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An Interview with Michael J. Schaefer, Star and Behind-the-Scenes Jack-of-All-Trades of Legend of the Red Reaper

by Mike Haberfelner

November 2013

Michael J. Schaefer on (re)Search my Trash


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First of all, why don't you introduce yourself to those of us who don't already know you?


Michael J. Schaefer, veteran of Renaissance Festivals, singer, actor and a general huge fan of redheads!


As far as I know, you have worked in numerous positions on Legend of the Red Reaper - so could you please specify?


Associate Producer, Actor, Stunt Performer, Craft Services, Transportation Supervisor ... and there is also a version of a Comic Book roaming around somewhere that I wrote.


To what extent could you relate to Legend of the Red Reaper's fantasy theme?


Oh, It's The Hero's Journey to a T. We all have to go through that at some point in our lives. Confront our fears, our hopes, our desires. Be Strong yet be humble enough to seek help from trusted adversaries during the face of darkness, both external and internal! Classic human (and Reaper) psyche!


How did you get hooked up with the project in the first place?


I saw a repost of the casting from a mutual friend of Tara [Tara Cardinal interview - click here] and mine. They asked for people who had experience with stage combat, and their own costumes/weapons. So I dusted off my old garb, and filled out an acting resume to send Tara.

It was a funny reply, at the time I was 6'5 and weighed 500 pounds. And When Tara called me back, she sweetly asked "is this true... are you REALLY... (awkward pause for proper phrasing) ... 6'5"?? I said Yes, and the weight is right too... She immediately invited me aboard.


Do talk about Legend of the Red Reaper's director/producer/star/creator Tara Cardinal [Tara Cardinal interview - click here] for a bit, and what was your collaboration like? And based on your experiences on Legend of the Red Reaper, could you ever be tempted work with her again?


It was awesome -  at first it was simply in my role as Goran. But I had never been on any type of movie set before, and I like to learn new things by observing, so I offered to help out driving. One night after a long night of shooting in New Smyrna Beach, I was driving Tara back to the cast house, and just saw how drained she was from not only her job as the lead actress, but from everything else behind the scenes she had to deal with, endure, and fix. It hit a soft spot with me so I made helping her out a priority. So many people were giving her the brunt of their hostility, and they didn't see that she was making herself sick trying to fix things to make life easier for them.

She is an AMAZINGLY driven woman, and over the years we have become great friends, I think mostly because she knows that I have her back, but I'm not just going to tell her what she wants to hear. At times I do, after all... REDHEAD!!

I would work with her again in a heartbeat! Someone has to remind her to eat (even those NASTY COTTAGE CHEESE Egg things she created)!


Do talk about the shoot as such for a bit, and the on-set atmosphere!


I think you have to break that question down into separate parts, after all there were several shoots within the shoot. At first, it was smooth enough... then as with most lower budgeted things, when things get tight, it gets a little crazy, bringing in people who are used to things operating a certain way, and then, trying to convince them they wanna go gorilla is hard work. Jane Goodall had NOTHING on our set at times.


Other parts of it were straight-up nuts, with new things being tweaked, added, and edited on the fly. Locations being secured, than yanked out from underneath us... But no matter what we always had FUN as a cast. We kept it light on set to keep sprits higher.


I'm Italian, and learned from my Sicilian Mother that when you feed people well, they're happier. So my primary job the second go around became feeding everyone. And making sure that no matter what other craziness ensued, food was hot, tasty, and plentiful. Rare on a indie project (unless you're smart, then make crafty a budget priority),


Any future projects you'd like to share?


If something comes along, I'll always entertain it.  My time of late has been much more limited, focusing on getting myself healthier. I've recently lost 145 pounds, so, I'm pretty tied up making that happen.  I've done more producing lately than anything else on camera... but again, if something came along that I liked a hole bunch, I'd entertain it!


You have also worked on quite a few films directed by Joe Hollow [Joe Hollow interview - click here], right? So what can you tell us about the films you worked on with him, and what's your collaboration with him usually like?


I've worked on 3 Joe Hollow Films. The Family, Disciples, and A Blood Story, on A Blood Story I had the pleasure of being a Co-Executive Producer. A tremendous experience and opportunity to work with some real heavyweights in the horror scene! The Family will be my favorite though, because I got to be a really bad guy that Joe and Wolfgang dubbed "Mr. Creeeepppyyyy"

Working with Joe is always an amazing experience. He really has a top notch team that he works with, and that group is going to do great things, mark my words. Extremely dedicated to one another. When you get talent and passion together, Look Out, only great things can happen. It reminded me of the group associated with Legend of the Red Reaper... it's not coincidence that I met Joe through there!


How did you get into the film world to begin with, and what can you tell us about the film scene in your neck of the woods?


I described this earlier, but to follow up, I am a movie BUFF, and have a rather extensive collection of cheesy vampire DVDs... so I was kinda drawn to the low budget film scene.

In my neck of the woods, if youre a scientologist, or filming a movie about a dolphin... come on down! I kid, I kid... (only come if its about the dolphin!)


Filmmakers who inspire you?


I am a HUGE fan of the movies that make something out of nothing! The original Blair Witch, or Paranormal Activity

Clerks - things like that really make me happy. So also Kevin Smith, Robert Rodriguez, Chris Nolan (as I am a Batman junkie).


Your favourite movies?


Chris Nolans's Batman Trilogy, MOST superhero movies, original Highlander, Valmont, anything Disney Animation or Pixar. I'm a big fan of movies that make you think. ClosetLand, one of the best movies 17 people have ever heard of. Love movies that have a reason for the scenes to be in them - the "STORY WITHIN A STORY". I also like feel-good types of movies. I still go to movies primarily to be entertained, and forget about things for a couple hours - so if a movie can do that, I'M A FAN regardless of genre.


... and of course, films you really deplore?


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Oh my, here's where I lose some street cred: I dislike MOST Quentin Tarantino movies, films that jump all over, out of order drive me insane (I don't want to see a character die on the toilet, then have to watch another hour of him still acting after it). Or any movie that totally bastardizes a mythos (cough cough TWILIGHT SAGA) (side note, Meyer actually did a decent job on the werewolves, but man she butt-raped vampires almost as badly as Indiana Jones got it in that last Crystal Skull-crapfest!)


Your website, Facebook, whatever else?


Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


You never asked How I was feeling!

I'm wonderful, thank you for asking!


Thanks for the interview!


My pleasure!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD