Interview with “Ghost in the Machine” Writer/Producer Gladys San Juan, and Director/Producer Craig Griffith

“Ghost in the Machine” is a dark sinister tale that will be coming soon to horror fans. First, the film most go through some post production and crowdfunding process. To introduce the film to us, and talk about the campaign is writer/producer Gladys San Juan, and director/producer Craig Griffith. Take a few minutes and read about the film, and how you can support it…

-PH: Lets start with “Ghost in the Machine.” Please tell us what it’s about?

-Gladys: Ghost in the Machine is a modern-day Supernatural Thriller set in London. The film is a psychological ghost story in the grand tradition of gothic horror but set in a very normal everyday house. Instead of using traditional horror tropes we use an iPad to create the horror. 

Synopsis: Sandra Huthinson, a successful Music Video Producer, juggles her career with being a single mother to Mia age ten. She is calm under pressure with a no-nonsense attitude. With a work deadline looming large, Sandra arranges for Mia to stay with her father over the weekend. Caught. Up in her work, Sandra unaware that Mia has downloaded an app onto the iPad that tracks ghosts in the house. Sandra discovers that Mia has befriended a mysterious anomaly on the Ghost App, called David. At first, Sandra thinks that the App is little more than harmless fun or a scam to rip off money, so she disregards it’s as another silly game Mia has managed to download.

Once Mia leaves with her dad, Sandra is left alone in the house determined to meet her deadline however, David has other ideas. The Ghost Tracking App becomes active with another ghostly anomalies as David plays a terrifying game of cat and mouse that forces Sandra to fight for her life…

Ghost in the Machine is a dark and disturbing psychological horror that explores how as a society the more we become caught up with technology the more we are in danger of not only losing touch with the fine lines of balancing and work, but also our own selves.

Besides fulfilling our passion for scary movies, this film is also important to us because it talks about issues that we feel are relevant. By using ghosts as a metaphor for internet abuse we explore the idea that there are consequences for the things we allow into our lives without due care and attention.

-PH: Where did the idea for this story come from?

-Gladys: ‘My son Francesco a few years ago had downloaded a ghost tracking game radar on my iPad and he was actually intrigued by it where I actually got scared because it would track anomalies which represented ghost or forms of energy in rooms. They particularly appeared in a dark corner of my bedroom and then it would come up with random words non cohesive sentences a few times it would ask questions that was when I thought what a great story idea this would be. 

-PH: You’re doing something different in the filming here. Talk about how you’re using the iPad in making this film?

-Gladys: These devices which have become part of our lives, if not given restrictions are changing adults especially children’s brain development patterns possibly for the worse if not monitored properly – potentially affecting their attention, attainment, wellbeing and social skills. In the film the tablet devise is used as a visual representation of parents not paying attention or being aware of what their children are up to when on these devices.

In this case Sandra is losing some sense of connection with her daughter Mia she is trying to juggle a job deadline at the same time. In this day and age, we are sometimes so wrapped up in things, that we often miss the real problems right in front of us until it is too late.

There are now real ghost hunting apps, and this is a great way to explore contemporary issues using the ghost as an analogy for dangers of online bullying, trolling, isolation and not being aware of how we use technology and the danger it symbolizes It is about being vigilante on what you allow into your life and being mindful of what your kids are exposed to. This is something we’ve not seen before in horror and is a fresh new way to tackle traditional concepts and ideas.

-PH: There is also something else unique to this film in that it is the pilot episode for a new YouTube Horror Channel, TerrorTube. Can you explain how the film landed on TerrorTube, and a little about what TerrorTube is?

-Craig: As a fan of horror who has to commute a lot I thought that a YouTube channel aimed at people like me would be a good idea. The thing with the daily commute is it’s not really long enough to watch a full feature film but is long enough to fit in a couple of short films. So, I set up Terrortube, with the idea being to create content on a regular basis that’s not too long for your morning journey to work but will still give you your horror fix. I see TERRORtUBE as basically a modern day ‘Outer Limits’ meets ‘Hammer Horror’, a free to air horror anthology. With the increasing trend to view content on multi-screens such as tablets, phone, computers and smart TV’s, the aim is to build a one stop shop for horror fans and film makers alike. I also love the idea that these films can be shot on any camera, be it an iPhone all the way up to an Alexa, dependent on story, budget and the filmmaker’s style.

-PH: So how did you get involved in this film?

-Gladys: I wrote and produced the film specifically for Terrortube. I have known Craig for a while before the film and we have always had ideas and common likes in the Horror and Science Fiction genre. Even if I had written Ghost in the Machine, I felt it was a greater project to me to direct for the first time I just didn’t feel comfortable as I wasn’t aware of all the visual effects and post qualities it deserved. Craig had such clear vision for the story in elements, mood, tone and style that felt that resonated with me and with his background experience and passion for directing and post production I felt he was the right person to take the project forward.

-Craig: We were brainstorming in one meeting and I asked Gladys to write a script for Terrortube. I felt it was the strongest contender from all the submissions I received.

