Amanda Frye: Brian you grew up in the town of Yucaipa in Southern California in what most people would describe as the typical American family. Describe how your family influenced you as a filmmaker and screenwriter.
Brian Lupo: My Cousin Jason, my brother Chris, and their friend Rob made a home movie on a VHS-C home video camera called THE SCARECROW. It was the first time I was introduced to the medium on an amateur level. I was younger than they by five years, so I was left out of the loop on that specific project. They showed it to a small group of us, all family and friends. The film and the rest is history. I started to make videos with anyone and everyone who would play parts.
AF: Can you tell me about the first film you ever made? How old were you? What kind of equipment did you use?
BL: I actually gave the whole story on my first Cabal podcast in detail, which you can find at WWW.LONEWOLFFILMS.COM. My first film M.O.N. shot for around twenty-five thousand. I produced the film and wrote the script solo while living in Studio City on a healthy Top Ramen diet. Sleeping on the floor, collecting pennies, that type of thing, in a studio apartment shared with my brother. I was twenty years old. I shot on a DVX 100A, Panasonic's film equivalent at the time, editing on a loaded Mac G5.
AF: When did you know that you wanted to be a filmmaker and screenwriter? Who or what has been your influence.
BL: Watching THE SCARECROW, its cast is what influenced me. Guns blazing from there.
AF: Brian, most people upon meeting you would say that you are a "normal" guy, nice, kind, happy, and with a fun-loving personality, which seems contrary to a horror filmmaker. Why have you chosen to focus the horror film genre? Where do you get your inspiration for your films and screenplays?
BL: The world we live in is the scariest movie I've ever seen. You can't create a horror film to compare with what's wrong out there. The horror genre is a fun, safe cathartic way to deal with life. The visual medium of film is essentially escapism, regardless of genre, but what is it people are escaping from? Therein lies the truthful answer, a place most of us avoid to look at.
AF: Many people may not know that you also hold a PhD in Anthropology. How does your knowledge of Anthropology influence your filmmaking and screenwriting?
BL: For me, Cultural Anthropology is a liberating science, which opens the whole world up to you, and you to it. The most deliberate effort to apply anthropological elements to a story would have to be THE SICKNESS OF LUCIUS FROST, my fourth film.
AF: Where did you get your film training? How did this shape your career?
BL: I've had no formal training. I am self-taught, read books, watched movie commentaries, etc., to learn more about the film industry. With the resources available on the Internet, you really don't need film school; you need dedication and supportive people around you.
AF: Besides being a filmmaker, you are also a screenwriter and an actor. Can you describe your process for creating films and screenplays? Where do you draw inspiration for your work?
BL: I'm ADD on speed (not actually), so no shortage of ideas here. They seem to pump out of my brain faster than I can properly articulate them. I read a ton of pulp fiction magazines, listen to Old Time Radios shows like WITCH'S TALE, THE SHADOW, BOX 13, etc. I love me some WEIRD TALES magazine especially. I read a lot and watch a ton of films from silent to current.
AF: What do you find the biggest rewards and biggest challenges in being a filmmaker? What advice do you have for inspiring filmmakers?
BL: The financial rewards of filmmaking grow smaller by the day; piracy is out of control and I don't predict it getting any better in this lifetime. You must learn to be a hustler for your film or you will not survive financially. There is no way to protect yourself anymore; you will inevitably get bootlegged on some site.
If you go the route of an aggregator, to get on Netflix, Hulu, iTunes or Google Play, you will have to pay. After you pay, you have to get picked; once picked, you have to pass the aggregators quality control.
Then and only then, can one of these companies choose to pick your movie, which must pass their quality control if chosen from the many other hopefuls. If they choose you, you can finally start making the pennies they pay you per view. It's nearly a thousand dollars just to sign up with an aggregator, and this in no way constitutes that your movie will be picked.
You could put your film on Amazon for a bar code, which will allow you access to IMDB as a legitimate filmmaker, according to their ranking system. Did I mention Amazon owns IMDB, what a coincidence… food for thought? In other words, make films because you love to make films. You could strike it rich as a filmmaker; you could also win the Powerball at 600 million. Both have about the same odds.
AF: In 2002, you established an independent film company called Lone Wolf Films. Why did you start your own film company? What films have you produced?
BL: I started the company to have total control over my work, to see how far I could take my dreams. I have produced four projects to date. We are currently shooting our fifth.
My films, starting with the first, are: M.O.N, 13 DAYS OF THE BEAST, THE HARVEST AND THE SICKNESS OF LUCIUS FROST. We are currently working on DEAL WITH THE DEVIL (working title) set for release in 2017. All titles are available on the website WWW.LONEWOLFFILMS.COM.
BL: The SICKNESS OF LUCIUS FROST was one of those warped dreams come to fruition.
It was organic in its birthing and stylized in its execution. The story follows Lucius Frost's journey through a surreal world where he finds himself trapped with others who have no idea how they arrived. At night, evil spirits come out to hunt, and those who remain learn how to survive in the strange environment.
AF: You have recently branched out to produce podcasts aimed at like-minded independent artists. Tell me more about these podcasts.
BL: The Cabal podcast is a free-ball experiment in all things art. It's a podcast geared towards independent artists to share their experiences and gain insight from other like-minded creators.
I encourage anyone interested to message us at email@example.com with their comments and suggestions. You can listen on our website or on iTunes.
AF: The Lone Wolf Film website hints at a new film to be released in 2017. Can you give us a sneak preview of your next film?
BL: Our newest project, DEAL WITH THE DEVIL, it is a Film Noir being shot on 16mm in black and white. I will be adding photos to the Facebook page in the next couple of weeks. The podcast might also carry some previews too, very soon.
AF: Anything else that you want to tell me?
BL: I have been writing a horror novel for almost two years now. It's in its fourth draft with about two more drafts to go before it's finished. I will most likely finish before the end of this year and will be seeking a publisher. Thank you for the interview; it was good times.