The multi-talented David Izatt has got it all. He is a well-known Actor, Writer, Director from Dunfermline in Scotland. David also serves as the CEO of Zoghogg Studios. Recently he DOP’d and produced the zombie thriller ‘Plan Z’ which has won a host of awards including ‘Best Thriller’ at the NFA’s in London this year and is out now on DVD and digitally.
Meet the Artist: NY Elite Interview with David Izatt
NY Elite: What projects are you currently working on?
David Izatt: I have just finished two short films ‘Ava’ and ‘One Last Dance in the Sun’. Ava is a drama with fantasy elements and is currently doing the festivals, while One Last Dance in the Sun is in Post Production and is about the last moments of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. I also have the feature film ‘A Christmas Carol’ which I directed gearing up for release this year (it has a gorgeous score by Roger Taylor from Queen). We shot that film throughout Scotland and in Philadelphia, USA. But I have a huge feature film ‘Skinjacker’ in development, which I aim to shoot this year.
NY Elite: What is the new film/play about?
David Izatt: Skinjacker is a Sci-fi horror set on the Isle of Skye in Scotland and will be our most ambitious yet. The Isle of Skye has its fair share of myths and legends and I loved this tale, but decided to put a little twist on it and make it a Sci-fi. Basically a meteorite crashes down upon the Island’s rocky hillside, cutting all power in the area one cold winters night. Then people start to vanish and there’s talk of the ‘Biasd Bheulach’. But has the mythical ‘Beast of the Odail Pass’ really appeared, or is this something far worse than any folklore known to haunt the Island.
NY Elite: What is different about being in the director’s chair with this project?
David Izatt: I love Sci-fi (I’m a big Alien fan), but I’ve never directed anything like this. We touched on fantasy elements on my recent short film ‘Ava’ and horror on an earlier one called ‘The Jacket’. I also DOP’d and Produced the film ‘Plan Z’ which is a zombie horror. While I’ve directed battle scenes with a large cast and hundreds of extras I should never be daunted, but this genre is new to me. Although the script was a joy to write and I’m very excited to get started.
NY Elite: Which actors stand out and why are they perfect for the role?
David Izatt: While Skinjacker hasn’t reached pre-production yet, there are actors that I have in mind for roles and even had them in mind while writing. I think working on various short films in between the features certainly helps you expand that actor database and lets you know as a director who can do what when it comes to future projects like Skinjacker.
NY Elite: Who are the film’s stars?
David Izatt: While we haven’t cast Skinjacker yet, I’ve worked with some fantastic actors over the years. We have a regular cast that have been in and around all our films of late, that core team that you know you can rely on for more than just performance. Guys like Chris Capaldi, Eugene Horan, Scott Ironside and Marcus MacLeod are all wonderfully talented and if they don’t feature in this next film, then they will certainly be at the top of the list for the next one. But I’ve also worked with fab actors such as Stuart Brennan, Jade Yourell and Sarina Taylor and witnessed some beautiful performances from Stephen Fry and James Cosmo while working on the film Tomorrow (Exec produced by Martin Scorsese). Our young star of ‘Ava’ Rhea Clarke is also one to watch in future, as she’s highly talented.
NY Elite: What makes a film great for you? Are there certain qualities that make a film better for you?
David Izatt: It needs to tell a darn good story. I think for Sci-fi’s in particular, they need to make you believe what you are seeing is real and that’s no small feat for a film that might have little green men walking around a far off planet. That means the actors need to be in top form as well. If for a moment we think they are ‘acting’ then the interest dissipates and our brains switch off. I feel that beginning to happen all to often with the big budget Hollywood blockbusters that are choosing SFX and VFX over story.
NY Elite: As a screenwriter, what is the most important aspect of building a character?
David Izatt: For me when I write, I look for real life people who I have met before or even just bumped into in the street, or sat and watched at a bus stop or in an Airport terminal. I think for something to be believable it has to have a certain realism about it, whether that’s writing it down or portraying it on screen. Too many screenwriters just take elements from different films and it shows. When building a character you have to scratch beneath the surface. An evil character or the main bad guy in your movie is never 100% truly evil. They are still human (unless they are a robot) and the audience will need to see and feel that.
NY Elite: What scripts have you written so far?
David Izatt: I’ve written a lot of short films. Skinjacker is my first feature film script that will go into production, but I have another two that will follow in 2018 and 2019. I wrote a little script a few years back based on a woman I saw in my hometown that would walk around wearing all her clothes at once (no one knew why). I ended up changing it slightly and co-directed it with my cousin Craig Wilson in the blistering heat in Cyprus. That film is called ‘The Multiple Layers of Maggie Papadopoulos’.
NY Elite: Top 3 favorite projects that you have been involved in?
David Izatt: I worked on a film written by Marco Palmer, which was based on the Clan MacLeod in the 1500’s. It never saw the light of day which was a real shame, but through that I met some wonderful people. I also worked on the feature ‘Plan Z’ with Stuart Brennan which was a run and gun feature, but highly enjoyable. We shot that in Scotland and Italy. Working on ‘The Multiple Layers of Maggie Papadopoulos’ was a joy, because the people of Cyprus are so friendly and the cast and crew we had over there were just brilliant! Of course the weather was so much better than our traditional Scottish drizzle, so couldn’t complain there.
NY Elite: Do you express yourself creatively in any other ways?
David Izatt: I’ve always been a writer as long as I can remember; I’ve had various short stories published over the years. But I used to draw and paint a lot. I studied Art at college, but just don’t have the time any more. I’m also a professional photographer and enjoy doing landscapes. But it’s acting that I enjoy just as much as directing these days. I trained as an actor in Australia and I’m currently starring in the Dundee feature film ‘Schemers’ (I play one of the bad guys Malky) which is directed by the fab Kyle Titterton and produced by the lovely Dave McLean of Riverman Management.
NY Elite: What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a career in filmmaking?
David Izatt: It’s not an easy job. You really need to put the hours in and at the beginning that can mean doing so without seeing much return (capital) if any at all. But if you enjoy it and you are dedicated then it can be very rewarding. A successful film career only happens for those that are willing to put the work in though, you can’t sit around waiting on films and jobs coming to you, it just doesn’t work like that. If there’s nothing out there, then do it yourself. Pick up a camera and shoot, learn from your mistakes and grow. It’s very tough and there will be a lot of moments when you will feel like giving up, but if filmmaking is truly for you, then you will come out the other side smiling, because it really is a dream job.
NY Elite: Any plans to direct another movie?
David Izatt: After Skinjacker, I have two more features. I also have a few more short films and whether I direct them or not I will try and get them produced, as they are such fun to do. I’m also very open to working on other productions.
NY Elite: NY Elite: What can we expect from you in 2017?
David Izatt: While our film ‘Plan Z’ was released on DVD in March, our latest film ‘A Christmas Carol’ will hopefully see a cinema release this year in time for the festive period. Our marketing campaign will begin soon for that. I’m also in talks to direct another feature film (not a Zoghogg production) and have a few brilliant acting roles lined up. It’s a very exciting year.
NY Elite: Where can everyone keep up with you to learn more? …social media…website
David Izatt: I am most of the social media sites, you can catch up with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and of course I’m on IMDb.