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Interview: Barry Jay (Ashes)

“World-recognized fitness guru and founder of BARRY’S BOOTCAMP, Barry Jay, is available for interviews to promote his new film, ASHES, which is now out from Sony label 1091 Media.

In 1998, Barry founded Barry’s Bootcamp. Since then, Barry’s has grown with over 55 studios worldwide. When Barry was a kid he loved making his own horror movies on his super 8 camera. This followed him into his adult life and In 2015, Barry penned his first horror film, The Chosen produced by Terror Films; then in 2016, Barry wrote the wraparound story for another Terror Fims production, the horror anthology Patient Seven. Barry made his directorial debut last year with a script he wrote, Ashes – which is currently garnering terrific reviews.”

Barry- Hi Janel, How are you?

Hi Barry! I am doing good. Thanks. How are you?

Barry- It’s nice to speak with you. Thank you for having me.

Thank you for taking time to talk to me. I loved Ashes. It is so good.

Barry- Thank you. That makes me happy. It was fun to make.

You started off as the founder of Barry’s Bootcamp?

Barry- Yes, I am the founder of BARRY’S BOOTCAMP. We have over sixty locations worldwide now. We started in 1998 with one store in West Hollywood.

I love that. I am sort of on my own lifestyle journey (it sounds better than diet) and the gym has become my second home. I am there every day and it helps with peace of mind. So, I love that.

Barry- Exercise is so important especially as we get older. I am fifty six, almost fifty seven.

That isn’t old!

Barry- (Laughter) I guess it’s all relative. I have a friend who is seventy five and she says, “Oh honey you’re such a baby.” I find it more important to keep active and fit. It’s easy, especially as a writer.

Oh, I agree. Those of us that spend time in front of our laptops! I have actually been writing at the gym and on-the-go so that is interesting.

Barry- That’s great. Our phones make everything so possible. I like to get out and it’s an isolated thing.

How did you get started? Did you always want to write and direct?

Barry- Well, I moved to L.A. to be a writer, mainly a songwriter. I did do some script writing with a friend. Bootcamp was going strong. I had not written for a while. I had decided that even though I had been writing songs again, country songs and going to Nashville and all that. I told myself I’m not going to live in Nashville and this country song thing isn’t going to work out. I just love horror. I’ve been a horror fan since I was too young to be a horror fan. I thought, you know what! I want to write horror. I want to try it. I got myself a little book on how to do it. I wrote like twenty screenplays just to get good at writing. Looking back at my first one, it was awful. But…. That okay. Then one day a friend of mine who was taking classes at Bootcamp said so you’re writing scripts and enjoying it. I said, yeah I’ve written a bunch. He goes, let me read a few. He said, let’s write something together and get it made. We write The Chosen and even though it took five years we sold it to Terror Films. That was the first movie and then Terror Films through experience with that movie, they offered me a writing job for Patient Seven and that was to take the seven short films and create a wraparound story that ties them all together. That was set in a mental institution. It was a doctor talking to patients and then they go into each story. I was bit by the bug. I loved being onset every day. It was just a tremendous experience. I knew this was it. When my family told me about Aunt Marion dying and getting the ashes. My sister didn’t want the ashes. I got an idea and that’s how I wrote Ashes. I loved the directing experience too.

Do you always take experiences from your own life? My own saying is, “May your nightmares inspire” because I think that in a horrible situation you can turn it into something amazinwww.zergnet.com/i/3924066/68898/0/0/162431432/2g even if it is the worst.

Barry- I love that.

Me too. I love it. It is tattooed on my back and used for all my stories and writing.

Barry- Writing is cathartic for my life experiences. Like yours, mine has had its trauma. It impacted me and has made me who I am. I had to do a lot of work to recover. Especially with Ashes, which has been the family dynamic, I mean I’m Uncle Jay, my sister, her husband, the daughters. It’s all right there. I did take it over the top for the horror aspect of it and to have fun with it.

I love the scene and this is probably horrible but it reminds me of something that someone in my own family would say. But, the scene where she says, “You cannot keep her in the linen closet.” It is horrible but I related to that.

Barry- Thank you. That’s good to hear because my sister didn’t know what to do with Aunt Marion. My mother did find her in her closet and she screamed, “Get her the hell out of here.”

Was it challenging directing and writing Ashes? Did you kind of go with the flow?

Barry- The flow and I love a happy set. I had a lot of great ideas and the actor had great ideas. We had a great crew. We got everything one in seventeen days. It was a wonderful experience.

It was shot beautifully and I liked the low darkness. It wasn’t too bright but it was eerie. Sometimes you have a bright movie or just darkness.

Barry- Thank you. Thank you for noticing that. I wanted a house that had a darkness upon it. I did that with BARRY’S BOOTCAMP, the first thing I thought of doing was red lights in the room and we call it the Red Room. I hate those bright white lights.

I agree. Ashes has a beautiful, eerie look and I agree sometimes places are not well-lit.

Barry- Yes.

Now, the make-up and effects in Ashes is amazing. Tell us about the process of creating Aunt Marion.

Barry – YES! Laura Lieffring and Sioux Sinclair! They are my favorites. They did Killer Therapy as well and we discussed the gradual look of Aunt Marion. How she evolves throughout the movie.

They did an amazing job and the eyes pierce you. I was watching Ashes and thought, do I look directly at her or look away! It is creepy!

Barry- (Laughter) Thank you! I love that! I loved the two looks of Marion.

What is next for you Barry?

Barry- Killer Therapy is in post. Killer Therapy is much darker than Ashes. I was like a kid in a candy store. I got to work with Thom Mathews, P.J. Soles and Adrienne King.

Did you always love horror movies?

Barry- Yes, Night of the Living Dead, Return of the Living Dead and Halloween was my favorite when I saw it in 1978. Night of the Living Dead in 68 was huge for me.

I love Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Barry- Oh, me too. I could write a thesis on it tomorrow. I grew up watching horror on TV so it was a lot of the black and white Universal films. My bedroom had Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney, and Boris Karloff. All the iconic monsters. That’s how I fell in love with horror but it changed with The Exorcist.

What do you want to say to the people who will be watching ASHES?

Barry- It is a wonderful lesson of looking deeper into the “kooky” relatives. Remember they are real and have pain just like we do and how important a family bond is in times of crisis.

I agree. There is nothing more important than family.

Barry- Yes. Be grateful for everyone you have.

Thank you so much Barry! It was an honor to talk with you for Horrornews.net You are amazing! Don’t ever stop writing.

Barry- Thank you! I am glad you loved the film. I never forget I am the new guy. I am into it. My goal is to be a mini Jason Blum one day. If you want to dream, DREAM BIG!

Yes! Thank you!

www.barrysbootcamp.com/instructor/barry-jay/

www.imdb.com/title/tt8928500/?ref_=nm_flmg_wr_3

 

 

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