Why Joe Lujan Has
By Kayleigh Smith
Joe Lujan is a modern-day jack-of-all trades in the film industry. He is a screenwriter, film producer, director, editor and even has a few costume design credits to his name. After an older sibling took him to a horror movie in middle school, Joe had no doubt about what he wanted to do for a career.
He quickly switched his sights from a career as a veterinarian to filmmaker. Joe developed his craft by enlisting the help of friends and family to star in his early films. When asked about where he drew inspiration, he candidly shared that inspiration comes from dreams, nightmares, music, and anything artistic.
Now with more than 100 short films on his resume and fifteen years in the industry, he is making his mark in the entertainment industry outside of the Hollywood studio system. With entrepreneurship, dedication and tenacity, the creator of The Immortal Wars has shown that he can do what's necessary to bring his creative vision to fruition. Now with a mini-series and a book deal on the horizon, he sat down with In Entertainment to tell us about his upcoming projects, including films, comic books and books, as well as what's in store for the future.
How did you get started in the film industry?
Well, when I was in middle school, my sister used to let us watch horror films. I had actually once wanted to be a veterinarian, but after watching movies like Resident Evil and Scream, I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I'm drawn to horror because I recognize that everyone has fears, and I find myself fascinated by the reaction of viewers.
"The Immortal Wars" trilogy is perhaps what you're best known for. What was the genesis for that film series?
The Immortal Wars was based off characters from an online comic series I created in my college years. It's sort of a blend of Mortal Kombat and The Hunger Games. At that point I had already been creating for a few years and after while I was creating my film Atelophobia I met an investor and brought him on board. I had written a short sci-fi/action script and pitched it to the investor and he responded with "Do you have more juice to add to the story?" I then dived straight into extending the script and the ideas kept on coming. I soon then had 3 scripts in my hands. Part 1 and 2 were shot in Vegas and seats to the viewings for Part 1 sold out within 2-3 days.
You're currently working on the trilogy of Atelophobia, can you tell me a little about it?
Atelophobia was a script I wrote in high school based off of people in my life from high school. I was bullied pretty badly that I sometimes would eat my lunch in the bathroom stall to avoid it. This project was my artistic revenge to those who bullied me. I had submitted it to about 20 film festivals and due to the content being too extreme it made it into only three.
You seem to be involved in most elements of filmmaking from the sets, props, and costumes to editing and directing. How did you end up working on so many aspects of a film project?
I have a vision for my films and I'm willing to do whatever it takes for those to come together. One example is the CGI crew for TIW got pulled into another project so I volunteered to make that happen. I had no idea how to do it, but I did it. I would go onto YouTube and watch tutorials, and in the long run it made me that much prouder of my project.
You also publish comic books based on your films. You do the film first and then the comic book, which is generally the opposite of how it's done. How did you decide on this approach?
The success of Immortal Wars led me to comic publishing. My focus has always been in film but I wanted to continue the story by creating a comic book series. I found an illustrator and now The Vanquishers issue 2 is set to release in May. I plan to adapt more of my projects into comics in the future as well.
You've made all of your films outside of the Hollywood mainstream. How do you account for your success?
Hard work and dedication above all else. I truly love everything I create and I don't let anything stop me from finishing anything I start. I try and make mistakes on my short films and learn from them so that I don't on my feature films. I will continue to create until I can't and for now, I can't see a phase of my life where I'm not creating. There is a lot of momentum this year and I hope to eventually jump into making studio films.
With all the various projects you have, how do you juggle them all?
I have the best family ever. They keep me sane they. They are my core support and biggest fans. You have to have a core crew and their opinions mean a lot to me.
What other projects are you working on?
A total of 5 films are being released this year. I have a mini-series spin-off of The Immortal Wars premiering this winter and I have various post production projects that I'll be working on. In addition, I have a few book signings set up around the USA for my comic books and I plan on adapting all of the features into books. It is a lot, but I believe in what I do and love what I'm creating. I've dedicated my life to film making, there is no backup plan.
For more information visit: www.carcass-studios.com
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