Joanne Mitchell is a writer, Producer and actress whose talent has graced some of the UK's most popular TV shows. At FrightFest The 13th she came along with her husband, Dominic Brunt with their first film project together, the unforgettable Before Dawn.
We chatted with Joanne about this and the possibility of more projects from this talented duo.
HC: Are you a fan of horror movies?
JM: I do enjoy a good horror movie but I wouldn't necessarily say I was a big fan. I love to be scared and I'm brilliant company to watch one with (or so I'm told!) as I do literally go through all the emotions from screaming, shouting to jumping out of my seat. But I need a good story and characters to get me drawn in.
HC: Where did the idea for Before Dawn come from?
JM: It was really from a discussion between me and Dom (my husband) about what we did and didn't like about horror and particularly zombie films. I thought it would be interesting to follow the journey of an average couple, going through difficulties within their relationship, keeping it very normal and real, and then we throw into it the fact that one of them gets bit. And then how they both deal with that, both not thinking for a moment it is or was a zombie, but just some crazed rabid lunatic...
HC: Did you watch some zombie movies to get inspiration at all?
JM: Well, to be honest living in our house you can't really miss them! But I have to say I never really 'watched' one from beginning to end, just saw snippets, some of which I enjoyed, some I didn't. I've always been more drawn to character led films, drama, European cinema. Having said that, after writing the story of Before Dawn, I am much more interested in watching the zombie genre, and have to say, could really get into them.
HC: The story has a real human and very dramatic side to it; was it hard balancing this and the more horrific moments?
JM: No not really. It all came fairly naturally. I had a specific idea in my head, and Dom knew the moments when there needed to be say, a jump or some blood and horror etc so we just worked together on that really. It was important that we kept the ball in the air with the tension both within the relationship and the more gory moments.
HC: Before Dawn has been picked up by Metrodome and been shown at several festivals worldwide; you must be incredibly pleased?
JM: Yes of course! I never really expected that. I just decided from the start to enjoy the journey of it all, and anything else that came along was a bonus. And that, so far is amazingly what's been happening.
HC: Are you nervous about it being shown at FrightFest?
JM: Yes I am. Not everyone will like it and you just have to accept that. It won't be everyone's cuppa, but so far we have had positive feedback. I'm just so proud that it's got into such a prestigious festival as FrightFest, and all the others too.
HC: What's it like being directed by your husband?
JM: I had no worries about Dom directing me at all. I totally trust him and his judgement so it was surprisingly easy. I just decided that it was a job like any other, and at the end of the day the director has the final say. It was great because we could really discuss stuff too without fear of offending or upsetting each other and more importantly we had a laugh, there was always a great atmosphere on set!
HC: Would you like to make another horror movie together or would you like to try a different genre?
JM: Yes we would like to make another horror and have a couple of ideas for this. We also have an idea for something slightly different too, more along the lines of a drama/thriller but I'm sure there will be plenty of blood too... if Dom has anything to do with it!
HC: What advice would you give to someone wanting to write their first movie?
JM: I don't think I'm really in any position to give anyone advice, but what I would say is get the story right first. That's the most important thing and then just build around that. And then just do it, be tenacious, and enjoy the ride.
HC: So what are you working on next?
JM: I seem to be doing lots of different things at the moment. I am developing a few storyline ideas, one of which is a boxing film based on a true story which has been great fun, then there's another horror and a drama/thriller. At the same time working as a mum and going to auditions...so keeping busy, running around like a headless chicken, but having fun with it all...just the way I like it!
HC: Joanne Mitchell, thank you very much.
For an interview with Dominic Brunt click here.