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An Interview with Steven-Mark Glassner, Series Producer & Cinematographer of In Fear of - Season 2

by Mike Haberfelner

April 2013

Steven-Mark Glassner on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your upcoming webseries In Fear of - Season 2 - in a few words, what is it about?

 

In Fear Of - Season 2 is just as it sounds. It is about digging deep into our deepest fears and bringing them to life. Everything from the common - such as fear of water - to the bizarre - such as the fear of being tied up. If you have seen Tales From The Crypt or The Twilight Zone you would be in for a treat. With a vast array of talent this season, the stories will be more bone chilling and mind boggling. Now on the production side "In Fear Of" is not just a show. It has developed into a community of filmmakers striving for a common goal, and that is to bring the horror genre back to its roots and create original stories to entertain the masses.

 

So how exactly did you become series producer on In Fear of - Season 2?

 

I have a funny story about this. After shooting Apehephobia: Fear Of Being Touched, Scott W. Perry [Scott W. Perry interview - click here] was driving me back home. Half joking I started rambling about phobias for episodes. Scott did not find it funny but now there is an on-going joke about TellaScottaphobia: fear of getting episode-pitches. In all seriousness. During pre-production for season 2 I started to make up new actor agreements, deal memos, and forms of contract, as well as budgeting some of the scrips that were already in motion for Season 2. Then one day out of the blue Scott messaged me saying that Jeremiah Kipp [Jeremiah Kipp interview - click here] and himself have been talking and decided that I should be a Series Producer. I humbly accepted and now I am a Series Producer and Director of Photography for Season 2.

 

What can you tell us about your collaboration with series creator/head director/producer Scott W. Perry [Scott W. Perry interview - click here]?

 

Scott W. Perry and I have been working on his scripts as well as producing the other episodes. Him and I have not teamed up to shoot a project together with his position as the Director and myself as the Director of Photography but I am looking forward to working with Scott in that setting. I am also looking forward to working with Scott on other projects yet to be named coming late 2013 early 2014.

 

Would you like to talk about the progress on the series so far, and the schedule for the rest of the episodes?

 

Scotomaphobia: Fear Of Blindness

The progress is going great thus far. We already have Scotomaphobia: Fear Of Blindness (dir. Jeremiah Kipp) in post-production and Toxiphobia: Fear of Being Poisoned has most principle photography shot and in the can. You can get a sneak peek at Toxiphobia at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/in-fear-of/x/149376. With those two episodes in post we are looking forward  to a busy schedule. April-June we will be heavy in production with most of the episodes that are slated. I cannot wait to see what everyone has to bring to the table.

 

As far as I know, you are also the director of photography on several episodes of the series - so what can you tell us about the intended look and feel of these, and to what extent are you given free reign by your respective directors?

 

That is a great question. As a director of photography I try to translate the director's vision to the best of my ability. Every episode will have a different look and feel to it. There is no set intended look which I find to be the best part of this series. When I shot Scotomaphobia, Jeremiah Kipp had a very surrealist idea which I loved. With Toxiphobia there more dramatic elements and it has a more clean look to it.  Working with Jeremiah and Thomas Norman were two different worlds. Jeremiah and I barely speak to each other on set. You can say it's kind of bizarre when you watch us work. He give me a lot of freedom to framing and lighting, but Jeremiah knows what he wants and will tell me if he does not approve of it. Thomas Norman on the other hand is more traditional and creates shoot lists and breakdowns for me to look over. We have spent nights on the phone and video chat working together on creating and collaborating to make Toxiphobia look remarkable. Each director that I have worked with gave me free reign to some extent. The way I see the relationship between Director and DP is more in the sense of collaboration. Sometime I would love to do an insane 22min Jib/Dolly shot with special effect light but at the end of the day you are there to create a story. Strong visuals are sometimes not always the answer. With this season you will notice that less is more.

 

Kelly Rae LeGault in Toxiphobia: Fear Of Being Poisoned

Of all the phobias tackled in In Fear of - Season 2, which can you relate to the most, are there any you cannot understand, any phobias you'd like to see in the series but haven't yet - and what are you afraid of in your private life?

 

As far as phobias I want to see, I would like to see someone tackle Catoptrophobia - fear of mirrors and Vitaphobia - fear of Life. Both I have concepts to but would love to see if anyone can pull them off.

Those of you that do not know me, I am a huge arachnaphobic. A few of the cast members and crew members have played a few jokes on me with a plastic spider. Just the sight of a spider creeps me out. 

As far as episodes I can relate to Mnemophobia: Fear Of Memories. I pitched this idea to Scott and later on asked Alfredo Salvatore Arcilesi [Alfredo Salvatore Arcilesi interview - click here] to direct and write the episode. My deepest fear is waking up and not remembering who I am or who anyone is. Good or bad, our memories make us who we are. Granted there are some that I personally would never want to revisit but others I do not want to lose. It's those moments in life that keep me going as an artist and a person.

