Nathan Quinn just celebrated an important anniversary, a personal milestone. He has been a filmmaker now for over 30 years. Talking with him, he will tell you of the changes he has seen in these thirty years. Personally, as the many years have passed, Nathan’s experience and expertise have grown. In the arc of his career, he has worn many hats, figuratively speaking. Since he first fumbled with that first camera, if you look at his IMDB credits, he has gained experience as more than a filmmaker; his credits and expertise include being a director, producer, actor, editor, writer, casting agent, special-effects novice, music composer, among others.
Honing his skills as a filmmaker, developing his expertise over the years he has built a reputation with the people he has worked with and been rewarded for his professionalism and respect for what he is doing He has been given the keys of his hometown, something few other filmmakers can claim, which includes cooperation from the Mayor, on down, including the city’s fire and police departments and access to many of the city’s buildings.
Nathan is at the top of his game. Today he is producing some of the best drama, ideas and story arcs that he has created in thirty years.
MMM talked with Nathan on the anniversary of his entrance into filmmaking.
MMM You have recently celebrated your 30 year involvement with filmmaking. First congratulations on your commitment to this art. Tell us how you became involved in filmmaking.
NPQ My first memory of wanting to be involved in film, and also my very first motivation and influence was Star Wars, 1977. I was only 6 years old but that movie set the tone for the rest of my life.
MMM So Star Wars was definitely.was your earliest interest in film?
NPQ That was my earliest interest in film and that was also when I realized there was absolutely nothing else that interested me more than telling good stories and sometimes just making fun popcorn entertainment.
MMM What genres did you enjoy that inspired you to pursue filmmaking? How has your taste in film changed over the years?
NPQ In the beginning, of course when you’re younger, you tend to, perhaps, like more action or similar subject matters like horror or science-fiction can be. But, as time has gone by, I have learned to enjoy drama heavier subject matters and more intellectual subjects such as artificial intelligence to primitive “what makes us tick” stories and also the insane killer next-door type of Hitchcock movie style.
MMM Over the arc of this thirty years what is the most significant thing you can point to with pride other than this steadfast dedication to your craft?
NPQ I always joke that comedy wise our movie The Crotchening, which is about a girl who goes nuts and proceeds to kick guys in theirs, is something I’ve never been more proud and ashamed of at the same time. But in recent years, I would say that the Anders DARK web series and its NECROLAND movie counterpart are some of the best drama, concepts and story arcs that I have created in my career so far.
MMM You define yourself as a director/producer. Is this correct? It is your work as a director to which people glowingly refer. Clearly people like working under your direction. How did you start directing?
NPQ Personally I’ve acquired the basic titles if you look at say, my IMDB credits, I am a director, producer, actor, editor, writer, casting agent, special-effects novice, music composer and several other positions. But, I would say that writing an idea and directing the vision of that idea is where my strong suit is. Also, through the years, I have become a very skilled editor, although I would like to hand that off to other professionals sometime in the near future. As I get older editing does not have the same appeal as it used to have and the tedium is meant for a much younger brain that can spend the tens to hundreds of hours necessary to finish a long project.
MMM Working as you have, you have built quite a reputation for yourself. Being from Mason, Michigan, this community’s people have embraced you. They have almost literally given you the “keys to the city.” How did this come to be? Talk about how this came to be.
NPQ My hometown of Mason Michigan has opened their doors to us. They have been gracious and generous. And it all really started with the now former city manager of the town 2008. We made a 60 second video for Mason in exchange for some fantastic video shots from their 108 foot bucket crane. From there I just built a relationship with individual police officers, the chief of police, several of the store owners and old friends who are still living there to this day. They have all assisted in making the town seem like a giant movie set and have been very positive and encouraging with us. They’ve given us locations from the grain elevators to the City Hall to the county fairgrounds. We have also gotten access to businesses and the police department has helped with everything from small road closures to helping us scout locations. All on their time and their tab mind you, so I always consider it a privilege and never a right of ownership.
MMM With this comes a tremendous responsibility. You almost had these privileges taken away from you (through no fault of your own). What happened?
NPQ It is a tremendous responsibility and also you have to have empathy and deep respect for what is being given to you on somebody else’s dime and time. I won’t go into great detail about how some of those relationships have been strained but I will tell you that the people that have almost ruined it for us or have been problematic over the years have now been nicknamed “Garbage Pail Kids,” and have been fired from the group.
MMM That’s cute. Yes, people should be conscious of how they can screw up a good thing for you. For this reason, you have decided to start working largely only with you’re A-list stars. Does this mean that you will no longer be holding open casting calls; or simply that you will be more selective in who you cast?
