Marti King Young Talks The Conjuring 3, Adventures Of Wonderboy, and Women In Film

February 1, 2020

Written by Kelli Marchman McNeely

Kelli Marchman McNeely is the owner of She is an Executive Producer of "13 Slays Till Christmas" which is out on Digital and DVD and now streaming on Tubi. She has several other films in the works. Kelli is an animal lover and a true horror addict since the age of 9 when she saw Friday the 13th. Email:

There are so many people that work behind-the-scenes to get a movie made and we rarely hear their side. During my interview with writer-director Marti King Young, she told me about the other jobs in Hollywood including on The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It and Annabelle Comes Home, as well as her recent projects and what her goals are as a filmmaker.


Horror Fuel: “I love finding out how movies are made and all of the fascinating jobs that go into it. What did your position as Location Coordinator for The Conjuring 3 involve?


“Marti”: “That’s the first time I had ever worked in that regard, and I never got to go to set which really bugs me. I stayed in the office. Basically, I was the coordinator, I was in charge of all the paperwork. I made sure all of the locations got paid. We had things like water meters that we had to go pick up. Before, I never knew that was a thing. We had to pay the water bill for all of the toilets and everything. We had to keep up with all the port-a-potties and schedule all of those. It was very glamorous, let me tell you [laughter].

When I came on, pretty much all of the locations had already been scouted. There were a couple of scenes that they added. I would find intersections and look it up on Google and call the locations manager and he would go out there and take pictures for the director.

There’s just so much to it, you don’t even think about it. When I got the job, I thought it would be like, ‘Hey, can we film at the Georgia Aquarium? Yeah, I’ll get it. We film next Friday.’ I never thought it had all of this to go with it. It has a lot of moving parts. I have nothing but mad respect for everyone that works in that department now.”


Horror Fuel: “It is amazing how much it takes to get a movie made. There are so many jobs, and like you said, not all of them are glamorous, but they are all important.


Marti: “Right. We had our Locations Manager, he was the one in charge, and our Key Locations Manager and that was Matt. He was my boss. They were out scouting. We had another four P.A.s that would go out and take pictures. They would send them to me and I would put them all into the dropbox. Some of the drone shots were two or three hours away. There’s a big woods scene with Vera Farmiga so we had to do a lot with that. I learned too that when you film out in the woods like that or any time you go outside you have to bring in a bug person to make sure that there are no stinging insects. We had to do that a week before they filmed there. If you were going to be in more than a foot of water you had to have divers. You know, stuff like that. It was really eye-opening. There is a lot more going on in a movie than people understand. It’s not all as glamorous as people think. It’s hard work and weird hours. It’s pretty cool though.


Horror Fuel: “I never knew that a bug guy is required, or a diver for that situation.”


Marti: “We had to have them and we had to bring in a snake wrangler three to five days before and he had to be on set so that if anything showed up he could move the animals because we can’t hurt animals and we don’t want to anyway. I think he caught one snake and had to relocate it. I never would have thought of that. I never would have thought of divers in the water if you’re knee-deep, that’s just weird to me.”


Horror Fuel: “I’ve got this picture in my head now of a diver in full gear sitting in a puddle of water [laughter].


Marti: “With his flippers just sticking out of the water [laughter]? We had to have to bug guy come in and treat several times. We had to use pesticides that are organic. It was a green production. If there were bees we would have had to completely move the production. Wasps on the other hands are just jerks. Who cares about them?”


Horror Fuel: “You can’t be nice to wasps. I’m glad that protecting bees were a priority. But no one will miss the ticks.”


Marti: No. No, they won’t.”


Horror Fuel: “Now, I understand why budgets are so big, there are so many jobs and so much you have to do.”


Marti: “Yeah. And if you have a director who goes out and scouts and says ‘Hey, I like this road going in this direction.’ And you have to pay for all the business going down that side of the street so you can film in that direction. They’ll be out of business during those days and you have to pay what they would have made. And then the day of the director turns around and says ‘No, I like in the other direction better.’ So you have to go pay all of those businesses. I’m not saying that happened on this production, but it does happen. So you have to go to the businesses and say, ‘How much did you make yesterday? $10,ooo? Okay here’s $10,000. Then you get people who tell you that instead you have to give them $25,000 and you have to sit there and haggle with them and they know you’ll pay. It’s weird. We had a guy do that and we had to go back and pay several times. We had one woman who needed new artwork for her store to say that if we made her a new sign and some artwork she let us show her building for free.


Horror Fuel: “Free advertising and a new sign? That’s pretty smart.

There’s so much involved.”


Marti: “Luckily, I had a great crew to work with. They were so laid back and chill – not everyone in this field is. They taught me so much. Gerard and Matt were just awesome.

I’m a director, so this job and my job as a producer’s assistant are just my side hustle. You take jobs where you can. The best advice I ever got was to learn how to do everything and you’ll always have a job.”


Horror Fuel: “Right. Speaking of your work as a producer’s assistant, you worked on Annabelle Comes Home. What was that experience like?”


Marti: “It was really, really fun. I got to be the assistant for Dave Neustadter and Victoria Palmeri and then James Wan for a few days. That was really, really cool. They’re fun guys and Victoria was fun. If I could ever get anything before them to get made I totally would and would feel completely comfortable with them. They trust the vision of whoever is in charge, which is really rare. Peter Safran was there. He was totally awesome. It was fun.”


Horror Fuel: “What exactly is a producer’s assistant role?”


