Other Interviews: Bryon Blakey | Jason Brasier
Matt Darst | Gary McClurg
Darrell Claunch | Mike Strain Jr.
Nathan Shelton | Jim Bultas
Daniel Bowers | Aaron Coffman
Frederic Doss | John Willard
Ryan Shields | Scott-Arthur
Ross Payton | Sarah Kessinger
Ethan Shaftel | Alec Joler
Johnno Zee | Michael Joiner
Ricki Holmes | Maurice Devereaux
Kyle Rankin

Ross Payton
Director
Motor Home from Hell

1. When and why did you decide to be a filmmaker?

I don't know when but it seemed easier than getting a real job.

2. Did you have any traditional education or training in this industry? Do you feel that's necessary for success?

I have a masters in English with a focus on creative writing. I studied under Diana Botsford to learn screenwriting. I don't think it's necessary though.

3. What are your favorite films and why?

Seven Faces of Dr. Lao. It redefined how I looked at the world. Life is a circus and you can't take it too seriously. We're all random arrangements of molecules and 99% of what we worry about is vastly less important than the stuff we take for granted.

4. Who are your favorite directors and why?

The Coen Brothers. Because they are transcendent gods and we do not deserve their movies especially Fargo, Barton Fink, The Big Lebowski, Raising Arizona, Miller's Crossing... well a lot of them.

Kenji Fukusaku. Battles without Honor or Humanity is a truly epic crime saga. Battle Royale is fucking insane.

Dario Argento. Suspiria alone makes him the best of the Italian horror directors.

John Carpenter. He gave us his version of the Thing and so many other perfect movies from the 80s so we can forgive him for the rest.

5. Who are your favorite actors and why?

Robert Downey Jr. His performance in Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang blew me away.

Kate Blanchett. She was incredible in Elizabeth and most of her other work is great.

6. What is your favorite genre and why?

Horror and comedies because they both rely on overwhelming your senses and mind with something unexpected and new. Great comedies present something so absurd we must laugh and horrors present something so terrifying we must scream.

7. Did you write any shorts before tackling a feature? Do you think it's important to do that?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyqGlpGCSho

Yeah, it's a good way to learn about the process.

8. How do you get ideas for your writing? Do you have a process you go through?

I just write down any ideas I get so I can use them later. Keep a notebook on hand.

9. What do you look for in an actor?

Availability.

10. Do you have any tips for keeping actors happy?

Feed and praise them like a neurotic Labrador puppy.

11. What do you think makes a good director?

Don't be an asshole but stand up for yourself.

12. What is the most important thing you learned on your first feature?

It will take much longer and more work than you think. It is not for the faint of heart.

13. What is your highest priority as a filmmaker?

Getting it finished.

14. What was it like showing a finished feature to an audience?

Nerve wracking.

15. What do you think makes a really good movie and why?

It presents something novel and fascinating to the audience.

16. What is the most important piece of advice you've give an aspiring filmmaker?

Be the guy who fixes problems without nary a complaint. Don't be the apathetic slacker or a drama queen.

External Links

James Cameron - Academy of Achievement
Robert Zemeckis - Academy of Achievement