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Jason Hoover (The Collective)
Nominated by: James D.
When the idea was kicking around our heads to do a Hall of Fame, we were thinking of who or what had the greatest impact on film and music in our lifetimes. I know since I been blogging, that no one I felt has done more to really raise the bar and visibility of indie films and filmmaking more than The Collective, and the genius who thought up the idea Jason Hoover. While films come and go, ideas seem to stick around. The idea of a Collective of 10 film makers who create ten shorts around one topic is an idea that just sounds like it should have been thought of long before it was. Jabb Pictures in 2010 started this ambitious concept with The Meat Eater. 10 shorts from 10 upstart directors that focused on meat and the consumption of meat.
The first Collective caught on so much, that several blogs and websites gave this film top 10 of the year praise, and all 10 shorts had the community talking and excited about indie short films. In 2 years, this series has seen 5 installments that have ranged from women directing, emotions, zombies and a box. Each one seemed to be just as popular as the one before it, if not more. Last year, The Collective put out Emotions, which was my number one film of 2012, and made quite a few more lists as well for many other sites. Jason Hoover is one of those minds that if he did not exist in film, someone would have tried to pretend to be him. The man is always thinking of what can raise the bar for indie filmmaking and what can raise awareness for both him and the people he works with. When you think of a Hall of Fame for indie film and directors, and what do I think in 10 years will be imitated and the normal, you just have to put Jason Hoover, Jabb Pictures and The Collective in immediately.
Wicked Channel is proud to give you our Hall of Fame Class of 2012 inductee Mr. Jason Hoover and his masterpiece that is called The Collective. Here is my one on one with Mr. Hall of Fame 2012 Jason Hoover.
1. 2012, we started our Wicked Channel Hall of Fame and my obvious choice for my first Hall of Fame entry was The Collective. It is an idea and concept that has been somewhat attempted before, but never quite like you guys did it. This is what I feel is the blue print of the future of cinema and so many fresh ideas and really great short films. This is your chance Mr. Mad Scientist, the floor is all yoursâ€¦I guess a speech is in order?
First of all, thank you Mr. DePaolo for this incredible honor. The Collective has helped to shine a light on the rising talent in the independent community. By working together, each filmmaker has gotten closer to their ultimate goal. I have made a lot of friends through this project and look forward to seeing how each of them grow as a filmmaker. David Bonnell, Eric Schneider, James Mannan, Cameron Scott, Athena Prychodko, Kate Chaplin and Jim Dougherty just to name a few. I also want to thank all the good people that have supported us along the way. Without you we would just be a bunch of idiots running around with cameras. All the reviewers, Derek Koch, Jude Felton, Tom Gleba, Richard Propes, Jason Schneeberger, Nathan Hamilton,Terrell Griffin, Rickey Russell, Kenny Barnwell and Mario Dominick. I’m sure I’m leaving someone out, sorry! Thank you all!
2. Where did the concept of The Collective come from?
I wanted to create a project that would allow no budget filmmakers the opportunity to get their work out to a large audience in a way that would be interesting and affordable to fans of the genre. I thought the 10 min short film format was a good fit for everyone. Filmmakers have just enough time to tell a complete story while not being weighed down by the costs and resources associated with a full length film.
3. The first Collective comes out and the theme is meat eaters. Did you ever think after that, you would keep going and do 4 more?
I had originally planned 10 volumes. I wrote down the basic idea for The Collective and the themes for each one while sitting at my vendor table at a horror convention. I had no idea if it would work or not. Needless to say, I’ve been overwhelmed by its success.
4. For people who have never heard of you or The Collective before, how would you describe what it is all about?
The Collective is a short film collection that features 10 – 10 minute short films each by a different independent filmmaker yet all based on the same synopsis or theme. The films range from intimate to insane with each filmmaker putting their own unique twist on the idea. 10 short films.
10 Filmmakers.1 theme. As a viewer you get to see how different each filmmaker interprets the same idea.
Copies are available through all filmmakers involved for only $10. That’s $1 per film.
It’s a great way for fans of independent cinema to support filmmakers on the rise without breaking the bank.
