Scott Lyus is a British independent filmmaker based in London. Lyus, 27, has been involved in filmmaking for several years and runs his own production company Crossroad Pictures. We were lucky enough to catch an interview with Scott about filmmaking in general and his short film ‘Silently Within Your Shadow’ which will feature in the next Hellfire Short Film Night on June 2nd.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into filmmaking.
Filmmaking for me all started when I was young. Cinema and watching old VHS tapes was my gateway into this life and to college where I studied film, photography and media for three years. I then decided against Uni or film school on the advice of an old teacher and decided to concentrate on making my own films, working on my craft and developing my own style. This all came to a head in 2012 when I made Supernova, my first film with a proper cast and crew.
Tell us about ‘Silently Within Your Shadow’, what’s it about?
Silently Within Your Shadow is the story of Lucette who’s obsession for ventriloquism and her dummy Hugo starts to strain her relationship with her boyfriend Jace. To Lucette Hugo is more than just a dummy, he’s her best friend and represents her ambition as an artist, to her, he’s very much real. But to Jace Hugo is just a puppet, or is he?
The film is another attempt of mine at a character driven horror film. I did not want to rely on cheap jump scares or blood and gore. I want to make a horror films where story and character are king. So many horror films today rely on the jump scare or gore angle, so I want to try and give the audience a little something different.
It’s a very intriguing concept, so what inspired you to produce it?
The inspiration for the story came from my own personal life. The subtext of the film is the struggle between pushing yourself to achieve your dreams, while also trying to put all of yourself into a romantic relationship. Your passion and desire for what you believe is your calling in life and spending your time trying to achieve that can put a strain on your relationship and jealousy on both sides can grow. What breaks first, your desire to achieve your dream or your love for another? It’s a struggle I’ve personally faced and one I wanted to further explore within the film.
Who in the film industry inspires you?
So many people within the industry inspire me. From guys like Walt Disney who built an empire from his imagination, to directors such as David Fincher, Steven Spielberg and Jeff Nichols for storytelling and style. There’s also a handful of filmmakers on the current independent scene. I’m inspired by filmmakers that try something different, that don’t just make the same old pictures we’ve seen a thousand times. Especially in the horror genre.
You spoke about your thoughts about horror movies. Would you say horror is your favourite genre?
I go through stages of favourite genre but horror is the always present. On average I watch at least 1 or 2 horror films a week. Horror was the first genre I fell in love with, and certainly the one I’m most passionate about. My passion and desire to bring back story driven horror comes from my love of films such as Frankenstein and Silence of the Lambs. The horror genre has so much to explore and you can say so much within it.
So what makes a great film for you?
Probably not a big surprise given my previous answers but solid story and character are essential. All my favourite films and those that inspire me have amazing stories and characters that I identify with great cinema. Great characters and story is what last the test of time and that’s what we all strive to achieve.
And back to yourself and the filmmaking process, what equipment are you currently using?
Camera wise, Supernova, Order of the Ram and Silently Within Your Shadow were all shot on a Canon 5D. I’m not a believer in the idea of needing the best equipment to create a good film. Story and character will always be the most important part of my work, with a great cast and crew alongside that. I’m extremely lucky to have had an amazing cast and crew on Silently Within Your Shadow, with my DOP from Order of the Ram, Sharad Patel back behind the camera for Silently. Alongside the 5D, Sharad shot the film with an amazing set of Zeiss lenses and Arri lights.
What are you currently working on?
I’ve just finished the extended cut of a film we shot for a 60 hour challenge titled Holding Back. We’ve got a brand new colour grade and sound design, the film looks and sounds amazing. It’s a one character piece within the drama genre, so I’m really looking forward to getting it out there and seeing people’s reaction. However the big project right now is the feature screenplay. I’m turning in the second draft to my producer very soon with our goal to shoot by the end of the year. While I cant say too much yet, the feature is horror and is titled Walking Against the Rain.
If you could give a piece of advice to an aspiring filmmaker, what would it be?
Go out and make something. Anything. Don’t worry about getting the best camera, equipment or even cast and crew. Find a group of passionate people, come up with a great story and go shoot it. So many people put off making that first film until everything is perfectly in place and the trouble is, it will never be perfectly in place. Going out and telling your story is so much more important than the equipment you use to tell it.
And finally, if we wanted to see more of your work where can we look?
You can find my previous films Supernova and Order of the Ram on my YouTube Channel, youtube.com/CrossroadPictures, where you’ll also find the trailer and bonus content for Silently Within Your Shadow; and the soon to be released trailer for Holding Back. Comments are very very welcome. I’m always looking to interact with other indie filmmakers and check out their work. So please check out my films and share yours.
‘Silently Within Your Shadow’ will be screened at the next Hellfire Short Film Night on June 2, 2016 at Lime Bar Cafe, Folkestone. Watch the trailer below.
Follow Scott on Twitter.