Jessi Gotta is writer, producer, director, and actor of the New York City stage and indie movies. She won the Best Feature Writer award at the 2011 LA Femme Film Festival for her movie “The Big Bad.” I had the opportunity to do a video interview (see video later on this page) with Jessi and her co-producer Bryan Enk at the Thriller! Chiller! film festival when they won the Best Chill! award. ”The Big Bad” is now available for video on demand viewing and on DVD through Phase 4 Films.
John Collins (JC): Thanks so much for agreeing to do an interview with me Jessi! I still remember how much I enjoyed our in person interview and it is an honor and a privilege to have another to get an update on what is happening in your career.
Jessi Gotta (JG): Thank you for thinking of me. Oh that that interview was on such a wild night. It was after the screening of THE BIG BAD at THRILLER! CHILLER!. That is one of my all time favorite film festival experiences ever.
(JC): How about we start with a bit of your background. Can you tell me and my readers how you get to be where you are now? (what led you into acting/writing/producing, who were your influences, that sort of thing. Write whatever you feel like but don’t feel obligated to write pat answers that you find boring due to the many interviews you have to put up with. I will change my questions to fit your answers and you can add questions that you want to answer.
(JG): What started me on the horror path was SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK…I bought it a at book fair in the 2nd grade and was hooked. Then, I read IT when I was like 11 or 12 and that really messed me up in a wonderful way. That was the gateway drug to horror films.
I then spent years sneaking age inappropriate horror movies. One night in middle school I was bitching to my mom about her not letting me rent something like I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, and she pulled a “You wanna see something really scary?” She put on THE SHINNING and drug my dad off to bed, leaving me alone downstairs.
So Kubrick, King and my mother brought me to this.
Actually making horror movies came much later. I had been doing theater and voice over in NYC for several years; And there was this period of time a few years ago, where all the horror movies coming out were a bunch of remakes, the originals being much better then the reinterpretation, but there was nothing new. A bunch of us all shared this dissatisfaction and my friend Bryan Enk proposed we try doing a film of our own. From that THE BIG BAD was born.
Now a few films later, I’m hooked. I still have a lot to learn, but I just want to keep on making more.
(JC): Can you tell us about your current projects (i.e. Is Big Bad in distribution, what about “Anniversary Dinner”, do you have a new one in the works?)
(JG): My first film, THE BIG BAD, we sold for distribution! It was a hard road to get there, but it is now out in the world. Phase 4 Films picked it up in August of 2012. It has been available On Demand, and will be coming out on DVD and Netflix in a month or so. My next film project, ANNIVERSARY DINNER was completed in spring of 2012. It is still making the festival rounds and has been really well received.
Currently I’m in pre-production on a horror comedy feature I wrote called THEY WILL OUT LIVE US ALL. I am producing, long time friend and collaborator Patrick Shearer is directing, with his multi talented brother Phil Shearer on as DP. There is such an excellent group working on this film, it is a true community effort. Everyone is donating their time (and some their entire apartments) for this film. I am very lucky to have such a dedicated selfless circle of talented people on the team.
We shoot in April. I will keep you posted as it develops!
(JC): Where do you plan to go from here?
(JG): I just want to keep making movies and hopefully that’s what I’ll do.
(JC): In addition to being a National Examiner for Examiner.com, I also write for my site, The Weird Review and I like to close my interviews with my “weird” question. Can you share something Weird and Wonderful about yourself that your fans might not already know? (Can be an anecdote about one of your movies, and acting or producing experience, how you manage to have wrapped up brilliance, beauty, creativity, and a whole lot more into such an adorable package? Whatever you want pretty much, really.)
(JG): Humm…I’m not sure if this counts as weird or wonderful, but I have this habit of making these ornate fake brands and logos with some sort of film reference to use in my movies. They are barely on screen for more then 2 seconds, but they are snuck in everywhere.
For THE BIG BAD, I created STRODE STOUT, #1 Brand chosen by Babysitters, brought to be the D. Hill and J. Carpenter Family of Brewers. There was a fake cigarette brand called DELTA 88′s in honor of Raimi with lines from EVIL DEAD 2 as the warning, CRYSTAL LAKE Superior Malt Whiskey with a hidden hockey mask in the logo. For the film I am working on now, I created a brand of tequila called THE BLACK SLEEP Kali Ma Shakti De, and BLUE VELVET VODKA with an ear as the logo….yes this is how I spend my time.
(JC): Awesome! Thanks so much for taking time to do an interview with me!
(JG): Thank you so much for interviewing me Tin Man!