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V L O G is an awesome new web series created by Jay Diaz and starring my amazing friend Rya Meyers and Noah Baron.

I have loved what I have seen so far so I knew I had to interview them for it. So listen as I interviewed them about the series and what else they have been up too.

Fun With Hackley: Axe Murderer

Filmmakers Interview


When I first heard about this movie I was made as keen to find more about it. It’s a horror comedy and it is a lot of fun and I suggest you check it out when it becomes available to do so. So the film makers kindly answered my questions.

T.E. = T.E. (Tim) Sanders – Director/Producter
G.H. = Garrett Hargrove – Writer/Producer
T.H. = Trey Huguley – Actor (El Matador)/Producer

1. What was the inspiration behind the film?
T. E.: Garrett. Garrett was my inspiration behind the film. That guy is a walking museum of the Horror genre. We got together to do a 48h film fest, and he came up with this idea to make fun of some horror tropes with these two characters walking away from Hackley, but with one facing and looking backward toward Hackley while they all continue to walk, there-by forcing the rule that he can’t attack while being watched on a follow mission, and thus the world was born. A masked serial killer that has to follow rules. More inspiration came from our day jobs in the software industry (I’m a software engineer) and the office scenarios that such a job entails. Combine those, and BAM! You got Hackley’s world. He doesn’t engineer software, he engineer’s death and destruction, but it sucks like any office job because… rules. You have the bureaucracy. Showing how we all corral each other into these tight little lines (or cubes in this case) and prevent us from doing our best work was interesting to me. And of course, the shit can be funny too.

G.H.: And Tim… you’re my inspiration. *teardrop* You da real MVP.

2. How long did it take to write the script?
G. H.: The initial script was a pretty quick write. Like a couple of weeks. Then it went through rewrites all the way through pre-production and production. We were even adding scenes/shots our very last day of filming. I think that’s pretty common to get into something, find it doesn’t work or find something special and want to evolve the script to really bring that out.

3. How long was the shoot and what challenges did you face when making a low budget film?
G. H.: We did a very non-traditional shoot. Normally it’s like 26 out of 32 days or so where everyone comes in, commits to that project for that month and then the actors and crew are done. We didn’t have the funds for that, so we ended up shooting when we could on weekends over the course of a year (April 2014-April 2015). There was good and bad with that. Good was that it made scheduling easy. We treated every weekend shoot like a short film. I scheduled it so we would try to have actors get all of their scenes done in that weekend and we could be done with them. The bad thing was, we had to find times that would work for all of our key players who were around for everything (Director, DP, Allen Hackley, etc).

And oh lord, what challenges DON’T you face when making a movie for a budget that is below what Hollywood considers “Low Budget”? When you do low/no budget, the producers end up wearing a ton of hats. I, in addition to writing and producing, handle the budget, catering, some of the casting, most of the costumes, most of the locations, most of the props, etc. Tim, in addition to being producer and director has single handedly done nearly all of the post production, did a lot of casting, set decoration and construction and acted as primary irritant to our Emmy award winning DP, Larry McKee. Trey, award winning actor and Producer, directed the music video at the end, handled most of our marketing and social media, brought on a lot of the cast and allowed his wife to kill and be killed in the film.

I think the biggest thing you would see on screen with the budget is the gore. With this being a comedy, we felt the gore had to be either non-existent or over the top insane to work. Being no budget, we didn’t feel we had the money to do over the top gore right, so we went with the other way thinking it was funny how clean everything was in this horrific world.

And now I’ve droned on for way too long.

4. How was the cast chosen for the movie?
T. E.: We’ve all been doing the filmmaking thing for awhile, and are all plugged into the scene in both Austin and Houston enough that there was never any cricket sounds when the question was asked; “Who should we get to play so-and-so?” We had plenty of people to choose from. In some cases, I think Garrett even wrote with certain people in mind. For example; Owen Egerton for Asparagus, and Trey Huguley for El Matador. There’s probably more. But these are all people in the area and were somewhere in the circle peripherally, or right in the middle as was the case for Trey. As a director, I believe casting is one of the most important parts. Done right means I can just go hang out at the craft table more and sometimes even sneak in a nap.

5. What did you learn from making the movie?
T. E.: That making a feature film is fucking HARD. Can I say fucking? If not just replace it with astrix. But yeah, making a feature film is hard work, and I did all the post myself. All. The. Post. Which I do not recommend doing BTW. Get some post production money! I’ve done many, many short films and my hair kept its color. But a feature? I guess that’s one of the biggest lessons. Don’t try to do everything yourself.

