Your upcoming movie Beauty Secrets - in a few words, what's
it going to be about?
six year old Amanda Gray is the spokesperson for Frank Stein
known as FSI’s
human Guinea pig for their Body Restructuring process and their
Bio-Rejuvenation process, which cured her of crippling arthritis and shaved
decades from her appearance. But now she’s suffering what may be fatal
reaction from the process, at a time when FSI is about to get approval
from the FDA. So the question is how will FSI handle the possibility of a
PR nightmare at this very crucial time.
As far as I know, while a
stand-alone movie, Beauty Secrets
is also a spin-off of Epitaph:
Bread and Salt - please explain how these films are connected! And
other sources of inspiration when dreaming up Beauty Secrets?
It’s her story, but
it’s really an FSI story. When
I originally mentioned the project to Deann Baker [Deann Baker
interview - click here], it was right around the
time we were wrapping Epitaph. She was skeptical, she
going to make a movie about her?” I could understand the doubt. Her
character was a last minute addition and I don’t think she could
really fathom a whole film based around a character that only appears in
two 30 second commercials and hadn’t even appeared in the comics, but
if you look at it as a whole it’s makes sense as a stand alone story.
the Epitaph movies and comic series,
Frank Stein Industries hovers
in the background. It’s the four ton elephant in the room. When Cassie
is killed by RipperJack, it’s FSI that gets the body. Then later
it’s unmarked FSI agents who dump her body after a reanimation
experiment gone awry turned her to Zombie Girl.
In Amanda’s first commercial (seen
on Victor’s TV before he goes out) it states FSI is “treating” the
food, air and water. We’re also told one of the major partners with
FSI is Alucard Industries. The movie ends with another commercial
starring Amanda. We learn that Amanda is actually 56 and it’s an ad
for the BodRes process. Also in the after credits Easter Egg, Lady
Bathory is feeding on a victim in Amanda’s bathroom. That’s a lot in
the movie itself.
In the Victor Locke: Demon Hunter #0
comic we see Alucard and Bathory have relocated to Chicago. And in Abiding Lilith issue Alpha there’s an implication that
“monsters” are “working” for FSI, so it’s building up to
As for inspiration the whole Night
Phoenix Press/Epitaph-universe is kind of an amalgamation of ideas from
classic literature and movies. Amanda’s full name is Amanda Gray,
which is a nod to Dorian Gray. Frank Stein Industries was originally
funded by Lord Byron to perpetuate the research being done by Dr.
Frankenstein and Mary Shelly, who was his assistant and helped create
Adam “Frankenstein”, their first monster. The journals became the
basis for the story we know as Frankenstein. Dr. Frank Stein is actually
Dr. Eric Frankenstein, a descendant of the original Dr. Frankenstein.
Adam may or may not still be alive. Zombie Girl is technically a
Frankenstein monster. And there’s a private military firm that works
with FSI called Byron Tactical still ran by members of Lord Byron’s
family. Not to mention Alucard and all. So there’s a lot of that in my
can you tell us about your movie's intended look and feel?
going to look like Crisis
but cooler tones maybe. I really liked the Crisis
Function look, especially that
opening scene was my favorite. It was shot at night, with the snow
reflecting the street light which made for great natural lighting and
added a lot of production value to the scene. It had that indie feel
from the early 2000 era, like Hyoguchi’s
movie First Last
and Deposit or
better yet Tim McCann’s Revolution #9, which if you
watch those, you maybe be able to see the influences on the story
elements and shooting styles.
I watched a lot of IFC at that time and I was taking in films
like that, I’m one of those people who were excited about Vanilla Sky because
I had already seen Abre Los Ojos. Taking
all that in, aside from El Mariachi there still
wasn’t a lot of low budget indie action movies that told a great
one will be shot in one day, I’ll
some of the same techniques I used on Crisis
Function, shooting on the T3i as the
main camera, but taking full advantage of both mini cams, and go back
using the iPad and iOgrapher for tracking shots. Again we’re going to
reuse some of the locations from The Perfect Letter.
leading lady Deann Baker [Deann Baker
interview - click here] - what can you tell us about her, and what
makes her perfect for the role?
I saw Deann on Facebook
doing a project and as it turned out she was yet another friend of Heather
Dorff [Heather Dorff
interview - click here], who played Loren in Epitaph. Heather introduced me to
Deann personally at one of her Rock Band Parties. Deann
is a classic blonde bombshell, with the hair and the curves and the whole
nine. She was perfect for the role, kind of like a younger January Jones
or Christina Hendricks. I also like how she can project that look of
dangerous beauty, like at the end of Epitaph,
throws that look back at the camera, not to mention how she does the
Amanda voice, that slow precise and kind of creepy thing.
