Your new movie American
Johns - in a few words, what is it about?
is a short film about an escort named Melissa and what
happens one day with one of her 'johns'. Then a Detective starts
investigating and things get a little strange.
did you happen to come across Christopher L. Golon's [Christopher
L. Golon interview - click here] source novella in the first
place, and how close did you remain to the material? And what was your
collaboration with Christopher like?
Christopher for many years, I worked with him in many different capacities
(editor, cinematographer, producer, and more) and he told me about this
short novella he had written after film school. I asked him to read it and
I took a liking to it. I was true to the source material although some of
the narrative was rearranged in the editing process. My collaboration with
Christopher is always a good one. We have known each other for so long
that we know what the other is thinking and working with him is an easy
Johns is devoid of any and all dialogue - why and when did you
decide on that approach, and what were the main challenges making your
movie that way?
During the script stage I decided to make it all visual with some voice-over but I ditched the
voice-over before we started shooting. I
thought the images would speak for themselves and there would be a
certain charm in treating it like an old silent movie where all they had
were images and music.
As for the challenges, they didn't come so much in not having dialogue
but more so in what I was shooting with. Originally the entire project
was going to be shot on a cellphone (as an experiment) and for the first
few hours, it was. Then there was a problem with the phone's memory card
which caused me to have to shoot on Mini DV HD. I had the camera on
standby just in case and it turned out that I needed it.
Not having any dialogue or on-screen
sound, your musical score takes a bigger role than in most movies,
naturally - so do talk about the music in your movie and your
collaboration with your composer Gabe Saucedo for a bit?
music for the movie is great, it really helps. Without it the movie
wouldn't be as powerful. I sent the script to Gabe and told him that I saw
this movie having a Giorgio Moroder-esque type of sound and he would make
samples and send them to me. He hit the nail on the head right from the
start and I would work with him again. He was approachable and very easy
to work with.
can you tell us about your overall approach to your story at hand?
approached the story trying to utilize what I had learned from Hitchcock.
He was a filmmaker who could convey a lot without dialogue and that was
the goal with this project. I tried to have the story unfold simply. I did
have some information superimposed on the screen but that was just taking
the place of what dialogue would've given the viewer. Using Hitchcock's Rope and
Marnie as inspiration really helped.
talk about your key cast, and why exactly these people?
Due to having a limited amount of time available to me while in Los
Angeles, I decided to try an unusual casting approach prior to getting
there. With the exception of the lead, Natalia-Christabelle Serrano, I
went and cast people based on their prior work without meeting them, so
Christopher Loring, Rey Marz, and Brittni McGriff were cast in that
fashion. I had known Nathan Yoder through Christopher. Natalia I met
with my second day in LA with filming to begin two days later. She
herself had only been in Los Angeles a few days having driven there from
I knew this was going to be a very fast shoot - and it was. It was a two
day shoot and both days went late. My actors were all fearless and did
what was asked. They knew the script, asked questions, and were ready to
jump right in. Each person brought a lot to their roles and I have no
I thought my two leads Natalia and Christopher were both great. She
exuded a certain charm and dangerous sexuality while he brought an aura
of menace to his role.
can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
shoot was a very smooth one, possibly the smoothest I've ever been a part
of. Having been on the set of Christopher Golon's Knock 'Em Dead, Kid [Christopher
L. Golon interview - click here],
this was a cakewalk. It was very a relaxed and creative environment. My
talent was on point and there didn't seem to be any underlying issues.
$64-question of course, where can your movie be seen?
I'm striving for festivals (and entering them as we speak), the movie will
soon be available on Vimeo. It's there now but it can only be seen with a
password. Keep an eye on Vimeo and within the next couple of months it'll
be there for all to see.
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of your movie yet?
were one of the first to see the movie, along with the cast, and so far
everyone has liked the experimental nature of it. They like the way the
visuals tell the story and how you have to pay attention to really get it.
future projects you'd like to share?
I'm working on two new
screenplays. One is about a house with a troubled past (think The
Evictors) and the other is a fun script about two beach girls who meet
Dracula. And yes, I'm aiming for that one to be as ridiculous as it
What got you into
filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on
Originally I was interested in radio broadcasting but I really got
into filmmaking while in college at Central CT State University. The
Wild Bunch and Seconds really pushed me toward film. And between some
college courses in film and reading a lot about it, I am primarily self
What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to American Johns?
I made a short film called By the Time I get to Arizona based on the
Public Enemy song of the same name. It wasn't very good but between that
and working with Christopher Golon, I felt I was ready to tackle a
longer short film.
would you describe yourself as a director?
I'm trying to be
a visual stylist and not one who is a slave to the spoken word. Make the
visuals create feeling and inspire or move the audience and go from there.
who inspire you?
Alfred Hitchcock, Brian DePalma, Paul
Schrader, Michael Mann, and Michelangelo Antonioni are at the top of my
list. Hitchcock and Antonioni are big time visual storytellers. Schrader
and DePalma have both created so many classics and Mann's Thief and
Heat are crime classics.
Your favourite movies?
Psycho, Marnie, Frenzy, Obsession, Dressed to Kill, Scarface, American
Gigolo, Heat, Blow Up, Jaws, The Godfather Part II, Year of the Dragon,
Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown.
and of course, films you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
All of these horror film remakes are garbage, pure rubbish. The
originals are products of their time but the studios cannot comprehend
that. The remake of Maniac that came out a few years ago with Elijah
Wood is one of the worst films I've ever seen as is The Fast and the
Furious: Tokyo Drift.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
The movie will
soon be on Vimeo and I currently don't have a Facebook page. But make sure
to check back on Vimeo and comment if you can.
for the interview!
Thanks for having me, much appreciated!