Q&A with Levi Smock, Producer of “The Tree”

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Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual/personal level?
Jack Torrance. Especially in the book, where he is struggling with writing, fatherhood and his own past demons.

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?
I don’t know if I believe in bad ideas as much as bad execution. Once early on I wrote a script about Remus and Romulus. I went back to it years later to see if there was anything worth salvaging and I was pretty redfaced about 10 pages in. I think just writing it out and see what works and what doesn’t is what’s important. I like to think that we only learn from our failures.

Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
As a filmmaker I don’t know if I consider myself part of a horror community because I make so many different kinds of films. As a fan I positively do, especially when it comes to horror novels.

When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
Hmm, I guess that depends on the film. I think looking at the world that we live in is always the most inspiring to me. Our society is so intricate and multifacited, if you can touch on the what’s true to the real world in the world that you are building you can get your audience there with you. That in my opionion is how you make up something really scary.

What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
In the world of The Tree, it depends what episode, but I would stay the f away from creepy houses.

Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
Let’s see… Jack Torrance for sure, Eli from Let the Right One In, Randall Flagg from the Stand and the overall SK Universe, Azazel the demon from Fallen, and John Doe from Seven

Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
Freddy, Stephen King, Practical, Pre Apocalypse.

How do you go about creating the props and sets for your film? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
I ususally let the Art Dept take care of this, although I think having iconic props and sets is a huge part of making something that people remember.

What scares you, and does it inspire your storytelling?
I think I am always frightened by what’s unseen. When I was a kid it was what was lurking under the basement stairs, nowadays it’s a snake in tall grass or something just outside the window in the dark yard.
It definitely inspires my writing. I think finding that real fear in yourself and being able to capture it and get it into what you are working on is the real goal of making horror or even real drama.

And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
Ahhhh so hard… Seven? The Shining? Rosemary’s Baby? The Exorsist? Don’t make me pick!