20 Under 40: Erica Scoggins

Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / Erica Scoggins
Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / Erica Scoggins

Erica Scoggins, 31

Screenwriter, director, editor and sound designer of award-winning short films "The Boogeywoman" and "The Sacred Disease"; Have two feature films currently in development; Represented by The Gersh Agency and Vanguard Talent

Mantra: #justtakethenap

Quarantine projects: I told myself I'd finish rewrites on the prequel script to my upcoming feature, "The Boogeywoman." I'm chipping away at it, but another project fell into my lap the day after the stay-at-home order was announced. Writer/actor David Dastmalchian approached me about collaborating on a personal horror script he had written. We gelled right away on the vision for the film and set off on rewrites. So I've had one foot in my twisted Southern Gothic thriller tableau and one in David's shadowy Midwestern horrorscape. I'm dying to get these into production as soon as it's safe.

What motivates you? The need for sublime, otherworldly experience to break up our often painfully mundane societal landscape feeds my particular cinematic style. I also have some ingrained desire to understand people's darkest instincts and most primal behaviors as a way to identify underlying ideological obstacles that hinder an evolution in consciousness. Most of all, I want to take audiences on a ride that not only entertains but also forces us to question inherited beliefs and ignite the empathy we so desperately need right now.

What have you been most grateful for during the pandemic? My partner, Dakin Cranwell, and I moved back here a few years ago after being gone for a decade. I'm grateful to be back in Chattanooga where I can hike from my house to Glen Falls in one direction and up to my favorite spot on Hawkins Ridge in the other. To be on our home soil and near our families during this weird time is comforting.

How did the pandemic upend your routine? I'm usually traveling to film festivals or out to LA for meetings every month or so. For now, all collaboration happens on video calls. Working with people in LA and London, the time zones do get a little tricky. On top of that, our beer bar, American Draft, has been closed since the stay-at-home order. Usually, one of us would be there at least five nights per week. We rarely had dinner together or any kind of sustainable schedule, so we've tried to embrace that time in the midst of the uncertainty with the business.

One thing you couldn't live without? Animals. Our 'Haus of Fur' is home to a menagerie of three strange cats, a red-tailed boa and a Cairn terrier. We recently said goodbye to our majestic red husky, Dojah. She was the main source of said fur. The silver lining of quarantine was getting to spend more time with her before she went to the next realm.

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