Interview: Louis Doerge discusses indie film production and his horror movie, “Night of the Babysitter”

"...Know your audience. This is stuff that American distributors care strongly about. I personally think that American distributors are mostly wrong about this. I think it's uninspired, but that's the way it is...."

Night of the Babysitter posterLouis Doerge is an Iowa native and film producer who has decided to make a feature length movie – The Night of the Babysitter – in The Hawkeye State. To learn more about his career, his thoughts on the film industry, and The Night of the Babysitter, I was able to interview Doerge for ScifiPulse.

If you want to learn more about The Night of the Babysitter (and why wouldn’t you), you can check out its homepage here, like them on facebook here, and follow the film on twitter @NightOTB.  And remember to donate to its IndieGoGo page here.

Nicholas Yanes: When did you know that you wanted to get into film production?

Louis Doerge: When I was in high school. I originally wanted to be an actor, but was frustrated by the lack of control and being told what to do. I often thought that I had better ideas than my directors and wanted to shift into behind the scenes. After having seen Reservoir Dogs and Evil Dead 2, I knew what I wanted to do.

Yanes: Given that you already have a few projects under your belt, how else do you think schools can prepare people for the film industry?

Doerge: Schools need to stress the importance of networking with the right people. It’s important to have a name in your film. Even if it’s one name actor, that will help your chances of distribution a lot. Your budget needs to allow for this.

Also, make sure the film is marketable. Know your audience. This is stuff that American distributors care strongly about. I personally think that American distributors are mostly wrong about this. I think it’s uninspired, but that’s the way it is.

Yanes: Your current project is a horror film titled, The Night of the Babysitter.  What was the inspiration for this movie?

Doerge: It was a title that I had invented almost for the sake of comedy. I thought it was a humorous title. There was no story behind it. The plot sort of revealed itself as I was writing. It starts in a “When A Stranger Calls” setting, and before I knew it, I had abandoned the horror genre and allowed the movie to become more of a high-intensity crime thriller.

Yanes: Are there any classic horror movies that you felt inspired by while writing The Night of the Babysitter?

Director of The Night of the BabysitterDoerge: I guess films like John Carpenter’s “Halloween” and Fred Walton’s “When A Stranger Calls” were the original inspiration. Honestly, though, this film is more inspired by Jean Luc Godard’s under-appreciated 1980s works. I was also really driven by Peter Yates’s “The Friends Of Eddie Coyle”.

Yanes: You plan on producing this film in Iowa.  Why did you decide to film this movie in Iowa?  Are there any locations that specifically attracted you?

Doerge: I’m originally from Iowa, and find its winter landscapes to be highly cinematic. The urban areas of Iowa, like Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, just set an incredible mood that need to be on film more often.

Yanes: Many states are beginning to attract film production away from California with different types of film incentives.  What do you feel Iowa can do to attract film production?

Doerge: I know that Iowa originally had film incentives that rivaled most other States, but that some scandal ruined it. I’m not clear on the details because it mostly seems to be a lot of finger-pointing and defensiveness. I think Iowa should be open to people wanting to shoot here. It creates jobs and attention for the State.

I’ve seen first-hand the effect that this open-mindedness had in Austin, TX (which is where I used to live). It works. Iowa almost had HBO’s Girls come, but they turned them away. I’m not sure why that was. I’m sure the reasons were perfectly valid, but that could have also done Iowa’s film industry a world of good.

Exposure helps and brings more money in. I don’t personally understand it, but I’m also not privy to the details, so don’t want to be overly critical of that decision.

Yanes: You are hoping to fund this movie via IndieGoGo (readers can contribute to this campaign by clicking here).  Given how demanding crowdfunding is, what did you do to prepare yourself for this campaign?

Doerge: Lots of press and badgering people ahead of time. People don’t know how much procrastination can hurt a campaign. Even if a page gets several one dollar donations in a day, the page gains traction and more exposure from INDIEGOGO.

These campaigns are primarily funded by people we don’t directly know, but if you don’t have contributors pitching in right away, the campaign page gets noticed less by said strangers.

Yanes: Though the IndieGoGo campaign for Night of the Babysitter hasn’t finished yet, what have you learned from this experience?

Doerge: Stay calm, and keep working. Don’t look at the campaign as your only means of completing your funding. Stay ahead of it, and believe in your project. You’ll find a way.

Yanes: What are your long term goals for Night of the Babysitter?  Would you like to make a sequel of it?

Doerge: I have no plans for a sequel. In earnest, my biggest goal is exposure. I want to entertain as many people as possible.

Yanes: Overall, where would you like to see yourself ten years from now?

Doerge: Oh God, I have no idea. I’d like to be independently successful. I’d like to keep making films, and use that success to help other like-minded filmmakers not continue to be overlooked for being original and unique.

Remember, if you want to learn more about The Night of the Babysitter, you can check out its homepage here, like them on facebook here, and follow the film on twitter @NightOTB.   And remember to donate to its IndieGoGo page here.

You can follow me on twitter @NicholasYanes and feel free learn about me at Klout here

And to follow Scifipulse on Twitter @SciFiPulse and on facebook.

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