Your new movie Shed
- in a few words, what is it about?
Shed is an indie horror movie with skin-stealing monsters. But really,
it's about love.
revolving around a Halloween party gone horribly wrong, what were your
worst Halloween experiences, and did any of them make it into your movie?
For pharmaceutical reasons I don't recall any of my Halloweens after
the age of around 20.
sources of inspiration when writing Shed?
It all started with a word - "Shed". Because it's both a noun
and a verb. You can shed in a shed. Plus it sounds great. Shed. Shed.
does have its bloody bits for sure - so for the sake of all the gorehounds
reading this, could you talk about the effects work in your movie for a
Brandon McIver and Lisa Ashworth, whose talents I do not deserve,
combined potato guns, corn syrup, latex, gel, makeup and red hairspray,
plus a little milkshake emulsifier, to create convincing blood explosions,
skin suits and skinless monsters. Jamie Clark digitally touched up the
effects. I'm a big believer in practical effects. An audacious effect with
the right camera angle and lens, clever editing and appropriate sound and
score can go a long way. Of course, casting is a factor. Luckily for me,
my actors Mike Amason, Morgan Jones and Cleve Langdale convincingly
inhabited the effects.
What can you tell us about your movie's approach to
We avoid tropes, because this is not a normal horror movie. We show you
the monster in the very first scene. I don't want the audience to ever
wonder whether the monsters are real. Of course they are. That mystery is
not the point of the movie. The point is to humanize the monsters.
Do talk about your overall directorial approach
to your story at hand!
On a microbudget production in Columbia, South Carolina with an amateur
cast and crew, there's not a lot of space for strong directorial choices.
Everything is always on the edge of falling apart as people get tired and
bored and frustrated and personalities start clashing. All you can do is
write a script, beg people to get involved, make a shot list you think you
can get through then stop thinking and start shooting. It's a desperate
stumble from shot one to shot 600.
That said, as I was my own DP, I did try to make interesting choices.
Wherever possible I moved the camera through space, from inside to out and
back, in order to invoke the theme of changing identity and physical
transitions. I looked for scenes I could shoot in their entirety with one
strong, interesting shot. I made sure to always use the lens with the most
personality and I constantly fed light into the lens to force lens flare
and soften the harsh edges of our LED lighting.
What can you tell us about your
key cast, and why exactly these people?
Mike Amason, who plays "Mike", is my right-hand guy. Not only
is he a stellar actor, he's a carpenter, handyman and driver, too. He's
utterly reliable and a steadying influence on a chaotic production. I love
his stage presence. He plays big, slow and confident.
Morgan Jones as the monster "Una" is always down for some
weird effects shot. Great physical actress.
Sanethia Dresch as "Morgan" is a true professional who I
would happily cast in every movie I ever make.
Bradley J. Petit as "Brad" is a natural performer who
elevates every scene.
Len Marini as the sheriff is my favorite grandmotherly bad-ass.
From what I
know, at least part of Shed
was filmed during a hurricane - so what happened, and how did the
hurricane affect the outcome of your movie?
The hurricane blew out our sound, forcing me to build the dialogue and
soundtracks for a few scenes totally from scratch. Shooting outdoors in
the woods in the summer is a recipe for sonic disaster. We struggled to
get good on-set audio. The hurricane just made it worse. But we muddled
through. And I learned a lot about sound design in post. As long as you
have access to your actors, you can always get ADR and mix a new
soundtrack. The problem with an amateur cast is that some people quit, get
bad attitudes and don't make themselves available for ADR in post. That
limits your options. I'm 75-percent happy with the sound on Shed. But
there are a couple scenes I'd still rebuild if I had access to my whole
aside, what can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set
got a bit too boozy. A bit too loose. Some of our less seasoned
cast forgot that we were making a movie and not having a party. There was
some sexual harassment, which is a constant problem on indie movie sets.
Several cast and crew quit, at least one of them mid-production. We had to
fire one creep. If you look closely at the final cut of Shed, you can see
at least three actors portraying one character as we repeatedly recast to
replace people who quit.
The $64-question of course, where can Shed
Unless you're a critic, right now only on the festival circuit. We've
just started our festival run, but we should play in a dozen or so cities
all over the USA over the next nine months. After that, we'll pick a small
distributor and release Shed
on DVD and streaming. For updates follow us
shedthemovie/. There's also a one-minute cut of Shed. Yes, you read that right. That's
also on the festival circuit. It plays in Charleston, South Carolina on
June 22 as part of the 60-Second Horror Challenge.
Anything you can tell us about audience and
critical reception of Shed
We played at Motor City Nightmares in Detroit and packed the room.
Great screening. Critics so far have been pretty kind. Most of them
understand that we set out to make a gnarly little 1980s-style monster
movie with an extra few ideas in its head. We mostly succeeded in doing
that, and I think critics realize it.
Any future projects you'd like to share?
Yep. I'm shooting
Lection in South Carolina in the fall of 2019. The
story is basically a local political election in a Mad
Follow that at:
got you into making movies in the first place, and did you receive any
formal education on the subject?
No formal training. I'm a journalist by day and a medieval historian by
education. But I fucking love movies, the weirder the better. And I love
playing make-believe. I also like working in teams with crazy people. So
of course I want to make movies of my own.
What can you tell us
about your filmwork prior to Shed?
Most notably, I wrote and produced
The Theta Girl a couple years ago.
It did well at festivals and got some great reviews. I wrote and directed
a sequel to that movie that kinda went nowhere. Shed
is my first big
project as a writer-director. Lection is going to be my masterpiece.
Unless everybody quits or a hurricane wipes us out.
would you describe yourself as a director?
who inspire you?
Jeremy Saulnier. Yorgos Lanthimos.
Your favourite movies?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Empire Strikes Back, yo. That weird little 1980s tank movie
Beast. Star Trek II.
and of course, films you really deplore?
Fuck, that's a long list. Anything with too much CGI, American flags
flapping in slow-motion or the word "massacre" in the title. Oh,
and Mother!. Which I hate and also love. And also hate.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
How did I pay for
Shed? I worked multiple
for the interview!