An Interview with Scott C. Sanford – Writer of Axe2Grind
This article originally appeared on womeninhorror.net
1. When did you start working on the sequel?
First of all, thanks for giving me the opportunity to discuss our upcoming film Axe2Grind. I can’t think of a more fitting website for coverage than womeninhorror.net.
I’m one who is a film “snob” and has always spoken out against larger budget sequels that are clearly “cash grabs” so i didn’t even think of a sequel until a few film reviewers/critics mentioned that the Debbie Wilkins character would be something that a franchise should be built around. I’m okay with sequels in the budget-challenged horror genre IF there’s an interesting story to be told. I wrote a very rudimentary outline and shared it with Debbie Rochon, because without Debbie there would be no sequel. That was several months ago. Debbie was “down” for reprising her role. Then I started putting together a great team around our star.
2. Talk a little bit about the process of writing with a team, and how you each contributed to the progression of the story.
There’s a lot of female-oriented themes I wanted to touch upon so I hired a terrific writer, Katherine King, to bring a woman’s perspective on the subject matter. Our process has been interesting, to say the least during COVID. Spencer Gray, our director, took our very rough draft/notes/scenes and infused a lot of his insight and unique outlook into the current draft. It’s also been challenging as we were lucky enough to land Stormy Daniels late in the process and needed to revise a bit to give her something she’d be excited to do and that fit her skills as an actress. We’re now doing phone conferences with myself, Spencer, Katherine and Matt Gulbranson, my co-producer, to get the script finalized. On AXE TO GRIND I was writing, tweaking, adding to the script right up to filming day one. I expect we’ll be a little more settled on this one well before we shoot in December.
3. Aside from Debbie Rochon, were there any specific actors for whom parts were written? If not, how well do the castings match up with the vision of the characters on the page?
As I mentioned above, the character Stormy is playing was written expressly for her. We also created a part specifically for Devanny Pinn to get her as much screen time opposite Debbie and Stormy as possible.
4. Who was involved with the casting process? Were any of the writers available to offer feedback on the actors cast in specific roles?
I’ve done most of the casting using a wishlist that started with Devanny and included another actress I’ve wanted to work with for almost a decade, Julie Anne Prescott. Then I scoured a lot of recently-released horror shorts and films looking for actresses to fill out our roster. I found some amazingly talented and beautiful actresses who were fairly new to movies, but that it was obvious to me they were right for Axe2Grind. We rounded out the cast with Rheanon Nicole who just KILLS IT in an unreleased horror film called HAPPY TRAILS, Paranormal ghost hunter extraordinaire Rachel Hoffman who we cast sort of against type but have every confidence she’ll click in her role, and Spencer brought in the incredible Katie Mackey for a part he discussed with her. I was also lucky enough to land scream queen royalty Suzi Lorraine for a role.
I must point out that I was all set to work on another project in April of 2020 with Erin Marie Garrett as one of the leads but our filming got canceled due to Covid. I had a perfect role for Erin in AXE2GRIND so I was happy she agreed to join us and Seraph Productions shifted some of our production money toward Axe2Grind.
5. How closely are you working with Spencer Gray to help get the proper interpretation of the script onto the screen?
Spencer is a fantastic writer. We’ve talked daily exchanging new ideas/scenes. He’s been very generous to agree to some of my certain MUST-HAVES and I’ve encouraged him to infiltrate the script with his vision.
6. You’re about to start a crowdfunding campaign, tell us a little about that, why you chose one platform over another, and if you can, give us some sneak peeks at the perks that will be offered.
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We’re mostly funded privately but I want to have EVERYTHING I wanted at my disposal for the first Axe available to me on the sequel…top-notch special effects, state of the art sound, interesting cast like Stormy. A successful campaign will ultimately mean a better movie. Indiegogo seemed like the perfect fit for this project as many other horror films have done quite well with their campaigns there. I have found also there is a big market for perks such as cameos in the film, and interesting memorabilia for collectors. We’re breaking down the script to try and offer as many cameos in scenes with Stormy as that seems to be the most sought after type of perk.
7. This cast seems to be full of badass women who take no guff from anyone, give us a little bit of background on the creation of the new additions to the movies’ universe.
Interestingly I’ve taken some slack for having a “lack of respect” for women..based solely on? I don’t know. In fact, the polar opposite is true. Take Stormy for example. Stormy has written and directed close to 100 adult films. Her films in the porn industry have actual stories and feature well-thought-out pacing, camera angles, etc. I have an overflowing of respect for a woman who did what she did in a male-dominated industry. Stormy is also one of the best writers I’ve known. Her autobiography is hysterically funny, heartbreaking, and full of truth.
To your question…there’s no one..no one..more badass than Ms. Debbie Rochon. Not just her screen persona. Debbie is truly one of the kindest, considerate, and helpful persons I know. She literally will do a movie (if it interests her) for way less money than she deserves, promote the hell out of it if she believes in it, and ALWAYS has time for her fans.
I’d also like to point out MANY of our cast also has directed and produced genre films. We’re going to be well represented in that respect.
8. What was the overall feeling of the crew as each casting has been announced? Were any folks hesitant or resistant at first but you as a team eventually won them over based on the strength of the script/concept/overall crew?
Other than the returning cast from the original (only three as Debbie fucking killed everyone else) once Stormy was onboard I’ve only gotten resistance from one actress I’ve tried to cast, and the reason was a somewhat satirical scene I wrote for her but I won’t go into detail as I’m holding out hope she’ll agree to do the scene.
9. I see a lot of social media promotion for the film, not just from you but from many of the people involved. Where can folks find the various social media accounts for the film and show their support?
There’s a Facebook movie group page with about 1,200 members. There’s a website for the first film axetogrindmovie.com for those who want to familiarize themselves with the first movie.
10. Finally, what advice can you offer to folks who are trying to get their own film/script/book/etc out there into the world? How can you stand out in a field where there seems to be a million screaming voices all clamoring for attention?
Your story should contain elements/themes that are universal, timely, and originally presented. Also, surround yourself with persons of integrity along the way.