Interview with a Sultry Screenwriter and Film Director: Staci Layne Wilson!

Published July 9, 2014 by glgiles

Staci Layne Wilson is a screenwriter and film director whose artistic muses often lead her into the Twilight Zone. Some of the places you can find her darkly delightful work:

Keepsakes Book Trailer – https://vimeo.com/87879097

Self Portraits Book Trailer – https://vimeo.com/88459015

Fetish Factory Film Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZyr2iuaiDE

“Keepsakes” on Amazon Kindle here.

“Keepsakes” Audio Book here.

Q. Sincera Alexander’s voice draws the listener in from the first word of the audiobook “Keepsakes.” I especially loved “Mood Ring.” How did you know that Sincera Alexander, KK Rider, Kurt Lambert and others would be perfect for the parts?

A. Thanks. “Mood Ring” is one of my favorite tales, too. I’ve always been fascinated with the idea that objects can be imbued with evil… cursed, if you will. “Mood Ring” is a story that needed an unusually silky, sensuous voice, because the subject matter is highly seductive. Usually, I draw from my pool of talented friends and colleagues. But in this case, it had to be pretty specific so I sent out a public casting notice. You would be amazed at how many actors applied… whose voices were absolutely nothing like I’d specified in the casting notice! Instead of Barry White, I got a bunch of guys who sounded more like Betty White! Crazy. Fortunately, Sincera was one of the first actors to audition, and he nailed it. KK was the right choice for “Death-Sized”, because she’s got a snarky, plucky delivery which makes the dialogue really pop. She went the extra mile to learn a Cajun accent, and how to pronounce the provincial expressions I used in my writing. Although the story doesn’t take place in Louisiana, it’s all about happens when a tiny voodoo doll comes to life and has big, bad plans. Curt is an actor whom I’ve known socially for about a year – so, from listening to his hilarious impressions at parties, the way he quotes classic movie dialogue, and knowing he has a flair for the dramatic, I thought for sure he’d be great as the disturbed, disgruntled dental assistant who goes on a tooth-stealing spree. This story is especially tricky, because a lot of it is from the POV of an unlikable character. Thanks to Curt’s innate likability, you want to stick with him and see how it all ends.

Q. What was recording in KK Rider Studios like?

A. It was awesome. It’s actually a closet, but it’s all sound-proofed (mostly… it does happen to be near the Burbank Airport!) and KK has everything set up so we could access the stories on an iPad (no paper-rustles) and the actors could pause and record at will. (Sincera recorded his own story and sent it to me via email; and Leslie S. Osborne, who does the voice intros and outros on the audiobook, helped out with equalizing the sound and so on.) It was a great collaboration, getting all the little bits and pieces together to form one fun audiobook.

Q. Loved the “Self Portraits” Book Trailer with Egon, Leonor and Louis, so I’m looking forward to reading the novella. What made Diane Ayala Goldner, Andrew McGee, James R. Petix, Rochelle Moore and Camille Calvin the perfect casting choices?

A. Thank you! It’s not easy to cast actors who are based on real people – in this case, the spirits of surreal artists Egon Schiele, Leonor Fini, and Louis Wain were more interpretive than impersonated to the letter. Still, when you find the right actors some wonderful alchemy happens between what’s on the page and who’s in front of the camera. I’ve always had a knack for casting. I just kind of know who’s going to be right, and… I’m always right!

Q. Yes, Ma’am, you are! Awesome choices! “Keepsakes” is described as “a creepy novella…a triptych of tales focusing on three collectors of evil items–but which came first, the evil or the item?” Will the question be answered by the novella’s end?

A. What fun would that be? As Oscar Wilde famously said, “When a truth becomes fact, it loses all its intellectual value.” I love leaving things open for interpretation, and to provoke thought.

Q. I couldn’t agree more. You directed, shot and edited the book trailer for “Keepsakes.” How was it working with Brooke Lewis as ‘The Jewelry Collector,’ Mike Mendez as ‘The Tooth Collector’ and Alisa Burket as ‘The Doll Collector?’

A. They were wonderful. They are all my friends of many years, and so they stepped up to help me out. Brooke Lewis is a fabulous scream-queen and actress who’s usually cast in quite humorous parts, so it was a joy to see her seethe as an embodiment of evil. In the audiobook, her character is in the “Mood Ring” story. Mike Mendez, who’s a terrific horror and sci-fi film director (he did “Grave Dancers”, and the recent cult hit, “Big-Ass Spider”), provides the face to Curt Lambert’s voice as the creepy tooth-hoarder in “Misfortune Cookie”. Finally, Alisa Burket (a fabulous singer and songwriter), channels mystery and beauty as a doll collector. Not the same character KK reads in the audio book, but she exists in that same netherworld of “Death-Sized”.

Q. How was Mars of Dead House Music chosen for the score?

A. Again: I dipped into the deep well of my super-talented friends. I first met Mars when I was a journalist working for Horror.com. After I reviewed a film he did the score for back in in 2006 — and I noted that basically the only good thing about it was the music — he reached out to thank me and we became friends. We both love guitar-based rock, and synth film scores ala Goblin and Tangerine Dream. Mars has since scored nearly all my short films, and is currently working on the music for my feature-length directorial debut. The movie is called “Fetish Factory”, and it’s a sexy, saucy zom-com about burlesque dancers pitted against blood-thirsty zombies in Hollywood. He’s got amazing instincts, and he’s extremely dedicated to crafting the most striking theme to fit each scenario onscreen.

Q. What’s in the pipeline for the remainder of 2014?

A. We are in the editing room for “Fetish Factory”, of which I am very proud. I cannot wait to show it to everyone. It’s produced by up-and-comers Blanc-Biehn, so chances are good it will not only see the light of day — it’ll bask in it. Hopefully by Halloween, but there is no release date set as of yet. I’ve completed the script for “Fembot”, a sci-fi thriller starring Michael Biehn, and am about to begin on “The Lincoln”, a wild adventure which stars Jennifer Blanc and will also be directed by her. In other news, I’m novelizing a totally badass vampire comic book (as of now, I’m beholden to an NDA – can’t wait to share the good word in detail!).

Q. Where can readers go to connect with you and your amazing work?

A. Thanks for asking, Georgia. I’m pretty easy to find. Facebook/StaciWilson – Twitter/StaciWilson, and Instagram/StaciLayne

Thanks again, Staci. Always a great pleasure!

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