Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Interview with a Filmmaker: Seth Breedlove

For the past few years there has been a rise in Bigfoot movies and one particular filmmaker is here to talk to us about his thoughts on the world of Sasquatch. He's the Steven Spielberg of Bigfoot movies. His name is Seth Breedlove and he shares his inspirations, opinions and Small Town Monsters with all of us at The Crypto Blast.

Seth, Bigfoot is huge right now in pop culture. Why is that after 50 years since the Patterson Gimlin footage?
Because the world as a whole is pretty terrible right now, and escaping into the woods to look for an unknown creature gets our minds off of that, right? I think that extends to movies and books about the subject or conferences. Honestly, I think the subject has always been fairly interesting to most people it’s just that the recent wave of TV and other media that is bigfoot-centric has brought it back to the forefront. But I really believe a lot of people, whether they realize it or not, are enamored with the idea because there’s something very appealing about looking for something that would prove we really DON’T know everything.
What first got you interested in making monster movies?
Just the stories I guess. It’s funny, I know they’re monster or cryptid docs, but I always just think of them as good stories. Intriguing stories, with a strong human, emotional element and interesting locations. I’m drawn to the movies we make much more because of the people in them than their scary stories.
You are quite the film maker. What was the motivation behind creating The Minerva Monster?
I grew up aware of this story and it’s probably my favorite. To the point where I’d actually conducted interviews over the phone with a lot of the people in the movie before we’d ever even conceived of making it into a doc. I really just wanted to see the story told in a cool way that wasn’t hokey and ridiculous so why not do it ourselves?
What was the most memorable thing for making The Beast of Whitehall?

Making it was one of the funnest experiences I’ve had making one of these films. I think there are two very memorable aspects of it. One was that we had to reshoot all of our interviews a second time after the original crew axed the original footage we shot. That was so memorable. But the biggest thing for me was that, because of that fact I got to go back to Whitehall a second time with my dad and Brandon Dalo and shoot basically the movie itself with a crew of just three. We shot six interviews in a day and a half and all of our drone footage during that second trip so looking back on it I wouldn’t have wanted anything to change. Especially filming the movie twice.

As a film maker, do you think these monsters are real? Does it matter as a film maker?
As a fan of the subject, I think there’s enough evidence to support looking into the existence of undiscovered primates in America. I got into all of this just as someone who loved the idea of the whole thing well before I started making movies about it. I’m skeptical of a lot of claims but I don’t brand myself as a skeptic and my job isn’t to prove or disprove anything to anyone when making the films.
From left to right, Bigfoot researcher Bob Strain, Bigfoot film promoter Kai Wada Roath,
Cliff Barackman from Finding Bigfoot, filmmaker Craig Flippy, and film maker Seth Breedlove.

Why do you think after 50 years we still don’t have a decent piece of evidence for Bigfoot? Even though we have night vision cameras, thermal equipment, trail cams, etc., we still have nothing. What do you think is the reason for this?
If these creatures exist my assumption is they learned very early on to avoid people so I think that could extend to avoidance of trail cameras, etc. But yeah, I have the same questions myself. Really, at this point a photo or video of a Bigfoot is going to do jack-all to prove it to most people, including me. Because photo manipulation is so easy today. Maybe that’s why something like the PGF still fascinates me.
Speaking of which, as a film maker what are your thoughts on the 59 second Patterson/Gimlin film?
Even though that video at times looks like a man in a suit to me, there’s still the unanswered questions like how they managed to get the step length and possibly muscle movement into a suit. I go back and forth on it, too. The work Bill Munns and Daniel Perez have done on the film are probably what keeps me teetering on the side of the fence that maybe it’s real.
You recent documentary, Boggy Creek Monster, is a fan favorite. Can you tell us why you wanted to make it and what was most challenging thing about it?
Well, I wanted to make it because I loved Lyle’s book “The Beast of Boggy Creek” and Lyle approached me before Minerva had even come out about possibly making a doc together based off of his research. So even though I didn’t have an emotional or personal connection to the story itself, I wanted to work with Lyle. I’d never even seen The Legend of Boggy Creek until about a year before we made our movie. The biggest challenge was storytelling. I knew I wanted Lyle in the movie but I didn’t want him to just be a talking head, and at the same time I wanted him narrating. It ended up being almost a Michael Moore situation with Lyle talking to witnesses, and then telling the story as well, which I think worked well? You’d have to tell me what you thought. But the storytelling was daunting.
Terrifying even, because everyone down in Texarkana is convinced I know what I’m doing and we’re all sitting there on the first night having dinner and Lyle looks at me and goes “Okay so explain what we’re doing here” and then every guy in our crew and Lyle are sitting there waiting for me to tell them. One of the keys to being the guy running the show is not to let everyone else know you don’t have a clue what you’re doing 90% of the time and hopefully they don’t catch on. So I winged it, and in the end it worked out - haha.
Your upcoming movie, The Mothman of Point Pleasant is coming in a couple months. Is it fact or fiction? As a film maker does it matter?
I mean the movie is a doc and I am doing my best to present the story in as objective a way as possible so people can make up their own minds. What surprised me about the Mothman story is I came into it fully expecting to focus entirely on just the Mothman sightings and instead we ended up getting to embrace some of the more bizarre occurrences as well. I think what happened down in Point Pleasant has never been fully explained and I don’t believe it was nothing more than a bunch of people misidentifying owls. But there might never be an answer to what actually took place there.
How long have you been interested in monsters?
My mom raised me on Hitchcock (which often featured monsters of the human variety) and Hammer Horror and Ray Harryhausen movies. I was enamored with monsters going back to when I was little, but that was typically more of the Hollywood variety. My interest in cryptids didn’t begin until the early 2000’s when I became aware of the Mothman (thanks to the Richard Gere movie) and the Minerva Case.
Everyone has an opinion on Bigfoot. Yet there is no theory, only hypothesis when it comes to science and Bigfoot existing. Do you have a favorite?
My favorite is that it’s a shape-shifting alien prisoner who was dropped off on earth which is actually a prison planet. But the one I put the most stock in is that it’s an undiscovered ape. Simple, to-the-point and it offers the most in terms of an explanation for behavior and characteristics of a sighting.

