Nobody wants to be a filmmaker. Okay, maybe that’s not entirely true, there are millions of people who dream about being in the film industry. Perhaps a better statement would read, “Filmmakers don’t want to be filmmakers.” That doesn’t make much sense either, but it’s the truth. Of the millions of people who want to make films, there are only a few thousand who ever pick up a camera. Out of those thousands, a few hundred will actually make a film. Most of them will never make another film again. They want to be filmmakers. The best of the best, the cream of the crop don’t want to be filmmakers, they have to. It’s a deep ringing inside that says “pick up the camera and shoot” over and over and over again until the day they die. This week’s Featured FearMaker, Matt Sears, heard that ringing at a young age, and he never stopped.
Matt Sears has been a fan of horror from an early age. Ever since his father showed him Jurassic Park, the little Velociraptors sent a terrifying chill through him that felt great. Between that and watching Predator at 6-years-old, it’s no wonder he has such an affection with the darker genres.
At twelve-years-old, a friend stole his father’s video camera, and together they began to make short action films. “We started out by making squibs from party poppers and editing on VHS but it was awesome and really helped in developing the practical side of filmmaking.” Being a fan, he naturally gravitated to making horror films. “You get to play with blood and guts, and jump around screaming. What’s not to love.”
Matt never stopped making films, teaching himself along the way until he was 19-years-old. He then went to Buck New University to study digital animation and visual effects. Straight out of university he found a job at a creative agency called FST, where he progressed from a junior animator to senior filmmaker.
“It’s a great experience to see your film on the big screen.”
Most recently, Matt’s horror short I Heard It Too has racked up over 700,000 views (and counting) on YouTube, as well as being featured on IGN and Buzzfeed. It was also screened by the British Film Institute and Talenthouse in Leicester Square. “It’s a great experience to see your film on the big screen.” He also recently finished a short film called Charlie Boy, a short psychological horror about an elderly lady named Dolly suffering from a condition called Charles Bonnet Syndrome, a condition which causes its sufferers to experience hallucinations as their eyesight deteriorates. Unable to trust her eyesight, Dolly must decipher if what she is seeing is real, and if it poses a threat.
Despite his successes, Matt Sears still pays for most of his films our of pocket. Telling the story you want without wasting your savings and paying rent is a hard challenge but one Matt must face every time he makes his films. He has picked up some tips and tricks of the trade, however. He now owns most of his own equipment, so rental fees are minuscule, and he tends to find actors who are willing to work for free or cheap. He is also prolific in all aspects of production from lighting to camera to post work, making him a one-man-band and effectively cutting cost drastically.
At the end of the day, it’s all about getting your films seen. That is when Matt’s precious advice comes in. “
When your film is finished be patient. It took 2 years for my short to find it’s audience on Youtube, it was lingering at about 5,000 views and then in the space of about 3 months it rocketed up to 600,000 and was featured on Buzzfeed and IGN. So don’t give up.”