Tim Ritter Official Web Site

Tim Ritter Official Web Site


by Felix Lepplemier (Reprinted by permission of Indie World magazine)

I recently had the chance to converse with Tim Ritter---again. The obscure but acclaimed writer/filmmaker, who has been making feature films since he was seventeen years old, is still bouncing around up in the Midwest, where he has finished up his latest movie 'Reconciled Through The Christ' and is mulling over future projects. I caught up with him to get an idea of where things are headed...

INDIE WORLD: So your second novel, UNREEL, has been out there awhile now. How is it doing?

TIM RITTER: It's doing okay, not as well as THE HAMMER WILL FALL, but that was expected. This novel is much more personal, much harder to classify genre-wise, than something like the straight-on suspense thriller that HAMMER is. I'm really happy with the way UNREEL came out, though, and have gotten some great responses from readers. It would have been very easy to keep writing the same type of thing after HAMMER, I had a few offers, but I didn't want to get pigeonholed as only being able to write one type of genre so soon out of the gate, so I chose to veer off into new territory immediately.

INDIE WORLD: Did this hurt you in terms of sales and marketing?

TIM RITTER: Probably so. The entertainment world is fiercely competitive and when any kind of distributor gets behind your work, they want a clear-cut way to sell your project. When you change gears and they can't package something a certain way, say as a 'horror novel', it definitely becomes a hindrance! But I'm very happy operating in the 'underground' so to speak, as a more obscure artist. I've been there for a long time now and I have nothing to prove. If I get to a higher level, that's cool, and if not, I'm fine with that too. I'm now in a position to just do things at my own pace and get them out there when I can in a more experimental way. Also, people are still finding the old stuff, so I don't want to interrupt that with too many new things! (laughs) I'm amazed at the success the limited edition DVDs of my older movies have had. They tend to sell out pretty fast anymore!

INDIE WORLD: That's great, though, to sort of be able to control your own destiny in that manner. I've read many negative things about the publisher of your first two novels, PublishAmerica. Any comments about them?

TIM RITTER: Well, my experience with them has been very good. I know a lot of people now like to call them a 'vanity press' but the fact is this: they publish lots of books and they pay you to write, sometimes money up front, sometimes royalties. The author never has to pay anything to see their book published, but does have to do a lot of work assisting and helping with promotions if they want their book to be successful. I think some people just expect to have their book published and become a millionaire, but it just doesn't work like that. I'd say that PublishAmerica is a smaller publisher but they are getting bigger and bigger each year. They are a good starting point for anyone who wants to start seeing their work published. Just expect to do a lot of work helping them out---website promotions, book signings, and that sort of thing. And don't expect to see your book in the center aisle at any of the big bookstore chains overnight, although it can eventually happen. It takes a lot of work, though.

INDIE WORLD: What's next for you in the writing world?

TIM RITTER: I'm not sure, I've been working on several things, but at the end of the day, I'm not sure what I'll shop around to be published next or exactly when. It probably won't be anytime too soon, again, there's the danger of overexposure for an artist at any level. People only have so much free time and extra money, so you have to give them plenty of time to find your work. Plus I've slowed down a lot with the writing, it takes me a lot longer to get things write and finish them.

INDIE WORLD: Now that RECONCILED THROUGH THE CHRIST has come out, how did it do?

TIM RITTER: It's done very well considering the Christian subject matter and the material being such a drastic change from my old movies. I can't thank Ron Bonk, of SRS Cinema, enough, for getting behind this movie as a distributor and getting it out there. The reaction from viewers has been very strong, especially people renting the movie from places like Netflix. I don't think I've had so much strong feedback from any movie since maybe TRUTH OR DARE or CREEP, so it's great to see such a large audience still out there and watching independent movies. The DVD markets are drastically changing right now too, it's so difficult to get smaller movies out there and on retailer shelves. I'm just happy that RECONCILED is out there for people to find and again, I'm floored that the majority of viewers have been very positive about the movie, which really surprised me. The soundtrack score by Nathaniel Scott was recently released on CD by popular demand, so that says something right there! The music to RECONCILED is just incredible, and Film Score magazine recently spotlighted Nathaniel in an article, so he's already off scoring new pictures! (To order it, head over to www.nathanielscott.com)

INDIE WORLD: I bet a lot of people didn't know what to expect with RECONCILED, did they?

TIM RITTER: Probably not, but it does fit into the context of my older movies, it's still structured very much like them, but then it veers off into new directions with my own personal convictions on Christ, but it's just a testament of my own faith that I integrated into the material. It was something that I felt impelled to do, to shout out, if you will. There's still plenty of action and entertainment to be found within the movie. I was surprised that many of the religious communities didn't get more into the movie, but the material still may be a little too 'extreme' for people who are really conservative...

INDIE WORLD: Perhaps you still have a lot of calming down to do, after all, you are the guy who gave the world 'Truth Or Dare', 'Creep', and 'Killing Spree', titles that aren't known for being tranquil entertainment!

TIM RITTER: (laughs) Very true. Perhaps I have some more mellowing out to do, good point! But the Bible itself is pretty violent and documents all of man's best and worst deeds throughout history, so it's hard for me to believe that RECONCILED would be too offensive to anyone who is a believer and familiar with the Good Book!

INDIE WORLD: Any interest in doing the more extreme horror again? What do you think of the current state of horror movies in general?

TIM RITTER: Whew, current horror has been pretty disappointing lately. I mean, there's been some good stuff but a lot of the remakes and sequels and stuff just...well, they feel like you've already seen them before! (laughs)

INDIE WORLD: (laughing) I wonder how that happens!

TIM RITTER: Exactly...but a lot of these movies feel so pointless, like they are just merely copies of imitations. Horror is never dead, it constantly evolves into new things and directions, so who knows where it will end up. Right now, though, so many of the themes and ideas are just so overdone...that a lot of the new stuff just doesn't interest me much. So that's why I think audiences are ready for new twists on stories, like 'Reconciled', which mixes new themes with the old way of presenting things. Who knows, I could be way off base, but as a fan, I still enjoy the classic older stuff from the 70's and 80's way more than the majority of the new stuff. As far as returning to balls-to-the-wall horror, it would have to be a really exciting story that was new and different for me to do it again. But you never know.

INDIE WORLD: So what's next for you on the movie scene?

TIM RITTER: I'm not sure, like I said, I might do some experimenting for a while, working on things that might not even be released in order to just have fun and find the 'voice' for the next project(s), whatever they may be. 'Reconciled' is a hard act to follow up, I'll be honest with you on that, and I have immensely tired of the commerical aspects of the business, so I may take a break from all that and just do things for fun again and see where I land!

INDIE WORLD: Well, thanks for your time and we'll definitely keep everyone posted on whatever you decide to do next. Good luck with whatever it is!

TIM RITTER: Thank you and I will keep everyone who's interested updated!

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