You have a new film you are working on, with the working title of
Marla Mae. What is this about?
Marla Mae gets a free IUD from her childhood friend who’s now a doctor.
The IUD turns out to be an experimental device that the doctor has been
working on, that violently murders her boyfriend during sex. I don’t
think I should say much more because it would spoil it.
How did you come up with the title?
About 2 years ago my 18 year old shit-tzu (Ewok) died. I was pretty much
a mess for over a year. I needed puppy time, but wasn’t ready to jump
back into a serious commitment, so I started fostering through a
non-profit no-kill shelter in Austin. Marla Mae was a blind, fat
shelter chihuahua that I fostered. After about 3 months, my boyfriend
and I realized she was WAY too special to not keep. I started writing
this script the week we got her and named the main character after her.
She was supposed to be in the movie playing a not blind dog named
“Meeba”. She got really sick and died. We miss her a lot.
Why define it as a "Chick Flick Horror Film?"
Because I thought “feminist horror” would rub people the wrong way… Kind
of kidding. I wanted to make a horror movie with more of a plot and the
drama that is sometimes lacking in low-budget gore films. Those films
are fucking great to watch with a group of people when you’re making
jokes and talking in between kill scenes, but I know a lot of my
girlfriends growing up thought they were stupid. I want to turn girls on
You've expressed a love for horror, but not the female portrayal in
the same? What would you change about the genre?
All girls do in most horror movies is flash their boobs, be scared and
get slaughtered after making a stupid decision. I know there are
exceptions to that, but rarely is the female lead a hero or brave or
smart. I want female characters that I can relate to - I hate thinking
“no, don’t go in there!”
Lisa with Marla Mae
You operate out of Olympia, Washington. This is not only the state
capitol, but said to be a hotly cultural area. True?
Uhhhh… I grew up here, so I’m not really enamored with it the way a lot
of people are. But Olympia is a good place to try to be an artist. The
city lets filmakers film on city property without any permits or
anything - that’s cool.
What stage of development is the picture in?
We have one more rehearsal with the full cast tomorrow - then we start
shooting! We’re shooting til the end of July and then should be done
with post by the fall.
And you've NEVER done a film
I did craft services in Austin on a Chrystler commercial… Oh, and I was
an extra on an ABC show for a couple of days. So, no, I’ve never done
Wouldn't it have been wiser to try to do a short film or two before
going into a feature?
That’s what people keep telling me, but here’s the thing. I don’t watch
short films, most people don't. The pre-production is almost the same
amount of work, but short films don’t go anywhere. I spent over a year
writing my script - it would’ve taken less time to write a shorter
script, but I’d rather go big and make something that people will
actually watch (and hopefully like).
You have not worked in film, but have done a good deal of writing,
correct, as with the one alternative paper you created?
When we got to Austin, my boyfriend and I decided to start a newspaper
(his idea). I basically had to write for it out of necessity for
content. I’m not a very good writer, but I can write things if I have
to. I wrote a column under a fake name about working in restaurants in
Austin. It was called “Served”. I was trying to get waiters to revolt
against the $2.13 tipped employee minimum wage, but mostly I got called
a whiney baby and to go back where I came from. After the paper fizzled,
I really wanted to make a movie, but didn’t want to write a script. I
shopped around a little but couldn’t find anything I liked so I just
said fuck it, I have to do it myself. The first draft was 300 pages. The
current script (I’ve done about 100 rewrites) is 115 pages and I don’t
think it has a single scene from the original script.
If this clicks and comes to pass, do you have other ideas for more
Oh yeah! I’ve got two really good ones. I think these scripts will take
way less time to write because I actually know what I’m doing this time.
What are you doing for funding, crew and cast?
Well, we had originally planned on filming in Austin. Things weren’t
lining up there (our crew kept dropping off and wanting too much money), so we decided to do it here because we were moving back anyway. When I
got here I had to start from scratch. I’ve managed to find everyone we
need on the internet (mostly craigslist, but some film forums too). I
just got really lucky on crew. I found an amazing DP with a lot of
experience and equipment (we’re shooting on a RED). I held auditions in
Seattle and Olympia and managed to find all my cast. The rest of the
crew has just been coming out of the woodwork. It’s amazing, because
almost everyone here is willing to work for credits or just to get
experience, which certainly wasn’t the case in Austin. We have a tiny
budget, our Kickstarter failed, so we are basically running on fumes.
We’ll have to do some crowdfunding to get through post, but we’re
partnering with Adventus Films and they are going to help out a lot with
Has the regional artistic community given you any advice or help? I
know there's a film society in Olympia.
My friend from high school, Zach Weintraub, went to film school and has
shot several features in Olympia. As soon as I finished the script I
called him up and picked his brain. He put me in touch with Kanako who
has done sound for him here. She’s been really helpful too. But I’m not
very plugged into the film scene here because I haven’t been here for 6
years and I wasn’t making movies when I left. I’m realizing it’s a
really tight-knit community though because half of my actors have worked
together a lot and know our DP from previous projects.
You mention a love for horror films. What are your favorites?
My all time favorite horror movie actually doesn’t have a
female in the entire thing. Obviously I’m talking about Bad
seen that movie about 500 times. I love most of Peter Jackson’s early
stuff. Pet Semetary was good when I first saw it, but I can relate even
more since Ewok and Marla Mae died. Nightmare on Elm Street and
the 13th are always good. Oh yeah, I love Sleepaway Camp too. One that
is so dumb but so good is Redneck
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Oh gawd, I love to hate! I really hate most horror that’s been
the last 10 years. All the Saw movies were complete garbage, I refuse to
watch the Paranormal Activity movies. I really hate what I call
“nu-metal horror” where it’s just loud noises and jerky editing, and
black blood and you’re supposed to jump in your seat a lot, but when
it’s over you realize that the movie wasn’t really scary and you just
wasted two hours of your life.
Is there anything you would like to add about your personal
background, interest in film or other topics?
I want to puppy-sit for you! Please, send me your puppy or old dog,
especially if they’re lickers.
Perhaps we can do another interview once everything is finished?
Thanks for the interview!