Marti: “For these producers what I did was I would pick them up in the morning and deliver them to set, then I would stay with them on set so that if they need anything, I was basically their runner. They were very low maintenance. I called ahead when I knew that James was coming out and they told me certain things that he likes so that I could have them on hand already. During filming, I learned that he drinks unsweet tea and every two hours he’d be finished with his tea and so when it was time I’d be walking up with one right when he was ready for another one. That was the easiest producer’s assistant job I’ve ever had. They were so laid back. My previous assistant job was not like that. They were high maintenance. So producers getting their own coffee was weird. I had asked several times if James and they had needed anything and they said no. I waited until they were resetting a scene and asked if I had upset them. Dave turned around and said, ‘Who hurt you?’ [laughter]. I asked ‘What?’ and he started asking about my previous experiences. They were great. They let me ask them questions. It was really, really cool. When I was working with them they were getting ready for Shazam, so we got to bond over that and my superhero film The Adventures of Wonderboy had just wrapped. And my son Elijah, who is Wonderboy so we got to talk about that.


Horror Fuel: “I love to hear that there are still people in the industry that are kind. You mentioned your film  The Adventures of Wonderboy, will you tell us about it?


Marti: ” James is so sweet and so brilliant.

Wonderboy was created by my son Elijah when he was twelve because he was having a problem navigating life and being on the Autism spectrum because the world is very grey and he is black and white. He was having a hard time understanding certain things. He actually created this with a cartoon he came up with. Then when he was sixteen, he decided he wanted to make a movie. He was going to a high school with a media department and I went to the department and said that he wants to make a film. They said they’d love to do it. He was so excited and they were going to film it the last week of school, but the standardized testing moved to the last week of school and they couldn’t do it. He came home devastated. I don’t know if you know anything about Autism, but you can’t just go no. You can’t do that and not offer some kind of solution. They can’t understand why. He came home crying and I said, ‘You know what, lucky for you, momma knows how to make films, buddy.’ I got together a crew and he had written a script, I helped tweak the dialogue. I went to a filmmakers meet-up and my VP and I had worked on some other things that I was really impressed with. He had always wanted to a 1960’s tribute to Batman, and that’s exactly what Wonderboy is.

It’s about a superhero who is a journalist and he saves people from the nefarious Doctor Black. Elijah stars in it. Alan Brazzell did all of the graphics. He is absolutely amazing. Chris Gentle did the music, which I think is absolutely phenomenal. Elijah had his finger in all of this. He chose the actors, he chose the music. Chris would send over clippets of scenes and Elijah would be like it needs more horns. He said he wanted it to be like James Bond meets The Incredibles meets Mission Impossible. It came out really, really great. We’re really proud of it. We are using it as a platform to talk about how everyone can go after their dream if they have the right platform. Elijah does not know that Autism is a disability. We celebrate differences in our house.

Everyone came together. Everything was donated. Even the Mayor let us film in his office, the Mayor. Who does that? The Governer sent him a parchment declaring Elijah the Tennesse Good Will Ambassador. We had an awesome premiere that was standing room only. He had on his tuxedo with his mask on for it. He greeted everyone then watched the film. Aftward he said, ‘I can’t do that again.’ And I understand.  It was incredible. It’s still traveling festivals right now. It’s been to Nigeria, China, Greece, Italy, and England. It was a semifinalist in China. It’s won at like five festivals. It’s crazy. We have to be selective about what festivals he goes to. He doesn’t like big crowds. He wants to do a sequel now with his friends called The Justice Friends. If you ask him about it he’ll say, ‘If we get the funding.’ that’s his thing now.

I co-directed that with Alan Brazzell. I don’t want to take all the thunder.



Horror Fuel: “That’s fantastic! You don’t know this, but my nephew is autistic, he has Aspbergers, so I understand what an accomplishment Elijah’s film is. And I am so glad to know that there are movies like yours and Elijah’s that has a positive message and shows that dreams do come true.”


Marti: “Thank you.”


Horror Fuel: “I read on your Facebook page that you are currently doing crowdfunding for your female-driven western White Talon City.”



Marti: “I’m in pre-production hell on that right now. It was filmed in Texas and it is set in the 1800s. And it’s about a female gunslinger who liberates abused women.”



Horror Fuel: “That sounds awesome. I love those types of stories. We need as many strong female characters as we can get.”


Marti: “It’s the prequel to the series I want to make, but I have to proof of concept first. I want to showrun it to make sure that it goes where it needs to go. I’m a writer, I know things. I have to do this and prove I can make a western. The next thing I will have to make a feature. Once you have a feature under your belt people seem to look at you differently. I’m perfectly fine with doing all of that it’s just time-consuming. Now, it’s all about funding. It’s just a lot of hoops. I’m trying to understand if everyone has to jump through these hoops or if this is a woman director thing. It is what it is. Hopefully, I’m doing it the right way.”


Horror Fuel: “That is a lot of projects that you have to get done before you can get to your dream. Every step gets you closer though. I would hate to think that you being a female filmmaker would ever be considered negatively.”


Marti: “I know, right? It doesn’t make any sense.

Right now we are in pre-production. The hardest thing is that we have people in four states and we need to bring them all together, travel, buy food.

I’m glad that I did locations management, it helped prepare me for a lot of things that I never would have thought about. I’m grateful that I got to do that.

I want to be able to concentrate on the creative side of it. Right now I feel like a lot of my focus is on the campaign to raise money. To make a film, you’ve got to make the money. Anything we raise over budget will go to postproduction.”


The fact is there are so many unsung heroes working behind-the-scenes. Without them, movies wouldn’t get made. They deserve mad respect.

Marti has set out to bring new points of view to audiences and to introduce us to characters bigger than life, like Wonderboy. I want to see her continue on her journey and reach her goal of a female-driven western series like we’ve never seen before. To do that, she needs our support to get White Talon City made, her first step to her goal. If you want to help, please visit the official Go Fund Me page to learn more or to donate and receive some awesome perks. Be sure to visit the official Facebook page as well.




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