 

As far as I know, as we speak a fundraising campaign for In Fear of - Season 2 is still under way. So what can you tell us about your fundraising efforts?

 

Fundraising is the hardest part of any production. With already having season 1, our efforts have been going strong. Today alone we received over $300 in donations from our fan. Of course all of us have been posting on social media sites as well as emailing our fans and investors. Scott W. Perry and myself along with a few others also went down to Monster Mania to promote the series by passing out fliers and getting the word out there. By the looks of it Season 2 is high in demand right now. Also we have a lot of cool perks for donors - to list a few, you can get autographs from Debbie Rochon [Debbie Rochon interview - click here], Suzi Lorraine [Suzi Lorraine interview - click here], Kaylee Williams, and many more. We are also offering a chance to be in an episode as an extra, exclusive unseen footage from season 1, and my personal favorite a Monophobia mug which has screen shot from Monophobia. I am also offering custom artwork from my collection as a perk as well. To find out more you have to go to http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/in-fear-of/x/149376. There is less than 2 weeks left to donate and become part of the In Fear Of-family. Every Dollar and every smile counts when you are working together.

 

Apehephobia: Fear Of Being Touched

Any idea when and where In Fear of - Season 2 will be released onto the general public yet?

 

Where I cannot say but it will not be on YouTube this time around. We are looking ahead and shopping Season 2 around for large scale networks. I can say it will be released around October like last year. If you do miss Season 2, expect a DVD release with Season 1 & 2 a few months after. 

 

You have also been director of photography on a couple of episodes of In Fear of - Season 1 - care to talk about those for a bit?

 

Season 1 was great to work on. Prior to working on Apehephobia: Fear Of Being Touched, Jeremiah Kipp [Jeremiah Kipp interview - click here] and I worked together on a series of shorts in Yonkers. I was the gaffer on the set but Jeremiah and I become good friends shortly after. When Jeremiah sent me the email asking if I would DP the episode he sent me a few photos that he wanted the film to look like. The ironic thing was I was working on a series of paintings that fit the overall theme that Kipp want to achieve. This was the first set that I was the director of photography on that I was working with a fully nude actress. My goal was to make art and not an erotic film. Kelly Rae LeGault [Kelly Rae LeGault interview - click here], the lead actress, is beautiful woman and is a trooper. Every camera movement that I've done on that shoot was to match her elegance and emotion. When I was shooting the episode I tried to make the camera the mind of the lead. Especially on Apehephobia it was important to make you feel like you were the one touching her and feel like someone was touching you. After seeing the finished product I was on uncomfortable watching it because I felt like someone was touching me.

 

Selenaphobia: Fear of the Moon I also have shot. This was the first time I have worked with Mike Polizzi [Mike Polizzi interview - click here], who is also In Fear Of's composer. Overall Mike and I had a great shoot. It was fun to relax and go back to the drama roots. Mike had some good ideas and his love for classic monster movies showed in the script. The first shot of the day was 4 or 5am were I sat in the middle of the woods to get clips of the sky and the trees. It was pretty surreal and worked to my benefit because just getting to know the lay-out of the woods was great. The whole plan for Selenaphobia was to keep everything dim and natural light to give the allure that the moon is controlling the story. Mike is also one hell of a director. Hope to work with him again and see what he comes up with next.

 

So how did you get into the filmworld in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?

 

As a teenager I was always into making music videos and short skits. Later on I started making skateboarding videos and started to do more photography. I wasn't serious about making movies until my cousin C.R. Dingley and Sean N. Ihne introduced me to the film world. They were in their sophomore year of film school and were showing me a few projects of theirs. Instantly I became more interested in becoming a filmmaker. Originally I was going to go to school for Culinary or Marine Biology but instead I did attend film school for a short while then later on dropped out. I found that film school was not the way to go so I started working on more sets as a production assistant and worked my way up the ladder. Only thing that I did like about film school was working in the equipment rental cage and learning from Sol Negrin who was the Cinematographer for Robocop, Happy Hell Night, and the Kojak-series.

 

What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to In Fear of - Season 2?

 

Film work Prior to In Fear Of ... where do I begin? Well I am a gaffer by trade and have been working on music videos and mostly drama based shorts and features since 2009. Most recent work was a soap opera called Empire, which was directed by a friend of mine, Fritz Brekeller, and a reality show called All-Star Dealers, which aired on Discovery back in early 2012. I have also worked on some B-level horror movies that made me lose interest in the horror genre. I do have to say there was one feature film I worked on which made me regain my love for horror and that would be T.J. Collin's The Murders of Cane Hill (currently in post). If I had not work on that film I can say that In Fear of - Season 2 for me may have been a lot different. Every job I had has a story to come with it but at the end of the day. I am just glad that I can walk away saying that I am proud to be working in this industry.