G.H.: Debating whether or not to make the “Making a feature film is really fucking easy when Tim does all the work” joke or if he will punch me for making it.

T.H.: I learned that I needed a better editing system so that I could help T.E. with post so he doesn’t have to cuss as much.

6. Why do you think Horror Comedy are popular?
G. H.: Comedy has always been generally accepted. Its just life. We love laughing. It feels good. I think horror was always kind of viewed as the black sheep of the film world. I think especially back in the 80’s with the slasher genre, it was really looked down upon by film snobs. I think a lot more people liked them than would admit it publicly. And then I think the blockbuster success of Scream changed that and they became more accepted, mainstream, etc. Studios started throwing more money at them.

And I think combining people’s upfront love of laughing and their guilty pleasure of horror films really has hit a soft spot with viewers. Its also brought together the people who adore horror movies and the people who abhor them and laugh at their tropes.

7. How important is having the right promotion material for the film like artwork and so on?
T. H.: It’s vital. Before anyone ever sees the film, they’ll see the poster, trailer, facebook page or twitter account so you have to do it right. In the 2 seconds that someone initially glances at anything that is promoting your film, they will make a subconscious decision whether or not their “journey” with the film will go any further. If it looks like crap or doesn’t stand out that journey ends there. The market is saturated with other great films from awesome filmmakers from all over the world trying to scream about their projects from the rooftop, so how you promote and first impressions mean everything.

8. Are you happy how the film has been received?
T. E.: We’re just getting started, so not many people have seen it yet. And it is a niche film which requires a certain sensibility from the audience. I’ve found that my geek compadres, and horror fans etc., get it and laugh at all the spots where you’d expect it. Showing it to my 86 year old aunt? That didn’t turn out so well. I still have a bruise from the skillet she threw at me.

9. What is next for yourself?
G. H.: I am totally all in on Hackley. Want to explore this world and the different divisions in the company Hackley works for or even other companies. I have already started writing the sequel in the hopes somebody likes our film enough to want to see more and start a franchise. When we go to pitch distributors, we are going to come with pitches for a sequel, a prequel, a web series and a TV series, so we could expand this world in any way they want to go. There are so many ideas we didn’t have room for in this first one and can’t wait to explore in further content.

T.H.: Really I’d echo what Garrett said. On top of that I think I must be a masochist or something because I am going to take a weekend detour in the coming months to take part in the 48 Hour Film Project, which is a lot of fun but pretty tiring and stressful. But, hey, It’s what started Hackley 5 years ago, so who knows what it might spawn.

10. How did the score come about for the film? How did you get it to work with the movie?
T. E.: I’m a multi-instrumentalist musician and have done soundtrack stuff before so that was one of the easier things to do. It took awhile because it was the longest thing I’ve done, but I love how it turned out. I especially liked how Asparagus’ ironic surf theme turned out. And Hackley’s piano music. Getting those things to work just takes a lot of passes until you find something that clicks. Hackley’s piano music had been bouncing around in my head for awhile because we’d been working on this thing for awhile, and we all knew his music had to be somehow reminiscent of the old horror piano pieces. And, of course, there’s Trey and Chuck, which Trey will talk about. They did an excellent job on many of the songs; like the music video at the end, which is another reason the soundtrack stuff went so smoothly for me in post.

T.H.: In addition to the score that T.E. did so incredibly on – I’d add that we were fortunate enough to get to work with Chuck Vail at New Folder Studios to record the Fun with Hackley Rap song. Some of the other songs used in the film were also previously recorded “Bleached Whites” rap songs that were recorded at Chuck’s studio and that we had the rights to because…well…they’re my songs.

G.H.: Yup! Trey’s song “Addicted to Bacon that was featured in the film was also shown on the History Channel at one point! It is brilliant:

11. How do you think social media has played a part in getting the film out there?
G. H.: Its vital. We’re certainly not the best at it, but the wider you can cast your net on social media, the better chance you have of finding your core audience and having your audience find you. Especially with our film, a small niche horror comedy. We realized from the start that a lot of non-horror fans might not get it. We were hoping to make a movie that would appeal to both horror fans and non-horror fans, but we think horror fans will really love the inside jokes of the slasher genre and if we can get our film or trailer in front of their eyes and they can share it with the groups of people they hang out with who also have similar tastes, then we’ve done what we set out to do and we could not do that without social media.

