Your new movie Director's Cut - in a few words, what is
It's a twist on the old adage of 'be careful what you
wish for' set to the making of a no budget indie horror movie.
How did you get involved with the project in the first
Claire 'Fluff' Llewellyn [Claire
'Fluff' Llewellyn interview - click here] and I had
already shot some of our comedy feature Psycho Magnet: A Love Story and
realized we're going to have to raise a bit of cash to get some of the
people and locations lined up to finish it. If you're going to do crowdfunding for something like that, you need to start smaller and prove you
can make something funny. She pulled out an anthology script made up of 3
shorts about horror filmmaking titled Tales From The Scrip'. Of the
three shorts, I immediately liked Director's Cut because I could
identify with the no-budget indie horror moviemaking experience. She was
concerned that we couldn't pull off the effects it needed. My argument was
if the short doesn't work and impresses nobody, we're still in the same
situation, but if it does, we can probably use it as a step towards
raising funds to finish Psycho Magnet - PLUS Tales From The
already 1/3 finished.
What can you tell us about your scriptwriter,
producer and star Claire 'Fluff' Llewellyn [Claire
'Fluff' Llewellyn interview - click here], and what was your
collaboration like, both of in front of and behind the camera?
cute English accent becomes maddening to hear when she nags me about
deadlines ! Actually our collaborations are very easy going otherwise
since we both share a twisted sense of humor and have our designated
duties on any production. We don't share much screen time in Director's Cut, but there's a whole lot in
Psycho Magnet. I just haven't figured
out how to shoot that a bit discreetly though. I must remind everyone that
she's the naughty one behind these movies, not me.
all honesty, to what extent could you identify with
Damon the sleazy director? (And yes, I know this is a mean
Happy Dave as Damon with Janet Mayson
Oh, geez ! I'd love to say I
don't, but I get a bit of an ego at times. That's probably true of any
artist. The scary thing is I've worked with people a lot like Damon whose
egos far outweigh their talent. Unfortunately they've also tried to mask
this by trying to get some of their cast to lose their wardrobe in the
process. I avoid that and have even turned down actress offers to do nude
scenes that aren't needed in the first place. It makes for a better
working relationship if you treat your cast like people instead of naked
How would you describe your directorial
approach to your subject at hand?
frantic. I do all of my own editing and filming so there's nobody in
between to explain my intentions. There's never any storyboards to show
anyone else. When we're on set, I'm pretty much just placing people the
way I've already seen the finished movie in my head when reading the
script. New castmembers always think I'm nuts, but my regulars assure
them I'm always like that and it will all make sense when they see the
Claire 'Fluff' Llewellyn
With Director's Cut
being a comedy - to what degree could you identify with your movie's brand
of humour, and what can you tell us about your personal sense of humour?
horror filmmaking is often a ridiculous process in itself, but taking that
step back to see it as others likely see it to exaggerate the characters
and situations was priceless. 'Fluff' really nailed it in the script since
it was based on some of her true experiences. Yes, there is a lot that is
based on real people here ! I have a horrible sense of humor since I can
laugh at anything.
talk about your key cast for a bit, and why exactly these people?
ever said "this gag is ridiculous and I'm not doing it", but
everyone would say "What can we do to make it more ridiculous
?" Everyone was so opposite of their real life personas. Happy Dave
is a rather humble perfectionist which is very unlike Damon. Yvonne Nieves
actually wins karate competitions and isn't such a pushover. Dana
Bernadine runs a comedy troupe, but is even more hilarious with her stone
face glaring at Damon throughout the movie. Tina Boivin is about as sweet
and generous with her time as a person could be. Janet Mayson is hardly a
bad girl prostitute since she's an award winning filmmaker on a series of
movies starring her dogs. Alex Roach was a P.A. who stepped up to fill the
Belinda role after the original actress bailed after we began production
which just made her constant participation even more valuable. Every
interview has people gushing about how awesome and amazing people are to
shoot with that it tends to come across insincere. I'd rather just say I'm
very lucky to be surrounded by some insanely talented friends that I can't
wait to work with again.
Christopher Kahler, Thom Thunder, Janet Mayson
can you tell us about the actual shoot and the on-set atmosphere?
actress became a no-show on the second day of shooting and we lost maybe a
third of a day due to rain. Other than that, it went about as smoothly as
expected. Everyone got on well and had a good time. At least I think they
did. One of us had more of a good time than others since she just had to
giggle uncontrollably during a key scene that just kept making everyone
else laugh, but I won't say it was Yvonne since she'll karate kick me for
$64-question of course: When and where will the movie be released onto the
The movie will premiere at
The Short Bus To Insanity Film Festival Sept 21 in Des Plaines, IL and
DVDs will be made available there. Online sales will pop up some time that
weekend as well.
