2 years ago I witnessed a film called Beverly Lane; it took the zombie concept and added an element you would expect from The Office. That year, I was not the only critic who put that film in the Top Films of 2011. Since then, he has had an entry in the Collective series andâ€¦why am I telling you what he has going on, I got the man here to do it himself. Enjoy Joshua Hull and if you have not seen his Beverly Lane yet or know the name, trust me after you read this you will want to.
1. What was the first film memory you have, that made you want to pursue moviemaking?
First off thanks for having me man. I think I have a group of film memories that really stuck with me throughout my childhood that sort of shaped the “cinematic” me. I remember the feeling I had the 1st time I watched JAWS. I was terrified of THE BLOB! I was introduced to HALLOWEEN & STAR WARS at a very young age & I think those 2 had the biggest “I want to do this!” impact on me. It grew from there. Year after year, movie after movie. I could go on & on but I’ll give the main credit to the original Star Wars trilogy & Michael Myers.
2. Beverly Lane was your first film, looking back 3 plus years later, are you still happy with the finished product? Is there anything you wish you could have changed about it?
Ahh man. I’m still happy we pulled it off. We were against all odds with that one. 1st time director with 4 days to make a movie with an ensemble cast? It never should have happened & I’m sure some people wish it didn’t haha. I enjoy the movie still. Am I proud of it? You know I’m proud of what we accomplished with it. I’m proud of the cast & crew. It was a tiny, silly zom com that went on to be pretty successful & open a lot of doors. We won some awards & made people laugh so yeah I’m still happy with it.
I think any filmmaker can look at their 1st film & say “Shit. We should’ve changed that.”..and sure there are a few things like that in the movie. We needed a few more days. We had to cut some stuff we really wanted to do but just didn’t have the time to do it. There were a few alternate “Mime” scenes I really wanted to do that we had to cut. When they throw him outside we were supposed to show the office watching him from the inside. The zombies all close in on him but he mime builds a “pretend box” & for a moment it’s as if the zombies can’t get in. He flips them off & smiles right before the zombies attack him. It was going to be great! The 2nd scene was during the interaction between Morgan (Gay the intern) and the zombie mime. The mime was originally supposed to rip open his stomach & pull out Morgan’s intestines in that crazy mime style haha. We had a lot of stuff like that in there. Oh well!
3. As you know Beverly Lane made a lot of best of 2011 and 12 lists, mine included. That is only side of the coin; there is a second one that is not so friendly. Do you read all your press? If so, does the negative if there is any, get to you?
I do read everything. It’s fun to do! I don’t take anything seriously so nothing really bothers me. I haven’t really seen anything bad about me or my work but even if I did who cares. If somebody doesn’t like something I do I’m not going to argue with them about it. “How dare you not like my shit!? Who do you think you are? YOU or something?” I know some people do that & will go head to head with reviewers/bloggers & imdb users but that’s not me man. To each their own. I have too much on my plate to worry about pleasing everyone.
4. Are there any plans on getting Beverly Lane a distribution deal? Is this something you thought about?
We actually have an offer on the table. We’ve been sitting on it for a few months just figuring out what the best route is. We’ve been self-distributing for 2 years but only self-distributing from our website & conventions. The film hasn’t really been outside of Indiana yet & this deal would do just that. We are figuring out what the best direction is for a 3 year old movie haha. We made the movie for $1200 & made our budget (and some) back at the premiere. We’ve made a nice return on a very small investment so it’s not a financial decision at all. It’s the kind of flick that doesn’t need that traditional distribution channel to survive. So we’ll see what happens.
5. Do you think fans of the industry truly know what indie filmmaking is all about? I mean people assume a Fox Searchlight film is a true indie film.
No but I also don’t think it’s their responsibility to know either. I think it’s our job to put the filmmaking process out there more so they can see what we go through for months/years in order to make a 2 hour or less film. Would they care more about the film/filmmakers if they knew everything we went through during every phase of production? We need to pull back the curtain & show our world more.
6. Would you hire a â€œnameâ€ performer that you have no respect for to get your films more notoriety? Like for example the Octo Mom, Lindsay Lohan and etc.
