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WiHM: An Interview with Louisa Warren

Women in Horror Month continues today with an interview with Louisa Warren, actor, producer, and director - we're proud to have one of the hardest working indie creators on the circuit with us at Dead Celluloid Towers!

You’ve worked extensively both behind the camera and in front, acting, directing, and producing. What challenges do you find in each of the roles? 

Acting is difficult in the sense of staying in character for long hours, often shooting out of order and so your character’s emotions can feel like you are on a rollercoaster! One minute you are arguing with your screen spouse in a scene, and the next you could be meeting for the first time! Directing can often feel like herding cats on set. You are in charge of instructing every department and making sure you all share the same vision for the end result. Producing especially on a smaller budget scale can require going the extra mile to ensure you lock the the highest production value possible on the money you have. We are often going location scouting not through agencies and seeking permission to film in venues that have not had a film crew before and so they are unsure of what to expect!

You’ve worked within horror a great deal – do you feel that within the industry, horror is an easily accessible genre for relative newcomers? 

I feel that horror is accessible to relative newcomers as it is such a relatable genre - we all  know what makes us scared! Getting that across on screen however is a fun challenge! I think that it is the most enjoyable genre, the storylines can be pushed that much further and everyone loves a bit of fake blood and gory props!

What’s it like directing yourself?

I direct with a producers eye, and being an actor I focus more on the performances to really draw the viewer in. I have really learnt that it is more about what you don’t see, than what you see. The human mind is very powerful, and when you rewatch old classics you realise that they might not have been as gory as your first thought!

What difficulties have you found breaking into an industry that even today is very patriarchal in its leadership?

Money. People say that you can make something with no budget, but there is always something that needs paying for- insurance, hard drives, equipment etc. There is only so much you can save up on a flexible day job around auditions. My biggest challenge so far was getting my first investor locked, and when I did it gave me the confidence to approach more. In terms of the male patriarch dominating industry, I have not really found any challenges on that front - of course there has been tricky situations to deal with but not really from a male/female perspective!

You worked in many aspects in the production of Unhinged (Dead Celluloid’s Best Indie Horror: 2017 Winner). What’s it like spreading yourself into so many roles of film making in one shoot?

That spicy pasta was not going to cook itself. I love cooking and getting stuck into a lot of roles, I always find that smaller teams gel together brilliantly. To make it work it just needs a lot of organising and scheduling, and of course very long hours.

As a director, how do you handle the challenges of making horror on a budget? How do you decide what to show, what not to, and how to use your budget to the best effect?

When the production team breaks down a script we analyse each death and look at the SFX budget. By now we know what works and what it most effective on screen. We order a lot of horror props from America as they seem to be more realistic! I have just bought a new animated prop chainsaw which  is going to make its debut in one of the next films which I am really excited about. There are certain deaths you have to shoot in sections to apply more horror make up which can be time consuming but ultimately worth it. My personal favourite so far is the rubber hammer. (Tooth Fairy / Darker Shades of Elise) The best shot is tilting up on the villain while they brutally smack the victim (floor.) It is so violent and always gets the best reaction. Also the rake scene in Unhinged is very effective.

You seem to be working endlessly – filming back to back constantly. How are you finding the strain of such a demanding schedule?

I can’t remember the last day off and I wouldn’t change it for the world. It is not a job when you love what you are doing.

Going forward, what’s next?

Late 2018 sees the release of my directorial debut DIRTY WORK a spicy erotic thriller distributed by Left Films. We then have CURSE OF THE SCARECROW released by High Octane and BRIDE OF SCARECROW released by ITN- global/Lighthouse Digital Media UK under the name SCARECROW RISING. Both films are light fun films which are are not to be taken too seriously!

2019 sees TOOTH FAIRY our fantasy comic book style horror released by ITN globally, UK to be confirmed. Then our first viking period feature BERSERKER : DEATH FIELDS with plenty of swords, a castle, a genuine re-enactment village and horses! Distributed globally by ITN, UK is to be confirmed.

We are just about to shoot:
Vikings vs Krampus - a Christmas Krampus film set in the Viking era.
Cy:Wife - Our first Sci-Fi film involving certain wives/girlfriends who are not as they seem!
Ready Player Run -A VFX style gaming film where contestants battle against villains before discovering that when they lose all their lives, they die for real.
Viking: A Scarecrow’s curse - Which involves Vikings going up against a revamped scarecrow!

Wow! There's so much on the schedule we can't believe that you found time for us. Thank you so much for joining us, Louisa.

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