Interview with James Atkins
https://endertalon.blogspot.com/2020/12/interview-with-james-atkins.html James Atkins, thank you for this interview. My readers will not know you. Can you please provide details about yourself. Movies, profession, etc. I was born England in the 70’s, so my informative years were spent watching films like Indiana Jones, The Goonies, James Bond, and the original Star Wars Trilogy (Don’t get me started on the new ones!!). I also enjoyed comic books, and used to read Spiderman and Transformers in the 80’s (The original animated Transformers movie is brilliant). In the late 80’s and 90’s I would make films with my family and friends. We had zero concept of takes, shot lists etc, just had crazy ideas and filmed them. These films included ‘Frail Old Man’; a mix up of Karate Kid and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, where a Pensioner (played by a 15 year old) is trained in martial arts by a Basset Hound (made to talk using toffee), who takes down an evil wizard, and ‘The Stalker’; a classic horror about an indestructable man who stalks his victims with a huge croquet mallet. During my 20’s I did not make films anymore, however my imagination was satisfied by playing Dungeons and Dragons or going to the cinema, which I did most weeks. I was also working in finance during my 20’s, and when it was apparent that my career was going nowhere, I decided to make a change. I decided to take out all the loans I could, save and save for years, then travel to America to study a one year filmmaking diploma at The New York Film Academy. The year I spent studying film was the best experience, as I went there knowing nothing and left with knowledge of all the filmmaking crafts. I loved each and every project and always tried to do something different to what the audience would expect, from killer hybrid cows to an educational video for time travelers from the future. You can see my student film reel here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Putuog72_z4&feature=youtu.be My comedy thesis film ‘The 2008 Survival Guide’, which was accepted into a few film festivals, can also be viewed here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyKT-NbF-QY&feature=youtu.be It was whilst crewing my classmates films that I found I had a knack for continuity, and began working at a Script Supervisor. After graduating I remained in New York for a further six months. During this period I crewed a number of films, mainly as a Script Supervisor, but also as Gaffer, Assistant Director, and Director of Photography. I also made the comedy short film ‘The Ghoul Lord’, which was all about Dungeons and Dragons. I loved this film as I was able to call upon all my experiences of playing the game in my teens and 20’s. You can view the film through the following link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHWa9-5Y5ho&feature=youtu.be I’m pleased to say that the film was accepted by some international films festivals, including the prestigious Big Island Film Festival. By August 2009 I had run out of money so had to return to England. With the need to earn money, and having no film contacts in UK, I went back to working in finance. Once my immediate debts were paid, I chose to move to London with a couple of my European classmates from The New York Film Academy. It was then that I pursued my film career full time, and whilst it was a struggle, I managed to build up quite a lot of credits, mainly as a Script Supervisor. Whilst in London I was living in a house with a disgusting basement. We decided to utilize this for our films, and it was then that I wrote and directed the award-winning short horror ‘Puppy Dog Tails’. You can view ‘Puppy Dog Tails’ by following the link below https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJe25_7-Vbc&feature=youtu.be This is one of the favourite films I have directed, as it nearly always gets the reaction I went for from the audience (best watched in the dark and a little drunk). A few years later, I moved away from London to the south coast of England, to be closer to family. I remain close enough to London to be able to get there in just over an hour, so I could continue my film career. If ever I was on a long shoot away from my home, I would rent somewhere short term. I have now built a significant resume of Script Supervisor credits, which include films you can watch on Netflix or Amazon Prime. I have also continued to write and direct films and have a number of awards and over 150 film festival acceptances. You can view my IMDb link here https://www.imdb.com/name/nm3953655/?ref_=tt_ov_dr James, your most recent finished movie is' The Witch Hunters are Coming'. Can you please tell my readers about it. And where can they find it in the future to watch? ‘The Witch Hunters are Coming’ is a Mockumentary that follows a day in the life of Siddarth and Dorothy, two council witch hunters. They investigate a claim of witchcraft from the neighbor of the accused, and we follow who the