5.Is there anyone you have not worked with yet on The Collective you would like to work with?
Absolutely. There’s a long list. Fred Vogel (TOETAG), Adam Rehmeier (THE BUNNY GAME), Zack Parker (Scalene), Scott Schirmer (Found) John Pata (Dead Weight), Steve Goltz and Kevin Sommerfield (TEDDY), Takashi Miike (13 Assassins, Gozu), Kaje Voigt (ArMe) among many others.
The scene is filled with amazingly talented filmmakers. I assure you, I’m working on it.
6. How does this work, do people reach out to you and say they want to work with you, or do you reach out to them and say letâ€™s do something together?
Both. I’m contacted by filmmakers quite often to be involved but I have done my share of recruiting as well. I don’t however, pick films. I just pick filmmakers. I give them the theme and they run with it. Every film on The Collective was created for this project. Most in less than 3 months. I like to have everyone start on
an even playing field. I think it makes for a more cohesive collection of films. I’m always looking for new filmmakers to bring onboard. I think it helps to shuffle the lineup for each volume. I want to shine a light on the new upcoming talent while also keeping it fresh for viewers.
7. What was the last film you went to the movies to go see? Also, how was the movie going experience? Can you watch a film as a fan, or do you watch a film as a director and on screen talent and have to pick it all apart?
The last movie I saw in a theater was Dead Weight at The Drunken Zombie Film Festival. That’s a unique film to see in a theater with a bunch of people. It’s heavy. Everyone just sits there quietly through the film
then when it’s over they just kinda slowly get up and walk out. That’s why it’s a great flick. They nailed the title with Dead Weight. That’s exactly what it feels like. I haven’t been able to just let a movie wash over me in a long time. I can only see them from a filmmakers point of view. I don’t pick them apart. I just see it from the production side. I have learned a lot about telling a story on film just by watching them. I notice how the lighting affects the shot or how the blocking is set up. I love indie films because they don’t adhere to any set of rules when it comes to how they want to tell a story. There is nothing better than a filmmaker turning a pizza, a dude and an apartment into a great film. I’m looking at you Dustin Mills.
8. The Collective is 10 shorts by 10 different people that revolve around one topic. Is there a topic you wanted to do but could not get people to commit? Also, of all the Collective dvds which one is your personal favorite?
No one has backed out due to the theme yet. With volume 1 I had all the filmmakers vote on a few ideas and we went with the winner but since V.2 I have just chosen a theme that I think will fit the lineup and they have all been onboard. So far. I think filmmakers enjoy the challenge. Pick my favorite? That’s like picking my favorite child. It’s V.4. It’s definitely V.4.
( this answer could not be swayed by how many top lists it made this year..no way)
9. So Volume 4 is your favorite, what a year for Volume 4-Emotions. You have made a few top ten lists this year, and you were a number one film on my chart. To follow that up is hard and some would say impossible. Do you ever feel pressure to try and do better than the last one?
Every time. We’re not going to succeed but that’s the goal. We are all just trying to put out the best product possible. The success of V.4 is a huge honor to all the filmmakers involved. The V.4 lineup of filmmakers have an open invitation to rejoin us whenever they would like.
10. Letâ€™s look at the history of short films; Fangoria did their blood drive series a decade ago. A few companies here and there have put out collections as well. Do you think short films are underappreciated? Do you see your series as trying to bring respect to this style of film?
Shorts are definitely not as respected as features. I’m not sure why. There are some amazing short films out there but they seem to just be throw away projects for most filmmakers. The Collective is a way for filmmakers to join forces and provide viewers a solid value for their hard earned dollar. You may not buy a 10 short on a dvd but having 10 of them together makes it much more appealing. I just wanted to help the filmmakers I thought weren’t getting enough attention. I wasn’t necessarily trying to champion the short film cause. A films’ greatness is in no way related to it’s length to me. I’ve seen amazing shorts that were 1 minute long.
11. What do you think is the biggest misconception about indie films and indie film making?
That we are all chasing chicks in bikinis with a hatchet.
12. There seems to be a second group that call themselves The Collective as well. Were you aware of this? If so, have you had any words or talks with them yet?
