At Comicpalooza 2011, I also got to talk to some local independent filmmakers from the Houston area. Kenny Beyer is a director and producer who has a movie out right now called Spirit Camp, which is a film that pays homage to the classic slasher genre. He calls it “Friday the 13th meets Bring it On.” Another film I saw some footage of is Jacob (Odyssee Pictures Website), by filmmaker Larry Carrell. Check out the teaser trailer from Jacob:

Shawn S. Lealos: How important are conventions like Comicpalooza for independent filmmakers?

Larry Carrell: For me, it’s crucial, man. You know, we don’t have the resources the big studios do. I’ve got to get out here on the ground floor and reach out to people to really start to build that audience. These are the type of fans who go home and get on their computers to blog and tell people what they’ve seen here. I can’t even put a price on it. It is so important to get out here and meet these people and show them what we’re doing.

Shawn S. Lealos: How many conventions do you try to get out to with your films?

Larry Carrell: As many as possible. With Jacob, we just wrapped on it in March so the first opportunity we had was Texas Frightmare, followed by Comicpalooza here. Any time we are able to go, we are all about it.

Shawn S. Lealos: Do conventions like this offer filmmakers a better opportunity than basic film festivals?

Larry Carrell: Definitely, the horror conventions because that is a special niche. They are really hungry for the horror films. We have gotten a really good response at Comicpalooza but it isn’t really your horror crowd. Even if we reach just ten people, I’m satisfied we got ten people interested.

Shawn S. Lealos: Talk about your young actress (Grace Powell) and your main actor (Dylan Home), both of whom were acting in their first film.

Larry Carrell: They were great and I was so pleased. My big direction as a director is to make sure there are no false moments in front of the camera. Grace is very well trained with several years of acting lessons. Dylan had trained in school in theater so they both had natural abilities. We just worked on the scenes and worked on the moments and it wasn’t hard at all. I make it a point when I do a project to surround myself with the most talented people I can find.

Shawn S. Lealos: (to Grace:) So, how old are you?

Grace Powell: I’m 12.

Shawn S. Lealos: What was it like working on a big movie like this?

Grace Powell: It was really different than a lot of little things I have done. It was amazing because I got to be on a real movie set and do all the real movie things. It was a good experience and a ton of fun, so I’m glad I got the chance to do it.

Shawn S. Lealos: Did you get scared at all shooting a horror movie?

Grace Powell: No. Once you learned what it was all about you are like ‘really? You made that out of that?’ It’s not really scary at all.

Shawn S. Lealos: How have you enjoyed Comicpalooza?

Grace Powell: It’s interesting. You get to meet all these people and actually see how they are reacting to the movie.

Shawn S. Lealos: Where can people go to find more information about this?