Your upcoming movie Hypnotica The Nightmarist - in a few
words, what is it about?
Hypnotism as a pursuit to perfectionism goes very wrong and unleashes
pure evil: THE NIGHTMARIST.
What were your inspirations for
dreaming up Hypnotica The Nightmarist - and especially since
the film seems a tad surreal in approach, was any of this based on real
I've always been interested in ALTERED
STATES OF MIND since I quit doing LSD at age 18. I was an early
starter. Hypnotism is real and has a bad rep. I've walked on fire with the
master, Tony Robbins, best cult EVERRRRRRR ... and bowed to the mind
expansion of Frank Zappa. One of my therapists hypnotized me.
Hypnotism works, but the psychological cure is still pending :)
What can you tell us about your movie's
approach to horror?
As an animator it's strange to animate the visceral unrestrained
violence of evil acts in the subconscious. The "other world
of nightmares" can be a NASTY and IMAGINATIVE revenge scape.
The real horror comes from Laird, the writer gaining absolute godlike
power in Hypnotica The Nightmarist. He behaves with impunity inflicting himself into
other people's private nightmares. The approach seems freaky even
to me. WHEN HELL BREAKS LOOSE, WE CUT TO ANIMATION. WHAT? THE MOST
EXPLICIT VISCERAL IMAGES CAN BE MORE REAL IN CARTOON FORM. Dreams are
stylized IN MOVIES ... but also in your head. Your dreams are a big
FILTER on reality. ANIMATION enhances that perception.
Self-improvement corrupts Laird as
he is transformed into THE NIGHTMARIST. Without any spoilers, Laird believes he is seeking enlightenment but consumed with the
opposite. THE HORROR becomes a total abandonment of human values of
kindness, friendship and explodes into visceral extreme rampage. You
don't want this guy in your head. Laird is infected with unscrupulous
revenge and mysterious gut level animal rage.
Your film combines animation and
live action - how will you handle this, both technically and visually?
do this all the time, sometimes for breakfast. The best example might be
my Trey Gunn music video "The Magnificent Jinn". Everything is now
possible. REALLY, it's organic for me. THE GUIDING SCRIPT or idea says
"The head separates magically from its body." Ok... there
are ten ways to deal with that. I will make it up as I execute it (based
on my worst prison experiences) or hand it over to a trained animator with
severe emotional problems and/or excellent academic art skills. RESULTS
MAY VARY but its always some kind of incredible art that results.
can you tell us about your movie's overall look and feel?
think of it as "what would Miyazaki do if he animated The Cell?" Then I try to execute that with 200 BUCKS. Hee
hee. I've done
well with small budgets because as a director, I literally try to learn
every person's job I work with. THS IS A PROBLEM when shooting softcore
porn. Then I leave that responsibility to the experts, the actors :)
talk about your key cast, and why exactly these people?
For me it's simple: AUDITION
PEEPS, see what they do , then build on that.
Paul Joseph had an insane zest for the script and instigated that
crazy enthusiasm. He got the material, as did Timothy Paul McCarthy.
With Tim, he would always redo dialogue and offer different approaches.
That's when the magic happens. When I'm directing, I like it when the
actor takes over. You can't really instruct the nuance of an actor
"in the moment". You get them in the place and pray to the
little baby Jesus that the cam caught it when it goes very right.
The Nightmarist is part of the current CineCoup challenge - so
do explain the challenge quite quickly, and what do you think makes your
movie stick out of the crowd?
THE ANIMATION is a part of it, for sure... oddly enough, I'm a seasoned
artist with a unique auteur style developed over decades. When CineCoup
says, BE BRAVE... well, that's not only in my DNA but that's what this
movie is: THE COURAGE TO REALLY GO INTO SCARY MENTAL AND ARTISTIC DARING
TERRITORY. I am not afraid. My recently finished film The Amorphous
Mind Police Factor was pure bravery. ON A TIGHTROPE with no script, 12 actors
and the desire to shoot as many WTF scenes as possible. We tried
shooting everything except my 3 rules, NO UNDERWATER SCENES, NO SNUFF,
no animal or child actors. ADULTS are strange enough to manage on a set.
HA HA HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. Otherwise, we went there. As far as
shooting now is concerned, nothing phases me. I'm unshockable and I love
DARING actors. LOVE IT when the boundaries are wide open.
