Derek grew up in the Dallas/Fort Worth area reading Mark Twain, Alexander Dumas and Robert Louis Stevenson along side AESOP's Fables, which he has fond memories of his grandfather reading to him. Moved by these stories Derek actually attempted to write a novel at age 12. Around the same time his love for looney tunes stirred some curiosity in how animation was created and after seeing Empire Strikes Back he got the bug for doing about special effects. Attempting to focus on those skills still didn't satisfy his artistic needs. He realized he didn't want to be narrowly focused on a particular craft but rather he would want to see the "big" picture and after researching "directing" he realized that was for him.
I've been a big fan of Southern Gothic literature as well as films. Books and movies like Night of the Hunter, The Thicket, Deliverance, Blue Ruin and other outlaw western stories.
Having had made numerous shorts, commercials and a couple of features in the past, they were all mostly science fiction or fantasy with set design, costumes etc....I wanted to do something more grounded and explore some of my past. I have 3 family members who are all deceased that I went hunting with and I thought it'd be interesting to utilize the atmosphere and locations from my memories. So in essence...make a more personal film. Whitetail is my southern Gothic/western thriller.