I had the opportunity to travel around Louisiana last year for six months. It’s a very surreal collision of industry and nature. I met a lot of interesting Cajun, Creole, and Acadian folk. Even visited homes that were underwater during Katrina, listened to the owner’s stories and saw their flood damage photos. That’s as close to a first hand account as you can get without having actually lived through it.
Amazingly, though, Louisiana bounced back as the ‘Hollywood of the South’ thanks to its aggressive tax incentive program for film production. As of this year, Louisiana is the new film production capital of the world. Louisiana topped Canada, California, the UK, and Georgia.
My intention from the beginning was to gauge the plausibility of setting up a production in Louisiana to align investor interests with the incentives. Virtually any kind of story can be filmed in Louisiana, but I wanted to make a film that captured the mysterious and moody atmosphere of the state itself, not an intergalactic fantasy shot against a green screen on a sound stage. I didn’t want to shoot a period piece or a spanish moss covered voodoo film either. ‘Skeleton Key’ & ‘Serpent and the Rainbow’ still hold up well. Not to mention ‘Venom,’ the Cajun backwoods slasher movie by Scream writer Kevin Williamson.
After spotting an Acadian-style village on the water under the bridge heading to New Orleans, the idea came to me for The Bayou. It was based off something that I came across in 2010 in Minnesota that I may or may not reveal as the other half of the inspiration for it haha. This is entirely new and original, though.
I got to work building notes for the story and did a lot of research into Louisiana Wildlife Enforcement as well as the geography of the wetlands. I even went as far as to do a day of location scouting, posting the photo gallery from the scout on the Searing site, but having moved it to this site since then for the book.
I wasn’t entirely sure how much we would need to shoot on location in the swamps, but I knew that I wanted to shoot there as much as possible. Disney has a gigantic water tank swamp sound stage in Florida, but I wasn’t sure if we would be able to afford it. Plus, shooting in Florida would be a conflict of interest since that wouldn’t qualify for Louisiana’s tax incentives. On top of that, Disney’s swamp sound stage just isn’t as convincing as the actual swamp. It’s extremely difficult to replicate.
The biggest obstacle for the story / production was the production design. It requires *SPOILER ALERT* a very large set piece out in the middle of nowhere swamp land. Here are some of the 3D renders of the set design:
As you can probably guess by now, even with a small cast and skeleton crew, the risk factors for shooting the film on location are pretty high. Not to mention gators and venomous snakes that inhabit the area. Couple that with the complexities of film production itself, things could get really complicated really quick. As obvious as that seems, I still believe it can be done, it will just take a larger budget than I am willing to attempt to raise right now.
Now that I’ve moved on to a slightly less complex production, I have this great material that I really want to do something with. Writing books wasn’t something that really occurred to me as a possibility since I’m more interested in telling stories visually. I have a passion to create, however, and if I only allowed myself to create films I would probably lose my mind since film production is such a lengthy process.
I stumbled across this fantastic concept album on bandcamp that is a soundtrack to a slasher movie that doesn’t exist called ‘Black Friday 2: Blood Money.’ There’s a plot synopsis for the non-existent movie and each track is for a different scene. Actually, technically, the composer was originally contacted to score the short film / fake trailer for the movie that has an actual feature length script. But, the footage was never released(?) so they let the composer release the score anyway since he was inspired to score an entire album. (I think that’s the accurate origin / backstory.) I listened to the album on repeat for about three days just imagining what the scenes were like based on the score. I seriously thought about sending an email to the writer for a copy of the screenplay.
That’s when it hit me: What if I released The Bayou as a book, along with a score to accompany it for readers to listen to while they read it? It doesn’t seem like that would be a new idea, but I’ve never heard of it before.
I’ve made a few contacts with composers over the years while developing my films, so I will be reaching out to them to see if they would interested. Hopefully I will have it ready and release it in the time that it takes to shepard Infernal through to release.