I liked stuff like 'Halloween,' but I wasn't a horror fanatic until I was in my 30s and then made 'Paranormal Activity.' Now, having a company, I can't imagine doing anything else. But it took me a while to find my love for it.
In every art form, nothing exists in a bubble. It exists because of what came before it. A lot of bricks were laid. I think if it weren't for 'The Purge,' 'Get Out' wouldn't resonate as a mainstream movie. You push on the taste of the audience, in a way, get them used to something, and then you keep pushing on it.
The way we structure our backend, we key the payments to the box office - so that cuts the negotiating way down, and it's very transparent. One of the things I'm most proud of is that we're really transparent with our process.
The most effective tool I have to work with artists I admire is to point to other artists that I admire and show that I've worked with them many, many times. It's not because I have option deals; it's because they want to keep working with us.
The first thing I learned as a producer is that you have very little control over the life of a project. Anything can stall a film from financing to scheduling to casting. Things fall apart all the time. Don't waste time on something that just won't get made. Try to have as many projects going at one time as you can handle.
I'm a big believer in creating parameters for creativity. I think parameters make people more creative. So that starts with my budgets. I only do low budget movies, and I think that makes the movies better.
I think it's frightening for all of us to contemplate that there's more to the universe than just us, in whatever form it takes, that there are higher forces at work, and to me, that's always a scary notion.
I couldn't stand it. It was what I thought I always wanted. I was there every day in the trenches, and I hated everything about that job. But what I loved - and what I got from 'The Tooth Fairy' - was to see how studio movies were released.
The key to a good horror movie is what happens between the scares. The scares aren't the tricky part. If you're involved in what's going on in between, the scare is going to trick you. If you're not, the best scare in the world will not be scary.
I was lucky enough to have made a tonne of mistakes and be kind of frustrated. I was working in the movies for 15 years before I did 'Paranormal Activity,' so I was lucky enough to have that experience. So instead of trying to make, like, 'Godzilla' after 'Paranormal Activity,' I said, 'Let's keep making inexpensive movies.'
'Paranormal Activity' was the first of our independently made/studio-released films. It was also the ultimate low-budget high-concept movie, which is what we are always looking for. 'Paranormal Activity' was the genesis of our model, of which I am so proud.
There are a lot of parallels between doing a sequel and doing low budget movies, which is they give creative parameters. As a creative person myself, I work better with parameters as opposed to anything goes.
What I love about low-budget movies is my interests and the director's interests and the actors' interests are aligned. No one makes money unless the movie works, and that informs every creative decision.
In big movies, interests are not aligned between those above the line and the financier, because above the line gets paid whether the movie works or not. The financier only makes money if the movie works, and that fundamentally sets up a contentious relationship.
I think there's room for people to love 'Transformers' and love 'Insidious.' They coexist in a happy way; in other words, my movies wouldn't exist if 'Transformers' didn't exist, because they're an alternative to that. They're not better or worse, they're just different.
I wasn't a fanboy of horror. I didn't grow up on horror movies. I grew up loving all movies. I still love all movies, but I particularly love scary movies - as much for the culture around them as the movies themselves.
Ethan Hawke is not a horror movie fan, but he's a really good friend of mine, and I finally cajoled him into doing 'Sinister.' Later, he said one of the reasons he was really resistant to doing a horror movie is he thought it'd be really scary on set.
Most of the most successful films Blumhouse has made have been rejected by everyone else. No one wanted to make 'Get Out.' Nobody. Nobody wanted to make 'The Purge.' I think it was floating around for three years before it came to us. Nobody wanted to make 'The Gift,' when it was a script called 'Weirdo.'
'Paranormal Activity' had fifty versions because it was $250 to reshoot. We'd screen it, see one thing wrong, shoot for an hour, fix it, and then screen it again. You don't have to be disciplined about it. On a regular movie, you have to screen it and think of every problem, reshoot for three days and solve every problem, and then you're done.
I wouldn't be creatively satisfied if all we did were sequels, but in the same breath, I'll say that I wouldn't be creatively satisfied if everything was an original. It's good to use the different parts of my brain. Very different rules apply.
I think movies are overdeveloped in Hollywood. There's a big benefit to not overdeveloping and not being so precious about what you're doing. I think you lose a kind of vitality if you develop something into the ground.