“Get It Right By Design, The First Time. Like Hitchcock:” A TDQ Q&A With Producer Steve Parker

Steve Parker

We scoured the internet to catch a glimpse of the man bringing us such mystery and horror films as The Dark Place and WTF!. We found a very personable looking Steve Parker on his IMDB page.

This week’s TDQ Q&A is with producer Steve Parker. Steve spoke with us about his latest project,” The Dark Place,” how the internet has changed movie making and his exciting upcoming projects. Here is this week’s TDQ Q&A with Steve Parker: 

The Daily Quarterly: What made you want to be in show business?

Steve Parker: Being a film buff to the tune of watching feature-length films at 100 per year for years was what got me started. That, and a friend who was listening to me critique a newly released movie’s opening credit sequence. I was explaining how they’d clearly chosen to portray the character in a specific way by the composition they used in the credits. My friend said to me, “Steve, you want to make movies!” After spending a week in shock, I realized she was right.

TDQ: What was your favorite thriller/horror movie growing up?

SP: The original “Halloween” is just amazing. Still love seeing it.  As a general thriller, “The Hunt For Red October.”

TDQ: What is the best advice you ever got?

SP: “Instead of cutting film on a flat-bed, you could try this brand new thing for the Mac called Adobe Premier.” My very first film was a music video shot on 16mm, and I was so frustrated by the old-fashioned way of cutting a film. I’ve never looked back, and never shot on film again. Good riddance.

TDQ: What was the worst advice you ever got?

SP: The worst advice is actually recurring.  “You can fix it in post.” Horrible advice. Get it right by design, the first time. Like Hitchcock.

TDQ: Who are your influences?

SP: The directors whose films really got me interested in making movies were a bunch of the indies like Gus Van Sant, John Greyson (“Lilies” especially), in terms of directors have to be at the top of that list. But I’d say I’m also particularly influenced by actors, like Sean Connery, Glenn Close, Jack Nicholson, and Bette Davis. Their performances are amazing, and a great performance tells even more story than was in the script.

The Dark Place

When we asked executive producer Steve Parker how dark his film The Dark Place was he gave us this image and told us this was the film’s happy place.

TDQ: Tell us about your latest film, “The Dark Place”

SP: “The Dark Place” is a mystery-thriller set on a winery, where the main character has returned to make peace with his mother. He left on bad terms, addicted, and regrets his past. With his father and brother tragically gone, he wants that one remaining part of his family back. Upon his return, he finds his mother has a new family, and it quickly becomes clear that he, his mom, and their family winery are all in grave danger. He must use all his skills to survive and save the day. His unique skill is a real condition, hyperthymesia. An almost video-playback like memory which has been a disability for him. It has kept him replaying the worst moments of his life endlessly. Now, instead of trying to suppress that ability, he needs to use it to piece together the mystery. Turn by turn, you’ll be trying to work out who is after him and his family.

TDQ: How do you think the internet has changed filmmaking, and do you think that change is for the better?

SP: The internet means that physical media is now gone. Video tape, DVD, BluRay, and now nothing physical. The good news is that filmmakers don’t need to pay for the physical media and shipping. And now anyone can get any movie instantly. That means more movies. Unfortunately that also has meant that prices have shifted downward. The net effect is both a squeeze on budgets, and an increase in the market. It’s harder and easier in different ways.

WTF!

WTF is happening on the WTF! poster?! We will all have to see when it is released.

TDQ: What project are you working on now?

SP: I’ve just finished the edit on a horror feature, “WTF!” And I’m about to release a short film I directed this summer starring Thea Gill (“Queer as Folk”). But you always have to be looking forward. My creative partner Jody Wheeler and I are working on a TV series based on a best-selling series of novels that are like a cross between the “Dr. Who” and “Harry Potter” universes. We also have a creature feature set in Beverly Hills that we’re hoping to shoot this year.

TDQ: What’s the most challenging thing about being a film producer, whether it’s a short film or feature-length?

SP: Everything. You have to bring together a balance of budget and talent, create a schedule bringing all those things together, create something awesome and then go tell the world about it. The challenge is bringing all those thing into balance and make every aspect equally successful.

TDQ: Where do you see yourself in five years?

SP: I don’t believe in looking ahead more than 2-3 years. Our world is changing so rapidly, I don’t try to plan out that far. My immediate goals are to move up from the micro-budget level to making features in the $2-$10 million range. The downside to micro-budgets is you don’t always have the time you need to do the very best you could.

Go to the Facebook page for “The Dark Place” to learn more about that film and Steve’s other projects.

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