"I smiled back, right before going over to my camera and pushing the little red button. 
I had my shot."

interviews his co-author of 

One of the great things about working with other creative artists is the chance you will be inspired by their brilliance. Certainly this is what happened regarding my collaboration with the writer, producer, and director Franklin (“Frankie”) Guerrero.
We first met after he sent me a rough cut of his directorial debut, “The 8th Plague.” At that point in the process, the film wasn’t perfect, but had a lot of great stuff in it. And the great stuff was inventive, bloody, and scary. However, the sequence in the movie that first had me sit up and take notice wasn’t bloody or scary, just inventive – it was this ambitiously long, creatively choreographed, perfectly executed steady cam shot.
Unfortunately, as Frankie and I began working together on rethinking aspects of the movie, we both agreed that if the film was to get better, one of the actors would have to be replaced, and all of his scenes would have to be filmed again with a different actor. This meant that the ambitious steady cam sequence I had fallen in love with would have to be completely re-shot, which I was afraid would end up losing something when it was attempted again.
As it turned out, there would be no problem.
The re-shooting of that steady cam sequence with the new cast member, and of course members of the original cast, was my first chance to personally watch Frankie in action. Like the original production, Frankie strapped on the steady cam gear himself, and then completely shot the sequence again, ending up duplicating almost frame for frame what I had seen before.
Actually, what Frankie did the second time around was even better.  
I realized then that serendipity was not a necessary component for Frankie to execute his creative vision.
We next began working together on a film project that Frankie had written titled, “Carver.” The goal was to create a disturbing horror film with a level of grim reality that fans of the slasher genre would appreciate. This time I was there for the entire production as one of the producers. My day to day presence allowed me to see firsthand how a truly creative person doesn’t need perfect circumstances to achieve his artistic vision. Indeed, during production, I came to realize that when creatively talented people are put into a corner, or are under the gun, they are able to thrive despite whatever obstacles may arise. 
The years since the release of “Carver” have been kind. The film has ended up becoming a hugely popular cult movie. It turns out that if anyone knows me at all in the film world, it’s usually because of my association with this horror movie.
Frankie eventually moved to Los Angeles and we have continued to work together. In 2012 we co-authored a novel, “Drawing Blood;” And we were co-screenwriters on a short movie that Frankie directed -- "THE TOWN THAT CHRISTMAS FORGOT".
Frankie’s persona is what I wish I was more like -- patient, polite, and persevering. The first two qualities are readily apparent whenever you spend any time with Frankie; the third personality trait completely reveals itself when everyone else involved in a particular project has moved along to their next endeavor. I believe perseverance is encoded into the DNA of most successful filmmakers and it’s where I wanted to start with this interview.

RICHARD FINNEY: Months and months ago you proposed we work on a film project that wound up becoming the short movie, The Town that Christmas Forgot (“TTTCF”). Just as I was preparing for this interview, I got a chance to watch the locked version of the movie. So much time has passed, honestly, it’s difficult to recall the details of how we even started on this project in the first place. I do remember that you wanted to shoot a short movie in the vein of the old EC comics/the movie “Creepshow.” And you said, “I want to have some fun.” That’s all I remember. Which leads me to the fact that I’m always stunned by the perseverance an indie filmmaker must possess to finish a project. What do you tell yourself that maintains your focus on a project as you work day after day after day, month after month, until you finally end up with a movie people can view?

FRANKLIN GUERRERO: Well, believe me, I have my share of unfinished projects or ideas lingering around in various stages of non-completeness. And there are times, during the process of something like TTTCF, where I do get overwhelmed, and I want to throw in the towel. It’s so easy to quit. On a larger project, like on the feature, Carver, it can be really hard to muscle through to the end.

I grew up in Northern Virginia, where it snows infrequently enough that getting a snow storm was a magical thing. Such an occurrence meant -- One, we get to go sledding. Two, if the snow was plentiful, without being too powdery, we get to build a snow fort. I used to build epic snow forts with my sister -- big enough to stand in and stand on. We could build campfires inside without compromising the integrity of the structure! Finishing a film is like building one of those snow forts.