12. How do you feel about this proposed Screening Room service where you will be able to watch the latest blockbuster at home without leaving the house to see it at the cinema?
T. E.: I haven’t read up on Screening Room specifically lately so it may have changed since I first read about it. I think they’re on an interesting track, but when I got to the 50 dollars per movie part, I was like WTF? Did I read that right? I want to make a living with film as much as any filmmaker, but seems they’ve forgotten what a movie even IS. I’m not sure of their end goal, or what problem they’re trying to solve. To me, a problem they could solve with something like this is availability. Isn’t the guy pushing this the dude that did Napster? That’s where it’s at. We need a torrent back-end service with a Facebook like front-end with sharing and all that and just charge a monthly that’s enough to get some money down to the filmmakers (and give credits or something to those that share the most, and not follow the Spotify business model fiasco). What we end up with is a huge library where even the most obscure film would be easy to find. There would be less pirating if they would approach it this way, and more movies would have the opportunity to find their audience just by virtue of being easily obtainable. How many times have you heard about some film and thought; “Hey, I want to check that out.” so you go check Netflix… not there, Amazon Prime… not there, Hulu… not there, the other usual suspects…not there. We live in a world where we expect to get what we heard about immediately, and thus you end up with one of the main motivations for movie pirating — aside from those foreign street vendors or people who trade torrents like baseball cards. At the very LEAST it might cut down on those silly cam-shot pirated movies from the theater. Why would you watch that if you could easily have the real thing? I have a lot more to say about this subject because I’ve been thinking about this problem for a long time as both a filmmaker and a software geek, but don’t wanna bogart the interview so I’ll pass it on.

G.H.: Sweet. One more step until we become the blobby people at the end of WALL-E. So excited for us to not have to get up or think about anything and just have everything delivered to us without effort.

But, I think in most regards we live in a very exciting era. We have instant access to pretty much whatever entertainment we want. But on the flip side, since it takes no effort to acquire that entertainment we are also pretty flippant with it and quick to dismiss. You may be a little younger, Chris, so you may not remember, but when you had to go out, drive somewhere, hope they had the movie you wanted, you were going to f’ing watch it. And since you went out of your way to acquire it, you were damn sure hoping you were going to like it, automatically shifting your views about the films more positively. Now, people are so negative. It was easy to acquire, so it would be easy to dismiss. I do it, too. I’m not just pointing the finger at other people. I flip through Netflix. If I see something that looks interesting, I start watching it. I burned about 2 and a half calories to start to watch it. And if it hasn’t hooked me in 10 minutes, I am usually back burning another 2 calories finding something else to entertain my fat face.

And coming back to the original question. The technology is cool. I am all for film makers finding new avenues for revenue to to get their films out to the public, but dumbing down the acquisition process, I think will lead to a lesser appreciation for the craft of film making.

13. How important is to you to have physical copies of your films (EG DVD & Blu-Ray) and make them something worth having?
GH: I may not be the right person to ask because I’m still addicted to Blu-Rays and DVDs. I have a big digital collection of films (all purchased legally), but still buy big films on Blu-Ray. There’s just something about physically holding something in your hand that is very gratifying. And there’s something about the way I said that in which it could totally be misconstrued or taken out of context to embarrass me.

T.E. That’s what she said, G.



When I heard about this film, it got me wanting to know more as some body who loves a good horror picture. I am happy to say this film ticked the boxes and I knew I had to find out more.  So this is what the film makers William Collins the director and Channing Whitaker the screenwriter had to say about it all.

1 & 2. What was the inspiration behind the film? How long did it take to write the script?

Channing Whitaker (Screenwriter) – I believe there were two ideas that were the seeds for KILD TV. The first, right out of college I went to work for a TV station which had actually combined two local network affiliates during a corporate buy up. Few viewers knew we were both stations because they were with different national networks. As we finished one network’s news, the other network’s anchors were standing by waiting. We’d turn the camera’s around and 5 feet away had the other network’s set. We didn’t have a horror-host show, but it made me think how interesting it would be to explore that scenario, not between two news shows, but instead between an upstanding news program and a creepy, over-the-top, horror show. Second, early on I had the idea of the horror show cast and crew being in trouble, going on the air and asking for help, but having a “boy who cried wolf” scenario where their viewers are so used to outrageous antics they don’t believe the pleas are earnest. The rest of the story grew from there.

