Interview: Desmon Heck – Actor, Writer & Director of the SPIDER Horror Movie

Today we have the privilege to have a conversation with the US based actor, director and producer, Desmon Heck who has contributed significantly to the film industry as evident from his IMDb. The latest contribution being the thriller movie SPIDER which we recently reviewed. Below is the written interview with Desmon which will help you to know more about him, filmmaking, acting, life and horror genre! Please read on!

Darsh Davis: Q.1) You already have a huge following and are quite popular, but still, please tell the readers yourself and anything you would like to share about your work.

Desmon Heck: You’re very kind. Honestly I feel like a little fish in a huge ocean of artists and creators. Just doing my thing over here. Creating my work and stories. Whatever that means. In the grand scheme of Hollywood film history, I’m a little blip on the radar. I appreciate everyone that takes their time to watch my films. I feel like my purpose for being here on this planet is to create my stories for others to see and enjoy. If one person watches my film and enjoys it, then all the hard work me and so many talented people put into them is not in vain. So I thank each and every person who took time out of their day to watch my work. 

Q.2) How and when did your filmmaking and acting journey start?

Desmon: I was acting as far back as I can remember. Even in elementary school I was always participating in school plays and theatrical productions. My brothers and sisters and I would use our home camcorder to film funny skits and stories. Scary shorts. This was all prior to the birth of the internet. Haha. My age is showing. Haha. I always enjoyed reading books and watching movies. That’s always stayed with me. After I graduated high school I went to John Robert Powers Modeling School. Then I enrolled into KD Studio Actors Conservatory. I got my associates degree in fine arts there. Then I got picked up by two Texas agencies. One in Dallas  and one in Austin. I quickly started booking acting and modeling work in Texas. I remember in one summer I had booked a part on a TV show, a movie of the week, a couple commercials, and some print ads. At one point I had to turn down driving three hours to Austin for a callback on a Spike Lee project, because I had already booked a commercial in Dallas. So I felt like I was hot stuff and should move to Los Angeles immediately. Which I did. I packed up my things, and made a 20 hour drive out from Dallas, TX to Los Angeles, CA. Then all the work ceased. Haha. It came to a screeching halt. I went from being a big fish in a little pond to a little fish in a huge ocean. But whatever. I stayed in acting classes. I trained with Ivana Chubbock, went to lots of acting workshops,  and casting director workshops. I was working a little bit, but it was very sporadic. My birth to becoming a filmmaker came when I started going to Playhouse West. They encouraged all their students to create their own projects. Which I started doing. I started coming up with comedic shorts that were easy to film with my digital camera. I would use my fellow actors from class to shoot them. It was nothing noteworthy in my eyes, but it made me realize how much I enjoyed creating and filming things that came up in my head. It was also fun working with the talented people in my class. Watching them act out what I wrote. At one point I decided I was going to stop doing shorts and just make a full length movie. My first one, LA LA, was a quirky comedic film about two brothers that move to Los Angeles. I got all my fellow actor friends in it, and hired a small crew. We all had a blast making it, and I knew I wanted to keep making films. I put it on YouTube (if you search “Two Actors Move To Los Angeles LA LA” it pulls up lol). It currently has 16 million views. 

Q.3) What or who made you want to become an actor and a director? How do you manage to skillfully act and direct in the same movie?

Desmon: I’ve always been a movie lover. As far back as I can remember. My recreation and best friend was the movie theater. I would go there by myself often to catch the latest movie. Or I’d go on weekends with my siblings or friends to catch the latest flick. I worked at Blockbuster Video for almost two decades. We got free rentals so I would watch everything. So many fun B flicks that have disappeared into the filmmaker ether. Up and coming actors that have now since become top A list actors. Directors coming into their own. I remember when the movie Clerks came out. It was groundbreaking! Such a simple film. Black and white. Low budget. But pure genius. Seeing this new actor named Brad Pitt in this VHS movie called Johnny Suede and being absolutely mesmerized by him. I remember going with my Dad to the movie theater to see Pulp Fiction. Seeing Samuel L Jackson play one of the most iconic film characters of all time in Pulp Fiction…In this movie made by an up and coming director named Quentin Tarantino. Or my surprise to sit in the theater and discover the opening song in the movie Sliver was created by one of my favorite artist’s Enigma. It was all so magical for me. I managed to act and direct in the same movie out of necessity. Haha. Just from not booking work through so many auditions. I know that I will book myself. Haha! I’ll book myself any time. No audition necessary. Lol. I remember I went to an acting workshop ages ago. I was 17 or 18. This actor I recognized from the movie Kalifornia, Judson Vaughn. He was telling actors how to book work. He said, “Make your own films! You can always hire yourself!” 