You start out excited, about to embark on something you love doing but don’t often get to do since the conditions have to be just right. And even though at first it’s a lot of fun, it’s also a lot of hard work. Building a snow fort meant hauling sleds full of snow from other yards into your own and dumping it into a large pile and at some point, you have a massive pile of snow. In the filmmaking process, this is the equivalent of wrapping principal photography. You’ve got something to show for a lot of hard work, but it still needs to be cut up and gutted out. You can envision your end product in this unformed mass, but you know you’re less than half way there. Now you begin digging. Two or more of us would begin tunneling through this mass from opposite ends. It was grueling. And although other people are working on the fort, you are all alone in a dark little tunnel, chipping away at hard packed snow, thinking that you’ll never break through. This is very much like post production. I remember on every snow fort there was a point in the tunneling process that I just wanted to quit because it seemed impossible that I’d ever break through. I wanted to call it a day. Go get a cup of cocoa.

But then I would get to the point where there was a little bit of sunlight poking through the wall of ice. It meant I was getting close. My excitement would pick back up, making me dig down into my reserves and double my efforts. Sure there was still a crap-ton of work left to do, but the fun was put back into the task. I got excited, and the other kids got excited. We fed on each others’ excitement and began working at almost a suicidal pace to finish.

When I’m finishing any creative project, and I get those negative, daunting feelings, I just think of that bit of sunlight shining through the ice. And when things are really hard, I can get some moral support and encouragement from my wife. Then it can feel like I’m not digging alone in that cold, dark tunnel. Soon enough… there will be cocoa.

RF: At the end of the day there’s an aspect of freedom to writing a novel that is almost always not there when one writes a screenplay. A perfect example is TTTCF. All of our work on the screenplay had one thing in common -- ultimately you, as the director, would have to figure out a way to shoot it. And the production based on our screenplay would be on a limited budget, with actors, crew, a schedule, and production locations. And yet somehow, despite the built in limitations of the production, you demonstrated time and time again to be inventive, never once disappearing into a creative shell. How were you able to pull that off?

FG: I guess one reason is that I have an advantage over most other indie filmmakers in a similar situation. I have a lot of visual effects experience. This knowledge allows me to work on a screenplay knowing what I can realistically achieve during production. This knowledge and experience also frees my mind during the imagination phase. You don’t feel as limited and constricted while you’re writing. As a filmmaker, I am at the point where I feel if there is a certain kind of visual effect that I want to do, I’m confident I will be able to figure it out creatively in the post process one way or the other. Of course, there will always be obstacles that remain, locations for instance, which inevitably influence where your story goes. But it all works out in the end, more or less. Usually.

RF: You mentioned “locations,” and it reminded me of the video trailer you directed for a book I authored DEMON DAYS - Angel of Light. The trailer you directed and produced was amazing. The cherry on top was this great shot you were able to add that came from the top of a building in downtown Los Angeles. You got that shot without first clearing the location. The day of the shoot, just as you were ready to begin shooting, building security showed up and completely shut everything down. Suddenly, you slipped into being a guerrilla filmmaker…

FG: Ah fun times. When the security guy came to kick us out, I pulled out all the charm and begged him to let us get what we needed, but no way… he wouldn’t budge. Little did he know, as I was arguing my cause, I was secretly framing up my shot. By the time the security guard gave his final “no,” I was already rolling. I said, “Okay pal, you win. I’m outta here”. I then whispered to the actor to proceed with everything we had rehearsed, while I began to slowly pack up everything but the camera. Mind you it wasn’t my ideal shot, but it was still an impressive shot. The security guard stood there watching me with a smug expression on his face, his arms crossed with an over-bloated sense of power. Eventually, I smiled back, right before going over to my camera, and pushing the little red button. I had my shot.

RF: What I loved about working with you on TTTCF was that you were not only the co-screenwriter of the movie, you were the director. It meant to me that perhaps we would have more than one opportunity to execute in production something that we had written together on the page.  


For example, our script had a scene where the Santa Claus character makes a discovery that changes the stakes regarding his future. You ended up shooting what we originally wrote, but after we viewed a rough cut of the movie, we both agreed that the way you were able to shoot this particular plot point fell short of what we had originally envisioned.

