How Vimeo, Reddit, and YouTube Helped Launch David F. Sandberg’s Hollywood Career
How Vimeo, Reddit, and YouTube Helped Launch David F. Sandberg’s Hollywood Career (Lights Out (2016), Shazam! (2019), Annabelle: Creation (2017) and his PonySmasher Youtube channel) via FilmCourage.com.
Film Courage: Your first three feature films have grossed 800 million?
David F. Sandberg, Filmmaker: I haven’t checked. That sounds about right…sure? Why not?
Film Courage: Okay. Is this something that 10 years ago you (you at Lotta Losten, David’s wife and creative partner) would have ever imagined?
David: I mean…not to sound like a jerk but in a way yes. Because it was always my dream to make movies and it was always my dream to be a Hollywood director but that was kind of like a secret because I’m from Sweden, from like the other side of the world. I don’t have any family members who are in show biz or anything like that. So it’s not like you can say to friend and family “Yeah, I’m going to be a Hollywood director.” People will be like “Yeah, sure. I’m going to be a the king of Spain…whatever.”
But that was always the goal and then a lot of times that goal has felt really far away and I’ve felt very depressed and felt like this is never going to happen. But that was always the goal, that was what I wanted to do with my life so in a way you can’t say that it’s been expected but it’s always been the goal so it’s always been like “Yes, that’s always what I really want.”
So it’s more of like…the feeling is not the surprise…well it is a surprise like “Wow? It actually happened. My dream actually came true.” But the dream has always been there if that makes sense?
Film Courage: And when you were in Sweden you were posting short films (animated short films) to your Youtube channel [Ponysmasher], were you working another job? Were you in animation?
David: I actually haven’t had a lot of jobs. So…I think video store was my first job which was sort of under-the-table, not really official but it was kind of cool because I loved it because of the access to movies. I could rent all of these free movies. And sometimes you get screeners, so you get movies before they came out on video but I’ve never been much of a people person…you have to talk to people a lot, so that was the downside of it. But all of the movies, that was the great part.
I worked a little bit in grocery stores and things like that and I hated that even more because the downsides of working in a video store but without all of the movies. And then I was unemployed for quite a while, I was really depressed, I was still living with my mom in my twenties and eventually I started making animation because I always wanted to make movies. I was making movies with friends but then as we started getting older my friends are getting jobs and lives and then suddenly there is not as much time and willingness to make little dumb shorts. So that’s when I started doing animation because it was something I could do by myself. I didn’t have to rely on other people’s schedules or money or whatever. I always liked drawing so I could do that on my computer all by myself, I’ll just record the voices. I didn’t even need an expensive camera for it.
I was luck in that this was in 2005, 2006 when YouTube was a new thing and I signed up to that. I didn’t really know what it was but I was like “Okay, I can upload videos here.” And I uploaded a little animated short that I made. It got a really good response. People really seemed to like it. I was like “This is great.” So I made…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).