To kick this all off, can you give us an overview over the overall The
Ghost is a Lie concept?
I had done some larger projects and wanted to do something that allowed me
to collaborate with a lot of new actors and I wanted to do something
immersive. I knew it wouldn't be for everyone, but for anyone who wanted
to be swallowed up in the nuances and the little awkward moments, I wanted
to make something affordable, but cool. Found footage isn't my favourite
genre, not at all, but the idea just lent itself to that. In fact, there's
a not-so-hidden list of characters here who aren't that excited about the
genre, either. So ultimately, it was (The
Ghost is a Lie - Take One) to be a quick, fairly
simple film about about someone on a film crew snapping, killing everyone,
and then assembling all the nonsense footage they could find into an
actual piece of cinema as best they could. So the killer, while never
revealed, is someone who feels what they are doing on "The
Ghost" is disrespecting the art form. Hence "I fixed your
movie." That was in 2012, so obviously there was nothing quick about it, lol.
So what were your sources of inspiration for the concept as such, and for the individual
I had worked with a wide variety of
actors and filmmakers. Chris Carnel, who plays a version of himself, was a
real Hollywood stunt man and really a good friend to me. We thought it
would be fun to sprinkle in people with legitimate Hollywood experience
and people who were just getting started. And it was. I haven't been able
to work with all of those actors again, but I really enjoyed my time with
all of them. Some of the improv was downright inspired - specifically Pat
and Lynda's couch interview. Still makes me laugh. The actors had a
framework, but then were given the room to flesh their characters out in a
direction they wanted to explore. I especially love Christina Schimmel's
character Becky V, the cynical actress who's been "demoted" to
crew. The actors deserve as much credit for the unique stories of their
characters as I do.
Do talk about the actual Ghost in your
movies for a bit, and what's his backstory?
So "The Ghost" is the found footage film the people are making.
Ghost is a Lie
is a reference to how the killer feels
about that film being made. But then The Ghost kind of becomes
the de facto name for the killer, at least to the viewer. Most of the
victims barely realize what's even happening. The killer is most
definitely one of the people on set, and in careful viewing, it can be fun
to make a case for various folks.
What can you
tell us about the movies' general approach to horror?
love character development, nuance, etc... and I love brutal killers who
don't feel compelled to make long speeches and don't screw around unless
they are feeling vindictive. The final kill setup in The
Ghost is a Lie - Take One is a pretty
good example of that, but clearly the killer has time and is now making
his/her own movie. I wanted the violence to be aggressive and nasty, but
also brief and without all the fancy dancing you usually get leading up to
Ghost is a Lie - Take One - what's that one specifically about?
A rag-tag mix of Hollywood
has-beens and young never-weres are grasping at the dying breath of a
presumably "easy" genre cash-grab. Someone gets fed up with the
proceedings and siezes on the opportunity to make things "right"
- at least in their mind.
chosen the found footage approach for The
Ghost is a Lie - Take One - so why is that, and what are the
advantages and maybe also challenges of that particular approach?
I don't think I'd
ever revisit the genre, at least not for an entire film, but here we had a
conceit where it made sense. The genre always stretches the bounds of
realism, but having the killer decide at some point to take over the
operation and use an annoying trope to create a VERY real story felt
reasonable. For example, when Hope is pushed out of the tree and
subsequently hunted down, he takes over her camera. A careful eye can keep
track of it because it gets damaged when she falls. The BTS camera gets
broken and is no longer used, but the footage up to that point is used.
Another recovered GoPro ends up strapped to a motorbike. I liked that it
could be intentional and not just "accidental" found footage. I
chose it because it felt like it could be controlled with this particular
talk about The Ghost
is a Lie - Take One's cast, and why exactly these people?
Honestly it was just a lot of people I really wanted to work
with and several of whom I had worked with before. They all had
interesting and varied indie film experience, so I knew their improv would
come from a genuine place.
of course also have to talk about your film's outdoor locations, and what
was it like filming there?