Cut to months later. You were able to shoot a new take. The sequence in the finished film begins with a close-up of Santa, then the camera slowly rises towards the ceiling, eventually revealing a much wider shot which visually captures the original intent of our script.  That shot, not part of the principal photography, is my favorite visual in the film! For me, it was the umpteenth example of how, in film, the director is the essential creative force behind a production.  And in the right hands, that’s a great thing.

FG: The ability to do a day of reshoots/pickups is so invaluable for any filmmaker. It’s important to know that it is there, if necessary, but it’s also very important not to use it as a crutch during principal. In the specific example you referenced above, I remember that when I originally shot the footage I was extremely pressed for time. As a result, I didn’t really have a chance to take the necessary time to set the shot up the way it really should have been done. When I watched the footage later, I wasn’t surprised to see that it came out just so-so. I tried to mess with what I shot… cut it, re-cut it, but nothing really “sold” the plot point we were going for. Then I had the idea of how I could do it simply and more effectively with the aid of visual effects. So I kinda got lucky in a weird way. If I had been able to take more time to set that shot up exactly right, I would not have tried to re-imagine it… and I wouldn’t have ended up with something that is so much cooler!

RF: Another part of the “writing process” is “the casting process.”  Something many fledging writers are not aware of. You had a table read for TTTCF.  You then rehearsed with the actors, and eventually because of this process, you were able to tap that interaction and incorporate changes to the script that benefited the entire production. As a screenwriter, you are comfortable with this process. Can you describe how and why you are so comfortable with this aspect of filmmaking?

FG: You can have the most beautifully written dialogue in the world, but at the end of the day, if you and the actor can’t easily find a way for them to deliver the words truthfully, then what’s the point? 

Sometimes, it’s best to tailor the dialogue for the actors so you can achieve a believable performance. I think it’s really as simple as that. I don’t have much of an ego, so I feel so much better about the actor giving a good performance than about trying to force them to say something that doesn’t come naturally to them. Plus, a good actor has great instincts. A lot of times they get into the character so much that what they improv sounds more like what the character would actually say than anything I could write! I guess it all comes down to feeling comfortable with letting go, and trusting the process of creative collaboration.

RF: Okay, so for all of us socially challenged people reading your response, can you give us a few hints about what exactly you, as the director, are whispering to the actor as you try to get them to not do what the actor just did on a particular take?

FG: It’s a given that actors need feedback to know when to augment their performance. Actors in the theater get this feedback during rehearsals, but also get it from an audience taking in their performance. The film actor has an audience of one -- the director. That puts a lot of responsibility on your shoulders if you’re the director. The actors are putting all their trust in you. A good actor is one that is really putting their self out there emotionally, leaving them vulnerable. You’ve got a performer that just poured their heart out for you on camera, so the last thing they want to hear is “that was terrible.” Even if the actor is unhappy with their own performance. My approach is to always be diplomatic about the feedback. There is almost always something positive that I can honestly give back to them, not in an attempt to sugar coat the negative, but a response that will re-enforce their effort -- “that thing you did with that other line was great, we just need to match that energy with this one line.” That kind of response will allow the actor to make adjustments, but also encourage the actor to be… vulnerable again.

RF: Working as a writer-director, you’re able to do something I have a lot of trouble with. I work hard on a script, finally getting the work to the point where I think it is ready to be filmed, and always my inclination is to herd people together for a production, then insist everyone stick to what is written on the page. Your approach is not as dictatorial. When you direct, you embrace the opportunity for either a department head or an actor to augment, or change what you’ve written. Clearly your approach is the right method, but how tough is it for you to walk that creative fine line?

FG: For me, this really comes down to how I wear my different hats on set.  The department heads are all individuals with their own talents, personalities and opinions. People may think that the differing of opinions, the butting of the heads is a bad thing. In my opinion… that is not so! I mean, yeah, to a point if we can’t agree on anything and the arguments eat up precious production time fighting, then that’s bad. But so often, great things come from one person taking another person’s idea, running with it, and ending up making it their own. 

