Michael Davis is a young filmmaker who is making a name for himself in the horror industry. Michael’s stylish films are multi-faceted and packed with symbolism, iconography, and, of course, fake blood. Michael was born and raised in California and he has been fascinated by movies since early childhood. In 2008, he created his first wide-release short film and has been working on several other short movies--and three feature-films--ever since.

Michael’s work has earned him accolades among those in the movie industry--specifically, from those involved with projects relating to the horror genre--and he is experienced as a director, writer, producer, and cinematographer who also has extensive knowledge of sound design, editing and marketing.

Moreover, Michael is a skilled production designer and he has a lot of knowledge of special effects. Many of his films include incredible visuals and “monsters” that lend them a particularly professional polish and terrifying aesthetic.

Michael received training at Full Sail University, where he attended classes in 2013. At that time, he also become the show-runner for his original anthology horror series called “The Grimoire Chapters.” This project has helped him and his crew gain recognition as creators and entertainers.

In an exclusive Interview, Michael Davis recently discussed his experiences working behind the scenes, on the sets, and in other aspects of the film industry, as well as his hopes for the future of his career.

Film projects and scripts

Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you get interested in making movies and how did you bring your projects to fruition?

Michael Davis (MD): I believe my real interest with filmmaking began with storytelling. My parents would read me stories before I went to sleep and I could never get enough…I would sometimes go to bed early just to hear a new story!

After some time, that love of storytelling transformed into a love for visual storytelling.

In 2004, I got my first video camera and began making movies with my friends. Since then, I have just continued making films, shorts, and web series. With several years of practice and a lot of passion, I have taught myself filmmaking from the ground up and developed some creative and inexpensive solutions to the problems I’ve faced along the way.

MM: You have mentioned that you have a team of writers, actors, etc., who work closely with you, so how did you all meet?

MD: Some are long-time friends, some are new friends, some are people I met at college, and they all are incredibly talented. Many of the people I work closely with now I met through a web series we created called “The Grimoire Chapters” (TGC). It’s an anthology horror series with a different theme every season. I’m the showrunner for the series and when it started in 2013 it was a side project several of us worked on outside of school. A friend told a friend who told another, and it just started growing from there. We are now in our third season of the series subtitled “REM” and have our largest cast yet. When working on a film or series you spend a lot of time together.

I have spent several years working with these talented people and I consider them my film family.

MM: Have you had any films placed in festivals yet and, if so, what was that experience like?

MD: Yes, this year has been my first introduction to the festival circuit and it has been a great experience. Our team made a short film called “Hindsight” to enter in a local college film festival. It’s a movie about love, betrayal, and murder but it’s told in reverse. The film won the local film festival, then went on to win several other awards and nominations from other festivals. It was a very thrilling experience although I don’t know if I’ve been more nervous watching one of my films at that first festival screening.

MM: You’re a big fan of horror but what other genres would you consider making movies for?

MD: I am definitely a horror fan, it’s my favorite genre! I think it often gets a bad rap. I think of horror as drama with extreme circumstances. I also consider many movies “horror movies” that most people don’t think are horror films right out the gate. That being said, I honestly love making movies in any genre. I enjoy it when I get to do new things or step out of my comfort zone.

The short we called “Hindsight” is a drama, and that film was enjoyable to make. I would definitely like to do another drama. I would also like to start a comedy web series. “The Grimoire Chapters” is very dark, and I think it would be great to be working on a comedy series at the same time as filming a TGC season. I know my mom would love for me to do a romantic comedy.

MM: How do you find the scripts that you make your films based on?

MD: There was a long stretch of time when it was tough to find scripts. Since I wasn’t finding anything, I decided just to write them myself. I kept at it over the years and have discovered that I love writing. I love creating a world and filling it with characters and situations. Ironically, after I started doing more writing, I also started finding more scripts! There are now several amazing writers on our team, and the team is still growing.

MM: Typically, how long are the movies that you make and do you stick to short films or have you started to dabble with feature-lengths?

MD: Over the years, the movies and series I've made vary in length. I have done several short films ranging from three to thirty minutes.

TGC usually has about six episodes and traditionally ends up being over three hours in total runtime. Then I have also made three feature films that all ended up being over two hours. It just depends on what the story needs.

Future events and more

MM: You are a fan of "Chilling Tales for Dark Nights," so how did you hear about them and what is your involvement with Chilling Entertainment?

MD: My introduction to the world of "Chilling Tales" started with “The NoSleep Podcast.” I began listening to the show in 2013. It was my first introduction to horror podcasts and I completely fell in love. Horror podcasts are such an excellent exercise tool for creativity and imagination. I contribute to the shows because I enjoy the content so much. Being a patron at "Chilling Tales," I was given the opportunity to have a personalized horror story written.

I’d like to get the chance to create some content for "Chilling Tales," perhaps movies, shorts, or a new series.

MM: What has been your favorite project thus far and what are your hopes for the future of your filmmaking?

MD: I would say the second season of TGC subtitled, “Manhunt,” has been my favorite so far. That season was about the Zodiac Killer and was just a fun season to work on in general. The story is fascinating, and our team was great. Many of the people I am currently working with I met during that season. That season was non-supernatural which was different for TGC, and for me. I had worked on several supernatural projects prior to "Manhunt," so it was something new. My hope for the future is to continue making visual stories. We have several projects lined up and several seasons in the works for TGC.

We have many ideas for the anthology series and hope we will get to continue it over the years. I would love to continue with festivals, maybe Toronto International Film Festival, South by South West Film Festival, or Sundance down the road. I also want to continue networking and getting the opportunity to work with talented people to make memorable movies.

MM: Are there any other topics or events that you would like to mention?

MD: Yes, the film our team made called “Hindsight” will be released this summer at the Fandependent Films online film festival. And keep an eye out for “The Grimoire Chapters: REM” which is coming at the end of 2017. The third season of our anthology series will be focused on nightmares and sleep disorders!

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