No on the Octo Mom. 2 weeks ago I would’ve considered Lohan until I read the New York Times piece on the making of The Canyons. Now she’s a MUST! Haha. My real answer, no I would never hire anyone to get my films notoriety or attention.
7. What was the last film that you went to an actual movie theater and not convention to see? Also, did you watch it as a fan or did you watch it as a director and have to pick away at it and talk about each shot in the film and how it was done?
Last film I saw in the theater was WARM BODIES. It’s funny; this was one of those dream projects I had. I loved the book & wanted to adapt it so I went into this as both a fan & wannabe director haha. I mainly watched it as a fan which is pretty much all I do. I never pick away at the movies I see in the theater mainly because those filmmakers have a movie in theaters for a reason. Once you make a movie it sort of changes how you look at other flicks. Since you know how hard it is you kind of stop being so hard on what you see. The last movie I saw at a convention was Beverly Lane which I did pick away at haha.
8. Are you a fan of 3D? If so, would you ever invest the funds and make a film in it?
I’m a fan of 3D done right. TRON LEGACY or HUGO is prime examples of this. You have to put the audience into the world. You have to make the 3D part of the story. The problem with this format is when it’s post converted or done mainly as a money making gimmick. The audience can tell.
I would love to do a 3D movie. I have a few concepts that would do really well in that format. I actually have access to a 3D camera rig & we may attempt to do some 3D testing at some point this year or next. It doesn’t really fit my comedy/horror stuff & I’d love to do some 3rd dimension science fiction horror..
9. Do you think time restraints and budget are valid arguments when a film is ill received by an audience as a cop out from the director as to why it ended up like it was?
No, it’s not a valid argument mainly because we made a movie in 4 days with pocket lent that most people/sites/bloggers love. I think it IS a cop out unless it’s a big studio director who had a lot of studio interference or something. If it’s an indie filmmaker (which I assume that’s what you mean) they should do whatever they can to fix it. We have zero rules at this level. MAKE the time to get the movie right.
10. How did you get involved with Jason Hoover and the Collective? Was this a one and done, or will we see more with this collaboration? Any dirt you want to dish, he does not read our page he just looks at the pictures. (Plus a secret about Jason, if you do not link him on Facebook he does not pay attention)
I woke up in a bathtub filled with ice & Jason was sitting next to me. He looked directly at me & said “Kidney or The Collective, which one Hull?”..
I knew of THE COLLECTIVE since it came out around the time we were screening Beverly. Jason seemed to like BL so he asked if I wanted in on Volume 2. We couldn’t make that one work so I did everything I could do get on 3 but he told me it was only for “the girls”. I still did everything I could to get on Volume 3 but he wasn’t having it. I washed the lipstick off & accepted a spot on 4. I wrote this pretty funny horror buddy comedy that was going to star Raymond Kester & Noah East but unfortunately due to some stuff out of my hands I had to drop out of 4.
I immediately committed to 5 which ended up being all zombies themed. We were supposed to do this zombie musical with Harley Poe but it fell apart so we had a few weeks to put something else together. That’s how VOICE OVER happened. I wanted to do this sort of silly Syd & Marty Kroft style zom com thing. I think we nailed it haha. Noah knocked both roles out of the park. Martin ALMOST steals the short though. There is (or was) an alternate version of VOICE OVER where instead of a zombie voice over it’s an old Jewish lady. I really want to release it but I heard it might not exist anymore. People would have loved it.
I actually planned on doing Volume 6. I was going to do a scary as hell 3D Bloody Mary film but you can’t half prep 3D. I couldn’t put 100% focus on it..hell I couldn’t even do 50% since I was (and still am) in the middle of 2-3 feature productions. I’ve been committed to four volumes now & only have a finished product for 1 so yeah I’m probably done with The Collective mainly because it’s not fair to put Jason in that position over and over. I love what Jabb does for indie film & I consider Jason a good friend so I don’t think you’ve seen the last Hoover/Hull connection. You never know though. He could email me tomorrow & say “Volume 8, Grimm’s Fairy Tales” or something & I’d be in haha.
