Finally back to writing over at the HotPixel Blog, and this month’s Hot List covers a film that’s very near and dear to my heart (mostly because The Boy was the sound mixer on it). I usually don’t like horror, but Mr. Jones is a horror movie that makes you think and is anchored by a solid relationship between the two leads. I was able to talk to the film’s writer/director, Karl Mueller, about making the film, and the result is over at the HotPixel blog right now!!
This is writer-director Karl Mueller’s first feature film in the director’s chair. Up until Mr. Jones, Mueller had been working as a screenwriter and developed a strong working relationship with producer, Ross Dinerstein. Together, they worked on several projects, including 2012’s The Pact, another horror project. When that film did well, Dinerstein’s financiers were excited to embark on another, similar project, so he turned to Mueller, whom he already trusted as a writer, and asked him for a new story. This time, if they moved forward, Mueller would also get to sit in the director’s chair.
“It’s a tough thing,” Mueller explains. “There’s no ‘apprentice path’ to becoming a director. People who don’t know anything about the film industry will say things like Oh, well just be a second assistant director then a first assistant director! But if you actually work on sets, that’s a career path unto itself. Being an AD is a skill set unto itself, and – because there’s so few slots available to be the director, the boss of the set – nobody’s gonna naturally bump you up. You have to figure out a way to leap up a level or game the system. And there are a million ways that’s done, but for me, the thing I could create that could give me some leverage to get me in the director’s chair was a script.”
However, Mueller warns budding writer-directors not to be too ambitious budget-wise when it comes to writing their first, or even their first few scripts. “You have to make a certain level of script, within a certain budget,” he says. “You can’t just write the next Star Wars and say ‘I wanna direct this!’ That’s not gonna happen!”
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