Most of us are a bit overzealous the first day on the job. Joshua Hull is no exception. At the beginning of his first day directing on a film set, Hull called "action" far too early, earning him a talking-to from his director of photography.
The cinematographer couldn't blame Hull for being giddy; his dream of 14 years was coming true.
A couple years ago, 28-year-old Hull was an assistant kitchen manager at Texas Roadhouse in Anderson who spent his off and on time dreaming of movies. Now, he is an accomplished filmmaker rising through the ranks of our state's burgeoning film community. (He recently won a Golden Cob award for Best Emerging Filmmaker.) This Saturday, Hull will participate in a scriptwriting panel at Gen Con (the world's longest-running gaming convention) followed by a screening of his debut film, Beverly Lane.
Filmed over four days last summer at Phillips Iron & Metal in Anderson, Beverly Lane follows twenty-something Andy (Noah East) on his first day as manager of a metal company - a day of nervous jitters much like Hull's first on set. Until zombies arrive, that is.
Hull conceived the premise with East while working with him at Texas Roadhouse. Wanting to fuse his filmmaking passion with East's musicianship, he came up with the idea of an office cubicle musical. They eventually scrapped the musical element in favor of something stranger.
"I'm a big fan of The Office. And I always wondered, 'What would happen if there was a zombie attack on The Office?' I thought that would be hilarious," Hull said.
It turns out he was right. Made on a budget of less than $5,000, Hull's zombie comedy is charming audiences and critics alike across local conventions, theaters (it played to a full house at the Hamilton 16 last winter) and the vast reaches of cyberspace. It even received a positive review from famed movie website, Ain't It Cool News.
"I never, in a million years, expected it to get the reviews it's been getting," Hull said. "I love the fact that people love it because there was such a passion that went into the making of the film, and it's great to see people really respect that and see that there was so much heart in it."
Hull believes that kind of excitement and passion will carry the declining horror genre in which he is working.
"Horror has always been viewed as a low-rent genre, like a level above porn," Hull said. "I don't know why it doesn't get more respect because horror has some of the best visual and narrative storytelling you'll ever see. I think it always has and it always will. The genre has only lasted so long because every generation has a new way to tell a story. It's the same story over and over again. But it's not the story you tell, it's how you tell the story that matters. As long as there is passion behind horror projects instead of people just trying to make a buck off of, you know, Hellraiser 13: Under the Sea, horror will survive. The only way the genre will keep living is through excitement and fresh voices."
Hull is one of those excited voices, so listen closely and keep an eye out for his future films.