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Scott Allen Perry, Independent Filmmaker
Scott Allen Perry
   Independent Filmmaker
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.
-Jayson Floyd
Perfect Couple
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
              Answer This?
                 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!)
Scott 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

Also, 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

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)

FA: When are we going to get a feature film out of you?

SAP:Whenever someone give me the money to shoot one. Seriously. Send the money. I'll make a feature. I have plenty ready to go.

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?

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 (and
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?

SAP: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!

FA: Are you a strict film man or would you ever consider shooting
on video?

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)

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.

FA: 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!

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 Lah Lah.

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.

Other than 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?

SAP:Challenges Schmallenges!

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 and locations assigned randomly to 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.

The 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.

FA: Sound 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?

SAP:Hmmmmmm. 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.

The 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)
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.

SAP:Stretch 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 light a cigar 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!

We end the day with a Jeet Kun Do lesson, also taught by Joshs old sushi master. At sunset, we head for the airport destination MARS!

Throw in occasional writing trips to Italy and New Zealand and you've got my dream job.
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.
I 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!