I had written the first draft over about three months, and I had pages of notes and ideas with the intention of revising and rewriting a finished script. However, I had a previous professional relationship with the rest of the production team and they were looking for a project. I ended up pitching it to them before I would have called the script finished. They wanted to go forward with it, which resulted in William and the producers having a chance to weigh in with ideas and shape the subsequent rewrite and polish, which took another three months, so about six months in total.

3. How long was the shoot and what challenges did you face when making a low budget film?

Collins (Director) – 19 days of grueling 5PM~5AM production. The TV station was a set, and was created from scratch, all equipment had to be hooked up and trucked into the open space that was to become the labyrinth of KILD TV. Among our challenges was keeping the studio in order; part of the TV Station was in the Eye Candy Studio space, and the other section was downstairs in another suite 500 feet away. Yet they often ran from one spot to the other having to connect the two seamlessly. This required that we create a key map for all cast and crew to understand how we were organizing the production. All effects were practical minus one stabbing, so coordinating and inventing the best methods for the on screen FX was also a big challenge to keep in order. Luckily Hawgfly Productions of Austin, famous for Dusk Till Dawn and many other films, did a fantastic job and were always on top of it, reducing that stress. I think the night schedule was the biggest challenge. I lost 10 lbs. during the shoot (and I am 160 lbs. and 5’10”), so a lot of weight loss. I was sleeping 3~4 hours as a norm for 19 days, it was like being in boot camp. I remember thinking how much I would appreciate the simple act of sleeping a full night as soon as the shoot was over. And I did too!

4. How was the cast chosen for the movie?

Collins (Director) – Our production company is always hands on the casting process. We selected the cast with input from the key production team. Producer Michael Muscal, Executive producer Bryce Cunningham, Art Director Yun Kum and myself were always involved and I think it has made us very good at this. We typically reach consensus on the selection process before we move forward. Ultimately the final decision was up to me, however there was never an issue, I agree fully with the cast we’ve selected and consider myself very lucky to have worked with them.
We originally wanted the venerable Bruce Campbell for the lead roll, but it was not meant to be, and luckily we had the incredible talent of D.C. Douglas available, so as soon as he accepted we brought him to Houston. While he may disagree with me, I think D.C. Douglas was meant to play Dr. Perseco his whole life, and after having made KILD TV, I can’t see any other actor playing this role. As mentioned before, we were lucky to have landed such talented and beautiful people.
Astrea Campbell Cobb is stunning. We hired her originally for a short film we did in early 2012 called The Rolling Road (available on Amazon). She shocked us at that time with her lascivious kissing scene and just being her delicious self.
Dan Breverman was somebody I had kept in my files for years. I first saw him in a local film The Waiter. His energy and facial expressions were magnificent in that film. Later I saw him at a local comic convention and I asked Dan for a head shot. I told him then (2009) “I will call you soon, we are working on something and I know I want you in it”. He said – Awesome, love to do it. etc. In the end when the casting started for KILD, I pulled his head shot from my dusty files and he became Ira. While I expect my actors to bring their A game to me, Dan in particular was ready to walk through molten lava for his character. As expected his energy was incredible and he was always ready for more. He had to put a difficult contact lens into his eye in addition to one hour of prosthetic make up each day. No problem!
Jared Dorek was somebody I had done a short with in the past, The CareTaker. The CareTaker is something we are working on for our future film pipeline. I expect The CareTaker to be huge when it releases. We have a full comic book of the story drawn out and we are just about ready to launch that. Jared did an extraordinary job on our short: which won many awards, so I loved that he was excited to take on the part of Lucas.
Heather Williams, our local Aussie, and (I think the Australian Apprentice runner up), became Geneva with all the strength and gusto we hoped for. She played the character wonderfully and beautifully. We had to tone down her looks for the part; she is a stunning Australian platinum blond.
I remember asking her when she came to the casting call, “I have to know if you can do a kissing scene with our lead actress, and that you can make it hot”. She said – “No problem, I like the girls”. I was not sure how that would translate, but when the scene had to be made, Astrea and Heather did such a hot scene you could hear a pin drop on set. In the end we had to remove some of the scene because it became too hot for what it was supposed to be. Heather is a total pro, and a wonderful person; you don’t always get such a package.
Aleeha Rogers is known for playing one of the pretty slave girls in Tarantino’s film Django. During filming her scream (on the film) is bloodcurdling and so loud, we had to turn it way down for the post. Aleeha was incredible and created a unifying presence for the ensemble as well giving the audience a surprise on the film.
Grace Johnson who played Dena, was also a lucky break for the production. Grace was taking care of her father at the time in Houston, which is the only reason she was available to audition for the part. Known for playing opposite Bette Midler on the film Beaches as a child actor, Grace is a Hollywood insider and a celebrity. All grown up she is a powerhouse on screen. I did not realize what a talent we had landed, until we started shooting. Even during post I kept finding wonderful details she added in her performance to enhance and improve her part.
Obviously I can’t say enough good things about our cast, even if I devoted my entire interview to talk about them it would not be enough. But don’t take my word for it, see the film, you will love it.

