Today’s guest Eduardo Sanchez goes back to the late 90’s and shares his experience on what it was like to be in the center of The Blair Witch Project hurricane. What it was like being on the cover of Time Magazine and how did it feel to be the toast of Hollywood…for a period of time.
We also discuss the aftermath, how his career grew post Blair Witch and crazy stories of Hollyweird.
Who hasn’t heard of the now legendary indie film rags to riches tale of The Blair Witch Project? Every film student from Los Angeles to Mumbai heard the story of how two young film students spent $27,000 (mostly from friends, family and credit cards) to make a little indie horror film that ended up grossing $250 million worldwide.
Directors Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick shot The Blair Witch Project in a new way which would later be called “found footage.” Without The Blair Witch Project, there is no Paranormal Activity, Cloverfield, The Last Exorcism.
The marketing of The Blair Witch Project was equally as important as the film itself. Just watch the FAKE documentary that helped fuel the belief that the Blair Witch Curse was real and that the kids in the movie were dead.
Just BRILLIANT marketing!
Enjoy my conversation with Eduardo Sanchez.
Right-click here to download the MP3
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Alex Ferrari 0:25
I'd like to welcome to the show, Eduardo Sanchez. Thanks so much for being on the show, man.
Eduardo Sanchez 4:47
Hey, thanks for having me.
Alex Ferrari 4:48
It's it's an absolute thrill to speak to another cubano director doing stuff and, man.
Eduardo Sanchez 4:55
That's right. There are too many of us
Alex Ferrari 4:57
That were like unicorns. When I was just talking about Joe Menendez, who was on the show a while ago, you know, I'm like, Oh, so you're the other Cuban director.
Eduardo Sanchez 5:08
But I'm the taller one.
Alex Ferrari 5:10
Yeah, exactly. So, man, so I wanted to get get started. Now, what made you want to start making movies in the first place?
Eduardo Sanchez 5:18
Um, you know, I mean, it really, you know, I've always had an interest in films like my dad, you know, he was, we were, I was born in Cuba too. But when we came here to this country, he never learned English, so, and he loved going to the movies. So he would take me to these movies. And he was sometimes he would, you know, I would help translate. But just his kind of, you know, love for the movies, and also, and just the excitement of going with him and all that stuff. And then we would watch movies. You know, he used to love James Bond movies, we, you know, just watching those some of the best childhood memories I have. So, and I guess his my dad's enthusiasm, really, you know, kind of, you know, made me aware of it, at least. And then, I guess when Star Wars came out, I was like, 888 years old. Yeah. And, you know, that we, you know, it was like this all encompassing kind of thing that, you know, not only was it a great movie, and you know, it was, you know, the toys and all the you know, stuff about space, and, you know, God, it just blew my mind. And it kind of open up to the idea of like, wow, these people actually make movies, and it got me really interested in at least and how they made movies, especially special effects. You know, I like, you know, read every article I could find about special effects, and, you know, just behind the scenes stuff, I love to see behind the scenes. So, you know, there was definitely, you know, this, you know, huge interest from me as far as, like, just trying to figure out how they made films. And, and that really, I mean, you know, I grew up in, you know, a suburb of DC and Takoma Park, which is, you know, about the furthest place away from the film business. You know, and so I, to me, it wasn't really this kind of, you know, I was too young to realize that it could have been that it could be a career, you know, but so too, but for me, it was just based, it was just like, this hobby, like this thing that I was really interested in, and then later on, you know, in high school that I kind of make the change of like, hey, well, you know, I can actually, you know, make a living, you know, doing some of this stuff, you know, so But yeah, man, it was, it was at a pretty young age that I kind of, you know, definitely connected with cinema,
Alex Ferrari 7:37
And that in 90 in the 90s, there wasn't, you know, for a lot of people listening, they don't understand, like in the 90s, there was no, it wasn't cool to be the director yet, like the rock and roll the rock and roll star director kind of like the Tarantino's and the Rodriguez of the world had just started coming up, but there was still not a lot of information about me.
Eduardo Sanchez 7:58
Oh, yeah, no, no, there was really nothing. There's nothing I mean, yeah. And also, you know, back in those days, you know, you know, to make a movie, there was no video, you know, video video was just for news and for TV and for soap operas, you know, so right, no, no respectable filmmaker would have made film on the films on video. So that meant that you had to least go to 16 millimeter,
Alex Ferrari 8:19
Right, which was expensive is all
Eduardo Sanchez 8:21
Which was super expensive, you know, so it really was there really was this like, kind of gatekeeper financial gatekeeper, keeping people from making, you know, the, these these films I made, it didn't stop me, I made a movie, a feature when I was like, 19 years old on VHS
Alex Ferrari 8:38
Nice, what was the name of it?
Eduardo Sanchez 8:40
It was called videowall. Okay. And it was just like, you know, just kind of like a, like a PG 13. You know, guys get into, to kind of trouble that they can't handle these kind of college age guys get into trouble that they can't handle. You know, when, you know, it was kind of funny, and it's cool, some cool action sequences, I put all my friends and I put my mom in it.
Alex Ferrari 9:05
Did you shot it on VHS man.
Eduardo Sanchez 9:10
It was an exercise. It was like, you know, can we shoot a feature? You know, can we do a feature? And so, you know, and you know, it's a fun fail. I mean, I wouldn't, you know, I wouldn't recommend it to anybody, but you know, I know how it is, man. It's like it's a huge learning experience. Just just to get through it, you know, just to be able to you know, and then you realize how much work a feature is I mean, it's amazing amount of work. And you know, so so you know, luckily it didn't scare me away from from filmmaking, but yeah, man. It's definitely you know, the, the the arrived, you know, there wasn't anything I mean, like Spike Lee.
Alex Ferrari 9:51
Yeah, yeah, she's got to have it.
Eduardo Sanchez 9:53
She Yes. She's got to have it. And then Robert came after that. And then reservoirs Yes, Steven Soderbergh. And then slacker. Yeah, yeah. Kevin Smith.
Alex Ferrari 10:04
The whole that was a whole generation of like the when indie film became like indie film, there was really not a lot of indie film. I get far this back I can go as Hollywood shuffle with. Yes. Yeah. He made it all his credit cards. Yeah, yeah. Well, there's there was Yeah, I mean, there was always film but like, you know the independent film as we know it today.
Eduardo Sanchez 10:23
Yeah, yeah. No, there wasn't anything where like people were like going out and like mortgaging their homes to make film. Yeah, you know, and. And Sundance. That wasn't Sundance yet. You know, it wasn't the festival
Alex Ferrari 10:36
Sex Lies and Videotape was what put it on the map, I think. Yeah, that was the first year I heard about it was at night.
Eduardo Sanchez 10:41
Yeah, that's the first Yeah, that's the first time and then soon thereafter clerks and well, she's got to have it, I guess went through it. Yeah. Well, yeah, man. It was, you know, yeah. And so yeah, I mean, me as a kid, I didn't have you know, me, I knew Spielberg and George Lucas. But to me, those guys were gods, you know, there was like, Scorsese, as well, as a young age I, you know, as a little kid, you know, Spielberg and Lucas were like, the ones that I you know, that I recognized, you know, what I mean? Those were those were the big guys. And then yeah, later on, you know, you know, Scorsese, and you know, you get into all and then you know, I got into Spike Lee, like, in a major way. Yeah, do the right thing.
Alex Ferrari 11:25
It's just, it's a masterpiece.
Eduardo Sanchez 11:27
It's a man, it's a masterpiece, you know, I was talking to somebody else about it the other day about it, like, just, you know, I haven't seen it in a long time. And I've been kind of saving it. I'm like, I'm gonna check it out against him. But yeah, it's just one of those movies that you just, like change the way, you know, for, for for I was like, I guess, you know, I don't 19 or 20 or something when I saw when I came out. So just for somebody who had been, you know, raised on, you know, 80s, you know, Spielberg and George Lucas, and, you know, Joe, Dante and you know, the Spielberg kind of, you know, wave that an actor, right is Meccas and really, really great films, but you know, you know, and so as a teenager, you know, the last thing you want to do is, you know, watch a movie that has any kind of social commentary. You know, blatant social commentary, then, so I wanted to see do the right thing. And I came out and I was just like, you know, I was kind of angry and just confused. And I kept thinking about the movie. And I was actually kind of angry at like, Spike Lee, and you know, this, and I was really challenged everything that, you know, that I had a bit that I had, that had gone into my film education up until then, but then I embraced it. And I just fell in love with him. And I just, you know, you know, and I really aspired to be kind of a spike lee, you know, kind of filmmaker, but we all do, man. We all want to Yeah, we all want to be Spielberg. I want to be, yeah, you all go through these little phases where you're like, I want to be this I want to be that person, you know, whatever. But you hopefully slowly, you know, find your own voice. You know
Alex Ferrari 13:06
Now you you went to UCF, which was literally down the street from my college and I think we were probably were you in Orlando in the early like in the mid 90s.
Eduardo Sanchez 13:17
I was I was in Orlando, like early 90s. And then like, I moved back to Orlando in early 98.
