Signing off now - thanks for the questions ! I'll drop in tomorrow to see if I've missed any.
I'm Jesse Burks and I have a practice that focuses on surgical reconstruction of the foot and ankle. In 2011 my oldest son, Harley, showed an interest in acting. To support that interest, I bought a simple camera and we started making ridiculous home movies. Since then I've been fortunate to meet several amazingly talented people that have helped me create wonderfully odd, and frequently disturbing, little horror films - films that have played in multiple festivals around the world and on CryptTv. Horror icon Michael Berryman is in both of my films on CryptTv.
Watch Cured: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCrnEUCT8CY
Watch One Please: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YS8UgWEpXAM
6512 Films Twitter: https://twitter.com/6512_Films
Support One One Please: https://www.facebook.com/One-Please-The-Film-598896193500652/
Support Cured: https://www.facebook.com/curedmovie/
My Practice: http://www.orthosurgeons.com/physicians
Cake or pie?
Definitely pie - pecan, specifically. I can do red velvet cake if I'm forced:)
What horror movies inspire you?
I love so many different types of horror films - but I really love things that just creep me out. Remember when that black and red devil thing pops out from behind the guy in Sinister ?? THAT kind of stuff I love.
But to answer your question, one of my biggest horror inspirations...PSYCHO. Regular, everyday people that turn out to be weird/evil
Always great working with you Jesse! What's your next big project??
Thanks CryptTV !!! Such a great response to the films since you posted them !! Your fans are awesome !! I'm filming ODD HAPPENINGS IN A TINY TENT this summer - I actually have an authentic, slightly miniature guillotine for the movie....just big enough to fit a meaty little hand !!
My newest short titled THAT UNUSUAL BRICK is just now starting it's festival ride.
Awesome shorts ! Where did you get the inspiration ?
THANK YOU SO MUCH ! With ONE PLEASE - I heard an ice cream truck for several days and it just morphed into something horrible. I thought "ok, what if slowly cutting things off doesn't even cause people to flinch?".
With CURED - multiple cultures for years have performed "trepanation" to supposedly helped people. Headaches, seizures, mental illness - things they might not have been able to explain were treated by basically drilling/cutting/knocking a hole in someone's head. I had been thinking for several months "what if drilling hole in someone's head actually helped them"
Thank you so much for the reply ! Indeed everyday life and ancient cultures are the most common and great sources of inspiration :) Keep it up, I'll be waiting for the next ones ! -^
Thank you for the question :) I agree ! Ancient cultures are incredible places to learn about and get ideas.
A new one coming this summer!
What is the very best cheese?
English cheddar (mic drop)
I just knew you were gonna go with a nice aged Limburger.
Limburger is a strong contender
First scary movies you ever saw?
JAWS - first free weekend of HBO, 1978 - no one knew what "cable" was - they literally played the movie for 48 hours straight! I was afraid to take a bath.
The Exorcist - couldn't sleep for weeks
I'm a big fan of your films! Thanks for doing this AMA!
Who will be your newest cast members in the next film?
Also, I love the look your films have. Who does your cinematography and photography on set?
Thanks for the question Rachelle !! Michael Berryman will be returning for my next film - scheduled to shoot at the end of July. We still haven't cast everyone, but I'm very fortunate that my oldest son, Harley, will be in this film. He's been in Los Angeles studying acting for several years and It's been cool to see him be so dedicated to his craft. Acting is incredibly difficult and I'm fortunate that he'll come back to work with me:)
Gabe Mayhan is my cinematographer and is absolutely amazing !! So smart - such a talented dude.
Brandie Maldonado is my still photographer. She's local to the area and is fantastic - she can be all over the shoot and we hardly know she's there until she drops a load of amazing photos for us!
Fuck, marry, kill.
Freddy, Slenderman, Babadook?
Yeah - I looked up some more about Slenderman - really hate him
First one is definitely out for Freddy - sharp knives and all - too dangerous. Slenderman I'd have to kill - I'm 5'7 & 1/8ths - he's tall so naturally he's my enemy. Guess that leaves me marrying Babadook
what do you think of the situation in venezuela?
it's horribly sad - as a physician, and just a normal human, I hate to see anyone go without basic necessities
how are you?
feeling great !
Are you a fan of Lee Hardcastle?
Took me a minute to check out his site - yes, yes I am a fan of Lee Hardcastle
you're welcome Lee :)
thanks but I'm not lee. I'm not even British!
Have you ever hear of Svengoolie? http://svengoolie.com/
He hosts old horror movies from the 1930s to 1970s on Me-TV on Saturday nights. If not check him out.