Where I’m going with this is -- to be successful as a director, it doesn’t hurt to be a lotta bit schizophrenic. Once I write a script, that’s it, I’m done. I take off my “writer” hat, put on my “director” hat, and pretend that some other guy wrote the material I’m now shooting. I do the same when I go into the edit room. That frees me up to reinterpret my own directorial vision and get a completely fresh take on what I’ve shot. I have seen so many writer/directors that cannot do this, and it almost always ends badly. Often, they get offended or emotional, as we writers do, when an actor says something like “This line feels awkward to me”. You must separate yourself from being the writer of the script, be more objective, so you can look at a line of dialogue and say, “yeah, the writer’s an idiot. How would you say this?” At the end of the day, the project will be better for your fractured brain.

RF: I know you were really excited to be writing your first novel. Like me, you started out as a screenwriter, so there’s inevitably a creative transition. What aspect of writing your first novel excited you in ways because it was going to be different than writing another screenplay?

FG: I think it goes back to your earlier question. There are no limitations when you write a novel! If I am writing a morally questionable scene that takes place in the Vatican, then I don’t have to worry about getting approval from the pope. Nor do I have to worry about whether we have the money to build a believable set. I can just do it. Basically, there are no consequences, and that’s kind of cool.

Another nice thing about a novel versus a screenplay is when I write a screenplay, I often get carried away when writing stage direction. I get a little too flowery or put in little jokes. All of this is 100% lost on the screen, and most actors reading it anyway skip ahead to see how much dialogue they have. With a novel, every word counts. However, I believe that in the process of creating my films, I’ve discovered it is somewhat similar to writing novels. So many novelists crave creative control, but since I typically write, produce, and direct my films, I do end up feeling very much like a novelist writing a book.

RF: The novel we wrote together, “Drawing Blood,” is the first in “The Relict” book series. The feedback from readers since the novel’s publication has been amazing. And yet we both know we’re just getting started. Some of the best aspects of the story we’re going to be telling will begin to unfold in the next few books. But throughout this entire process, I’ve often wondered if you were cool with the idea that we’re writing something for readers to take in… and they are sort of “the director” of their imagination rather than you directing a visual version of what we’ve written?

FG: Yeah, I’m totally cool with that aspect of writing novels. It certainly takes the pressure off of me! Then again, I also believe as the authors, we are kind of also the directors of their imagination. Our words suggest what they see, while the reader casts the actors, and their imagination is like the Director of Photography in the film production that is going on inside their head. 

READER REVIEWS are in and all are RAVES!!!

“Erin” (***** Review): “It was hard to put this one down. Highly recommended for any horror, suspense, apocalyptic, or vampire fans. Stunning stuff and can't wait to read the next book!

“Cari” (***** Review): “The Book had a different spin on the usual vampire story, and I cannot wait to read the next in the series.”

“Melissa” (***** Review):  “The book was so great I could not put it down…”

“Karen M.” (**** Review): “I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book. This book was rather graphic and violent which are not usually my type of book but despite the violence I was pulled into the story of survival. I look forward to the next book in the series.

 “Molly” (**** Review): “This book kept me awake and reading when I should have gone to bed. It is well written and it leaves you wanting more. I can't wait until the next book comes out!!”

All the reader reviews quoted above can be found in their entirety at --

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They have been with us for thousands of years… living in secrecy.

They refer to themselves as “shadows” and even amongst their own kind they are a complicated species.

This post offers background information on the Vampires, and will be updated as more information surfaces.

Here is the most up to date information on “the SHADOWS.”

Sample memos from a VC member writing to his “Fellow Shadows.” 


Journal Entry of Ian Haynes - A Vampire currently assigned to CCC197, Head of the Blood Donor Out Reach Program

With the Official Publication of

This first book will be the introduction to a world of hard-edged, paranormal action, suspense, romance, and adventure.

It will also be the gateway to a MUCH LARGER STORY…

This first book is a REAL PAGE TURNER!!!

The last page ends with: “TO BE CONTINUED”

Many of the books in 
will end with cliffhanger moments. 

But no worries, you’ll still be enjoying --
This first book is over 47,000 words!

 will be priced at –
$2.99 for the e-book
$9.99 for the print book

A new part of the... 
will be published approximately every 3-5 months!

More Announcements throughout the coming days including GIVEAWAYS, INFO on the BOOK SERIES, and other EXCITING NEWS related to the book's publication!

On this site you will discover a whole new world…
Before and After the Events depicted in