In this feature, Samuel Scott interviews independent writer/director Warren Dudley, whose latest project "The Cutting Room" is released on DVD in the UK on the 1st of June from Three Wolves.

Q) First of all, thanks very much for giving us this interview. Can you tell us a bit of background about yourself, your filmography to date, and how you got into film?

A) No problem at all. OK, so I am predominantly a comedy writer who has been working on various bits and pieces for about ten years including TV pilots and a brief spell working in TV show development. My last big writing project was a feature film called The Bromley Boys with Alan Davies and Martine McCutcheon that is going into production later this year. As 'just the writer' on that one my time was freed up for another project and in January 2014 The Cutting Room came to life.

My route into film was a fairly common one in that I realised I was too old to make it in music!

Q) Your latest feature, horror movie The Cutting Room, is released on DVD by Three Wolves from the 1st June 2015. What is the film about?

A) The film follows three students and their interest in a spate of recent disappearances, apparently related to cyber bullying at their college. Obviously it's not that straight forward once they delve beneath the surface. I hope the first half has the audience genuinely trying to guess 'who dunnit', with the second half scaring them to death as they find out.

It's really hard these days to make a horror story stand out from the crowd. One thing we tried really hard to do, where others fall down, is to make our lead characters relatable, likable and funny. If you can pull this off and combine it with a really scary bad guy and a brilliant location you have got a chance.

Q) You didn't just direct the film, but you also wrote the script. What were some of the problems you came across, and how did you work them out?

A) Personally I don't really see a downside to directing your own material. As a writer you have a very strong sense of how a scene is going to look in your head so when you are looking at the monitor on set you can do your best to realise the vision. Saying that, it's great that I had a very talented Director of Photography (Ed White) to throw in ideas too. Although it's important that someone is there to make the final decision, I tried my best to make sure all the cast and crew could pitch in ideas where they saw fit. A lot of these made the cut (see Parry Glasspool's Danny Dyer impression).

Another upside is being able to change dialogue at short notice. We did very little rehearsal on The Cutting Room, so often, the first time I heard the lines spoken out loud was 'take one' on set! This would often be cut short be me due to my terrible dialogue - a quick rewrite and we were off again.

Q) The cast in general is quite young, but many have a few films and television shows under their belt in the UK. Can you tell us more about why the main cast members were selected, and a little about the roles they play?

A) I set out to find three actors who could pull off the 'completely natural' style we needed for the film. It's harder than you think to find actors that can do this. To be honest though we had around 200 applicants for the roles and the three I liked most from their showreels were the three we cast. Luckily for me they all gave great auditions.

Our leading man Parry Glasspool is currently on screen in Hollyoaks in the UK. We hope to tap into his new fan base come June 1st.

We also cast a couple of new young actors from The Brighton Academy - one of which is the very talented Mkaya Carrigan who you can see tied to the bench in the trailer!

Q) I believe you filmed on location at Newhaven Fort in Sussex? What made you choose this location, and what do you think it brings to the film?

A) Just go and visit The Fort and you'll wonder why no one has ever used it for a horror movie before. It's basically a Victorian coastal fortress with an amazing network of underground tunnels dug into the cliff. At one point I was down deep in the tunnels in the middle of the night mopping up fake blood on my own... not for the feint hearted I can tell you.

It's open to the public so you check out pretty much the whole 'The Cutting Room' set.

Q) As an independent British horror, I imagine the budget was pretty low. How did you utilise the budget to the full potential?

A) The budget was small.

This, again, is where being the writer and director really helps as you can write scenes knowing exactly where they are going to be shot. A big inspiration for me was Oren Peli who wrote and directed Paranormal Activity. He used his own house for the shoot... so did I, along with houses owned by a variety of friends and family, The Brighton Academy and Newhaven Fort - all locations we could use within our budget.

One interesting note on the budget is that our Executive Producer is John Herbert, brother of late British horror legend James Herbert. James's nephew TJ also helped produce and stars in the film.

Q) Have you got any funny stories from on set you'd like to share?

A) Making a sometimes gruesome horror film throws up a lot of 'what the hell am I doing with my life?' moments. Earnestly discussing a shot with the sound and camera team while an actress lays next to you, tied to a bench, completely covered in blood, boiled chicken and sausage meat would count as one of those moments!

Q) The official website has a chance for people to film a 15 minute short to act as a prequel or a sequel. Tell us more!

A) The way you build a film like ours it to try and create a 'community' around it. We thought long and hard about how to engage with young film fans and then hit on the idea of The Cutting Room / Slices.

The film is shot in a way that can be fairly easily replicated without spending loads of money so we would love young film makers to make a 15 minute prequel or sequel to the main feature using their own script, actors and location. We are genuinely excited to see how people move our story on... and what a great thing to do during the summer holidays.

Films will be featured on our website and all our Social Media platforms.

Q) What advice have you got for budding filmmakers?

A) Apart from getting involved with The Cutting Room / Slices?

I know it's a very easy thing to say but just go for it. I have no formal training at all but just love film and great stories. Camera and editing equipment is so accessible now so there's not much excuse if you have a passion.

Of course that's not to say that film school / training is not a brilliant idea too. But it's not the only way.

On the writing front the main thing would be to try and write like people speak. Sounds obvious but you see so many student films where the dialogue sounds forced and unnatural. The best way I have found to do this is to let actors you trust do pretty much what they want, as long as they get the message across, to make your dialogue fit their natural speech patterns.

Q) What's next?

A) Well we are talking about the next project obviously but I don't want to take my eye of the ball with The Cutting Room. We get one chance at a Supermarket release with a little movie like ours so I'll be doing all I can to capitalise on it over the next few months.

We have also had discussions with a couple of distributors about the U.S. rights so that could be quite exciting.

My passion will always be comedy but I fully understand that without big names and budgets it 's really hard to sell so it could be another horror. Depends what the next few months brings I guess, although I have a few ideas stewing.

Q) And finally, if you have time, what are your five favourite horror films of all time and why?

A) Going way back I can remember watching a film called The Legend of Boggy Creek when I was about ten and being absolutely petrified. My wife and I recently watched it again on Youtube.. Terrible!

My teens were all about Jaws and The Omen - two absolute masterpieces, and of course the 80's slasher stuff like Nightmare on Elm Street and Hellraiser. Many hours were spent at the local video shop pretending to be 18.

If I had to be pinned down on my favourite though it'd be the genius that is An American Werewolf in London. Combining comedy and really scary horror is incredibly hard to do but they absolutely nailed it. I took a fair bit of inspiration from the scene in the London Underground for The Cutting Room.

For more information about how you can enter The Cutting Room Slices arena, please visit the official site, and click "Slices" from the top menu.

You can support this independent British horror film, by pre-ordering the DVD now from Amazon.

The Cutting Room official site
Warren Dudley's Twitter