Interview with Filmmaker Dylan Coburn (FEAR INCARNATE)

FEAR INCARNATE, 7min., UK, Fantasy
Directed by Dylan Coburn
A boy faces his ultimate fear to protect his family.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Working as a storyboard artist for other writers & directors for so long, I felt strongly that I needed to make something original, and whatever it was going to be – it needed to evoke self reflection from the audience. I love self reflection! So — what better conflict to explore than our FEAR. I wanted to use all my experience in Visual Storytelling, Animation & VFX to make something that shined a spotlight on primal instincts that unconsciously drive our behaviour as human beings on this planet right now.

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

I started writing in early 2019, so it took 3 and a half years from blank page to screen. Once we realised after many discussions, that being funded for this project by the New Zealand Film Commission was never going to happen, I realised I needed to go it alone and fund it myself. Then the shackles came off and the Beast emerged into something unleashed and primal — and at that moment the project got a lot more interesting, eventually becoming the unapologetic metaphor that it is.

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

Love Story. This might come across as unusual given the fantasy/horror theme, but I’ve always thought of the film as a metaphor for the challenges we willingly face for others – it’s about love. Most great stories are.

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

I think my storyboard for the film was the reason we managed to attract such great talent, but that talent is highly sought after and my crew were all working professionals. So I had to be extremely patient and work around their busy schedules. This of course, can be difficult because many of the moving parts, rely on others to be done in a timely way – but my experience earlier in my career running animation/VFX projects really helped me manage time and money to make sure it was (mostly) not wasted. Of course working my butt off to pay for this thing was hard, I worked many double-shifts and 80+ hr weeks – but even more difficult was having to step back and be patient to allow this project to become the best it could be.

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

It was brilliant! Made my day – I love hearing people’s take on the film and what it meant to them. I made this film for them — so when they see value in the film it makes me all cozy and warm inside. It immediately justifies the struggle to make it – AMAZING!

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

For as long as I can remember I’ve drawn pictures and been fascinated by comic books. So I’ve ALWAYS wanted to draw sequential art — then came Star Wars when I was 5 yrs old and of course I would have leapt at the opportunity to make films, but I think being from a small town in New Zealand (and believe me that is very small indeed) the goal of making movies was totally beyond me. So I just kept being a massive movie fan, and drawing all the time. But then I learned about how animation was made… one drawing at a time. Animated films were just stacks of drawings! Once I saw my drawings coming to life I was utterly seduced by animation and started working on Donald Duck cartoons for Disney TV in 1995. 20 years later I started storyboarding live-action films, and a natural progression for a Storyboard Artist is either towards Production Design or Directing — for me Storyboards/Writing/Directing are all part of a holy trinity of figuring out the movie. So – here we are.

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

That’s a tricky question, because I go through obsessive periods with films & directors. However, I think it must be The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. I think this because when I play the soundtrack, I can hear the dialogue from the movie playing in my head lining up with the track lay, so I must have seen it a lot!

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

What artists always need is others to spread the word that their work has value. You’re already doing that, so all I can ask is to keep it up – and the more exposure and positive critique a film can get – the better.

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

Very good. It’s easy and seems to work perfectly.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Indonesian Nasi Goreng. Can’t go past it.

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

For now, I’m locked to the page, writing FEAR INCARNATE episodic TV. It’s an anthology series exploring fear from different perspectives, and although it can sizzle my mind at times, I know I need to crack it on the page for a first draft before developing visually – so that’s my current obsession.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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