports, which profiled serial killers and why they did what they did. In each case, they had a certain ritual that they followed and in the case of the main character in “Insatiable”, he thought he was a vampire. Casting the film was fun. I met Mike Lane and Zoe Daelman Chlanda on the set of Alan Rowe Kelly’s film “The Blood Shed” and was impressed by their performances. When it came time to get “Insatiable” together, they agreed to do the roles. I met Raine Brown while asking for an interview for my Colonel’s Crypt website and she loved the script. For acting without using any dialogue, they had to rely on their emotions and I felt all three did a phenomenal job.
Where were the locations for the project?
“Insatiable” was shot at three locations; Edison, New Jersey, where the motel scenes were shot, Amityville, New York, where the home scenes were shot (and it’s my house), and Boonton, New Jersey, where we shot the dream sequence at the historic Darress Theater, an old vaudeville theater that still plays silent movies to this day. The motel was a real motel that we just shot around in silence, making sure we didn’t bother anyone but being that I had to buy a wing of the motel, we were kept alone (and I was broke). The house scenes were easy to do since it was my house and I spent many days setting up shots in the garage. There was a final location that we were able to use for an hour, which is the scene showing Mike’s character at work.
Your latest film “A Sweet kind of Hollow” what is it about? And is there a release date?
“A Sweet Kind Of Hollow” is my love letter to my favorite road on Long Island, Sweet Hollow Road in Melville, which is a stretch of road considered the most haunted on Long Island. If you drive south to north on the road, it begins with a cemetery on a hilltop and stretches into a wooded area with no street lights. It looks absolutely creepy. The film is about a young woman, played by Christine Spencer, who visits the grave of her boyfriend, played by Mike Lane, who committed suicide on a haunted road which leads to an unexpected reunion. I wrote the story in 1996 and intended to make it for my film class at Suffolk Community College but I forgot about it and went a different path. I found it in a stack of notebooks a couple of years ago and being I was able to do it again, I felt it was a good time to do so. I will be premiering “A Sweet Kind Of Hollow” online shortly but no date has been finalized.
Tell me about the history of that particular road in Long Island?
It’s a road of many urban legends depending on what you hear. The story I wrote isn’t based on any of them but I was purely inspired by them, particularly driving down the road at night to see teenagers walking down it hoping to catch a spirit. One of the more famous stories is that a group of teenagers hung themselves from an overpass and if you park your car underneath the overpass, their spirits will push the car. Another urban legend is the sight of a “devil dog” in the woods with glowing red eyes. With Sweet Hollow Cemetery, it is rumored that the infamous “Mary’s Grave” is located there as well, so it has a lot of history. For any horror writer, to drive down it at night particularly on a foggy day is quite inspiring.
What are some of your other projects?
Well the Colonel’s Crypt website, www.colonelscrypt.com, is two years old this month and I’m planning on revamping it. In that span, I’ve done over 100 interviews and have gone to many screenings and press events, which is interesting to see things from the other perspective. In addition, this summer I am working on a new short entitled “Something Just”, and genre veterans Joe Zaso, Jerry Murdock, and filmmaker Alan Rowe Kelly will be starring in it. It’s a very spiritual yet very scary film. I hope to have that released early next year. Also, the vampire script I wrote a few years ago is in development and I’m trying to get funding for that as well.
Do you have any advice that you could give a person who is new to filmmaking?
Like Nike, Just Do It. I’m not the most educated in film. I’m not the most technically savvy person in film and there are elements I’m not the best in. With the projects I’ve done, I have been lucky in assembling a cast and crew whose experience has helped me be better at what I do. “Insatiable” was the result of a collaborative effort and everyone brought their best, as was “A Sweet Kind Of Hollow.” If you don’t know a certain part of the process, find someone who does and don’t be afraid to ask for help. I have many days where I question why I decided to do this myself, and at the end of the day, I always ask myself “Why are you letting this stop you?” It’s going to be difficult. It’s going to be hard. You’re going to deal with people who pretend to be your friends only to use you. You’re going to deal with a lot of superficiality but you are also going to deal with passionate, hard working, like minded people who love the process as much as you do and will believe in what you are doing. I’ve been kicked down hard but I’ve gotten up every time. It’s going to happen to everyone. How you dust yourself off is what matters, not how hard you get kicked down.
I’d like to thank Scott very much for taking the time to talk with me, keep up the good work and be sure to check out the websites: