Scott Allen Perry, Independent Filmmaker
Scott Allen Perry
I first met Scott Allen Perry two years ago when I was the Executive Director of the deadCENTER Film Festival.
That year Perry won not only the "Best Short Award", but also the "Grand Jury Award". Perry's unique style of telling a story
instantly garnered my attention. His first film "Side Effects", also, had a very clean "Hollywood Movie" look. It
was obvious Perry had taken his time in pre and post production of this short film.
Although my meeting with Perry was brief, he flew out the next morning to the Nashville Film Festival, I
knew that I was meeting someone who is a rising star in the film industry.
At this year's deadCENTER Film Festival, Perry will be in town for a longer stay than in 2002. In fact,
you can have the opportunity to meet and discuss film with him as he is taking part in one of this year's filmaker panels.
The panel that Scott Allen Perry will be taking a part in is "Working With Actors In Independent Films". The panel takes place
from 4:00pm to 5:00pm, Friday June 11th at the Stage Center, Cabaret Room.
Also, be sure and check out Perry's two film offerings for this year's fest.
Screening Time: Saturday at 7:00pm
Location: Untitled Gallery
Screening Time: Friday, 10:30am (Kid's Fest)
Location: Stage Center
The interview section of this feature is a first of its kind for Film Addiction, as Perry has
allowed us to chat with a few of his family members.
|Scene from 008
Q & A with
Scott Allen Perry
Film Addiction: Your film 008 won an award through Chrysler,
tell me more about this project. Was the car provided by Chrysler (It kicked ass by the way!)
Allen Perry: Thanks for the compliment. This is a tough film for me to discuss. It actually did not win an award
through Chrysler ... making 008 was the prize for being selected as one of the top ten films in the Chrysler Million
dollar Film Festival.
The basic deal was Chrysler, in association with Hypnotic (Doug Liman's Company) and Universal
Studios (I'm not sure, but I think this is some small, independent production company ... I mean, Universal? Never heard of
'em) Anyway, the basic idea of this "festival" was to take one of two Chrysler vehicles -- Crossfire or Pacifica,
generously provided by Chrysler -- and making a commercial for it that was disguised as a narrative film
I didn't even submit Side Effects to the festival. A Hypnotic representative saw it at the Nashville Independent Film Festival
in 2002 and had to convince my Executive Producer, Dan MacLeith, to let them have Side Effects as part of the competition.
That took about 6 months worth of convincing. Dan finally said yes and the next thing I knew, myself and 24 other directors
were shipped off to Sundance for a press junket and a Chrysler schooling on how we needed to make or films if we were selected
to move on to the top ten. The Top 25 directors selection was based on their submission films (Side Effects was mine) Top
10 directors selection was based on the previous submission film and the SCREENPLAY we wrote that we would then shoot if selected
for the top ten. We made the cut but didn't move on. If you want to see all the films that beat us out for the top 5 spots
you can watch them at http://chryslermdff.com/festivalfilms.asp
All in all, I am happy with the film. Plus I had a
hell of a fun time shooting the thing. One day, my DP, David Loeb, and I got strapped to the back of a mac truck going 60
MPH down 7th Avenue. We were chained to our cameras, tripods locked in ... safety first ... and shot the car doing all the
swerves and curves you see in the flick. I wish Chrysler had let us do more with the car that way, more action. Just to let
you know the kind of pressure we were under in shooting alone, the schedule was as follows:
Arrive in New York Wednesday
night, Cast Thursday, Location Scout Friday, Shoot Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, edit Wednesday, Thursday and turn in
the finished product Friday at noon. We premiered that Saturday night at the DGA New York.
One of the best things out
of the whole deal was the perks ... free Tivo for the top 25 directors ... WOOHOO! My TV life is changed forever. Go TIVO!!!
(I have no affiliation with Tivo whatsoever, it's just that awesome)/color>/fontfamily>
FA: When are we going to get a feature film out of you?
someone give me the money to shoot one. Seriously. Send the money. I'll make a feature. I have plenty ready to go./color>
/color>I am directing a documentary
that shoots this June. It's gonna be fun and funny as hell. All I can say at this point is it involves a group of high school
buddies who get together once a year and have a friendly competition that involves events like The Four Beer Chug and The
Drunken Hatchet Toss. Intrigued?/color>
/color>The feature I am most excited about now is Something Evil. It's a Horror/Comedy/Action flick I wrote
that is steadily building heat. So far we have attached Jonathan Breck, best known as The Creeper in the Jeepers Creepers
films and the fabulous Doug Jones, aka Abe Sapien in Hellboy, aka Seth in Side Effects. We are looking to attach one or two
other big name actors from the horror world to the film. The catch is, they all get to play humans. Imagine Robert Englund
playing a hysterically funny, cowardly British actor. The guy's a horror ICON. The downside is, we don't get to see him enough
as a human. And he is a spectacular actor. I would slice up a boiler room full of high school kids to work with this guy.