were shot in different places at very different times of year. The
experiences were either hot or cold, nothing in between, but I love the
A few words about the shoot
as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
There's always a little tension, especially when there is
improv, a pretty big cast and a lot of threads to trace, but generally we
had a lot of fun. A couple of guys from Rue Morgue visited the set and
hung around, and the out-takes in some cases are downright hilarious. The
Ghost is a Lie - Take One had a bit of summer-camp vibe, despite moving through a lot of
material at a rapid pace. The The
Ghost is a Lie - Take Two-set, happening roughly four years
after the The
Ghost is a Lie - Take One set, was a well-oiled machine that really cruised. We
had a lot of fun, were VERY organized and everyone really clicked. It was
also my first time working with Sharon Belle and I could never have
predicted that we'd end up working together for several years on a
Ghost is a Lie - Take Two was a game-changer in terms of collaboration, for
On to The
Ghost is a Lie - Take Two - what's that one about, and in what way
is it connected to Take
Ghost is a Lie - Take Two is kind of special for a
lot of reasons, but it was part of a paradigm shift in film-making that I
think is only now, several years afterward, coming to fruition in my
filmmaking journey. It's about a group of life-long friends going on a
road-trip and delivering some records along the way. They get caught in a
snowstorm with a lovely older man and a kind of mysterious woman that one
of them vaguely recognizes. Recognizing her ends up being bad news,
because it alerts our killer to the fact that she is alive as well as her
location, and that killer is very much motivated to finish the old job
while perhaps adding to their film project. But the killer may or may not
be keen on taking out the others with the same extreme prejudice. This all
leads to a showdown that ends up being pretty tough on all involved.
Do talk about your directorial approach to
your story at hand!
This film is
completely scripted and much more focused. The "survivor" of The
Ghost is a Lie - Take One maybe could have been any of them, and maybe some did survive,
but the hopeful jolt of discovering Elle alive can lend to a very
different viewing of The
Ghost is a Lie - Take One. The actors were cast as the best fits, and
that is the best part of directing. I might offer some tweaks or minor
suggestions, but ultimately you cast actors that can embody your
characters and trust them to do so.
What can you tell us about The
Ghost is a Lie - Take Two's cast, and again, why exactly them?
The story never
contained a love angle of any kind, other than deep friendship. The
actresses who auditioned were just brilliant fits, but when Sharon
auditioned for the one of the other characters, I decided to cast her and
retool the male friend as Watts. Sharon, along with Angela Kaiser (Andie)
and Chandler Loryn (Sloane) just had such great chemistry and effortlessly
gave each other a hard time. I never had a doubt in my mind they would
kill it. Kat Inokai who just kills it as Maizy was also a producer on the
project and we owe her a LOT for making things run so well. Her husband
Heath Horejda is a fantastic actor who has a lovely turn as Brian, Emmit's
son. Emmit, portrayed by Canadian legend Neil Affleck who starred in the
original My Bloody Valentine and also worked for many years on
The Simpsons, was so much fun to work with and hear stories from over
dinner. His wife, appearing only in photos, is a fun little cameo by Lynn
Lowry. It's also worth noting that My Bloody Valentine is a true
connection here. Chris, who played himself in The
Ghost is a Lie - Take One, was the stunt
performer in the Miner's costume on the 3D remake in 2009. He even
mentions this off-handedly during a conversation in the film about what
makes a good horror film.
few words about that shoot, please?
fantastic. And very cold, but a beautiful location.
The $64-question of
course, where can The
Ghost is a Lie - Take One and The
Ghost is a Lie - Take Two be seen?
We have simply placed them on YouTube for all to watch
can tell us about audience and critical reception of The
Ghost is a Lie - Take One and The
Ghost is a Lie - Take Two?
I guess the jury is still out. We kind of released these under
the radar, long after their expected release dates for a long list of
reasons. We'll let nature take its course and see what sort of audience
Based on your
experiences with The
Ghost is a Lie - Take One and The
Ghost is a Lie - Take Two - will there ever be a Take Three, and
what direction will/would it head towards? And other future projects you'd
like to share?
There will probably never be a Take
Three, for a number of
reasons, but if there were, I suppose it would be about copycats and the
original killer's reaction to them. We have a LOT of stuff in the works
for 2024 and 2025, but I'd urge folks to stroll through some of the
projects we've put up on our YouTube channel for various series.
Specifically Swerve (three seasons) and Circa 1981
(one season, and one of my favourite projects and slyly connected to Swerve) and 9 Days with Cambria, a really great experiment in
telling the story of a real woman's struggles.
Your/your movies website, social media,
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results?
The links below
will take you
For now, you can keep up with the SKG Films
Facebook page or our YouTube channel.
Anything else you're dying to mention and
I have merely forgotten to ask?
I don't think so.
Thanks for the
My pleasure, Michael. Any time.