Alumni Spotlight: Torey Hass

What is your occupation?
I’m a freelance editor and compositor based in Atlanta, and I’m also the owner of MonsterBuster Entertainment, a micro-budget production company that specializes in genre entertainment… primarily horror, but we do other genres as well.
When did you gruduate from Georgia State University?
 I graduated from GSU with a Master’s in Digital Production in 2009.
Who were some of the influential people to you while you were are GSU? 
Two of my professors, Ly Bolia and Sheldon Schiffer, were both extremely influential to me. Ly is easily the most practical professor I’ve ever had; he ran his classes like a real film shoot, stressing to his students how things are actually done in the ‘real world’ and introducing a lot of the lingo. The first time I worked professionally on a shoot I was astonished how close it was to Ly’s class, and my experience with him was invaluable for this reason alone. As for Sheldon, in addition to taking his classes I was also his research assistant for two of my three years at GSU, and the sheer volume of things I learned from him during this time, from organizing a production to editing music, mark him as a major influence. After graduating I created the visual effects and animation for his feature film Transmigration, and I’m proud to say that he’s my friend in addition to my former professor.
Are you working on any special projects or is anything exciting going on in your life right now?
Yup! I’m currently in pre-production on my first feature film with MonsterBuster Entertainment; it’s an eighties-style horror/comedy titled Invasion of the Undead, and I personally see it as a cross between Big Trouble in Little China and The Evil Dead (which just happen to be two of my favorite movies). It’s been a dream project of mine for a while now; I wrote the first draft when I was an undergraduate at Georgia Tech, and I polished it into a second draft shortly after finishing Sheldon’s screenwriting class my second year of grad school. I tried to write a movie that featured everything I enjoy as a viewer, and in this regard Invasion contains sword fights, journeys to other dimensions, all kinds of monsters, a talking severed head, obscure video game references, and a climatic battle with a giant stop motion demon. It was also really important to me to create characters that the audience would actually care about; the unanimous response I’ve gotten to the script so far is that everyone loves the three main characters, which is great because there are already sequels planned.
How did attending GSU influence your life (i.e. did you gain access or resources you may have not obtained otherwise)?
Simply put if I did not go to GSU I would not be where I am now. In addition to learning about filmmaking through classes I also had access to equipment and software I never would have otherwise. And the connections I made at GSU were invaluable as well- most of the core MonsterBuster production team are GSU alumni, and they’re among the most talented and hardest-working people I know.
What advice would you give to current students?
Filmmaking is what you put into it. Don’t just settle to make an ‘A’ in class. Push yourself to make the best movie you can and most importantly try new things. Both my second year graduate film “Troll Picnic” and my thesis film “Jake and Julie Vs. The Boogeyman!” contained an overly ambitious amount of visual effects, and while I don’t believe either were entirely successful in that regard I learned so much about After Effects through making them that I was able to find work as an compositor almost immediately after graduating. If I had made simpler films I never would have acquired the same skill set, and I probably would have had a much harder time in the job market. Ambition is a good thing!
How can people get involved?
Check out our Indiegogo campaign at www.indiegogo.com/InvasionoftheUndead- We’re heading into our last week and every little bit helps! Alternately you can check out our website www.monsterbusterentertainment.com (most of our short films are online there) or contact me attorey@monsterbusterentertainment.com; we already have a full crew but I’m always interested in meeting fellow filmmakers who share the same passion as me.