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An Interview with Chris Gierowski of Midnight Prestige

by Mike Haberfelner

September 2014

Films directed by Chris Gierowski on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your company Midnight Prestige - how did it come into being, and what's the philosophy behind it?

 

We decided that since we do a lot of work together, we should try to brand ourselves. Since we really enjoy a lot of horror/sci-fi/supernatural things, we figured we would try to think of a title for our group. Nathan Pinsoneault actually came up with the name. This is how the conversation went:

 

Chris: Any ideas from anyone for some type of troupe name? Something we could use as a horror group name. Throw it on the poster etc.

Stephen: The Vomitarians.

Nathan: Damn Good Zombies...? I'll think of more.

Stephen: Midnight Society.

Chris: That last one is taken unfortunately haha.

Nathan: Midnight Prestige?

Chris: That's not bad. What rest of you guys think?

Stephen: I'm all for that

Chris: Alright what about Scott. Nate throw something at him.

Stephen: Scott!

Scott: Go soak yer heads. What am I, the only thing that works around here? Either we're The Wolverines or I QUIT!!

Chris: At last some spunk from one of you guys. And not the one my friend makes in his tube socks! Sorry, too much?

Scott: I actually have no preference. Whatever you guys agree on is fine. And yes, Chris, it's too much. It's always too much

Chris: Good. That's how I want you all to remember me. Always too much! Alrighty Nate. Go with it!

Nathan: You guys do this at night when I'm not here? Just kidding. Brilliant! Will do!

 

Not to say it's all strictly horror and the like. We don't mind doing comedy and other things. If we have good ideas.

 

Chris and Scott Gleine shooting Sadie Jane

What can you tell us about your co-conspirators Scott Gleine [Scott Gleine interview - click here], Nathan Pinsoneault and Stephen Snowden [Stephen Snowden interview - click here], and what does each of you bring to the table? And how did you first hook up to begin with?

 

We met in college at the University of Toledo. We were all film students who had big dreams to go forth and make some worthwhile movies. We helped each other work on several class projects. Making time to act, shoot, light, edit, run sound, etc. Outside of the classroom, we ate lunch together and found out we all had similar tastes. Ghostbusters was a big thing that we all enjoyed and bonded over as well as other films and TV shows. Twin Peaks was an epic journey we took. Amazing show.

 

Nathan is pretty big on spooky/experimental/psychological things. He is very big on people making interpretations of his work. Big David Lynch fan. Lots of crazy ideas in that head of his.

Scott is very good at shooting. He actually works as a camera specialist for a company in LA. He is more laid back. Sticking to behind the scenes stuff but doesn't mind acting. Big Linklater fan. Bit pretentious but we all can be.

Stephen I would say is the heart of the Ghostbusters... I mean the heart of the group. He is big on doing these creative things and really trying to keep us doing it. Very easy going and gets excited about most of the stuff we do.

 

After college, Nate, Scott, and Steve went out to LA. I had just gotten a full time job at a local TV station. I figured I'd stay for a year or so and get some experience so I would have something to fall back on while out there. The economy tanked and I'm still here. Though not a bad experience. In my time, I've seen and experienced the real world. Gained knowledge of promoting things and what the media looks for, won an Tmmy for weekend editing, and was able to still shoot and edit and grow and learn those skills.

Steve got married and moved to North Dakota. Nate and Scott are still in LA. But over the past couple years, we have been getting together to shoot things and are going to continue to keep doing so. Even if we only come out with one or two things a year. Though doing the Schlock Shock Radio dramas keep us together even though it's just our voices.

 

Do talk about your individual films for a bit, and your evolution as a filmmaker!

 

February 4th was the first one that was a big venture for us. Steve can tell you more about the original idea. A choose-your-own-adventure thing. But it evolved to what you see today. We all share directing credit on that because we directed each other in our actions and dialogue that was improvised through the shoot.

 

For Sadie Jane, Nate had an abstract idea to shoot and Scott had been wanted to use his new light thing he made of orange Christmas lights. Steve had already moved out of LA but he was there in spirit. It was fun to do and we were able to do it on a very modest budget. Around $20 or so.

 

For me, working at a television station and being able to shoot and edit every day, I have been able to get better at that, lighting, framing, telling stories through creative means. So I can apply that to shooting our projects. Though Scott does do a lot of the shooting.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

Even if we do a project where we are not all present, we still like to keep it in the Midnight Prestige family. I have a 2.5 min short I will be releasing online in the next couple months that I shot with an actor friend of mind in Toledo. It's called The Bridge. It's all about making decisions and how they can affect your life. But with a little Lynch vibe. Nate would be proud. He was! Helped out with the editing.

