You've recently directed two micro-shorts (as in, each under one
minute long), The Hospital
Bed and The Never Was
- so before we go into more detail on each, why did you choose this really
short format, and what are the advantages and maybe also challenges
The micro-short - or 1 minute film - is a great way for any entertainer,
actor or otherwise, to get exposure these days. With social media
platforms coming up all the time, pretty much anybody has access to a
camera of one kind or another, and just about anybody can churn out a
little 1 minute piece. For me, the idea to put a little extra effort
into the process and enlist an editor, in this case, her name is Zoe
Morgan, gives the micro-short a professional and artistic appeal beyond
a mere selfie video.
basic answer then is to just keep active and to keep relevant. Both of
these shorts were filmed as I was still in Rhode Island and about to
move to Florida, USA. I simply did not have any more time to organize
bigger shoots with actors and locations necessary before I moved. So,
just filming myself seemed to be the answer to staying active without
taking on too big of an obligation.
Let's do The
Hospital Bed first - what's it about, and what were your
I was literally in the hospital for a minor
surgery and I happened to have my phone on me. Sleeping in the hospital
can be difficult as there are many "beeps" and "check
ins" from the hospital staff all night. Unfortunately for me, a
family member of mine also had passed away about a year earlier in the
same hospital I was in as a patient. This was not the hospital's fault to
be clear, in fact, the hospital is a very good one. But still, the
morbidity of it all inspired me to shoot The
Hospital Bed. I saw it as a personal challenge if I could still be
creative while stuck in the hospital.
In an ideal world, what would be your
"famous last words"?
"See you in the next round, assholes."
As an actor, how did you
approach the role of a dying man?
The character isn't necessarily dying. He's in the hospital but he's
still fighting. He's still pissed off. He's down but he's not out. He's
still got a lot of life left. The character is basically telling the
world that he will not go
silently into that still night. Never surrender.
Never Was - again, a quick summary, and your inspirations?
Well, this one is a little round-about. Basically, a friend of mine was
involved in producing a documentary about a professional wrestler. I
will withhold exact names out of respect to the both and because I'm not
exactly sure the status of that project. Basically, my friend was trying
to schedule me to be involved as a pro wrestling historian in the
documentary about the wrestler who has had a lot of drug and alcohol
related issues despite being very talented and being friends with the
top wrestlers in the industry. Problem was that my friend, the
producer and the project's director were not on the same page with some
of the logistics of the project, so it was hard to schedule anything. So,
back to me... I was outside the gym I went to in Rhode Island. In my
car, in the parking lot of the gym. I heard an ambulance come by, which
happens a lot in Rhode Island, because there's a lot of old people there
who have to call for help. Hearing the ambulance drive by as a
"free audio effect", and feeling like I had something to say
about the wrestler I mentioned, and myself now being frustrated with the
logistics of trying to be featured in the doc, I banged out The
Never Was in one take. No script, just off the top of my head. Same thing for
Hospital Bed - one take, no script, no planning.
what extent is the Mike Messier we see on screen in The
Never Was your true self, to what extent are his opinions yours?
Well, after finishing the movie, I realized that the story being told
may also apply to my own self and how I feel about my film career. So,
it's that old saying about when you point your finger at somebody, four
other fingers come back at yourself. As far as the opinions go, I think
the character is a part of me. A big part. It's not really an
"outside character" but more so a deep, dark part of my
The Never Was dealing
with mediocricy, what would you say makes you non-mediocre?
I'd say my screenwriting is excellent and my ability to coach and direct
actors is right up there with anybody. My weaker aspects are time
management and raising money for projects. I have been looking for a
"talent manager" or "agent" for years and that
"elusive financier" for all my wonderful ideas continues to
elude me. But, oh well. We fight on, don't we, Michael?
both The Hospital Bed
and The Never Was the
camera is trained on you the whole time - now what was the aesthetic
decision behind that, and how does this heightened attention to your face
make you feel as an actor?
Wow, good questions! I think it was just a practical decision of audio.
Facing the camera and speaking loudly into the camera, when the camera
was just whatever phone I had at the time, were the key to getting good
audio. As far as the attention to my face, it doesn't bother me. I'll
put my face against anybody's.
Do talk about the respective
shoots as such for a bit?
For me, it's just about mood. In the course of a day, my mood will range
greatly. But, over the years, I've kind of created and polished this
"dark poet" character, which is inspired by Jim Morrison,
Freddy Krueger, Eric Bogosian, Edgar Allen Poe, and the pro
Raven. When I find myself getting into that mode, I like to tape
whatever comes out. I actually recorded a spoken word CD in this mode
years ago. Perhaps it's time to see how I can get that CD out to the
world. It's titled Last Laugh of a Dead Cat.
The $64 question of course,
where can your movies be seen?
I am jakking up my YouTube channel, Michael, so you and all your fine
readers can enjoy over 550 videos of mine currently. All I ask for in
return is a friendly subscribe and a few likes. Even a few dislikes
would be fine.
Anything you can tell us
about audience and critical reception of The
Hospital Bed and The
Hospital Bed won Best Director in the Ultra Short category from
Alternative Film Festival:
Never Was won me my first acting award which I'm really happy
Best Actor in the Ultra Short category from Alternative Film
More info here:
Thanks to editor Zoe Morgan for her help with this project.
Any future projects you'd like to
During this down time, I've been revamping and rewriting my scripts Also
Ran and American Luchador: The Dream of Lobo Fuego. I'm always looking to get one of these feature films financed.
Your/your movies' website, social media, whatever
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
I've been putting a lot of time into my youtube page, which you can
find here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSx8RE_a4Nh_Fq-BpUq7ghw
My website is still here: https://mikemessier.com/
Anything else you're dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
I also run Avalonia Festival, which has expanded after three years of
short films to now include separate theater and Photo divisions. Here
are the three links for more info!
Thanks for the interview!
Thanks for continuing to support my films and those of other
independent filmmakers, Michael. Hopefully , we will be able to share
a laugh in real life one day.