I recently got the chance to talk to director Derek Lee Nixon about his new film, ‘Supernatural Activity’. Here, Derek talks about how the idea for the film came about in the first place and what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set…
Hey Derek. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘Supernatural Activity’.
Thank you Matt, I look forward to your UK fans seeing and enjoying ‘Supernatural Activity’!
What’s the general plot line surrounding the film?
The movie is a parody of the recent found footage genre a la ‘Cloverfield’, ‘Paranormal Activity’, ‘Blair Witch Project’, ‘The Last Exorcism’, ‘The Devil Inside’, etc…and it has its own turning story about fictitiously famed television Ghost Hunter/illusionist Damon Dealer who decides to allow self acclaimed documentary film maker Tuck Thomas to shoot a documentary about Damon Dealer’s hoaxes. They set out to find the Smallsquatch where Damon plans to disprove the theory that the Smallsquatch exists when things get real! I’ll let the audience pick up from there.
You directed the film – how did the idea come about in the first place and how did you get involved in the production?
The writer and I have been friends for a long time and we have worked on several other projects together. His pen name on ‘Supernatural Activity’ is M Art Twain but his real name is Andrew Pozza. We knew that the ‘Paranormal Activity’ franchise was gonna live for a while so we opted to write something with more intelligent humor and something the audience is gonna work for. His dynamics as a writer are amazing. I brought the group of investors together and we couldn’t afford to hire a director so I volunteered for it to be my debut. I have spent seven years in production along with 20 in front of the camera, and lets face it…a found footage movie? How could I ruin it…?
How hard was it to put the film into production?
Thank god, it was pretty easy. My co producer Kurt Wehner and I had just wrapped up on our previous film ‘A Schizophrenic Love Story’ together and we said hey, lets pop out another before the year ends.
What’s the reception been like to the film so far?
It has been great so far. We didn’t want to make another scary movie with the bathroom jokes, Andrew really wanted to give it a turning story and likeable characters that would play well. I think it was the right decision because our first tw0 reviews have been pretty amazing. We feel very blessed!
How would you say this film is different and unique to other spoof films? What tricks as a director did you try to throw in?
The jokes are wittier and intelligent, we didn’t want to rely on showing Carmen Electra running through the woods to sell a DVD. We again, have a turning story that makes you laugh, and feel for the characters and even gives you some sadness and concern in the end.
The film stars Andrew Pozza, Liddy Bisanz, Joey Oglesby, Donny Boaz, Devin Bonnee, Philip Marlatt, Tim Ogletree and Liz Waters – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
The casting was something that I am very proud of. We couldn’t have asked for a better ensemble! The actors were phenomenal in each of their characters! Like anything, bringing diffferent personalities into one space can be interesting…NOT HERE. On the set, we had no issues and each of these people are humble, hard-working individuals that wanted to see the film succeed. There were many, many – (I cannot stress many enough) laughs. It was hard to keep a straight face behind the monitor with some of these actors. The Christian Bale rant during the credits was a tear jerker of laughs, same with the séance… too many to list.
Let’s talk a bit about you Derek. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
My mom got me into acting at the young age of 8. It stuck, I starred in my first major motion picture at 19 and I caught the bug. Acting is my passion, producing was always the plan B. Whatever, I do in this industry is my dream career. I can be moving lights or doing crafty all day everyday for the rest of my life and I would be happy!
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
This is not an over night business, like anything else…persistence and dedication are the key to a successful future. Don’t cut corners and keep your nose clean. Integrity is key and necessary for longevity.
Which films have inspired you as a director? Any favourites?
Nothing on the tip of my tongue at the moment.
You’re an actor as well and have been in a number of well-known films and TV projects – which actors/actresses have been your favourites to work with and why? Any good stories?
Man, I wish there were one. Starring in a movie with the Olsen Twins was quite the surreal trip. Living in Rome for a couple of months, I did a movie called ‘The Jerk Theory’ where I actually learned to play the guitar (sort of) hahaha was an amazing experience. Working with some good friends and the script was great as well. Lots of stories, lots of memories. I’ll keep them in this bank. 🙂
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
- My daughter Tyler Jade Nixon – to make sure she eats all of her food.
- A Mayan – to find out why their calendar ended in 2012
- My father – to ask him why he was a prick all my life.
On your off-days, how do you like to kick back and relax?
Matt, I wish I had days off! When I relax I spend time with the kiddo and/or girlfriend Kellie Solis.
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
Some amazing stuff were putting together. Thanks you for the interview and I look forward to you guys seeing ‘Supernatural Activity’. Thanks to all the UK fans out there. Add me on Facebook!
Thanks for the interview!