Alex Ferrari 13:28
Okay, so we just missed each other. I graduated in 96. From full sail. Right Right, right. Yeah, we missed each other right you left right before I came back it was Orlando was an interesting time that around that that around those years? Because it was going to be the next Hollywood Do you if you remember correctly, with universal and everybody was like you gotta stay man don't go down in Miami. Hollywood's over man Orlando's where it's at.
Eduardo Sanchez 13:56
Like, I mean, you know, I plot I found UCF somewhere I don't know where the hell I found UCF in, in high school or something. And for some reason, I just, I liked the school. And then when it finally came time to go to, you know, from my community college to you know, I wanted to go to film school. UCF was offering this program and you know, and I just I loved the amount of equipment they had. And I like their, their, you know, the way they had, you know, they had, you know, figured out how they're going to do the classes I just liked, you know all about it. And I got I got into the film school. And yeah, and part of it was like, oh, man, Orlando is gonna be the next Hollywood ease. up, man, so you know, and so so, you know, in my, you know, in my brain, I thought I was gonna be like, you know, in turning on movie sets and shit. And, you know, lo and behold, we're like, oh, where the hell are the movies and where are the sets and this and that, you know, and it never happened, you know fortunately,
Alex Ferrari 15:00
Yeah, I was I was there when I was there. I was I was interning on some TV shows at Universal I did get that much. Right, which was amazing. But like everybody was like, Oh, it's the next. The next big thing and I worked at Nickelodeon too for a little while Nickelodeon and then
Eduardo Sanchez 15:18
Yeah, you know, and I, the only we, you know, and then Disney like we had the routing class I think at Disney
Alex Ferrari 15:26
MGM. Yeah. At the MGM. Yeah.
Eduardo Sanchez 15:28
Yeah. Yeah. Disney. Exactly. Disney MGM and you know, but that's about as close as we gotten. Yeah. And they did let us like both, I guess universal? I think Disney do they let us shoot? Yeah. Yeah, on the back lots and stuff. So you know, it was cool having that, you know, there. But you know, the thing is that, you know, those parks are, you know, they're amusement parks. And they were never Yeah, and they were studios, you know, very much down on the list. So
Alex Ferrari 15:56
Make more money. They make more money selling popcorn and T shirts, and they will making a movie. Absolutely. Absolutely. So
Eduardo Sanchez 16:01
I should Yeah, but But yeah, it was a it was a cool time. And you're right, it was a really exciting time because there was this supposedly, we were gonna be like on the, you know, on the cutting edge, the cutting edge of this new way who?
Alex Ferrari 16:15
God it just it gives me just gives me chills in the back of my head. Just even thinking about all of that. I fell for that trap for about a year and a half. After that. I was like, I'm out of here. I gotta go back down to Miami. And and yeah, get some work.
Eduardo Sanchez 16:28
Yeah. Yeah, I've been it. Yeah, I finished film school. And then I headed back and and that's, you know, that's around the time that we started thinking about doing Blair Witch and spray. Yeah. And it was.
Alex Ferrari 16:39
So how did you come up with the idea for Blair Witch man?
Eduardo Sanchez 16:42
It was it was but it was it came from like, you know, Dan Myrick, and me, you know, we came up with the idea together and we went to film, we went to UCF together and that we had just, I don't know, a couple of weeks before we had just seen like the, and I say, I don't know, I never remember the damn name of the movie, but it was like the Freddy. It was the Nightmare on Elm Street movie with Roseanne Barr and Tom Arnold in it.
Alex Ferrari 17:11
Oh, God. Yeah. Oh, Jesus. Yeah, I forgot that. She She devil.
Eduardo Sanchez 17:18
No, no, no, no, it was it was a nightmare on elm street movie. It was like Freddy's dead or Freddy. Seriously, so. And you know, and I love the original Nightmare on Elm Street, you know? And I was like, Wow, man, you know, what the, you know, what's the hell's what's happened to like skit, you know, legitimately scary horror movies and, and Dan and I started talking about, you know, what, scared us as kids, and we read it a bunch of, you know, VHS, you know, movies of, you know, programs that really, that kind of scared us as kids. And we were just kind of going back and seeing that any, does any of this stuff still scare us? You know, and we kind of zoned you know, honed in on a particular genre, you know, the, the, the kind of pseudo documentary genre where, you know, like, like the show in search of the TV show in search, which was that that was, that was their sweet spot, you know, and a lot of movies like, you know, legend of Boggy Creek, which was, you know, documentary reenactments, like it was, and those movies and that TV program, you know, just really scared the crap out us out of us when we were kids, and then we watch them again. And they still kind of scared the crap out. You know, there's something about the, you know, the idea that the real deal, right, so we so, you know, then I was started talking about, you know, could you do something? And this was early 90s, we were at UCF. And could you do something that, you know, could you update that? You know, could you do a fake, you know, a documentary and you know, and we were thinking like, who could you release it as being real? Or could you at least fool people, or at least, people would go into the movie theater thinking that it's, you know, or at least pretending that it's real, you know, like, just that, you know, it wasn't about like scamming people or anything but it just so so that was the idea. And the initial idea was just like these filmmakers go out, you know, into some wooded area because that, you know, that's the cheapest place to shoot horror movies, of course, and
Alex Ferrari 19:20
No permits no permit. Yeah,
Eduardo Sanchez 19:21
Exactly. And there's in that these filmmakers are, you know, are following up on and then they disappear and then the, their footage is found, you know, years later,
Alex Ferrari 19:32
So for me, it was the concept his belly,
Eduardo Sanchez 19:35
And that was just that was just the, you know, kind of the initial thing and, and we walked away from it for a few years, we had other things to you know, we Dan and I were finishing up school and we had our, you know, own films that we were doing and all this stuff and then you know, we circled back on it a few years after film school and decided to, you know, to do it again.
Alex Ferrari 19:53
How did you get them added to get the money for Blair witch?
Eduardo Sanchez 19:56
You know, it's it was a A lot of like, kind of credit card stuff.
Alex Ferrari 20:03
Because it was like, What? 27 grand if I remember quickly?
Eduardo Sanchez 20:05
Yeah, it was like, it was like, yeah, it was like, you know? I don't know for sure. But somewhere around that he had 20,000 25,000 for the initial but was the initial budget.
Did you shoot it and you shot it all video? We shot at high eight and we shot at 16 millimeter, mostly high. Right. And did you cut it? nonlinear? Did you do flat? Yeah, we cut it on yanar Media went 100 to 100 Oh, ouch.
Yeah, we, we cut it, we started cutting it an avid it's too expensive. And then we Yeah, it was over media 100. And then, you know, and you know, I mean, his job, his job, right.
Alex Ferrari 20:47
And so you so you just kind of grabbed a bunch of money together. And then once you got the credit cards and all that, because I'm assuming you pitch this to some people, and they said they were to give you money. But of course they never showed
Eduardo Sanchez 20:58
Yeah, yeah, we did this, this investment, you know, real, like this little video that goes like 10 minutes and kind of explain. And it was really well done really creepy and set up the story. And we were like, Oh my god, people are gonna start giving us money. And, and you know how it is no, buddy. I mean, it's just, it's just really weird, man. And I offered it to people that I know had money. You know, like, I'm like, dude, you got you know, just, and unfortunately, nobody really bid
Alex Ferrari 21:29
Or fortunately for you.
Eduardo Sanchez 21:31
Yeah, yeah. Well, yeah. And then and then. And then we just kind of, we lucked out and got the attention of john Pearson. Yeah. And Johnson, he's helped us. Yeah, yeah. And he helped us with his show. splitscreen he helped us get the rest of the money for the budget for the budget. And then we shot it, you know, we just, you know, we shot it in, you know, 10 days, 10 or 12 days and, and then edited it for about a year.
Alex Ferrari 22:03
That's amazing. Yeah, that's, that's amazing. And they said, Now you've got a final product, you've got this little movie that you have no way in your wildest dreams thinks anything major is going to happen with it. If I'm correct, right. You just kind of made? What will you expect?
Eduardo Sanchez 22:18
Yeah. I mean, you know, you know, look, it was one of the we didn't we expect that as much from this movie, as we expected for many other the other movies we had made and failed, you know? Sure. I mean, you know, when you make you know, that's the whole thing with people are like, Oh, you know, these movies? This movie sucks. What are my Yeah, but you know, that movie that sucks. The most of the people involved in that movie probably thought that they were making a really great film. Like, there's very few people out there that I've know, that are like making movies for money. You know what I mean? Like, they're, you know, so for us, it was just like, every other independent film, like, Oh, this is gonna be the one and you know, whatever. And, anyway, we knew we had a good idea. We knew that, like, people were definitely, you know, very interested in it, when we told them when we pitched them, and kind of, you know, you could tell they were, you know, there was enthusiasm there. But we had, you know, we had no idea. We had no idea even, even when we shot them, even we finished a movie and brought it, you know, back to Orlando and started watching the footage, we were like, really nice. I've never I remember talking to Dan or somebody like, you know, walking back from from one of the because we know we shot like for 10 days continuously, like the actors were out there the whole time. They slept out there, we we brought them food, we brought them fresh batteries, we brought them tapes, you know, whatever the hell they needed. To really, like keep them lost in those woods. And I remember one time coming back, I get three in the morning after doing something with the actors, you know, dropping something off or scaring them or whatever, I don't know. And I was like, you know, we're either like creating like, a really like scary and cool film, or it's gonna be like, the stupidest comedy of, you know, like, it was just like a joke. Like these people thought that giving cameras to the actors was, was a good idea. But it made like, it just had disaster written. Oh,
Alex Ferrari 24:13
Yeah, it doesn't it doesn't read well on a pitch.
