Ken Cohen is an Editor and Producer, known here at Lestat Horror for Skin Baby (2018) . I remember reviewing that particular short, and, it being very thought provoking. However we don’t really know that much about him, so we asked him if he would do an interview with us, and he agreed!
Q1) Tell us about the very first Horror film you saw.
I think it was A Nightmare on Elm Street. My parents never allowed me to watch horror movies (though I was able to watch Die Hard, the Terminators, and Robocop as many times as I wanted.) I remember my sister watching Elm Street and I was in the other room, and I could hear it, so when I was able to start watching them, that was the first one I watched, and then watched all of them, then moved on to other basics like the Halloween and Friday the 13th series’ and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and then it’d just be a matter of what I hadn’t seen yet in the horror section at Blockbuster Video.
Q2) When did you realise you wanted to get into this genre and industry?
In the late 90s I loved writing and became inspired by the indie film film movement, so I began writing screenplays, and then my parents bought me a camcorder in 1999, and I started playing around with shooting and editing (analog at that point,) and then kept writing and making films with friends. The indie film movement really inspired me to get creative with ideas.
For the horror genre – I attended a local horror film festival where I live, in Charleston, SC, called Crimson Screen Horror Film Festival, in 2017. I had never been to a horror film festival before, and it was a lot of fun to see one genre in a festival and to see how passionate the audience was. My films never really fell into one specific genre so it was hard finding an audience. With horror, I saw that you can make any type of film, as long as it’s horror, and horror fans will want to watch it. So it made me think that I could use my weird ideas in the horror genre, and finally be able to focus on a specific audience and genre specific film festivals.
Q3) We have reviewed some of your projects on Lestat Horror. How do you come up with the plots and characters?
They just come to me randomly. I wish I had a more profound answer, but some scenarios or concept will just come into my head, and then I’ll try and explore it. If I feel something has been done before or a lot, I’ll start over, because I want to be as unique as possible.
Q4) Who are your biggest influences in the industry?
Filmmakers that influenced me in the 90s that are still making their own movies today. Charlie Kaufman, Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson, Quentin Tarantino, the Coen Brothers. They’ve continued to keep their style, and their voice, and though their budgets have grown tremendously and probably have to deal with more studio influence than their early days, they keep making the movies they want to and have always stayed true to their visions.
Q5) Tell us about some of your past projects.
I’ve done a lot of films about sad lost people: a guy becomes obsessed when he thinks that his fiance’s cheap engagement ring was the reason she broke up with him, a prop maker who wears a mask with features of his girlfiend’s past lovers so she’ll sleep with him, a woman who lost a baby and gets a tattoo to remember him and then it comes to life, a guy who makes voodoo dolls for people, then I’ve branched out to a kid who sees a guy shoot himself, and then the kid starts talking to the bullet inside the guy’s head, and recently, a woman who is kidnapped by a psycho, and gets other women’s facial features put on her face, and then those women want their parts back.
Q6) Indie is really flourishing lately, how important do you think this is considering how hard it is to get noticed in the industry?
It’s ruined it, because there’s too much content for people to watch. Back in the day, people had big movies and indie movies, and could watch them all. Now, it’s impossible, and word of mouth exists and then you see it, then move on to the next thing. And series’ are becoming so cinematic you have those to watch and compete with too. It used to be the small number of indie filmmakers being able to make a film when so many weren’t able to, but now, anyone and everyone can and does make films, and there’s so many studio produced “indie films” with big names, that get made and get dumped out there and barely anyone sees them. It’s much different now, and good because making films isn’t as tough or expensive, but bad because there’s too much out there and people have access to everything anytime they want. It’s a confusing time for filmmakers. It’s great and bad.
Q7) You are a Producer, Writer and Director. Which do you find easier to do and was it a choice to do each one so that you could learn more and the industry and set life?
I find Producing the easiest, because it’s a lot of technical things and organization to get done, and I like that part. Funding, casting, locations, contracts, shoot schedule, etc. When you get to filming, a lot can go wrong, but the planning and getting everything ready aspect I like because nothing has gone wrong yet!
Q8) Would you ever want to be in front of the camera and act?
I would, I just feel like I could never remember lines, or be believable. I admire actors so much and what they do. I do think being a writer/director/actor is a very valuable skill, because even if it doesn’t lead to anything filmmaking wise, you’ve put yourself out there as an actor and that could lead to something acting wise, which could eventually come full circle and lead to more for you as a filmmaker, after you get places from acting, meet the right people and what not.
Q9) Out of all your projects, which has been your favourite to work on?
Cartoonish because it was the first film I did after moving to Charleston so it got me connected with the awesome film community there, and it’s my only film that came out exactly the way I wanted it to. Also, it got to incorporate an issue I feel strongly about, and I got to combine animation and live action, something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and I love how it turned out.
Q10) Can you tell us about any future projects?
I wrote a feature length version of my short film “My Face,” and I’d like to have it be fully animated, so I might work on that next.
Q11) What advice would you give aspiring writers etc, that want to join the industry?
Do it because you enjoy it, not for the endgame of success or praise or exposure.
Some great answers there. We can’t wait to see future projects from him. You can see his IMDB page by following the link below.