I have heard of him - and watched him !!!
How did you transition from being a doctor to also producing horror movies?
Thanks for the question ! I still do both - I am still a full-time doctor and since I'm only working on short films at this point, I can usually work on them over long weekends/evenings, etc.
Do you think you might transition to filmmaking full time eventually?
Mmmm - I love being a doctor so much - can't see myself leaving it for film, BUT I definitely hope to continue making films...and maybe at some point a feature.
Do your patients know about your films?
Some do - if they ask about it I'm always happy to tell them!
Which horror icon do you most identify with?
Michael Berryman - but I guess that's because I've gotten to know him personally and professionally over the past 4 years.
Was there any particular reason why you got into the horror genre? Or is film making something that has always been a passion?
When I started writing little scripts they just always seem to end up creepy and leaning more towards horror. I watch ALL types of movies, but I've noticed that especially when I watch horror films now...it's almost like I'm taking notes:)
It hasn't always been a passion. In 2011 one of my oldest sons wanted to take some acting lessons - I bought a small simple camera so we could make horrible films. I never would have thought making films would be a passion, but I absolutely love it now. I can definitely see why people spend so many years in school/training learning.
My name is Josh Miller. I've helped produce a couple of Jesse's films. Even in his early work the stories were there. That something that can't be taught. He's very creative! As a producer it's fun to work with a director who knows exactly the story he wants to tell down to the smallest details. At this point, I can't imagine Jesse telling stories that aren't creepy.
Thanks Josh !! I like creepy !
Has being a doctor helped inspire your horror shorts?
Thanks Kirsteb ! It definitely has - if you've watched ONE PLEASE and CURED you'll notice that I stay completely away from my specialty (foot and ankle) - don't want to frighten my patients too much :)
How do horror films look before and after post? Also although I don't plan on making horror films in particular any tips for someone who is becoming interested in film making?
I think you have to try and picture the end product. It's definitely going to a bit rough at the beginning of post - don't get discouraged - it will look completely difference once the edit flow, it's color-graded, etc. When I see the changes through the post period I realize what an amazing group of people that have helped me. Les and Russ Galusha have edited for me and I can't thank them enough for their work.
Tips? Film, film, film - my first shorts were terrible, but are special to me - that's where I learned things - things that worked and things that didn't work. But I kept filming and they slowly got better. BUT my biggest tip would be - meet people - I have people around me that are so talented and each of them know their particular area so well. If you surround yourself with a solid crew you'll learn and your films will be better
Thanks a lot. Sorry to ask another question but what are some tips for getting actors? I have an editor and I'm happy to script write and direct but actors is were I'm having trouble. Again thanks for replying
I am so glad you asked this question !! There are tons of wonderful actors and actresses out there that are eager to work. I have a son that's doing it - and it's such a struggle for them to get shots at even smaller roles in smaller productions. Here are my suggestions...
1.Contact any acting school (or acting program in a college/university) you are close to and let them know about your project.
2.Contact any local theaters/drama programs.
3.Never be afraid to reach out to an actual agent/manager of someone you might like to cast. Actors want to act ! and frequently they'll consider smaller films
Do your patients freak out when they find out you created such gory movies? I was in physical pain watching that woman cut off her finger!
They don't seem to - quite often I have patients come in and say "dude! I heard you make horror films!" It gives me something besides medicine to chat with them about.
That was the goal - slow, painful, and absolutely NOT cutting to black - show the WHOLE horrible thing!
These stores are told visually, but the sound is so important! Dwight Chalmers is a genius sound designer. The sound of that finger getting chopped off is highly effective!
Amos Cochran - plays essentially every instrument known to the world - has created the music for all 3 of my short films - music can completely change the mood of a short!
which horror movies have struck you as being medically highly accurate and also highly inaccurate?
Human Centipede !! NO WAY AT ALL - I don't operate on butts or faces, but as a foot and ankle surgeon I'm certain of the following...
Death from infection - way quick, not like weeks, like quick - sewing a butt and mouth together??- cool idea for a film, but in the real world you're not even going to have time to train them to crawl around!
I'm gonna come back to the highly accurate one in a minute
SAW series ? Wickedly creative...possible? Maybe. Most of us would pass out - and subsequently bleed out, despite a make-shift tourniquet - about 3/4 of an inch into your ankle.
But then even my films are medically/surgically inaccurate...
You'd have to struggle to cut through that finger bone - it would come off at the knuckle fairly easily, but through the bone? She'd have to really lean into it.
Hi Mr. Burks! Congratuwelldone on the films! How did you get the films onto crypt?
