Seth Breedlove and Small Town Monsters have been been incredibly prolific. The team focuses on small town folklore and cover some of the most unusual stories around America. It’s always fun to talk cryptids over with Breedlove, so we reached out to him again to chat about this year’s Kickstarter, which is the most ambitious the team has ever put together.
AIPT: How did you get your start in filmmaking?
Seth Breedlove: When I was in high school, I actually wanted to be a director. Or at least a screenwriter. I wrote a couple scripts and messed around with a camcorder with my friends but eventually just kind of gave up on that idea. Keep in mind, at that point in time (the late 90s, early 00s) there was really no way to distribute anything you made, so you were basically just creating “content” for your friends and family, and the avenue to being a “successful” independent director was just non-existent. Or it seemed nonexistent.
So I gave up on that dream for a while and did all the normal post-school stuff — tiled floors, landscaping, FedEx driving, home repossession — all the really fun stuff. At some point, I hit on the idea of making a documentary about a Bigfoot case I was interested in (Minerva Monster), and some friends and I kinda scraped together what we could and went and made what we assumed would just be a little YouTube short film.
It’s funny; it wasn’t until the movie was out that I even considered the fact that what we’d just done was filmmaking. It just seemed so simple and uncoordinated compared to what I’d always thought the film creation process was like. So, yeah … that’s my film origin story.
AIPT: Has folklore always been an interest of yours?
SB: I wouldn’t say folklore has, no. I grew up surrounded by history. My mom owned a historical book store so I grew up around it, and visiting historical landmarks and growing to love that sort of stuff. The idea of historical preservation definitely originated with my mom, and I think I bring an element of that to our work — the importance of preserving our past. Even if people consider the paranormal silly or inconsequential, or they think these events never happened, doesn’t mean that the stories told or their effects on the communities where they took place should disappear.
AIPT: Tell us about your new Kickstarter.
SB: Well, this year we’re funding four different productions, which would, on its own, be our biggest year ever. However, we also have three other episodic projects being made (On the Trail of Hauntings, Beyond the Trail, and On the Trail of the Lake Michigan Mothman), so this year is absurdly huge for us. But the Kickstarter will fund two new On the Trail of Bigfoot projects (The Journey and The Discovery), plus a new On the Trail of UFOs film called Dark Sky, and then our big STM Presents release for the year is called The Howl of the Rougarou.
The campaign is helping with post-production for UFOs and The Journey, and will fully fund production of Rougarou and The Discovery. And it’s loaded with crazy rewards. Our campaigns tend to act as much as a pre-order campaign as they do a crowdfunding campaign, and we always try to give people more back than they put in. For instance, the digital level is $20 and you get digital, downloadable copies of all four productions.
The campaign actually hit its 100% goal in less than 36 hours, so we’re already working toward the stretch goals/rewards.
AIPT: What is your favorite movie about folklore?
SB: Probably The Mothman Prophecies. I’ve adored that movie for a long time, and I think in some really subtle ways it is about the toll that chasing the truth can take on people. I watch it a couple times each year.
AIPT: What is your favorite documentary about folklore?
SB: Good question. It’s probably The Legend of Boggy Creek, even though it contains largely fictional elements. It’s still about real events. If that doesn’t count, then there’s this movie from the ’70s called In Search of Bigfoot (unrelated to the In Search of series) that I love. It’s really about the seeming futility of looking for Bigfoot and how few answers are ever actually found, but it’s also about the passion and desire that drive people to search.
On the Trail of Bigfoot: The Journey really plays around with similar themes.
AIPT: You have a different style than others that do similar film. You are more about backstory and explanations. Why did you decide to go this route?
SB: I don’t really pay much attention to other docs and films in this genre. Most of them are just doing a lower-budget version of what’s already on TV, and that doesn’t appeal to me. I tend to focus on the people at the heart of all this chaos, and the storytelling always comes first. Maybe that’s what sets us apart? Well, that, and we don’t do Michael Bay-style slow-mo shots of us getting out of cars, which is really hot in the para-doc world right now. 😉
AIPT: You have done series, documentaries, and docudramas. Which do you like best?
SB: I love doing episodic content. It’s very hard to pull off financially, but we’re still working on a way to make it work.
In all honesty, I love it all. We do so many projects per year that the constant shifting of the style of storytelling I’m doing really helps keep me going. I absolutely loved working on The Mark of the Bell Witch film last year, and that’s a heavily dramatized, borderline-docudrama format. On the other hand, I’ve had one of the most satisfying edits ever working on The Journey, and that’s as much a straightforward documentary as anything I’ve ever done.
I’m just saying, I love it all.
AIPT: What folklore tale would you like to cover?
SB: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Without a doubt, that is front and center. And I’d like to cover it in various ways. I want to do a typical STM Presents-style feature doc on the book and the legend, and what inspired it and if there’s any truth to it, but I also really want to do an On the Trail of Hauntings approach, where we could go to some of the locations featured in the story and do night investigations and whatnot.
I’ve loved that story since I was little, and I would really find some satisfaction being involved in its retelling, and maybe to help introduce it to a new generation.
There’s still plenty of time to support the new Small Town Monsters Kickstarter and grab up all sorts of goodies! Head over to their Facebook and Instagram accounts for some awesome perks, peeks, and prizes. And maybe, just maybe … a backer-exclusive Flatwoods Monster statue?!
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