An Interview with the Director of Best Horror Short Film Danny Cotton

Award Winning Director Danny Cotton

Was there an inspirational moment or an idea that made you want to make your film?
I’d been wanting to create a small “Micro Short” for some time, to begin a selection of tiny tales of terror for an ongoing series of films consisting of timeframes under 60 seconds. The idea being to spread the word and have others create mini scripts which we could bring to life on screen or have others create their mini films which we can also screen on our sites and promote. After a lot of ideas for this initial short with my Director of Photography, Sam Hoggarth, the concept of Dinner Date was born. As soon as I had heard the idea I knew this was the one to launch the Micro Shorts from.

What camera(s) did you shoot your film with?
We used a single camera, which was Sam’s Canon 5d Mkii. Up to this point I had been using canon DSLR’s with smaller sensors and although I always believe that it’s not the camera quality that makes a film - it’s the narrative within it, it was great to be able to use a camera with a larger spec to the enhance quality and create some really nice images to go with the horror.


Which role are you most comfortable with on set?
I love directing, it’s been the role I’ve been working towards for some time now. I love to sculpt stories and bring them to life, and directing allows me to really push my creativity through many aspects of film. Directing gives me the opportunity to talk to many, if not all different departments about how we will bring a production to fulfillment and making all the smaller elements combine to form the larger product is something that keeps me coming back to create more films. I’ve been lucky enough to do many different roles on films and feel that this has helped greatly in enabling me feel comfortable with directing on set.

Do you have a favorite film genre?
As many may expect after making a few horrors, I do love the this genre but having favourite is tough as film covers such a broad spectrum. Many of the films I consider my favourites are in fact epic war films or dystopian science fictions and have in fact been creating shorts and writing scripts with these genres in mind to create something different from my usual.

What piece of advice would you give to filmmakers making their first film?
I feel that a key for creating a first film is to make a simple an effective piece of work, and start to build up a fan base when you screen it. Focus on the drama and narrative, building your storytelling abilities before you start creating larger scale projects, getting more into the technical side of filmmaking. Lastly, I’ve seen first timers hide their projects away as they feel people won’t like it. You must show it to the world - you’ve finished your first film! Put it on youtube/vimeo, send it to some fests.. It’s a great to get feedback and evolve your techniques for the next films you will make. It’s all about growing and learning who you are as a filmmaker.

Can you tell us what to expect from you in the near future?
There will be a few more short films coming from me in the near future, including a Sci Fi noir called “The Colour of Life and Death” which has just been shot and is currently in the edit stages. Also there may be a few indie feature film opportunities coming for me as director, so I’m very excited to get to work on those and create something much larger than my usual short film.