Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Indie Film Maker Lyn Morgan And Her Movie Skookum

Finally, I get an indie film maker on my blog. I'm so pleased to bring you Screenwriter Lyn Morgan as she tells us a bit her journey.

This is how Lyn describes her role in the process

"I am not the tech person. I am not the money person. I am not even the producer or the one who has to handle those tiresome details. I am just the writer, the creative one who begins the project and as it goes along, knits the whole thing together. I was known on the set as Ma Lyn and regarded as the mother of all the crew and cast. For the film we made and for the future films we are going to make, that will be my role. How cool is that?  It makes me feel very proud."

Making an Indie Movie 

About the middle of January of this year, it became apparent to me this would be the year we, Debi McMartin, co-writer and head of the production company, would actually get our independent movie, SKOOKUM, THE HUNT FOR BIG FOOT, in the can.
The  project became more and more immediate to me as the days passed  My special tasks during our pre-production phase were to work on the bigfoot costume ... a large task as the monster is six foot six inches tall. I had a jumpsuit that fit the man who would play Skookum and I sewed line after line of human hair on by hand because I couldn't get the legs or arms of the suit on my machine.  Also I was afraid the hair would come off as the "creature" ran through the woods and did other stunts. I have to say from all the film I have seen of it, it looks quite real.

I also was in charge of preparing food to be served to the movie crew as we began filming on the second week of April.  I cooked and froze many meals.  I begged local restaurants to donate a meal or two. Never has the time sped faster than the days leading up to April 8, 2013 when filming was to start. 

During the actual filming, I was continually on the go. Always near tears. I watched the filming and heard actors say the words I had written, but I still had to be ready to get their meals on the table so the tears had to dry up in a hurry at times. 

Sometimes I listened to our cast go through their lines. Sometimes I watched them practice the choreography of the fight scenes and the stunts.  That was when I decided I would write more carefully next time.  Not as many hard scenes for the cast was my promise to myself. 

LA: Did you hire a stunt coordinator?

LM: No.  For the stunts, we had a man of all skills, Shane Dzicek who is an actor, costume designer in his own right, ingenious inventor of things we had to make for the movie like a bridge to haul the equipment onto a small island where some of our scenes were shot. 

The man who choreographed the fight scene was Paul Logan, a one time soap star on Days of Our Lives. He was amazing and I hope you get to see that action scene.  He had a few other fights besides the bar scene, but that was the major one.

Many, many times I put in the longest days I have ever worked. One such day was almost around the clock and it included the climax of the movie, a most emotional scene.  I sometimes fell into bed in the clothes I had worn all day and night.  Call sheets giving the place and time for our next day’s shoot were there waiting on my computer whenever I woke.

LA: Did you film out of state?  

LM: We filmed close to home.  Friends of mine had a house, another a cabin, and a third, a fishing shack. 
They were way deep in the swamp and filming in such a remote location was quite scary. Debi and I were the location scouts.  She did most of the work, but it was quite fascinating to find the places.  After one of the directors arrived about a week before filming was to begin, he and I found the last few locations.  Director Jack Skyyler is a name that will be well known in days to come. I think he has four movies to be released before the end of this year.

We had a few set backs.  We fired our first director of photography.  We made trips to the airport to fetch new actors coming in for cameos. We made trips to the airport to get them to their return flights.

LA: Lyn, how did you find a new DP so quickly? 

LM: I think I have to say that it had to be God who helped. He was a local man who owned a RED camera, when we had been told there were none in the area.  He is originally from Australia and his name is Bob Foster.

Making an indie film is the experience of my lifetime.  My writing partner, Debi McMartin, and I often swore we would never do it again until that last day of filming when we both felt the absolute joy of our accomplishment, and we knew we would. I am currently writing the sequel to our first movie and the title of this script  is SKOOKUM, TOO.
Our completed movie, SKOOKUM, THE HUNT FOR BIGFOOT, will have test screenings late in October.  One will be in Ennis, Texas, at The Galaxy Drive-in on the Sunday before Halloween.  One will be that same day in Chicago at The B-Movie Celebration on Hollywood and Vine. Check out my pages on Face Book and Skookumthemovie Face Book page if you are interested in either of these show times.

LA: What's the plan after that?
LM: Several distributors are looking at our trailer.  We should know sometime next month if one of them wants to make an offer.  That would be the  best thing or maybe not.  And then of course a festival has already asked to screen the movie.  Who knows what might come from that exposure?  The film is gorgeous, at least the rushes I have seen.  It was filmed in its entirety on a RED Epic with the aerial shots done by a drone with the latest technology.  We have been told it looks like a million dollar studio film.

My advice to any wannabe indie film makers is to do their research.  Find a plan to get your money. In fact, you may need more than one plan.  We also had a local fund raiser in one of the towns we filmed in.  That town has one point on the back end.  It will benefit their town coffers for many years to come.

Trailer for Skookum, click here.


Evelyn “Lyn” Morgan is a member of Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America and Christian Fiction Writers. She is an active member of the RWA screenwriting chapter, Scriptscene and spoke at the national mini-conference of that organization this past summer.

Teaching piano for fifty years and retiring from that in 2006, Lyn writes music as well. One  of her songs, THIS ROAD, is featured in the indie film, SKOOKUM, THE HUNT FOR BIGFOOT which she co-wrote.

Lyn’s fiction works tend to have a touch of paranormal in them. You will always find at least one dead body plus a spooky happening or two. Her books and her scripts, sometimes her songs, follow this trend.

She teaches screenwriting classes in the Shreveport area where she lives with her two canine companions, Little Girl and Daisy.



  1. Hey, Lyn!
    I enjoyed reading your interview.
    Great job!

  2. Looking forward to the Preview. I grew up in the pacific Northwest, and can vouch for some pretty odd night sounds and trail marks in the Cascades. Why not in the Bayou?

  3. Incredibly daring and energetic undertaking, Lyn! Congratulations on seeing it through. I wish you the very best in your journey with Skookum, The Hunt for Bigfoot!!! I sense that your hard work is about to pay off...

    As always, great interview, Leslie Ann--thanks for introducing us to Lyn.