Ben Rand is known for his work on To Live (2016), The Lost Ones (2019) and Mothers (2018).
Q & A
Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual/personal level?
Dr. Robert Morgan in The Last Man on Earth, I'm always seeking human connection but can also be my own worst enemy.
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 think one of my bad ideas was making a revenge story I wrote where I started with the revenge and thought I'd figure out the motive for the main characters revenge as I was writing. It could have turned out good but I never thought of a satisfying motive and it turned into just a guy killing people for the sake of shock. The way I try to get to a good idea is I write quick drafts of the same story but in vastly different genres and view points. It kind of takes the weight off of the story being this precious baby and helps me be more objective.
Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
Yes, but sitting quietly in the back. I think a lot of people might be suprised to know I've got a huge horror film love.
When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
I tend look at classic art, different paintings, even photography. Things that help me build an emotional space for the film in my head, that can be used to tie in all the elements of the world to the characters experience of it.
What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
Just for entertainment value I'm gunna say Gremlins, Deadites, and Freddy Krueger. I just wanna see what shenanigans they could get up to when hanging out, sounds like a fun bunch.
Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
Freddy, love his style. Creative works wise I'd say Lovecraft but peronality and lifestyle wise I'd say King. Practical Effects all the way! If we're talking about Pre Apocalypse being the onset of the apocalypse, I'd have to say post. Life may be hard but at least ya know what you're dealing with, the confusion of the apocalypse would be a nightmare.
How do you go about creating the props and sets for your film? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
I'm lucky to work with a production designer who really understands my thoughts and we are very connected from a creative stand point. I'd say this goes back to the world building inspiration. Finding an emotional or psychological grounding for all of the visual elements of the film it kind of helps me stay on track as well. I can ask myself "does this (prop, set, music) make me feel like the main character?"
What scares you, and does it inspire your storytelling?
Silence. Real silence, When suddenly all sounds die down. I think it's an old instinct reflex, like there a predator is near by.
And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
I think it's Night of The Living Dead. I saw it really young and other than the insane and extreme introduction to the concept of human beings eating each other raw, it was the first time I had ever experienced a story that ended like that.