If you combined Edward Gorey's Gashlycrumb Tinies ("A is for Amy who fell down the stairs … "), Austin film nerdiness, and a catalogue of some of the coolest horror directors working today, you'd get the upcoming anthology, The ABCs of Death. Taking 26 directors and 26 ways to die, these macabre moviemakers are creating a short film based around a different letter of the alphabet. Even cooler than that is a contest going on right now to find director number 26, so their name can stand alongside genre ghoulies like Ti West (House of the Devil, The Innkeepers), Christopher Smith (Triangle, Black Death), and Simon Rumley (The Living and the Dead, Red White & Blue). Movie god and Alamo Drafthouse CEO/Founder Tim League is co-producing the project, which is being slated for a January 2012 release. Visit the official website for all the details, but before you do, we have some advice to share with you.
Another ABCs participating director, Jason Eisener, has presented his talents before a panel of judges in a similar contest before. This year's exploitation favorite, Hobo with a Shotgun – starring Rutger Hauer as the vigilante vagrant who tries to bring a violent city of savages to justice – started out as a fake trailer made for a contest to promote Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's exploitation double feature, 2007's Grindhouse. Eisener won the contest and was able to screen his work with Grindhouse when it was released. He had planned on making a full-length movie on the weekends with his buddies for a less than zero budget, but winning the contest led to a call from distributors saying they wanted to help finance his film. See? Dreams do come true.
We asked Eisener what advice he had for aspiring filmmakers entering the ABCs contest, who want to become lucky number 26. Check out his words of wisdom below, dust off your cameras, and make the horror happen.
1. You don't need money to pull off something awesome, work with what you have.
2. If you get caught stealing a location, tell the police you're doing a school project.
3. If you have a crew, feed them lunch. A crew with full stomachs is a happy crew, and more eager to help you get great material for the screen.
4. Don't cast your younger brother or sister as an adult character. Find the right people to fit your characters.
5. Show us something we haven't seen on the screen before.