INTERVIEW WITH FRIENDS OF DRAGON RIDER - SUSIE ADRIENSEN AND CRAIG SCHAIVONE
INTERVIEW WITH CRAIG SCHIAVONE!
While on the set of the nutty and ... sick ... film, "The Blood Shed" I met some really interesting and talented people of all sorts of professions and backgrounds. Little did I know that Craig Schiavone, one of the photographers and behind-the-scenes videographers, was also a ... GHOST HUNTER! ... so to speak. I found out AFTER the shooting was wrapped, but I had the opportunity to chat with him during the behind-the-scene interviews of "The Blood Shed" and when I found out what this dude does, I jumped in my platform heels like a scared stallion! (Ok. Enough of the dramatic imagery, Susie.)
So after perusing Craig's website http://www.craigvideo.net, I had so many questions to ask him and what better way to ask ... than to interview him!
S: Craig, I've seen your photography and I've seen your work in video and I'm quite impressed by your talent. You've got the artist flare and the technological know-how. Can you tell us, in more detail, what your forte is and how did you get into what you do?
CS: Thanks Susie for the compliments. It was truly a pleasure to have met you & worked with you on "The Bloodshed." I got into photography when I was about 12 with a cheap little Kodak camera my parents bought for me. I took pictures of the dumbest things just to see how the film would expose in adverse lighting, darkness, shadows, etc.. I just thought the images looked cool and they seemed like pictures that most photographers wouldn't bother taking. That led me to experiment with movie film in 8 and 16mm formats and then later with video. I started shooting music videos on the Goth/Metal/Industrial music scene in the early 90's and to my surprise, was quite successful. In 1993 I invested ten grand in a video editing suite and opened my own production company. In 1995 I was offered my first real DP job on a vampire feature called "Lucas". We shot development for it and it was later sold into a studio project and re-titled, "The Breed". I don't know that I have a specific forte, really. I'm a tech junkie and love being in my studio. I make most of my money editing and only shoot about 6-10 projects a year but I love meeting new and talented people who are passionate about getting their projects done. Plus I always loved being on movie sets....
S: So, are you, yourself, a ghost hunter or do you work with ghost hunters?
CS: No, I'm definitely not a ghost hunter. The groups that I've been fortunate enough to work with are not only highly respected in their field, but are truly educated and practiced in what they do. They include all types from scientists to mystics to psychologists. I couldn't even pretend to do what they do.
S: You had doubts about the ghost hunting business, but you had mentioned something that caused you to question ... well ... those doubts. What happened?
CS: Well, I've met my share of posers and phonies too. Early on, I worked with some investigators that were no more credible than a shoe salesman so my doubts about validating anything with physical proof were becoming my dominant perspective on ghosts in general. In February 2006 however that all changed. During a routine investigation of the house where we filmed the documentary, I was cursed at by what sounds like an angry old man. He called me (or one of us) a "Fucking Asshole". The EVP voice was validated by several audio experts as being sub-sonic. That kind of threw me into a different mental state about the film and I almost quit the project because of it. It's one thing to hear a "Ghost Story" from a friend and decide for yourself whether or not to believe it, but it's another emotional dimension all together when it happens to you and you're forced to believe and accept it.
S: You and I discussed "residue." Do you think that ghosts aren't necessarily spirits, but energy that's left behind?
CS: Yeah, in some cases that seems to make sense. I have no idea how something like that is possible but it's a very popular theory with investigators. My experience with EVP however leaves me clearly believing that it's more than that. When you ask specific questions to a dark and empty room and get correct answers back, you have to believe you're communicating with someone. You have to. It's happened to me in half a dozen different, haunted locations. That's what drives me to keep going back. It's not residue we're talking to. There's someone still there.
S: Do you believe some people are more in-tune to experiencing ghosts or other supernatural phenomena?
CS: I believe some people think they are but how do you prove it. You can't. You take their word for it. Some people claim to sense bad weather, then it rains. I've always tried to take a more scientific or forensic approach to gathering evidence because I myself don't appear to be sensitive to these things. I do think it's possible though.
S: What projects have you worked on that entail the spirits from beyond?
CS: In 2001, I DP'd a feature for Ocean Palm Pictures called "Coincident" about a man haunted by his doppelganger. In 2003 I DP'd and co-directed a sci-fi/horror short called Techgnosis about soul stealing and cyber voo-doo. I produced and directed a television pilot last year for a paranormal investigator from San Diego named Bonnie Vent that became her USA network series called, "The Phenomenon Police". I also produced and directed a direct to DVD project for Haunted New Jersey called "The Vault" and wrote a fiction screenplay about astral projection and what the dead dream. I've been offered some good money for it but I'm holding out to try and make it myself.
S: What non-ghosts projects have you worked on and what's next for you, Craig?
CS: Well, allot of music videos, I've been working with L'Oreal for nearly 10 years on various fashion, product launch, live show and marketing videos which has had me all over the country visiting really cool cities. I've helped produce and launch a few broadband, ITV networks this year and last. I do non-profit work with New Jersey historical societies to help preserve and document historic districts and buildings. I spent some time on the Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina documenting native religion and will be going back in September to continue shooting a documentary on Eastern Band Cherokee Ghost Dancers. Plus any other cool projects my friends are working on that ask me to tag along like "The Bloodshed"!
S: Do you believe?
CS: As much as my mind tells me not to, I do, yeah. I'm still not sure what it is but it's real and that's all that matters. It's definitely real.