Advice To Filmmakers Who Are Just Starting Out – Brad Sykes

Film Courage: Let’s say we are going back to your high school in Virginia Beach and you plan to have a five minute pow-wow with some students on the first steps of making a movie. What would you tell them?

Brad Sykes, Writer/Director: When I was making shorts with my friends when I was 17-18, I was having fun. I mean it was work but you don’t think of it in that way, nobody did I don’t think. You should have fun and you should think of an idea or something that means something to you that is different. Because a lot of young filmmakers they just imitate other movies that they’ve seen. They do their own version of that. I did things like that, too…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).


Brad Sykes got his first hi-8 camera at age fifteen, and hasn’t stopped shooting since. Growing up in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Brad made eight features on video (many of which involved Karo syrup, red food coloring and stunts of dubious safety) while still in high school. He attended Boston University’s film program in 1993 and by the time he graduated cum laude in 1997, he had already worked for both Paramount Pictures and Ridley and Tony Scott’s Scott Free Productions. After moving to Los Angeles, Brad continued to work in film in various capacities both here and abroad (a stint at Castel Film, Romania) before landing his first writing-directing job in 1998. By 2000, he was writing and directing full-time, with many genre credits such as DEMON’S KISS, MAD JACK, and the well-known CAMP BLOOD. Brad has continued to make his mark in horror with more recent projects like DEATH FACTORY, GOTH, WITHIN THE WOODS and MUTATION. His films have been distributed worldwide and can be found at rental outlets like Blockbuster and Netflix. Brad’s films have received attention in many publications including Fangoria, The Dark Side, Indie Slate, Rue Morgue, Videoscope, LA Weekly, Mad Movies, and Legacy of Blood: A Comprehensive Guide to Slasher Movies. Brad lives in Los Angeles with his wife, producer Josephina Sykes, where they operate Nightfall Pictures, a full-service development and production company. 


Terror in the Desert: Dark Cinema of the American Southwest by Brad Sykes

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