Dayna Noffke, Sheds Light on Horror Career, Daily Grind
Dayna Noffke Exclusive Interview
Samantha Kolesnik: Tell us about what you do in horror.
Dayna Noffke: I am a screenwriter and director working in Atlanta, GA. I’ve created 11 short films so far and I’m not stopping anytime soon– in fact, I’m super excited about a short film project I am directing for a local production company this April.
You can check out a few of my trailers – including our latest short, Teaser, on our Vimeo
News and social media (I love new friends!):
Samantha Kolesnik: What is the best part about creating art in the horror genre?
Dayna Noffke: One of the things that I love the most about making films is the collaborative aspect of the endeavor. You are pulling together a team and each of you puts in your creative talents and ideas in order to create something bigger than any one of us.
This goes doubly for horror – I love that it is such an inclusive and subversive genre. You see a lot of people in horror films who are not your typical Hollywood types. There’s an opportunity to bring a lot of social consciousness into your work in an effortless way. Horror can be and say so many things. It’s absurd and beautiful and funny and awful. It reflects life.
Samantha Kolesnik: Someone comes up to you and says they’re about to make their first film ever. What would you tell them?
Dayna Noffke: GOOD FOR YOU! Here’s the thing: A lot of people ‘think’ about making a film and maybe 5% of those ever make any small move towards it. Of those, 5% start a script and 5% of those finish it and on down the line. So I have a great respect for anyone that is able to take that initial idea and follow it through to the completed project. You will have a great time and it will be so much harder than you thought. My take is that most things worth doing are…
The only advice I really have is to make the most of whatever your resources are, be safe and treat people well. Learn what you can and bring on good people. Spend as much time in pre-pro as possible. It’s worth its weight in gold. The rest is just practice. My goal is to get better and to learn something new with every project.
Samantha Kolesnik: What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome in your horror career?
Dayna Noffke: I recently made the decision to quit my day job working in set decorating and focus totally on directing. It wasn’t really a decision so much as a huge leap of faith.
One of the hardest parts of making films is simply getting the resources to do so. Making shorts is wonderful artistically but, ultimately, it is difficult to monetize them in any way, which can turn it into a very expensive hobby. The biggest challenge of my horror “career” is just that – making it a sustainable career. I’m getting closer to reaching that goal each day.
Samantha Kolesnik: What are your horror plans for 2018?
Dayna Noffke: As I mentioned earlier, a local production company recently optioned one of my short film scripts, “Shark” and I am directing that project in April. I’m not at liberty to say too much about it but it’s pretty crazy. Let’s just say that there IS a shark – and yes, there’s a LOT of blood.
I’m also in development for a feature horror film called Eidolon that I co-wrote with friends a few years back. It’s a female-fronted horror film in the vein of The Babadook. I am hoping to roll on that one before the year is out but it’s hard to tell what the future has in store. Things in indie world change all the time.
Samantha Kolesnik: Name one or more other #womeninhorror who have inspired, helped, or motivated you along the way.
Dayna Noffke: I am very lucky to know so many wonderful women in horror. In fact, here in Atlanta, we seem to have a surplus of them! To name just a few around here – we have Lynne Hansen, Blair Bathory, Vanessa Ionta Wright, Madeline Brumby and Allison Maier. Everyone is so great about sharing the resources and the love. We all cheer each other on; everybody needs that sometimes. I am also absolutely in awe of Jen and Sylvia Soska. Not only do I love their work, but I love the fact that they champion indie film and filmmakers. I love their positivity and their relentlessness and more than that, their desire to make the world a better place. I could hardly ask for better indie women in horror role models.