We have a couple projects in the works. We are currently writing our first feature together. A psychological feature currently titled The Monsters. We are taking turns writing 5 pages or so and then submitting them to the next person and so on. Building on the previous pages. We have a rough idea of how it will go. Once it is done, we will go over it together and tweak and such.

We are planning on getting together in October in L.A. to shoot something but we are keeping that to ourselves for now.

Schlock Shock will continue to be something we will do in our free time.

 

What's the making of a Midnight Prestige movie usually like, from conceiving the idea and writing the script, to actually shooting the movie to post production?

 

A lot of the stuff we do is improvised. We come up with an idea, plan on how to shoot and what the scene is going to be like, and build it through our dialogue. Though Schlock Shock is normally written since we all do not live around each other. We experiment. Like I said with the feature we are writing. Editing normally is a process. Cut it together, decide what to cut out, how we are going to use music. Either composing ourselves, paying someone to compose, or getting royalty free music and effects.

 

Any on-set anecdotes you'd like to share?

 

On February 4th, we all kept in character even if the camera wasn't in the room. If two characters were not in the room with the camera, we would still be talking about whatever situations were happening. More of a trivia addition really.

 

You of course also have to talk about Schlock Shock Radio for a bit, and how did it come into being, and what's your role in it?

 

That is Stephen Snowden's baby. I will defer to him about the majority of it. He writes the stories up and we record our dialogue either by phones or computers and send them to him to cut together. Pretty easy on my part. I just record and try to promote it.

 

Your output seems to never stray too far from the horror genre - pure coincidence, or is that a genre dear to you, and why (not)?

 

Again we enjoy a lot of horror and things of the like. I grew up on b-movies shown on local Cleveland television station shows such as Big Chuck and Little John, and Son of the Ghoul. But it is something I enjoy (the horror genre) and I hope to keep up what I enjoy doing. But 80's horror fan - the schlock that was turned out then was massive and great.

 

When it comes to making movies, you have done pretty much everything, from acting, writing and directing to editing and cinematography - so which do you enjoy the most, and what could you do without?

 

Being that we are a very small group, we kind of each do everything. Just like in college. I enjoy shooting and editing. Trying to make something look good is pretty important to me. I don't think I'm that great of an actor so if I had to not do something, I guess it would be that. Though I'm not shy to do it.

 

How would you describe yourself as a director?

 

Try to make things look good and get the best out of the actors. If there is something that's improvised that is better than what we have in mind, then by all means let's do it.

 

Filmmakers who inspire you?

 

Watched a lot of Troma movies growing up so Lloyd Kaufman has had an influence on me. His crazy, off the wall, guerilla filmmaking style has had a very big influence on my full time job shooting for a television station. That is what we do on a daily basis because of tight deadlines. Plus the blood and gore reminds me of a lot of the 80's horror I love.

Along with that, Sam Raimi is another influence. His early work with the Evil Dead-movies kept my interest. The slapstick is also a fun aspect of it.

Kevin Smith is another filmmaker I enjoy. He is a smart man whose clever writing has always made me think and laugh. I'm happy he has been doing some horror movies lately. While Red State wasn't 100% what I was hoping, it still was scary in a way of how some religious radicals can be. And now we have Isis over in the Middle East. So it is scary in what people to in the name of religion. I am looking forward to his new film, Tusk.

 

Your favourite movies?

 

Ghostbusters, Toxic Avenger, Cannibal! The Musical, Friday the 13th-movies, Nightmare on Elm Street-movies, Evil Dead, Intruder, Night of the Demons, Demons, Night of the Living Dead, the Cornetto Trilogy, Club Dread and other Broken Lizard Films, anything by the Zucker Brothers.

 

... and of course, films you really deplore?

 

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I tend to not deplore many movies. Most are good movies I just have no interest. That being said, I have a love/hate with Requiem for a Dream. Depresses the hell out of me. I will never watch it again but very good. Hollywood Homicide was just bad. American Pie - I had a friend use all of the jokes as his own and when I saw the movie it was ruined for me. Same went for Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Wasn't funny for me because all of the quotes were used up.

 

Your/your company's website, Facebook, whatever else?

 

We may have something once we do the feature but for now.

Twitter: @MidnightPrestig

Email: MidnightPrestige@gmail.com

 

Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

I think that's about it. Really appreciate the interview and the reviews!

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD

 

 

Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
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