39 episodes

Exploring the techniques, strategies, and key pieces of advice for aspiring horror directors, straight from the minds of some of the greatest filmmakers and creators in horror. Host Nick Taylor engages in one-on-one conversations with directors, producers, writers, actors and artists to uncover the keys to their creative and professional success in the horror business.

The Nick Taylor Horror Show Nick Taylor

    • TV & Film
    • 5.0, 10 Ratings

Exploring the techniques, strategies, and key pieces of advice for aspiring horror directors, straight from the minds of some of the greatest filmmakers and creators in horror. Host Nick Taylor engages in one-on-one conversations with directors, producers, writers, actors and artists to uncover the keys to their creative and professional success in the horror business.

    SHARKNADO Director, Anthony C. Ferrante [Episode 40]

    SHARKNADO Director, Anthony C. Ferrante [Episode 40]

    Anthony C. Ferrante is an American filmmaker, director, and writer, best known for being the man behind the Sharknado franchise. In addition to Sharknado 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, Anthony has directed such horror hits as Boo, Forgotten Evil, and Zombie Tidal Wave.
    Anthony and I talked a lot about Sharknado, as well as how he’s able to make his sets an unbelievably fun experience that attracts his cast and crew to constantly want to work with him. This is a real art when you’re working with low budgets, which all of the Sharknado movies were on, but Anthony has a lot to say on the topic of making your sets enjoyable. So we get some tips on that, discuss COVID-era filmmaking and hear more about what he has in store next. All of this and so much more on today’s episode of The Nick Taylor Horror Show. 
    Here are some key takeaways from this conversation with Anthony C. Ferrante. 
    Embrace the energy of desperation. The Sharknado movies are what Anthony calls $20 million movies made for $1 million. When you have a scope that big and a budget so low, every minute on set counts as does every dollar spent. Collectively, this can cause filmmakers and crew members to often scramble and hustle on sets because time is money. These kinds of circumstances and this energy often translates to the screen and it makes for a very interesting and fun vibe. (Just look at Evil Dead.) 
    Having less time and less money also forces quick decision making and this decisiveness will only serve you as a director in the future, given the millions of decisions that have to be made on productions. 
    When big budget films are shot at a slow, lumbering and comfortable pace, and everything goes smoothly, it often translates to a pretty boring movie (of course there are many exceptions). But, you’re an indie filmmaker, your movies are supposed to feel rough around the edges because they were such a bitch to make! Don’t fight this, embrace it because it will serve your film and give it a noticeable energy. 
    Sometimes they just got to trust you. Anthony described a case on one of the Sharknado movies where he had to improvise a brand new complicated scene on set because at the last minute, certain important props and center pieces weren’t available.  Flying by the seam of his pants, he had to improvise an elaborate action sequence that he could see in his head and he had 20 minutes to do it. He went to his actors and simply said: 'trust me and follow exactly what I’m saying' and they worked it out in one shot that was filmed and edited in real time. Sometimes you’re not always going to have time to explain every last detail of every last decision to every single actor. In order to properly orchestrate what you see in your head, you need to build trust with your actors. This often comes with time, and definitely has to be earned. 
     
    Empathize with your entire crew. When it comes to low budget movies, there is such a fine line between a fun set and a hellish set. Low budgets, punishing schedules, and grueling elements can either wear everyone down or pump them up. Some indie movies are a blast, and people talk about how they were paid next to nothing and loved every minute of it. When you hear Howard Berger & Greg Nicotero talk about working on Evil Dead, there’s a clip where they mention that they were paid $400 a week but every single day was like summer camp and they would have done it for free.
    I’m not saying not to pay your cast and crew as well as you can, but what I am saying is that it is part of your job as a director to build a set that people are going to want to come to, partially because you are going to want crew members to become longtime collaborators. Anthony talked about how the key to doing this is understanding that everyone is doing a job, and that you have to give them the time, space, respect, and resources to do

    • 1 hr 7 min
    THE WRETCHED Directors, Brett & Drew Pierce [Episode 39]

    THE WRETCHED Directors, Brett & Drew Pierce [Episode 39]

    “You can't wait around for anybody, we’ve toyed with studios, but ultimately nobody cares about the project more than you, it’s like a baby.”

    • 30 min
    ROOM 237 Director/Documentarian, Rodney Ascher [Episode 36]

    ROOM 237 Director/Documentarian, Rodney Ascher [Episode 36]

