Filmmaker, Kevin Wilson chats to IndieReign about his feature length screenplay, Dark Jungle and his experiences as a filmmaker.
Dark Jungle is a Vietnam War supernatural thriller with a great script and unique story. Kevin got in touch with us and was extremely excited to let us know that Dark Jungle made the Official Selection at Scream Fest LA, the biggest horror screenplay in Los Angeles – Well done guys!
We were eager to find out more about Dark Jungle and the man behind it, Kevin Wilson. Take a look at what he had to say…
“During the Vietnam War, the CIA and the U.S. military ran covert actions under the code name Operation Phoenix. One team went into the jungle and was never heard from again. This is their story.”
Where did the concept for Dark Jungle come from?
When I was younger, I wanted to be an aviation mechanic. The fast track was to join the military. After an initial meeting with a recruiter, all I had left to do was sign on the dotted line. I asked for twenty-four hours to process everything. I soon realized I never wanted to be in a position to take another person’s life. Years later living with regret of not following my dream, because of possible outcomes, I figured I would write a story centered on this topic. The notion that all military people at some point have to make piece with their God, for things that happen in war. This is an unspoken sacrifice isn’t an easy topic to discuss, and they have to live with those memories forever. I was afraid of this very thing. This sacrifice is another act of patriotism that I wanted to explore. After lengthy interviews with a few active and inactive service personnel, I felt I had fertile ground to write Dark Jungle.
What were some challenges that you faced when making Dark Jungle and how did you overcome them?
The first challenge was coming up with a great story that causes the reader to play detective until the very end. Another challenge…create a hybrid art film/popcorn movie. One that has a thought provoking subtext, but also works on the surface as a supernatural thriller, and also finding a perfect balance between the two. Finally, the biggest challenge was getting representation. After a solid year of courting a management company, they finally gave me a meeting. After an hour-long pitch spelling out the entire business, from idea, execution, and exit strategy, they decided to take me on as a client.
Is there anything about Dark Jungle, which makes it unique?
Yes, a Vietnam War Supernatural Thriller, that has the mystery of a classic “Whodunit.” If I had to draw a comparison, it’s like putting The Usual Suspects, Predator, and The Kingdom into a blender and serving it at a cocktail party with many guests mentioning “I’ve never tasted anything like this before, what is in it”.
Based on your experience, what are three bits of advice you would give to new filmmakers wanting to make their own movies?
Identify your market, and figure out how marketable your film is before you shoot one frame. Then understand how your film should be positioned. Research every possible distributor and see if it will fit. In my 19 years, I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard from filmmakers that a distributor turned them down because of this. At that point, I would write a solid script. For some that is working backwards, but I feel it’s a business first, so treat it as such.
How did making Dark Jungle help you to grow and develop as a filmmaker?
This project helped me understand that when someone gives you advice that is the direct opposite of your vision, you must listen. It’s hard to have peripheral vision when you’re inside the creative box. Equally, I have admiration for filmmakers that work with stories that are closer to home, so to speak. With this project, I’ve developed a stronger understanding of how to create a franchise.
How are you going to leverage off Dark Jungle to get new films off the ground?
I plan to show the major ancillary component I created for Dark Jungle that has tremendous revenue possibilities. That will show investors I have ancillary structures for each project I develop.
Bonus question! If you could have dinner with anyone dead or alive who would it be and why?
I would love to have a great meal with The Wright Brothers. My love for aeronautics has never faded. I would love to have them explain to me the emotional and somewhat spiritual impact of being the gentlemen that gave the human race the power of flight.
Thank you Kevin for sharing more about Dark Jungle with us and great tips for other filmmakers to consider. Without further ado, here’s the trailer for Dark Jungle for you to check out. Keep up to date with this great film by following them on Twitter or on their Facebook page.