Nick Antosca is an American author of literary fiction and screenwriter. He is the author of five books, including Fires, Midnight Picnic, and The Girlfriend Game. He is also the creator and showrunner of the horror anthology television show Channel Zero.
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Hey Reddit. I’m Nick Antosca, creator and executive producer for SYFY’s Channel Zero: No-End House. This installment is inspired by Brian Russell’s Creepypasta tale about a bizarre house of horrors, and premieres tomorrow (9/20) at 10/9c on SYFY.
I’m here to answer any and all fan questions - ask me anything.
4:45pm - I've gotta go to North Hollywood and it's rush hour, so I must wrap this up. Thank you to the /r/IAmA and creepypasta community!
I'd like to start by saying I absolutely adored Candle Cove and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for the show!
1.) What are your influences on the tone and production of Channel Zero? Have they changed at all in-between seasons?
2.) To someone who wants to break into the world of film and television production, what is the best advice you could give as to where to start? What kind of things should they study and work on in order to get recognized and work their way up?
Thanks so much for your time! Can't wait for tomorrow's premiere!
1) They do change between seasons. Candle Cove was influenced by Stephen King and, of all things, Haneke. Craig and I talked about Haneke, David Lynch, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Days of Heaven, and other things not traditionally considered horror movies. No-End House was influenced by John Carpenter, Solaris, Night of the Living Dead, It Follows.
2) It depends. If you want to break in as a writer, as I did, then first of all, read as much as you can. Not just scripts but plays, novels, short stories. Master storytelling structure. Watch shows and movies that you like and outline them so you understand how the structure works and what you like so much about them. I would study history, philosophy, literature more than film theory. And then write as much as you can, and finish what you write. Block out time every day to write. Focus and eliminate distractions. (Ideally avoid social media. I would quit twitter and IG or at least shut them down for long periods of time if I didn't have a show to promote.)
I recommend the book DEEP WORK by Cal Newport. It was extremely useful to me.
More practically, it helps a lot to be in or around LA, and it's extremely valuable to meet people who will mentor you and help you along the way.
Did you ever figure out who was phone? Or is that a spoiler for a future season?
They warned me to watch out for trolls...
But yeah, that's season 4. You guessed it.
Before I ask anything, I just want to say I loved the first season and I can't wait to watch the new one!
Do you have a dream project? A particular story or a director/actor that you'd really love to work with?
I have many dream projects. I can't list them all.
In terms of directors, I love Andrew Dominik. I would love to work with him. Or Trey Shults. Or Melanie Laurent. There are many others.
I'd love to adapt a Thomas Ligotti story one day.
There's a novel called Brand New Cherry Flavor by Todd Grimson that I have always wanted to adapt.
Just wanted to check in on the status of [my marriage proposal] (https://twitter.com/toscinotto/status/909949603746799616)?
Also, how rad is it to have Jeff Russo as a composer?
Jeff Russo is a rock star (literally) and I love working with him! I'm so glad he does our music. I tracked him down because I loved his work on Fargo.
My girlfriend has first dibs on marriage, but Tosca Antosca would be a great name. If I ever have a kid, can I name him/her that?
First of all, I really enjoyed Candle Cove and can't wait for No-End House. My question is:
Is Season 3 titled Butcher's Block like Holland Roden said on her instagram or Staircases like some people have been saying? Also, what will be the source material for which ever case it may be?
I'm not allowed to say until after NO-END HOUSE airs :)
There will be a definitive announcement after the NEH finale.
Both of those have been working titles...
The third installment is a little different from the first 2 because it's less of a direct adaptation. We optioned a story that we really love and took one aspect of it, and elaborated on it in a pretty surreal way.
How do you guys decide what aspects to keep/discard from the original creepypasta? Is it a logistical thing or does anything fly?
It's more like we identify what we love, first. The core thing that makes it strike a nerve with people. For me, for No-End House, it was the idea in Brian Russell's story that when you leave the house and think you're safe, you start to suspect that you're somehow still inside it. That is existential terror to me. A haunted house is scary. A haunted world is scarier. Especially if it can look inside your head and use what's there against you.
It's different for every season, really. Candle Cove we had to build much of the world from the ground up because the original story is in the form of message board posts. There are no rules, really, in terms of what we keep or what we invent.
I look at the stories as an egg or a seed, and something new comes out of them.
Our seasons are kind of like elaborate fanfiction of the original creepypastas.
What Creepypasta's can we looking forward to seeing adapted in future seasons? Will we be seeing Russian Sleep Experiment?