RENT THE "V" miniseries DVD. It was made in the 80's and he's awesome in it. One of my goals as a filmmaker is to cast great
actors in movies that are actually good. I'm so sick of seeing Owen Wilson give wonderful performances in crap films. (falls
off soapbox) Ouch! Where were we?
|Scene from Perfect Couple
FA: I have been reading a lot lately on scripts and directors
(andSAP:I love making good movies. If the story is good and something I feel I would be able to
do justice in adapting it to the screen, I am 100% down for the job. I love to write, I love shooting my own stuff, but the
bottom line is that I want to make good movies and will do anything I can to make that happen. Send me your screenplays!/color>/fontfamily>
how some directors prefer to write their own scripts and some don't) What is your take on this? Would you direct a
film with someone else's script?
FA: Are you a strict film man or would you ever consider shooting
SAP:I'll shoot whatever makes sense for the story and the budget.
008 and Perfect Couple were both shot on the Panasonic DVX 24p mini DV camera. That was fine for what we were
doing. Also, if you're making a short film, I highly suggest using this camera. Get a good DP (don't just get someone because
they own their own gear and it's cheaper)/color>
/color>Film is my first choice across the board because you can make film look anyway you want it to look if you know
how to do it ... even like video. It's not easy to make Video look like film, regardless of what video camera makers tell
you. They want to sell cameras. And if you're trying to shoot Lawrence of Arabia on video you'll soon find out how easy it
is to make video look like crap. Story is the most important thing, do the story justice by presenting it the way that serves
the story best. That's my two cents. /color>/fontfamily>
The last time you were in OKC you were in and out in a flash,
but rumor has it you got really smashed while you were here.
Any truth to this rumor? Are you willing to take on this sort of endeavor for your next visit?
SAP:Lies! All lies! Are there photos? Is so, FABRICATIONS!/color>
/color>So, yeah, I tied one on. I actually remember tying three or four
on. What's the word you used? Smashed? Yep. That works. I had a blast, and I was only there for one night. Imagine the damage
I can do if I get to stay longer. More hangovers for everyone! Yeeeeeehah! If i can find a cheap hotel or an extra bedroom
in some film loving Oklahoma-ite (is that right??? Oklahoma-ite?) I am down for the whole festival plus one recovery day.
I also plan on bringing a couple of my favorite film posse peeps with me to aid in the utter annihilation of Brick Town. Ooh
Scott Allen Perry: My whole family is a barrel of laughs. Especially my grandmother. She's
80 as of last week and has more fire in her than most 30
year-olds I know.
The entire family is located in Lafayette
Louisiana ... contact as many
as you want, they are all characters.
FA: What did you do to encourage Scott in his filmmaking endeavors?
Connie Perry(Scott's Mom): (First we bought him a single frame movie camera,
when he was around 12, After that I enrolled him in art lessons, which he only attended twice and then
told me he wanted to do it his own way. The public high school he was attending did not compete in all of the places
that he wanted to go to, so we took him out and registered him in a private high school that did. I also took him and
his classmates to almost all of the speech tournaments that were out of town. Now there's some stories I could tell
you about (but that can be in the future). There are a few more things, but since most parents do everything they
can to help out their children, this is probably boring, so I'll go on to the next question.
FA: Has he ever put you in one of his movies? If not, why the
hell not? You are his mother for Chris' sake!
CP:Actually, his father and his brother are in Side Effects. As for me,
well I was in his first Off Broadway Stage Production at the Village Gate. I played the part of a Pot Monster (shows
you what he thinks of me). I think I was type cast.
FA: Give me one good story from Scott's childhood that would perhaps
shed a little light on him (or embarrass him).
CP:OK. I trusted all of my kids completely and I think that they knew
me much too well. I'm afraid that this shows I am a very naive person, but what the heck.
Scott's coach called me one morning and said he had to send Scott home, cause he was throwing
up. The coach said he thought Scott had been drinking, because it looked like strawberries. Welllllllllllllllllllllll,
of course, I said "No way, would Scott do anything like that. He probably went to The Kettle to eat breakfast because
he always orders pancakes with strawberries." The coach said, "That's what he said."
I replied, "Well then, you see? That's exactly what happened."
I called Scott to check on him and he sounded terrible. I said "Scott, Coach Danny said
he thought you had been drinking, but I told him you went to The Kettle and had strawberry pancakes." To which Scott
replied, " Oh good, I knew that's what you would tell him."
He then confessed that he was having strawberry daquiris with some of his friends that were graduating.
I must say I was a little shocked, and scolded him, but I was also, happy that he knew me me so well.
