Not your ordinary horror film
Barry Sagan is a pleasant man. He loves photography, scrapbooking, and doesn’t have many friends. Mick Hedgeworth is obnoxious, loves explosions, and doesn’t have many friends. Naturally the two opposites make a great team. Renting a house from Barry, Mick and his wife Maggie are a happy couple raising their son Hunter. Life seems pretty swell, that is, until women in the area start going missing. Believing she has witnessed a murder by a masked monster, Maggie becomes paranoid and the Hedgeworth family begins to unravel. Who, or what, is the masked monster and what will become of Barry and the Hedgeworth family?
This is “SCRAPE”…the latest film released by director/producer and Carthage High School graduate Derek Wayne Johnson. It’s obviously a horror film, but according to Johnson, has some humor in it as well. “It’s a fun, thrilling film, but not one of those torture films,” relates Johnson. “It’s a great story with a twist.” The movie’s premiere was shown to an overflow crowd at the Robinson Film Center in Shreveport last month. One reviewer stated, “"I am not a slasher horror movie fan but I really enjoyed this! The characters were addicting...the camera work was brilliant...the effects were suburb...your editing was spot on. This genre film is not created to save the world or to make a statement or to win an Oscar. It's made to give you a thrill ride and it completely succeeded.”
Derek graduated from Carthage in 2001. He had never stepped foot on a stage, but always knew that he wanted to be an actor and a filmmaker. His only experience with films was taking Donnie Pitchford’s Broadcast Journalism classes. He proceeded to SFA to major in communications, but soon discovered that the University had a small, little-known film school. He instantly changed his major to cinematography. By the time he was a senior in 2006, his script, titled “Within Us”, was voted as the one to be made. He had to find a middle-aged man who didn’t work in the summer that he could cast in his film. He called Donnie Pitchford to audition. He nailed it and got the lead role. “Mr. Pitchford has served as a mentor to me since I was 16 years old. He let me do ‘my thing.’”
After graduation, Derek moved to Shreveport and began working as an extra in films. He worked his way up into speaking roles, but soon learned that, “If you’re not a star by the time you’re 27, rethink it.” He leaned toward filmmaking and hit the floor running. He created his production company, AJ16, which is named in honor of his younger brother Adam who died in 2007. His favorite sports number was 16. “I’ve been fortunate to do four feature length films and have the fifth one coming up. The short films don’t pay the bills, but the feature films are where the money is at, and Shreveport is the place to be. Louisiana is number one in film production right now, leading California and New York.”
Derek says that most of the inspiration for his movies comes when he’s in Carthage visiting his mother. The idea for “SCRAPE” came during one of those visits. He recalls being bored and thinking what if there was a killer who was burying his victims underneath the house. “I wondered why I was thinking of this because it’s horrible, but it’s a good idea for a movie. There’s something about being at home and having the time to think and let the creative juices flow. I spend a lot of time here writing. It’s easy to focus.” Derek’s nephew, Alec Johnson, who is a 2nd grader at Libby Elementary, is one of the lead characters. According to Derek, “he does a fantastic job.”
A year ago, Derek’s film “Stanley DeBrock” was shown in Carthage. He’s since changed the title to ‘Broken Blood’ because, he’s learned a few marketing tips. “The name didn’t tell people what the movie was about.” It is now available on DVD and can be purchased from www.brokenbloodmovie.com or amazon.com. “SCRAPE” can be seen at the Carthage Twin Cinema beginning March 22 and will play for two weeks with showtime at 7:30 pm. You may be ready to “kick…hit…SCREAM” before the night is done!
For anyone interested in pursuing a career in films, Derek offers this advice: “The number one thing is just go out and do it. There’s no right or wrong answer. Go out and work your way up, become an extra in movies. You’re getting paid peanuts, but you’re around professionals learning, listening, watching. Obviously I’m a film school advocate, so I think it’s important to get your education. It gives you time to hone your skills and make mistakes there rather than making them in the industry. It sounds corny, but just follow your dream if this is what you want to do.”