Eduardo Sanchez 24:16
It does not it does not, you know, and so. So but that's the funny thing, man. Like, when when we finally got our agents, you know, after the movie came out, our agents were, you know, right before Sundance, we got our agents are agents where I was like, you know, we were talking about how the movie was really hard to, you know, get off the ground and this and that. And I and, you know, one of them was like, now if I would have I would have looked at it. I'm like, Dude, seriously, you would have from a complete unknown about a movie where the actors go out into the woods and shoot their movie on high eight, you would have you would have forwarded that to two other studios. Right? You were right. It was a totally, you know, it was a total Like, oh, I took it was kind of the reaction like, Oh, it's a cool idea. I'm not sure how the hell you're gonna pull it off. But if it cool like so and you know, and luckily, we know all the pieces fell into place and we you know, we came up with something good.
Alex Ferrari 25:13
Now can you talk a little bit about the process of actually making it because I know a lot of people talk about, you know, the success and all this kind of stuff. But what was the actual directorial process in your heads? Like, did you give the cameras to the actors? You put them out there in the forest? Did you guys pretend to be like the witch or leave things for them? Like, did they not? It was like, completely? Like, they had no idea what was happening that
Eduardo Sanchez 25:37
Yeah, well, I mean, we, we tried to keep them, you know, as out of the loop as possible, like we tried to keep, like, any kind of contact with them at a very, very minimal level, as we would like, if there was a problem, you know, we could, they could address it, but it wasn't something where we had, you know, we brought them out of the woods unless they got hurt, you know, there was always a plan for if anybody got hurt, how we would address that. But it was mostly just keeping them isolated. So anybody, like, whenever anybody had any kind of duty that, that brought them close to the act, there's the number one rule was don't talk to the actors, unless you absolutely have to, like, if they try to talk to you just say, I can't talk to you, man, you know. And so, so yeah, so our thing was just basically, you know, set up the whole, because it was like a 24 hour play, you know, good 24 hour play. So our whole thing as the filmmakers, and as the directors, was, basically just build this world around the three actors, you know, and try to make it as convincing as possible and try to make it as isolating as possible. So we would give them, you know, we knew the story, and we knew where it was going to end. But they didn't know, you know, besides what they kind of learned or kind of, you know, took out of like, the auditions, because we auditioned, you know, with a couple of scenes that, you know, quite similar from the movie, so, they kind of had some clues as far as what was going to happen. And, but they didn't know, you know, who was going to die, and, you know, it was, you know, they just didn't know, it was basically, you know, minute by minute kind of, you know, information only given on a need to know, basis, you know,
Alex Ferrari 27:19
Right, and the energy, you can see the energy and the actors, like it's, it's, you can't recreate you can't act that,
Eduardo Sanchez 27:25
No, you and you and that's the whole thing is like, our whole thing was like if we cast the right people, which, you know, we spent a lot of time casting the right people. And we give, you know, and we do our job enough of like, actually building this world around them and kind of, you know, and keeping them off balance, you know, we we realize, okay, they're going to be able to, they're going to go to places where most actors can go, you know, just can't, you know, be where you're, you know, in that mentality of like, like, like Mike Williams said, you know, like, he goes, you can, like, recreate the idea of, like, you know, you as an actor waking up to little kids playing outside your tent in the middle of the night in the middle of the woods when you're lost, you know, I mean, like, you're saying, like, the wreck that you can prepare for that, that's not something they teach you
Alex Ferrari 28:15
In acting class
Eduardo Sanchez 28:16
No. So, you know, and you know, and the actors were really, I mean, you know, everybody, they knew what they had gotten themselves into, and that's what I think, you know, why I think the actors even though you know, every, you know, they got, you know, I never thought I there, you know, they didn't really get enough credit, man, I mean, definitely, it was the Blair Blair, which was definitely like a team effort. But the actors I think, took the took the idea of like, you know, which was a risk kind of a risky thing like an improv movie where you don't know you know, you're not you're making up the lines as you go and you don't even know where the hell The story is, you know, you don't know where it's going and you're getting these little directing notes you know, two or 305 or four or five times a day. But other than that, you know, you there's you can't ask them direct or any any you can't, you can't get any clarification you just got to make out you know, you got to read the notes and try to figure it out and try to you know, make it happen for yourself and I think that is what really kind of created this you know, pretty incredible opportunity and they knew they were you know, they they were really like courageous and they knew that they were doing something special I think that's what kind of you know, got them through the you know, all the hardships of just having to you know sleep in the woods for so long and she's 10 days yeah and then that Bay then you know, not you know, saying like all this you know, all this stuff that happens when you're you know, out in the woods so you know, yeah, but after a while man you could definitely tell the bit you know, they had they definitely It was a lot easier for them to go into different places into these far kind of, you know, reaching places that other actors would have to really kind of would it would be tough for them to get to.
Alex Ferrari 29:53
So it's almost like a Daniel Day Lewis style of acting role because they completely engulf themselves into it. And then you as a director, were almost like Kubrick where you wore down the actor to the point where they stopped acting because they were there.
Eduardo Sanchez 30:09
Yeah. Kind of Yeah. I mean, Dan and I were never, you know, abusive, of course, and we never abusive and also we, you know, we didn't I mean, I mean, Kubrick, you know, worked on a different level, you know, yeah, of course, of course, rasa was just, but yeah, we never, we never really tied it to that kind of thing. But for us, it was just like, how do you get? How do you make this look like, it's completely real, because that was our big thing. Like, we want this footage to look like they like it's 100% authentic. And so for us, it was just, you know, keeping it safe for the actors, but also, you know, pushing them to, you know, to the very limits of what, you know, would be considered safe, you know, reasonably reasonable to take them to a place. Yeah, I mean, they were never in danger. I mean, there was, there was always, you know, somebody, you know, within, you know, on a hike away from or the there was always, you know, we were always in contact with them.
Alex Ferrari 31:05
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. Well, you watching them, or you,
Eduardo Sanchez 31:18
We tried watching them, but it kind of, you know, it was you couldn't hear them anyway, you know, like, the sound doesn't really travel too far in the woods. So, you, we were, you know, you we like Dan tagged them for, like the, I think the first couple days, and then we kind of, you know, there was so many other things that you had to get ready. And, you know, you couldn't we couldn't have a director out there, you know, kind of following them the whole time. And then our whole thing was, like, even if you're looking at even if they do something wrong, what are you going to do, like, go and correct it? Like, you know, you can't this is, this is not that kind of movie, and I mean, like you, you know, you got to hope that they're gonna bring you stuff. That's, you know, that's a lot that encompasses a lot more than the notes you're giving them, you know, what I mean? Like, you're so So for us, it was more like, yeah, the, the observing kind of, you know, fell, you know, very quickly out of favor
Alex Ferrari 32:13
Is a very ballsy you know, it's a very ballsy move as a creative as a director to to do this, like, you know, regardless of what because access and all this stuff, but just as a filmmaker like you, you, you've let go of a lot of things that directors generally hold on to, you know, like, complete control of the image, complete control of the actors. You guys kind of did this experiment this moment. Blair, which was almost an experimental film very much so because there was nothing at all like it out.
