From Horror Shorts to Hollywood with Filmmaker Matt Sears

Wednesday 16 January 2019

Into The Script is excited to welcome award-winning filmmaker Matt Sears as our guest today, who you probably recognise for his short horror films “I heard It Too”, “Charlie Boy”, “Give Her Back” and “Toby”. Matt’s YouTube shorts have garnered the attention of major film studios, and he is currently working on his next project “My Friend The Demon”, which has hollywood heavyweight Javier Botet of Mama, Crimson Peak and IT attached to star.

So, if you’ve always wanted to know how to get your (horror) short film noticed by a hollywood film studio, with BIG talent interested – then carry on reading!

Matt Sears is a UK based, award winning independent filmmaker. He started making films at age 12, when him and his best friend “borrowed” his dad’s video camera to make little action films. Ever since then, making films has been his life. Finding most of his success in the horror genre, he is best known for his short horror ‘I Heard it Too’, which has won multiple awards and has over 4.5 million views.  Matt’s projects have been featured on sites such as Buzzfeed, IGN and tumblr, as well as festivals across the world.

Create What You Enjoy

Matt’s love of film began when he was 12 after seeing his cousin start to dabble with making short films. Inspired by the idea of getting out there and creating something instantly, alongside Matt’s own passion for Director John Woo and the film ‘Hardboiled’ – Matt knew from the beginning that you must CREATE what you ENJOY!

Of course, us filmmakers and writers must take note of what’s popular in the market – but the most important thing is to be passionate about your project. There is NO point writing Horror/Fantasy/Rom-Com if it’s NOT what you enjoy!

(Click HERE to watch 'I Heard It Too' - Matt's horror short that garnered over 4.5 million views)

Ground it in Reality

Whatever your chosen genre is -  fantasy/horror etc. try to base it in reality in the way it’s shot, the tone or the behaviour of the characters – this will HOOK your audience.

They don’t have to relate to a haunting or alien abduction, but they do need to find SOMETHING relatable about your project.

DO IT YOURSELF & START NOW – It’s a Learning Curve!

The more that you can do yourself, by keeping it as simple as possible means more control as an artist but also less stress when it comes to organising a big group of people to make your short become a reality!

However, know your creative strengths and weaknesses - know when you need to hand over and trust others to collaborate on your projects, and this is when NETWORKING comes in handy – you should have a pool of people and skills to be able to contact from.

The more people you know means the more people you’ll be able to call upon when it comes to throwing together a short film. Actors, composers, cinematographers etc!

Most of Matt’s films have been shot with a budget of £100 – AND got noticed by renowned film studios, which proves what we’ve always known - There is ALWAYS a way to do something and get your work out there! Sometimes you just need to approach it from a different angle.
Think about how can you create a version of your vision that is achievable, simple and portrays the emotion/tone that your aiming for.

Accept criticism – people have taken the time hopefully (to offer critique) with the aim of helping you learn. This is a collaborative industry – get used to opinions – it pays to listen, learn and ultimately, you decide whether you take that advice any further or not.

Creature Effects

When it comes to the creatures/ghosts featured in Matt’s horror shorts, Matt always has a fully-fledged idea of how they are going to look like BEFORE filming – and with these ideas/concepts, he can have a clear idea and backstory of WHY the creature is necessary to the story.

EVERY character in our stories ALWAYS needs to have a reason! Just being scary is NOT enough. What are the motives of your characters/creatures? How can you show this in a short period of time with maximum impact?

(Click HERE to watch 'Toby')

Explore Your Options

It’s not about making a stellar final product, it’s about utilising what is available to you now and getting your ideas off the page! You’d rather MAKE IT then have it sitting in your desk drawer and never get made.

Reach out to people – make those opportunities happen and stop waiting for it to come to you. There’s no limitations through social media. Matt utilised these opportunities by going to LA to make the most of these connections or opportunities. The point is – making online connections is GREAT, but if there is any possibility of meeting these individuals with the same passions and goals, then in person is EVEN better! Even if it’s via Skype, it’s starting a CONVERSATION.

An Overnight success is NEVER Overnight

It took 2 years for Matt’s most famous short “I Heard It Too” (had over 4.5 Million views) to garner the acclaimed reputation it now has. So, don’t give up if you’ve made a short film and it’s starting to feel like nothing has come from it. Give it time.

Something ALWAYS comes from it – you’ve done more than most. You got it off the page and out in front of an audience. If it’s a great concept, there will ALWAYS be an audience for it. And go with your gut instinct – sometimes too many ideas stop you from moving forward. Just do it!

To find out more about Matt’s current projects and horror shorts, follow him on his social media accounts below!

Follow Matt on YouTube

Follow Matt on Vimeo

Follow Matt on Instagram

Follow Matt on Twitter

My Friend The Demon

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