Creepshow Showrunner Greg Nicotero Says Good Directors Are Hard to Find

...but mostly because The Walking Dead made a lot of his famous successful enough to be busy.

When it comes to making Creepshow, visual effects legend Greg Nicotero says that one of the challenges of getting a new season made is finding the right directors to helm the episodes he isn't handling personally. Not that there aren't good directors out there -- having worked on The Walking Dead for so many years, he has met and worked with many -- but the issue is that good directors are always working, which leaves him either trying to work around their schedule or, in most cases, finding more obscure filmmakers and bringing them to a mainstream-ish audience for the first time. 

The conversation started out when's Chris Killian asked Nicotero about the decision-making process. As both the showrunner and a prolific director, how does he decide when it's his turn to take a project, versus when he hands it off to another talented director?

"The process is, we have people submit short stories," Nicotero told "Sometimes it's a paragraph and other times it's a fleshed-out one or two page outlines, and sometimes, it's a full script that people submit. I would say that the ones I chose to direct are the ones that, as soon as I read them, '...that goes on the Greg pile.' Definitely I remember 'Night of the Living Late Show' and probably 'Television of the Dead,' which were season two episodes. I read those and went, 'I want to do them.' Maybe because they had connections to movies that I had worked on because of the Romero or the Sam Raimi thing. And then I remember reading a short story for 'Shapeshifters Anonymous,' and it was a guy who doesn't know he's a werewolf goes to a support group of people who turn into different types of animals. And I remember reading that short story and thinking it was so unique and so different, and I'd never read anything like it. And I went, 'I Want to do this story because it's different,' and I ended up adapting it and writing the screenplay for that as well."

He admitted that there were some episodes he would have liked to have directed himself, but he can't do everything -- after all, when you're fresh off a manic 18 months wrapping up The Walking Dead, sometimes you need to take a breather. Plus, as showrunner, sometimes he had to run to the network and convince them that something is worth even making in the first place. And that's when he dug into the challenges of finding the right people to work on the episodes that aren't directed by Greg Nicotero.

"In most instances I'll pull the script out that I want to do and then in terms of interviewing the directors, it's a lot harder of a process than you would imagine because directors are hard to find," Nicotero admitted. "A lot of times you go out to the people that you've worked with, that you admire and you want to collaborate with, and they're always busy. A lot of the female directors that we had gone after, that I had worked with before, even though we had a lot of great directors on The Walking Dead, everybody's busy. It's hard to find directors. So for me, I had an opportunity to watch a lot of movies and meet a lot of new people. With the Spear Sisters, I had seen a lot of their shorts and they had done Scary Stories, they had done a couple of smaller things, so I thought they were really well-suited. And [Justin G. Dyck], who directed 'Grandmother's House' and 'Cheat Code,' I had seen his movie, which I really really liked. So in a lot of instances, it's going out and looking for new talent, just like The Walking Dead has had the opportunity to develop some young talent that a lot of people don't know about, I feel like I have the same obligation with Creepshow. And then I have John Esposito, who has written on Creepshow for all the seasons and has been a really dear friend of mine for a really long time, wrote 'Meet the Belaskos.' I would have loved to have written that story because I thought it had a lot of heart, and it had a lot to say about bigotry sort of put in the vein -- no pun intended -- of a genre setting. Having the opportunity to give him his first directing job and direct his own story made me happy. And then of course John Harrison is a Creepshow legend, so I could not have done the series without him. I think we had a really great stable of directors and a really great assortment of stories in this season."

Creepshow season four premiered on Shudder, AMC, and AMC+ last week. You can stream new episodes now.