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Rising Star Lou Simon: “Strive for your dreams, but don’t let them define you”

Have balance in your life. Strive for your dreams, but don’t let them define you. Whether you’re successful or not in any creative endeavor is basically a crapshoot, so don’t let that be the measure of your life. Even if I were to never make another film again, I will consider my film career a […]


Have balance in your life. Strive for your dreams, but don’t let them define you. Whether you’re successful or not in any creative endeavor is basically a crapshoot, so don’t let that be the measure of your life. Even if I were to never make another film again, I will consider my film career a success, because of the amazing people I’ve met and the very close friends I’ve made. It makes it all worth it.


As a part of my interview series with popular culture stars, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lou Simon. Lou is a writer, producer and director of indie horror films HazMat, Agoraphobia, All Girls Weekend and 3:An Eye For An Eye.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I had wanted to be a novelist since I was very young, but after college, I decided to pursue a more stable career. It wasn’t until 2010 that I re-discovered writing when I helped someone re-write their script. I realized I had a knack for screenwriting so I continued working on my own scripts. Finally, after a couple of years of frustration with selling a script, I decided to actually make one into a film. Seven years later, I’ve made four very successful indie horror films.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

It’s so hard to pick just one. Every project has had something big impediment while filming. In HazMat, they started construction right down the road from where we were filming so we had to stop every few minutes for construction noise. In All Girls Weekend, it started snowing so it messed up our continuity. We had to sweep snow off the ground in later takes so that it would match. In 3:An Eye For An Eye, we rented a housed for two weeks to find people still there when we arrived, so we had to literally film around them.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The very first script I co-wrote was this really high-budget action/fantasy film — basically The Mummy but with Mayans. It’s a very cool idea (not mine), but it would need a budget of over a hundred million dollars, at least. And we were pitching it to small or, at most, medium-sized producers, who would never have the ability to make that. After being laughed out of the room a few times, I learned to know your audience and pitching accordingly.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I’m very excited to be working on something different. It’s a post-apocalyptic, sci-fi film titled Adam 6. In it, after a nuclear winter, a man wakes up from a coma to find that he’s the only man alive in a colony made up of only women. It might sound like it’s every man’s fantasy, but it’s actually a terrible nightmare. We’re planning to film late Spring of next year.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

I think that one of the best parts of doing independent horror is that it’s a very loyal community, and interacting with them has been the best part of my career so far. We love everything horror so there is a lot support for indie filmmakers. In conventions, you see a lot of love for the horror icons: Tony Todd, Robert Englund, Kane Hodder, Lance Henriksen and so on. I got to work with Tony Todd on Agoraphobia, and he was just such a pro. It’s one of the most memorable moments I’ve had in filmmaking.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Have balance in your life. Strive for your dreams, but don’t let them define you. Whether you’re successful or not in any creative endeavor is basically a crapshoot, so don’t let that be the measure of your life. Even if I were to never make another film again, I will consider my film career a success, because of the amazing people I’ve met and the very close friends I’ve made. It makes it all worth it.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Unless you’re Leo DiCaprio, I don’t think there’s much any one of us can do. However, I do believe wholeheartedly that we all need to live kindly. Since 2017, I’ve been working on a documentary film titled Goodwill Ambassador. It’s a multi-year project about traveling abroad to third world countries where our currencies (dollars, pounds, Euros) can make a huge difference to better people’s lives. And to do so in a way where you’re not the ugly Western tourist adding to their problems. Our demand fuels their supply so if we want to watch animals perform at a circus, they will supply that. The first installment was in Thailand, where I encourage people to forego elephant rides where the elephants are tortured, and instead go to an elephant sanctuary for an even better experience. I take it a step further by advocating for actual volunteer work while you’re there. In Thailand, we worked with a small village and helped build a medical clinic for the elephants. In December, I’m filming the second segment at an animal sanctuary in Bali.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

1) Don’t take anyone’s word, do your own research — In this industry, there are a lot of people who sell themselves like they’re super connected, but when you actually look them up they’re just con artists.

2) Don’t hire the same person for more than one position, at least until you’ve worked with a person and know how you work together. I once hired a Director of Photography, and he asked if he could do some work in post production. Thankfully, we never signed a contract on the second position, but after many problems on set, I knew that I didn’t want to work with him in post, and it lead to some really big, public problems.

3) Don’t work with married couples. — If you need to let one go, you will automatically lose the other. This has happened to me twice.

4) Always have a back-up plan. — on my last film, we should have had a back-up location when we showed up and there were people still there.

5) If there’s no room for you at the table, you make your own table. If I had waited for someone to buy one of my films, I’d probably still be waiting. I’m very glad that I just went ahead and made my own films. It’s been a great experience.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“I am the Master of My Fate; I am the Captain of My Soul” — William Ernest Henley

Nobody is going to do the hard work for you. Everything I’ve accomplished in my life so far is because I really worked hard for it, even when I had to work two jobs to put myself through college. Honestly, I’ve had a job since I was fourteen, so I don’t know anything else.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

So many and for various reasons. I guess the biggest would be my dear friend, Andrew Feldman. I was working with him at the time that I had the crazy idea of making the first film. He helped me raise the financing for it even when most people thought I was crazy to leave such a secure career to make films. He’s been one of my biggest supporters ever since.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

Kathryn Bigelow, of course. She’s the only woman director to have ever won an Oscar, and she has consistently made great movies and held her own among the boys club. She’s my idol.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

I’m @mslousimon on all social media platforms. Ms. not Mr. Get it?

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!

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