Douglas A. Plomitallo is a filmmaker from Connecticut. He graduated from Quinnipiac University in 2003 with a degree in Communications. He is a life-long horror fan and is happy to finally give back to the genre that has given him so many great hours of entertainment. He's the creator of the fantastic web series Scared Stiff and took the time to site down and answer a few questions for the DBH readers.
Q: How did you get started with Scared Stiff?
A: Well throughout my education and during my career in video production, my goal has always been to make movies. I did anything I could to learn the different aspects of the industry. I was constantly writing scripts, taking classes and learning different techniques in filmmaking. I started working part time in New York as an extra in film and television just so I could get on the set and learn what it was really like in the industry. I was on shows like "Law and Order" and "Hope and Faith" and just trying to soak in as much as I could. I really was a student of the craft.
I taught myself how to edit and do special effects with the hope of one day working closely with a director on a film and seeing where that would lead. I worked hard at it but realized that what I was doing just wasn't paying the bills. So I took my editing and compositing knowledge and began working in the corporate field. A few years went by and I was getting further away from the industry that was my passion. At that point, I was 28 and was working at a job that I wasn't particularly happy with. I was doing corporate videos for a company that I really felt disrespected at and I was pretty miserable coming to work everyday. I started to feel trapped in the corporate field and began to think my filmmaking career would never happen. One day it just came to me that if I didn't make a move on my career, then nothing would ever come of it, and the dream would end. So I came up with the idea to take my knowledge of film, video and web design and put it to good use.
So I wrote a few scripts, bought some equipment, grabbed a friend and started shooting a few episodes with whoever was willing to help me out. I figured that if the product was good, and people believed in it, they would want to join the team to help bring the show to the next level. So we just came making them with the goal of raising the bar with each episode.
Q: How long does it take to make an episode and what goes into the making of it?
A: It all starts with an idea. Sometimes I brainstorm for an ideas, sometimes something cool will just pop into my head. I usually develop the story in my head before writing it down. Once I have it all together, I put it all on paper. If I like the idea and think that it is worth moving ahead with, I will start developing the characters. I find that if the characters are fully developed, the dialogue will right itself. I give myself a couple weeks of re-reading it and fine-tuning it.
Once the script is set, we pick the actors who would best fit the role. The actual shooting time depends on the episode. The amount of locations, complexity of the script and the length of the episode really play a factor. For instance "Tiny's Halloween" needed four separate locations so it was filmed in four really cold nights in October. While "A Whisper in the Wind" was shot in two days with an extra day for voiceovers. The still photos for "The Camera" were all shot in a day, but there were several days of prepping the pictures for the edit. So it really depends on the script.
After everything is shot, we have several weeks of editing, color correction, sound editing, getting the soundtrack together and then the episode is ready!
Q: What made you get into the Horror genre? Any particular films, actors, or directors?
A: I have been a fan of the horror genre since I was very young. I remember being competely fascinated with "Tales From the Darkside" when I was about four or five years old. It was completely different from anything I had ever watched before. In sixth grade, my teacher gave us an assignment to write a fictional story based on anything we wanted. Since it was October, naturally I wrote a scary story. It only had to be a page or two, but I kept writing and writing and pretty much wrote a novel. That's really where I got the "horror itch." Early in high school, my friend had a video camera and we used it to make short movies, most of them horror.
Although, there was a defining moment where I decided I wanted to make horror movies for a living. I always watched scary movies when I was younger and I knew that there must be other people who were into them as much as I was. Very few of my friends were into horror, so I didn't have many people to talk to about the genre. Well one day, I was taking a train home from visiting my older sister at her college in Rhode Island and I picked up a Fangoria magazine for the ride. I was completely shocked! I didn't realize that there was such an incredible fan-base that were devoted completely to the genre. That Fangoria magazine really opened my eyes and from that moment, I decided that I was going to become a horror filmmaker.
As far as movies that inspired me, I have always been a huge fan of the "Halloween" and "Friday the 13th" movies. Like most other horror fans, I have lost count on how many times I have seen those movies. The original "Halloween" probably had the most effect on me. The use of music, lighting, atmosphere, and really awesome characters really had an impact on me. As a matter of fact,"Tiny's Halloween" has a lot of homage to the original "Halloween." Some obvious, some a little more subtle.
Q: Where can we watch the episodes and learn more about Scared Stiff?
A: Scared Stiff can be seen on the official website: www.ScaredStiff.tv or they can be seen in High Definition on our YouTube channel YouTube.com/ScaredStiffTV.