interrogation proceeds. It refers to many witches in popular culture, including The Blair Witch, Wicked Witch of The West, and the queen from Snow White. The Film has been my most successful to date, having got into over 50 film festivals worldwide, and winning awards for Comedy, Screenwriting and Acting. The trailer can be viewed here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRF5l7wyo9I&feature=youtu.be The facebook page for the film is here https://www.facebook.com/TheWitchHuntersareComing I shall be putting the film online in 2021, and if it goes viral, I shall potentially make further episodes. James, everyone has a story to tell. What one story do you wish everyone knew about you? I wish everyone knew about the two feature films I’ve written. One is a slasher horror, the other is a fantasy comedy. The both have original ideas, and I would love to share with producers and production companies in the hope to get them off the ground. I’ve always had to self-produce my films with a tiny self-funded budget, and given the success I’ve had with those constraints I’d love for these stories to be told with budget that does not compromise my vision. James, film festivals can you tell us about your experience with them? I have got into a lot of film festivals and my experience varies greatly. Some are fantastic, where you have a good cinematic experience, and the filmmakers get to network and discuss their projects with their audience. Other film festivals can be just a screening at a pub with no introduction and bad audio and visuals. Sometimes people turn up, sometimes they don’t, and I feel some festivals do a great job of promoting their event, and others just take the submission fee and do the bare minimum. I always make the effort to attend when I can, as you never know who may be in the audience. It is also a ego boost seeing your film on a giant screen. James, you have a film in production that is on hold due to lockdown. Can you provide a summary of what it is about or teasers please and where people can see it. Meaning what platform or link to purchase them on Amazon or? I am currently two days into filming a dark Christmas Comedy about The Krampus. The remaining two or three days will be shot once we’re vaccinated and Covid is less of a risk. You can view our pitch for the film here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Lqlk0iEHt0&feature=youtu.be Here is our cool animated opening https://vimeo.com/363130862 And here is our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/thepromisegoblin James, what book or movies have you been reading or watching. Meaning I am using this interview to find new books or films to watch. What have you been doing? I used to read books all the time, but I haven’t read one in ages. I do still read Empire Magazine, and look at BBC Website for current affairs every day. I have been watching shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime. During lockdown I’ve watched ‘The Umbrella Academy’, ‘Rick and Morty’, ‘The Crown’, and ‘Tiger King’, amongst other things. To be honest, I haven’t seen that many movies, as I prefer to see them on the big screen. When cinemas briefly re-opened I watched ‘The New Mutants’, ‘Bill and Ted Face the Music’, and ‘Tenet’. I would only watch Bill and Ted again, as I did not enjoy the other two. James, what are you doing to relieve stress during this time of home lockdown? I have re-written some of my scripts, and I have arranged Zoom readthroughs with actors (some I have met for first time in readthrough), which has been great. I shall probably do some more in the new year. A guilty pleasure is playing the game ‘Transformers Earth Wars’ on my smart phone, and lots of Xbox. I’m also partial to a long hot bath!!! Dreams: what project or script or actor or actress would be a dream for you to get to work with? My dream is to direct a feature film. Whilst I would love to make the ones I have written, I would also love to direct someone else’s script. My favourite TV show is Red Dwarf, so I’d love to direct an episode of that. I would also love to crew either a Sam Raimi, Peter Jackson, or Stephen Spielberg film. I think working with Jim Carey would be an experience you wouldn’t forget, with his improvisational skills. This may be challenging, but I’d still love to see it. James, the classic question: what charity do you work with and can you provide a link to it so others can see too please. I don’t work with any charity; however I do support a number. Crisis, Children in Need, Comic Relief, and animal sanctuaries (and am the son of a veterinary nurse so very fond of animals) A final question. What question do you wish I had asked? And what would the answer be? Q. What film do you wish you could make without any restrictions? A. Star Wars Episode X. I would make Ep 7 8 & 9 all a dream and bring back Mark Hamill to be the Luke Skywalker who saw the good in everyone and was full of hope. I’d also put in a memorable space battle and a few cool lightsaber duels.