An Interview With A Vampire Filmmaker: Local filmmaker Ray Robison leads a 24-Production at this year’s Comic Con
The Vinh Diagram between comic books and feature film fanatics must have a good deal of overlap. Just consider the success of Marvel. But also consider the number of zombie, vampire, Tank Girl and Wimpy Kid movies—and their inspirations.
Local filmmaker Ray Robison seems to have a foot firmly in that interlocked interest. Tucked into his long list of film accomplishments are two vampire movies and a couple productions at Medford Comic Con, including leading a mad-dash 24-hour film production this year, as well as screening last year’s production “Mystic Onions” at 6 pm, Saturday April 24 at the Medford Library.
To get a bit more information about Robison’s origin story, we recently caught up with the local filmmaker.
Rogue Valley Messenger: What are you filming during this year’s Comic Con?
Ray Robinson: We are shooting a short film written by SOU senior Sophia Miller specifically for this MCC2019 project. Not to give the plot away, but it is but the story revolves around role-playing games. Some of it will be shot in Hawthorne Park and along the Bear Creek Bike Path and the rest in the Medford Library.
This year we are going in with a script already written and will edit the footage later, so only the actually production (hair, makeup, rehearsal, filming) will occur within a 24 hour period.
RVM: You seem to be drawn to 24 hour film production challenges. Is that fair to say? What is interesting about those for you?
RR: I’ve been a filmmaker for many years (okay decades even) and believe there is always something new to be learned and challenges to be discovered. Making a film in 24 hours can be quite exciting plus you end up with a completed film at the end of the process. Sometimes when you don’t have a time limit on a production it can be very difficult to “lock picture” because you continually perceive possible improvements that can be made—otherwise you may never allow yourself to finish. I, of course, make a lot of films that aren’t made in 24 hours but know that with any film at some point it has to have a deadline even if it is self-imposed.
RVM: I don’t want to pigeonhole you, but you have directed a couple of vampire movies. What’s the appeal of vampire movies, say, compared to zombie films?
RR: I don’t think I’ve really pigeonholed myself because of the range of films I’ve done; drama, film noir, comedy. I know there could be a big debate on which is better: vampires or zombies. But it is really a matter of which do I prefer. I do find that vampires are more interesting. What they are seem to represent my perspective and interests more. Vampires are creatures who think deep thoughts and can suffer emotionally. Vampires can be erotic and can exhibit passion, even if that passion is for blood.
RVM: What has been the benefit of living/working in southern Oregon, as opposed to being a filmmaker in LA or NYC?
RR: I don’t think it is a filmmaking benefit that keeps me in Southern Oregon. It is more the lifestyle and pace of living here that I enjoy. There really isn’t a definite benefit or disadvantage to my kind of independent filmmaking when living in this area over living in a large metropolitan area. What I need for what I do are tools (cameras, lighting gear, etc.) and talented, passionate crews. I definitely find both those here in Southern Oregon. I never tell young filmmakers that Southern Oregon has just as many opportunities as NYC or LA. It really depends on their goals personally and professionally. Ultimately I believe that my decision to not live in LA was the better choice for me. It has been difficult at times. I recall several years ago watching the Oscars and seeing someone who sat with me in most of my Film classes make his acceptance speech and I of course had to wonder what life would have been like if I’d have moved to LA.