Curtis Ryan Woodside must be one of the most creative person's I've "met" (we became Facebook friends and so haven't met face to face). I knew he was a creative person of many talents, and followed his career with interest. Film maker, photographer, model...
And the he wrote a book. And in my favourite genre - fantasy. A perfect moment to ask for his interview. (This interview was made in September 2018.)
1. You have just written a fantasy book. Tell us more about it – where did the idea come from? Did you plan it for a longer period of time, or did you decide to write the story only lately?
The idea for sorceress hollow came to me quite a long time ago in 2012. However not in book form, but rather as a movie script. I think I was 14 at the time. After we finished production on the film, I was very happy with the outcome, but had to leave soo much out of it as it just wasn’t possible to film it at the time. Last year I found all my original sketches of characters and locations which I made while writing the script. I then decided to write it down in book form, adding in all the original ideas I had to leave out.
The core of Sorceress Hollow and the Witches Star, is that the source of all magic is fading, and 3 young magicals are tasked with finding it and saving magic, however there are are forces at work to try and steal magic!
2. Are you planning on making the story into a series?
Actually, yes. There are many characters which are mentioned in Sorceress Hollow, but don’t really feature. I am planning a collection of short stories about these neglected witches and wizards. One of the main characters will be the story of Midir Orchmar - the eccentric Romanian wand maker & the most power witches to have ever lived.
3. Do you have any other books in the pipeline?
Right now I am writing the final pages of my Egyptology coffee table book, which will feature almost 300 of my photographs captured on my tours in Egypt, with accompanying descriptions. It is linked to my new 4 part documentary “Egypt Through The Ages”
4. What was the first story you wrote? (If you remember)
Oh my gosh, that was so long ago… I can’t really think that far back - but it was for sure about magic!
5. You tell stories using other media as well. You are a director, film producer and photographer. When did you start in the world of film making? What was your first project?
I became interested in film totally by accident. one day when I was about 8 years old my friend Alyscia and I were visiting on a miserable rainy day. My dad has just given me a small video camera. So we decided to make a film! It was so bad I actually never want to see it again. It was called "Murder Mansion”
From there I just never stopped!
6. I know this is a broad question, but how would you compare the differences in expressing your creativity through writing vs through visual media? Do they complement different sides of your creative personality or do you feel the creativity springs from the same source?
Not at all. When I write a book, there is so much more that I can express, and it allows me to create an entire new world - this alsoallows the reader to imagine the story in their own way.
Now, writing a script for a film is very restricting. You have to know exactly how you are going to pull off the final product before its even done.
When creating a film on the other hand, you have full control of the EXACT version you want people to see. In a sense both written and visual medium have their pros and cons.
7. On top of everything else, you are an actor and a model. Tell us about some of the productions you have been working with.
I do love being in front of the camera, as much as being behind it! Recently I just did a photoshoot for a new avant-garde restaurant and show venue where I was asked to be the face, the shoot was very exciting and the stylist put me in this suede and metal coat which weighed a tonand the price would make your heart stop!
Now apart from that I acted in films and hosted documentaries, where I get to do more than just pose, I get to become another character.
My favourite film so far would be “Fear Of Hue The Barghest” which was screened at 5 international film festivals.
Something I would love to do is work on a project witch Cher… or ultimately JK ROWLING!
8. You have an interest in ancient Egypt and have been working on filming a project about the subject – Discovering Egypt. Tell us about it. Where did the idea come from? What is your angle on the subject? How long did it take to finish? How have people received it?
I did a 90 minute documentary in March last year, which was actually not meant to be a documentary but more a way for me to remember my trip - very personal.
But after posting it on youtube, so many people enjoyed it, almost 40 thousand now. My take is indeed very personal, I try not to look at in a clinical way but more as telling people about these ancients who actually existed! They had feelings and fears just as we all do today.
After “Discover Egypt” hit youtube, I went back to Egypt last October to film a 4 part documentary Series called “Egypt Through The Ages” where I try to tell people from a new, modern perspective about the entire 7000 year history of the land of the pharaohs. I was very lucky to have had many egyptologists involved in the project such as New Zealander Sharon Hague, and world renowned Dr Salima Ikram who lent her voice to the 3 episode as the wife of Ramses II - NEFERTARI! Watch out for Egypt through the ages soon on TV and online platforms as I have just signed a distribution deal with Monarch Films in New York.
Photo by Cheryl Woodside.
9. What made you interested in ancient Egypt in the first place?
Photo of Curtis by Cheryl Woodside
I think it was always in me. When I was 5 years old I was traveling with my mum to her Family in Zimbabwe, on the trip I saw the 1999 film “THE MUMMY” but we arrived at our destination before the film ended. I was so upset I never saw the ending, since then I have seen the end of the film over 100 times.
From there I was watching documentaries and reading books! 3 people really inspired my egyptological interest: Zahi Hawass, Salima Ikram and Bob Brier.
My house has become a mini museum with many artefacts such as my 2 Tut masks and Nefertiti bust - this started when I was very young when my dad gave me a porcelain sphinx for Christmas.
10. What will be your next creative project?
My next project… hmm I have so many, I would like to make another film… another book.
But coming up this October I will be traveling Egypt to shoot videos for Ancient Destinations Tour with Mary Allison and Sharon Hague!
11. Where can people find you and your work?
Most of my films are available on Youtube.com/CurtisRyanWoodside
My new book Sorceress Hollow & The Witches Star is for sale in select bookstores such as Barnes & Noble, but is for sale at Amazon!
I love hearing from people who enjoy my work and am open on social media like FB and instagram.