Filmmaker Q&A Scott Lyus

by Phillip Wilcox "Our Movie Demon"

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DCP:
Let's start from the beginning - When/How did your love for cinema begin?


Scott Lyus:
My love affair with cinema first kicked into gear when I saw Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park in the theatre.

I had no idea what part filmmaking played in any of it or what went into creating a film. To me it was magic and I wanted to be a part of that. I want​ed to create that magic for other people. Years later once I started to learn the ins and outs of filmmaking, I watched Hostel with the audio commentary on featuring Eli Roth and Quentin Tar​a​ntino. The way in which they spoke about creating the film and the different cuts and shots Eli used, really hit home with me. These guys were geeks just like I was. They were film fans not just filmmakers and my love affair was cemented.

 

 

DCP:
What was the one movie that drove you to want to make them, and why?


SL:
Obviously Jurassic Park has had a lasting effect on me, but the one film that really drove me to create my own film was the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the horror genre overall. Just as Jurassic Park had blew me away with it's magic, TCM hit me with its raw, unflinching look at horror. Real, genuine horror. That really interested me and was an idea I wanted to explore and dive into. I was way too young at the time to really understand the raw human emotions I wanted to explore and I feel I'm still only scratching the surface with every film I make.

 

DCP:
What are some favorite films of yours outside of the horror genre, and why?


SL:
My favourite film of all time is actually Casablanca. It's the perfect film. Story, direction, acting, editing and of course, that screenplay, its Hollywood at it's absolute best. I recently watched a restored cut at the BFI in London and it played with the audience exactly how I image it first played back in 1942. To create a film that has such lasting effect, that's still enjoyable all these years later is the definition of great cinema.


I also really like Westerns and would love to create a modern western one day. Something a long the lines of No Country for Old Men but still pay homage to the greats. John Ford and Sergio Leone are huge influences on me as a director, especially the way I pick shots and frame my films.


DCP:
Who and/or what inspires you as an artist?
 

SL:
I'm inspired to always push myself and my films by filmmakers I admire. Be it directors on the indie scene or world stage. My ambition is to always create a film that stands next to any film you put it up against regardless of budget. Story and character are everything to me, so the fact other people my have a bigger budget and their film may look a little more polished, really doesn't concern me. Story doesn't cost a penny.

And when it comes to story, I'm mainly inspired by human nature. I try to explore different ideas with each film I make. With Supernova we looked at the thin line between order and chaos, good and bad; Order of the Ram looked at blind belief in faith and what that drives people to do, and Silently Within Your Shadow was our attempt at exploring passion, love and jealousy.

 

DCP:
What are some lessons you learn every time you make a film, and that you take with you onto your next one? 


SL:
Every film is a huge learning curve and each time a huge step in improving my skills as a filmmaker. Be it working with the actors, the crew or managing the budget, each time I try to push myself and my crew that little bit further. I also make an effort to add to our crew every time we make a film. For the most part, due to budget or just not having the reputation to lock in certain departments, we always have to make do without people. So come the next film I make it my mission to add that crew member to our team. For example on my next short Echoes of the Passed I'm working with an amazing production designer, I role I've never been able to fill before.


DCP:
I just recently got to see "Silently Within Your Shadow", it blew me away by just how creepy, scary, and well developed it was! Where did the story stem from?


SL:
Thank you so much. Very kind of you to say. Silently Within Your Shadow was a very personal film for me in many ways. The film tells the story of a ventriloquist performer who fully believes in her art and puts her everything into it. Problem being that she puts too much time into her ambition and not enough time into her relationship with her boyfriend.

This is a life I have very much lived since I first made it my aim to make create films. I love cinema and I'm determined to make a career out of it. For me if you're going to play in this world, why not try and play at the very highest level? Am I good enough? That's for others to decide, but when you're extremely determined to achieve your goals, sometimes it's hard to balance a social and romantic life on top of that. It's not impossible, but it is extremely hard. To create a film takes a lot of time and dedication, in many ways its very much like a relationship, so my idea was to explore that idea to the extreme and see what breaks first.


DCP:
Can you walk us through what the casting process was like, How in the world did you get the great Bill Moseley to lend his voice for the movie, and What was it like working with him for the film?


SL:
The casting process was a great experience on Silently. Sophie auditioned for the role of Lucette and nailed it. She completely knocked it out the park and took the character to a level I never even imagined. However once Sophie was cast, it got me thinking about the role of Hugo. Sophie has a great American accent, so I knew Hugo needed to be American also, and the only voice I had in mind was Bill Moseley. So I aimed for the stars, sent his agent the screenplay and within a day or two they got back to me and said they loved it. And the rest is history.
  

Bill was great to work with, as was Sophie and Bryon. They really pushed my understanding of what actors bring to your film and how they elevate your screenplay.
 

DCP:
Can you talk about your next project and what it's about?


SL:
The next project is titled Echoes of the Passed. We have an amazing screenplay from Tony Sands, and an incredible cast including Paul Dewdney, Mac McFadden, Tony and Sophie Tergeist returning for our third film together. The films will also reunite the crew from Silently including Sharad Patel returning to DOP the film and Ed Harris once again composing our score.


The film tells the story of a small group, lead by an Professor Ian Naughton, as they prepare to investigate a famous haunted house, recounting the dark history of the home, as well as diving into their own dark pasts and we aim to break the cliche of paranormal horror. We're tired of cheap jump scares, and want to bring you a truly terrifying film. Our story is also set before the investigation even starts. Where most horror films will take you on the same old journey during the investigation, we set out to tell a real character driven film, that will bring out the horror from the most unlikely places.


We currently have an Indiegogo Campaign running to help fund the film. The love and support has been out of this world and we hit our first goal in 2 weeks, and are set to hit our stretch goal by the campaign end. I truly am blown away, the more money we raise the better the film will be, and it seems the horror community is fully behind us on this project. Check it out and help in anyway you can. Even a share or two means the world to us. 

 

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