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An Interview with Nathyn Masters, Director of Ambient Evil

by Mike Haberfelner

October 2015

Films directed by Nathyn Masters on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie Ambient Evil - in a few words, what is it about?


Itís simply about a young woman headed out to a party while totally unaware she is the target of a stalker whose in her house. Itís the stuff urban legends are made of.


What were your inspirations when writing Ambient Evil?


A Mike Figgis movie called Timecode, one of the original big films shot digitally at 60i, and a Doug Liman movie called Go. (Liman also directed Swingers starring Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau, another movie I love). I had two concepts, one was to shoot three separate real time stories that bleed into one story and then this one. This one was simply easier to do with less work considering I pretty much had this project fleshed out in my head.


Apart from the set-up, Ambient Evil was shot entirely in real time - was this planned from the get-go or did it just develop that way? And what kind of a strain did it put on you as a filmmaker?


This was just something I wanted to do for a long time. The goal was to shoot a film in a day. The main chunk of the movie would be a chase and involve the trains somehow (because I love the trains and Downtown Chicago). I wanted to do this with Deann Baker [Deann Baker interview - click here] in Epitaph: Beauty Secrets, but that didnít work out because of a miscommunication with some of the actors, then I was knocking around the Ambient Evil concept as a Kelsey Zukowski vehicle [Kelsey Zukowski interview - click here], whereas Kelsey was to be the stalker and the victim a random guy her character was enamored with. This was all from her POV and we would only see glimpses of her in mirrors and windows, but there wasnít really a way to explain to her what I wanted, and she wouldíve had to shoot and direct it all herself, and without the aid of a wearable actioncam (in fact I just received my SJ4000 the day before the shoot). Of course Kelsey went on to be play Emily Richardson in The Perfect Letter. We kept the POV concept, but intercut it with a third person view.


The major strain for me was keeping focus and keeping on top of everything. Little things like lighting were a pain since I wasn't always able to control and check it like normal. Some of the main scenes were over-exposed. The bathroom scene and, believe or not, the scene on the train were highly problematic. On the train, I was shooting on a 50mm at 1.8. I was trying to keep focus and in the LCD things looked okay, but when I looked at it on my computer it was in focus, but all blown out. But with some post work I was able to bring it back.


Also keeping people out of the shot on the train scene was hard. We had to shoot it twice, because there were less people on the train going the opposite way. And in Chicago it all depends on whether people want to be jerks or not. Others have been forced off the train for shooting projects, but I made it pretty clear I was only interested in recording my actors and no one else.


Keeping the real time aspect as well as the ever shifting perspective of your movie in mind, how rigorously mapped out was Ambient Evil, and did it leave any room for improvisation (on whoever's part)?


Actually yes, there was a lot of room for improv and most of the dialogue, that little that was there, was improve. Gloria John has an improv background, so I just told her what the situation was and she went from there. As far as mapping it out I knew exactly how I wanted the stalker to move through the house and I knew how I wanted the train sequence to go and I wanted it to really be creepy and uncomfortable. The chase was supposed to take place Downtown, but we decided shooting around the area was easier and made more since, plus it was less crowded. Gloria and Paul Lilley are trained stage combatants and choreographed their own fights. This is my first film where didnít choreograph.


What can you tell us about your directorial approach to your story at hand?


It really wasnít too different than anything else apart from me having to give constant direction as opposed to being able to set the scene up then shoot, then cut. I had to direct in the moment.


Do talk about your cast, and why exactly these two?


Sure, Gloria John was anxious to get to work on another project after The Perfect Letter, and Iíd seen Paul Lilley, her fiancť, in an awesome superhero web series directed by Sean Michael Mallory called The Good Fight, so I asked her to ask him if he wanted to do it. Paul had been wanting to play a darker character so he was down for it, so that was it, I had my cast.


What can you tell us about the shoot as such and the on-set atmosphere?


It was fun. We just chilled out and had a great time and shot the thing. Paul and Gloria love to act and Gloria gets very excited and gets into it and then everyone else gets excited and it keeps the energy up, so there was never a dull moment. We were all tired when we got back, but it was an amazing time.


A few words about audience and critical reception of Ambient Evil?


I donít know yet. (re)Search my Trash has been the only review so far and because of problems with YouTube I couldnít upload to our movie channel, I had to upload to my vlogging channel so itís not getting nearly as many views as it would be. I wonít really know whatís up until I can get it back on the TimeCode Mechanics channel. As you know The Perfect Letter went viral with over 80,000 views currently and is number one on the channel. I feel Ambient Evil couldíve been at least number #2. One person did comment on it saying it showed you didnít need blood and gore to make a good horror film and that it was creepy.


The $64-question of course, where can Ambient Evil be seen?


Itís on YouTube for free, on my Nathyn Brendan Masters vlogging channel at so people can see it with no problem.


With your experiences on Ambient Evil still fresh - will you ever shoot another movie the way you shot this one?


Sure. I still want to shoot something like that with Kelsey and as well as use something similar in Crisis Function 2 with Anita Nicole Brown [Anita Nicole Brown interview - click here]. I actually did shoot some real time stuff in the original Crisis Function and in Beauty Secrets, so itís not totally new to me.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


Well, thereís Anitaís movie Crisis Function 2, Wages of Sin 2 and two new Epitaph films coming down the pipe, Epitaph: Abiding Lilith Ultimate and Victor Locke: Demon Hunter with Anita returning as Nightevil, Claire Llewellyn [Claire 'Fluff' Llewellyn interview - click here] as Owl and Walt Sloan and Laura Cooper as Natas and Alana Tailbane in 2016. Iím also Iím batting around a third for 2017 called Knights of Liz Bathory, Iím hoping to bring back Kaylee Williams [Kaylee Williams interview - click here] in both Victor Locke Demon Hunter and Knights Of Liz Bathory as as Lady Bathory herself.


Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?


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Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)

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x-rated  find Nathyn Masters at

Our website is, but our movies can be seen at in the movies playlist, Ambient Evil can be seen at also in the movies playlist. My Facebook is, so people can connect with me there.


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


I want to give another shout out to my vlogging channel, I am vlogging now at so thereís a lot of fun and informative stuff there for those who like vlog channels. I moved the YouTube Production show over there too. And thanks for the shout out and interview. Always a pleasure.


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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



Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Your Bones to

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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,
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