Gregory Zymet is a filmmaker who loves to tell stories of the imagination — stories that pull from his life — that reveal some essence of humanity. He loves to create movies that excite and entertain people while getting to the heart of something important. His hope is that he’s true enough in his work that it genuinely touches people.
The following interview with Zymet is courtesy of the Shriekfest Newsletter.
Denise Gossett: What is your name and company name and URL?
Gregory Zymet: Gregory Zymet. I’m working on “the company” at the moment. In the meantime, you can check out my work at … My Space
DG: What is your specialty … filmmaking or screenwriting?
GZ: I’m a writer, director, and composer.
DG: What are you currently working on?
GZ: I’m currently writing a big, adventure movie based on a legendary lost gold mine. There’s a little bit of Raiders in it, though honestly, it’s a whole different beast. It’s more like the real-life Indiana Jones of our world today, taking one last shot at going after a lost mine that’s eluded him his whole life. It’s very emotional and rousing. As I write the screenplay, I’m composing music for it and gathering visual development — constantly honing the vision.
At the same time, I’m developing my next two projects (and composing songs and music for both). One is a fantasy musical along the lines of Wizard of Oz and the other is an epic science-fiction drama.
DG: Wow, very cool! Have you been a finalist or winner in any festivals or competitions?
GZ: My twilight zone-like short “Apartment 206” won 10 awards (including Best Sci-Fi short at Shriekfest) and my micro short “Wormhole Chasers” won 1 award.
A few years back I was a finalist to go on the reality show “On the Lot” but when I was hit with the contracts, I couldn’t bring myself to sign them so I backed out.
I was a finalist in a massify competition to direct a music video for “Low vs. Diamond.”
My haunted house screenplay “Havell House” was a quarter finalist in the Slamdance Horror Screenwriting competition as well as a finalist in the IFP Emmerging Narrative program.
DG: I’m impressed! Why do you think the horror/scifi genres have such a large following?
GZ: People want escape. They want to be taken away to other worlds. They want to be thrilled. They want to feel something. I think a lot of fans also appreciate storytellers who use genre as an allegory for society, culture and the human experience. My favorite genre films are not just thrilling, but also give you something to chew on.
DG: Very true. What do you love most about this business?
GZ: That there are some truly amazing people working in it. People who love movies and care about their work and their audience.
DG: What do you dislike most about this business?
GZ: The climate. Most of Hollywood is run on fear. This is why there are so many remakes. Right now Hollywood is going through one of it’s darkest periods. It’s making junk-food movies for a junk-food culture and currently leaving very little legacy for the future. Hollywood needs to take more chances and give the reins to a new generation of young storytellers to pave the way. Audiences want to see something new. Something that makes them feel something. Very few movies today have any emotional resonance. Hollywood seems to be wondering why people aren’t buying tickets like they use to. It’s because they’re not making movies that make people feel something. Audiences are out there waiting.
DG: Wow! Well said! Any advice you’d like to give to newbies?
GZ: Have something to give. So many filmmakers don’t ask why they want to tell the stories they’re telling. There should be something behind each film you make. Not just a unique style or the chance to go “boo” or throw a bucket of blood, but something deeper. Something personal. A point of view, an opinion, a commentary or simply an experience that you had that is so important or compelling that you have to tell people about it. Put your soul into it. What makes a great singer? Not just a nice voice, but the soul behind it. When you make your films, you should make them uniquely personal and put as much heart felt soul and love into each frame as possible. I feel like I’m here to live life to it’s fullest and give everything I’ve collected back to my audience. Learn as much as you can about people and life and put it in your work.
DG: Great advice! Anything else you’d like to say?
GZ: Thank for this interview, Denise!
DG: Thank you! It was great having you!