In August of 2016, while working on the concept that became this website, I was listening to a rerun of Beyond Reality Radio. The guest was filmmaker Seth Breedlove, he was discussing his movies Minerva Monster and Beast of Whitehall, and shared his knowledge about the encounters and other bigfoot lore. Toward the end of the interview, callers shared their stories about local folklore, and I immediately jumped on Facebook to send him a message to ask him for his thoughts on the Van Meter Visitor.
That simple conversation was all the catalyst I needed to get refocused on the site and inspired me to start sharing the stories of creatures and paranormal events from around the Midwest, but enough on that.
I had the honor to ask Seth a few questions and see a screening of his new film Invasion on Chestnut Ridge, look for a review on that movie shortly, here is our chat below.
First off congratulations on winning cryptozoologist of the year! What sparked your interest in the topic of unknown creatures and filmmaking?
I didn't really get into cryptids and the paranormal until I was in my early 20s. Some of it was due to The Mothman Prophecies film which I saw in theaters multiple times, and some of it was probably due to boredom. I started out by "investigating" local Bigfoot sightings in the area near the small town where I'd grown up, and from there one thing led to another.
As far as film goes, I'd always wanted to make movies, going all the way back to when I was a little kid and my mom first introduced me to Ray Harryhausen and Hammer Horror films. I was going to go to film school when I graduated high school but made the cowardly decision that it was an unrealistic profession and I moved on to other, more "normal" jobs.
I remember hearing an interview with you last year; you explained that the Small Town Monster idea started off as a book proposal. Are there any plans to publish a book in the future?
There are! Weirdly enough, I believe our publisher will be one of those that rejected my initial proposal, so that would be a cool full-circle kind of thing if it works out. Right now my issue is with finding the time to write it. Between Casefiles, Flatwoods, producing Aleksandar's Champ miniseries and doing pre-pro on Bray Road, not to mention having a five-month-old, I've got very little downtime.
Of your past or present films, which did you enjoy making the most and why?
As far as the actual creation of the film goes, it has to be Beast of Whitehall. It was such an intense experience early on (we actually filmed the entire movie twice) but I had such a blast on my return trip, and the crew was just Brandon Dalo, my dad and I. We had an amazing time filming and then we had a great post-production on that one. Brandon and I were like the only two people working on it once we hit post and it was just a really small-scale thing. I don't think I'll ever get to do something like that again, but it was such a great time working on that movie.
I'm most proud of Mothman because I just think the bar we had to reach just for it to be passable was so high, and I feel like we met every goal we'd set out to achieve.
Who is someone that you draw inspiration from? (Someone in the paranormal field or a filmmaker, whoever)
Man, there are so many. I'm not a huge Steven King fan, but I draw inspiration from him because his work ethic is so intense and he just never stops working. His On Writing book is really important to me. I'm inspired by Harryhausen and Billy Wilder within the film world. In the paranormal community, it's probably folk like Greg and Dana Neukirk who create so much completely independently. There are a lot of people like them who I draw inspiration from like my friend Shannon Legro and Lyle Blackburn, Loren Coleman, my buddy Mark Matzke, people who host podcasts or do youtube series or blog who probably are completely unaware their work means as much to me as it does. Anyone who creates stuff independently I draw inspiration from, really. Not just saying that either.
Do you have any wise words for filmmakers that might be interested in producing a documentary?
Man, not so much wise words as just stuff I've kinda learned for myself. If you want to make movies, then all I ever know to tell people is that they should just go make their movie. It's not that hard. I always say don't look to me or anyone else in the "paranormal" world as a blueprint because none of us are good enough to be gleaning anything useful off of. Look to the greats like Wilder and Welles or whatever. Don't look to Breedlove because that dudes just bumbling his way through, desperately trying to figure out how to get halfway decent at this filmmaking thing.
But yeah, my advice is, come up with an original idea and an original approach and go forth and make it happen.