John N. Collins (JNC): Thanks for agreeing to do an interview with me Dempsey. You have a pretty broad background in filmmaking. Can you tell me a bit about it?
Dempsey Tillman (DT): When I was a kid back in Michigan, my mom got me and my brother a VHS camcorder. My brother had no interest, but I had more than enough to keep that camera busy. Shot everything I could as kid. Grew up and went to school for film production. Now, nothing against Michigan filmmaking programs because they taught me a lot, but I knew if I wanted to be around the filmmakers I looked up to I had to move to the place they made movies. California. So I loaded up the truck… you know the rest. I found my on to the set of Starship Troopers and worked my way into a position that eventually allowed me to work on over 50 major film productions.
(JNC): Where did you study filmmaking and how did that help prepare you for dealing with Hollywood?
(DT): I studied at Eastern Michigan University. Making films in college is just like getting a job in the film industry. You have to be a go- getter. You have to look for ways to get it done. Now when you’re in a film program at a university you’re constantly looking for a way to make you project better than your classmates. It teaches you competitiveness and how to push your creativity just like working in or getting a job in the film industry. You have to stay outside of your comfort zone 100% of the time to get it done… to get that first job.
EMU’s filmmaking program gave me hands on access to the equipment I needed and the support that allowed me to make student films that set the curve in all my classes. The program also grounds you in film studies so that you have a good base to grow from.
(JNC): It is always sad to hear Michigan lost another filmmaker to Hollywood but we are proud to see you doing well there. Speaking of doing well, you recently had an entry at Hollywood’s Shriekfest. Can you tell me about that?
(DT): Yes. In 2015, my sci-fi film “The Art of Human Salvage” was a finalist at Shriekfest in the short film category. This year, I entered a new script which was based on a true story of a Florida man’s alien abduction. My screenplay “Red Light” was chosen as a finalist in this years festival.
(JNC): I watched, “The Art of Human Salvage” on YouTube. For a ten minute film it really packs a punch. Awesome!
(DT): Thanks…. It’s more of a teaser for the feature script of the same title. The short film won the Best Short Film at the 2016 Phillip K. Dick film festival.
(JNC): How well has the “Red Light” script done and will you be producing it too?
I will be one of the producers on the film but mainly focused on directing the film. I’m looking for investors and producers.
(JNC): From what you have told me and what I have seen of your work, this should be a good one to fund. What sort of incentives do you have on Indiegogo to entice us to chip in?
(DT): We have lots of great incentives. Your name in the credits, signed posters, script, DVD of the finished film, digital download of the film, online video diary as we shoot, we have autographed DVDs from JJ Abrams, Greg Nicotero, David Green (Director From Earth To Echo),Grant to Curtis (Producer of 3 Spiderman films), Producers of the Star Wars The Force Awakens Poster…. tons of cool things donated and given away as Perks for donations to the project.
We have season 1 thru 4 autographed box sets by Greg Nicotero (Producer/Director of the show)