Director Troy Escamilla talks indie horror slasher Teacher Shortage

Following the success of Christmas slasher Director Troy Escamilla is going back to school for more gore in Teacher Shortage.

We caught up with Troy to talk about the project.

Tell us where the idea came from for Teacher Shortage?
I’ve worked in public education for fifteen years, and I’ve witnessed and experience several changes to the public education system here in the US. Some I agree with, and many I do not. They always say write what you know, so I took many real life experiences, encounters, and conversations I have witnessed during my time in education and infused them into the script. While it’s definitely a slasher film, I also feel like bits of it can kind of be viewed as a black comedy that makes a few statements on our education system. Even if they aren’t slasher fans, I would love to show the film to a group of teachers and watch their reaction to several of the scenes!

Was it always your plan to do another a slasher film?
Pretty much. I’ve had the idea for a teacher/school themed slasher film for several years now, even before I wrote my first film Party Night. After completely Stirring (aka Mrs. Claus) which is a Christmas themed slasher film, I did, for a moment, consider exploring a sub-genre outside of the slasher. However, I felt that the concept for Teacher Shortage was different enough from my previous two films that it was worth making my next project. That proved to be certainly correct because the time allowed me to assemble one of the best casts I’ve worked with and overall have one of the best experiences of my life. I’m just very excited for post production to be complete and for people to actually see the film!

Why do you feel inspired to return to this sub genre?
I’ve been a slasher fan since I was kid; it’s definitely may favorite horror sub-genre. There’s so much nostalgia connected to the sub-genre for me and I feel truly lucky to be able to create films that I hope makes other feel that same sort of nostalgia.

What films directly inspire Teacher Shortage?
I don’t think it’s directly inspired by any specific film, but rather just rather the plethora of 80’s slasher films in general and many of the 70’s and early 80’s gialli. My awesome cinematographer Derek Huey got several Argento inspired shots and we used lighting in a much more effective, atmospheric manner in this film. It’s definitely going to be my most visually interesting film to date.

How will Teacher Shortage be different to other slashers?
First, instead of the victims being high school or college students like we typically see in slasher films, it’s the teachers who are being stalked in this film, hence the characters are much more diverse in terms of age and, in my opinion, much more interesting than what you typically see in slashers. Additionally, the film deals with some relationships and themes rarely seen in the horror genre, even in this day and age.

Do you plan to use practical gore effects?
Absolutely! Both Party Night and Stirring had practical effects and Teacher Shortage will be no different. In fact, my goal was to up the gore and have much more elaborate death scenes in Teacher Shortage, and I can honestly say we definitely accomplished that. This was 100% due to our special effects make up artist, Kristi Boul. It was my first time working with her and she’s absolutely amazing and what she does. She was also wonderful to work with; just and overall awesome person! All I can say is for those who thought Party Night and Mrs. Claus were gory and bloody…JUST WAIT!

Do you think this will be your final slasher film?
Not at all. I have a few more ideas floating around in my head that aren’t slashers, but for those who have seen them, they know that at least one of my films begs for a sequel….

How stressful are crowdfunding campaigns for films?
Extremely stressful, particularly considering it seems to be more difficult each passing day for film projects to meet their crowdfunding goal. I feel like this partly has to do with a saturation of crowdfunding campaigns for films at any given time and backers not receiving what they are promised for the pledges from past campaigns. Also, running a successful campaign takes A LOT of time, effort and work.

You must be committed to the campaign and find creative ways to attract people outside of your own social circle. I’ve seen several filmmakers create a crowdfunding campaigns and then do nothing really to promote it. They seem to believe that people are just going to stumble onto the campaign and throw many at it. In order for crowdfunding to be successful, you have to get creative and figure out how to reach an audience beyond your friends, family and social media contacts.

My films would have never gotten made if it weren’t for crowdfunding. I mean, that should tell you all you need to know about how stressful they are!

Watch the trailer for Teacher Shortage below –

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