NPQ I have gone to my A-list talent from other projects that we’ve produced and asked them to be involved. We can no longer take chances with passive aggressive, opportunistic, two-faced and self-absorbed individuals who only think about themselves and not the greater good, the bigger picture or the team effort. When I get angry about things that people do to put “more bricks in our bag of challenges” it’s because it’s having a negative effect on all the hard work and free time that my friends and associates are putting into this project and Iron Core Media in general. I don’t tolerate fools anymore like I used to. As I get a little older and wiser I will not “suffer fools” like I have in the past.
MMM Over the thirty years that you have been working in film, technology has no doubt changed considerably. You are now thinking of going in another direction with how you will film your takes. Share with us the different things at which you are looking.
NPQ As far as technology and what has changed over the last 30 years, and simply how films are made, is an open ended can of worms question. But the most simple answer I can possibly give is 30 years ago I was just starting to practice by trial and error with friends and family recording on a Magnavox VHS camcorder that cost $2500 at the local Highland Appliance store. Now with our brand-new series Anders DARK, I have decided to film the entire series, after 6 to 8 weeks of experimenting, with my iPhone 6sPlus. It’s pretty amazing. It’s also got the mobility and convenience that I’ve been looking for during the aforementioned 30 year period.
MMM Some people want to make their movies with massive RED cameras and they want all these accessories and other gratuitous extras, but it comes with a price. I don’t want to lose mobility with my cameras being larger and clunkier and heavier and more difficult. I would rather lose the ability to change some lenses and not be able to have that perfect sunset shot in exchange for being able to run and gun and have a much more organic and visceral approach to the stories that we are telling.
I also have no delusions about the style of film that we are making. Our material is somewhere between popcorn entertainment and cerebral pop culture drama. So it fits accordingly. But, to each their own. I’m not judging anybody that uses the more cumbersome and massive production units, I would just ask the same non judgment of us for not using them.
MMM When will you resume your work with Necroland? Tell us what you plan this season.
NPQ Necroland was originally a throwaway web series for a movie that never happened called Pulp Zombie. NOW I have run away screaming from the whole zombie stigma, even though they were never zombies to begin with, people mistook the story for being that simplistic. I’ve moved the story more towards the town of Mason which has become it’s own character, the town of Anders. Principal shooting for the movie is finished, and while I edit that in post, we’re keeping everyone sharp by still making something new. But, I also said to myself and the core group there’s no way in hell I’m doing a sequel right now until this first project Necroland DVD 1 is complete. So we compromised and we’re doing a lower maintenance web series called Anders DARK which is based in the Necroland universe. Anders is like a Twilight Zone meets Stephen king town that happens to be in the center of a worldwide pseudo-apocalyptic situation. The series will be more like the X-Files/Silent Hill/Raccoon City collides with Law and order SVU/NCIS
Also, we have people in Scotland and a good friend in Asia filming cool snippets and clips Cloverfield/Blair Witch style for us. That adds an incredibly cool new dimension to the entire Anders DARK experience and the Necroland.com website which in and of itself is very immersive.
MMM So from Necroland, you got Anders Dark. Have you got plans for the distribution of either?
NPQ Necroland the movie already has national distribution in stores and video-on-demand we just have to complete it. (Visual FX being one of our largest hurdles currently) A friend of mine has a deal going for us and once I’m finished with the movie I hand it off to him and he runs with it. After that I just want to foster the success of the movie further and continue with the less stressful web series spin off momentarily.
As far as a sequel goes we will be looking at something of that magnitude come 2017. Although before that, we are going to release a crowdfunding campaign and/or catch the attention of a television studio or private investors or what have you. We have at least 10 national actors from national TV shows putting their name on our crowd funding campaign. People from Walking Dead, Babylon 5, Seinfeld, Star Trek, the older WWE, national musicians, composers, comic book/pin up artists and more. A lot of these people we’ve built lasting relationships with through the years thanks mostly to the media comic convention circuit. So that is huge for us.
MMM What are your projected plans for the next five years? Decade?
NPQ In the next 5 to 10 years I would like to continue to make movies under an umbrella of less stress and worry. I would like to wear less hats and spin less plates and be able to pay bills without sweating and hustling so hard. I’m not 25 years old anymore.
The most important thing to me though is being able to pay everybody around me a decent wage so they can continue to engage in the same krazy adventures with Iron Core and I for as long as they enjoy it. And there’s one thing I can guarantee you, I am surrounded by many amazing, talented and wonderful people. So the enjoyment should last a long long time.
SO SAY WE ALL,
Necroland IMDB http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3518152/?ref_=fn_tt_tt_1
NecrolandL Anders Dark https://www.facebook.com/AndersDarkside/timeline
Anders Dark IMDB http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5426366/?ref_=fn_tt_tt_1
Iron Core Media IMDB http://www.imdb.com/company/co0352764/?ref_=fn_co_co_1