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  • Writer's pictureKarl Whinnery

Making my first movie - Jason Rising - A Friday the 13th fan film

About 3 years I got a message from a friend, James Sweet, which changed everything. "Want to make a Friday the 13th fan film?" Of course I immediately responded "Yes!"

Flash forward to now and we premiered Jason Rising at the Hollywood Theater to a sold out showing, got legit press, and cracked 50,000 plays in two days!

Some of the press:

Oh, and we also got to work with a Friday the 13th alumni - one of the biggest and most pivotal!

How it all started

Lance Allen Reis ( was doing a Friday the 13th photo shoot and invited me along to capture some footage from the photo shoot. I recorded some video without a real plan and managed to string together about a minute of footage. It was fun. It blew up on Facebook.

Little did I know another Friday the 13th video released a few days earlier and took the Friday the 13th world by storm. A little movie called "Never Hike Alone".

Never Hike Alone was direct by Vincente DiSanti and was so well done that it single handedly legitimized fan films in the horror world.

James Sweet had seen it and was captivated - as a life long Friday the 13th fan he had so many ideas he wished the movies had gone with but instead it got goofier and goofier - resulting in Jason going to space and randomly becoming scared of water.

James reached out me after seeing my video and said something to the effect, "If you can run out really quickly and do something that good, imagine what we could do if we planned it and worked together". So yeah, I said yes!! James said he had the perfect guy to play Jason Voorhees - Dan Kyle. I was starting to get excited.

PreProduction + Planning

My camera metadata says our first meeting took place 12/29/2017. We tested James's first Jason Voorhees outfit on Dan.

Yeah, that's gonna be a NO from me, dawg. We did some tests outside around the neighbor hood. I still have the footage, it'll probably make the Blu Ray.

I always hated Jason with hair. None of us though the mask was doing it, and the latex hood just looked fake as all hell.

Still, the pants, the shirt, boots, etc. looked pretty good. At this point James was gonna figure out the mask situation. He sent me a silicone hood from CFX. It looked rotten and looked like it would be awesome. It was $500. Yeouch. I thought about it for a day and snagged it. We didn't have a fully baked story, no team etc. It was a risk.

I look at that as the first time that the project felt "real". We had spent money on it. It took it from the dreaming phase to a "lets do this". Things started falling into place.

Robert Blanche joined the team - he was gonna direct and help write the screen play with James. James knew he wanted Kyle Vahan involved too. That was the start of our team expansion and then James and Robert went to town brainstorming ideas. They'd send ideas ranging from one page to 20 pages, and we'd chew through them at a rapid pace.


Robert Blanche is an amazing actor, director, and writer. He was in Men of Honor and shared a scene with Robert De Niro, I'd see him pop up on show like It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Z Nation, Grimm, and more. Robert brought an infectious energy to everything he did.

Unfortunately Robert got sick. He had been fighting a rare health issue and ended up in the hospital for what would be a lengthy stay. Robert wanted us to keep the project moving forward so he tried to help us find a Director. We talked to his person and they kinda ghosted us. So we moved forward.

Robert eventually passed although he was instrumental through the process. He had written numerous kills, characters, scenarios in the early screenplays and whenever we ran into a problem we could reference those and pull the right stuff out.

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