Rider Strong
Rider Strong stars in Eli Roth’s Cabin Fever.

Believe in your film.

If things go wrong, you have to believe in your film. When we
came back to Los Angeles, after shooting in North Carolina, we
still needed to raise lots more money to finish the film. What
kept me going was the belief that the film was something that I
had to finish.

Show leadership.

As director, you’re the head of the film, and if you don’t believe
in yourself and your film the cast and crew won’t either.

Create anticipation amongst potential buyers.

Try and get companies to see your film in a theater, in the best
form possible, rather than on tape. With Cabin Fever, we
made some exciting trailers that really got the attention of the
buyers and got them excited to see the film. A good sales agent
can help prepare buyers for what kind of film they’re going to
see and how the film can be marketed if they want to buy it.

Don’t get pigeonholed.

A director can work in any type of genre as
long as he’s interested
in the material he’s working on and understands the story. Some
of the best horror films have been made by directors who had very
little previous horror experience. You just have to love what you’re
doing. The best way not to be pigeonholed is to direct and produce
your own films and create your own jobs.

No budget? No problem!

Most of the greatest horror films ever made were made for less
than $1 million. That was one of my big inspirations for making Cabin
—because I realized that I could make a great horror film
for less than a million dollars. Having no money forces you to
be imaginative.

Pay homage but don’t steal.

Analyze and break down the films that inspire
you and come up with your own take on the genre. Play against
typical conventions
and audience expectations and don’t try to duplicate the directors
and films that inspired you because you can’t ever replicate films
from another era.