I’ve heard of them. They were involved with V/H/S. I have had no contact with them though. As far as I know they are a production company. The Collective is just the title of our project. No foreseeable issues with the name (on either end) if that’s what you’re asking. I got it from Star Trek NG. Borg for the win! Resistance is futile bitches.
13. You get a ton of press from a ton of sites; do you personally read all the press you get? If so, does the bad stuff get to you?
I try to read most of it. I like the feedback. I need to know if people are digging it or if they think it sucks.
The bad stuff never “gets” to me. People are allowed to think stuff sucks. I do.
14. Vol. 3 opened a lot of doors for your concept, and one of them was nudity. Do you personally watch everything that is submitted to you? If so, have you ever told someone that we have to cut this or that, or maybe redo it because it is not up to par?
That’s right, a chick Director gave us the first Collective boobs. Well played Ms. Panet.
As far as content goes, I watch everything but have never censored anyone. I don’t think I ever would. That is someone’s art. I may not understand or agree with it but I would never censor it. I asked Andy Copp to be involved because I knew he would push the envelope. His entry for volume 5 does exactly that.
It’s one of the goriest films in the series and also one of the best. The Collective is a space to try new things and be creative. All the filmmakers I have worked with to date have put every ounce of blood, sweat and tears they have into their film. They are doing the best they can with the resource they have available. Some may have issues but they all have heart.
15. Your Collective always has that odd film out, that one film that people are going to sit there and think this is bat shit insane, but I cannot stop watching it. Do you encourage these film makers to throw caution to the wind and go for it, or do you set bounds and points they need to make?
I know going in what kind of films each person makes. I try to include a filmmaker from as many different styles as I can. I always make sure there is one person that will go wildcard. The films can get kinda heavy when you watch them back to back. It’s nice to give the viewers a break with a film that is a fun watch. The filmmakers are free to interpret the idea in any way they decide.
16. I know The Collective has played many conventions and festivals. Do you sit in the audience at these shows? And if so, being honest what is the reaction after it is over?
I try to attend as many as I can. The response varies with each film. It’s an odd thing to watch with a group of people. The films intentionally are not for everyone.There is a slasher flick, an arthouse flick, a comedy. It’s hard to keep everyone involved sometimes. We’ve had 120 people laughing and having a great time during one film and then the room clear out during the next. Overall people dig it. We’ve had great turnouts for the screenings and a ton of support at conventions and festivals. We’ve been lucky enough to have the support of Adolfo Dorta and Days of the Dead to premiere V.3 through 5. That was huge for The Collective and JABB pictures both. Not just us either. They have really shown an effort at their shows to showcase the talent in the indie scene. The exposure their shows has given us is a huge reason for The Collective’s success. I can’t thank Mr. Dorta enough.
17. What would you tell a kid who came up to you and said, â€œI want to be a film makerâ€? What advice would a Jason Hoover offer?
Am I shooting dice at the time? I can’t shoot no dice with kids in the room. Seriously, I get asked that quite often. I always tell them to go do it. Get a camera, find something or someone cool around you and shoot it.
With the price of HD cameras and the ease of use with todays editing software it’s not that hard to make a movie. It’s really hard to make a good one though.
18. What is the goal you have set for yourself? Do you want to be famous and working on like Avatar 4? Do you want to just have a living and keep on doing this and never being noticed?
I just want to make great movies. If it gets me rich, I’d enjoy that. If not, I’ll live. Some of my favorite films were made by nobodies. I’d sign on to any film if I had the freedom to do what I wanted with it.
I have grown to love it a great deal. I enjoy the entire process. I think at this point I would continue to make movies even if no one watched them. I’d rather be Vincent Gallo than Michael Bay.
19. How far do you see yourself taking this concept? Is there any subject you have not covered yet, you want to talk about?
I plan to keep doing it until it doesn’t work. So far each volume has been a solid collection of films that I am proud to stand behind. If that changes, we’ll call it quits. We are going to slow down though. 3 volumes in 8 months was a little much. We would like to stick to 1 a year going forward, that really gives the filmmakers time to make something great. I’d love to keep it going as a way to showcase the up and coming filmmakers in the scene for as long as it works. I don’t see an end to finding new talent that needs a platform to help get their work out to people. The Collective V.100. Dig it.