Eduardo Sanchez 32:40
Yeah, it was, Well, yeah, we and yeah, and we definitely knew that it was an experimental film, you know, and, and, you know, and, and that's kind of why, you know, we, you know, we just had this this kind of obsession with, you know, nothing in the movie, being able to give you a clue that it wasn't real, you know, what I mean? Like, oh, yeah, so, so anything, anything that kind of, you know, lighting nighttime, you know, with with a, you know, with a 12k up on a hill, that, you know, you know, soundtrack music, you know, name actors, you know, any of that everything was basically bait, you know, just making the most authentic thing possible. And, but yeah, it was very much an experiment, we had no idea, you know, what we were going to come out with, I mean, we thought we're gonna have some interesting, you know, footage, right, we had no idea we were going to be able to, you know, we were going to have this, you know, feature film that, you know, kind of, you know, blew everybody you know, that did what it did, you know,
Alex Ferrari 33:44
Now what now I want to go into the marketing of this film, because it was I anytime I ever did any lectures, or any spoke of anything, right, did any post about marketing, I always use Blair Witch as an example, because it's honestly, and I've said this many times, it's honestly probably one of the best marketed independent films of all time, because of this insanely genius guerilla marketing campaign that you guys did. Can you talk about how that came about? Because that you were thinking about the marketing of this film while making it and filmmakers generally don't do that. So how did that come about? Who came up with it? Who fed the beast? How that
Eduardo Sanchez 34:26
You know, it was, you know, I'm not sure how I mean, we, you know, look, as an indie filmmaker, you're always thinking you know, at least if you're smart, you're always thinking about you know, how the hell am I going to sell this film you know, saying so, there's always a little bit of kind of, you know, even just choosing the material, you know, sometimes you you immediately start looking for things that will set you apart from you know, the rest of the of the herd, you know, but for Blair Witch it was it came about as a you know, very much a you know, just just Very much pragmatic approach to marketing, like we had, you know, we were editing the film, we were, you know, we were shooting some other stuff, because we were shooting some stuff that we're going to add later on for the film that ended up on the cutting room floor. So we were, you know, we were busy, we were doing stuff. And we showed the our, we had a segment on a show called split screen, which I mentioned earlier, the john Pearson show that played on Bravo and his discussion board on his site. And this is, you know, obviously, before YouTube before, you know, Facebook, his discussion board kind of blew up, like, there was a lot of attention about Blair Witch about this segment, like, Is it real, and this or, you know, I, you know, whatever, and people were, like, already throwing theories around. And as, like filmmakers who had never experienced anything like that, it was just really exciting. We were like, holy shit, there's people talking about our movie, other than our friends that are, you know, parents, right. So we, you know, we were, like, you know, we had no money, so we will do a website. And luckily, I had, you know, some some web building experience from a previous job. And so I just took it upon myself to, to build this website. And, you know, everybody, everybody helped, but I was the only one of the, the main guys that didn't have a girlfriend at the time. So I like saying, Oh, I had a lot more time. Yeah, and they did. So I would edit, I would edit a late night, you know, into the early the early morning, and then I would go home, and I would come home. And while Dan edited. I would just work on the website. And, and it was very much like, we meet you know, it was it was great, because we immediately had fans, because, you know, we immediately linked to the splitscreen discussion boards, and all those a lot of those people came over to the site. And it really became this, like, you know, you know, very, for me, especially because I was like the one that was interacting mostly with, you know, with on the day to day basis with, with everybody that came to the site, it was very much like, you know, it gave me a lot of energy, you know, gave me a lot of enthusiasm for what, for what we were doing. And you know, because back in that, at that time, you know, we were completely broke, we had absolutely no money, we were like, you know, literally like having our, you know, water cut out. And then you know, our electricity cut out the next month, I mean, just just really like just living on on pennies. And, and there wasn't much, you know, and there wasn't much, you know, reason to celebrate, you know, there wasn't like, but these people loving what I was putting up there. And I you know, I didn't, you know, you didn't want to put you want to give anything away. But I just put enough stuff up there. And, you know, and also it was just a no subject matter. You know, it was the idea that, that it's just a Blair Witch just has just had a really interesting marketing Hawk, you know, I mean, it was a it's a, it's a fake documentary, you know, I mean, you know, so there's so much material and so many things that somebody kind of fun things that we that we did. And so and, you know, so by the time we went to Sundance, you know, we had, we had a mailing list that I would like, do this thing called Hacker News. And we, I would, you know, over like, a once a week, I would like kind of just send out a newsletter kind of updating people on what was going on with the movie and, and then you know, and it was fun. The Sundance and as we sold the movie, and you know, all this stuff was just a really exciting time. But we had like, 10,000 people on that list going into Sundance, and this was like, 90 in early 99.
Alex Ferrari 38:56
That's actually pretty fascinating, because you were doing crowd sourcing. You were creating a following back in 99. With email list, like, that's very advanced stuff back then.
Eduardo Sanchez 39:08
Well, it was I mean, and it was just, it was just the only tool we have at our disposal. Right, right. You know, I mean, and so we made the most of it. And then what the marketing what really pushed the marketing to the next level was that artists and they were just, they were like the perfect movie company to bid to buy Blair Witch like they. There was a guy over there named john Hagerman and the marketing department and there's a woman named Emma Jones and they really got the movie they like they really understood the movie. Even before I mean a lot. Even better sometimes. Then we got our own movie, you know what I mean? And they're and they're the ones if I don't if I'm not mistaken, they're they're the ones that kind of pushed. That kind of said Are we are the total artists and like we have to go we have to buy this. We have to get this move. You have to buy this movie. So but so once we got, you know, once they we got the deal and we started working with them, they were just, you know, they love the website, they were like they pulled it down and they're like we're gonna rerelease the website in chunks, you know, as we get closer to the release date, and they were like you had, you know, you want to do something on, you know, on sci fi channel, we have a slot that we could do like an hour show. And we were like, well, let's do a, let's do a documentary about the, you know, about the legend of The Blair Witch. And they were like, hell yeah, let's do that. So, they gave us money to do that. And, you know, we did that as we delivered the movie, you know, it's crazy. And you know, and then they, you know, and then they were like, well, we're gonna do a book, you know, based on like, a detective, you know, the journals of a detective that looked into the case. And we were like, yeah, and, you know, we collaborated with this writer named da stern on that, which in this mood, this book called The Blair Witch dossier, which is still one of my favorite kind of Blair, witch related pieces of media. And, you know, and they hooked us up with oni press, and they didn't, you know, comic books, and you know, and so they were very, very, like, into the idea of, like, you know, putting, you know, of, you know, marketing, not in a direct way, you know, what I mean? And then, you know, obvious and then and then the trailers like, you know, they, we really realized, we realized that they really knew the movie when they started sending us the trailers. And we were like, yeah, that's exactly you got, that's exactly the way it needs to be done, you know. So, you know, it was just, it was the perfect, you know, you know, kind of combination of, you know, filmmakers that knew, you know, enough of what about what they had created to help, you know, to be a part of it, and a studio that was willing to let you know, the filmmakers and the marketing department, you know, you know, work, you know, hand in hand to release the movie,
Alex Ferrari 42:01
It never happens, it never happens.
Eduardo Sanchez 42:03
Now, it never, you know, and it was always these, there's always these, you know, every time you sell a movie, you're like, Oh, yeah, this is gonna be great, we're gonna do this and that, and then you're like, the, you know, they won't return your call after about a week. So, you know, but you know, it. So it was just it was, you know, Blair, which created an energy that, you know, it's hard to, it's hard to come, you know, come up with that energy in, you know, especially in film, you know, I mean, because it's just something people that people had never seen anything like this, you know, I mean, and I think that they really like love the idea of like trying to put you know, to push something new out there, you know,
Alex Ferrari 42:40
In the studio's are generally not known for that.
Eduardo Sanchez 42:43
Now, studios, you know, that they are the opposite of that, you know, and you know, you want something that is, you know, is safe and can reach a maximum audience and easy to understand, you know, it's the, you know,
Alex Ferrari 42:58
So so the movie, the movie now gets released. So can you take me through your journey? It's, you know, I know it's a long journey, but for the movie gets released, it blows up beyond anyone's imagination, and continues to blow up. How How did you like how, what was it like, for you as a filmmaker going through that process? Because I mean, that's a that's a that's a dream of all filmmakers. We all want to make a movie that has the success of a Blair Witch Project. Oh, yeah. So what was it like what was it like at the very beginning opening weekend? You're like, Get the hell out of here.
Eduardo Sanchez 43:33
I mean, it was a bunch of Get the hell out of me day and it continues to be a Get the hell out of me like this. Like me talking to you is like, you know, there's still people that want to talk about you know, Blair Witch. So I mean, look, man, it's been it was you know, and I Blair Witch has been nothing but a blessing to me, you know, I'm saying and when we you know, like every other filmmaker, you know, independent filmmaker, you know, you hope your movie, you know, and then you know, and this is people I think people that you know, weren't around at the early days don't realize that Blair Witch was not only like the most, at the time, like the most, you know, the biggest indie film ever, but at that, at that level of like, somebody making a movie for like, 50,000 bucks. there had never been anything close to it, man. I mean, you know, like, I mean, I you have clerks and mariachi brothers, McFarlane, like these really micro budget move, maybe, you know, she's got to have his general budget. Sure. None of those movies had even, you know, broken. I mean, I think El Mariachi did 3 million or 4 million, right? You know, that was for us. That was the dream Holy shit. If we can have El Mariachi, we're a clerks and we can have our movie in the in the theaters. You know, I you know, so so once, you know, we saw that, you know, artists that we you know, once we realize, you know, we saw we got into Sundance, and then that was the first kind of like, okay, Something, something cool is happening, you know. And then once you know, we all our shows were sold out immediately. And they, you know, we got in the sun, you know, we our first show the movie sells out and you know ourselves like that night, you know, like that morning, we made the deal with artists in and after just one showing, and then, you know, the buzz around Sundance, you know, it was just, you know, it seemed like it was everywhere and, and then you know, you would come home and we you know, we're still broke, you know, because we, we, you don't get the money until you deliver the movie, which is many months down the road. Sure. So we're still broke, and they're still, you know, cutting our electricity and stuff off. But now we have, there's a there's a goal, oh, if we do these things we get you know, our advance, right? And, you know, and then like I said, they they're artists and starts talking about marketing, and they offer us this thing of like, Can you do a doc, you know, this,
Alex Ferrari 45:57
Put the money
Eduardo Sanchez 45:58
By five, we'll give you this much money. We also want to, you know, redo the ending, you know, when I think about maybe, you know, making a new ending, so we were like, yeah, as long as you pay us, we'll go down and reshoot some endings, whatever. And then, you know, you know, you start people started kind of people started coming, you know, just people that we'd kind of film school with, and, you know, we're calling us and saying, Hey, your, your movies, like, you're gonna send your movies tracking, like, up there with all the all the Hollywood movies, like, that's, that's never happens to an indie movie, like, you know, something weird is happening. And then you see you get, you know, we started getting all these kind of clues that, you know, that this thing was going to be, you know, a little bigger than, you know, that than we thought, but at the same time, you're like, Wow, this is great, you know, and then, but then once you know, you know, after that first when we, you know, we that first weekend, or the first week, we opened in the Angelika and, you know, like, the, the movies like sold out for like a week in advance, right. And you see the lines around the block, just, you know, going in to get the, you know, get some good seats, and, and then it opens up and it has this, you know, crazy per screen average, and then it, you know, just all this stuff, and then then, you know, and then the artists and told us that somebody from Ronnie harlands movie, because we remember reading deep, deep blue sea. That's shark shark movie. Yeah. Well, LL Cool. J. Yeah, that was like, that was the big kind of, you know, really hard sharks thriller that was coming out that and one of the guys from ours and told us that the studio, I don't know what studio was called artists and said, Hey, you guys know that you're gonna release your movie on the same day as our movie. Like, you're gonna get squashed? Like, you know, do you understand what you're doing? and artists, like, we understand what we're doing. So once the movie or the movie comes out, and you know, makes like, you know, 26 or something, 27 $28 It's insane. And then the next weekend and makes, you know, almost the same. And, you know, it just, it's, yeah, it's insane, man, it's crazy. And then the week, you know, like, the week previous, you know, we are one of those weeks. I'm not sure exactly when it came out. But you know, we're, you know, Dan and I are on the cover of Time Magazine, like you go to you go to your, your grocery store, you're you're on the frickin you're on all the damn, you know, registers, man. I mean, and it looks like one of those things that you do it, you know, and at the beach, you know? Like, looks that way. Yeah. It looks so fake. Looks so fake. And then you know, you, you know, and then just, you know, Saturday live parodies you and then you know, everybody parodies. Yes, Chris Rock, you know, on the MTV Music Awards, he did like the whole Blair Witch thing. Right? You know, it's just, it's just surreal Dude, it's just surreal. And like, when Dan and I were doing the, you know, the tour, we were like, all over the United States and then up in Canada. You know, we were we read, we were like, Dude, this is, this is never gonna happen. This is, you know, we got to enjoy this. I remember even talking.
