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Written by Written by Joe Sherlock   
Mar 16, 2006 at 02:00 AM
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DG March 06 - "Dark Woods"
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Jake Daniels' DARK WOODS hits SRS DVD soon with a slash and a splash of blood! We poked into Jake's brain to see what makes him tick and how he came to make this new slasher!

DG: How did you get into making movies? Are you and have you always been a horror fan?

Jake: I was cast in a remake of a popular horror series that takes place in the woods and involves a guy in a hockey mask, unfortunately for that filmmaker his project never got off the ground but fortunately for me I started looking more closely at what I thought horror fans wanted to see and thought a trip back to the way 80's slasher films were made might be a good idea. I love the 80's slasher movies or anything 80's actually, seems like there aren't alot of movies that come out like the way they used to make them. Fun and Cheesy- thats what I enjoy the most, something you can sit down with your friends and laugh at or with.

DG: Did you start with shorts? Music videos? Neither?

Jake: I started with Dark Woods, was my first time ever having anything to do with a movie and was a great experience. Almost everyone involved with the project was also thier first time working on a movie so it was great to watch everyone grow as a team together to get this project done. We all battled and challenged eachother in alot of ways and I don't think anybody wanted to quit, We were all in it together for the long haul.

The music videos and shorts came later, I did the shorts to try different camera techniqes to see how I could edit different things together and to try and expand as a filmmaker. I had some things I wanted to try to see if I could do and make work in a short before I attempted to draw them out in a feature movie.

DG: What was the inspiration for DARK WOODS?

Jake: Well the obvious one is Friday the 13th, I love that particular series as well as Nightmare on Elm Street. Although I prefer the older versions much more over the stuff they are putting out lately.

The idea of "Dark Woods" was to bring back some of the cheesy things that alot of people remember growing up with, while also putting together a new villian people could have fun with cause maybe they have a crazy family member or seen someone like him. (haha)

DG: I think there are going to be comparisons to stuff like Friday the 13th and other camp-based horror flicks. What sets DARK WOODS apart? Or is the idea to bring back fond memories of those classic camp slashers?

Jake: I definately wanted to bring back the fond memories of the classic camp slashers, as well as plant my own seed among the current generation of horror fans that didn't get a chance to watch some of those movies while creating an original story line and give people something to have fun with and not take to seriously.

DG: Where did you shoot the movie? How long did it take?

Jake: Dark Woods was shot in Florida over 13 days and then I moved to California and had to do 3 more days of reshoots while I was editing which became quite the task. I used stand-ins to match actors/actresses that were all the way on the other side of the country. The red head that doesn't get in the truck in the first part of the movie wasn't the same girl I used in the original shot. So using some wigs and same color of clothes I tried to match them up best I could. Also had that same body double rub her legs so I could add that shot in with what I had. Was a little tricky to get lighting to match plus we had to use a different camera and I wasn't sure if the footage would match. We had originally shot on minidv and when I got to california unfortunately my camera had busted and I couldn't afford to buy another one so all I had was a HI-8 and I think it worked but the jury is still out :)

DG:Any interesting or funny stories from the set?

Jake: The cast pulled one on me- What had happened is I had shown up on set and was getting ready to shoot when one of the Production Assistant's walks over and tells me that Trish Dempsey (Pamela) wouldn't be able to make it today and had broken her arm from a fall that she took the night before and would be in a cast for atleast 4-6 weeks. I immediately went into a panic as I only had a few days left at the camping location and was trying to figure out how in the heck I was going to hide her cast when she walks up in a sling and pulls her arm out and says "we got ya". Could have shot them all but was so relieved she was okay.

DG: Hilarious in hindsight but I'm sure it's maddening on set! You wore a lot of hats - writing, directing, acting and co-editing. How do you manage to handle it all?

Jake: Well I had a great cast and crew, none of us quit- everything seemed to click and when it wasn't clicking something would happen that made everyone laugh and/or made us focused again on what we set out to accomplish. Seemed like everyday if someone couldn't make it on the crew someone else would step in and do just as good of a job as that person if not better. We had a few 20 hours days, some where alot of us would go on no sleep and come back the next day and do it all over again. Everyone was determined to get this project finished during filming and that definately helped to push everyone. As for me I made a promise to my cast/crew that I would get this movie out and me not wanting to let them down has alot to do with my drive- they busted thier butts for me and the least I could do was make sure this project got finished and out. That and I didn't want to fail, nobody does but I take it really personal when I start something and can't finish it.

DG: Your current project is THE DEVIANTS - what can you tell us about that one?

Jake: The Deviants is alot more of psychological horror and I think the story really gets in your mind. We had a screening a few weeks back and I saw one of the people that attended a few days later and she was talking about the weird dreams she had. The musical score by Le'rue Delashay (http://www.leruedelashay.com for samples) is awesome. It is a much different movie then Dark Woods, as it plays with your mind alot more. The Cast and Crew I used were very inexperianced except a few people which helped to keep things fresh and fun and I think that carries over to what you see on the screen. The story is based around 2 Scientist that clone themselves and I thought that would be an interesting subject to tackle for a horror film. We made that one in 13 days and used a condemned motel and a mental hospital for 2 of the locations.

DG: What else do you have in the works? What can fans look forward to in the near future?

Jake: Well I'm currently making a movie titled "Deviant Behavior" a comedy in the style similar to jackass. This summer I will begin work on Dark Woods 2 (can't have an 80's style movie without a sequel right?) and then will follow that up with a comedy tenatively titled "Goof Balls".

DG: GoofBall?! Sounds like an 80's sex comedy to me! Anything else you'd like to add?

Jake: For those of you intersted in checking out "The Deviants" we are showing it in Redding, California on March 17th 7pm at the Cascade Theater.
(http://www.cascadetheater.org) And for "Deviant Behavior" we are showing that one May 26th 7pm also at the Cascade theater. For further information on me and my work you can visit http://www.jdbmovies.com


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