December 3, 2023

ST Interviews Rabid Love’s Paul Porter & Hayley Derryberry

Rabid LoveIn horror, you usually can’t go wrong by placing a group of attractive young adults in an isolated hunting cabin.  Evil DeadCabin in the Woods Zombeavers, and nearly every Friday the 13th all have this plot device in common and they are all completely different films.

Yet they all start with that premise. is proud to present Paul Porter and Hayley Derryberry.  Paul and Hayley co-wrote the upcoming horror film Rabid Love.  With Paul as the director, his wife Hayley tackled the lead role as good girl Heather.  Heather and her friends escape to a hunting cabin to relax when they are interrupted by a sheriff that tells them a bear has been spotted lurking around the area.  As each member of the group disappears, the survivors try to piece together what is happening.

Rabid Love comes out March 4th on DVD, and you can follow the film on twitter (@RabidLove) and like the film on facebook (/RabidLoveMovie).  You can also pre-order the film on Amazon HERE.  Paul and Hayley were gracious enough to answer some questions we had about Rabid Love and what it’s like to work with your spouse on set.

Up until Rabid Love, you’ve written/produced/directed mainly short films. Do you feel that short films get overlooked by the industry as a whole? Was there a difference in how you approached writing Rabid Love?

Paul: Yeah, we did shorts, music videos, web stuff, etc… and it’s all fun, but nothing compared to a full feature. I don’t necessarily think that shorts are overlooked so much as the industry is saturated with content and it’s impossible to sift through all that’s out there. So unless it’s absolutely amazing and people can’t ignore it because it’s just that good, shorts are really just practice for features as far as the filmmaker is concerned.

There wasn’t really a different approach to the writing of RL because the mechanics are all the same, but the fun of a feature is getting to take the time to have fun with the story and characters. RL did have a lot more time put into the writing than most of our projects since most of our shorts or other projects had minimal pre-production time; but it was planned from the start to be a feature, we just happened to make a short version of it first for practice. Rather than a few weeks of actual writing time, we had months to develop and revise the story/script. Most of our writing time is spent in getting the structure and plot points down, by the time we start typing the script, it only takes a few days to bust out a first draft because we already have the story all worked out- then its time to rewrite. RL actually got away with less rewrites than I would have liked and we shot the 6th draft of the script- I have some feature scripts that are on draft 22 and I’m just now feeling comfortable with.Cast of Rabid Love

What’s it like to work with your spouse on set?

Hayley: When we first went into the production phase of RL, we thought we should keep everything strictly professional. I wanted to be just the actress and not “Paul’s wife”. We even made separate sleeping arrangements, but the best laid plans… None of that happened. Paul was always so busy so I ended up taking on producing aspects on set and one of the first nights that I stayed in “the cabin” where all of the cast were sleeping, I freaked out thinking the place was haunted and drove to where Paul was staying to snuggle into bed with him and ended up sleeping there for the rest of the shoot. As far as our on set relationship goes (director to actress); we had had so much practice with that in all of the shorts that we had made that that was just business as usual.

Paul: Because we have worked together so much, we can communicate pretty quickly (we’re great at Taboo) and as a director trying to get my thoughts to an actor it’s great. But we do also spend almost all of our time together and when the stress is turned up on set, we can sometimes get a bit more emotional or short fused than we would if working with someone we weren’t married to : ) But what’s really great on set is that by that time, we’ve been together on the project since we started writing, so the story, characters, and overall vision is in both of our heads, which allows us to work more as a team. It does kind of suck for Hayley though, because everyone else on set also knows that about her (and she’s a producer), so she rarely gets to focus completely on just acting. It’s the same for me with directing, but that’s the price of doing our own films and I’m glad to pay it.

Rabid Love is set to be released March 4th. How does it feel to do your first independent film? What struggles did you find that you weren’t expecting?

Hayley: It feels amazing! As a filmmaker there are a few milestones you have to reach to send you on to the next level. One of those is shooting, completing, and selling your first feature film. To have that behind us is a major accomplishment. If anything happened differently than what we expected, I guess it would be that we didn’t get accepted to a lot of the horror film festivals that we submitted to. I think the reason for that is that RL is very much a nostalgia film that pays homage to the 70’s and 80’s horror films that we love, but it doesn’t hit as much on the gore and sex that many modern horror fans are looking for. It all worked out in the end though since the main reason to go to festivals is to sell your movie, and we were still able to do that.

(From Left to Right) Jessica Sonneborn, Paul Porter, Hayley Derryberry
(From Left to Right) Jessica Sonneborn, Paul Porter, Hayley Derryberry

Paul: Completing and selling a feature is definitely one of the major things that will change your perspective as a filmmaker and as exhausting as the whole process was, we’ve been anxious to get another going ever since. Relatively speaking, I think we had it pretty easy compared to what most indie filmmakers have to go through on their first features. We didn’t have much of a budget, but we had lots of prep time and total freedom at our shooting location to do whatever we needed to do. I think the hardest thing for me was fighting through post production while in school and/or working full time. We were hoping to have the movie finished so much sooner, but we also had bills to pay in the meantime. Luckily, Hayley did most of the heavy lifting in the edit and got the movie to a point where I could come in and do the polish. The worst thing is asking people to work for you for little to no pay (usually the latter)- and that’s something that I hope to never have to do again. Something I always tell other filmmakers is that nobody else is going to be as passionate about your project as you are, so you’re the one that has to make it happen and see it through to the end, which is what we did.

Paul and Hayley, you’ve both been on big sets and small sets. Can you tell us your most interesting story (crazy fans, behind the scenes mishaps, etc)?

Hayley: Well like I said before, I felt like “the cabin” which was our main location and also where our actors slept, was haunted. In RL, we make it look like its out in the middle of nowhere but really its right in the middle of town in the tiny city of Hanston, KS, but even so, I think everyone got a little freaked out there. There were a lot of beds in the cabin because it’s normally rented out to groups of hunters staying in the area, but there was one bed all by itself off of the kitchen and everyone was afraid to sleep there. It was right by the window and we would often see “ghostly” figures sweeping past. It was also one of the few places where you could pick up a cell signal so we would often all pile up there to catch up on our texting. It’s those kinds of things that bring a team much closer.

Paul: Our very first public screening of RL was in Dodge City, KS which is in the area we shot. Hayley and I were riding the Amtrak from L.A. to Dodge and we were still making some adjustments to the film and hadn’t exported our final file or DVD to play at the screening yet, so I had to take my huge iMac on the train with us and set it up in our seats to finish the edit and export on the 30 hour train ride. Then we got there, had the screening and got back on the train- I think we were in Kansas less than a day for the whole thing and were totally exhausted when we got back. Never underestimate the amount of time you’ll need to export a project- whatever you think it might be, multiply it by at least 5 to be safe!


I love horror movies, and I have since I was young. My favorite genre is the zombie genre, but it has completely been overdone in the last few years. I'm not a big fan of the horror movie formula, and I love it when a director turns it on its head. Please follow me on twitter (@_trapjaw_) and like me on facebook (scaretissuetrapjaw) for updates and to be immediately informed of new posts/projects.

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