Wildman Dee McCullay is a filmmaker, writer, musician based in Canada. Hot off the back of his successful horror films, Border Patrol and Fallacious he has most recently…
been working on Scars: a paranormal dramatic horror short. It was originally a short story written by Dave Dubose, called Solution to Sadness, which I thought was great, and I knew there would be a film in it.
What is Scars about?
Scars is about a young girl named Faith Beckett. She is on her last legs, and has done all she can to stay afloat. She has some mental health issues, and has been hospitalized at times for cutting and trying to take her own life. The crescendo of her horrible life is, she goes home to find an eviction notice on her door. She doesn't realize it, but she has been followed by a guardian spirit for quite a while now, who has revealed herself, just in time to warn her that if she cuts again, it will be the last cut. Her life will be lost tonight should she go through with it. She is also confronted with a dark entity who opposes the first spirit, and tries to convince her to go through with it.
That’s an intense storyline. Is a shoot about such dark material difficult?
Problems surrounded the production as our actress playing the part of Faith Beckett had a minor accident on the way to pick up the other actors. By the time she made it over, the two decided to opt out of the film, as she was so late. The apartment was rented for the shoot and with all the preparations pre-made, we managed to find two other actors at literally the last minute. Then we lost our on location audio, and had to leave everything to post production ADR work.
So that’s nothing to do with the material. Did everything go smoothly after that?
It was a very quick shoot from 8:30 pm to 12:30 am. I wasn't really sure what we had coming home from shooting that night. But after getting it to editing and starting to put things together, we had the beginnings of something great, something quite freaky and something intense.
Scars is Dee’s third film in quick succession. How has he built up his business to this point?
I have worked on quite a few productions over the years. I created Thunderstryker Films in 2009, making free tourism videos to get my name out there and noticed and it worked.
Tourism videos are quite different to Dee’s other work. How did he transition into horror?
I went on to produce a show for local television called the Thunder Bay Paranormal Society, consisting of 3 episodes. From there I took the paranormal into a new realm in my own show made for television called Dark History, investigating paranormal locations with orbit and tragic histories using Spirit Radio Communication (my own branding), Electronic Voice Phenomenon, and video.
And did that open up other opportunities?
Dark History took me into the states to work with Chelsea Damali of A&E Bio Channel's Haunted Encounters Face to Face. From there, I came back to Canada to continue on making Dark History episodes. The show was not picked up by executives, but is available on YouTube. From there I decided to write some screenplays, Fallacious was produced in April 2016 and released October 10 2016. Andy Van Scoyoc's, Border Patrol was shot over one month and released November 24, 2016. Both films received a lot of praise and acclaim. Scars was released December 27, 2016 and has been nominated for the iHorror Awards 2017, and is an official selection of the Stormy Weather Horror Fest.
How does Dee build his audience?
I promote my work on Twitter and Facebook, where most of my work gets shared by fans and friends who continue to support me. My Twitter audience has grown from 1200 to 7,700 since October because of the horror shorts I have made, and continues to grow with the release and success of these short films. I only use Facebook and Twitter to promo all my work and so it all depends on followers and friends to help by sharing. It’s hard to get someone to click but things are getting better with being seen and heard. For a while I felt like there was no one out there watching or listening. But today I am getting seen and heard.
Dee has seen much success with his films but there isn’t much money in shorts. How does he sustain himself and his creativity?
Most of my work has not made any profit but I have had paid gigs in the past where I have produced work for tourism and municipalities. Currently I have been requested for audio work for a museum. I love history. Aside from that, I have just monetized my YouTube platform, but I don't expect much income from it yet.
What’s the idea behind monetizing YouTube?
I started my YouTube channel in early 2010. Back then I just wanted to be seen. These days, I definitely need the money to keep producing my films as it all comes out of my own pocket (I have not gone onto crowdfunding… yet), and funding from views would be a good way.
Does Dee have a brand or a way of positioning himself online?
I present myself as a weirdo, the guy you think is hilarious and weird, whom you can't take your eyes off as you don't know what he will do next. My tweets are both horror and hilarious. I like to keep people entertained as a horror head. Followers learn quickly that I like to be a weird person, and my films are on a level of genius. I thank all my supporters and make newcomers feel welcome.
What about business goals or life goals? Does Dee set targets and track how he is tracking towards those targets?
I believe my true mission is to become famous. The key to fame is don't stop, just keep waking and doing what you love, and become the best you can be and one day people will take notice of your talents. Don't give up. I am very positive, even though I write some terribly evil, outlandish screenplays. If being weird leads me into some actual money so be it, as I work hard daily to become famous.
Does Dee have any final words for up and coming filmmakers?
I would say if you are getting into film the way I did, bypassing school and just going for it... it's a tough life. There is no guild. It's sheer will and determination. It’s getting up in the morning and being a do-er. It's looking at your work and criticizing it to death and continually striving to make it better or top it. Never give up on the dream. Just don't stop.