Born and raised in Fort Wayne, In, Jason Horton moved to Louisiana in the late 90's where he worked offshore, writing screenplays and saving money. He graduated from the University of New Orleans, and began his adventure into filmmaking.
Jason is no novice when it comes to horror-- his CV is bloodied with it. "Rise of the Undead", "Edges of Darkness", "Trap" and "Monsters in the Woods" can all be found there. Horton knows his way around the movie industry, working as a DP and editor on several feature films, and starting his own production company called Zapruter Productions in 2005.
OUR CHAT WITH JASON HORTON
More than intrigued, Blog of the Living Dead fired off some questions to dig a little deeper into the psyche of this tortured soul. Here's our conversation:
Tell me what a bigger budget will bring to your next film.
Scope. I want to paint Eat with a broader canvas than I've access to in the past.
What are you not happy with, with your previous films (aside from budget-- because you and I know a bigger budget does not necessarily mean a better movie).
I went ahead with a few projects that weren't quite ready. What folks don't understand is often filmmakers get an opportunity to make a movie and that opportunity falls within a very limited window. You get an investor interested in a specific type of project and you have a limited time to write, prep and shoot it. I've had to take certain movies from script to shoot in less than a month. It's not ideal, but it comes down to make the movie or don't. And I want to make movies.
For example, I was working as camera op on a documentary and met a producer. I told him I was writer, he asked to check out some of my work. He read a few screenplays and liked my work a lot, but wanted something with zombies. He asked if I could write a story for a zombie anthology. I said sure, and wrote a draft of the vampire story of Edges of Darkness basically overnight. He liked it and pulled the trigger hiring two other writer/directors to fill out the movie. Then three weeks before production was to start one of the directors pulled out and took their story with them. I had to come up with a third story on the fly. So instead of working on new draft of my vampire story, I was writing the Anti-christ story. Then a few days before production the producer decided that we needed to intercut the stories and make them into a whole. Then half-way into production the other director was fired and I replace him for the duration. Then I spent nearly 6 months in post trying to make some sense of it all. In retrospect, I could've backed out. I could've postponed. But there was always the fear that if I held off the producer would pull the plug. And at the end of the day I just want to make movies. So I made it. And it wouldn't be the last time.
Why should investors, studios (anyone) fund your movie?
Brass tacks, my movies make money. Everything I've ever done has at the very least quadrupled it's budget. But that's a shitty answer. Truth is, on a creative level I don't make the safe choices, I take risks. They may not always pay off, but I go out of my way not to make the same cookie cutter narratives that are so pervasive in American cinema. And at the end of the day who do you want to see making movies, uninspired hacks making safe, easy movies or daring filmmakers takings chances.
Do you believe that people need to "put in their time" in the movie business to succeed in the movie business?
For me that certainly as been the case. I made Rise of the Undead in 2005. I had no connections, no money. I was just working class kid who went out and did it. I spent another 9 years toiling away, editing, shooting, PAing, whatever, making my little movies in between.
What is different about this zombie movie that we haven't seen a hundred times in other zombie movies?
Nothing. I'm not re-inventing the wheel. I'm not trying to. I just want to make cool ass zombie siege flick, filtered through my unique world-view.
What is your impression of the crowd-sourcing model of raising money through (Indiegogo and Kickstarter)? Please elaborate.
It sucks, for me anyway. I'm a really proud guy and the whole thing to me just feels like panhandling. I know in my head that's not what's it about and it can be a great source of funding. But it just didn't feel right for me. I was contacting people that I hadn't spoken to in years and basically asking them for money.
Why did you stop your campaign with Kickstarter?
Main reason. I hated soliciting donations. I was literally losing sleep over it.
What is Plan B?
Make the movie by any means necessary.
In the past month or so, BOTLD have been releasing snippets "From the Journal of Maxie Mccarthy."
This is where the story begins.
From the Journal of Maxie Mccarthy- July 26, Winter
"I always wanted to drive cross-country. Get in the car and drive. See mountains in my rearview one day and desert the next. Feel the weather change while crossing a state line. See Graceland, Bourbon Street, the Washington Monument, a sunset, a sunrise. All while sitting behind a dashboard. It’s year two. We have driven up and down this country. I’ve seen it all, every place I have wanted to see and more. I’ve seen it all…"
From the Journal of Maxie Mccarthy - Aug 2, Winter
From the Journal of Maxie Mccarthy - Aug 21, Spring Year One
The zombie apocalypse is upon us! During the initial onslaught of the undead, a struggling father packs up what is left of his family and hits the road in his '68 Barracuda.
After two years of misery on the road, they happen upon a seemingly abandoned and secure rural junkyard. They stop for shelter and car repairs, but they are not alone. Now, trapped within the junkyard they must fend off an oncoming zombie hoarde while battling a new human threat from within.
Want to follow the exploits of "never-say-die" (unless 'you're supposed to be dead dammit!') film maker Jason Horton and his newest creation "EAT" then keep an eye out here and at: www.facebook.com/eatzombiemovie.
Other Pages/Sites of Interest:
Blog_My Life as a Low Budget Moviemaker
jhorton2003 on twitter