Your upcoming movie Dwelling
- in a few words, what's it
going to be about?
Dwelling is a paranormal horror film about a young couple
who deliberately move into a haunted house that holds a malevolent spirit
trapped within a painted black mirror.
How did you get hooked up with the
project in the first place? And what did you find interesting enough about
the movie's subject matter to actually want to produce it?
director and writer, Kyle Mecca, happens to be a good friend of mine and
apparently he has been working on the story of Dwelling
years before I even met him. What hit me the most is that the story
is relatable to many people and you usually don't get that in a horror
film. It's generally the same typical story over and over again and
every time you go see one you just hope they ended up doing it right that
time. Kyle was hell bent on having a solid story and I was very
bent on making something scary (as he was as well but story was more of a
priority to him). After myself, Arlynn Knauff, and our assistant director, Gabe
Simon, pitched some ideas to him, he ended up writing a script
with not just a strong story and characters you feel for, but something
that'll send chills down your spine. That is why I wanted to produce
it. It's not only a solid story with substance, but something you
can literally picture as you read it.
far as I know, you are currently in the process of raising funds for your
movie - so what can you tell us about your fundraising campaign?
I am writing this, we are currently at $7,735 with 4 more days to go.
We are pitching the Kickstarter campaign to just about everyone we can and
are urging others to share with their friends and family. I strongly
believe we can make it. We have a ways to go still but I think we
can honestly make it happen.
can you tell us about your writer/director Kyle Mecca, and what has your
collaboration been like so far?
Kyle and I have a love/hate
relationship. Mostly love. Similar to McFly and Biff (Back
to the Future reference). Haha, no really, we see eye to eye on
most things especially the way we perceive horror films. What I like
is that we sort of balance each other out. As a producer, I'm
kind of all over deadlines and stressing things get done and constantly
reaching out to find more resources. Sometimes I rush. Kyle is
very patient and focused on being 100% on everything he does but sometimes
needs a fire lit under his ass. That's where I come in, and in turn,
he calms me down. Then when we can't deal with each other, Arlynn
(our other producer who works just as hard but lingers in the shadows)
fills in for one of us ;-D
Since you are so far
mostly known as an actor - will you appear in front of the camera in Dwelling
No I am not cast in this one, but there is a
slight chance that myself, Arlynn, and Kyle will make a small cameo as
featured extras. Not 100% on that yet. I'd much rather focus
on one aspect in this film and later down the road start acting in our own
What can you tell us about your cast, why exactly these people, and
to what extent were you involved in the casting process?
The first person we cast in this was
Devanny Pinn [Devanny Pinn
interview - click here], and her character changed about 3 times because all we
knew is we wanted to use her but didn't know as what yet. I worked
with Devanny on Adam Steigert's A Grim Becoming last year [Adam
R. Steigert interview - click here].
Arlynn and myself grew an instant bond with her and she expressed interest
in wanting to work with us after seeing our latest film trailer Scope
of Practice. It was a shot in the dark asking her to work on
this film but to my great surprise she was not only interested, but also
announced it and got us an insane amount of auditioners. There was
some very thick competition for the lead character "Ellie", but
Erin Marie Hogan stole it with her audition. Erin and Devanny had
worked together recently on House of Manson directed by Brandon
Slagle [Brandon Slagle
interview - click here]. They apparently work very well together and I am thrilled to
have them both as major roles in Dwelling. Shortly after,
we cast Mu-Shaka Benson as the co-lead "Gavin". I have
worked with Mu-Shaka briefly on A Grim Becoming
as well but have been in
close contact outside of that. He had the character down pat and
this was the character we were afraid we weren't going to find easily.
We had many great auditions for Gavin but there was something missing
from a lot of them. After Mu-Shaka's reading, all 3 of us (Kyle,
Arlynn, and myself) looked at each other and said "yea, that's
For this film, the executive decision came down to Kyle
but we all had a say in who we cast and everyone we cast was a
Finding "Marcy" was actually the
complete opposite of finding "Gavin". There were way
too many perfect fits for this character, but once we Skype
auditioned with Alexandra Merritt Mathews, it was all over. No one
was more fitting than Alexandra in this role. She currently resides
in Chicago but is a Buffalo native, and we are more than happy to have her
in our film as well. The rest of the principle actors were actually
not hard to cast. Bill Brown nailed the part as Dr. Thorn before we
even watched him audition. Josie DiVincenzo is playing the part of
Ellie (Erin Marie Hogan) and River's (Devanny Pinn) "Mother".
Last but certainly not least, we casted the young Abigail Mary as
"Izzy", who is River's daughter. Not only did she have a
solid performance and wonderful personality, but has actually experienced
paranormal incidences herself. She is literally what we are looking
for in this character. This is one of the first films I have worked
on where everyone we have cast I am 100% confident with.
From what I get, your location(s)
will also play main role in your movie - so any locations pinned down yet?
the moment, all locations are pinned except 2, but we have the places we
want. We are in the process of securing them and should be locked
down before the campaign is over. I'd rather not announce them quite
yet in case we end up having to relocate, but I am quite excited about
from the budget, where do you see the major challenges during
Honestly, budgeting is really the only
major challenge we have. We still have a good amount of time to
organize everything and I feel that once we have our budget locked, that
is all we need to move forward with this. Pre-production itself is
always a challenge, but nothing we can't handle :)
Once your funds are raised, what's the
schedule, and any idea when the film might be released yet (and I do know
it's probably waaay too early to ask)?
We are filming July
17-27 and August 4-8. As for release date? No idea lol but hopefully
sometime between January 1, 2015 to Dec 31, 2015 :P
an actor, you have dabbled into production even before Dwelling
so what can you tell us about these experiences? And what made you pick up
producing in the first place?
Producing came more natural
to me than directing. I can direct a film but I tend to take on too
many things at once and usually each of them suffers because I'm not 100%
focused on each other them. I usually get the shot and performance that
I want but trying to articulate and convey it to my DP and actors is a
hassle. What I was better at doing was building connections and
overseeing everything. As a producer, it is also much easier to act
seeing that the bulk of my work is in preproduction. The biggest
challenge I have as an actor (coming from a behind the scenes background)
is just letting go of everything behind the camera and completely diving
into a character. It's slowly becoming easier to do that now that I
am working on projects where every aspect of the filmmaking process is
Any future projects beyond Dwelling
you'd like to share?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
The next film we plan
on shooting is entitled SIN and it will be written and directed
by Arlynn Knauff. I will also be producing that one and acting in it
as well. SIN will be a fantasy/action film and shot once we are
completely done with Dwelling. As of right now we have another
potential opportunity, but that project is still a big "what
if". If it does go into works though, we will be making it very
well known as it will be a huge project with insane potential.
Bigger than Dwelling
website, Facebook, Kickstarter, whatever else?
We don't have an official website just yet but are working on it.
Once it's up I'm guessing it'll be something like "www.dwellingmovie.com",
but don't quote me on that (I'm asking you not to quote me on an article
I'm responding to in writing... lol)
else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
sure that Kyle and Arlynn will be mad at me for leaving out quite a few
things I can't think of right now, but I think that covers everything I
want to say other than PLEASE HELP US REACH OUR GOAL! :-D Seriously
though, thank you so much again for the opportunity to interview with you
Mike, I really appreciate all your support!
for the interview!