Iím Brandon Rhiness, Iím a writer, filmmaker and comic book creator from Edmonton, Canada.
How did you get your start in the film industry?
Ever since I was a teenager, Iíve been experimenting with film. My friends and I used to rent video cameras and make these really bad short film. I dabbled in film over the years, just for fun. I never took it seriously until just a few years ago.
Iíd had some success making comics and people seemed to love what I created so I decided to start writing screenplays again (something I hadnít done in years). I quickly started selling scripts and people liked my writing enough to hire me to write movies for them.
With the screenwriting going well, I decided to start making films again. It had been nearly ten years since Iíd done any film-related projects. I jumped in head-first and started making short films. The team grew along with my experience and I started doing bigger and bigger projects.
I love horror movies so most of my short films were in that genre.
Can you tell us anything about "I'm Haunted."?
I donít really like the ďfound footageĒ genre to tell you the truth. I usually donít watch them, but I was trying to think of a way I could shoot a full-length horror movie on a very low budget. The idea for Iím Haunted hit me and I made it happen.
As for horror, Iím still trying to raise money for Grotesque, a really cool slasher film I want to do. The script is written and Iíve shot a trailer for it (you can see it on YouTube). Itís just a matter of making it happen for real now.
Iím Haunted is the story of a young woman who thinks her apartment is haunted and starts a video blog to document the strange happenings in her home.
Iíd worked with lead actor Elizabeth Chamberlain in several projects before this. Sheís still in university for acting, which runs six days a week. So we could only shoot on Sundays. We shot for five Sundays in a row. Elizabeth turned in a great performance. I donít think people realize how much dialogue she had to memorize. Most of the movie is her talking to the camera. I was amazed she could pull it off. We got a lot of work done in a short period of time.
I had written the script, but we ended up making up a lot of things on the spot. Most of the shoot was just her and I working, so without lights and gear, we could just come up with something and go shoot it.
Whatís different about Iím Haunted is that it was first released on YouTube in real time. Short episodes of a few minutes each, every day for a couple of months. So people got to follow the story as it was unfolding. Youíd check back each day to get the next piece of the story. The last episode just came out recently so you can now watch the entire story online.
I will be releasing Iím Haunted as a full-length movie. However, the run time has to be cut down drastically for the feature. So if you want to get the whole story, watch the web series. The movie will be a whole different experience.
Iím also releasing a novel based on the Iím Haunted story. It expands on the universe and characters created in the series. Iíve finished writing it and it will be released sometime in February 2020.
What do you consider to be the strongest element of your work?
Itís hard to say what my strongest element is. (Itís really hard to judge yourself. Lol) I just tell a story my way and itís unique in that respect. Just like every other person out there, everything I write and create has a piece of myself in it.
Nobody can make something exactly like I can and Iíve attracted quite a few fans for that exact reason. Iím a story-teller above anything else and I think an entertaining story is more important than any technical aspect of a film (or comic book or any other medium). I just want to entertain people!
Do you think you've changed as a Director/Producer since you first started?
Iíve definitely changed. Iíve improved for sure. And Iíve gotten more confident, which comes from experience.
What are some of your upcoming projects?
My full-length stoner comedy ďHot BoxĒ is coming out on streaming services very soon. Hopefully in the next month or two. We had two public screenings of it so far and the audience response was incredible. People love it! Itís not horror, but a lot of horror fans are stoners too, so Iím sure theyíll love it!
In a few weeks, I begin production on a comedy TV pilot that I wrote and created with U.K. writer Mark Heywood. As for horror, Iím still trying to raise money for Grotesque, a really cool slasher film I want to do. The script is written and Iíve shot a trailer for it (you can see it on YouTube). Itís just a matter of making it happen for real now.
Where can we find out more about you and your work?
Check out the ďHigher UniverseĒ YouTube channel to watch the Iím Haunted series and see some of my other horror shorts and trailers.
You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can find me under my name @brandonrhiness.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to try a career in Director/Producer?
I tell everyone that if I can do it, you can do it. I went to school for TV, but I still consider myself self-taught. I learned screenwriting and filmmaking by practicing and doing it a lot. If youíre just starting, you can write a simple story, shoot it on your phone and just learn how it all works.
Get your friends to act in it. After practicing a lot, you can start using better gear and hiring professional crews and actors. Thereís no reason not to get started. Thereís nothing stopping you. Just get out there and do it!
If you could work with any Director/Producer who would they be and why?
Iíd love to work with Eli Roth or Rob Zombie. Theyíre both guys out there doing their thing and they like horror.
Itís funny. I consider horror my favourite genre, but all my favourite movies arenít horror. Not sure why that is. Lol. The Godfather and Heat are a couple of my favourite movies. My favourite horror film is probably The Exorcist.
What is the last horror film you saw? What did you think of it?
I just watched Midsommar. It wasÖdifferent. Lol. I wasnít sure what to think of it at first, but in hindsight, I thought it was very well done. Iím going to watch it again.
Favorite country or place?
Well, Iím Canadian, so I guess my favourite place has to be Canada!
Did you know anything about Sweden?
Iíve never been to Sweden and all I know about it is what Iíve seen in movies and read in books. It is on my list of places I want to visit, though! And a lot of good horror movies come from Sweden!
Anything else you want to mention?
Feel free to check out my YouTube channel to see what Iíve been up to these last few years.
Hereís a link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIP9726cOCS5DkPvPGk-jMg
You can also follow me or my production company ďHigher UniverseĒ on Facebook.
Here are the links:
Brandon Rhiness: https://www.facebook.com/brandonrhinesswriter
Higher Universe: https://www.facebook.com/higheruniverse/
And here is the link to the Iím Haunted Facebook page where you can check out interesting stuff about the series: https://www.facebook.com/Imhauntedmovie
And keep your eye out for the Iím Haunted book! Coming soon!