Daywalt, Drew (Fewdio, Camera Obscura)
The horror genre might be a better place because of the writer's strike a few years back. After all, if it hadn't been for the strike, Fewdio Productions may never have started and the world of independent horror would be an entirely different landscape. Originally founded by Drew Daywalt, David Schneider, John Crye, Kirk Woller, and Paul Hungerford, the group decided that just because all of them were facing a strike that would keep them from working, it didn't mean they were ready for a vacation just yet.
Daywalt took a few moments recently to speak with Dread Central about Fewdio and his upcoming web series "Camera Obscura".
Fewdio is a small production company that specializes in horror shorts. "We were all a little bit burned out on dealing with studio execs around the time the strike hit," explained Daywalt. "I had been a script writer for 17 years, and I'd written for and rewritten everyone in town so I was ready for something different. We had done the Axe Body campaign (how dirty boys get clean) that pretty much set us up financially so we could get through the strike."
"That's when we decided to do what we loved as children - make horror films. We really wanted to do something for ourselves. I read everything I could about cameras and saved up a thousand bucks, and we shot our first short, 'Cursed'," Daywalt added.
The Fewdio group embraced the idea of making short horror films since there was so much about the short film process that was far more appealing than sinking their energy into full-length feature films. Daywalt said, "We all saw YouTube as an outlet for our projects - it allowed us to make movies ourselves, make them short, and we would get instant gratification. You can't do that with regular feature films."
"We've been lucky that fans have been really cool and supporting of us since we started. A lot of people have said that what they enjoy about our short films is that because we're horror fans, they can tell we wanted to do something that added to the genre. We all like smart, scary, and creepy horror. I've always felt that it's not the moment that the 'thing' happens - it's all that time until you get to that 'thing' that really matters," added Daywalt.
Since 2007 Fewdio has put together over 35 short films and garnered a lot of attention as well as accolades (including Daywalt winning a Chiller Eyegore Award a few weeks back for his short "Bedfellows", which was one of three Fewdio films in contention). A lot of this is due to Daywalt's intelligent approach to storytelling in a genre that sometimes gets a bad rap for being nothing more than cheap scares or limited character development.
"Horror fans are smart people so we've always kept that in mind with our projects," explained Daywalt. "I see no real reason that horror has to be seen as cult filmmaking. I think horror is one of the more complex types of cinema, and not in a snotty way. Horror takes so much more work visually than comedy or drama so there is a lot you have to do when creating a film."
Daywalt draws on two of his favorite shows as a kid for inspiration: "Night Gallery" and "Kolchak: The Night Stalker". It was specifically "Night Gallery" that fueled the nightmare-ish atmosphere behind his latest project, "Camera Obscura".
"Camera Obscura" is 17-episode horror web series aimed at women. The company behind the project, MWG Entertainment, found Daywalt's Fewdio work on YouTube and decided he'd be the guy who could offer up an intelligent horror series that would definitely speak to women but also be something that men could enjoy as well.
Daywalt said, "What was really cool is that MWG didn't want to do something that was too pigeonholed so I made sure the story was accessible for men. The horror landscape is definitely changing; it's not like a few decades back when our moms would only watch soap operas. Women are really starting to embrace horror, and it was time to create a story that they could relate to."
Daywalt gave us a glimpse into the world of "Camera Obscura" and what sort of nightmarish delights horror fans can expect.
"The story is centered on this woman Clara," explained Daywalt. "The grandfather that raised her suddenly dies, and she is left to go through his personal belongings. He was a crime scene photographer so when she finds a nasty book with all sorts of wicked and crazy scrawling all over it that's filled with disturbing pictures inside, she decides to burn it. What she doesn't realize is that by burning the book, she unleashes a group of demons."
"Soon enough, Clara finds her grandfather's camera that has all this weird voodoo stuff in it. After she is attacked by one of the creatures from the book, she comes to realize that the camera is what is used to capture the demon. Clara sets off to capture all six of the demons, which turns into a bit of a life changing journey for her at the same time," Daywalt added. "Camera Obscura" is set to debut online soon; while we await further details, check out the trailer below.
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