We had the good fortune of connecting with Joe Manco and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joe, how do you think about risk?
Taking risks is a big part of working in entertainment. In just the span of a month I had four very influential people tell me that in order to succeed you have to take risks. That life is miniscule without doing so. I took that as me having to keep things hot and fresh in order to keep the ball rolling. Keep people including myself entertained at every turn. And not to mention, these four peoples of influence all work in entertainment in some way or another. I clearly took that as a sign of things to come. And honestly, a lot of good things have come from going out on a limb and taking risks. Even in the projects I really didn’t want to do.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I like to conceder myself an industry professional. But in my own right. I’ve come to discover that I actually do things the “wrong way”. But when you listen to filmmakers like Clive Barker, Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez you constantly hear that there is no “wrong way” to film make. Just to get off your butt and do it. Part of me thinks I am only in whatever position I am in is because I never stop saying YES. This is advise an old boss I had gave me when working for Studio Movie Grill. He told me to say yes to everything. Then there is the power of simply asking. If not for these two bad habits I would have never gotten to make The Torturer staring Paul T. Taylor (Hellraiser: Judgment), worked twice with Lloyd Kaufman (CEO of Troma Entertainment) or Kerry O’Quinn (Founder of Fangoria Magazine), or gotten the pleasure working on the Shudder / AMC series The Last Drive In with Joe Bob Briggs. Life is a domino effect and as long as you are willing to play the game you will go places you never thought possible. Granted, haters gonna hate and ain’ter’s gonna ain’t; ya know. But I am quickly learning that no matter what I do or how I go about things there will be people who do not want to see me succeed. Sometimes those are people from your past. Sometimes they are even people who you thought were your friends. You gotta learn to grow thick skin and ignore the people who are not out to support you. And sometimes…. those people who you thought were out to see you fail are actually waiting for you to catch up to them. It’s best just to focus on your own steam. Support others always. Even that one guy who is making stuff that you really don’t know. A like, gif comment or share really does go a long way. I mean the competition in film making is so vast, what’s the point in competing with anyone?! People are making stuff and putting themselves in it. To put it another way, Sid Haig said to me once “Be nice to everyone you meet going up. Because you will be seeing them all on the way down”.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This is a rough question. Normally my go to places to take people are not safe as of right now. Obviously we are all trying to survive this pandemic together. Covid is no joke. But when we are all past this I would love to take my friends out to Deep Ellum. A club and music community outside of downtown Dallas. Hopefully, ManifestiV would be playing a show out there at the same time. I love those two. Paragraph and Eve are some amazing people. They score and storyboard our movies. Their band is amazing. I can’t wait to see all the great things they have coming in the future. If a club was out of the question though, I would love to take people out to the Galaxy Drive In in Ennis, TX. The retro atmosphere and open air of the drive in is quite unique. If you have never experienced the drive in theater it is very relaxing. Especially now. I hate not being able to go to a movie theater. As filmmakers when not working on our own projects my wife and I would go to day horror at the local cinema while the kid is in school. Can’t do that these days.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
David Young, film teacher. Max Lichtor, curator of Pyramid-Gallery. Derek Neal, curator of ConfigurationBoxes.com. Richard Houghton, host of Far Out Fiesta. Jay Gavit, host of Corpsepaint Show.
Photos by Mimee Mayumi Kuge William Gwin Ty Addams Cory Ahre Torturer Key art by Anthony Galatis Hellbound Laments and Lament Configuration art by Joe Manco