Dante Tomaselli talks to The Movie WhoreThe Movie Whore 1 comment
Quit asking who Dante Tomaselli is and read about the man. He is an Independent film maker, which as you know is my favorite kind of film maker. A list of his films includes Horror, Desecration and Satan's Playground.
This man is a jack of all trades when it comes to making movies. This is how film makers start. They have limited resources and must be able to do it all. I applaud all of those that go this route and make their movies, their way. So let's get to know Dante.
TMW: You are a man that wears a lot of hats. Writer, director, producer and composer. Which of these provides the biggest challenge when working on a film?
DT: My lifelong love has been horror movies. I read recently somewhere, I think it was Fangoria, where M. Night Shyamalan said he didn't want to be pegged as a horror filmmaker. Of course I love to be called a horror filmmaker. I can say it with pride.
Definitely directing is the most challenging. And film scoring. To me that's half of the film, the soundtrack. I design the soundtrack like it's an album. Either it's my tracks or it's compositions by cameo-ing composers. I take care of the connective tissue and pull it all together. I'm in complete control of the sound design. I hear it very clearly in my mind. The glue, the gel, the gloss...it's something I can see and hear and touch and taste...I'm not capable of separating the vision from the sound. They interlock...uncontrollably. For the films sound mix, I'm very prepared, I come in with my own demo since I'm constantly accumulating sounds and compositions for my films. I'm a sound hunter. I also always work with freelance musicians, to bring another dimension. They supply me with samples of their ambient horror music. I weave it into the soundscape. Or I dip into my gigantic personal sound library and feature my collection of sounds completely. Either way, whatever works best for the film is what wins. The sound mix is definitely my favorite part of the filmmaking process.
With the shooting complete, everythings crystallizing. The sound mix is the last step, the final step, it's an exciting time for me. Sound studios can never believe how many individual sounds I bring in that have to be loaded into the system. I love an elaborate sound mix, a 3-D sound mix. I'm happiest because the sounds and the images have found each other...and they're about to be joined, merged...married. That's magic. I make sure my aural palette is humongous. I want a lot of options. I'm never satisfied, always changing my mind. I'm painting with sounds. I have a neurological condition called synesthesia. I basically see colors when I hear sounds. I've had this since I was a little boy and it has nothing to do with drugs. That's probably part of the reason why my films are color saturated and there's a blurring of the senses.
TMW: Now that is how to paint an image of what to expect from a movie. The way you talk about sound is rare. After seeing one of your movies I can see where the the sound comes from. It really adds to the experience.
You work in Horror. What is the key to writing a good horror script?
DT: For me, it's surrendering to the movie, becoming a vessel for it. I feel like I'm playing Ouija Board with my mind. I wrote my most recent script, in one month flat.
Actually before that there was a one month gestation period, where I wrote nothing substantial, I just brain stormed. Different concepts would pop out of my brain and I would highlight them with a sentence or paragraph. I don't enjoy writing, it's not pleasant. It was hell writing each of my scripts, especially . Very very painful. To extract it...I know I can do it and I will continue to at least co-write my movies, I have to...but it's rough. Torture.
TMW: I have never heard writing referred to as torture but then again when I think back to a time when I thought I could write it was a pretty painful experience.
As a producer what are some of the things you do to get money for your films?
DT: I'm more of a creative producer, not a money producer. I make sure the film gets finished.
Finding money for your own film is always nightmarish. It's the worst the part about making a film but unfortunately also the most important. I was lucky that I met my first investor at a Film Market in NYC, called the IFFM...the Independent Feature Film Market. It's held at Angelika Film Center downtown and I had my Desecration short with me. I positioned it as a trailer. I was 27 and about 6 months later I was shooting the feature length version with his investment. Other investors after Jack Swain have been through word of mouth.
TMW: So you have the script and you have the money which hat do you put on next, director or composer?
DT: Director and composer. They completely go together for me. Before directing on set, I already have the bulk of the soundtrack planned out. And as I'm directing I'm always thinking of the sounds; they're echoing in my mind. Each and every camera angle has its own inflection. I hear it as I see it. Synesthesia.
TMW: What is your next project?
DT: I'm shooting my fourth feature, this summer. It's my first hardcore horror movie and I'm really going for the jugular with the scares. I didn't get to finish The Ocean, my last project, because the producers never secured all the money. I'm pouring all of my rage into this new movie. It's a vicious horror film, Torture Chamber.
TMW: To hear you are pouring all your rage into a movie called Torture Chamber gives my inner Horror fan a warm fuzzy feeling. Of course I love to see Horror movie film makers push the envelope.
Since this is an interview with The Movie Whore, what are some of your favorite movies that would make you a movie whore? You know the guilty pleasures.
So let this be a lesson to all those would be film makers out there. It can be done but it takes a lot of work and a little luck. It doesn't hurt to be good either. I see the dedication that Dante brings to his work and I encourage you to check out his flicks. You will not be disappointed.