Synopsis: The lead singer of a Black Metal band confronts the effect of his violent lyrics.
Was there any one particular incident that inspired you to make this film?
Black Metal started as a heavy metal horror feature script that I was working on about a band publicly blamed for a murder linked to their music. The movie unfolds after learning of the news and how it affects the band and their families. I wanted to do a short over the summer of 2012 while we were developing a feature film called Hellion. So I plucked the first act of that metal script and refashioned it into a 13-page short script. I wanted to explore the perspective of the artist in the face of public blame for youth violence.
You teach film at The University of Texas Austin. Does teaching film inform your own filmmaking and what advice do you have for someone who is about to make their first short film?
Absolutely. I learn something new every day I’m in the classroom. And I get to look at film through fresh new eyes of my students. Their excitement and enthusiasm is infectious. My advice to my students--outside of being nice, professional and working your ass off--is that story comes first. Spend time on the page with the words before anything else. Story is above anything else.
Did you go through the traditional route of film school or was your training on the set?
Growing up my whole family lived and breathed movies. I was a creative writing major at Florida State but because I worked at the movie theater with all the film school kids, I got roped into working on their sets. I just loved stories. I loved writing stories. I loved reading. But it wasn’t until I worked on my first student set in college did I realize how movies were made. That’s when it clicked... this is what I want to do. I moved to Austin, took a couple of workshops and then just started making things. But I’ve never stopped studying. I’ve never stopped being a student.
What’s the message you hope people take away after seeing this film?
I hope what fascinated me about this story translates to the screen. I was really interested in two things. I wanted to explore the difference between an artist on stage and their life off stage. And I wanted to see what life looked like for an artist in the face of public blame. How do they deal with it on a personal level outside of the press and inside their homes with their families and children?
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