    Rodney Ascher is a filmmaker and one of the most unique and interesting documentarians working today. 
    His career was kickstarted by an 8 minute docs-short called THE S FROM HELL. Sidenote: this film is awesome. It focuses on this bizarre phenomenon where an entire generation of children were terrified of a seemingly innocuous corporate logo. The 1964 screen gems logo that is considered as the scariest corporate logo in history. 
    In it we hear first hand accounts of people who were terrified by the logo and its accompanying music which was considered by many to be demonic. It’s a great watch, and you can find it easily if you Google The S from Hell. 
    Anyway, next, Rodney directed perhaps his best known doc, ROOM 237, which focuses on the exhaustively diverse amount of theories surrounding THE SHINING. This is another fascinating watch. Rodney’s other projects include: THE NIGHTMARE, a terrifying doc about Sleep Paralysis, and THE EL DUCE TAPES, about the shocking frontman of the band the mentors. His next documentary A GLITCH IN THE MATRIX will focus on the idea of simulation theory - the belief that all of reality is a digital simulation similar to THE MATRIX. 
    All of his work is extremely unique and transcends traditional documentary formats. By relying mostly on archival footage to spin the narratives, hypnotic music and sound design, and palpably cerebral sensibility, Rodney’s documentaries have a very cinematic and Kubrick-esque feel to them and are great watches. 
    The common theme amongst his films is the subjective human experience, as his documentaries are less interested in being journalistic and more focused on gaining insights into the human condition through individual perspectives. 
    He is a fascinating filmmaker who I’m a huge fan of and I really enjoyed speaking with him. 
     
    Directors & Films Mentioned: 
     
    Craig Baldwin Bruce Conner - Tribulation 99  
     
    Books 
    In the Blink of an Eye by Walter Mirch On Directing Film by David Mamet Shock value by John Waters   
    Misc 
     
    Red Letter Media Review of Star Wars  Jungian Philosophy  
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    Produced by Simpler Media

    • 1 hr 2 min
    READY OR NOT Director/Producer Trio, Radio Silence: Chad Villella, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, & Tyler Gillett [Episode 35]

    READY OR NOT Director/Producer Trio, Radio Silence: Chad Villella, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, & Tyler Gillett [Episode 35]

    Radio Silence is a filmmaking collective comprised of Chad Villella, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, and Tyler Gillet. These three are behind such films as Devil’s Due, Southbound, VHS, and last year’s outstanding Ready or Not. I personally loved Ready or Not, and was really struck at how seamlessly it was able to balance horror, comedy, and tragedy, while being an outright thrill ride of a movie. This was hands down one of the funnest cinematic experiences in years, which made me super excited to speak with these guys. 
    They have a really fascinating origin story about how they began their career-making shorts on YouTube for years, finally working their way into the Hollywood system - there is a lot to think about from the perspective of being a collective instead of a solo filmmaker. As the old cliche quote goes: ’alone you’ll go faster, together, you’ll go farther.’ That clearly is the case with these dudes as they’ve kicked the door to Hollywood wide open with Ready or Not and they did it together. 
    Really enjoyed this interview a lot, Matt, Tyler, and Chad are a blast to speak to, and you can tell how much fun they have working together. 
    There are a number of huge lessons which I’ll recap at the end as always, but one of the most interesting elements of their major career boost, is how they prioritized having fun throughout the course of their career and how was not only infectious on set, but enabled all of them to endure the hardships that come with breaking into the movie making business. All of this, and so much more on today’s episode of The Nick Taylor Horror Show. 
    Start or join a collective.Just about everything about filmmaking and production is grueling and difficult. Filmmaking is a marathon and the hardest part can be breaking in. By creating a collective, Tyler, Matt, and Chad could withstand the hard parts because they had a support system between the three of them. Having a tight group of friends in your corner, working together towards the same mission and helping you carrying the burden can be a complete game-changer. So try to find or create your tribe - a few places to start would be by taking screenwriting or filmmaking classes, or, hop on over to the BlackList or the Bloodlist and reach out to screenwriters who are writing the kind of stuff that you like. Or, start a podcast. Having a tribe is not only much more sustainable than going it alone, it’s more fun. On a psychological level, people are able to work harder and withstand more hardships if they are having fun in the process. Which brings me to my next point  
    Enjoy the process. On their path to directing features for major studios Matt, Chad and Tyler constantly made short movies for nobody but themselves, for no money for ten years. Their shorts primarily lived on YouTube, and eventually got the attention of Brad Miska from Bloody Disgusting, who gave them a segment in the anthology film, VHS. VHS led to Devil’s Due, which they made for 20th Century Fox. The bottom line of their origin story is that kept making stuff and putting it out for the fun of it, with very little expectation of outcome. Because of this, their early work had a purity of vision to it that solidified their directorial style since they were making these movies for themselves. But beyond this, Tyler, Matt, and Chad naturally create a fun environment on set which seems to be infectious throughout the cast and crew. A fun set can make morale skyrocket and enable everyone to be more resilient and willing to work harder during grueling productions because they’re having fun. Try to make sure that you’re having fun throughout the course of your projects - it will carry you through the hard times and make you, as well as your cast, crew and production partners, more resilient, all of which can only make your movie better.   
    Don’t abandon pr

    • 55 min
    Carter Smith on Directing MIDNIGHT KISS for Blumhouse and THE RUINS [Episode 34]

    Carter Smith on Directing MIDNIGHT KISS for Blumhouse and THE RUINS [Episode 34]