FA:Scott mentioned that you are
nearly 80 years young. My grandmother is over 80 herself and she is the angel in my life. For the last several years I see
her and eat lunch with her at least once a week.
Does Scott ever take the time to do anything similar with you? If not, please take
the time to make him feel bad for not paying more attention to you.
Peggy Gribsby (Scott's Grandma, Mema):If I lived in California (God forbid) I not only would lunch with
Scott every day, but I would even cook for him (now he would say "God Forbid!") Not that I'm
not a good cook - I just put things on and forget they're cooking. The Fire Department and I have a "very close" relationship,
if you know what I mean. As a matter of fact, I have lost three husbands because I couldn't make coffee. And I've
only been married once!
FA: Scott also mentioned that you are a fire-ball ( I think he meant you have the
energy of a 30 year old). With that said, when are we going to see a Mema Grigsby's film?
Mema:As far as a Mema character in one
of his films, he did call me and tell me that he had a script completed and there was a good part in it for me and I told
him ' "Sorry, honey, I don't play 'little old ladies' and he said, "Mema - this is a part for a mean bitch" Of
course when I found that out, I was all for it!!
Anywayt, he's probably my most favorite person in the whole world.
......and now back to Scott!
FA: Tell me about this documentary project you are working on that
just got green-lighted?
SAP:Let me set the stage. High school
friends, football team, all graduated around 1988 they created an event, a competition, which happens once a year every year
for the past 15 years. They call this competition The Outdoorsmen. The events are a combination of sports oriented physical
challenges and drunken beer drinking games. Thats all I can tell you now, other than the fact that these guys are all very
interesting people. Their lives and the friendships they have nurtured since high school are very compelling to me. Not to
mention the competition has events like The Discus (using a steel belted radial tire) and The Drunken Hatchet Toss (This one
is pretty much self explanatory) We shoot in June. Should have a festival ready cut by Halloween.
FA: What is your schooling background or formal film training?
SAP:Let me set the stage. Oops, I already set it last question. Okay, let me light the stage
my filmmaking background is the hard-knocks school of life. Thats right America, sprung from the gutters of man, risen from
the ooze of life, this mud splattered visage you see before you has paid his dues at the local video store. I know thats kind
of an anti-climactic ending there, but that is the truth. My mother took me to the movies when I was 2 weeks old and I instantly
fell in love. Cinema es me amour! Is that proper Spanish? I was trying to say Cinema tastes like chicken.
being a movie glutton, I also got a lot of on set experience working as an extra in many Hollywood juggernauts like The Adventures
of Rocky And Bullwinkle and Heartbreakers, plus a butt-load of leading roles in a dozen or so AFI student films. I love movies,
love making them, love everything that goes into them. The more time you can spend on a set the better. Even if its merely
stalking Calista Flockhart from behind the craft services table, its still experience.
I highly suggest ritualistic
screenings of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the films of Stanley Kubrick (excluding Eyes Wide Shut) Woody Allen (excluding
everything from Celebrity on) and too many other films to mention here. I will also say that watching hundreds of bad movies
has helped me tremendously as a filmmaker. If you can figure out what makes movies like Battlefield Earth so bad it makes
it that much easier to avoid making the same mistakes. Usually theres a bad story at the root of most cinematic turds. I think
Battlefield Earth falls into the eat my scientology category.
FA: What particular challenges have you experienced on the set
of your first three films? What would you do different?
Lets see Side Effects had a few interesting moments. It was my first film, so I had the challenge of
convincing someone to give me the money to make it. That ones still a challenge even when its not your first movie. There
was also an editing fiasco on Side Effects. The first editor we hired clearly did not understand the kind of film I was trying
to make and was eventually replaced. We were also out of money at that point so we had to find an editor who would not only
work for free, but also be willing to complete the task of fixing the existing cut between 8PM on a Friday night until 8AM
the following Monday. After securing the editing skills of one Mr. Steve Conn, we discovered after importing all the footage
that the previous editor we replaced had saved the project in a very special way that made it utterly useless. Basically,
none of the footage could be connected to the missing media. So Steve went home to take a nap, daunted by the new task of
cutting the entire film from scratch. He returned at about 8AM on Saturday morning to discover lil ol me editing away at the
avid bay. I had the first 5 or so scenes cut. Inspired by my disgusting level of energy and realizing I had every frame of
footage we shot etched into my brain for easy access, he strapped himself into the captains chair and we hacked away until
Monday 8AM when we output the final cut. Woo Hoo!
