You have recently shot and edited the movie Blood
Soaked - first of all, what is it about?
The only way I can describe it is with three words: Nazis.
Zombies. Lesbians. Alternatively, I believe it is secretly about the
mistreatment of zombies and their lack of basic rights. They are
chained up, fed poorly, and have you seen their living conditions?!
In all seriousness, both director Peter Grendle [Peter
Grendle interview - click here] and I really like psychological
horror so we took a fairly commonplace topic like zombies and made it
you get involved with the project - and seriously, what were your first
thoughts when you learned what it's about?
The short answer
is Peter asked me what I thought about doing a feature length version of This
Side of Nightmare (included on the dvd as a bonus feature) but with
Nazis, more hate, blood, nudity and zombies. I couldn't say no!
Do talk about
your director Peter Grendle [Peter
Grendle interview - click here] for a bit, and what was your
collaboration like? And how did you two first meet to begin with?
and I met in college. We both had the mentality to take advantage of
the huge supply of free film gear and made several short movies for the
fun of it. I think because of that we collaborate very well.
We are able to discuss thoughts on story, mood, style, look and feel, etc.
with each other and know that we can ultimately produce what is decided.
would you describe Blood
Soaked's specific look, and how much artistic freedom were you
given as a cinematographer on the film?
80's super color then turns to hell. The film has several different
looks from super saturated bright colors when Piper's worst problem is her
mother, to "we found some old 16mm film buried out the desert"
gritty and dark when she is a bit more preoccupied with zombies.
As far as artistic freedom I have to go back to the last question with
collaboration. Peter and I discussed all of the looks in the film
and how we wanted to do them in production. Then I was given the
creative license to come up with the specific looks. We sat down
before each shoot day and came up with a shot list and specific details
(like shots that pay homage to other films) needed for the pages we were
shooting that day. That is all we ever discussed on where the camera
went and how it would be moving. The rest was up to me.
What can you
tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
day started with copious amounts of sunscreen and downing a bunch of
coffee. The upside to having a small crew is we were able to get
people that we worked well with and had the foresight to just get stuff
done. The days started quiet. I'd get the camera built and
lights or rigging was setup while makeup was being applied and lines run.
The downside to having a small crew is after that brief calm moment, all
hell would break loose. We were shooting at least 10+ pages a day,
sometimes in multiple locations and once with a complete actors break, run
home, shower, change, get rushed back to set. Intense would sum it
up well. I had two things that kept me sane. Enough cards to
never have to dump footage to a computer mid-day... and the luxury of a
portable director's monitor. After 12 hours of carrying a 20lb
camera rig in the desert sun covered in sweat and sand you start to miss
small details! Ultimately I think the on-set atmosphere was what one would
expect with a small crew and small budget. Sometimes tensions got high,
sometimes we were all too tired to talk to each other, others couldn't
talk after screaming for hours, but at the end of the day everyone on set
wanted to and loved being there.
can you tell us about Blood
Soaked's editing process as such, and the film's editing style?
was given one major direction in the editing of the film.
"Watch Wolf Creek over and over. Do [at least] that."
Then Peter and I would get together every two weeks or so and go over what
I had gotten done. After the story was down I got to put in
the creative aspects of the editing style. The freeze frames, scene
intro flash frames/montages, rhythmic cuts, etc. Once picture
was locked down Peter would send me music and effect shots while I did
color correction and sound work.
future projects you'd like to share?
I'm sound editing and
mixing a feature postmodern romantic comedy right now titled Harry and
Avis. It should start its festival run soon. Other than
that, I hear Peter's new script is underway!
What got you into
the filmworld in the first place, and did you receive any formal education
on the subject?
I always had fun making silly movies with
my friends, but a photography instructor challenged me to get into
cinematography. For me taking photos is much more fun at 24 fps.
I was lucky enough to learn from and with some awesome people
in film school.
What can you tell us about your filmwork
prior to Blood
I had a hard time finding a creative outlet
getting coffee on "to remain unnamed" big budget films (that
never even gave me credit) so I decided to do the indie route. Peter
came to the same conclusion around the same time so we formed Red Letter
How would you describe yourself as a
cinematographer and as an editor?
As a cinematographer I've been told I have a very
specific style... but these people won't explain it to me. What I
can say is I shoot all of our rehearsals. It gives me a chance to
rehearse camera movement and it costs almost nothing in hard drive space.
Rarely we'd get lucky and just move on without a "1st take".
As an editor, a lot of the fun for me is solving a
giant puzzle of story and pacing while covering up continuity issues and
other production mistakes. Since my editing process included sound I
can say recording and mixing the stabbing/punching of cabbage, stirring a
big bowl of mac and cheese and spraying water to make the sound of
stabbing a knife into flesh is incredibly morbid... and fulfilling when it
editors, filmmakers, whoever else who inspire you?
say I'm inspired by filmmakers that are not afraid to use camera movement
to tell a story but can keep it unannounced to the viewer. A short
list would look like a very random list of names.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
I'm a big fan of Russian war films and
American dark comedies.
... and of course, films you really
Sequels that should have never been.
Your website, Facebook, whatever else?
Soaked Facebook is the best place for up to date news: https://www.facebook.com/BloodSoakedFilm?fref=ts
else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
tore some cartilage in my shoulder during production after holding a 20lb
camera on a shoulder mount for 12 hours day. Editing was delayed for
4 months while recovering from surgery!
for the interview!
you for the coverage! Indie film thrives from sites like yours
helping get the word out!