John V. Soto is a talented and creative Australian filmmaker. He is the writer, director and co-producer of the upcoming thriller revenge and found-footage film, The Reckoning.
Kale: What first brought you, to the film industry?
John V. Soto: At school I was a real geek, apart from being the school Chess Champion, I was heavily into films, comics and Sci-Fi/fantasy novels…in High School I started writing short stories and even progressed to a novel….However when I finished high school, my parents wanted me to do the “sensible thing” and so I completed a commerce degree at University. Even after I got a job as a business adviser, I kept writing stories and watching loads of films etc before eventually taking a screenwriting course. That really helped me get a grip on story structure and character development. I’ve been writing screenplays for the better part of a decade now.
Kale: What genre of film, interests you the most?
John V. Soto: I’m a big fan of thriller and horror films and have written and directed three; Crush (2009), a Supernatural Thriller, Needle (2010), a horror thriller and The Reckoning (2014), a psychological thriller. Crush and Needle have both been released around the world. Needle was a hit in Turkey (of all places) and ran for 13 weeks on 62 screens!
Kale: What can you tell me about your latest project, “The Reckoning“?
John V. Soto: I recently read an interview with Eduardo Sanchez (Blair Witch) who talks about the next evolution of ‘found footage’ films, a hybrid blend of found footage with a traditionally shot film. Guess what? That describes “The Reckoning” exactly. It’s a revenge thriller about a cop who uses video footage shot by two missing teens, to track their whereabouts, because they know the identity of a killer, who is actually after him. There are lots of twists and turns and audiences at test screenings have really enjoyed the freshness and non-linear structure of the film. Our teaser trailer, which we only uploaded to YouTube a week ago, is going gangbusters, passing 45,000 views! It seems to be striking a chord with younger audiences, particularly in the US.
Kale: What can you tell me about your upcoming projects?
John V. Soto: I’m working on several projects at the moment, but I can’t say much more than that as they’re in development. Right now I’m focused on getting The Reckoning out to audiences with the most enthusiastic/savvy distributors available.
Kale: Where do you want your career to be, in five years?
John V. Soto: 5 years time? Well, I’d love to direct a film or TV ep in the US and in fact have been approached about a project, so with a bit of luck, that will happen soon!
Kale: Do you prefer writing, or directing films?
John V. Soto: Writing and directing are both intensely creative processes. I think writing is the hardest, as you’re inventing the story universe and laying the foundations for the film. Directing is more enjoyable, particularly when you’re working with experienced actors like I did on The Reckoning…they search for the truth in the scene and sometimes I get so entranced by their performances I forget I’m meant to be directing them! That’s usually a good sign! Jonathan LaPaglia, Luke Hemsworth, Viva Bianca and Hanna Mangan Lawrence were an absolute pleasure to work with and I feel honored they chose to join the cast!
Kale: If you could work with any actor(s)/actress(es), who would they be?
John V. Soto: There are so many quality actors that I’d love to work with, I’d be here all day listing them! I’m a particularly big fan of The Walking Dead, so any of the case from there would be nice!
Kale: What directors inspire you, the most?
John V. Soto: Directors who inspire me? Those that have worked on low budgets and, against the odds, made great films; Quentin Tarantino, Frank Darabont, James Wan, Oren Peli, Gareth Edwards, Duncan Jones, Gareth Evans, Robert Rodriquez…I can go on!
Kale: How have you reacted to the poistive notice on “The Reckoning“?
John V. Soto: I’m very happy with the positive feedback from test audiences and viewers of the trailer on You Tube.
Kale: In what ways, do you like to communicate, to your fans?
John V. Soto: I communicate with and update fans via Facebook — such an effective tool!
Kale: Where are you favorite locations, to film?
John V. Soto: Perth, Western Australia is my favorite place to film, because we have a similar climate to LA, with great (unpolluted) rivers, beaches, parks, towns, cities, etc, plus it’s close to my home. As mentioned before though, I’d like to shoot in the US too. I’ve got my US passport handy.
Kale: What motivates you during the writing process?
John V. Soto: My motivation for writing is getting the story down, before I lose the drive. I can write a script fairly quickly now, but before I launch off, I like spend a fair bit of time developing and figuring out the outline…once you’ve got a solid outline with nicely fleshed out characters and tight plot, then the script is a much easier proposition.
Kale: What are some of the hardships of writing and directing?
John V. Soto: Writing and directing are both difficult and challenging disciplines. Hardships with writing is getting halfway through a draft and realizing that a character has to go, but you’ve included him/her in every second scene. Directing gets hard when there are time constraints. I want to stay til every shot and scene is perfect, but on low budget films, we just never have the luxury.
Kale: What is your favorite project, that you’ve done?
John V. Soto: The Reckoning is my favorite project, because the story is quite effecting and I think most people (unless they are sociopaths) should feel something at the end. That’s the goal really, make people connect some way with the story and feel for the characters..
Kale: What are some of your hobbies, during your off-time?
Hobbies? I’ve got kids, so any spare time I have I spend with them! Late night I enjoy reading books and scripts or watching films/TV shows.
The Reckoning stars Jonathan LaPaglia (The Slap, NCIS), Luke Hemsworth (Kill Me Three Times, Brothers in Arms), Viva Bianca (Spartacus, Scorned), Hanna Mangan Lawrence (Spartacus, X) and Alex Williams (Underground) and is said to be described by The Blair Witch Project‘s Eduardo Sanchez as looking, “amazing”.
Head over to the official Facebook page for The Reckoning here.
Watch The Reckoning teaser trailer below..