008 posed a challenge in the way we had to work. We had all our
prep in Los Angeles for a shoot in New York. Also, there were some odd scheduling problems in getting the picture cars. Chrysler
either sent the wrong cars, or the wrong color cars or no cars something to do with cars. Anyway, we were asked to reshoot
the entire first day with a different color car. Same model car, just a different color. Fortunately, someone at Hypnotic
found the cars or painted the cars or rode in a car that went back in time where he fixed what ever mix up there was that
caused the whole car/color debacle in the first place and also got my mom and dad to have their first kiss at their prom.
As for Perfect Couple WOOOOO! Lets see, where to begin.
Okay, the way Perfect Couple was made was as part
of a 24 hour film competition. I got an email, told a friend of mine about it and they agreed to produce it for me. Told an
editor who agreed to cut the film. Got all the actors I thought I would need, the crew, equipment we were a go. Heres how
it went down.
I paid the $50 entry fee on Wednesday. That night, my producer bailed on me for a non-paying job, my
editor bailed on me for a paying job.
That Friday night at Midnight the 75 other directors and myself received envelopes
that contained the theme and one location that we would have to incorporate into the films we were about to make. I believe
there was a total of 5 or so themes /color>and locations assigned randomly to/color> all the directors ours was THERE IS NO TRUST and WALK-IN CLOSET. I headed to our location and worked out the
beats of the story with my two leads Brett Halsey (also James in 008) and Mercy Malick (sings the closing theme in 008) and
my ultra suave DP Alex Naufel.
We shot Saturday Morning from 2:30AM until 10AM. I had been up since 10AM on Friday.
Alex and my two leads officially became zombified corpses with the magic words thats a wrap! Then I took a break, ate
breakfast and began editing. Luckily, an angel in the form of Miss Shannon Hullender had imported most of the footage, otherwise
there is no way in hell I would have finished the film. I started editing around noon on Saturday and turned in the final
cut at Midnight. A whole film in 24 hours. And then I went to sleep. Im actually still asleep now. It was very draining.
only differences in the film you see now and the one we turned in are changes to the credits. I left some people out in my
slumberless state of insanity and cut new titles into the film so everyone got their props yo!
The one challenge that
has been true for all my films is paying my rent. Really, that is the one challenge I would most like to see vanish. I will
make a movie in 2 hours if it means I dont have to worry about rent.
is always an issue in independent films, how did you maintain a steady balance of voices and background music in your films?
Any particular tools of the trade that helped you capture the sound for your films?
Soooooouuuuuuuuuuuund! I think as far as sound goes you should always record everything. Even when you think it needs to be
MOS or you think you will use sound effects instead of the natural sound. If I know a scene is going to have background conversations
and action I always get sound takes of the actors doing those things. I like to use real sound whenever I can.
biggest rule is to always have good production sound and check it on set just to be sure. Having to ADR dialogue can make
a good film turn out not so good. You get that odd Shaolin Kung Fu Master vibe when you start to notice the words don't really
match the lips exactly. Get a good sound person, even if it means he is the only guy on your set thats getting paid. (and
all the sound people stood up and cheered into their lavs)/color>
FA: I ask this of a lot of filmakers so here it goes: What is your
dream job? Don't give some bullshit like doing what I do everyday. Stretch yourself here.
myself eh? Alrighty
Its about 10AM. I walk into the office my office and Im greeted by my friends/staff. We shoot
the shit for the next hour or so, dating fiascos, weekend rampages, and the basic wassup with you talk whilst we sip our beverages
of choice. Mine would be a Spanish Latte so tasty.
Thus begins the workday. I turn the new Olson Twins movie down again
and read the latest tabloid gossip about me and ... ewwwwww Andy Dick??? Theyll print anything these days.
I grab a
wad of cash I have lying around and/color> light a cigar /color>with
my producing partner/personal trainer Josh Never Forgotten Otten. We just got the greenlight on one of my many dream projects
drumroll the new Paul Newman/Robert Redford film I have been trying to get off the ground. Finally it has wings. It will be
their third film together, and it will be pure, uncut, 150 proof movie magic.
We jump in the hot tub with our sweethearts
and celebrate. We sip fresh squeezed lemonade with just a hint of ginger and eat sushi made by Joshs old sushi master who
is now our personal chef. We make him throw away ridiculous amounts of rice because, in Joshs words, Its too sticky!
end the day with a Jeet Kun Do lesson, also taught by Joshs old sushi master. At sunset, we head for the airport destination
/color>Throw in occasional writing trips to Italy and New Zealand and you've
got my dream job.
/color>FA: I hope you are able to reach all your dreams (LOL)!
FA: Do you have any parting words?
SAP:Parting words ... let's see.
am always looking for projects and people to fund projects. Give me money, I will make more movies. I promise to always
make good movies. If I fail to make only good movies, hopefully I will be able to blame it on someone other than myself. If
I fail in my efforts I am open to punishment in the form of spankings.
Peace, love and happiness ... and STOP GOING
TO SEE BAD MOVIES!