“Work really hard, and don’t say no to anything … Even if you go to film school and you think, ‘I should be directing,’ take a PA job. Take anything. I would go back to assisting if I could make it work.”
Editor, director, and Blumhouse veteran, Gregory Plotkin, has had a multifaceted film career. Having edited most of the films in the Paranormal Activity franchise, even directing The Ghost Dimension, Greg went on to edit Happy Death Day and Get Out. His latest directorial horror entry is Hell Fest – a horror theme park, slasher extravaganza, staring the Candyman himself, Tony Todd!
We sat down with Greg to discuss Hell Fest and his career path to directing.
As always, here are Gregory Plotkin’s 3 keys for aspiring horror filmmakers:
- Be a PA. Greg’s experience as a PA (Production Assistant) was so educational, he claims he would go back to doing it if he could find the time. Being a PA gave him a very thorough understanding of what everyone on a film crew does which enabled him to confidently navigate every set he was on and effectively collaborate and communicate.
- Say yes to everything. When Greg edited Paranormal Activity 2 for Blumhouse, his friends frowned on the project, claiming that the budget was too low to be taken seriously. He ignored them and today cites the opportunity as one of the greatest gifts of his entire career since it paved the way for larger projects and ultimately directing. Greg was given 16 different endings to cut for Paranormal Activity 2, but he cut 17 (the 17th being his own idea). Guess which one was chosen. As editor, Greg demonstrated his reliability, talent, and inventiveness, all qualities that producers seek in directors. He then went on to direct Paranormal Activity 6 and edit huge movies like Happy Death Day and Get Out.
- Find strategic opportunities to up your production value. When Greg was filming Hell Fest, his favorite haunted attraction, Netherworld was switching locations and put their entire setup in storage. Greg struck a deal with them to use their props, mazes, and sets for Hell Fest. This let him inexpensively fill his movie with elaborate and authentic sets, without having to build them from scratch. Always be on the lookout for inexpensive opportunities to enhance the scale and production value of your projects.
More details at: https://www.dreadcentral.com/news/283177/horror-business-filmmaking-advice-from-hell-fest-director-gregory-plotkin/
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