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An Interview with Mike Messier, Director and Star of The Hospital Bed and The Never Was

by Mike Haberfelner

July 2020

Mike Messier on (re)Search my Trash

 

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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 shooting "micro"?

 

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.

 

The 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 inspirations?

 

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.

 

The 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 The Hospital Bed - one take, no script, no planning.

 

To 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 interior.

 

With 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?

 

In 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 wrestler 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.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSx8RE_a4Nh_Fq-BpUq7ghw

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of The Hospital Bed and The Never Was?

 

The Hospital Bed won Best Director in the Ultra Short category from Alternative Film Festival:

https://mikemessier.com/2020/03/23/mike-messier-wins-best-director-for-ultra-short-the-hospital-bed-

in-alternative-film-festival/  

The Never Was won me my first acting award which I'm really happy about -  Best Actor in the Ultra Short category from Alternative Film Festival. More info here:

https://mikemessier.com/2020/07/06/best-actor-for-mike-messier-in-alternative-film-festivals-ultra-

short-category/

Thanks to editor Zoe Morgan for her help with this project.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

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 else?

 

Feeling lucky ?
Want to
search
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?

The links below
will take you
just there!!!

Find Mike Messier
at the amazons ...

USA  amazon.com

Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)  amazon.co.uk

Germany (East AND West)  amazon.de

Looking for imports ?
Find Mike Messier here ...

Thailand  eThaiCD.com
Your shop for all things Thai

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!

https://filmfreeway.com/AvaloniaFestival

https://distancefromavalon.com/avalonia-7-theater-festival-seeks-new-works-of-the-bold-the-sublime/

https://filmfreeway.com/APC

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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and shall not be held responsible for
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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

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

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
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... and for the life of it,
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WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

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

out now on DVD