Hi there ! And thank you ! I sent an e-mail after my films had run their film festival course. CryptTv has given me and my crew so much exposure ! They have so many great films on there - if you haven't seen MORDEO on there you have to check it out ! Gory, weird - hats off to the filmmaker
Hey Jesse. MORDEO Director, Ben Sottak, here. Thrilled to hear you dug MORDEO! I'm a huge fan of yours - the sound design alone in One Please gave me nightmares. Had no idea you were a practicing surgeon too. Makes perfect sense. Your horror films have an anatomical realism to them that is bone chilling. Can't wait to see more from you! :D
Thank you Ben ! Dwight Chalmers has worked on the sound on my films and he has just taken them to another level - is that bone crunch he created not perfectly gruesome ???
LOVED MORDEO !!! Absolutely a perfect example of filmmaking - that "tugging" at the abdomen and his head and shoulders are wobbling back and forth...so disturbing. 5/5 stars Ben
Perfectly gruesome indeed! The whole rhythm of the sound design in One Please from the vegetable chopping to the Ice Cream truck is masterfully done. Kudos to you and Dwight. Such a fantastic short.
Thanks again for the kind words about MORDEO. It's a huge confidence boost getting praise from a filmmaker who's work I admire. Like I said, I'm a huge fan of yours and very excited to see what you do next! :)
I'm excited about ODD HAPPENINGS IN A TINY TENT - my next little film: there's a baby in it, mimes, and a guillotine! Same awesome crew is helping me again!
What's your next one Ben?? Can you give us any hints on here?
Babies, mimes and guillotines Directed by Jesse Burks?? Sign me up! Cannot wait for ODD HAPPENINGS IN A TINY TENT!
Don't want to give away too much, but we may be seeing some familiar ANTLERS in my next short... ;)
ANTLERS !! Can't wait - keep us posted on when we can look for it!
Will do! Keep an eye on Crypt TV's page. And best of luck with Production and Post on ODD HAPPENINGS! Kill it! :)
What was it like doing festival rounds?
It's so fun - I haven't been to a festival that I didn't enjoy. Big, small, medium - all festivals provide something unique and each time you see an audience watch and react to your film it's such a cool feeling:)
Did you always know you wanted to be a foot doctor or did it start off as some kinda weird fetish sort of thing?
Nope on the fetish - just knew I wanted to specialize and its seemed to fit the kind of life I wanted. Helps people, hours are long, but not horrible
what are your favorite horror stories or novellas? which films inspire you most?
Eraserhead - not a classic horror, but so wonderfully weird.
Donnie Darko - not a classic horror, but also wonderfully weird and dark.
Nosferatu - so creepy.
Psycho - completely possible - that's why it's even creepier
Jelly or Jam?
Jelly - no doubts at all.
Who wins? A silverback gorilla or a grizzly bear?
AWESOME QUESTION !!! Heavily wooded area - gorilla, hands down. Open, grassy field - grizzly. I think tons of people have struggled with this question for centuries - so let me just settle it once and for all.
The gorilla wins. Absolutely, positively no doubt that the gorilla destroys the grizzly. I've personally fought both and I promise you the gorilla was a hell of a lot tougher.
As someone who lost both arms in two separate bear attacks I find this post extremely offensive. Bears are a far superior combatant.
I fought both animals and won both times.
You fought a bear... could be bear(s) since you did not distinguish if it was two bears attacking once or one bear attacking on two different occasions... twice, and lost an upper extremity each time.
Clearly I am the superior combatant.
What's your favorite kind of sandwich?
A reuben on marble rye - less sauerkraut, more corned beef
Are you looking for any self-proclaimed thespians seeking exposure and a shot at proving himself?
Absolutely! That's EXACTLY the talent we're looking for!
Any advice on how to handle being a different drummer but also wanting to succeed in the medical field?
Yes. Need the definition of "different" to give adequate advice.
What is the longest time in duration you have had for a surgery and what all did you need to fix in that surgery?
3 hours - a difficult total ankle replacement where I had to remove hardware first from an old fracture.
I was sweaty.
What are your favorite medical TV shows? What are your favorite medical movies?
Honestly, I really don't watch any medical TV shows
Which Michael Crichton books have you read?
Sphere, The Andromeda Strain
and Driving Miss Daisy
Which state do you practice medicine in?
Worst injury you ever had? Worst illness you ever had?
displaced fracture, left wrist
Do you watch the Discovery Life & TLC Channels for medical entertainment and the SyFy and Chiller channels for crazy science fiction and horror entertainment?