Alex Ferrari 49:22
That's great that you actually
Eduardo Sanchez 49:24
You had that site that Oh, absolutely, man, because it was just so out of control. And, you know, like, we were like, all of a sudden we were like, hanging out with you know, you know, we were at the end of Independent Spirit Awards, and we were seeing Quinn, Tarantino and David Lynch and sure it was saying that the Weinstein's are there and, you know, you're we go to can and, you know, we meet Ben Affleck and there, Darren Aronofsky and I sit down and chat and yeah, you know, you don't say like you're in this other world, and you're the one whole time you're like, I don't you know, and even now I still feel like there's no I really love going through the whole Blair Witch thing. And it's like I said, it's nothing but a blessing. But like, I don't know, if I could if I could, like I've often thought about, like, Can I do the, you know, the a list director thing where you, you know, you spit, you know, the amount of work and the amount of press and all that stuff like, to me, it's like, I don't know, you know, I like it was pleasurable because it was something that I always thought that okay, this is not going to be the way it is. This is a, this is a special one off, it's a one off and then I can go and do my you know, whatever the hell I can find, you know, my little corner of the film world hopefully after this. But it's Oh, it you know, so it was just this huge, these crazy events that just kept happening, you know, meeting Roger Ebert.
Alex Ferrari 50:53
He said he was so he I met him, I he reviewed one of my films, and he is he was such an amazing soul.
Eduardo Sanchez 51:01
So yes, like still, like, you know, even after all those years, like he still was like a super film. Yes, yes. Yeah. So but yeah, and you know, and I, you know, and I, I grew up, you know, let's watching him men that enjoy this guy, you know,
Alex Ferrari 51:17
He's from our generation. No question.
Eduardo Sanchez 51:19
Yeah, man. And so to meet him was crazy. And you know, so all these things that were just surreal, you know, surreal. And it was like a dream that I had never dared really dream about, like I you know, I definitely dreamed about being a filmmaker and having a little bit of a success and this and that, but it was a dream that I didn't even know really existed, you know what I mean? And it was just one of these things that, you know, would caught everybody by surprise, and, you know, including us.
Alex Ferrari 51:46
So there. So you've gone through this insanely out of body experience. And, and it's insane. It's insane. That the stories but one thing I wanted to talk to ask you about is you're talking about the press and the world coming at you guys left, you know, I mean, I can only imagine what kind of you know, everybody wants to jump on your bandwagon. Everybody wants a piece of you. Yeah, everybody wants to dissect who did what on the movie, all this kind of crazy stuff. Can you talk a little bit about how Hollywood themselves treated you like what was the? Because I want the I want the listeners to kind of understand what happens when you get thrown into this kind of machine. And what what what the agents were saying what the studio I'm sure you did the water bottle tour 15 times over. You met every studio executive, every big producer, you met every big actor. What was that? That part? The behind the scenes part by not the stuff in the front of the camera, but that by the back corners of Hollywood? How did that work?
Eduardo Sanchez 52:45
Um, you know, it was I mean, it was it was fine. I mean, you know, there was definitely very much I mean, I mean, for us, it was it was a special kind of my agents call it the victory lap. Right. And, you know, it was a very much a different kind of victory lap because people didn't know what we had done. They didn't understand what we had done. And for good reason. And they also had no idea if we could write in direct the normal film, like, there was very much like, Okay, did you guys have a script? You guys know what a script looks like? Alright, so there was definitely some people that, you know, I just, it was a lot of bad attitudes people, like just kind of haters, you know? Yeah. And people yeah, or people who just there's a lot of people who just kind of wanted to see that we that Dan, and I maybe didn't float on, you know, like that we were just regular guys who happen to have made this crazy experimental movie that somehow made you know, this much money, you know what I mean? Because there's, there's, there's a level of like, who the what the what the hell is Who is this guy? Yeah.
Alex Ferrari 53:57
Anomaly the anomaly factor.
Eduardo Sanchez 53:58
Yeah, the anomaly. I think there's a little bit of like a freak show, like, Oh, I want to I want to meet, I want to sit next to that. I want to stand next to the Blair Witch guys. And there still is that, you know, but now for me, it's like very much like, you know, I love it. I mean, I just love the idea that people are still kind of excited that I made you know, about this movie that I made, you know, 20 years ago. Right. So, you know, so and I understand that because, you know, you know, if, especially in the filmmaking side, because I meet a lot of people who were like, we're inspired by the movie, you know, just the idea of like, shit, anybody can can do so and I, you know, so when they meet me, they're like, oh, man, you know, I love to hear those stories of like, Oh, my God, man, you know that everybody has a Blair Witch story and I love to hear him, you know. But, you know, hollywood was, you know, it's a tough thing, man because you you know, for me and Dan and I guess I can only talk speaks you know about me, but I think Dan and I were both going through the same thing was the idea of like, okay, we you know, we made this movie, but, you know, we don't you know, We have ideas for other movies. But, you know, this is not going to happen again. Like, we can't do another Blair Witch, you know, I mean, like, there's not, you know, this is not going to happen, you know? And, and also, we Dan and I were not, you know, we never considered ourselves horror filmmakers like we didn't have, I think a lot of filmmakers that go into the horror genre have like, have been trying to make horror movies their whole lives and have you know, have a whole backlog of horror ideas. And all and Dan and I just didn't have that. I mean, Dan had a really good thriller kind of horror idea. But, you know, and otherwise, you know, we didn't we didn't have we weren't horror filmmakers, like we weren't like guys who had like 10 scripts ready to go. So the time after Blair Witch, we didn't have another horror script. And actually, Dan and I wanted to make a comedy. So you could you can imagine the talks that our agents had with us about, you know,
Alex Ferrari 55:58
Complaint, which got to make it a comedy.
