Gather ’round my little Larvae. This time around we have Writer/ Director Scott Swan, the man partially responsible for ‘Cigarette Burns’ Pro-Life’ and ‘Maskhead’. He now journey’s off on his own for his new feature ‘Big Junior’ an absolute sickening (yet sometimes completely hilarious) piece of cinema. I had the chance to ask Scott a few questions about his craft and the amazing talent He’s had the pleasure of working with. Open up and say ahhhhhhh!
Growing up, were you always a writer? Or is it a talent you came to understand later?
I’ve always had a strong desire to entertain and tell stories. At first I wanted to be an actor. I still do, actually. I knew I wanted to make movies at the age of seven… this was right after I saw STAR WARS. It’s almost a cliche at this point, but it’s true. It wasn’t until high school, though, that I started to take writing and directing seriously in TV production class.
Do you recall the first thing you wrote?
I wrote a horror screenplay, which was around sixty pages, that I managed to get into Tom Savini’s hands. I’m sure he never read it (which would be a blessing because it’s really bad), but Tom was very generous to accept it. His act of kindness, or pity, served as fuel for several screenplays.
How did you get involved with Mick Garris’ Masters Of Horror?
Mick is somebody Drew McWeeny (my co-writer on the Masters of Horror stuff) and I have have known for about twenty years. It wasn’t until Masters, however, that he finally asked us to pitch him something. He had us in for a meeting with his producer Andrew Deane, and we pitched about ten stories, as I recall. I think they decided upon CIGARETTE BURNS right there in the room. We were hired to write it, but at the time there was no guarantee it would be one of the eventual thirteen that would end up getting produced.
What was your reaction to finding out John Carpenter was going to direct Cigarette Burns?
I couldn’t believe it. It took a couple days for the concept to sink in. First of all, it meant that our script had made it into the top thirteen that would get produced. Secondly, it meant John freaking Carpenter would be directing it. My life changed in so many ways that day, dramatically.
Did you get to visit the set?
John has been extremely gracious with Drew and I. We were on set for both CIGARETTE BURNS and PRO-LIFE. We sat right behind John and watched everything. I learned so much on those two movies.
Was it a learning experience?
See above. Yeah. I consider myself an “apprentice” of John’s in some ways. He was very giving with his time and wisdom during the shoot. He knew then that I wanted to start directing and he was forthcoming with advice and knowledge.
Are you going to do another dialog driven film?
It’s funny, on set John called CIGARETTE BURNS a “talker.” I actually just finished a script about a porno actress and it’s nothing but dialog… actually monologues to put it more precisely.
How did ‘Maskhead’ come about?
A friend showed me AUGUST UNDERGROUND and I immediately decided I wanted to collaborate with Fred Vogel. During the shooting of MASKHEAD, I was blown away by how great a director Fred is. Even though he’s almost a decade younger than me, in many ways I consider him like a big brother.
Shall you be collaborating again with Toe Tag?
I hope so. It was a blast. I learned a lot, and we had fun. They’re good people.
What was the transition like going from a writer to a director?
It’s a giant transition. You can write anything you want. It’s another thing entirely to make it happen with actors and a camera. My few stabs at directing have influenced my writing style in a profound way. I consider every little beat now. I ask myself, “How the hell do I shoot this thing?” During script notes for PRO-LIFE, John said to us, “You guys write it, but remember: I have to shoot it. Help me out, fellas.”
Tell us about your new film ‘Big Junior’, the release date and where our little Larvae can get get a hold of it.
BIG JUNIOR is a filth noir. It’s about an psychotic escaped mental patient with a Lee Marvin fetish who comes to LA to do a drug deal. It was very challenging to shoot, but also a great deal of fun to pull off. The DVD is available now. To order a copy, visit www.evilflix.com or www.evilflix.blogspot.com.
Describe yourself in a Haiku.
Looks like Orson Welles.
Worked with John Carpenter twice.
Needs to lose some weight.