Scott Barker is what you'd call a modern storyteller, using outlets like magazines and film to tell his stories. Barker serves as executive editor of Tucson Lifestyle magazine, and makes movies on the side. His most recent film, a horror thriller called Dead on Site, premieres at 9 p.m., Saturday, May 30, at the Loft Cinema; 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. General admission is $5; visit loftcinema.com for more information.
How did you get into making movies?
I actually started doing video production in the early '80s here in Tucson, and did music videos for local bands and whatnot. I had always done things related to that side of things, and then two years ago, I was a co-writer and co-producer on a film that was shot here. One of my co-producers on this current project was someone who (was) involved with that, and then the two of us decided, with some other local folks, that we wanted to try to do the whole thing—to be the entire creative team, more or less, behind a feature to be shot here.
Have you always done horror films?
It's my second. ... On a micro-budget film—anything (less than), say, a million dollars—basically, your best chance for marketability is to do horror, because it's a genre not dependent on who the actors are ... because the audience doesn't really care whether or not they recognize particular names. ... If you did a romantic comedy, if you did a straight drama, you're going to have a hard time doing that at the kind of budget level that we had available.
What was your role in making Dead on Site?
Oh boy, a little bit of everything. I was co-producer, completion director, screenwriter, and I have a big part in the beginning of the movie. The actor who we picked for the role unfortunately had to drop out at the last minute, so somebody had to step up. ... Everybody involved with the film ended up doing multiple things, and there were so many people who were involved that made the movie work.
Tell me about the movie.
Basically, Dead on Site is a story about a group of college students who, as their final project, have taken over a vacant home where a year before, a family was murdered. The murder was never solved, so what they're trying to do is—live on the Web—collect clues, re-enact the crime and try to figure out who the killer might have been. Of course, what they don't realize is that the killer is watching them, and things do not go well.
So is the killer more of a Freddy Krueger type? Giant alien monster? Zombie?
I can't tell you that! That would be giving too much away. Let's just say that it's within the realm of the genre. (The film) doesn't suddenly turn into a singing, dancing musical with, you know, Bollywood numbers.
Where did you shoot the film, and how long did it take?
We've been shooting for quite a while, actually. The initial photography took about a week, and then we shot for probably another week off and on at various locations. We actually shot at four or five different locations; much of it took place at a private home up in Oracle, but we also shot out at Gammons Gulch, and we shot at another private home down by the university, and another home up in the foothills.
How did you find the cast?
We did casting calls in Los Angeles, which is where we found two of our lead performers, and then we did several castings here in Tucson. ... There's some real talent connected with this. I really expect them to go on to much bigger things in the near future.
So you're an editor at Tucson Lifestyle, and you make horror movies. Quite a difference between the night and day job ...
That's leaving out the prostitution ring that I run, too. (Laughs.) You know, it's all mixed in there. I am a writer first and foremost, and I see myself as a storyteller. Every medium, whether it's a magazine, or whether it's a movie, is a way of telling a story. ... The nice thing about it for me is that they're two completely different styles of enterprise, so I do one thing at the magazine. ... When I make a film, I can do something completely different. It's not like a chef who's been trained in French cuisine, and he does that all day long at the restaurant, and then goes home and makes that for the family. No, I'm doing two completely different things, so I'm never bored.