Interview with 'Black Eyed Girl' director - Dominic Wieneke
How did you first break into the industry?
I sort of made my own way in little by little. I went to college for video production and journalism, but decided that I didn’t really care for the schedule of tv news. I’ve always been a writer so I’ve been writing screenplays since I can remember. I started making short films with family and friends and slowly built up a network of people I could rely on. After doing about a dozen or so short films, we decided to jump into a feature with “Death Rot”. We had an extremely low budget and relied on the good will of others. It was distributed by Wild Eye but it’s now out of print. After that, I took a step back to focus on short films and writing in order to really practice some techniques. We do have another feature brewing. Also, another big help was going to film festivals and networking with other directors. I’ve got the opportunity to be friends with and also work with some great people. I tend to learn a little bit from each director I work with.
Who/What inspires you as a director?
I’m first and foremost a fan of films. Mostly horror films, but all films in general. The stories I write and gravitate toward directing are stories that are unique or have a nice twist. It’s fun to pull the audience along and then push them in another direction. I like to film stories, that as a horror fan, I haven’t seen. I learned so much about films by watching them, studying them and gathering any information about them I could. Mostly it was Fangoria in its heyday. Wes Craven was a writer/director’s career I followed religiously. His style is something that I was really drawn to. I always pop in one of his films when I feel like I need to recharge.
What was your best set moment on ‘Black Eyed Girl’?
The best moment had to be working with Piper Bartlett who plays the title character. She was 12 when we shot this. We got black eyed contacts for her, but they turned out to be a little larger than anticipated. But she was a trooper. Piper was telling Ari Show, our producer, to just put them in her eyes no matter how much she protested. Once she had them in and adjusted to them, she didn’t want to take them out. So all night, you turn around and there’s Piper just staring at you with her black eyes. Between location moves, Ari took her to a convenience store and Piper was determined to scare someone. But it was so late at night, there was no one out. The cashier did give her a second look.
What sort of person is going to love this short?
Anyone who loves to be scared will enjoy this short. It was designed to be creepy. After I had first heard about the black-eyed children, I knew there was a story there. I looked into the legend and there weren’t a ton of short films dealing with. I did notice that all the stories had one thing in common. None of them ever said anything about letting the black-eyed children in. That sparked the story. It wasn’t until we were totally done with the short that I realized there’s more to the story. I think we’ll be seeing another black-eyed girl short in the future.
What advice would you give aspiring directors?
Be true to your vision but also be open to collaborating. On a short we just filmed, the sound guy recommended a different angle to a scene and it turned out awesome. He happened to be standing in the right spot for a great shot and spoke up about it. I encourage that sort of thing on set. I usually ask to shoot it the way I envisioned and then we’ll shoot it the recommended way. I can decide in the edit which one I prefer. Also, spend as much time as you can in pre-production. Know everything about the story and how you’re going to execute it. It eliminates a ton of issues and questions on shoot days. I feel that too many people are quick to rush to set because they are excited and the project turns out less than expected. Being on set is like 20% of what actually goes into directing.
Where can we find more of your work?
I have most of my projects spread out over Vimeo and Youtube. You can keep track of our productions by checking out the Warwolf Productions facebook page. You can also hit me up on Facebook or Instagram. We have some exciting projects coming up that I can’t for people to see.