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An Interview with Steven Shea, Producer and Co-Director of Doomsday County

by Mike Haberfelner

February 2013

Films directed by Steven Shea on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie Doomsday County - in a few words, what is it about in general, and what's your segment about in particular?

 

Doomsday County is a horror anthology film, with four short stories all taking place in the same town with intertwining characters, directed by four different people. The segment I directed is called Betty Beretta and is about a secret agent by day-rockstar/model by night female character named Betty, who gets called in when a race of aliens descends on the town and creates a virus with the local mad scientist that has the means to destroy the world.

 

Betty Beretta

How did the project come into being to begin with, and who came up with the overall concept? And how did you and the other guys come together to begin with?

 

I was approached by a professor and good friend Matt Nelson, who teaches at Full Sail University in Orlando. He had a group of students that had written these stories, and were looking to get the feature off the ground. I came in to help produce the entire show, and in the end, ended up directing one of the segments.The guys, Art Brainard, Joe Badiali, Shawn Haran and Jason Hawkins had come up with the concepts and scripts. Each director had their own story and style, and was responsible in raising their own budget. They were all going to school together, which is impressive in itself - to create a feature film while still in school.

 

Since all the stories of Doomsday County are somehow connected, how closely did you collaborate with the directors of the other segments, and was there an agreement on an overall style or such?

 

 

The Curse of Dr. Mongoo

There were lots of meetings with everyone, and during the original writing process the ideas were tossed around back and forth. The idea was always to keep the characters intertwined. We kept the same director of photography and most of the crew through all of the segments, so the film would at least visually flow as well as it could. We shot them out of sequence, shooting The Curse of Dr. Mongoo first, and then Xenombies. Vampire Academy was originally intended to be a longer story, but due to scheduling and budget ended up working out better as the intro it is now. Betty Beretta was shot last which made it easier to help tie in all of the other stories.

 

The anthology format seems to be a perennial favourite, especially when it comes to genre entertainment. How would you explain the format's longevity, and some of your favourite anthology movies?

 

Xenombies

It works well in multiple ways:

1. As a creative it allows for more people to play in the sandbox. Usually if you do one movie, you have one director who takes it from A-Z, with an anthology, you can have multiple visions and ideas. You look at the current popularity with V/H/S and Chillerama and The ABCs of Death - it’s easier to get bigger directors on board as well, because you are only making a short, only required for a certain amount of time in your schedule. It's much easier to make a short then a feature, and usually makes it more fun.

2. It’s a shorter format for each segment. As an audience member, if you don’t like a segment, you only have to wait a few minutes for it to end, whereas if you don’t like a feature, you might turn it off or have to sit through at least 90 minutes. It makes it more interesting for a modern audience, who already has an incredibly short attention span.

 

Some of my favorite anthologies would have to be Creepshow, Trick R Treat, Cat’s Eye and Twilight Zone: The Movie.

 

Let's talk about your segment Betty Beretta for a bit: How would you describe your directorial approach to your subject at hand?

 

Tara Lightfoot in Betty Beretta

It’s also interesting directing in a anthology: You want to keep it in your style, but also want to stay consistent with the rest of the film’s style. I think all of our overall viewpoints were to make this movie “Fun”! The characters are all a little extreme and caricatures of themselves. Definitely wanted a more pulpy/B-movie feel to it.

 

You just have to talk about your leading lady Tara Lightfoot for a bit, and why exactly her? And how did you find her to begin with?

 

Tara and I have been good friends for a long time, and she has acted in many of our projects, mainly our international award-winning short film 2:22 (www.222short.com) She is a fantastic actress and model and musician and is a delight to work with. We even made her learn how to drive the motorcycle.

 

What can you tell us about the rest of your key cast and crew?

 

Our director of photography for the whole project was Paul Steward, who also edited everything. He has a great eye and is well versed in how to handle visual effects as well.

 

Vampire Academy

Our makeup for the first three segments was done by Jen Hall (who also did makeup for The Crazies [remake], Devil, Fear Clinic, Would You Rather) and Joe Badiali who directed the segment The Curse of Dr. Mongoo (who also did makeup for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, ChromeSkull: Laid to Rest 2, and Lincoln). Our key makeup on Betty Beretta was Ashli Szymanski (who also did makeup for The Unbroken, Zellwood and Rockabilly Zombie Weekend).

 

Our score composer and supervising sound editor was Rob Reider, who composed our stellar score and also plays “Paul” the character who single-handedly causes the Xenombie invasion in the film.

 

We had an amazing cast and crew that really dedicated to the project 110%, and over the years of organizing and shooting.

 

A few words about your shoot as such and the on-set atmosphere?

 

Betty Beretta

Definitely your zero-budget style. Running production offices out of vehicles, and begging, borrowing and stealing all we could to make the shots we wanted. It was a lengthy process, I think 4 years in total from the start to the final complete finish of the movie. We definitely tried to keep it as fun as possible!

 

What can you tell us about critical and audience reception of your movie so far?

 

The film only played a couple festivals, but won a couple of awards, “Best Action Film” at the Melbourne Independent Film Festival, and “Best Make Up” at the Freak Show Horror Film Festival. A lot of the cast and crew haven’t gotten to see it yet, so it will be exciting to get everyone their copy on DVD, when it comes out on Feb 12th.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

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We are solidifying distribution with Zellwood, and just getting Rockabilly Zombie Weekend finished up to start sending out screeners. We are building out a new business plan and package for a new feature we will be seeking financing for titled Fiend Fatale. Lots in the works!

 

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

 

Official Website: www.abyssmal.com

Official Movie Website: www.doomsdaycounty.com

Official Facebook: www.facebook.com/abyssmalent

Official Movie Facebook: www.facebook.com/doomsdaycounty

My Personal Official Website: www.stevenshea.com

 

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

 

I think that’s about it. Check out the film on February 12th! Thanks for the interview!

 

Thank you for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
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

 

 

Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...

 

Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!

 

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