11. I know you are big superhero guy, so what is going on with this film The Impersonators? Any scoops to dish yet?
Ahh yes. I’m a big comic book fan & it’s always been a goal to make a comic book or superhero flick. I read this article about the Brazilian police force hiring this badass ex-marine or something who dressed as Batman to help them fight crime. I thought that was the craziest shit ever! I originally thought that concept could be a rad action flick but then I thought about it as this ensemble comedy about a bunch of birthday party superhero impersonators being put in a similar situation. I had been talking with comedian Josh Arnold about working on a movie together & pitched it to him. He loved it so we immediately started work on it. We wanted to do this sort of hardcore R rated superhero comedy. Not like SUPER or KICK-ASS. Those put more emphasis on wanting to fight crime & be actual heroes. Our “Impersonators” have zero desire to fight crime, hell most of them have zero desire to do anything!
We shot the film in August & had a blast but we also have a lot of work left to do on it. We have to do some additional filming in June & then we are looking at premiering somewhere between October-December. We have an incredible cast led by Josh Arnold. I got to bring back a few Beverly Laners (Noah East, Raymond Kester, Martin Stapleton, Butch Copeland, David Ross, Eric T. Schroeder) & bring on some new people I really love (Micah Shane Ballinger, Melissa Revels, Ellie Church, Frankie Chubb, Pat Hardy, Kitsie Duncan & more). Ruben Pla (Insidious) & Jas Sams (VHS) just joined the cast. They’ll be shooting their stuff in June as well. I think people are really going to dig this flick.
12. I have to ask you what a bigger deal to you was. Beverly Lane getting some good press or the news that the New 52â€™s are out?
(For you non-comic book people like me, the new 52â€™s are DC re-writing all their heroes again like Batman, Batgirl, and all those other hero people)
Haha! I ignored the 52’s. I picked up a few of them but no thanks. I’m not a huge DC guy. I’m a big Batman fan. I like a few others but for me it’s all about Marvel/Dark Horse/Image & a few others. It’s funny because a lot of THE IMPERSONATORS are actually based on DC folk. That being said I’d direct the shit out of an AQUAMAN movie. That would be the perfect movie to shoot in Imax 3D! It’ll happen! They’ll see what we do with our Aquaman & the Brothers Warner will have no choice but to hire me as director.
Errr what was the question again? Oh right. Beverly Lane getting good press is the bigger deal here. One had Morgan Shepard naked, the other didn’t.
13. I heard a rumor I need to ask you. Are you planning something with Bill Moseley? Is this something we can know more about?
This is the 1st time I’ve seen that asked & it’s pretty surreal haha. The answer is yes. Bill Moseley has signed on to star in my next flick, THE BALLAD OF SADIE GRACE, a slasher comedy written by Josh Arnold. It’s a re-imagining of IDIOT GORE, the slasher comedy we tried to do a few years ago. We are keeping details pretty tight & will hopefully be releasing the full premise soon. It’s pretty far off still. We have to raise a good chunk of money in order to do this movie the way we want to do it. We have put together an incredible cast so far.
It looks like we’ll start shooting that Spring 2014 unless something crazy happens before Fall haha. It’s sort of GRUMPY OLD MEN meets HALLOWEEN. I can say we are planning this as a trilogy but not as your typical slasher series. The 1st film is a slasher comedy, the 2nd film will be a different sub-genre of horror & we have a rough idea for 3rd film as well. We are pretty excited about it & I know Bill is as well. It’s a very different role for him. He’s excited about playing a comedic lead.
14. What is your goal? Do you want to be rich and famous, or do you just do this as a hobby and say you know what; I cannot quit my day job though this film thing is fun?
This is NOT a hobby. The goal is to make a (comfortable) living making movies. That has always been the goal. I want to quit my day job everyday & focus on filmmaking BUT I have a wife & kid that sort of rely on that constant income. It will happen & it will happen soon but filmmaking is definitely not a hobby for me. The goal is to really play with genre filmmaking as much as I can. I love horror & I love doing horror related projects. I also love doing straight comedy. I’ll probably go back & forth a lot. I want to do TV shows, web series..whatever. I want to tell as many stories as I can. I want to grow & make each project bigger than the last. I’m not content with staying at one level like some filmmakers. I want to make studio movies.
