Trust Me: Exclusive Interview with The Production Team
Trust Me: Crowdfunding Information
Director: Nate Ruegger
Writer: Leslie O’Neill
Crowdfunding Platform: Seed and Spark
Release Format: TBA
Horror Sub-Genre: Supernatural
A woman follows her boyfriend into the woods for a surprise only to find something far more sinister. Based on a witness account of The Goatman, TRUST ME is an atmospheric horror film featuring a new breed of “monster” who fuels our paranoia and forces us to ask: who, or what, can we trust?
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“Trust Me” is an upcoming Supernatural Horror-Thriller that is directed by Nate Ruegger, written by Leslie O’Neil, and produced by Darius Frye. The inspiration comes from the legendary Goatman, which is a bipedal half-man, half goat creature. The creative team’s passionate fascination with this urban legend is what inspired them to make the film “Trust Me”.
“Trust Me” is equipped with an antagonist that is expected to be
“….the next great horror villain with a frightening new vision”.
We have had the pleasure of conducting an exclusive interview with the masterminds behind “Trust Me”. Director Nate Ruegger intrigues us with his compelling, in-depth explanation of the film’s purpose. Writer Leslie O’Neil takes us through the construction of the script as well as the antagonist. Producer Darius Frye explains the production progress of the project, as well as the crowdfunding and distribution goals.
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DecayMag.com: The upcoming Horror-Thriller “Trust Me” is inspired by “The Goatman”, urban legend. Can you shed some light on the fascination you have touched on with this creature and what drove you to make this film?
Nate Ruegger: I’m fascinated by the urban legend of “The Goatman” for so many reasons – because the first accounts of this creature go back to Native American legends, because witness accounts of this creature are pouring in from all corners of the world, but mostly, because this creature undermines our most basic beliefs about humankind being at the top of the animal kingdom. The Goatman can look just like you, sound just like you, can stand right next to your family – right beside the people who know you better than anyone else in the world – and it will blend right in. What drove me to make this film is that visceral fear that lies at the heart of all of the witness accounts of The Goatman – that uncanny moment when you realize the person standing next to you is not your family but a freakish, shapeshifting imposter.
DecayMag.com: “Trust Me” looks to have quite a few interesting elements: a found footage docu-thriller with boundaries between realism and surrealism. What is your vision and expectations on the outcome of the film?
Nate Ruegger: My vision for “Trust Me” is to deliver a cinematic experience of that same uncanny thrill we get from reading witness accounts of The Goatman. To do that, the film starts in the real world – a handheld camera follows a couple on a nice sunny day’s hike, quickly cutting back and forth between them, much like a documentary. But, as we go deeper into the woods, slowly and subtly, things will change. The handheld camera suddenly goes still. The takes stretch out into long, breathless pauses. Shadows creep into the frame, the background falls out of focus, and dark silhouettes appear in eerily perfect compositions – taking our audience on an emotional journey with our characters, so that by the end, they too will have no idea who or what to trust.
DecayMag.com: On the set of the production for “Trust Me”, what are your tactics in bringing all of these elements together for the final product?
Nate Ruegger: Teamwork – I know it’s one of the oldest answers in the book, but it’s true. By the time I’m set, I make sure to be fully prepared – I’ve rehearsed with our actors, I have exactly the props and set design we need, I’ve gone over every major and minor concern with heads of every department, and I have a fully locked script and shot list in hand. When it comes time for me to call “Action” on our first take, I already know and fully trust in my crew so now my job to listen – be open for the little moments of magic that everyone on set can provide – and bring out the very best in everyone and making our set a place everyone gets a chance to shine.
DecayMag.com: “Trust Me” pays homage to The Goatman as “the next great horror villain with a frightening new vision”. Can you elaborate more on this statement? How important to you as a Horror visual artist is it to create a new horror icon?
Nate Ruegger: I grew up on a steady diet of horror movies – Psycho, Silence of the Lambs, Halloween – and as much as I love seeing iconic horror villains reprise their roles for even more great horror films, I believe today’s horror fans deserve a new generation of horror villains. We deserve a new horror icon rooted in the most visceral fears facing us today – and The Goatman is that new horror icon. Inspired by an ever-growing collection of Creepypasta stories on the internet, The Goatman preys on our 21st century concerns of identity theft, but not through hacking or fraud, no – The Goatman is not a horror villain that simply wants to kill or eat you. The Goatman will become you.
DecayMag.com: As the screenwriter of “Trust Me”, how much of the script would you say sticks true to the urban legend that it’s based on?
