Your movie Therapissed
- in a few words, what is it about?
The film is about a slightly twisted psychologist, Dr. Mark Jenkins
(played perfectly by Greg Nemer), who has grown a bit bored with being a
psychologist and dealing with whiny patients, so he begins to toy with
some of his patients by purposely giving them bad advice and encouraging
them to imbibe in acts that almost assuredly will make their lives worse.
Sorry if that's a
bit of a personal question, but ... is any of this based on personal
experience, or in other words, have you ever been in therapy yourself?
And/or other sources of inspiration when writing Therapissed?
none of this is based off personal experience. I simply got to
thinking about what would happen should there be a self-centered
psychologist who really wasn't all that concerned with whether his
patients got better or not. The result was Dr. Mark Jenkins and the
confused, sometimes hapless patients who continue to stream through his
what extent could you identify with your film's lead Dr. Mark Jenkins,
Gosh, I hope not at all! Dr. Jenkins is
such a tool that I hope I'm not like him. I can identify with some
of his patients, though.
Do talk about Therapissed's
brand of humour for a bit!
It's a bit twisted as Dr.
Jenkins tries to ruin the lives of his patients as they put their ultimate
trust in him. Some of the humour, though, is just plain fun or
off-the-wall, especially as Dr. Jenkins falls into reveries and fantasizes
about some of his patients. I love the performances that Ben
Whitehair and Giovanna Leah put forth as the married couple who have a
crumbling relationship - the chemistry between Greg, Ben, and Giovanna was
fantastic as they played off each other. And actor Joe Filippone was
fantastic as a neurotic, insecure patient who is given just awful advice
by Dr. Jenkins.
you've limited yourself to merely a handful of locations - so do talk
about these locations for a bit, and what kind of a challenge was it to
keep things interesting despite of these limitations?
were just two actual locations for the film, but we shot in different
places to represent other locations. The office scenes where the
therapy takes place were all shot in my little studio apartment. All
other scenes for the film (other than the short scene that occurs after
the credits finish rolling that was shot outside my apartment) were shot
at the house that Ben Whitehair was living in at the time. We used
the different rooms of the house for different dwellings - the kitchen and
family room were used for Ben and Giovanna's house while the bedroom,
living room, and dining room were used for Dr. Jenkins's house. I
didn't spend much time worrying about trying to keep things interesting
despite the limitations because on the micro-budget we were working with,
we didn't have much choice!
can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at
It was pretty hands-off most of the time. When
working with such talents as Greg, Ben, Giovanna, Joe, Laurie Clemens
Maier, Libby Baker, Tom Doyle, Ashley Henkle, Elena Chin, Lola Manning,
and Lauren Yormack, a director doesn't have to do much. They all
brought their particular talents to the film, and all I had to do was
occasionally give a cast member a suggestion. And with such talents
as Nick Falls, Gene Yanza, Tom Doyle (Tom pulled double duty on the film
both in front of and behind the camera), John Schmidt, and Adam Madsen
taking care of the crew work, the shoot was smooth and easy at all times.
You also appear in front of the camera in Therapissed,
playing a particularly annoying patient of the movie's lead - so what did
you draw upon to bring your character to life, and have you written him
with yourself in mind from the get-go?
I did write the
character of Chet with myself in mind. I wanted to play a character
who was clueless and a weenie but try to make him believable. He was
a really fun character to play, and the way Dr. Jenkins/Greg played off
Chet was fantastic.
What can you tell
us about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?
I had more than a dozen actors audition for the role of Dr. Jenkins,
and Greg Nemer was the first to audition, and he absolutely nailed the
character. The rest of the day as the actors kept coming through
they had a very high bar to try to overcome, but when it came down to it,
Greg simply was Dr. Jenkins.
With Ben Whitehair and Giovanna Leah, I had worked with Giovanna before
and knew she would be excellent in the role. Ben came to me on the
recommendation of actor Jason W. Griffith (who starred in our feature Evil Intent and our short film
Bad Movies, Good Showers,
and Civil Engineers) who said Ben would be fantastic in the role,
and Jason was right.
Laurie Clemens Maier had auditioned for me previously for Bad
Movies, Good Showers, and Civil Engineers, and while she wasn't
right for a role in that film, I knew she would be awesome playing Eileen,
Dr. Jenkins's wife.
Joe Filippone had been in Bad Movies, Good Showers, and Civil
Engineers, and I knew he would be perfect for his role, and he was.
Joe absolutely nailed his character.
Libby Baker had also been in Bad Movies, Good Showers, and Civil
Engineers (as well as Evil Intent
and later starring
opposite Greg in our comedy Separate Checks), so she was a
no-brainer for her role because she's so talented. Elena Chin had
previously appeared in - guess what - Bad Movies, Good Showers, and
Civil Engineers, so I knew she would be excellentt for Therapissed.
Tom Doyle had auditioned for the role of
Dr. Jenkins, and while he finished second to Greg for landing the role, he
was awesome in his role in the film as one of the patients, adding in the
frantic hand gestures of his character on his own. Ashley Henkle had
auditioned for me previously as well, and I knew she'd be great, so the
following year I cast her in a major role in our action/comedy To
Die is Hard, which Greg played a major role in as well.
