Will Bakke is an award-winning filmmaker based in Austin, TX who focuses on coming-of-age stories with a smart, comedic bent. His first narrative feature film, Believe Me, which he co-wrote and directed, was selected as a centerpiece film at the Dallas International Film Festival before its release in 2014. The film was chosen as a Critic’s Pick by The New York Times. Recently, Will directed his second feature film titled The Get Together which starred musician Shakey Graves and was released by Vertical Entertainment on May 13, 2021.
Q & A
You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?
One of the original iterations of The Study involved the house being the villain of the film. I wanted it to eat people with plenty of blood like any Bruce Campbell flick. I was too gimmicky and didnt serve much of a purpose. Just fun. The secret behind The Study is now much more intriguing and complex.
When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
This short was heavily inspired by the book “House of Leaves” by Mark Z. Danielewski. I think the idea of a house having secret passageways into other dimensions is a fun sandbox to play in. I’m also a big David Fincher fan so even when I’m dealing with comedy, I love to capture it in a dark cinematic style.
Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
I would get the hell out if I could. There’s nothing good that will come from sticking around a house that’s “swallowing” people.
How do you go about creating the props and sets for your film? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
I’m glad you asked! I actually built all of the props for the short. I constructed the foam flashlight that strikes one of the actors knocking them into the back hole. I also bought a door frame from Home Depot and some black curtains to help create the endless space. I also cooked up sugar glass one night to help with the shattered window effect midway through the story. I think practical effects look best and they’re the most fun to create.
What scares you, and does it inspire your storytelling?
I’m actually the most scared of silence. Its the only thing that puts me on edge because every little noise could be something unexpected.