Today I’m joined by veteran actress and scream queen Jessica Cameron who is here to talk about her new films Truth or Dare and Mania! She has been juggling many different roles from writing scripts, directing and of course acting over the last few months and we talk about all of that plus much more below…
Hello there, thanks for taking some time out to speak with me! How are you?
I am great! Just got back from Seattle Crypticon, and it’s one of my favourite events. Just a wonderful gathering filled with some of the best horror fans I have ever been lucky enough to spend time with. It’s always invigorating for me to be around those whom I make movies for.
Excellent! So let’s talk about Truth or Dare… can you tell everyone a little bit about what the film is?
Truth or Dare is my directorial debut, and I co-wrote the script with Jon Scott Higgins. It’s a wonderful torture flick about a group of friends who get overnight internet fame but everything goes wrong when their number one fan decides he wants to play!
We just finished the film festival tour a few months ago with 33 awards won from around the world. It was an amazing experience.
The plot about uploading videos to the internet is very timely, how did it first come about?
When I moved to Hollywood I realized how obsessed with the concept of fame many are, and those are the people I find most terrifying. Simply because these are the people that will do ANYTHING for it. The plot started with THAT GUY coming into contact with those whom he felt had what he should have, and how he would react if he felt they had cheated their way into their successes. From there the script naturally evolved.
Did the film change much once production began?
It did. I am a firm believer that a film has three lives; one life is the script, the second is filming and the third life is during post production. I always try to make the strongest film possible which means the story will change as we progress through the stages. We cut over twelve minutes of footage from our rough cut to the final cut. Those extra minutes worked really well in the script, felt great while filming but then in the actual film it slowed it down.
As a director I care about the characters intention, their motivation and the overall arc of the scene and the characters. If the actors feel that they have a better way to express all the above then I let them explore that, after all as actors playing the character I consider them the expert on that character. I think it allows for the characters to be real and alive, rather than feeling like an actor saying a line.
How did you take to the challenge of wearing so many hats in this production?
It was really hard. I also acted in the film which was a challenge. You can only be in so many places at any given time, and one head can only wear so many hats! Luckily I don’t sleep much, and had worked with many on the set before so we were able to get everything we needed in the scheduled time that we had.
Did your previous acting experience help inform the decisions you made as a writer and director?
For me they are each their own thing. As an actor I focus on living the life of the character as it’s written, as the director sees it. So it’s very different when I am approaching the characters from the opposite end of that spectrum. As a writer or director my focus is on the story as a whole, not characters and what they are going through and making sure that I get all the pieces I need to make the movie I envisioned.
What’s the relationship between these disciplines then?
I think that they are all interconnected. One cannot exist without the other. That said they are very different roles and should be treated as such. I am not a writer so the most I have ever done is co-write, honestly I would not be able to write on my own as I know little about actual proper script structure etc. I know what my assets are and what my weaknesses are too, so I try to work with those who are strong where I am weak.
Yes – I did not act in Mania. It was definitely different to Truth or Dare. Even though I was not acting in the story, the stress was much higher since we were filming the movie as part of our triple feature, cross country road trip. Which meant we had to change so much on the fly as locations would be gained and lost, we ran into an unexpected snow storm, we had issues with our equipment, etc. So it was a far more stressful shoot than most, regardless of the hats I was wearing.
It’s being billed as a ‘fucked up lesbian love story’ and so I’m intrigued, what can we expect to see in Mania then?
It’s everything you’re thinking and more! It’s a very dark, sexual tale about a woman who reacts in a state of mania and her lovers attempt to bring her back to reality. It’s really sexy, and really fun.
And finally Jessica, what else of yours should we be looking out for this year?
Truth or Dare will be out later this year so please keep your eyes peeled for that one.
Mania will be making the film festival rounds, as will Save Yourself. Save Yourself is a fun film about a group of women who come across a mad scientist, we shot it up in Canada last summer. Desolation, Kill the PA and Utero are all in post-production so stay tuned for more info on them.
And that’s all folks! As always please leave your thoughts in the comment box below!