Your movie Monsters
in the Woods - in a few words, what is it about?
The title says it all.
the Woods being a monster movie - is that a genre at all dear to
you, and some of your genre favourites?
I do love me some
monster movies. Alien/Aliens (I think the influence there is pretty
obvious). Frankenstein (both 1931 and 1994 versions). I also think
in the Woods
has a pretty solid Bride of Frankenstein thing going one.
Critters. Gremlins. Friday the 13th (not exactly a monster flick), to name a few.
With the events
in the Woods taking place on a low budget horror movie set, is
any of the movie based on personal experiences?
in the Woods
is my most personal movie so far. It was born out
of the frustration I was feeling trying to sell my previous movie Trap.
Trap was a fairly realistic drama/thriller and one sales rep suggested
that I cut monster scenes into it to increase sales potential. It was so
ridiculous that I wrote Monsters
in the Woods
*** post note, I sold Trap right after Monsters
in the Woods, and to a better distributor.
The Tom/Ariel relationship was also based on a break-up I was going
through with a co-worker.
sources of inspiration when writing Monsters
in the Woods?
The original structure of the movie
was very Tarantino influenced.
I'm also a big Joss Whedon
fan. The way he manages tone is amazing.
What can you tell us about your
directorial approach to your story at hand?
As far as working with the actors, I'm a big believer in letting them
find their characters, hiring the right folk and giving them enough
takes, or rehearsal to find the truth of that particular moment. Of
course on such a low budget there's not always time to allow them to get
there on their own. You also have to hire people that can handle the
shooting conditions. No trailers. No huge crafty spread.
My original plan for the shooting style was to shoot the first 15
minutes (or first act) handheld-found footage style from the perspective
of the BTS crew. Then, during
the massacre (start of act 2) it would switch to calmer, stable, dolly,
steady cam, jib etc... then
in the third act it would go a little more frenetic.
Unfortunately, due to some major on-set complications at the beginning,
I had to throw all of that out and just shoot from the hip.
in the Woods' brand of humour for a bit!
always had an off-beat dry sense of humor. It works its way into
everything I do. I also really like awkward humor, which doesn't always
translate well on low budget stuff. People often mistake an intentional
awkward moment for incompetence. Finding that line is always a challenge.
titular monsters - how were they conceived?
classic 50's style creatures. Creature from the
Black Lagoon mixed with Alien. They were originally designed by Robert M. Bravo (producer) and
were eventually executed by Tom Devlin's 1313
FX. Of course they were on an
extremely fixed budget, but pulled it off well.
What can you
tell us about your key cast, and why exactly these people?
Casting is the most important part of any production. Casting for a
super-low budget movie is even more complicated. First off, you can't
really afford to hire too many seasoned pros. Glenn Plummer
and Lee Perkins were the only two actors in the movie with extensive
resumes at the time. I'd worked with Annemarie Pazmino
and Ashton Blanchard before and knew they could handle the demands.
They're two of my all-time favorite actors.
But there were some others that were "suggested" by producers,
and wanting to get the movie done, I caved.
the Woods being and outdoors movie - what can you tell us about
your locations, and what were the challenges filming there?
shot most of the woods stuff in Big Bear. It was a huge mistake. It was a
three hour drive from LA and the lodging expenses killed us. In
retrospect, I would have shot it much closer to LA and kept the money on
the screen. I ended up doing some pick ups in a state park in Malibu and
it actually looked better than the Big Bear stuff.
talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
It was pretty fun set. It was tough though. Shooting in Big Bear, we had
to hike 15 minutes everyday to get to the set. I actually lost about 10
pounds on that shoot and I'm already a pretty small guy.
We had a few problems in the first day or two, but we removed (fired)
the problem and things were pretty fun after that.
few words about audience and critical reception of your movie?
love feedback, good or bad. Of course you always want people to like your
stuff and it's great to bask in positive response. But I also just like to
know that people are watching it. That it's out there.
future projects you'd like to share?
So many. I'm putting
together a slate of features for my most recent distributor.
website, Facebook, whatever else?
Anything else you are
dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
I signed a not particularly good distribution deal with a company that's
not even trying to get my movie out there. It's frustrating because I've
since sold 10 other movies and every distributor and sales agent
I've dealt with all tell me they would've sold the shit out of Monsters
in the Woods.
The film's current distributor:
... if you want to see our movie, drop these guys an email or post on their Facebook.
Let them know there's a demand. Maybe they'll get off their butts.
Or hell, pirate it. I'm not making any money on it anyway. I'd like to
see it out there more.
for the interview!