-PH: Who else is working with you on it?

It is an independent short film produced by Banshee Productions Ltd Gladys’s Company and The Workshop Presents…specifically for Terrortube which is Craig’s Company. We also had a great team like Director of Photography Damian Paul Daniel who has an excellent and high-profile track record as well as Claire Pringle who is the Editor for the film also with an excellent track record and has put together a fine piece of work both have given some of their spare time on the project as they really felt it was a very good storyline.

-PH: The film is crowdfunding on Indiegogo, which can be a tough experience. How has that gone so far?

-Craig: ‘I put the package together because I’ve run several crowd funders before and I passed it over to Gladys and threw her in at the deep end as it was her first campaign and she was exited to take over. She’s risen to the challenge admirably.’

-Gladys: ‘At first I was really nervous as I knew very little on crowdfunding, but I did a lot of research which I wish I had done before like gaining an audience. It’s been hard because I also have a full-time job, family and other projects to complete so when you are crowdfunding you must give it all or nothing. I managed to secure so far 2, 600 pounds and we need 5,000 pounds so if I can give it three straight days I am confident I can improve it although it’s about targeting the right platforms and constant delivery of videos and updates you must really engage your audience.
You also find out who your real friends are – ha ha and you make some surprising new ones along the way. I would say plan ahead and do a lot of research on other platforms.

-PH: What do expect to use the funds from the campaign on?

-Gladys: We expect to use the funding is to pay the postproduction aspects from the edit to the deliverables and to pay for festivals submission.

-Craig: Postproduction is the department that sometimes is forgotten about during the madness of independent film making. But we were determined to use the best people so that we ended up with a film that was professional and cinematic.

-PH: What kind of perks will fans get for supporting your campaign?

-Gladys: ‘I think we came up with some cool perks from the classic of getting the film before its release to the thank you and mentions on the credits and IMDB as well as joining the team as an Associate Producer, Producer and Executive Producer. We already got them on board which is really great and also an opportunity to kick start a producing career. We also have VIP guests on our two podcasts shows Monkey wave and Script Frankenstein as well as if you’re in London you can be a VIP guest on our next project which is a short film called ‘Elephant’ I am Directing where you can be a crew member for a day or be part of the Directing team. I got some other give always in mind. Craig also has some projects in development but you can also submit your own short horror or sci fi story too to the Terrortube Platform.

-PH: What is it about horror that you love, and has you making a film like this?

-Gladys: ‘My blood rushing thrill began when I was about 10 and my mom another Horror fan I think I got it from her couldn’t find a sitter so she dragged my siblings and myself to go see the Exorcist and I was overtaken by the whole world of the supernatural on the other hand my sister was traumatized for the rest of her life maybe even possessed -ha ha.’ It is the thrill of the unknown and being raised in Magical Realism and Friday night Seances I guess these things gave me a sense of that there are greater things than us little humans out there. I’ve had my share of things that go bump in the night…’

-Craig: ‘Growing up in Canton, Cardiff, in the 1980’s, my cousin lived a few doors down from us and his mum and dad were the first to get a VCR. Every Saturday night was horror movie night, they loved them. Their sofa was up against the front window with their backs to the window and you could see their tv from through the window. Every Saturday night my cousin would open the windows and me and my friends would all stand in the street outside watching the film through the window. Whenever my Aunt or Uncle would stand up to make a cup of tea or leave the room we would all duck down until they were back in the room. This is how I watched many a video nasty for the first time. We were no more than 11-12 years old and it felt really naughty to be watching all these horror films. It was like we had been let into the adult’s world without them knowing and solidified my love for horror.

-PH: Here’s your chance to promote anything we haven’t talk about. Let us know something more about the film, the campaign, future projects, or anything else you would like to mention.

-Craig – I’m about to set up a Patreon for Terrortube with the aim of providing exclusive content to our ongoing supporters. Horror fans are the best in the world and given the support we’ve received so far, I’m sure we can develop the channel into something that the fans will get behind and proud to be a part of. I’ve always seen it along the lines of Blue Note or Subpop with that garage band mentality, where the name guarantees a certain quality and lets you know what you’re going to get every time. Besides Terrortube I also have my first feature film available on Amazon. It is a psychological horror called THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS and can be watched here: Also, I’d love to say hi to anyone over on Twitter @WorkshopCraig

-Gladys – I’m now in preparation directing a Short film called ‘Elephant’ which is about a woman’s 24-hour internal struggle with depression. I’m also working with another writer on graphite novel called ‘Graphite Runner’ based 100 years in a dystopian world set in Sao Paolo Brazil where the freedom of expression through artform has been eradicated.

We would like to thank Gladys and Craig for taking the time to answer our questions. We hope this gave you a good introduction to “Ghost in the Machine,” and hopefully you will consider supporting their campaign on Indiegogo. You can also support them on Twitter and Facebook, and don’t forget to check out TERRORtUBE.

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