Your upcoming movie Routines - in a few words, what is it about?
Routines is the story of a washed-up, overly offensive stand-up comedian who
succumbs to loneliness and self-destruction after witnessing the murder of his
only love; a young, crazy nymphomaniac.
Your movie's poster describes Routines as a stand-up
tragedy - care to elaborate on this unusual genre of yours?
took the term “stand-up tragedy” from performance artist Brother
Theodore. Essentially, it is a performance that disturbs and provokes,
rather than makes one laugh. Also, think Andy Kaufman.
what can you tell us about your movie's brand of comedy then?
is a dark character study about an unfunny comedian. Likewise, the
film’s “humor” is intended to disturb and provoke rather than make
one laugh. Much like watching a very awkward comedy set.
were your overall sources of inspiration when writing Routines?
was inspired by ‘80s stand-up comics who are considered “hackneyed”
or “offensive”. Morning radio show DJ “humor”. And prop comics like
will be recorded in "binaural audio" - care to elaborate on this
technique for a bit, and why did you choose it for your movie?
audio recording is a technique that utilizes two microphones, one on
either side of the actor’s head. When played back through headphones, it
gives the listener the effect that they are in the environment where the
sound was actually recorded (a “3D sound” effect). It is usually used
for concert and stage productions. Since most movies are shown in
theaters, recording binaural audio wouldn’t make sense. But now that
many films are watched via VOD, you can simply plug your headphones into
your computer or smartphone. I intend to use this technique to transport
the viewer directly into our main character’s auditory headspace. The
film is about our main protagonist, and binaural audio will allow for a
more subjective cinematic experience.
Bill Oberst jr
can you tell us about the intended overall look and feel of Routines?
Routines will be shot in Chicago, a hotbed for legendary stand-up comedy. We found
an old theater to shoot in, and will be filming in homes still decorated
with outdated furniture. The point of this is to make the viewer never
quite sure what time period we are in. We will never leave our main
character. The film will have an underlying dread and awkwardness created
by uncomfortable close-ups. It will be shot digitally.
Bill Oberst jr [Bill Oberst jr
interview - click here] and Lynn Lowry, Routines stars two
greats of the horror genre in the leads - so why them, and how did you get
Lynn Lowry actually contacted me about being in
the film. She saw our page on Facebook and messaged me about possibly
being in the film. I had just begun casting, and I thought that casting
her against type, as the single mother of a mentally ill young woman,
would be something that no one has seen. Bill, however, is a different
story. Casting the lead for this film was extremely difficult. I’ve had
everyone from David Koechner to John Hawkes turn down this role. At one
point, Will Sasso really wanted to do it. But the fact that I had zero
funds at the time was a huge problem. Finally, I talked to Lynn Lowry’s
manager, Matt Chassin, who just so happened to be Bill Oberst jr’s manager.
He gave the script to Bill, and, luckily, Bill was game to do it.
What can you tell us about the rest of your
cast, and why exactly these people?
Well, you may find this
hard to believe, but even if everyone says “they love your script”,
it’s still very, very hard to find good actors willing to commit to a
project. It took me 4 whole years to find Bill. As for the rest of the
cast, I’d rather not comment as of yet, but there will be announcements
As far as I know, Routines
is still in its fundraising stages as we speak - so what can you tell us
about your campaign?
Yes, the campaign is currently
running. Every backer will get a digital download of the film. There are
plenty of other perks as well. You can contribute here:
Once the funds are raised, what's
the schedule? And even though it might be waaay to early to ask, any idea
when and where the film might be released onto the general public yet?
already have a distribution deal for VOD, from Glass House
Even if we don’t make our goal, we will begin production in
mid-September. Because of the small amount of funds at our disposal, we
will be filming this project in segments (in chronological order).
Unfortunately, I can only give you the date I hope to have the film
finished (including post-production). Which is a year from our start date
in September. After that, it will be available on Amazon, iTunes, and
Google Play (hopefully Netflix).
future projects beyond Routines you'd like to share?
did direct a few horror shorts for Amateur Porn Star Killer director
Shane Ryan [Shane Ryan
interview - click here], which he will be releasing in a few upcoming horror
anthologies he is working on. But you will need to ask him about those.
got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal
training on the subject?
I’ve always wanted to tell
stories. When I was 10 (or 11) I wanted to write novels. I think it was
when I discovered Stephen King. At some point I decided I wanted to be a
filmmaker. I don’t even remember. I saw RoboCop when I was 8, and that
had a big influence on me. But I still wanted to write, first and
foremost. I taught myself how to write in the proper screenplay format
when I was 14. I bought a bunch of books on the subject. But all those
books were full of crap. All you need to know is the format. Everything
else is nonsense. I did go to film school (when I was 18). But the only
good thing about film school was networking and meeting friends. I ended
up getting kicked out because I argued with the staff too much. But I got
kicked out of every school I went to. (I have Asperger’s, a form of
Autism. Which is a long story for a different interview.)
What can you tell us about your
filmwork prior to Routines?
I wrote a film called Ashley, which was released in 2013 on VOD. It stars
Top Model winner Nicole Fox and Michael Madsen. It’s a film about a
teenage lesbian cutter, which is based on some of my close friends growing
up. You can watch it here:
How would you
describe yourself as a director?
If an actor wants to
change a line, fine. By giving actors more freedom, and less instruction,
you’ll find that you get more believable performances out of them. Also,
if a crew member has a suggestion, I listen. I don’t believe in “set
rank”. I believe that everyone’s opinion should be valid. Anyone
should be able to call out the director’s bullshit. I think this comes
from getting talked down to by so many teachers in school because of my
Asperger’s. So I listen to everyone.
Filmmakers who inspire
Pier Paolo Pasolini, Abel Ferrara, David Cronenberg,
David Lynch, Werner Herzog.
Your favourite movies?
Bad Lieutnant (the 1992 Abel Ferrara version with Harvey Keitel),
Blue Velvet (by Lynch), Happiness (by Todd Solondz), In
the Realm of the Senses (by Nagisa Oshima), The
Devils (by Ken Russell).
... and of
course, films you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
The remake of The Vanishing. That movie is the best/worst example of Hollywood taking a
perfect film and shitting all over it. Shitty remakes don’t bother me
anymore because nothing will ever be as stupid and condescending as the
ending of the remake of The Vanishing. Also, Tyler Perry’s For
Colored Girls. All of Tyler Perry’s movie suck, but at least they are his
movies. With For Colored Girls, he had to take the words of a brilliant
playwright and turn them into his usual Lifetime movie nonsense, with a
view of AIDS that seems stuck in the 1980s.
website, Facebook, IndieGoGo, whatever else?
Routines Facebook -
Routines IndieGoGo -
for the interview!