I have 3 or 4 more SMALL scenes to shoot for The Very Imaginary
Friend-feature shot in 2014 / in post/postponement now) - the scenes are
WAYYYYYY THE FUCK OUT THERE... and I hope the actors can take it. I'm
breaking my own rules: the scenes will involve my young excellent
actors getting nasty and nekid with underwater creatures, if they don't
moxie up the balls to go for it, I'll animate it. HAHA, JUST TRY TO
STOP ME. Hee heee.
Once the budget is in
place, what's the schedule, and any idea when and where the film might be
released onto the general public yet?
Cineplex in Canada.
projects beyond Hypnotica The Nightmarist?
Yes, one movie in post now, The Very Imaginary Friend, an extremely
neurotic performance artist losing his mind in Toronto's Gladstone Hotel. Shot it all last year. It's not a tad surreal, its FULL ON.
However it's a surprisingly human story in the overall picture. Featuring
Jeff Leard ,a rising force in the Toronto theatre scene - a MEGA TALENT I was very lucky to cast.
Witnesses, a thriller, live action, about cults and what harm
they do to people. The script is 84% there. 2 years in
development. It's truly diabolical ... and should SCAR people
My ultimate dream project I can't even say the name of it online, I
genuinely believe it would create a freak out large "ARE YOU KIDDING
ME?" reaction from a large dedicated group. THAT is big, big
big. I don't want to deal with it AT THIS MOMENT. Hypnotica
The Nightmarist and CineCoup is all-consuming and I'm loving it. Next
year ... more.
initially entered the filmworld via animation, right? So what got you into
animation, and did you receive any formal education on the subject?
College, say no more. IT WAS THE BEST. And I've worked on 398 children's
series cartoons. MAKE IT STOPPPPP... MAKE IT STOPPPPP. Kid shows are
truly hell for me. Some were great. Beetlejuice amd Sons
of Butcher were
got you into directing movies eventually, and how would you describe
yourself as a director?
I AM RESOURCEFUL and UNINHIBITED as
a director. If I can write it I can get it done on the screen somehow. KEEP
IN MIND, last summer, the entire film of The Very Imaginary Friend was
shot with NO CREW. Me and actors in boutique hotels. I SHOOT, RECORD,
WRITE, DIRECT and feed people. Some costume design. Only once did we bring
in SPECIAL MAKE UP PERSON. It's not easy but I design for what is
The Very Imaginary Friend
What can you tell us about your
filmwork prior to Hypnotica The Nightmarist, in whatever
Plain and simple: I've done every job in the biz
since school. Storyboards, art direction, animation, camera operating,
acting, set design, editing, sound recording, publicity, location
scouting, dolphin wrangling, craft service, directing, producing, scoring
music, I don't do "make up"... but I would do body painting. I'm
a terrible actor. Oh well. HENCE, I have a pretty good idea how to
Besides all that, you're also a musician,
right? So do talk about your music and your musical influences for a bit!
Patton is currently the most interesting musician alive for me. I
keep wanting to do music, and I will. Chronic Harmnonic was a band hard to
maintain when I lived in Asia for a few years. I do bits and pieces
of music for the movies ... I have a few Minz music videos unreleased, all
in good time. Sound editing is something I really enjoy ... I totally draw
from my music video directing and animation skills for that.
artists, animators, whoever else who inspire you?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Patton is currently the most interesting musician alive for me. There is
no debate on his GREATNESS. Kevin Breit and the Sisters Euclid have been
my favourite band for over 15 years. They play down the street and it
seriously affected where my wife and I bought real estate. I've seen them
live about 123 times. No exaggeration. And I get bored in bars, they are
always ASTONISHING. Otherwise ... Bill Maher is important and too
funny. I would like to be reincarnated as him.
Network, Fight Club, Alien,
of Life, Educating Rita.
... and of course, films you really
I've really found a disgust for most
that think the God of America was Little Bo-Peep,
gimme a fucking break.
There ain't no Prince Charming, you delusional idiots.
Your website, Facebook, CineCoup page, whatever
The CineCoup page is tricky for most people. THE MAIN
THING IS: actions of rating, sharing and commenting is gathering points
for ACTUAL VOTING. It's fun when you figure it out. I spend inordinate
amounts of time explaining the COUNTERINTUITIVE aspect of the site. WHAT
IT REALLY DOES, is provide the CineCoup peeps with A TON OF INFORMATION on
what film will do well. That's gold for them. For me, I get to REALLY see
what the fans reactions are. Lots of people I know, sure, but lots I've
never met. That's fun.
Thanks for the interview!
Is that all? I JUST DRANK 3 COFFEES. LET'S KEEP GOING!!!!