Ninja vs Vampires own Daniel Ross interview

1.What made you want to be a producer?

Honestly, I became a producer on a whim! I wanted to see my first
production of "Ninjas vs Zombies" become a reality, and I worked with
my buddies including Justin Timpane and Cory Okouchi to see it happen.
Since then of course, I've become much more involved in the actual
film-making and distribution processes and I've worked on several
other projects as a producer. It's been fun! My main thing though is
as a performer and voice actor.

2.What does the term " indie" mean to you?

To me, "indie" means "from the heart". These are labors of love that
are mostly fueled by genuine creativity and a credit card rather than
a desire to see vast amounts of money. Sure, money is nice to an
independent filmmaker, but mostly they all just want to be noticed.

3.Do you think the internet gives too many people way too much freedom?

Nope, I think people should have more freedom :) In terms of
film-making, I think it opens up a vast audience that might not have
originally been available, and opens up a whole new world of

4.Do you think when someone blames the budget as to why a film is not
that well received, is fair, or that they are looking for a scapegoat?

That's a mixed bag because it really depends on what a filmmaker can
DO with that budget. The thing is, a REAL budget can bring a
filmmaker things like "name" actors, or better filming equipment that
will ultimately yield better results in the distribution process.
Without some of those elements, getting a fair reach can be daunting
and virtually unattainable. Someone who knows how to pinch a budget
and make their respective film look good can do great things! Then
again, you can have a great LOOKING film, but if the plot doesn't
engage the audience, it could just flop on its own merit. So overall,
very difficult to pinpoint just one thing.

5.Do you think females get a fair shake in indie films and the
industry in general?

In indie film? Absolutely! In Hollywood? Difficult to say... I see
too many situations where women are objectified or made weak
intentionally, and while some of that may be "the norm" for audience
consumption, there's some amazing talent out there! I like to work
with and cast strong female actresses in the projects I work on, and I
wish others would do more. But overall, from what I've seen,
actresses have a pretty good medium in independent film.

6.What was the last film beside your own, that blew you away?

Other than mine? :D I'd have to say "Tron Legacy" and "Avatar". With
the exorbitant amount of money it now costs to have a theater-going
experience, I want to be "wowed"! These two films offered me
something that I had never seen before, and regardless of what you
think of the storyline, the visual/audio experience was mesmerizing.
I like a good story, but I love a great spectacle.

7.Do you think indie films have too much freedom and that some films
go way too far in its content and subject matter?

I think as long as there's an audience, there will be a filmmaker
attempting to do something unique. Look at it this way, if
independent filmmakers didn't experiment with their approaches and
creativity, we wouldn't have films like "The Blair Witch Project", or
"Paranormal Activity", or other things of that BREAKOUT nature. So as
grossed out as I may be from things like, "The Human Centipede" and
how that could have ever come to be, it still finds an audience and
has made bundles of cash. Be mindful of who your audience is, and you
can find a niche.

8.How would you and the company deal with an actor or actress who who
was not fully behind the vision and script of the film you were in?

Well first of all, the casting call and callbacks are an opportunity
to get to know the person who will likely bring your characters to
life in film. This is a part of the interview process, so it's
important to get to know these people a little bit. With that said, I
would always look to the actor to see if they have some insight into
their character once cast to solicit some fresh ideas, but for the
most part the script should remain locked. One should always be
upfront with the actor to let them know about what situations they'll
be in and what they'll be required to do, i.e. nudity, stunt-work,
etc. But I haven't really had any experiences where someone has gone
against the grain of the production to any extreme point. We choose
great people to work with! :)

9.Do you think youtube directors are a insult to people who went to
school and learned the trade?

Nope. Brotha from anotha motha! Some people cannot afford to go that
route and still want to be able to express themselves, so I say more
power to them! If someone can go out there in the world and make a
name for themselves with what they have, then they have my admiration.
No one should be insulted by anyone else's aspirations or success, if
anything, we should be lifting one another up to our highest
potential. The likelihood is that those who went to school will
probably make more money in the long-run because of their training, so
they've got plenty to be excited about regardless of what some indie
filmmaker is doing.

10.Do you think the government should take more steps to stop illegal
downloading? And how do you feel when you see a review of your film on
a site that you know you did not send anything to and do not know how
they got it?

It's frustrating. One of my films has been ripped and put on the net
for all eternity, and it's painful as an independent filmmaker because
if any of those people ONLY paid a dollar... we could recoup our
budget, or pay our actors, or fuel additional productions. Most of us
work regular jobs and sacrifice heavily to do these things, so someone
stealing from us hurts greatly, even more than let's say, a big-budget
Hollywood production. Sure, we get free exposure when something goes
viral like that, but it's sad that so many people are complacent with
this kind of theft. The government should do more, but unfortunately
I don't think the government has us little people at the forefront of
their minds regarding this subject.

11.What is your personal goal, dream?

I want to be successful in the entertainment industry, and make things
that other people will love or enjoy. I want to quit my day job and
work full time as a producer, actor, and voice actor. That's my
dream- do what I love, and live it to the fullest!

12.Do you think alot of blog critics and for that matter youtube and
other website critics are harsh on indie films?

It depends. If a site regularly reviews mainstream films, then they
might be more critical of an indie film with lower production values.
I've found that there are many sites who gear themselves directly
towards indie film, and you can get some great insight from them and
find gems that could go unnoticed. This varies greatly depending on
the reviewer though. There are some out there who love nothing more
than to verbally crush someone else hiding behind internet anonymity,
and it's just not nice!

13.If this never came to be, or had to end tomm. What would you do for a living?

I think I'd love to study cooking, or go into law, or be a
psychologist. There are plenty of things, but these things are
happening and will come to pass :) ALWAYS remain positive and make
your own reality. That's one of the reasons I became a producer, so
that I could give myself the acting opportunities I wanted. So far so

14.If anyone wanted to get started in this biz, what advice would you give?

You'd better have some thick skin! People can be outright mean and
may not understand that it takes persistence in this industry to get
anywhere. Do the basics: Study improv, take acting lessons, get the
tools like headshots and resumes together, find what you're good at,
and hit the pavement! My favorite quote is, "It's the squeaky wheel
that gets the grease." You have to make some noise to get noticed!
So go make some!

15.This is your chance to promote, pimp and thanks so much.

I want to thank James DePaolo for facilitating this interview, and the
readers for taking the time to get to the bottom here :) I hope you
all will enjoy my upcoming projects, "Ninjas vs Vampires", "Garden of
Hedon", "The Possession", "Deadlands 3: The New World", "Dismal
Creek", and "All in the Game"! Check out the Endlight Podcast Network
where you can listen to shows from some very talented individuals
including myself! Find me on Facebook to say hi, and see some of my
projects at! Thank you!

~Daniel Ross
Producer & NINJA!
Endlight Entertainment
WetNWildRadio Films