15. I know you are another person who has done a few conventions and shows. Now, I have waited two years to interview you, so you cannot hold back on this one. Out of all the famous people you met who was the coolest to you? And who was or were the biggest asshole or holes? And if there is more than two, call me shrink and just vent it all out.
Haha! You know you’re going to be disappointed. I don’t have a lot of convention dirt for you. Danielle Harris was very cool to me when I met her. She gave me a free signed picture. Moseley was awesome. We actually hung out & had a few beers with Derek Mears. Oh, PJ! We actually shot a scene for IDIOT GORE with PJ Soles. It was pretty rad directing her.
I’d say the biggest asshole experience would be Tom Sizemore. We had a table next to him & he just acted like he shouldn’t be anywhere near us or anyone like us. He stormed out & demanded to be with celebritiesâ€™ haha. One day Sizemore! You’ll see! You’ll see…
16. How is it working with someone like a David Brewer? I mean the man was co-DP on Insidious! Again venting is always a good sign if needed.
It was incredible. It’s an experience that has changed me as a filmmaker. We were looking for a DP & my friend Ruben Pla (Insidious) emailed me saying he had someone in mind. He failed to mention this someone was Dave from INSIDIOUS haha. I laughed it off thinking he would never be interested. After a quick email exchange, a few days later Bryan & I had a conference call with him and he came on board. It was incredible. It really took the film to that next level. I pretty nervous about it but that feeling disappeared when I picked him up from the airport. I knew the film was in good hands. I think those 1st few days we were all in awe & asking nonstop questions about INSIDIOUS haha. We had a blast. He’s become a great friend & will be my DP on everything from here on out.
17. What is easier for you, writing, directing or producing? Which one do you prefer to do more?
Writing used to be VERY easy for me. Since I’ve started directing it’s a little harder to write because now I’m stuck in the “how would we pull that off” mind frame. Directing is never easy. It’s exciting & exhausting. It’s a constant battle, constant awareness. It’s never easy haha. I’ve never truly “produced” produced. I’m listed as producer on everything but I don’t consider that actually producing a movie since the majority of my focus has been spent on writing & directing. I’m producing TERMS (Mike Dobrzelecki’s slasher flick) but even that I’m not really producing. I’m just sort of there throwing in my 2 cents which Mike just throws out anyway haha. I want to produce. I want to constantly be working on stuff. I’d say none of them are easy anymore. I prefer directing out of all 3, if I had to choose only one to do for good it would be directing, no question.
18. When you work on projects like the short on The Collective, how are you with time restraints and deadlines? Do you work better under pressure?
Ha! Let’s see. We made BEVERLY LANE in 4 days. We did VOICE OVER in 4 hours. We did THE IMPERSONATORS in 9 days. So we’ve made 2 features & a short in a total of 13 days & 4 hours. I’d say we are pretty good with time restraints, deadlines & working under pressure haha.
19. What advice would you give a young fan that came up to you and said I want to do what you do?
I’d say something like this…in my best Morgan Freeman voice (backed by a Howard Shore like track..)
Do it. Whatever it takes, do it. Never give up. It might not happen immediately but it will happen. You have to wade through a bunch of shit & you will deal with a lot of jealousy, assholes & problems. People will pretend to be your friends but do everything they can to destroy you behind your back. Ignore it & do YOU. Pay no attention to what THEY are doing, only focus on you. Dreams don’t have expiration dates regardless of what your parents, teachers or bosses may say. You will suffer setbacks & projects will fall apart. People will laugh, people will doubt you but YOU have to stand up & move on. You will have to sacrifice & you will lose things but you WILL gain so much more by never accepting to be a 9-5 puppet wasting away. Surround yourself with people who believe in you. Surround yourself with people who DON’T believe in you so you can MAKE them believe. Above all else, never stop believing in YOU. The moment you start doubting yourself is the moment that dream starts to collapse. Also…never let go Jack.