Please let me rank them on how I watch them...
I started watching the series "Chopped" but realized the title is VERY misleading. Hardly any gore.
What colleges did you graduate from?
Des Moines University
Post-graduate residency at Winona Hosital in Indianapolis
Trauma surgery fellowship, Graz, Austria
What do you think of the works of George R. Romero?
Awesome gore !
What is the most common injury that you treat?
ruptured Achilles tendons
I've noticed over the last 10 years almost half of my doctors have come from Africa & Asia & South America. Why do so few American kids want to be doctors but would rather be nurses or medical assistants? Is it the amount schooling that scares American kids away from wanting to be doctors?
I think that's part of it. I also think that the college debt you incur for 4 years of college and 4 years of medical school scares people away.
Have you had any minor or major celebrities asking to be in any of your movies?
I haven't had any "asking", but I have had Michael Berryman and Scout Taylor-Compton in films and I've had Verne Troyer and Bill Moseley interested
Who are you favorite directors? Who are your favorite producers?
Joshua and Miles Miller
Who are your favorite actors and actresses?
What is the cheesiest/corniest horror movie? And what is the most predictable horror movie?
THE GREASY STRANGLER - awkward, weird, amazing
THE GINGERDEAD MAN - I can't look away. We own 1,2 & 3
Any Friday the 13th
Who has the Best fast food burger?
What are your favorite pizza toppings?
meat and veggies, but on different sides of the pizzas
Do you have any pets? If so, how many? What types? What are their names?
3 dogs ; Butters, Tank, Zani
2 cats ; Toke and Jerry
2 birds; unnamed
How many horror/SciFi conventions do you go to and which ones do you go?
will be going to Crypticon with my new film in a few weeks - first time !
How many medical conventions do you go to and which ones do you go to?
one a year - usually in Los Angeles because my oldest son lives there
What was the Most gruesome injury that you have treated?
open ankle fracture with pine needles wedged into the exposed bone
Do you play any sports? If so which ones?
nope, but I try to workout and I finished an entire Ironman triathlon - even got the tattoo
Do you watch any sports? If so which ones?
Yes , Football
What is your favorite procedure to do? By the way I also saw Dr Bowen about a month ago, great practice!!
A talonavicular fusion
LOVE being part of this group - great group of people to work with
Is it sometimes tempting to talk with friends and family about a local celebrity you treated but you stop yourself because of Hipaa?
No - haven't really treated any celebrities
Red Bull, coffee, tea, how do you keep your self alert with long days of work at the office to also do horror movies?
I try to sleep well and I usually get up at 4:30 am - even on the weekends - and have 2 brutally strong cups of coffee that no one else in my family can stand.
How many movie contests per year do you enter your movies into?
Which magazines does your office subscribe to?
Time, sports illustrated
What in News right now are you tired of hearing about?
goat yoga - I don't want to hear another word about how wonderful it is
What current trend/fad do you not like and understand?
skinny jeans - I'm VERY tempted - but they seem horribly uncomfortable
Roughly what percentage of your patients are Senior Citizens? Baby boomers? Generator X-ers? And Milenienals by percentage breakdown?
Senior citizens/baby boomers 50%
Small babies 1%
Have you done any interview Q and As with your local community newspaper and community magazine? If not do you want to and plan to?
I'd be interested in doing that. Hopefully, as our films pick up some traction (thanks CryptTv!) we'll some interview time.
Do you have a beard, mustache, both or neither?
I usually keep about a 5-6 day beard
Are you married? If yes, Where and how did you meet your wife? And if yes, how many years have you been married?
Yep, over 25 years, the US
What was the last movie you saw and without spoiling the plot , how was it?
Silence - amazing acting
What one activity is causing the most injuries that send people to you as patients?
Best recent medical invention?
advancement? STEM cell therapy
invention? joint replacements
Why do you think so many people film videos on their mobile phones in portrait instead of landscape? Is it ignorance, they, don't know how to hold the phone, some combination or other reasons?
I think it's easier to hold the phone BUT it drives me crazy
Who writes the script and story board for your movies?
I do that and then refine it with my DP/producer(s)
What is your favorite beer?
Don't care for beer. I like whiskey.
How many times do you work out at the gym in a week?
If you were on America's got talent, what would you do for the judges?
What are your fears & phobias?
What are your goals with making horror movies?
To make a feature
Did they offer you literally a buck like they did my brother?
They did, but, honestly, these shorts would have just been sitting around doing nothing. I was hesitant at first, but the exposure I've gotten through CryptTv, and the other doors it has now opened, has been uber worth it.