Interview with Filmmaker Mark J. Parker (25 YEARS AFTER WOODSBORO)

25 YEARS AFTER WOODSBORO was the winner of BEST FILM at the April 2022 FAN FICTION Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I’ve been a Scream franchise fan since the beginning, since watching the scary commercials on TV and renting the first film in summer 1997 (and asked my friend who saw it before I did to tell me everything about it). I love horror and comedy, and what Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven did, along with the genius cast and crew, was make a love letter for horror fans, and the twists and turns throughout the rest of the sequels, especially the trilogy in the late 90s, say a lot more than just shock value. It made me want to seriously work in the entertainment industry.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

I first had an idea for my own version of Scream 5 in summer 2016, long before they announced and released the official 5th film, and couldn’t get the idea out of my head. I started writing the script in 2017, but other film projects were priority, so I picked it back up in fall 2019 by starting a feature film treatment. I continued writing that throughout lockdown, and then, I turned the opening sequence into a short film script and finished it in 2021 (and sent it to the Fan Fiction Film & Screenplay Festival!). A few revisions later, then casting and hiring, a location change a couple days before filming (just like the first Scream film!), and we shot the short in one snowy day in December 2021. I then edited the film while having Covid during the first couple weeks of January, and posted it online just as the official 5th film came out in theaters nationwide.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?

Modern update

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Besides being scared of copyright issues and finding the right actress to play the lead role, the biggest obstacle was a last minute location change two days before shooting. My original office location got cold feet and pulled out on a Thursday morning, and the shoot was that Saturday. Thankfully, I had seen a second location in the area, and was planning to use that for another film. They came through that same day and were totally cool. Thank you, oHive in Portsmouth, NH! Their office space was actually way better for this story.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I was so grateful! So honored to hear someone say that Wes Craven would be proud. It’s always a joy – and a major relief – if even just a few people like your work, and that it makes sense to them. It’s a risk making any short film, especially a fan film, and especially based on a franchise as beloved and groundbreaking as Scream.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

A long time ago when I was a boy. I fell in love with movies and TV at a young age (my dad showed me Nightmare on Elm Street when I was definitely too young, and I was Freddy Krueger for Halloween when I was 6!). I have tons of scripts that I wrote by hand as a child – some on a typewriter we used to have! – many of them ripoffs or remakes of movies I loved. I wrote a modern version of Dracula that was basically the exact so I knew at a young age I had to be part of the entertainment industry. There was no other path.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Probably Scream – haha.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

I always am a fan of communication. Even if it feels like you’re emailing too much, clear communication is key between festival and filmmaker. When is the screening taking place, how can I find you on social media, who else is in the rundown of films, etc. Also, sharing the link(s) to the film on your site, your social, wherever you want – that’s the ultimate promotion a festival can do.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

I absolutely love FilmFreeway. Not only a nice looking, easy to use site, but they are so communicative, and quickly reply to questions, and are the nicest. I love them! Now if only some festivals were as clear and friendly.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Oh gosh, this is super tough… I’ll be basic and say pizza, since it’s so versatile. Always pizza.

11. What is next for you? A new film?

Yes, I’m thinking of shooting two horror shorts this year – ambitious, I know. One is an original idea, also set in a TV production office, also an idea I’ve had for years. The other is a new idea I’ve had since 25 Years After Woodsboro has become a success for me. It’s another fan film of another horror franchise that started in the 90s… Hopefully I’ll be able to send that to the Fan Fiction Film Festival!

By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival www.wildsound.ca

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