Q.4) Please share how your passion for the horror or thriller genre started? Any particular movie, show or filmmaker made you a fan of the genre?

Desmon: It was the whole 90s genre of films that did it for me. I was so impressionable at that time. I lost count to how many times I went to the movie theater to watch the movie Se7en. That movie scared the crap out of me. And I had to watch it over and over again. Also the movie Scream. I had a crush on Drew Barrymore at the time and was so excited to see her in this new movie. The advertisements showed her as the film lead. Then….SPOILER ALERT SO STOP READING IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN SCREAM YET….Then the beginning of the film happened where they killed her character at the start of the movie and everyone in the theater was floored. She was the biggest name in the film. Now what?! It was so huge at the time! That whole genre of fun scary movies. Movies like “The Faculty” and “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” “Urban Legends.” Films that made you laugh, but jump out of your seat in fear at the same time. I knew I wanted to be a part of that. There was a part in Scream 2 where Neve Campbell had to crawl out of a car window over the unconscious killer and there was so much suspense that everyone in the theater was groaning and screaming in fright. It was insane! I knew I had to be a part of it somehow. 

Q.5) We see a lot of great photos of the cast and crew of the SPIDER through social media and IMDb! How was your experience while directing your SPIDER horror movie? Any memorable moments or lessons you would like to share?

Desmon: Thank you so much! My credit for the photos goes to our talented set photographer Alan Oliver. He would come hang with us on our shoot days and shoot these amazing behind the scenes photos. Shooting SPIDER was a fun learning experience for me. I financed the entire movie myself. I couldn’t afford to shoot the movie all at once so we would film the movie in increments. We would meet one day out the month and film for a day. It was supposed to take a year to finish filming. It ended up taking 4 years to film. And another year and a half of post production. The challenge shooting like that was making it work with so many people involved. So many things can happen in four years. There were actors that moved to different states, actors and crew members that had other projects they were working on. I had to work around it though. I’m thankful for everyone that helped in it. Because I couldn’t have done it without them. I think what made it work was that we had so much fun when we were filming. There was the stress of getting all the days footage shot in the time frame we had, but we had so much fun filming. A memorable moment: Let’s see…there were a lot of them. There was the day where we filmed our actor Kali Roses shooting part of the dream sequence where she was hitchhiking on the street. Getting that shot was the most adventurous, and I truly felt like an indie filmmaker when we got it. So much thanks goes to Kali, my amazing cinematographer Ryan Brown, and sound mixer Michael Faner for being there for that experience. It was one I will never forget. Shooting at some of the locations was fun too. Renting out the cool locations. This pink house in Hollywood. It was fun seeing the cast and crews reaction to the locations. This huge mansion we shot at for the end of the movie. It was fun and had that indie Hollywood glamour to it. It kept the shoots entertaining.  

Q.6) The SPIDER is a brilliantly unique thriller movie that also emphasizes human emotions, relationships and societal structures. What inspired you to direct a movie with a story like SPIDER? 

Desmon: Thank you so much! I wrote SPIDER based on my interaction with Kali Roses when I met her. The only way I can describe the power that she has over men is to say that if men were made of metal, she would be like a giant magnet that just walked into the room. I am not joking at all. She has that affect over men. I noticed that and wanted to create a film about a woman that had that kind of power over men. And I knew I wanted to work with Novi Brown. She has the amazing light that surrounds her. I met Novi doing a test shoot on a new camera I had bought. She was this gorgeous actor and model fresh from Germany. She was absolutely gorgeous. So I wrote around the two of them playing the same part. This new villain. The black widow. A tragic story about a young woman that has a lot of inner hated. She doesn’t see how beautiful of a person she is. She feels she has to resort to murder and demonic witchcraft to get what she wants. All to win true love. Roshanda is in fact evil. She is not a good person. But in writing her I felt so sorry for her. It could have gone so differently for her. Had she seen that she is worth loving herself. And worthy of being loved for who she is. But many times, in real life, if you talk to a person that is evil, their intentions are pure. Their actions and ways about getting what they want are not. And that makes them evil. 

Q.7) Your movie, SPIDER has a great message about love. What do you think should be done to make people feel more welcomed and end discrimination in the human society?

