Your new movie Poetry Slammed - in a few words, what is it
It's a film that lampoons the sometimes overly-serious poetry slam
community. In the film, slammer Hex-Man D-Lord is coached by Julius
to get him ready for the Ultra States Poetry Slam, which is the most
prestigious poetry slam in the world.
Your personal thoughts about "poetry
slams", and what inspired you to make a comedy about the subject?
limited experience with poetry slams is that the participants sometimes
take themselves a bit too seriously, as if every word they speak is the
most important, monumental word ever spoken. With this in mind, it
seemed like a natural comedy leap to simply push that thought a little bit
farther to bring some humor to the world of poetry slams. That being
said, I have seen some really talented poetry slammers.
sources of inspiration when writing Poetry Slammed?
a small extent I would say the film Nacho Libre in that I see
the main character in Poetry Slammed, Hex-Man D-Lord (played
wonderfully by actor Jonathan Hodges), as being a bit like Nacho in that
he's using unconventional methods to attain his dream. I also drew a
bit from our earlier film Therapissed where one of the
characters who's getting psychological help decides he wants to perform a
poem at an open mic night, and it doesn't go anything close to as well as
he hoped it would.
question maybe, have you ever tried to write (serious) poetry yourself?
wrote a book titled Guernica Still Burning that is one long
stream-of-consciousness poem. We ended up making a short film based
off the book that is also titled Guernica Still Burning - people
can watch it here at https://youtu.be/YPHsW43i4rY. The film was
rather well-received at festivals. Some of the dialogue in Poetry Slammed delivered by Hex-Man and his arch-nemesis
Groove (played awsomely by Joe Maurer) is straight out of the book, though
the majority of poetry in Poetry Slammed is appropriately new,
self-serving, and dreadful, and it largely focuses on Hex-Man and The
Groove being mad at their parents for basically everything the parents
said and did as they grew up.
can you tell us about Poetry Slammed's brand of humour then?
certainly lampoon people who maybe take themselves a bit too seriously.
The humour is also self-deprecating at times, and it's absurd at
other times. We also have a young African American poet in the film
(played with pure fun and exuberance by Clarence Zanders) who ends every
one of his poems by screaming out "KILL WHITEY!," which really
makes me laugh. We also worked in a little lampooning of romantic
comedies when it came to the relationship the develops between Hex-Man and
Chelsea (played by Kari Gall, who did a fantastic job).
talk about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?
usual, I kept my directing to a minimum, allowing my wonderfully talented
cast members to bring their own interpretations to their characters.
Occasionally I'd have one of the cast members do something a little
differently if I had a very concrete notion in my head for the exact
facial expression or voice inflection I wanted for a particular shot, but
by and large the cast members made their characters their own. When
it came to the actual shooting of the film, DP Molly Brown and I were
pretty much on the same page throughout the shoot on what shots we wanted
also appear in front of the camera in Poetry Slammed - so what can
you tell us about your character, what did you draw upon to bring him to
life, and have you written him with yourself in mind from the get-go?
on in the process of writing the script I knew I wanted to play the role
of Julius, so I tailored the role for what I think are my strongest
attributes, which primarily consists of making sure my lines are limited
and easy to remember. Julius is a retired poetry slammer, and the
film opens with Julius arriving at Hex-Man's house to tell Hex-Man - not
ask him - that Julius is now taking over as Hex-Man's coach to prepare
Hex-Man for the upcoming Ultra States Poetry Slam, which is only the most
important poetry slam in the world. Julius is a take-charge,
no-nonsense kind of guy who drives Hex-Man to become the best poetry
slammer he can be, and who also drives Hex-Man crazy at times. To
bring Julius to life I wanted to make sure he wasn't a caricature, that
even though he can be over-the-top at times, he's still believable. He
has a backstory that is revealed as the film moves along, so hopefully
viewers will find Julius interesting and engaging, as well as funny.
can you tell us about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?