20. I asked you earlier if you react to bad press, has there been any director you worked with who took the bad press seriously and were pissed? If so, do you let them go ahead and run their mouths or do you tell them to chill out that you will handle the situation?
I serve as the voice of The Collective as a whole but each filmmaker is their own person. They are free to get as pissed as they would like. Just put ya name on it. I personally try to avoid getting into arguments with people. They can say whatever they want. I have stuff to do.
21. Part 3 of the Collective was the female director one. Do you think females get treated fairly in indie films on both sides of the camera?
I treat them the same. Your talent as a filmmaker has nothing to do with having a penis. That’s what I was trying to prove with V.3. I challenged people at conventions and festivals to name 10 independent female filmmakers. Most couldn’t name 1. That’s a shame. I think we found 10 VERY strong filmmakers. They just so happen to be women. The Collective V.3 is still our biggest seller. Not bad for a bunch of girls.
22. What kind of childhood did a Jason Hoover have? And what was your first film memory that made you want to pursuit this?
I had the standard Mom, Dad and 2 half-brothers. They divorced when I was 14 and I moved out on my own at 15.
I roamed the earth for a while and ended up meeting my Alabama Worley and living happily ever after.I’ve got some kids and a cat now. My first film memory is being taken to Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure by my oldest brother Bill. He’s most righteous. He was also my source for 80′s horror. Thanks for scaring the crap out of an 8 year old Bill. I didn’t ever consider making a movie until I met Fred Vogel from TOETAG at a Cinema Wasteland show. He and Shelby have been a huge inspiration for me. They’ve been doing this for a long time and what they have done for indie horror is unmeasurable. They paved the way for filmmakers like myself. I walked away from a conversation with that guy and I knew I was going to make a film. I released my first film Spike 6 months later. Thank you Mr. Vogel.
23. Major films have an MPAA, you know a board that determines what is appropriate for what age and etc. Do you think indie films need one? Also, do you think indie films knowing there are no guidelines go way too far and the R rating seems very self-serving more than actual?
I don’t think any film needs a rating. What a person is comfortable with is subjective. Who am I to decide if it’s too far for you? I think indie films push the envelope because they can. There is no one to tell them not to. I think filmmakers have a responsibility to viewers to make them aware if their film isn’t suitable for kids. Kids don’t need to see hard core flicks. Just adding a “Not suitable for children under 18″ is easy enough. Common sense solves a lot of problems.
24. If Blair Witch never came along, do you think we would where we are today? With indie films and the internet being marketing tools for indie films?
Maybe not. That film was huge for low budget filmmakers. It gave us all the “what if”. 80 grand ain’t chump change though. Thinking you can do that for a thousand dollars is the problem. It was a huge milestone for independent cinema. It showed people that you can make an interesting film without Hollywood being involved. That movie did a lot with a little. Scaring people by just having a guy stand in the corner isn’t easy.
25. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Behind a camera somewhere.
26. I have to ask, and I know you may not answer this question, but I have to ask. Is doing The Collective stressful? Also, how hard is it to work with directors on deadlines? And what kind of deadlines do they have?
It has been an honor to work with these incredibly talented filmmakers. They are all humble, organized and a joy to be around. Are they gone? Ok, check this out. No, we’ve had our ups and downs with personalities and deadlines. It’s a group of artists, there are bound to be issues. Nothing major though. Everyone has honestly been very cool. I hear a lot about this being a cut throat business but I have not found that to be the case. I have met a ton of incredibly supportive filmmakers.
See, the interview is supposed to end there. But, this is the fucking Hall of Fame for The Collective and Jason Hoover. Why not bring some others in this to talk about this as well. Enjoy, what I call your bonus.
1. So, James Mannan what made you want to work with The Collective? I think the question should be what makes you want to keep on working with The Collective?