    Welcome to The Nick Taylor Horror show! Carter Smith is a writer, director, and photographer who has directed such movies as The Ruins, Jamie Marks is Dead, and the recent Into the Dark film for Blumhouse, Midnight Kiss, which is now available on Hulu. 
    Carter has had a really interesting career, having shot fashion photography for publications including Vogue, GQ, and W Magazine. Carter’s directorial career began with directing commercials for clients such as Lancôme, Tommy Hilfiger, and Tiffany's. In 2006, Carter directed the short horror film, Bugcrush, based on a short story by Scott Treleaven. The film won the Short Filmmaking Award at the Sundance Film Festival, which led him to directing features. We hear his entire origin story, thoughts on the state of queer horror, and do a fair share of geeking out about our favorite movies of 2019. 
    All of this and so much more on today’s episode of the Nick Taylor Horror Show.
    As always, here’s a summary of key takeaways from this conversation with Carter Smith. 
    Remain on the radar. Hollywood is a business where producers and executives are bombarded with multiple projects, timelines, people, meetings and concepts simultaneously, at all times, non-stop. In other words, they are some of the busiest people in the world and if you are lucky enough to be in an active conversation with them about a project, it’s unfortunately very easy for them to forget about you. Therefore, you have to find a way to remain on their radar. When Carter was being considered to direct THE RUINS, his first feature project, Dreamworks, the studio behind it, was speaking to a ton of other directors, including huge names like Roman Polanski. This was Carter’s first film, so to remain on their consideration list, Carter sent short but sweet emails to remind the producers that he was still very interested and passionate about the project. I’m willing to bet nobody else did that - as you can guess, Carter got the project. The big lesson here is that as important as talent may be, being top of mind is critical when it comes to getting your movies made. If you’re in conversations with busy executives, find a way to remain in touch without annoying.  
    Prep for your actors. Carter has directed a number of significant actors including Liv Tyler, and his key for giving them what they need to serve their performance is simply intense preparation. This seems like a given, but a lot of directors fail to do the more comprehensive development work required to accurately build a world and build a multi-dimensional character. When directing, you need to know everything there potentially is to know about your characters so if certain questions come up, you’ll either have the answer or have a way to find it. This kind of comprehensive prep work may sound extremely daunting but Carter recommends using the book THE FILM DIRECTOR’S INTUITION: SCRIPT ANALYSIS AND REHEARSAL TECHNIQUES by Judith Weston. It’s a thick read but offers an incredible amount of insight about uncovering the material you’ll need to serve your actors through a series of exercises. Carter was even gracious enough to send me a copy of this book just at first glance I’m loving it more and more. The lists of quotes from directors and actors alone are worth the price of the book. Highly recommended. Again, that’s The Film Director's Intuition: Script Analysis and Rehearsal Techniques by Judith Weston. Carter, thank you again for the copy bro.   
    Take up other arts that will serve your filmmaking. Carter is a professional fashion photographer, and has been for years before he began directing. He states that the photographer's eye that he developed helped him tremendously as a director because it forced him to find a way to tell a story in a single frame. If you can tell a story in one frame, imagine what you can do wi

    • 45 min
    Tarantino Documentary Director, Tara Wood [Episode 33]

    Tarantino Documentary Director, Tara Wood [Episode 33]

    Welcome back to the Nick Taylor horror show! Today’s episode has Tara Wood. Tara is the director of the Quentin Tarantino Documentary, QT8, the First 8. Prior to this she did the Richard Linklater documentary, 21 Years: Richard Linklater.
    The movie covers Tarantino’s career from 'Reservoir Dogs' to 'The Hateful Eight', and features sit down interviews with multiple actors and collaborators and collaborators to get to the heart of who Quentin Tarantino is as an artist and a person. 
    I had a field day with this movie - Tarantino is a Christ-like figure in my life, so watching this was pure bliss. 
    There are interviews with everyone from Michael Madsen, Eli Roth, Jamie Fox, Samuel L Jackson, Larence Bender, Bruce Dern, Tim Roth, Zoe Bell, Diane Krueger, Lucy Liu, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Christoph Waltz, Kurt Russel, and the dearly departed Michael Forrester and many many more.  
    Available on demand everywhere. 
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    Produced by Simpler Media

    • 33 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
10 Ratings

10 Ratings

Pandasanasoda ,

Great dialogue and format

Nick hosts an amazing discussion that speaks primarily to a horror community, but is truly rich dialogue for artists in general, whatever the format. I think there is an ongoing theme of artistic process, or maybe just defining a plan, then doing that plan. I’m always inspired by these episodes, and Nick is a fantastic interviewer. He clearly does his homework, and has an infectious reverence for his guests. Thanks for making great content Nick.

Angrydroid ,

A Great New Podcast for Horror

If you make horror movies (or just love them) I cannot recommend this podcast enough. The production value is excellent and Nick gives great interviews. The first one with Gregory Plotkin is a wonderful deep dive into directing and editing horror. This one just jumped to the top of my podcast list.

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