 

How would you describe yourself as a cinematographer, and what can you tell us about your visual style?

 

This is also another good question. As a cinematographer I feel that it's my job to not only create the visual world, but to help create the story. One day I would love to make an adventure epic with amazing visuals, but it's stick to the idea "less is more". As a painter I love the subtle details in pattern, light, and background. Visually I find a candle flicker in the eye of a young woman more pleasing than a battle scene. Stylewise like I said before I like to make the viewer a charactes in a film. I don't want a viewer to sit down and watch a movie. I want them to be in the movie and feel what the actors are feeling, to get lost in a world of imagination and wonder.

 

The most recent comparisons I received about my "style" took me by surprise. Some people have compared me to Jordan Cronenweth, who was the cinematographer for Altered States. I have also heard some one compared me to Jost Vacano, who did Tales from the Crypt ironically. As far as style it's almost indescribable. Each film has a different feel and look to it. There will be a part of yourself that goes into every film, such as a signature shot or camera operation, but for a cinematographer to grow, one cannot become to stylized.

 

Aside from making movies, you're also a painter, right? So what can you tell us about Steven-Mark Glassner, the artist, and how does this influence your filmwork, and vice versa?

 

Well, the funny thing is that I am color blind. Growing up I have always confused my colors. You don't have to see color to see beauty. My art style is very surreal and abstract. Those that know me know that I hold a lot of my feelings to myself and later on will use those emotions to create a drawing or painting. Most of my pieces you can sit there and make a story of your own to go with that particular piece of art. 

 

To translate my skills to one another I think of my camera as the canvas. What you see through the camera is nothing but a canvas. When you add light you add paint to your canvas and  from there your options are limitless. Now visualize the camera as a  brush and you are operating it with your emotions. I know it is an abstract idea to think of, but you have to watch me work. When I'm painting or filming I go into a state that is almost meditative. I become very quiet and I just let the energy and emotion drive by hands. When shooting Toxiphobia both Thomas Norman [Thomas Norman interview - click here] and Scott W. Perry [Scott W. Perry interview - click here] were asking if I was OK because I seemed to be upset and mad. In reality I was in this state where I was in the same emotional state as the two characters in the scene.

 

Filmmakers, cinematographers, artists, whatever else who inspire you?

 

There are so many people that I can rattle off. I do have to say mostly my friends and family inspire me the most. Shay Cully is a fantastic artist. My friends at TwitchTwitch Productions Adam and Elsie Ginsberg [Elsie and Adam Ginsberg interview - click here]. The list goes on forever. My main inspiration will always be my grandmother. I was going through a rough time and just gave up on everything. At the time my grandmother had cancer but nothing stopped her. She was the strongest woman I have ever met. No matter what her illness was she always made the best of it. She was taking care of her brother who had down syndrome that also developed cancer, taking care of 7 grandchildren, keeping the family together, and she also found the time to paint. Before she passed away she told me "Never to give up your dreams and don't forget who you are!" Since that day I started to paint more and become a stronger artist because she believed in me when nobody else did. Recently my grandfather found a few paintings that she never finished. In the near future I hope that I can complete them and put them on display.

 

Your favourite movies?

 

Favorite movies from Top to Bottom top 10

1. The Never Ending Story

2. The Dark Crystal

3. The Pianist

4. Lord of the Rings-trilogy & The Hobbit

5. Adaptation

6. Being John Malkovich

7. Les Miserables (2012)

8. DragonHeart

9. Changeling (the original)

10. Behind Enemy Lines

There are so many more but these are the ones that really got me into making films. Les Mis - well, it's one of my favorites to date.

 

... and of course, films you really deplore?

 

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Anything that cannot hold my attention for more that five minutes or a crappy movie that makes me feel like a high school student can make something better - if it's a complete "hack job" and it's not worth watching.

 

Your/your series' website, Facebook, IndieGoGo, whatever else?

 

http://www.facebook.com/abstractenvisage

http://www.facebook.com/aureatevisuals

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3670392/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/in-fear-of/x/149376

Also add the In Fear Of-page:

https://www.facebook.com/InFearOf

 

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

 

Always wanted to say thanks to the ones that got me fully into the horror genre, and that would be Adam and Elsie Ginsberg (LC Macabre) [Elsie and Adam Ginsberg interview - click here]. They are two amazing individuals. I started working for them at a Haunted House in Coram, Ny and now they are running one of the hottest film festival The Macabre Faire Film Festival. Be sure to look them up at twitchtwitchproductions.com.

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

No Michael. Thank you for the interview! You have been a great supporter for Season 2. Hope you will be able to come out to the premiere.

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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A Killer Conversation

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written by
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