An Interview With The Incredibly Talented & Passionate Filmmaker: DJ Remark

Interview With DJ Remark

Hi DJ! Could you please tell me about yourself? Give us a look at your story! What got you here?

I’ve been in and out of the film scene since 2010. I was in a few low (read; “no”) budget films as an actor and maintained contact with friends I made during filming ever since then. I’ve always been a movie nerd and I came up in stage acting and improv. Most of my acting career was made during high school as well as a few local community theater shows. I got a “real job” and up until 2018, spent my life clocking in and out of a career I was less than in love with. It was then I decided I was going to stop being safe and take a risk on filmmaking. I decided I liked telling stories better than being in them so I bought a bunch of cheap gear and wrote my first short film.

From then, the bug really bit me and I’ve been dedicating all of my free time to filmmakng ever since.

Where are you from?

Akron, Ohio

What is a quote that summarizes everything you’re about as a filmmaker?

“Everything worth doing, is hard.”

Which is a summation from a longer quote by Teddy Roosevelt, one of the more interesting American presidents.

Interview With DJ Remark
Portrait of President Theodore Roosevelt seated in garden, circa 1910s. (Photo by Fotosearch/Getty Images).

What inspired you to start creating films?

Truth be told, my biggest inspiration was sitting at my desk one day, getting fatter and more depressed about seeing the next 50 years of my life blow by doing the same thing over and over again. It was just hitting me really hard that I spent so much time in theater, graduated from a broadcasting school, and spent so much time in performing arts just to be working at a desk that I had to make a change. Other inspirations which are no less significant, are my parents, my middle school drama teacher Wendy Duke, my high school drama teacher Kathy Fisher, my best friend and writer Jason Orr, and all the movies that I love and want to pay homage to in my own films.

Who most inspires/influences your style and specific execution currently and why?

The two directors who have done the best to scare me other than the old Masters of Horror are Mike Flanagan and David Sandberg. Mike Flanagan’s technique is amazing to me and I try to emulate him as much as possible. His movies are some of my favorite modern horror; Oculus, Hush, Gerald’s Game, and Doctor Sleep are just fantastic pieces of cinema. Sandberg as influenced me in different ways other than visually. His approach to directing and his creative problem solving as well as his commentary on being a creative while suffering with anxiety, a trait we both share, helps the dream of becoming a successful filmmaker just a little more real.

Besides those guys, 80’s horror and neon noir aesthetic inspire the look of my films. I’m still working on ways to implement those aesthetics but I think the more I do the better I’ll get until I have a full realized vision where you can point to a piece of work and go “That’s a Remark film”

What is your favorite film of all time?

Since I absolutely have to answer this question without picking a genre, I’ll say The Lord of The Rings.

As a creator, what do you find to be the thing that most drives you to succeed? We like to use this portion for others to learn from you!

My love of entertaining. No matter what it is, I love to entertain people. Seems like a simplistic answer but when you get down to it, filmmaking is for other people as much as it is for you. You should tell stories and make movies you want to see, but also keep in mind other people are going to watch what you create looking for entertainment value. I think the best films serve both the creator and the audience.

What is your overall dream in life?

To be comfortable. There’s a lot of ways you can interpret that as filmmaking is a pretty hectic and chaotic environment, however, I believe if I’m able to find the point of equilibrium where I’m both creatively and financially “comfortable” that is where I’ll consider the dream “achieved”.

Interview With DJ Remark

We also had the pleasure of reviewing your outstanding new film: What It Takes



What was your role the creation of the film?


Who wrote the script?

Jason Orr

What is the film’s genre?

Horror Noir

Interview With DJ Remark

That’s an amazing genre. Could you give us a logline?

Vic lands an interview to become a vampire.

What inspired the way that you went about executing this project?

There were a few things I wanted to try with this film. I wanted to have some shots that I pulled from the popular horror videogame Resident Evil. There’s a shot that looks high, wide, and tilted, which is the one that we ended up using as we were quickly running out of time at the location to play with the angle in other shots but I’m happy with the way it turned out. Being in the middle of the pandemic we also wanted to think of a way we could have as little cast and crew as possible in as few locations as possible. We ended up being able to have more crew than anticipated by the way we used wireless monitors and transmitters for video and audio. I would actually have liked to see a bird’s eye view of what we all looked like standing in every different room of the house other than where the action was taking place. It was quite an experience.

What was the most difficult part in the process of creating this film? How did you overcome it?

Shooting it in a weekend. We took all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and even into the nights to finish this. We overcame by having our schedule tight and both cast and crew being professionals. Vince, Angelia, and Samantha, the actors, were all very successful in assuming their characters. I really had very little directing to do as they all just very naturally performed to their characters. The crew were all amazing. My first AD, Christopher Thomas, was my favorite crutch as I leaned on him the most during production. Setup and cleanup were lightning fast and you can see for yourself the result of their professionalism in the film.

What was the most fun part of this entire production?

All of it. Honestly, everything from conception, to pre-production, to production, to post, and now on the festival circuit. Being a short film, I didn’t think it necessary to withhold the film from the public so it could run in festivals. I’ve been (pretty) careful to make sure the festivals I have been submitting to don’t require premiere status, and so far so good, I’ve only been disqualified from one for that reason.

What is the single greatest lesson you learned along the creation of this particular project?

That I still have so much to learn. I don’t think I’ll ever stop learning about filmmaking and that’s exciting to me. Every new project teaches me something and makes me better at something, whether it’s directing, editing, writing, or planning meals for the shoot (never, EVER neglect feeding your cast and crew. EVER.) there is always something that I can learn. For this it was in the editing room. I edit all of my projects and I had never worked with BRAW before. It was a challenge to find the right plugins and codecs to get BRAW and Premiere to play nice with each other but I eventually made it work and now I’m a better editor for it.

Take a look at the film’s official poster! 

Interview With DJ Remark

Fortunately for our readers, DJ Remark’s amazing film is publicly-available and free to stream! We’ve attached the entire short below. It’s a must-watch, folks! Be sure to share it too.


Is there anything else you would like us to know? Or any final thoughts / things you’d like to share with our readers?

I’m currently working on my first feature film which is a horror anthology. We’re in the script writing process now but I wanted to take what I’ve learned from making short films and apply that to make a feature length. The approach is to treat the feature like four different short films and schedule everything as if we’re making four separate projects that tie into one big one. Seems obvious, but I think spelling it out makes it seem a bit more real.