The King of Scream: William Butler

By September 1, 2012
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Transition (\tran(t)s-ˈish-ən) n. – Passage from one form, state, style, or place to another.

Entertainment (\ˌen-tər-ˈtān-mənt\) n. – The act of entertaining; amusement or diversion provided especially by performers.

Put these two words together and something pretty friggin’ amazing happens.

Gather ’round, darlings…I have a little story for you.

Meet William Butler: actor, writer, producer, director and President of Transition Entertainment and Dark Ride Entertainment (film company).

Butler with co-star (and former roommate) Viggo Mortensen from Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3

Butler came to L.A. twenty-five years ago from Fresno with $800 in his pocket and a dream: to be an actor/producer. A week later, he was out of money and living in his car but never deterred from achieving said dream, “I just felt like I belonged here.”

While working at Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise, Butler answered an ad in Drama-logue (now part of Back Stage West) and booked his first movie in Spain which not only sparked his acting career in some of your fave horror films (Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood, Ghoulies II, Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3, Night of The Living Dead (1990)) and shows (My Two Dads, Power Rangers Turbo and Power Rangers Lost Galaxy,) it began his 15 year career as a special effects coordinator as well.

No stranger to horror (as he is a HUGE fan of the genre) Butler says that he didn’t set out to be a “Scream King” but as a result of being in a popular franchises like Friday The 13th and Texas Chainsaw plus being someone who really understood the genre and source material better than most of the actors around (and embraced it wholeheartedly), he booked a lot of horror films.

But as time passed he felt that he didn’t really know how to be a good “character actor”, so he decided it was time to make the transition from actor to writer, so William put down the shotgun and picked up a keyboard.

Butler began writing and touring with National Lampoon along with a number of other things until he landed at the door of FOX Family, where he found himself directing shows like Power Rangers Wild Force and Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue, pilot demos and tons of commercials.

When FOX Family was bought out by Disney in 2005, he still had 3 years left on his contract and when the division itself was dissolved, Butler found himself in the Promo Dept where, with too much time on his hands, he and his writing partner (Aaron Strongoni) wrote Madhouse; which sold just as Butler was about to go “mad” himself working in said department.  With the money made from the script, Butler was able to go freelance and start thinking about what he REALLY wanted out of life: to start his own production company. Now he’s got two production companies Transition Entertainment and Dark Ride Entertainment.

Combining his love of horror with his love for comedy, classic horror comedies and his extensive career in Hollywood (along with a reputation for being one of the easiest and nicest guys to work with), Butler has people beating down his door wanting to be involved in his projects.

But horror is not the only horse in Butler’s stable; Transition Entertainment also works with  some big names like The Disney Company (who they’ve had a solid relationship with for over seven years) on Disney Get Connected and Disney Game On and in the past has worked on projects with Nintendo (DS, Wii), Sony, Lego, and Ubisoft (to name a few).

Now in its 12th year, Transition Entertainment has been a labor of love mixed with a LOT of blood, sweat and tears and Butler stresses that he wouldn’t have it any other way as it’s WHY they’re as successful as they are. Taking risks and going with your gut (like he did with Gingerdead Man) is his mantra and quite frankly, it’s worked well for him.

“When David O’Russell approaches you at a party to ask about Gingerdead Man or you end up having dinner at an A-lister’s house because their daughter saw GM in a class at HARVARD,  it’s nice to know my instincts to take a risk and do said movies was the right one.”

Did I mention Dark Ride’s massive and fully funded 8 sci-fi/horror picture deal (including the recently announced Hell Storm) with Strauns Media? Yeah, that’s HUGE.  Getting a two picture deal anywhere these days is hard to come by, let alone EIGHT, to be completed by 2015…but as Butler is a stickler for time and detail (Demonic Toys 2 was shot in less than a week), I know it’ll be done right and it’ll be stellar.

As Butler recently said to Variety, “Dark Ride was created to fill a void in fun, entertaining horror and sci-fi films with great production values that can be made at an affordable cost. The team at Dark Ride has all done this successfully before; we’re fortunate to have developed a cost effective system of production, and we’re excited to go on this ride with Strauns Media.”

Along with music videos, tv shows, children/family programming, upcoming films and comedy series Waffle Hut, AND keeping an eye on the rise of digital media (something Butler and co are VERY excited about) – Transition Entertainment has nowhere to go but up.

And I’ma be watching every step of the way…besides, where else am I gonna see my partner in crime get her nose bitten off by a friggin’ possessed cookie?!

That’s GeekNation’s own C.J. Arabia as a misguided animal activist, getting her nose bit off in this scene. 

For more about Transition Entertainment and to see what they’re up to, you can hit their official website and follow them on twitter!

@FilmDogBillyB

@TransitionEnt

@DarkRideEnt

And stay in the loop by liking Billy’s Transition Entertainment Facebook page.

More on what’s happening with William Butler and Transition Entertainment, including an exclusive sneak peek at Waffle Hut to come!

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Cricket Lee
Star Wars fangirl. Named Best Kisser by Time Magazine. CEO/Host: Girl Gamer; host of Gecken: GeekNation; writer: Dread Central. You'll have a crush on me soon. Vote Quimby. Twitter: @crixlee http://www.imdb.me/crixlee