Who said I wanted to work with the Collective? Truth is Hoover is holding several loved ones hostage and forcing me to make these films under threat that he will cannibalize them. I just got my cousin’s little finger in the mail last weekend. Those considerations aside, it was exciting to come in on the ground floor of a project like The Collective. Jason is not only a top-notch indie filmmaker but he works hard to promote his product–harder than me frankly–not sure where he finds the time sometimes! I was pretty sure The Collective would offer our little company both a challenging creative opportunity and a good chance for exposure beyond what we’ve had previously. That has certainly worked out! As an artist I enjoy working within the requirements for each volume and of course itâ€™s great fun to see what each filmmaker comes up with while working within the structure provided.
2. Do you think in your humble opinion that The Collective is the future of indie films and how people will view them? Why?
I have no humble opinions. I know some of The Collective filmmakers are both the present and future of filmmaking, indie or otherwise. As for The Collective itself, if Jason plays his cards right (and he has so far) The Collective may function similarly to the way Roger Corman’s productions did for so long in Hollywood, as an artistic proving ground. Of course, how indie film in general is going to play out for the next few years is anyone’s guess. Even as the means of making a film have grown more accessible the means to distribute have grown increasingly difficult. Even the theoretically “friendly” venues of horror conventions and/or horror-related websites seem to be growing hostile to indie product. Then again maybe I’m just getting that idea because they’re hostile to MY product! Certainly the future may be in more limited and targeted marketing–I think Jason is ahead of the curve in that sense as well. Time will tell.
3. How long does it usually take you to shoot a Collective short? Is it stressful on you, do you have timelines? If you need to smack talk Jason Hoover, I got your back; he looks at the pictures on our site anyway, never reads the articles.
Not going to smack talk Hoover–I don’t need any more severed fingers arriving in FedEx boxes. At any rate the question might more appropriately be how long does it take you to regroup when your first idea collapses? That’s been the Collective pattern for us for the last couple of outings–come up with a script, figure out that it’s too ambitious to make, and then get serious. Once we’re in actually production I’d say they take about a month. The two for Vol. 5 were more rushed; it took around a month to make both. Stressful? Well, “Death Do Us Part” lost an entire weekend of shooting because we lost our original location. That probably didn’t add to my longevity.
4. For anyone who is thinking about buying this DVD or any of the series, give them some motivation, a sales pitch?
Hmm, well sales pitches can generally be taken as bullshit, but I’ll give it a shot. The Collective Films are made by up and coming filmmakers giving their all to bring you something out of the ordinary. Of course as independent cinema they’re a little rough around the edges. Hey, if you’re looking for million dollar corporate garbage head for your local multiplex. But if you want to be taken on a ride to the dark side by ten filmmakers giving their all not for love of money but for the pure love of filmmaking, pick up any volume of The Collective.
5. Looking back on your work with The Collective, what was your favorite short you submitted and why?
Well this is a totally unfair question, akin to asking which child is a parent’s favorite. I’m going to pick three favorites rather than one (besides I’m chickening out since two of the three were directed by friends.) “Fertility 2.0″ I think has the strongest production values of those we’ve submitted and perhaps the best story, plus I think the black and white cinematography is top notch. “Suffer Well” (for One Stepp At A Time Productions) is very strong conceptually and the cinematography was once again dead-on. “Suffer” just has a great, gritty feel to it. “Death Do Us Part” is a great showcase for Jade Coley’s acting talents and I also think Phil Christopher’s score is particularly impressive (that being said the music for the other two films is also very strong.)
6. If Jason Hoover called you right now on the phone and said Collective 6, I cannot think of a theme and need help. What would you choose as a theme and why?
Mmm, well after the “all zombie” edition I could only hope for an “all vampire” edition, but I’m not holding my breath. I’m way more drawn to the vampire mythos than zombies–but I know Twilight has fucked the genre for the time being. I have to say I encountered some surprising negative pushback toward the vampire theme in trying to market our short “Wannabe”. Yes, vampires are over exposed, but zombies aren’t? Anyway, as I said, I’m drawn to erotic themes and to quote Jade Coley in “Zombie Soup” “vampires are way sexier than zombies. . .”