Other cast members like Lola Manning and Lauren Yormack were referred
to me by others and were great, and Lauren Wendt and Tara Earle were
students of mine (I'm a part-time college professor) who did a great job
in their supporting roles.
few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
on-set atmosphere was fantastic. Everyone who was part of the cast
and crew was fun and friendly, and we all got along great. The tone
on-set is typically set by the film's lead and the crew members since
those are the people who are around all the time, and while Greg Nemer
played a jerk in the film, he's so bloody funny and fun to be around that
he sets a great tone. Then when we factor in the director of
photography/editor Nick Falls and cameraman Gene Yanza - both of who are
super friendly, fun, and talented - it just adds to the postive vibes on
set. Add in crew members John Schmidt, Adam Madsen, and Tom Doyle,
and we had the recipe for a super fun film shoot. Then when the
other cast members are factored in - all of whom are fun and professional
and showed up knowing their lines - it made for a very easy shoot where I
couldn't have asked for anything more.
was shot in 2010 if I'm not mistaken - so how come it has gotten a release
in early 2018?
I landed a distributor very quickly for the
film after it was completed, but the distributor was struggling, not
making many sales for any of the films they had, and after a couple years
with them, they went out of business without making a single sale of the
film. It didn't take me too much longer to land a new distributor
for the film, and they were able to make one small deal for the film (of
which I never received a penny - I think because it was such an obscure
deal that no one could ever find the film if they were looking for it
because I would google "Therapissed" and the website it was
available on for an inflated price never popped up) in the first year they
had the film. Over the next two years (I had signed a five-year deal
with them) I heard nothing from the distributor, even when I sent them an
email to see what was going on. I finally heard back from them, and
they informed me that the owner of the company had been in a horrific car
accident and suffered severe injuries, which had basically put every film
they had the rights to on hold. They said they would let me out of
the deal if I wanted out, but they asked if I would stick with them as
they tried to get back on their feet, so I did. Alas, nothing
happened with the film, and my contract with them expired at the end of
2017. In late 2017 I had been contacted by the most awesome Harrison
Astroff of StacksTV out of Toronto who was wondering if I had any films
available for distribution, so I told him about Therapissed,
and he gobbled it up and quickly landed it on Amazon
With the film finally available for public consumption, I'm doing my best
to spread the word about Therapissed, which I always thought
was one of our hidden gems.
Anything you can tell us about audience
and critical reception of your movie?
There hasn't been
much response since the film was buried for so long, but when I have held
screenings of the film, it's always been incredibly well received as
viewers really respond to Greg Nemer's performance, Joe Filippone's
off-the-wall excellent performance, Ben Whitehair and Giovanna Leah's
bizarre and amazing chemistry, and Laurie Clemens Maier's fantastic
counter-point to Greg.
Any other past
films of yours ready for release, and any future projects you'd like to
We have a lot of projects cooking away on the stove right now. We
plan to have two feature films ready for release this summer. One of
the them is a horror film titled Paralyzed with Fear that
stars Kane Hodder from the Friday the 13th films, Haidyn
Harvey, Andrea Rabold, Maya Grace, Lauren von Engeln, Will Beckingham, and
Danielle Prall. We also have a comedy feature film titled Poetry Slammed that stars Jonathan Hodges, Clarence Zanders,
Kari Gall, Joe Maurer, and Christopher Butturff that should be ready this
We're also planning to shoot a comedy feature this summer that lampoons
Leo Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilych - the film is titled The Death of Ivan
Nussbaum. The tag line is, "Some
people die with dignity - Ivan Nussbaum isn't one of those people."
The film will star stand-up comic Pete Buchbauer, and we're trying
something different with the film in that two-thirds of it will be
scripted while the other one-third of the film will consist of Pete
working his stand-up material into the film in the context of what's
occurring in the film at that time. The film will also star Kedryn
Carpenter, Kristi McKay, and Jonathan Hodges, all of whom starred in our
film Midget Zombie Takeover.
Finally, I'm trying to find a producer for a reality TV show we'd like
to do titled Bigfoot Psychic (here's a link to the 30-second
teaser we put together for the show -
I've gotten to know a woman who claims to have the psychic ability to
connect with Bigfoot, and she claims to have seen
occasions. I recently spoke with a Hollywood producer who has shown
interest in the film, and a very small network has made an offer for the
show (not a good offer). If I can't land a good deal for the film, I
may set up a Kickstarter campaign this spring to see if we can raise quite
a bit of money to shoot four or five episodes of the show this summer,
then sell the show to a network at that time.
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
My personal website is
Fans can contact me through my website or my Facebook page at
We also have individual Facebook fan pages for many of our films (not Therapissed
though) like Midget Zombie Takeover, Paralyzed with
Fear, To Die is Hard, etc., as well
as for Bigfoot Psychic.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Anything else you're dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
We're all so appreciative of all our fans who have supported our work
over the years - it's the happy, friendly emails and comments we receive
from fans that make it all worthwhile. We also have two other films
that have recently become available on Amazon thanks to Harrison Astroff
and StacksTV, the dark comedy/thriller The Ghosts of Johnson
Woods that stars long-time TV star Joe Bob Briggs
and our horror/comedy Auto Shop of Horrors
Both of those films, as well as Therapissed, are free to watch
for those people who have Amazon Prime, and they're just $1.99 to $2.99 to
stream for those who don't have Prime. Simply watching indie films
supports all of us in the indie film world.
Thanks for the interview!
A million thank yous to (re)Search my Trash and to you, Mike!