by: Jacqueline Berk – Penn State University
We sit down with independent film maker Matt Adkins of Laythrom Media for a Q&A. Here’s what he had to say…
Q: What prompted you to want to make movies?
A: It actually started back in high school. I was a member of both the US First Robotics team ‘Delphi ELITE’ and WSCN [Harding’s student communication class]; and to be honest, when I was signing up for my classes in my freshman year, I picked WSCN so it was like a Mickey Mouse class for me. My thought at that time was ‘hey I show up, I’ll probably get a grade, no work required’; but after I started that class [WSCN] things did end up changing in a positive direction. I was around [essentially] a working news room, you know, lights, cameras and action ha ha ha. Long story short, I ended up taking the class again because of the desire to stick around that environment. Somewhere around my junior/senior year [while talking to some of my friends from that class] I looked around and made the comment “I want to make a movie”. There was no script, I knew very little of the industry, never made a movie or short or anything like that before. It was just something that I said that I wanted to do. Fast forward to around 2004-2005; that thought came around again, only the desire was a little bit stronger. I started spending my free time [while I was in the Army] researching movie scripts, screenplays and how movies were made. That’s actually when I first started writing.
Q: What was the first thing you wrote?
A: I ended up calling it “An Evil that Lies Within”, ah, it dealt with a group of kids entering a supposedly haunted and abandoned asylum and of course, one by one, they slowly started dying off. Contrary to popular belief though, it was actually due to a murderous vagrant that was staying in the asylum and not because of ghosts or goblins.
Q: How long did you take to write “An Evil that Lies Within”?
A: Ha, it took me forever! It was a long learning experience. The specs of the screenplay was the easy part and that didn’t take very long. However, the actual script itself though, that was a different story. The script took me about two years to write; that was with me studying examples of other scripts, studying the formatting of scripts, me continuously going back and modifying this and changing that. It was something just short of a train wreck.
Q: Where do you think your inspiration comes from?
A: First and foremost, my Dad. I believe that I’ve inherited my creative genes from him. I do have other film makers and directors that I look up to, but my Dad has been the one who has really been pushing me.
Q: Who are the film makers and directors that you are inspired by?
A: Several ha-ha, definitely have to say Tarantino for starters. I love the way he tells a story with a camera. I mean hell, Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Inglorious Basterds, Death Proof, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill, he also wrote the story for Natural Born Killers. You also have Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock, George Lucas, James Cameron, Robert Zemeckis, Martin Scorsese, Tim Burton, M. Night, Spielberg, and Ron Howard.
Q: Wow, that is some list, any actors?
A: A lot, so I’ll try to narrow it down a bit. Jeffery Donovan, Bruce Campbell, James Roday, Vincent Price, Johnny Depp, Robert DeNiro, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Sean Connery, Helen Mirren,, Jack Nicholson, Charlie Chaplin, Robert Duvall, Bradley Cooper, Liam Neeson, Jessica Biel and Johnny Knoxville.
Q: Johnny Knoxville? I take it that you’re a Jack Ass fan?
A: Oh hell no, not really. I can’t really stand watching Jack Ass to be quite honest. I just loved his character and his antics in Walking Tall from 2004ish. Ah, while we’re at it we can throw Sean William Scott on the previous question list.
Q: Well okay, with the different directors and actors that you mentioned, it’s kind of hard to figure out for myself, so What is your favorite genre of film?
A: Not a bad question, it does jump around a bit. I’m primarily a fan of action, thrillers, and comedy.
Q: No horror films?
A: Only if they scare me and since that hasn’t really happened since I was like eight…not really.
Q: Why is that?
A: Well, they’re pretty much all reliant on blood and gore. I want a horror film that will give me nightmares. I started watching a lot of the old school horror films back when I was little, so I’m kind of desensitized to the horror genre. I also hate when I can predict most of the movie fifteen to twenty minutes before it happens.
Q: Back to you and Laythrom for now, where do you want things to go?
A: The sky is the limits, I would love to just have the ability to make my dreams and nightmares [films] to come true. Wouldn’t really matter to me if I was the main director or like a secondary director. I would just like to be able to throw my input into the mix.
Q: You’re film “Within”, how is that coming together?
A: Honestly, it’s a big pain in my rear end.
Q: Well I wasn’t expecting that response. Why is that?
A: Doing things independently is rough. We are still trying to get funding worked out and squared away, which is one of the main reasons why it is a pain. A lot of things have to be done before we can start production. Ironing out lighting, actors/actresses, set building, a little bit of construction, so on and so forth. We are at the point where I kind of consider it as a ‘stalemate’; we have the script, actors and actresses are interested and we have a location to film plus a good majority of the equipment. Unfortunately, you need a decent chunk of money for an electrical generation truck, the set still needs to be restored/built, and you need money to pay your talent.
Q: Didn’t Laythrom post a project on Kickstarter?
A: As matter of fact, we did. However, this is our first film; no more shorts or documentaries or filming concerts. We are still small and not widely known about and that is our biggest issue. The media doesn’t really give you a whole lot of attention because we’re not Lions Gate or Paramount; my name isn’t Tarantino or Scorsese. We are just a group of indie film makers that are trying to take the bull by the horns so to say. I wish that we had a tenth of the money that Hollywood throws into the average film budget, but let’s face it, we don’t…and we won’t until something decent and kind of big happens.
Q: One more question, if you can hang out on set with anyone, who would it be?
A: Ah that is a tough one since I’m assuming that I could only be one person…eh I’ll break the rules anyway. If it is for inspiration and knowledge base reasons where I can pick their brain, it would have to be James Cameron; that man is a genius! Now if it was to just hang out and bs with this person…I’ll take the entire cast of Psych!
Q: Well Matt, thank you very much for your time and I wish you guys the best of luck with your filming endeavor.
A: Actually, thank you Jackie for getting a hold of me.