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Q&A with Domonic Smith, Director of “Van”

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ALTER: Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Horror spirit animal?
Domonic Smith: It would have to be Freddy Krueger. It’s less of the child murdering aspect of course, and more about the dream haunting aspect. I’m huge Dreamscaper, and it’s the only other escape from reality outside of movies for me. I actually love the Nightmare On Elm Street franchise so much, I directed three trailers last year in hopes of getting interest from the studios. I got a ton of fan love and over 20 million views across three social media platforms, and tons of interest from the top horror blogs and podcasts across the net.

A: You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?
DS: I think most bad ideas I’ve had only became bad ideas with time. My better ideas also only come with time. I’m a hard critic on myself, and as time passes I look at a lot of my past projects as bad. But it’s only a sign of my growth as an artist, and a storyteller. I’m very aware of my present abilities, so it makes me look back at my past and recognize how much better I am, and by comparison I view those as bad ideas. But as far as ways of finding my spark, it’s usually thru my dreams, or thru music. Music has inspired me for years when it comes to my writing.

A: Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
DS: I definitely view myself as being apart of the horror community. Especially since Van and my Nightmare On Elm Street project. My love for horror films is what got me into filmmaking.

A: When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
DS: I’m always drawing inspiration from music, my dreams, and my kids. I love pulling from my kids because their at that age where everything is amazing, and their imaginary is thru the roof. I like to think I have a pretty great grasp on imagination. But I firmly agree that no adult imagination can rival with that of a child’s. Becoming an adult definitely dulls our flame a tiny bit, and even more so if we don’t control it.

A: What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
DS: If I woke up in one of my films, I would strap on my emotional seat belt. Because I would probably lose whoever is dearest to my heart. If I were the lead, that is.

A: Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
DS: Freddy Krueger, The Creeper from Jeepers Creepers, Candy Man, Pyramid Head from Silent Hill, and the doctor from House on Haunted Hill.

A: Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
DS: Freddy (obviously)
Stephen King all day… Unless he’s directing.
Practical
Pre Apocalypse – the idea of the world ending, is a lot scarier than a world that has ended.

A: How do you go about creating the props and sets for your film? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
DS: I have a team of buddies who work in the art department who help put my pieces together. A lot of the props I come up with are usually already based in reality, I just create ways of making it my own so we can add our sci fi or horror spin on it. For a film called reset, we used the ISIS puzzle, but as a time travel device. And for my Nightmare project, we created a variable light box as a form of training someone to Lucid dream.

A: And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
DS: If I had to absolutely choose one at this moment, it would probably be Jeepers Creepers. But Nightmare On Elm Street is a VERY close second.