 Since the Internet arrived it has changed all our lives for the better. What has it done for the world of Bigfoot? (Pros and cons)
That’s a tough one because without the internet I wouldn’t have had the podcast I did with my buddy Mark Matzke (SasWhat) and I wouldn’t have been able to grow Small Town Monsters like we have. But as far as what it’s done for the solving of this Bigfoot mystery, man… I don’t know that it’s done much other than offer people an avenue to post vague pictures, and yell at each other over their theories. I guess there probably are pros but they’re definitely outweighed by the cons. The biggest con to me is that it offers everyone the opportunity to be a jackass behind this mask of anonymity. That’s just more of a general internet con than anything but it does seem to be a bit extreme in the Bigfoot world.
There are thousands of YouTube channels showcasing red circles and pareidolia gone wild. Is that the new face of Bigfoot?
Nah. See, that’s what I meant earlier about how I think the subject has always been big. I really believe there is a HUGE number of people into this stuff who simply avoid it because of things like red circles and vague recordings of Bigfoots saying “buy me a taco” or whatever. I think by now, most “normal” people just see the community as being too weird to be a part of and they’ll continue to have an interest in the subject and stick to the occasional sane bit of literature or tv or whatever. I think if anything is the face of Bigfoot it’s the PGF for most people.
Are you pro kill or no kill and why?
I just don’t see a way of convincing the rest of the world that one of these things exists without a body. I’m not pulling the trigger though. I’ve never killed anything in my life and don’t plan on starting with an 8 foot tall primate who would probably tear off my legs and beat me to death with them if I missed.
There seems to be a huge trend with people creating their own answers for the riddle of Sasquatch. The Woo, so to speak. It's been around for decades and yet it seems to be gaining momentum. Why is that?
Because it’s easier to try to solve a mystery with another mystery than it is to search for logical explanations to a mystery like this one. And this has been going on for decades in the Ufology field so why not Bigfoot, as well? The “woo” or people claiming to be in habituation situations are the modern day, Bigfoot equivalent of UFO contactees from the 70’s who went on to form cults and such. It’s virtually identical.
Is Bigfoot your forest friend?
Sometimes we skip around the neighborhood arm in arm so yeah. I’m a pretty big deal in Sasquatchtopia.
Yes you are. Especially in Rictor's eyes. So... what’s after Small Town Monsters?
I have no idea when “after STM” will be as I don’t think there’s any shortage of stories to tell. BUT, I want to do a documentary about female storm chasers at some point so that’s one project that will not be under the STM series umbrella. I should point out, STM is an LLC so that is the actual name of my production company so I think anything I do moving forward will have that name attached even if it’s completely outside of the cryptid or paranormal realms.
If you could direct a huge Hollywood blockbuster movie (unrelated to Bigfoot blah blah blah), what would it be?
I have two fictional projects I’m working on (though one of them is Bigfoot related) so it would be one of those. I really am terrible about being told what to do or having a boss so I don’t think I’d ever be able to play in the sandbox of something like Star Wars or DC. My dream project is a movie called 1999 that is a semi-autobiographical film about my childhood growing up in rural Ohio and all the crazy stuff my friends and I used to do to entertain ourselves, including camping out for tickets to The Phantom Menace for three days. I’m hoping to get around to making that some day.
Don't ever sell yourself short. I'm sure JJ Abrams once thought he wouldn't be capable of directing a Star Wars film. Who is your favorite director? Movie?
Tough one. I think Orson Welles is my favorite but that’s based entirely on my love for Citizen Kane and Touch of Evil. I’m a huge Billy Wilder and David Lean fan and then guys like Hitchcock and Harryhausen. I think Michael Curtiz was an incredible director but his style changed so dramatically from project to project that you can’t even tell it’s his movie until you see the credits. And Curtiz directed Casablanca which is my favorite movie, so there ya go.
Thank you for taking the time to do this with us. Any advice for people just now getting involved in wanting to make their own movies and videos?
Yeah just go shoot and edit as much as you can and eventually you’ll figure it out. I think anyone can make movies and do it well. Learn from YouTube tutorials or making short films on your own or whatever. But if you want to do it and you’re waiting around for a bolt of inspiration to come along, cut that crap out and just start making movies.
For more information on Seth's Small Town Monstyers, check out these links!

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