Your new movie Beast:
A Monster Among Men - in a few words, what is it about?
At the core I suppose it's about friendships and what we choose to
ignore in the people we are close with.
I found interesting about Beast:
A Monster Among Men is that it on one hand works as a proper
slasher movie, but on the other makes strong statements on bullying, rape
culture and the like - so what were your inspirations when writing the
film, and what can you tell us about your co-writer Darren Flores and your
collaboration with him?
I have always wanted to make films
so I tried to write something that I could conceivably make on my own for
a very low budget. Being a fan of horror films I thought that it would be
great to tell a story that was on one hand a typical type horror film but
on the other hand I really wanted to give the characters some depth and
tell a story about people's flawed natures and the secrets friends keep
from one another while also turning a blind eye to things merely out of
the discomfort of confrontation.
I had written my first draft of Beast:
A Monster Among Men probably 8 to 10 years ago and just
put it away. When Darren Flores, a lifetime friend, moved to Vegas I told
him about it and we went through the original script and pulled it apart,
expanding it and adding depth to the story and characters.
Most of the murders in Beast:
A Monster Among Men are kept off-screen - merely a budgetary
decision, or was there more to it?
One of my favorite books
was And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. I loved the way the story
was laid out and that she hid the killer in a very clever way. With every
death you continue to only really eliminate a suspect and when we are left
with the last two characters something very unexpected happens. I loved
that mystery and uncertainty and really wanted to tell a story in a very
How would you
describe the look and feel of Beast:
A Monster Among Men?
I tried very hard to go for a
dark uncomfortable, and dreary look to mirror the relationship between the
characters in the film.
T.J. Lavin, Mike Lenzini
You also play a key
character in Beast:
A Monster Among Men - so what can you tell us about your role, your
approach, and Mike Lenzini, the actor, of course?
have always thought it would be a lot of fun to try out acting, and this
was a great opportunity to really give it a shot. I chose the character of
Bill because I felt like he was a bit more relatable for me and wouldn't
be too tough to tackle.
few words about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?
had a tough time casting, mostly because I was a first time filmmaker,
however I was VERY fortunate that I found a group of actors who really
believed in the project and gave it their all! Many of the actors were
also key components on the crew as well.
talk about your remote (?) location for a bit, and what were the
advantages of filming there, but maybe also the challenges?
the only challenge was with scheduling, because of the remote location.
The cast and crew all went up to Duck Creek, UT and bunked together in
three cabins. This was really a great experience and a huge help as I felt
it afforded everyone the opportunity to get closer to one another and
create a great atmosphere on set.
can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
shot the entire film in 9 long and grueling days. The cast and crew was
really amazing and endured the lack of sleep and tough scheduling.
talk about critical and audience reception of Beast:
A Monster Among Men for a bit if you can!
a huge fear of mine going into this project. When we screened our film the
first night at the Palms Casino I was terrified that people wouldn't get
it and think I was crazy. In the end though we really got a great
response from our audience and it felt amazing!
As for critics who have given us a write up it's been about fifty fifty
which honestly is great. I try to focus on the good while considering the
criticism in order to make myself a better filmmaker.
future projects you'd like to share?
My co-producer / cinematographer Sean Gearing and myself are beginning preproduction
on our 2nd feature film The Wrong House, a drama / suspense starring Blake
Farris (Mike from Beast:
A Monster Among Men) right now and will start shooting in February.
What got you into
filmmaking to begin with, and did you receive any formal training on the
I have always loved films and it really was
my dream to be a filmmaker for as long as I can remember. I couldn't
really afford school for filmmaking but still had a strong desire to be a
filmmaker. So I just dug in and read articles, books, websites to learn as
much as I could about the process until I felt confident enough to take
What can you tell us about your filmwork prior
to Beast: A
Monster Among Men?
Prior to Beast: A
Monster Among Men I worked as a
grip on a Ted V. Mikels film, Corpse Grinders 2 and decided I
really needed to push myself. Shortly after that I wrote an directed 3
other short films.
How would you describe
yourself as a director?
I'm very passionate about
filmmaking and the collaborative process. I believe as a director you are
only as good as the people you surround yourself with.
Filmmakers who inspire you?
are so many but the ones who really drove me would have to be Kevin Smith,
Robert Rodriguez, Richard Linklater, and Ed Burns. I love their approach
and their ambition.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
That's tough cause I really love so many.
Godfather 1 and 2, Clerks, Memento, Pulp Fiction, Usual Suspects, Tape,
any 80's slasher films... too many!!
... and of course, films you really
The only films I truly dislike are ones that seem
to go out of their way to avoid any story and be radically different just
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
Thanks for the interview!