I recently got the chance to talk to director and actor Lee Alliston about his new horror film, ‘The Tapes’. Here, Lee talks about how the idea came about in the first place and which films have inspired him as an artist…
Hey Lee. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. Of course we‘re here to talk to you about your new film, ‘The Tapes’.
You both directed, produced and acted in the feature. I suppose the first question I should ask is – how did the idea come about in the first place? How easy was it to put the film into production?
The film was written by Scott Bates, we produced a short film with Michelle Collins together in 2008, I had to find the funding and eventually we shot the film at my farm in Kent, one of the most difficult things I have ever done (1 year to the day when we finished filming, my farm burned to the ground, spooky).
Tell us a bit about your character in the film…
The farmer, my character, is a swinger, we think, but he turns out to be more sinister than that, you with have to se the film to find out what happened 😉
How would you say the film is different from other horror films released this year? What tricks as a co-director did you try to throw in?
It’s the first “found footage” horror of its type, I didn’t want the audience to see blood and gore, I wanted it to be left to the viewer’s imagination, the mind can do more to scare you than the eyes!
How has the reception been to the film so far?
I have not had any negative feedback what so ever, one young man boasted that it wasn’t GOREY enough, but that was the plan! I have had calls from all over the UK from people telling me how much they enjoyed it.
The film stars Jason Maza, Natasha Sparkes, Arnold Oceng and Nick Nevern – what was it like working with the cast and crew?
The whole crew, including the cast, were great to work with, we had the most horrid weather imaginable, the night before filming it dumped it down with snow, so much that some crew couldn’t get there, we were going to cancel, but decided to go ahead with it.
Let’s talk a bit about you Lee. What made you want to get into the acting and directing chair in the first place?
I lived in Florida in the mid 80’s and went to drama school while I was there, when I came back I acted for about 10 years, it wasn’t profitable enough for me, so started doing security of film sets, then into the location department and into production.
What advice would you give to people wanting to pursue a career in acting and directing?
I would say, get into a good school for either acting or directing, or both, the route I took has taken me 25 years, you could do it in about 5 if you work hard.
What films have inspired you as an artist? Do you have any favourites?
I like thrillers and comedy, some of my favourite films are, ‘Scent Of A Woman’, ‘Its A Wonderful Life’, ‘The Four Feathers’ and ‘The Sixth Sense’.
We should also mention that within your career you’ve also been a location manager and scout – for anyone who isn’t in the no, what does this job usually consist of, and how did you get into that part of the industry?
I was a unit manager on ‘Band Of Brothers’ in 2000, it’s a natural progression to step up to Location Manager, and to be a scout is looking for locations that a director has asked you for.
If you could have dinner with three historical guests (living or dead) – who would they be and why?
Alfred Hitchcock, love his films…..John Huston, great director and actor and Clint Eastwood, my friends worked on a film that he directed last year, and while cleaning up the location, Clint stopped the car he was being driven in and said to the location assistants – “Do you want a hand?” They declined, so he invited them for a beer, the Location Manager was going crazy because they were not doing their jobs, until he found out why, great story, great man.
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
I’m shooting two Bollywood films simultaneously at the moment and have just secured a producer role on an American/British film in the new year with some terrific cast, hope to direct again in the near future.
Thanks for the interview!