Leslie O’Neil: We wanted to honor as many interpretations of the urban legend as possible. As a result, I incorporated various elements from the different stories to create one cohesive “monster.” Since this story is based off these witness accounts, it was very important to represent the Goatman as accurate as possible while still creating a unique villain.
DecayMag.com: The fictional character of “The Goatman” is said to serve as the antagonist of the film, however,it has its own back story. Focusing on your precise creativity and style, how do you interpret this character from your imagination?
Leslie O’Neil: Having such a great backstory and different tales surrounding it, the Goatman really became a fun character for me to portray. My imagination comes into play with the interpretation of the character, which is based on my personal horror style. I am a fun of subtlety in horror – the odd noises, the shadowy movements, the fear of the unknown – as opposed to “in-your-face” jump-scare terror. The Goatman is an elusive figure – each encounter with the Goatman is different — so I really wanted to play up the unknown factor – what exactly is the creature that can cause so much confusion and paranoia?
DecayMag.com: In terms of the elements of the film, how will the script translate to as the overall vision?
Leslie O’Neil: The script of course is the backbone to the film. It creates this world and these great characters to place in it – but it ultimately is words on paper. It is through the collaboration with Nate and Darius that this idea will be able to become a visual tale of terror, heightening the script to a new visceral level that doesn’t necessarily come across on paper.
DecayMag.com: Your biography states that you have been a fan of the horror genre, however, “Trust Me” is said to be your first screenplay and venture into the horror genre career wise. In terms of writing, and production what’s the sentiment knowing you’re close in achieving your first horror film?
Leslie O’Neil: It’s exciting and nerve-wracking, but most of all it’s fun. I have always been a creative person, but after college, I never really had the opportunity to utilize that creativity. I started writing horror shorts last year and making this film just makes me want to keep going and never stop. This is the first step towards a passion that I am making a reality.
DecayMag.com: As a Horror aficionado, and given your experience in the entertainment industry, how do you set the tone for the production of “Trust Me”?
Darius Frye: Well, I like to make sure everyone is on the same page during development, pre-production, production and post production. The key to any production is COMMUNICATION, HONESTY and TRUST because without these three things a project can go left, very quickly. Also, recruiting the appropriate cast, crew and editors are vital. I want to make sure everyone involved with “Trust Me” can bring that unique “it” factor to film, along with enjoying their fellow colleague’s company. Whenever you’re shooting 8-10-12 hours a day, you should like the person you’re working with because if not, they’ll drive you bat crazy! LOL
DecayMag.com: The “Trust Me” crowdfunding campaign, as of today, has raised more than half its funding goal. For supporters of the campaign, can you share how the funds will be utilized?
Darius Frye: Sure, once we have accumulated all of the funds, the money will be allocated to several departments on our team to acquire the necessary items needed to bring “Trust Me” to life. i.e. Wardrobe, Camera, Sound, Meals, Talent, Permits, Post Production, etc. The supporters have the opportunity to either make a cash contribution to the overall production or donate to a specific department. Also, the cool thing about donating to a specific department it doesn’t have to be cash, a person can donate their services or gear as well.
DecayMag.com: With less than 20 days left of the campaign, what is the next step for “Trust Me”, as far as production goes?
Darius Frye: It’s pretty much the same, lining our ducks in a row, just grinding and reaching out to several people a day, asking them to join the team as contributors. It’s crunch time now and we’ve been implementing several marketing tactics packed with juicy incentives to see what provokes response from our potential backers.
DecayMag.com: What are the distribution plans for “Trust Me” nearing completion of production? Will it be released theatrically? Or will it be limited to streaming and Video on Demand?
Darius Frye: “Trust Me” is a short and we will submit the completed movie to film festivals across the nation and internationally. i.e. Sundance, Cannes, SxSW, Horror Society, Shriek Fest, ScreamFest and the list goes on. If the film is well received, then we may do a “barn house run” and visit several colleges and universities to premier the film on their campus movie nights, in hopes of gaining support from that sweet demographic of millennial horror movie lovers! Also, the film will be available at some point on YouTube, VIMEO or another online streaming service provider. Ultimately, it would be great to see the goatman legend told in a feature film and I have mentioned to a couple of prominent production companies that specialize in horror to collaborate on this effort, but at this time we are mainly focused on making this the best short ever! #TrustMe.
Thank you very much, Darius Frye, Leslie O’Neil, and Nate Ruegger for taking the time to answer our questions . Best of luck on this creative endeavor.
The Crowdfunding campaign for “Trust Me” is still going strong. 14 days left to make a pledge and support the making of a great indie film. To learn more information about “Trust Me”, and to support the campaign, visit:
Trust Me Crowdfunding Site
Trust Me Crowdfunding Site