Desmon: More racial diversity in films. It’s gotten a little better lately, but if I watch a horror or action film, it’s rare to see a black woman play the lead. I just right now randomly google searched top films 2021, and the leads for all the listed ones are mostly…well….you already know. There are a lot of subliminal messages I placed in SPIDER dealing with racial discrimination, African American civil rights movements, and protests that happened in the 60s. There’s also the character Roshanda herself. Pursuing interracial relationships. Her preconceived thoughts and ideas on how she feels she has to be. How she doesn’t see herself as beautiful when she is. All based on things she dealt with growing up. Entertainment plays such a large part in most people’s lives. It’s the outlet for so many. So I think more racial diversity of all races in film would help. If everyone eating had a plate of only beans to eat every day, it’s going to be strange if they get a plate of beans with a salad one day. But let’s give everyone a plate of beans with a salad, some bread, some dessert. A nice glass of juice. Do that every day and that will be the norm. At least in theory. I certainly don’t have all the answers though. If I did, I’d be a billionaire right now sitting in a hot tub with Judge Judy and Samuel L Jackson. The three us chilling and talking about life. Hahaha. 

Q.8) Besides acting and directing, do you have any hobbies or ways of taking a break and reenergizing yourself?

Desmon: During the pandemic I got into yoga. Bre and Flo on YouTube. They changed my life. They helped me keep a cool spirit. See life differently. Lowered my stress levels astronomically. I highly recommend. 

Q.9) What would be the advice you would like to share to anyone who wants to work in the movie industry? 

Desmon: If you’re a filmmaker: Know your vision. Be specific about it. Pre-plan and pre-plan WELL. To a T. Have everything planned out. And communicate it with everyone so that everyone filming that day is on the same page. If you don’t pre-plan everything out and decide to wing it or say, “We will worry about that when we shoot,” or the all-so-famous, “We’ll fix it in post.” you’ll run into problems that could have easily been avoided. But if everyone knows what the goal is, and what the plan is, it will make everything easier. Also know that things go wrong during shooting. Sometimes it takes longer to light the set correctly. Or an actor hasn’t shown up yet, and you have an outdoor shot and you’re losing light waiting for them. A main actor will quit the day of shooting because their manager decided they didn’t want them to be doing any indie films. Or you will lose all your audio for a whole day of filming due to a technical error. All these things and more happened to us. Don’t let it get you down. Just keep calm and make the best of the situation. Have some free time planned ahead the day of filming to allow for error. Don’t overwork your crew or talent. Shoot normal hours. Feed your cast and crew well. Pay a little extra for snacks and a decent meal. Don’t order pizza every day. Order food delivery from a nice restaurant or nice location. Take into consideration if people are vegan, or can only eat certain things. Ask them ahead of time. Or have everyone order ahead of time before even filming from an online menu. It goes such a long way on set when everyone is well fed and not over worked. If you’re an actor: Keep training. Even Kobe Bryant, one of the best players of all time, trained incessantly. Never stop training. Film your own work. You can always trust yourself to hire yourself. Get together with your fellow actors and create work! Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson met each other in film school. Surround yourself with people that are hustling and that make you naturally raise the bar to the level they are on. You are who you hang out with. 

Q. 10) We love your movie and I am sure the readers do too. But still for those who still haven’t checked it out yet, please tell what makes your SPIDER movie a must watch?  Also share any current or future projects you would like the readers to support.

Desmon: Thank you so very much! SPIDER is one of those films that you will watch, tilt your head to the side and say, “Hungh?” Haha. It’s fun and entertaining. It’s not your typical movie. If you are a lover of indie films, I highly recommend. A lot of us put our hearts and souls into getting this film made, so you know you’re watching a film that was made with love. If you watch SPIDER and love it, I thank you so much and you are the reason I made the movie. If you watch SPIDER and hate it, I thank you for watching it and supporting indie filmmakers. My current project is my next film. I’m still in the writing phase of it. I’m on my second draft right now. But I hope to be filming by the end of this year. So stay tuned. 🙂 

Thank you so much for your time and answers, Desmon. We highly appreciate your work and we wish you all the best for your future endeavors!

Desmon: Than you so much for having me. It means the world to me and I truly appreciate it. 

Connect with Desmon Heck-

Desmon Heck’s IMDb

Twitter

Instagram (Main) Instagram (Backup)

Desmon Heck on YouTube- https://www.youtube.com/c/desmonheck

[FREE Full Horror Movie & Review] SPIDER by Desmon Heck starring Novi Brown and Kali Roses

WATCH IT FOR FREE HERE- XUMO.tv

Credits:

Written and Directed by: Desmon Heck

Starring: Novi Brown, Kali Roses, Jason Krotky, Desmon Heck, Ben Crowley, Jerod Meagher, and Ryan Kendrick.

Cinematography by: Ryan Brown

Edited by: Michael Tang

Music by: Nicolas Repetto

Follow the movie on Instagram: https://instagram.com/thespidermovie Follow the movie on Twitter: https://twitter.com/thespidermovie Follow the movie on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thespidermovie 

Movie IMDb

DID YOU KNOW? – There is a cool Easter Egg of Jed Brian’s The Unlisted Owner horror movie in SPIDER!

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