What can you tell us
about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?
Nowicki took over the role of Bobby in The Perfect Letter
and Shawn Jolly played
the demon leader in the last fight in Epitaph.
I cast them both as Frank Stein Industries agents. We
had Dora Santillan Hulihan who played Nurse Dianne in Crisis
Function. I brought her
on board, as Katrin Mercî, a doctor and scientist from FSI’s
Resurrection Sciences division, but she had a family emergency the
day of the shoot, so we had Tommy play Dr. Mercî and changed the
name since since most of the FSI staff have yet to be seen in the comic.
We also grabbed up Christian Creasy last minute, (also from Epitaph
to play the second agent with Shawn last minute.
You will probably
remember the lovely Tiffany Christine is from Epitaph
is reprising her role as Igora Fritz.
Rich Edward is a new guy. He was cast
as Lucas, Amanda’s lover. He’s got that look I wanted for the
character, at least we can easily transform him, and for his audition he
did a monologue from Ferris Bueller, so yea, he got the role.
far as I know, you shot Beauty Secrets
in a single day -
why is that, and where are the challenges but maybe also
After we shot Crisis
wanted further explore how far I could push production speeds while
retaining quality. I want to experiment with a combination of real time
and basic shooting and if I can do it on these smaller films I’m
hoping it will help me speed up the process on my bigger films while
keeping quality intact.
kinds of films have to be planned a little more, whereas you have to
know the specific shots you want to get, then you have to use the
environment around you. My first ten minutes were completely scripted.
From there it was up in the air. But almost
nothing went right.
There was a miscommunication with some of the
actors who thought it was a short because the script’s page count so
they had previous engagements, but hadn’t told me, so scenes couldn’t
be shot as previously planned. Deann [Deann Baker
interview - click here] was a trooper though and stayed
until early morning shooting the thing. I
had it planned out to be a huge real time chase scene in Downtown
main advantage is the ability to turn out product faster. As a YouTube producer the game isn’t the same as doing feature film for
distribution. You have to create more with less. Projects like Beauty Secrets
Function will be the norm while major projects
and Wages of Sin will still be done, but in a fraction
of the time and cost, but maintain the same or higher standard. The new Wages
of Sin film will use many of the techniques used in Crisis
Function and Beauty Secrets,
and then the real test is the Victor
I know this is
possible because I had Crisis
fully edited by the time we shot pick up and all I needed to do was drop
in the pick up shots, add music, then do a final cut. But I messed up
and didn’t follow my own editing advice. Somehow I started editing
directly to an “Event” timeline without actually creating a project
file, so one day I had a crash and I lost the whole thing. First time
I’ve ever lost a whole project. But I had a whole new edit by the next
week. It worked out because when I started the re-edit I knew the
complete story from the original edit I started playing around with a
nonlinear version. While the original had some non-linear bits, the new
edit told the whole story in a non-linear way.
When did you actually shoot, and
any idea when and where you might want to release the movie onto the
general public yet?
We shot the movie Saturday, July the
12th, hope to have it released by the end of July.
Any future projects beyond Beauty Secrets
you'd like to share?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Wages of Sin 2: Special Tactics
is next starring myself and Anita Nicole Brown [Anita
Nicole Brown interview - click here] as the new cop on the
block, Heather Dorff [Heather
Dorff interview - click here] is the new Mona Lisa, and we’ll be working with
Shavar Clark and Kevin LaRose again. Last time we saw this cast together
was in Epitaph: Bread and Salt. And I’m working on
getting Yohanni Liman, another Epitaph
alum and also want
to cast Meiling Jin from Crisis
Function to take over the
Katherine and Laura Hokkaido roles and maybe, if her time permits, you
may be seeing Deann again too. I’ve also added Rebecca VanSickle from The Perfect Letter
to the cast as a Special Tactics cop.
Speaking of The Perfect Letter, it's on hold until winter and I may be making a character switch,
something I should’ve done earlier because it makes more sense.
And hopefully next year, we can do Victor
Locke: Demon Hunter, the big Epitaph
sequel and hopefully
you’ll see a lot of the cast from the original come back and some new
faces and maybe some surprises.
website, Facebook, whatever else?
The movie’s page is on Facebook:
and our website, as always, is
and readers can follow me on my Facebook at
or Twitter @nathynmasters to keep up with us.
Anything else you are
dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
Function, my last movie, has broken the 70,000 view mark on YouTube
and the TimeCode Mechanics YouTube page has officially gotten over a
million views, so they can check that out at
which is where Beauty Secrets
will also be uploaded.
for the interview!
Thanks for having me. Always a