This is where the interview is supposed to end, but you know what. This is Jason Hooverâ€™s time and we had to talk to one more person about the Collective and what it meant to be part of the first Meat Eater.
1. Thomas “Sascratch” Berdinski what made you want to work with The Collective?
The Collective was a chance to be a part of something special with a lot of the cool, low-budget indie horror people I’d met at horror conventions in 2009-2010. No one really knew what The Collective was going to be when we first heard about it from originator Jason Hoover of Jabb Pictures. Eventually, the details were fleshed out via email and Jason allowed all of the filmmakers to vote on the unifying theme. I believe it was Kitsie Duncan’s (Lethal Obsession, Found) tie-breaking vote that got us all making short movies about â€œa meat eater terrorizing a small town.
2.When the concept of The Meat Eater comes to mind, your short The Giant Rubber Monster Movie is not the first thought one would think for a short for this concept. What made you want to work on this film and this concept?
I really had no idea that our Collective short was going to be The Giant Rubber Monster Movie when I agreed to do it. I honestly had no idea what we were going to do when I first heard about it. Given our success with The Italian Zombie Movie, my first inclination was to make a meat-eating zombie short, but since childhood I’d always had a fascination with giant monster TV shows, much more so than the giant monster movies; TV shows like Spectreman, Space Giants, Johnny Sokko’s Flying Robot, etc. It really came to me in a flash â€“ ‘I just had to make the giant monster a meat eater’ â€“ and at that moment I started writing. I had the first draft in about 2 hours, and a finished script a few weeks later, after I’d confirmed my Italian Zombie Movie and horror host cast. The special effects were all going to be done with miniatures, strings, green screens and guys (and gals) in monster suits. We had no idea how we were going to pull it off, but dammit, we were going to do it!
3.What do you think the biggest misconception about short films is?
It’s probably the same misconception I still fight at times: That a movie has to be feature length to be satisfying. I buy very few short movies, even short movie compilations like The Collective because I have trouble fighting the feeling that if it’s a short, it’s somehow unfinished. I think most people (me included) think short films can’t be satisfying, but there are so many exceptions I have no idea why I still battle this misconception myself.
4.A lot has changed since the last time you did a short for The Collective. They had a series with female directors and they introduced nudity. Do you still keep up with them, and if so any shorts that you want to mention?
I do keep up with The Collectives, in fact I own every DVD they have put out. As you know, we were only involved in the very first one, but several filmmakers have continued to participate in subsequent Collectives and I have seen their work grow and expand in entertaining ways. It’s very time consuming to be involved in The Collective(s) so I tip my hat to the filmmakers who have had shorts in multiple iterations. I can’t pick favorites among my friends, so I won’t pick favorites among their Collective contributions, but suffice it to say my friends rarely, if ever, let me down and neither have their shorts in The Collective(s)! You will find stories, acting and film making in these compilations to horrify, enjoy and inspire â€“ I look forward to the next one!
5. Wicked Channel is going to put The Collective and Jason Hoover into our Hall of Fame. The floor is yours, what would you want to say to that?
Well, it’s a great honor for me and all of the filmmakers who have been involved in The Collective over the years! It’s exciting and humbling to be recognized by horror fans for our efforts â€“ I hope our inclusion will encourage many more people to seek out The Collective(s) and find out more about all of the filmmakers who have been involved over the years. MANY of them I consider great friends and they are all very talented! I look forward to all of their work on future Collectives and elsewhere.
You have heard me and other sites you check out brag to you over and over till we are red in the face how amazing this series is. I know Jason Hoover and his merry men and women of The Collective are all over social media and they are always open to talk to you guys. I am begging you all to buy one or all 5. Give them a shot to entertain you, and trust me you are going to be very happy you invested that little bit of money. You cannot go to the movie theaters these days alone without spending 20.00 to 30.00 on something, and you think they want to hear from you or care what your opinion is. For 10.00 a dvd, you will get 2 hours of 10 shorts that are going to entertain you, with the gang always down to talk to you about their films on their pages. This is not the future, this is today. Go friend Jabb Pictures on social media and tell them you need to see what all the hype is about. You think I just put anyone in my Hall of Fame, this is the real deal.