Eduardo Sanchez 56:00
Yeah, like, that was that was our state of mind. And, and the thing about him is that he and looking back on it, you know, I'm like, that was kind of a dumb thing to do, but you have to understand is that we had, we were, you know, Blair Witch was bringing in a lot of money to us. I mean, and a lot of, you know, as most of the time you know, when filmmakers, you know, get their film, their first film sold, I mean, even like, like, I was talking to Darren Aronofsky after time at Cannes, you know, he had just done pie with artists and, and the movie had, you know, had made some money, but he still owed the money, like, he was still broke, like, he was just so you know, that's, and he that was a very successful independent film, you know, so, we were in a very special situation where we had made our first independent film, our first, you know, the IEEE released independent film, and we had made a ton of money, so we didn't have to make another movie, and we didn't have to make and most importantly, we didn't have to make the movie that we didn't want to make. Right. And so Hollywood, you know, our agents send us like, you know, pretty much every horror script that has been in development, you know, that had been in development in the previous three or four years they sent to us, you know, that so. And we read films that we're about to get, you know, they're about to go into production, but needed directors like we got offered that extra cyst prequal. With a movie that had to be made, remade, had to be made twice, and still didn't fix all the problems that had, right. And we read the script, and we were like, Look, we are, you know, without extra, the extra CES, there wouldn't be a Blair Witch. I mean, it's our, you know, both dynamize, our favorite horror movie of all time, of course, and we would love nothing more than to jump into the exorcist world. But this script, we have to rewrite the script. And they were like, No, no, we, you know, we're gonna, we're on, we're already on location, we start shooting in like, a month and a half. We were like, Hey, you know, how in the world are we going to show up to set and be able to do anything that we want to do? I mean, yeah, we would have gotten paid a ton of money. Yeah. But, you know, there were, it was obvious that they all they wanted was like, from the creators of The Blair Witch Project on top of the poster, you know? So, so, you know, so that's kind of, you know, and also, we, we stayed in Orlando for a while, you know, we, we didn't immediately move to LA and kind of start our sense of kind of becoming, you know, becoming a member of the club, you know, what I mean? And
Alex Ferrari 58:43
It was Hollywood east, I mean, to you,
Eduardo Sanchez 58:45
Yeah. Oh, wait, waiting for Spielberg. He made some promises. But, you know, that the So, so that was the situation, man. And, and it, you know, it, you know, we didn't, we had like, a lot of really great opportunities, but nothing. I feel that like, you know, we had, like, as far as I'm concerned, I know, Dan is the same way as like, we had always made films, from our hearts, you know, like we had poured everything into and getting, getting accustomed to, like, not doing that on every job is something that we that I at least I took me a while to learn, right? That you know, you can still do really good work and still do your best work, but you don't dedicate the love that you dedicate to something, you know, to a film that you write and direct and, you know, finance and all, you know, do all the work for you know. And you and also man, you know, there was we were you know, I was 30 years old and chi man was I guess you know the mid 30s and we We were all, you know, it, there was a certain, you know, arrogance as far as like, you know, we're invincible and we're going to be able to make movies for the rest of our lives. You know?
Alex Ferrari 1:00:10
Yeah, I was gonna ask you like, what was the effect on you as a person with this kind of success and fame because it never ends well, when this kind of when this kind of worldwide success, fame, you're the best, you're awesome. This never ends well, and I'm surprised that you're still alive. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. You know what I'm saying? Like, how did it? How did it?
Eduardo Sanchez 1:00:48
Absolutely did? I mean? Yeah, I mean, I often tell people like, if, you know, because when we went, you know, the boiler, which was made by these, you know, five guys mostly, you know, these five, there's, you know, a really important guys on the, on the, on the edges of that, that did a lot of important work, but hacks in the company that made Blair which was five guys who kind of like, lived, and, you know, breathe in a Blair Witch for a couple of years, you know, and we, we just, if it hadn't been all five of us, I think there was a chance, like, if it had been just one of us, you know, like this, oh, my God is ready directors come out of nowhere and made this Blair Witch and whatever. There was definitely, you know, things could have gone badly, really, like really badly, really fast. You know, I mean, right. And I think that, you know, even though we've made a lot of mistakes, and, you know, we took, we didn't take advantage of some opportunities that, you know, looking back on it, we're like, yeah, we should have maybe done that. You know, at the same time, we all kept each other down. And I mean, like, you know, we were our motto was, like, if you see me getting hired, knock me down.
Alex Ferrari 1:01:57
You know, that's crazy. You had a support group?
Eduardo Sanchez 1:01:59
Yeah, absolutely, man. And it's also support, not really a support group was a group that was going to tell you to, you know, to not to, you know, you're gonna slap in the back of the head and tell you to, you know, but you know, fuck off if you started acting like an idiot, you know, I mean,
Alex Ferrari 1:02:12
like, Well, guess what family does basically exactly like, knock you down.
Eduardo Sanchez 1:02:16
Oh, sure. Like, yeah, your brother Larry. You know, Blair was director right here, dude, you know, take out the garbage. Yeah, exactly. So, but yeah, so so that really kept us grounded. And I think, you know, the idea that we tried, you know, as long as possible to make it work, you know, out of Orlando. Also, yeah, also helped us out. And but you know, but because, man, the thing about it is that, when you have, you know, like, la was the only place that I was recognized, like when I was when I when I went there, and that's because the only people that knew who I looked were other filmmakers that were trying to do exactly what I was doing. So, you know, you just meet a lot of people who you know, and that's just and that's just the way LA is, man. I mean, I'm not saying that, you know, everybody's like this, and I know that, you know, you do everybody does the scramble no matter what, the hustle, just the hustle. You got to do the hustle, man. It's just a different levels, you know? Yeah, but I just got tired of being tried to be hustled to all the time, you know, like it like, every time I went there, you went to a party. And I'm like,
Alex Ferrari 1:03:22
I can only imagine Oh, my god,
Eduardo Sanchez 1:03:24
It was just too much man. And so my whole thing was like, you know, I don't mind. I mean, I hate driving around la but I think la You know, there's, it's a great town, it has a lot of thing, great things to offer. But as a human being like, to me, I was like, man, if I end up in LA, there's gonna be some, there's gonna be some trouble like, either I'm gonna end up like, as you know, like the biggest sleaze ball frickin cocaine snorting, you know, sleazy, you know, x filmmaker, or, you know, or, you know, things might go, but things might go, right. But I just felt that there was so much danger of like, just going down the wrong path. And like, and really, for me, like taking myself too seriously, man. Because I think that's, that's the big, you know, and I'm not saying that you can't take your work, you know, you have to take your work seriously, you know, a lot of money on the line, it's a business. But there's a lot of people out there who like, are just just take themselves and their films a little too seriously, man, and it's like, there's, you know, there's, you know, at the end of the day, the, you know, the people working to try to cure aids or to try to find those are the, those are the dudes that should be, you know, you know, believing their own shit, you know, I mean, because they really are making a difference, you know, I mean, and I just, you know, and I know that, you know, film is an art form, and I really do, you know, you know, respect. There's so many filmmakers out there, you know, that, you know, you got to respect their abilities, but I think that the certain point where you're like, Dude, it's a movie. This is NPV rates are moving on at the same thing on the set, like sometimes people get so I'm like, dude, we're just making an episode of some show or we're just doing a movie. This is our, this is not gonna cost anybody their lives or their freedom or, you know what I mean? So, yeah, so I think that's one of the main reasons that I stayed out of La just to kind of I don't know, just keep myself grounded and keep myself you know, keep myself the same person that I've tried know, try to always be my look into my life, you know,
Alex Ferrari 1:05:33
And the funny thing is that you went you were back in Orlando waiting for it to become Hollywood east. But little did you know you were Hollywood east. You were the you were the big you were. You were the big fish in the in the small pond. And
Eduardo Sanchez 1:05:46
You're like, Oh, we were we were? Yeah, we were like, pretty much the only fish. Oh, yeah, we were I mean, we had we had our offices. I don't know we I guess you were gone by them. But we had our offices in at Disney MGM? Oh, yeah. We did Blair which gave us like offices, and we were on the tour. Sometimes, sometimes we would come out of our thing, because the train would go walk around. And sometimes we just like, act like we're doing stupid, like, What are you? What are you doing out here and I couldn't believe we just left and to the left is the offices of the haxon films. We just made a movie called The Blair Witch Project. It was just so funny to be a part of that man. And then mostly what we did at Disney was just sneak into the park and ride you know, rock and roller coaster.
Alex Ferrari 1:06:37
That's all I did. Dude. That's all I did. When I worked at Disney. Man. I knew all the inside. Like I would go right through where the commissary was, like from the park. So I'd come in through the back go through the commissary, and I bring my family out. I just walk them right out. This is way before 2000. This was before 911
Eduardo Sanchez 1:06:52
It was before 911 Yeah, yeah, definitely. Yeah. A part of being on the backlog was the fact Yeah, you could go and you know, take go into this to go into the bar. Oh, yeah. It was really exciting. You know.
Alex Ferrari 1:07:05
So you've done a lot. You've been doing a lot of television directing. In recent years, what is the big difference between directing episodic television versus doing feature films for the audience?
