Your upcoming webseries Strange! - in a few words, what is it
Strange! is an action/sci-fi/horror/fantasy adventure. It combines dark
comedy with some over the top drama as it tells the story of wizard
detective Crames Manticore as he battles dark disturbing forces in trying
to uncover the truth of who destroyed his teachers and friends.
were your inspirations for creating Strange!, and how did the
project get off the ground?
Strange! is coming off the heels of my first web
series, Raw Heat. Through that show I teamed up with Nick
Fiore who also has his own show called Smut Cave. He came to the premiere
party we had for Raw Heat and we began collaborating after I told him
about my idea for Strange!.The show was able to get off the ground firstly
from Nick wanting to film it for free and help produce it and secondly
with the help of close friends who I worked with before and were excited
by the idea and wanted to be a part of the project. Working a second job
to help fund it and being blessed with some funding from a close friend
and supportive parents all combined to make the first episode possible.
You also play the lead in Strange!
- so do talk about your character for a bit, and what do you draw upon to
bring him to life ... and how much of James Manzo can we find in Crames
Crames Manticore has had his life altered in a severe way when he was
witness to the destruction of the school he grew up in and the deaths of
all those close to him. He is hell-bent on revenge and finding out who or
what caused the destruction. Unlike some other heroís though his true
powers were never fully developed before he found himself on his own, so
he is still somewhat of a novice and slightly unsure of how to go about
navigating through his new life. Iíd have to say Crames taps into some
of the angrier and darker parts of my personality.
Do talk about the rest of your cast
for a bit!
The rest of cast is amazing, I couldnít have been happier with how Nick
played my teacher in the flashbacks, he is incredibly talented not only as
a director and cinematographer but also as a character actor. Brad
Steuerrnagel did an excellent job playing the demon. It was a wonderful
experience seeing their characters come alive. Kris Eivers and Jillian
Vandiveer although arenít in the first episode do make appearances in
the series' teaser and even with out lines did an incredible job. Youíll
be seeing them flex their acting talents as the season goes on.
What can you tell us about the look
and feel of your series?
The look and feel of the show reminds me of something you might see on
the BBC. Nick did an incredible job with the cinematography and not only
achieved the look I was going for but added his own style to it that
really makes the show look like it has a higher budget than it does. If
you like horror films and classic sci fi then youíll love Strange! The
show is meant to feel like everything and nothing youíd expect from a
web series if that makes sense.
Do talk about your
director/partner-in-crime Nick Fiore for a bit, and what's your
The nice thing about Nick is that he isnít
afraid to experiment and is fully in touch with his dark and disturbed
side. So really nothing I could come up with would shock him and he is
always on board for just about anything. I almost liken our relationship
to that of Walt and Jesse in Breaking Bad, me being the slightly older at
times ornery producer to his more laid back younger director/co-producer.
Thankfully though Nick isnít smoking crystal meth and I am not trying to
be some kind of drug kingpin. Strange!
is ambitious but not that ambitious. Overall though our collaborations
are fun and brain-storming ideas with Nick is one of the highlights of my
day, especially after spending it in a cubicle for 8 hours. It's been a pleasure working
with him and collaborating with him and I joke that if Raw Heat
accomplished anything it brought Nick and I together to make Strange!.
Despite done on a very modest
budget, Strange! features quite a number of complex special effects
- so how do you manage, and what can you tell us about the effects as
Let's just say I am very lucky and blessed to be surrounded by
talented friends who are willing to work on the cheap. Joy Fields handled
all of the composite effects, like the fire coming out of the demons mouth
to adding smoke effects and layering in the fear bat. Bill Stout
constructed the fear bat from scratch and animated it. They sacrificed a
lot of time for the project and did such an incredible job. Michael Clark
added the skin to the fear bat which was beautifully detailed.
On the practical
effects/make up side we had Ingrid Dubberke and Paul Mafuz who supplied
the fake blood and turned Brad into the demon with what I consider an
award winning make up job. They also had the joy of blasting me in the
fast with a liter of blood.
So how are you
going to proceed with the series - and any idea when and where your series is going to be released
onto the general public yet?
Now that we have raised some money we will
begin planning and filming the next episodes, which we already started a
couple weeks ago. Theyíll all be released on various video sites such as
Youtube, Dailymotion, Blip TV and Vimeo. When is a little open ended at
the moment as there is a lot of planning and scheduling that needs to be
Any future projects beyond
At the moment the only future project is going back and doing another
season of Raw Heat!
What got you into the
filmworld to begin with, and did you receive any formal training on the
My best friend Sofian Khan got me into film back in 8th grade.
All the training Iíve received for film making has come from experience.
I never went to film school. Acting on the other hand Iíve had about a
year and a half of classes.
What can you tell us about your filmwork prior
Most of it involved making short films with Sofian back in 2003 and
working on Pakistani soap operas with director/writer Mehreen Jebarr. Back
then I did mostly AD work and handled many other facets of production as
everything we did was low budget and with a small crew.
How would you describe yourself as
an actor, writer, producer, ...?
I guess Iíll let my work describe me, I am
terrible at describing myself.
Actors and filmmakers
who inspire you?
Filmmakers: Terry Gilliam, Alfonso
Cuarůn, the Coen brothers, Paul
Thomas Anderson and Wes Anderson, Terrence Malick
Actors: Denzel Washington, Michael Cera, Kevin
Spacey, Daniel Day Lewis, Philip Seymor Hoffman, Bruce Willis
Your favourite movies?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Die Hard 1, 2 and 3, Motorcycle Diaries, City of
God, Predator, Alien and
Aliens, Thin Red Line, There Will be Blood, Beetlejucie,
Bullet, Menace to Society, Juice, Above the Rim,
Brasil, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen,
Time Bandits, Willow, Blade Runner, Y Tu Mama
MagnoliaÖ the list goes on.
and of course, films you really deplore?
Anything Jerry Bruckheimerís produced and
series' website, Facebook, Kickstarter, whatever else?
Nicks show Smut Cave
for the interview!