Any future projects you'd like to share?
Claire Fluff Llewellyn, Christopher Kahler
always projects in some state of progression. Besides the aforementioned Psycho Magnet: A Love
Story and Tales From The Script with 'Fluff',
I'm still slowly getting production work done on Grave Robbers from Outer
Space which has been stop and go for awhile, but looks like it might
finally have a location problem resolved. The big news of the day is I
will get to helm Deadheads: Evolution, based on the Franklin E. Wales
novel. It's a story about a biker leading a small rag tag bunch of
apocalyptic survivors against mutated zombies that have knocked mankind a
few notches down the food chain. Best part is there is already a decent
budget in place and shooting will be somewhere warmer than Chicago this
got you into filmmaking to begin with, and did you receive any formal
training on the subject?
I started as a
composer and figured I'd make better use of my music if I was using it on
my own movies rather than shower scenes of the local stripper in somebody
else's movie. I've never had any formal training on anything. Experience
is the best teacher so I'd P.A. on other people's productions and learn
from that. I still do every chance I get. I often get the feeling that
film school kids graduate and expect to just be handed director jobs
without ever having stepped foot on a set a day in their lives.
Crowdfunding sites pretty much open that door as well. Everybody wants to
be the boss without knowing how to do the job. I guess as long as you get
enough 'likes' on your Facebook movie page, you can pretend to be
What can you tell us about your
directorial work prior to Director's Cut,
and your growth as a director?
horror-based movies of course because I love the genre. I occasionally
branch out to do drama or comedy once in a while because even if pizza's
your favorite food, why only eat pizza every day ? I just feel like it
rounds out my skills as an overall storyteller through movies. There are
always a few elements to any movie I do that I'm never entirely happy
with, but some of the older work just makes me cringe now and wonder just
what the hell I was thinking when I made some choices then. I guess that
could be considered growth. I'm sure I'll still be cringing years from now
at movies I do now. I remember when Akira Kurosawa was given a lifetime
achievement award and he said he still didn't understand cinema, but he
thought he might be catching onto it just a little. That was the most
humbling thing to hear since the man basically invented movies. Seriously? He's Akira Kurosawa! He never even had a Facebook movie page to 'like'
in the first place.
Besides directing, you
have worked in pretty much every capacity in the filmmaking realm,
including acting, writing, cinematography, editing, composing, effects
work and whatnot. So what do you enjoy the most, what could you do without
- and to what extent does working in all these positions influence your
work as a director?
When you don't have big
budgets to spread around or you don't want to lose whatever creative
control you have, you learn to do things that are important to you out of
necessity. I would guess I enjoy writing the most because there's more
freedom in that. There's no budgets, effects, or locations to be concerned
about since there is no restrictions on the imagination. Best part is the
outcome can still be uncertain at the time I start writing.
I could do
without the special effects work. It's very time-consuming and I can never
get it to look as good as I think it should when I'm done with it. I try
to minimize the shots I have with effects since the more someone can look
at something, the more they can start picking up on flaws and the effect
loses it's intended purpose.
I'd say the multi-tasking gives me the option
of showing the viewer a more accurate and complete picture of what I want
to express. I've had other directors try to explain to me what they want
for a certain piece of music and get frustrated that they can't put it
into words to translate into the tune. I can watch my own footage and jot
down a musical score exactly as I want it on the spot. It's quite
How would you describe yourself as a
Tall, dark, and handsome ! Well,
maybe not. I'll just say as far as directing is concerned, I'm an
Filmmakers who inspire you?
Meyer is still my all time favorite. Anyone who does it with passion or is
innovative. You can tell when someone puts their heart and soul into
entertaining you and who just phoned it in to collect a paycheck.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
I'll say A Clockwork Orange this time just because I have the DVD out to watch some time this
weekend, but I would give a different answer to this every time asked. Planet of The
Apes, Strangers on A
Train, High Plains Drifter. Any
mid-70s grindhouse film. No idea. There are so many that have influenced
me for many reasons.
... and of course, films you really
Bucky Larson? Anything that
overuses shaky camera in the darkest setting possible while being as loud
as possible and expects the result to be considered scary. Any indie film
where people forget dialogue, look at the camera, and expect me to be in
on the inside joke that they don't give a damn about making a movie since
it makes me wonder why they think I'd give a damn about watching it.
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
Anything else you are dying and I have merely
forgotten to ask?
Nah. I talk too much as it
Thanks for the interview!