Eduardo Sanchez 1:07:16
The episodic First of all, it's shorter. I mean, you know, you like coming from an indie world where you like, you know, your, your, you're, you're pregnant, and then you give birth and you make this do you watch this, this Mom, this kid of yours grow up? literally years, you're making sure you know, I'm in a film, TV is, you know, you're basically worked for three weeks, and then you do edit notes. And then you're done. You know,
Alex Ferrari 1:07:44
It's, it's a quick,
Eduardo Sanchez 1:07:45
It's a quickie, man. And, and, you know, you, you, so you have to kind of go in with your, you know, you've already, you know, running, you know, your feet already moving, because, you know, then the whole thing is just to get on that train and like, not slow it down. You know, I mean, the trains, the train of the season has already been moving, you know, like I did. The first supernatural episode I did, I think was like, number 238. I was like, Alright, so they've done pretty well. But it's not like, you know, and that's, that's a different thing. That's a different, you know, like, as a feature director, the feature director is especially indie, like, the director is like, the chief, like the frickin creative, like, you know, because that's the way it is, there has to be one or two people that are like, you know, because, you know, you just have to be that we got to be quick, and you got to be, you know, got a movie and television, like I was saying, the trains already been moving, you just get on and you lead, you know, you drive the train for a little while, then you get off and let the other guy drive. And the homemade, the big thing is like, to learn how the, how it runs the learn what, you know, what kind of show it is, you know, you know, try to get as much information I mean, watch as many of the episodes as you can, if you haven't watched the show, you know, for supernatural, it was like, I just watched, I just try to watch as many as like, I watched the whole first season, and then I watched, you know, like, just look for, like, the most important shows of all the seasons, and I tried to catch up as much as possible, but there's no way you're gonna be able to see that many episodes but but you know, you get in there and you just you just try it, you figure out where you know what Pete what the crew needs, you know, sometimes the actors need more attention. Sometimes the DP is, you know, automatic, you know, how it is, sometimes they're they're big, give you, you know, sometimes a dp. I mean, and that's the thing about episodic is that, really, if you really, if you really, if it really came to it, you as a director could just sit there and let you know that the crew knows what they're doing that the actors know, their characters, the DP knows how they're, you know, they've been shooting this this show for years now or whatever. So you really can sit back and just watch them, you know, watch them work. And so you have to figure out like, how Much sitting back do I need to do because there's different shows, some shows are, you know, are very much like we need, you know, we need shot sheets and they're very much directed a pendant and other shows are more just kind of, you know, make definitely supervise and try to you know, bring your vision and your you know, your blocking and all that stuff. But the show already has a look and is already fully cast. So it's not like you're gonna be able to come in there and do anything. Dramatic traffic, your traffic. Yeah, basically. But I love it, man. I mean, I really do. You know, like, I didn't know how, you know, if I was gonna like it the idea of like, not being in control and not, you know, not being, you know, the one that that has to have all the answers all the time. But I really enjoy I really love you know, meeting crew, the crew and like, like, for me, I don't know how you feel. But like crew, the crew is the crew like, yeah, you're saying like, I mean, it doesn't matter. I mean, I haven't worked extensively in LA. But even, you know, from where I worked in LA, like the crews are just, you know, if you treat them with respect, oh, yeah, they're gonna love you, man. Because they are really doing the hard work, you know, absolutely. whose work their asses off. So if you go in and you show that you're respectful to their time, where you're not, you're not making them sit around, you're not making them have a late day for no frickin reason. Or you're trying you have a plan and you're trying to make everything you know, you're trying to make decisions as quickly as possible. They appreciate that. And so I you know, I get along really well with the crews and and so far man knock on wood, every show I've done I've been invited back to so
Alex Ferrari 1:11:36
That's a that's a big that's a big sign right there.
Eduardo Sanchez 1:11:38
That's a big yeah, it's a big, you know, so hopefully I'm, you know, something, I'm doing something right. But for me, like right now, for me and my partner, Greg, it's, we're, our big thing is to try to is to get our own TV show going. Yeah.
Alex Ferrari 1:11:51
And now there's so many there's 500 of them on on their streaming, Oh, man.
Eduardo Sanchez 1:11:55
And also, and also, you know, in the horror genre is really hot right now on television, you know, so we just pitched the show a couple of weeks ago, and we're getting another one ready, we're going to be getting another one ready, like next month, and we're just going to keep doing it, we almost had to show it at stars. Last year, that unfortunately was supposed to shoot in Cuba. It would have been great. And then Castro died. And then Trump was elected. And, you know, things have changed that a little complicated. Now, as far as shooting in Cuba. We were working with Alejandro blue has who's another Cuban Sure. Another director. And we were I mean, we you know, we were in love with the show stars was in love with the show. And but but so we're determined to kind of get our own show going. And, you know, and really dive into that, you know, I mean, because the you know, and still, you know, keep a, you know, a toe or whatever in the indie world I have, you know, three or four movies that are, you know, that are in various places and development being written or about to be pitched or you know, so I'm always doing you know, going to try to keep doing features because I really do love making films, but I do love television and it really does make you a much better director man just you know, see it just Yeah, I just you get you get a he just exercises those muscles of like, you know, getting things get in there, block it rehearse and then you know, figure out where you're gonna shoot it from and just start you know, I mean,
Alex Ferrari 1:13:25
And go Yeah, you're not gonna sit there for weeks and weeks and weeks. You go.
Eduardo Sanchez 1:13:29
No, it's made me much faster and and I look forward to it every time.
Alex Ferrari 1:13:35
So what makes a great Scary Movie man.
Eduardo Sanchez 1:13:40
That's a great question. I mean, to me, it's always about you know, character to a certain extent. I mean, obviously, you know, it always helps to have good characters but for me, it's like you know, show me you got to show me something new you know what I mean? And that and that new can because because you know, it really is you know, horror films you know, the really kind of the ones that really have made a mark really kind of do advanced things like they always bring in new techniques and because really a horror movie is just and and every movie is basically a trick you know, you're tricking the audience into believing that this is real right and horror movies are you know, in comedies you know, yet the you know, make people laugh which is awesome, which is a challenge but in movies it's the I think it's the big and horror movies The biggest challenge because you have to scare people and once people are scared of I've seen you know have been scared in one way that wears out the more you use it, you know, like you're saying like the cat jumping out at the camera worked, you know, the first couple of times, it was used, but now you have to do you have to you know, even the way you formulate your jumpscares You have to come up with new stuff, you know. So for me, it's about, you know, a good horror film takes me to a, into a makes me feel vulnerable in a new in a new way or, or or creeps me out in a new way or shows me something that or makes them lets me hear something or feel something scary that I haven't felt often or, you know, or the last film I the last horror film I saw didn't make me feel you know, so whether it's camera, you know movement or just, you know the way the tone technique, technique lighting, you know, whether it's a really good monster, whether it's a really good jumpscare whether it's really good, you know, mythology, whether it's up imagery, you know, sound, there's so many ways to do it, you know, but, you know, it's, it's every time it's, you know, it's a difficult process, because you do have to kind of, you know, especially now like the horror audiences are so savvy that they know every trick, you know, and, and so you have to kind of stay one step ahead of them and know, but for me, man, it's like, if it scares me, I feel that, like, there's a good chance that it'll scare, you know, at least some other people you know, so that's kind of a, you know, I approach my phones, but it's not hard to scare me, man. Like, I really, like, there's a reason why I never considered myself a horror filmmaker, is because, you know, I don't I don't really enjoy watching horror movies like effective ones, you know, like, I don't like, you know, people, you know, I don't like they don't particularly like, you know, seeing people in misery. I mean, like, so, so for me, like, you know, learning to be a horror filmmaker, which is really what I've had to do after Blair, which has been really a very educational experience. And also, it's made me really, you know, look up to the people that that do it repeatedly, you know, do it well. And, you know, and also my horror films, is a filmmaker, it's a little, it's a little dangerous, at least for me, because, like, you really get into these dark places in your mind that are not really, you know, not really the normal thing that that a human being should be, should be thinking about 24 hours a day is for months on end, or how kids can be, you know, how ways to kill people or, you know, it's not, it's not a good place to be. And even and that's why, you know, I know, you know, the idea of making a, you know, a comedy after Blair, which is actually very funny, right. But first, me and Dan, like, it was a form of therapy that we really needed after living in this really dark Blair Witch world for three years, you know, God,
Alex Ferrari 1:17:51
I can only imagine
Eduardo Sanchez 1:17:51
Psychologically what that does do. Yeah, man. So and, you know, so we, you know, for us, it was just like, you know, the attempt of to make a comedy was just somewhere to just like, go on a completely different direction, release all this, you know, negative energy, and then come back and, you know, back crash to the horror genre.
Alex Ferrari 1:18:10
So I have a few more questions that I asked all my guests if you have if you still got some time. Yeah. All right. Cool. So first of all, who are some of your favorite directors and why?
Eduardo Sanchez 1:18:23
He, I mean, there's so many of them. But there's a couple. Yeah, yeah. Spike Lee, we talked about, you know, like, really, you know, just made me angry and then made me love him more than anybody. And then, you know, Spielberg, you know, because just certain magic in Spielberg that nobody else can really capture for some reason. And then Stanley Kubrick, you know,
Alex Ferrari 1:18:47
I'm a huge Kubrick, you know, everybody loves Kubrick. I mean, you gotta love Kubrick, man, the shining Dude, that's just shy just still freaks me out. It's like, it gets in your bones that Muller
Eduardo Sanchez 1:18:59
Yeah, yeah. Like he had this. You had an ability to like, really put something on on the cellular way that that a lot of most other filmmakers Couldn't you know what I mean, there was just something about his films that like any idea, like a shining and, you know, little metal metal jacket in 2001. And there's so many, like, just kind of an all over the place. You know, he made films about all kinds of different things. He
Alex Ferrari 1:19:26
Jumped genres, that's for sure.
Eduardo Sanchez 1:19:28
Yeah. And, but yeah, and then you know, Scorsese, like when I you know, discovered taxi driver, I was, you know, I don't know how many times I watched it, but you know, it's just such a dark and creepy and just weird and like, it's just so cool. You know, ride I was stuck a little ride of a movie, you know, just crazy man. And, you know, so you know, but there's so many. There's, there's hundreds of them. There's hundreds. There's so many. You know, I mean Hitchcock, of course, Yeah, and you know, and for me, like, you know, composers, I think are like for me, like film music. I was a big fan of film music also around Star Wars. And I think the power of like, like the great composers are, I think part of the magic of Spielberg is john Williams, for sure. I mean, absolutely. But yeah, man, that that those are, those are the three or four top like my guys that I always go back to.