cast was awesome. Jonathan Hodges, who plays the lead, was in our
2013 film Midget Zombie Takeover, so I knew he was talented and fun
to work with. Joe Maurer had worked with me as both a cast and crew
member in our horror film Paralyzed with Fear that stars Kane
Hodder and should be ready for release late this year, and Joe and I had
actually gone together (the day after the shoot for Paralyzed with Fear wrapped)
to The Stanley Hotel, the hotel that inspired Stephen King to write The
Shining, and we had a fun time doing that, so I knew Joe would be
great to work with again. With Christopher Butturff, I had seen him
do both theater and short film work, so I knew he was really talented,
plus, we had met years ago when I spoke at a film festival in Ohio, and we
hit it off right from the start. And when it came to Clarence
Zanders and Kari Gall, I received recommendations from other cast members
and from DP/editor Molly Brown about their talents, and everything I heard
about both of them was true because they were both fantastic!
few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
worked quickly - all total we only spent about sixteen hours actually
filming, though those hours were parsed out over four days and two
weekends. The on-set atmosphere was a blast. Everyone got
along great, and there was a lot of laughing. Our sound guy was
Clinton Wood, who handled the sound for Midget Zombie Takeover, and
Clinton was a lot of fun to work with again. And I had never worked
with DP/editor Molly Brown before, but Molly was fun and talented and
super easy to work with. So the shoot was smooth and fun - just the
way I like a shoot to go!
$64-question of course, when and where will the movie be released onto the
general public, however tentatively?
The film may be ready
before the year is done, but we'll have to wait and see. I've
already talked with a comedy club owner about him possibly hosting the
premiere of the film at his comedy club in Fort Wayne, Indiana (where we
shot the film), but nothing is set in stone yet. Since we're really
picking up a lot of traction these days with getting various releases for
our films - the DVD release of our film The Worst Movie EVER! is
June 13 while the DVD release of Midget Zombie Takeover is
August 8 (both films can be purchased on the websites for Walmart, Target,
Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon), and the Blu-ray releases of all
nine of our already completed feature films will be coming later this year
from LeglessCorpse/Back Aisle Video (including our films Auto Shop of
Horrors, The Ghosts of Johnson Woods that stars Joe Bob
Briggs, To Die is Hard, and Evil Intent) - hopefully we can
use this momentum with Poetry Slammed to find a
distributor who'll be able to make it available to the public.
Any future projects
you'd like to share?
I've reached a verbal agreement with
stand-up comic Pete Buchbauer for him to play the lead role in a comedy
feature I hope to shoot in 2018 that will be a lampooning of Leo Tolstoy's
The Death of Ivan Ilych. The film version is tentatively
titled The Death of Ivan Nussbaum, and the tagline is "Some
people die with dignity - Ivan Nussbaum isn't one of those people."
The script isn't written yet, but the idea is that the dying Ivan,
played by Pete, will basically become a self-centered moron when he finds
out that he's dying, and he will constantly be going off on tangents as
he's talking with people, and these tangents will consist of Pete's
stand-up material. If we can get this film shot it should be a great
combination of film and stand-up comedy.
Your/your movie's website,
Facebook, whatever else?
Here's a link to where people can
watch the trailer for the film: https://youtu.be/kLFjcoG461s
personal Facebook page people can contact me through or check for film
updates is https://www.facebook.com/glenn.berggoetz
personal website that I use for booking speaking engagements is
For people interested in purchasing the DVD for The Worst Movie
EVER! they can go to
For those who are interested in pre-ordering Midget Zombie
Takeover in advance of its August release, they can go to
And the page for purchasing Blu-rays on the LeglessCorpse
website (for when our films are available there) is
Anything else you're dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
I hope fans
will keep an eye out for the releases of Poetry Slammed and Paralyzed
with Fear later this year, and anyone who is interested in donating to
the shoot of The Death of Ivan Nussbaum in exchange for an
executive producer or producer credit should get hold of me through my
Facebook page. Finally, thanks a million for chatting with me!