Film 101 with Eric Forsberg

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Eric Forsberg was born and raised in Chicago, the son of Rolf Forsberg, a successful independent filmmaker and Josephine Forsberg, a highly acclaimed improvisation/comedy instructor (who worked with such talents as Bill Murray (who reportedly paid for his lessons by painting the Forsberg family kitchen), and Harold Ramis.)

From an early age he was brought up under the bright lights of showbiz, landing his first big movie role at age 4, and worked behind the scenes in his father’s company, eventually landing a job in the makeup department on “The Late Great Planet Earth” with Orson Welles.

He writes (plays, movie scripts, poetry, autobiography (his personal journal is over 200 volumes and growing), directs, sings, acts, teaches and does make-up. He is married to Producer, Karen Forsberg and his daughter Lola Forsberg is already an accomplished actress, who at age 11 has appeared in nearly a dozen features, including Eric Forsberg’s latest SyFy original movie, Mega Piranha.

Eric has drawn his inspiration from a number of “personal muses” including his father, his artist friend Charles Schneider, and his wife’s old dog, “who was a most foul creature and inspired much repulsive horror”. In literature, Eric was inspired by authors such as JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis as well as being “driven” to “great heights” by Anais Nin, Vincent van Gogh, Wagner, Martin Scorsese and Ridley Scott. Recently these heights have included “The Second City” who flew Eric and his family to Chicago to be part of their 50th anniversary celebrations. “I really felt like I had made it to the top in my home town. Each success, each step up even, is a new pinnacle, and I reach up and pull myself towards them every day. We all do – that’s what makes human beings such a force – we don’t give up easily. And once we ascend one peak, we look to the next.”

Despite wearing so many artistic “hats”, Eric describes himself as “most definitely a creator of worlds – which means a writer and director combined. I love to direct – to work with other artists to bring the world to life – it is my passion. And I have to write – I must – I have no choice. All of my life I been a writer, even on the edge of napkins or in journals or emails I constantly compose monologues and dialogues. I also make lists and charts in a constant effort to manage the details of my creative output. I will write until my hands fall off or my brain shrivels into a clump. But writing is less my passion and more my life’s blood. I truly love to direct. For me, acting is just a lot of fun, but, just like painting and composing music (both of which I do), I don’t need to act.”

His latest feature, a “tongue in teeth”, but critically successful horror, “Mega Piranha” is currently the Number One movie on the US SyFy channel; “not that it is so fine a film, but because it knows what it is without pretence and it is fun.” “It was a great fun film to make – I was told – write a movie about giant piranha, so I did. And Viola! MEGA PIRANHA. Barry Williams was a super pro to work with and Tiffany was the bright light in my day. Paul Logan is an ass kicking action hero, and I had a crew that worked hard to bring it all in. I am especially fond of my first Assistant Director, Nikki Lavine – she’s great. I got a lot of resistance to the campy way that I was directing the film but in the end, once the post came in, the movie was a blast to watch – just silly enough to match the subject – and jam packed with action and effects. I am nothing but grateful for the chance to have made it.” Eric can be seen in the film as Ambassador Regis, a part that he improvised.

In 1979, whilst still at school, Eric and his friend Charles Schneider wrote, produced and starred in “It Took Guts”. The film is about a troubled teenage boy who tries to find something to amuse himself on a summer afternoon. “It was something we came up with one afternoon when we bound and determined to shoot a short movie. We got 2 rolls of super 8mm film and my camera, I baked up a bunch or prosthetic effects from what we had in the kitchen (mostly bread dough based) – then we went out to a field and shot it. Charles and I came up with the idea as we went – he starred in it and I was behind the camera. It was a surprising cult hit back in the punk days and played all over the world (mostly in bars and clubs that I was too young to get in to).”

“I made my first few films between the ages of nine and thirteen, mostly with my chum, Scott Brown) – I did a lot of blood effects because they we cheap to make and fun to watch. In high school I continued to make gory movies with Charles Schneider – again, teenage boys killing each other and dying was a blast to make a movie about. As an adult I did a lot of other things including theatre, musicals, and plays. But when I came out to LA to make movies everybody wanted genre horror, so I was ready to go back to it.” Eric has since made nine movies and only about half are horror including “Alien Abduction” and “Snakes on a Train” recently shown on the UK SyFy Channel.”

He is currently weighing up his options; “and there are a lot of them. So many producers now want to make deals. So I am writing, and taking meetings, and strategizing my next step.”

For someone just starting out, Eric has this advice to give; “Get a camera, make a movie, put it on You Tube, then make another and another and never look back. Don’t get tied up on one project or one script, make as much as you can and do it as soon as possible – your day will come”