The following interview with Steve Cuden, Director of Lucky, comes to us courtesy of Shriekfest, an international festival and screenplay competition dedicated to getting horror/thriller/sci-fi/fantasy filmmakers and screenwriters the recognition they deserve.
Shriekfest: What is your specialty … filmmaking or screenwriting?
Cuden: I am primarily a screenwriter who enjoys directing and producing movies and TV. I have over 90 screenwriting credits for TV animation, on such shows as X-Men, The Batman, Starship Troopers, Xiaolin Showdown, The Pink Panther, Goof Troop, and many others. I also wrote the original book and lyrics for the hit Broadway show, Jekyll & Hyde, The Musical. You can check out all of my credits on the IMDB at: Steve Cuden
Shriekfest: Wow, Steve, I knew you were talented, but I had no idea! What are you currently working on?
Cuden: Believe it or not, I just finished getting my MFA in Screenwriting at UCLA, where I wrote six new spec features that range in genre from horror to a big budget action movie for kids, sci-fi, comedy, and drama. A couple of my feature scripts have been optioned, and are in various stages of development.
Shriekfest: Congrats on the MFA! Have you been a finalist or winner in any festivals or competitions?
Cuden: Lucky won the Best Feature and Fan Favorite awards at Shriekfest. Lucky also won Best Feature awards at The New York City Horror Film Festival, and MicroCineFest in Baltimore. I won the award for Best Director at the NoDance Film Festival in Park City.
Shriekfest: Why do you think the horror/sci-fi genres have such a large following?
Cuden: Horror and sci-fi both appeal to our most basic human instinct: fear of the unknown and the unknowable. Sci-fi and horror both prey on our fear of the dark, fear of being eaten, fear of pain, fear of being out of control, but mainly on our fear of death. For most sci-fi and horror fans, watching these kinds of movies is cathartic.
Shriekfest: What do you love most about this business?
Cuden: Seeing work that was at one time only in my head that I somehow managed to put on paper, and that numerous, talented others have chosen to translate into a living, breathing entity that lives on in film or video, hopefully forever. I love that energy.
Shriekfest: What do you dislike most about this business?
Cuden: Being occasionally forced to deal with callow, selfish, arrogant, people. For the most part, the industry is filled with hard working, well-meaning, good-hearted, talented people. In my humble opinion, there are plenty of folks in the business for the wrong reasons – mainly for greed and a shot at shallow fame. They can be tough pills to swallow, requiring patience that is too frequently a waste of time.
Shriekfest: Wow, do I agree! Any advice you’d like to give to newbies?
Cuden: This business takes time, fortitude, and endurance. It isn’t for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. But if you believe in yourself and your talents, whatever they may be, and can find a way to stick to it through the rough patches that everyone (and I do mean everyone) encounters, then you may find that you may be able to perform that miracle of miracles – have a career while earning a living.
Shriekfest: I couldn’t have said it better. Anything else you’d like to say?
Cuden: If you have a horror or sci-fi movie in need of exposure to Hollywood and beyond, by all means enter it into Shriekfest and see if you can’t generate some attention! Winning Shriekfest helped put Lucky on the map, and solidified our getting distribution. And if you are a writer – write. There is no substitute for continuing to write no matter what else is going on in your life. Writing is a kind of muscle. Use it or lose it.
Shriekfest: Thank you Steve, it’s been a pleasure having you!
You can learn more about Steve Cuden’s work by visiting his personal website: Steve Cuden. And you can learn more about Lucky, which is available on DVD and VHS from Redrum Entertainment, from: The Movie Lucky