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An Interview with Chase McNaughton About Creature

What was your first film project?

My first film project was an interesting attempt. I wrote and co-directed a small crime thriller short that took place in the back alley of the company where I used to intern called, Hollywood Casting and Film. I was definitely not as adept as I should have been, but it was, and still is, my biggest insight of what a filmmaker’s work ethic should be like.

What inspired you to make Creature?

One of my favorite people of all time, Guillermo Del Toro, once said, “Monsters, I believe, are patron saints of our blissful imperfections.” After hearing those words, I wanted to make a monster movie that can represent a character and their imperfections and turmoils they go through. Feeling alone, being rejected, making mistakes… These are all monsters that we try to overcome everyday and if we don’t fight back, they will consume us.

When did you realize that you wanted to make films and what was it like to attend film school?

I was always a nerdy kid who loved movies, but I always felt like it was too risky of a career path for me until much later. After taking my first video productions class as a communications student, I realized how much I actually loved it and became engulfed by it. The school I went to was not a film school, so I told my parents that I feel more at home with studying and creating movies. After making my case, they were generous and understanding enough to allow me to transfer schools to pursue a film degree. I honestly would not be here if it were not for them.

Which directors have been influential in your work?

Guillermo Del Toro is the filmmaker who influenced me to make this short. His unique vision for fantasy horror is something that has always fascinated me and his mastery of practical effects is also something I wanted to try to experiment with on this film. You really can’t get Del Toro’s artistry from anywhere else. I have also always greatly admired filmmakers like Akira Kurosawa, David Fincher, and Denis Villeneuve, who have always influenced me in different ways on different films.

What genre of filmmaking do you like to work on?

Nothing excites me more than a horror, sci-fi, and/or fantasy project. I’ve always loved the creative process in making dark and obscure atmospheres and tones. I also love thinking about things that could exist beyond this world. Possibilities are always endless with horror, sci-fi, and fantasy and when a cool idea hits, I want to make it.

What is the most challenging aspect of making an independent film for you?

The challenge that I believe I struggled with the most on the set of Creature was keeping the cast, crew, and work drive on set as gracious to the best of my abilities. Good morale is crucial for any film set to be successful. I was not an experienced director at the time, but I knew I couldn't get impatient or frustrated with any inconvenience, because it would dictate the overall tone of the set. I had to learn how to problem solve quickly, maintain harmonious relationships with my cast and crew, and present constructive energy to everyone, even if I was going crazy on the inside. Fortunately, with the help and support of the production team we were able to maintain balance.

What is your plan for distributing your indie film further to a greater audience?

We are still in the beginning stages of our festival circuit. For now, we are seeing how film performs at festivals and take it on from there. I do have many exciting and scary ideas for a feature that I might end up writing in the future that would include expanding the lore of the creature and developing the character arcs from the original short further.

How can cinema change the world and have an impact on society?

Cinema has changed my life more times than I can count, but I believe filmmakers should not focus on changing the world as a whole with their films. I think their primary focus should be on impacting an individual person. I see each movie viewing as a personal relationship with an audience member, because we all have our own subjective experience when watching a movie. We are all struggling to find a calling, a voice, or even a friend in this crazy world of ours. If a movie can help someone feel, think, or empathize, then that person can take on the world and can be the impact on society. When you help change one person, you help change the world.

What is your next film project?

I have just finished producing a sci-fi short film about climate change called Remnant. It is currently in post production, but I can’t be more excited to show it to the world when it is finally complete.

How was your film received in the festival circuit?

We are still in the early beginnings of our festival circuit, so we hope that the film will continue making success with the upcoming festivals.


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