20. Beverly Lane got a dvd signing booth. You have a ton of fans who want to meet you and sign their stuff. (I will warn you Hull, this never turns out good) A fan comes up to you so stoked to meet you and pulls out an illegal burn of your film for you to sign. What do you do?
I had no idea where you were going after “and pulls out..” haha. Man..I would probably laugh. I’d sign it “the original cover art is MUCH better” or something. It happens. I had something like this happen at work once. It was right after BEVERLY LANE hit DVD & this coworker bought a copy. He came to work the next day just raving about it! I said “thanks man! Tell your friends to buy it haha!” & he replied “Oh I watched it with a group of friends & they all loved it so I just burnt them all a copy to save them money..” I just laughed & said “Well at least the liked it!” Haha. What can you do?
21. What would you do if someone said they were your biggest fan at that booth and gave you the wrong film to sign? They bring you Avatar or Scalene.
Again, I’d just laugh. Maybe they like me & hate my work? I dunno haha. I’d sign AVATAR with “Thanks for the support, Sincerely, James Cameron”
Now I’d have some fun if they brought me SCALENE. I’d sign that with “I have nothing to do with this movie. However, my good friend Zack made it. He JUST loves to discuss this movie with people (especially the ending) so give him a call! Oh and ask him about the dance off he had with Whalen! ” I’d throw his phone number on there & smile as my biggest fan walked away with Zack Parker’s phone number.
22. You are the new President of the United States. So, how do we fix the economy?
I would force every town in America to have an “Over The Top” style competition. Each person from each town has to pay $100 (hey it’s the price you pay to be an arm wrestling US citizen!) Think about how many towns are in America. That’s a lot of money man. Pretty much all that money goes to fixing the economy. Each town winner gets a Royal Feast pizza from Pizza King & an offer to join my secret arm wrestling police called the “Lincoln Hawks”. Look I know people don’t like the words “force” and “secret police” when it comes to government but hey people also don’t like to be broke. Something tells me history would view tyrants a little different if they just forced people to arm wrestle.
23. Do you see movies going the way of music and soon theaters will be folding? Are you a fan of watching films on the computer?
Not at all. I don’t see movie theaters ever folding. Can you imagine what that’d be like? Too many people still pack theaters. Movie going is a HUGE part of our culture. Always has been. People said books would no longer exist once the E-book craze happened. I read an article the other day that said libraries are more popular than ever right now. You can read on the nook or iPad or whatever but that doesn’t compare to physically flipping open a book. It’s the same with movies. I don’t see either ever completely disappearing from our culture. No, I don’t like to watch things on the computer. If I have to I will but I like the traditional way of watching films.
24. It took us a long two years to get to this point, sorry it took me so long so this is my honor to say thanks for being an awesome guy as always and for you to plug and promote.
“Man thank you! It was an honor. You’ve been a huge supporter of mine so I’m glad we finally got to chat. You can find me on Facebook or twitter & keep up with things there. 2013 is shaping up to be insane. I’ll be shooting a music video for HARLEY POE in April. We’ll be teaming up with prop house Gore Galore for that. We also have 2-3 secret projects in the works that will see the light of day before the end of the year.
Aside from those, you can find out about BEVERLY LANE at Beverlylanemovie.com.
THE IMPERSONATORS will be screening by the end of the year, you can keep up with that on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/ImpersonatorsMovie?ref=hl
If you want to follow pre-production & stay up on who will be joining Bill Moseley in our slasher comedy, go here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Ballad-Of-Sadie-Grace/214196918714592?ref=hl
Go here to keep up with Mike Dobrzelecki’s TERMS: http://www.facebook.com/termsmovie?ref=ts&fref=ts
Other links to check out:
Now if you excuse me I need to go tweet at Lohan about a role…
Joshua Hull is one of those directors that I just shake my head and wonder how he is still in the indies. Beverly Lane is one of those films that I know if people were exposed to it, would love it. To think this interview only took me two years to pull off, gives me hope that we may get Robert Plant to come around and others that I have begged to come aboard and let us do something with them. Josh is such a class act and a great sport, that I really hope you guys and gals give the man a break and seek out his film.