I would love to do Russian Sleep Experiment!!!
It also depends on whether we can find the author.
Anybody know who the original author of Russian Sleep Experiment is?
I've got a list of other ones I'd love to do as well. We already have the one for the fourth installment. I've written the pilot and we are writing the season now.
Thanks so much for your reply! :)
Also, out of pure curiosity, is there any hope that we'll be getting some adaptations of shorter/more obscure creepypastas down the road?
Yes. The fourth installment (which I'm writing now) is from a much more obscure creepypasta than Candle Cove or No-End House.
Whats your favorite Horror movie?
If you could direct 1 horror movie remake what would it be and why?
What is the most enjoyable part of your show in your opinion? (I don't have cable)
Is Hanibbal coming back?
My favorite horror movie changes depending on my mood and the day.
Some classic favorites are THE SHINING and NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (both of which I saw as a small child and like imprinted on in some way, like a small animal does to its mother). Some others are LOST HIGHWAY, KRISHA, CACHE and WAIT UNTIL DARK.
I don't think in terms of movies I'd like to direct. It's possible I might direct something eventually, but I think in terms of what I'd like to write and produce. Showrunning is my dream job.
Most enjoyable part of the show for the audience depends on the person... maybe the weird shit like the Tooth Child, maybe the strong directorial voice each season, maybe the characters? Most enjoyable part for me is collaborating with people I admire to put stuff from our nightmares on screen.
I hope Hannibal comes back!
This season seems to look and feel different from the first season tonally. Did you find it difficult to move away from the tone of Candle Cove in order to write this season?
No, that's one of the most exciting things about the show.
Writers, producers, and directors spend so much time trying to get things made. We all have so many ideas we are passionate about that never get to the screen for a million different reasons. So to be able to make a show where every season I get to start fresh and we're basically making a new horror movie every year or so.... it's just really cool and rare and fun. It's daunting to start from scratch creatively every time, but it's very very exciting.
Candle Cove, I wanted a more restrained, eerie feel with NO jump scares. I loved Craig Macneill's film THE BOY and thought he would be perfect. The style matched with the main character's feelings of repression and claustrophobia.
For NEH, I wanted something more kinetic, with a roving camera and an immersive sense of paranoia. Steven Piet directed every episode of the season, and he is amazing. His film Uncle John is the reason I went after him.
I LOVED The Forest...do you have plans to jump back into movies anytime soon?
I am writing some features, yes. I haven't taken any assignment work since The Forest and Friday the 13th because I've been too swamped with TV, where you never get a chance to breathe when a show is in prep, production, or post. It's tough to get movies made now, though. I've been creatively happy in TV over the last couple years.
What was the most difficult aspect of filming Season 2?
Editing season 1 at the same time. No sleep indeed.
I loved your Friday the 13th script. What was your inspiration for the story? Who did you envision as the characters?
Thanks! That was fun. I literally got to write one draft and then Paramount regime changed and they moved on. We hadn't talked about cast much.
The hope was to make an F13 movie where the characters were fun to hang out with, and had real hopes and dreams and goals and quirks, like Dazed and Confused.
And then Jason shows up and shreds them.
Followup if that's cool:
Are you happier with No-End House than you were with Candle Cove? I was blown away with how into that season I got, AHS can't hold me that well, but you and the rest of the team managed to keep it worth watching every week.
I love all my children!
I would say we challenge ourselves to do something different every season, and of course we always want to up our game and make each season scarier/ show the audience something they haven't seen before. I am incredibly proud of both seasons.
Hi Nick, big of Candle Cove and your work with Friday the 13th script. Crying shame the people involved seem to have no idea what to do, or what the fans want with that franchise.
Anyway, my question(s)... How have SyFy been to work with in terms of notes etc? Any interesting anecdotes in that regard or in the making of the first season in general?
Thanks in advance.
Syfy has been awesome. I took the show to them because of a conversation I had with Bill McGoldrick at Syfy after we pitched it. We could have taken it to several other networks, but I felt like Syfy was most likely to make it and they understood the vision for the show.
Their notes are consistently smart. I usually agree with them, and on the rare occasions I don't, I explain why and they listen. Which is a healthy and ideal working relationship with a network.
In Candle Cove, they were very uneasy at first with Mike dying at the end. They didn't want us to do that. But I explained why he had to, and that it was a heroic death, and they agreed and let us do it.
They gave a lot of really thoughtful, smart notes on No-End House and were particularly great partners on this season.