Alex Ferrari 1:20:30
Now, what advice would you give a filmmaker wanting to start out in the business today?
Eduardo Sanchez 1:20:36
It depends on what you want to do. Like, if you want to, you know,
Alex Ferrari 1:20:39
He wants to be a filmmaker,
Eduardo Sanchez 1:20:41
You gotta you got to make your a movie, man, you got to make a movie, you know, you. I mean, there, you know, you can, there's, there's so many ways, different ways to do it. But you I mean, first of all, the might, the big thing is to prove to show not only other people, but yourself that you can make a movie because, you know, there's very few people that are gonna let you that are going to give you millions of dollars to without you, you know, without ever seeing any of your of your material, you know, of your work. So, just do do, you know, make films as much as possible, just get what, you know, even if you're shooting with your iPhone, I mean, you know, I shot a movie on on VHS, and then I shot a movie on a high eight that ended up in the movie theater. So yeah, iPhone is like a was what would have been a dream to have in those days, you know, so, yeah. And also for me, like, it's very important to, like, if you want to make your mark as like a director is to like, you can be influenced by directors, and you can be like, obviously, inspired by certain movies, but you really got, especially your early work, you really got to try to find your own voice, you know, like, even if it's a no and write about and shoot films about things that you know, you know, that you've experienced, or that you can, you know, that you that you are that, that make you that are unique to you, you know, I mean, like I see, and even, you know, you know, even me early on, you know, like, you know, it's just hard to not want to be to do some Steven Spielberg stuff, you know, I mean, people that you admire, or like, you know, James Bond, like, I love James Bond movies, for the idea of like, oh, man, I'd love to make a joke, you know, doing like a James Bond movie, but like, for me, it's like, you got to find something that is going to give you is going to set you apart from everybody else. And now like, you know, when, you know, when I was younger, you know, the problem was just make just getting the equipment to make the film was the stumbling here was the was the gatekeeper, as we talked about earlier. Now, the gatekeeper is you can, it's easy to make a movie, I mean, relatively easy to make a movie, you know, the equipment is everywhere, you can edit on your computer, you know, things that, you know, we never had, when we were younger. But the idea is now you have to break through, you have to there's, there's 1000s of these low budget features being made every year. So you've got to, like, break through, not only above them, but you've got to make break through into into the, you know, into the, into the area where professional filmmakers are working. So the more unique you are, even if it's a really small story, it'll go a lot longer a lot, you know, a lot longer a lot, a lot more, you know, give you a lot more, you know, juice to do something, you know, unique, even if it's small. And then if you if you have, you know, like, you know, you you see you see these stories of these young young guys that have made these like little special effects movies, and then they get these huge country or these huge movies. And I mean, that's another way to do it. You know, it really, there's very, very few of those examples out there. But you know, there's, there's some people who have made these really incredible, short films, and, but they're rare. They are rare. They're super rare. So and even those films, like you have to, there's a certain level of competence that you have to show or else
Alex Ferrari 1:24:07
Eduardo Sanchez 1:24:09
Yeah, or even the guy who did controversy. controvert right. He did, like, short, kind of, so so. So I think that, you know, the, the, that they're, like I said, there's many ways of doing it, you know, if you're a writer, you know, write a script, there's still you know, even though specs, the spec market is is very limited. There's still people you know, at least people will refer to a good script, people will read it, you know, people will, you know, know, so there's many ways to do it. But you know, you just got to go out there and do it. I made a lot of people, a lot of filmmakers, you know, all my life, who are always, you know, they're like, Oh, I want to do this feature, but I'm trying to get you know, an actor. I'm trying to get john Cusack. I'm like, dude, you're not gonna get john USAC Alright, I am saying like, you might Yeah, you I can tell you right now. Yeah, you might, you might also win the lottery too, you know, you never know. But, you know, once you go down that road that everybody else is going down, including filmmakers that with a much better better track record than you, you know, you've your, your, your, you know, your odds are, are, are totally, you know, not in your favor. So the idea is like, just go ahead and do it yourself and just try to, you know, try to come up with something that you haven't seen before, or do it in a way that you haven't seen before. You know, I mean, it's not about like, an original story, you know, because, you know, as long as well done, and it's like coming at it from a different point of view. I think people that's what people want to see, man.
Alex Ferrari 1:25:42
Now, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life? It's deep, it's deep.
Eduardo Sanchez 1:25:50
That's a deep one. You know, I mean, I guess, I guess it's, you know, when really, I learned it a lot. I learned the big thing on Blair Witch, as far as like, you know, filmmaking was concerned is the idea that, like, you know, there's, there's this very kind of dark for most people, it's dark to other people, you know, they, they, they love it, but the idea that, like, felt, you know, like, we were talking about, like, the idea of like, this superstar director, you know, I mean, like, that's something that really, you know, that was something that, like, I really love the idea of that and it still creeps in sometimes, you know, you just want to be this, you know, your ego kind of wants this, you know, adulation, you know, I mean. And that leads to as early early in my career is the idea that you have to control everything that you have to, you know, write the movie and directed and edited and lighted and, you know, uh, you know, better than everybody but Blair Witch especially taught me that, that, you know, it is, it's the ultimate collaborative art form, you know, and you really have to, you know, you have to choose your, your people carefully, and that and that not only your actors, but the people, you know, who are on your crew. You know, like, and the whole idea is that is releasing this, this need to control everything, and letting and letting the your crew and your actors make, make a better movie with you, or make a better TV show along with you instead of for you, you know what I mean? And, and in life, I think it's the same way, like the idea that like, you know, you can't control you, the only person you can control is yourself, you know, what I mean? And, you know, so I think as a filmmaker, like, the idea of like, you know, a lot of times like, you have an idea and then somebody else comes in, it could be you know, your partner, your writing partner, your directing partner, or it can come from a PA, but the, the ability to recognize a better idea and not have your ego you know, you know, destroy it or not, you know, not give it a chance to like grow. That's to me was the was like, the big the biggest lesson that I've learned is the idea of like, you know, in filmmaking is, you know, it is about your vision, and it's about you know, putting ideas, whatever, but it's also like if you put that your film in your project will be much better if you bring talented people around you and you treat them with respect and you treat them like true partners, right? Whether it's an actor or anybody else, you know, I mean, I mean obviously there's times for collaboration and there's times for not you know, for collaboration especially on the set you know, but the idea that like an A good a good idea can come from anybody and not to feel this like it didn't come from me so I'm not going to use it you know what I mean? Like that's me like it's still something that I still you know fight with you know, I still battle with that you know what i mean but so so you know, putting the work above you know, the the the end product above any kind of you know demand yeah be any kind of demand your ego you know, wants and I'm saying so, that's like a, that's a big thing for me.
Alex Ferrari 1:29:23
And one last question, and is arguably the hardest one three of your favorite films of all time.
Eduardo Sanchez 1:29:29
Wow. Well do the right thing. We already discussed that Blade Runner.
Alex Ferrari 1:29:35
Oh, such an amazing film. Can't wait for that. I'm looking forward to the sequel about you.
Eduardo Sanchez 1:29:39
Yeah, man. I mean, I mean, the the the trailer, honestly is not looking great to me. Okay, spot. I'm gonna be there, you know. Yeah. I know. I think it's gonna be better than the trailer. I hope it is.
Alex Ferrari 1:29:57
It's hard. It's hard to come back. It's it's hard. To make a secret
Eduardo Sanchez 1:30:01
You know you can't have been Blade Runner was just this you know and just like you know like again like Ridley Scott another really Scott's another one of my favorite filmmakers was like just like the magic he caught in the idea that like they let him do that I guess because you know Harrison Ford was like I guess you know he was right after the radar Raiders but I guess Raiders had I don't know how successful Raiders was while they were shooting Blade Runner
Alex Ferrari 1:30:26
Star Wars and Raiders both
Eduardo Sanchez 1:30:28
Yeah, but just yeah, just the idea that they let him do make that movie you know what I mean? Because it's just such a union that I love that Ben Jealous score. just just just so many cool things about it. And then the third one I've come up with, you know, something out of the Ord like Notting Hill
Alex Ferrari 1:30:52
I do love Notting Hill it's I watch it the other day with my wife
Eduardo Sanchez 1:30:55
It's my favorite like romantic comedy like it because it's like the ultimate like dream like a normal guy hooking up with a beautiful movie star you know, and, and it's just the whole British thing. And it's a really fun movie.
Alex Ferrari 1:31:10
Yeah, that in love actually are two of my favorites.
Eduardo Sanchez 1:31:13
Save. The Love Actually is like you know, there's that still has this. I think Notting Hill is like a little less, you know, on the cheeseball side, but love actually is like a definitely like a yearly thing for me and my wife.
Alex Ferrari 1:31:26
Yeah, Chris was gonna watch it. Yeah, it's just one of those films man. Man Listen, and why the man thank you so much for taking the time out to talk to the tribe and share your your your journey, your experience and your knowledge with us, man, I truly appreciate you taking all this time. And I've taken up more time than I expected to. But thank you so much for being so generous.
Eduardo Sanchez 1:31:47
I appreciate being on and and a good discussion, man. Thank you.
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