5. What did you learn from making the movie?

Channing (Screenwriter) – I learned to be more flexible. Of course filmmaking is collaboration and the writer has to be ready for the director and the actors to bring their own ideas, but I found on this project I had to be willing to help adjust the script to the logistical challenges of the production. One example was that the script called for a small window in the set that played a part in a couple scenes. As we were going into production we negotiated with three different locations we thought would work for the TV station setting, and only ended up locking down the final location a few weeks before the first shoot day. However, it just so happened the location we got didn’t have any small windows. We had to brainstorm and adjust the script to fit the location we had, and do so very close to the start of shooting. There were probably another dozen or so details like that.

Collins (Director) – There are too many lessons to mention. I think the quality of the production team can’t be overemphasized. There are professionals, and then there are professionals. In the end, as a director, when production cuts costs on a member or hires a lesser experienced person you end up picking up the slack. There comes a moment when you feel like a loony toons cartoon character running in every direction trying to save the ship. I can’t say how much you have to be thankful for good people on set. If you have some great people on set, go and kiss and hug them. You’ll thank me later.

6. How important is having the right promotion material for the film like artwork and so on?

Collins (Director) – Absolutely critical. My partner Yun Kum had designed the coffin piano before we designed our set. She had come up with a logo for KILD TV before we had the script complete. Our Facebook and website were up and running before we were pre-production. Michael Muscal and I spoke about how we would promote the film before we shot one frame. Also Bryce (EP), and I took the time and expense to investigate pre-selling the film at AFM before the final edit was done. Everything related to marketing is critical because today, each person you try to reach is faced with a torrent of noise. The consumption of media today is like trying to drink from a fire hose. Think about yourself, how many areas of interest can you keep up with in a realistic manner? You can be great, and not be seen or heard. Remember that for every great film there are a million bad ones. How do you get above the noise level? Work it! Social Media, promotions, websites, parties, advertising, etc., etc. Non-stop, every day, all the time. You have to become a marketing machine…. or hire one.
7. Are you happy how the film has been received?

Collins (Director) – Absolutely, the fans are awesome and they get it. We need this word to spread and more people to hear and see the film. The fans of the film are getting the word out and we can’t thank them enough for that. We made the film for the fans, and if they respond with their wallets we will make more, nothing could make me happier.

8. What is next for yourself?

Collins (Director) – We are in development for a film called Shoplifters starring Shirley MacLane, Ann Margaret and Christopher Walken. It’s a PG comedy and we are actively seeking investment on a PPM (contact us if you are interested, see IMDB). We have more than half our money but we remain short and the clock is ticking. We are also developing The CareTaker, a dark superhero type of psychological thriller in the likes of Watchmen but darker (major star in target). We also have a Phsychomatics, a story about an autistic kid who is given gene therapy and it leads to a big surprise and The Rolling Road a TV series about a twin trying to make sense of an amoral world see trailer. We have the future of entertainment, but we need financing and support. I can’t wait to do all these projects.

9. How did the score come about for the film?

How did you get it to work with the movie? Collins (Director) – I am a fan of Danny Elfman from the early days of Oingo Boingo. I also really like the work he did for Beatle Juice. If you play that film you will notice a lot of similarity to the style of our music on KILD TV, particularly with the accentuations of Dr. Perseco. But I don’t want to take the spotlight from Nicholas Gati who did a superhuman job on the score. When I had the edit, I took the time to pre-score the film using other film music and had a pretty good idea of where to hit what and how. So Nicholas was working from a clear prospective of when to put crescendos or what type of music edit I was after. But it was Nicholas all the way getting that to work and outlining music passages that are delectable on their own. At some point we plan to release the music score of the film. I think fans will be really surprised how amazing the music really is. It’s not everyday you get an orchestral score on an indy film. The sad part was that we could only use parts of the score. When you hear it on its own its really just wonderful, great sounding music.

10. How do you think social media has played a part in getting the film out there?

Collins (Director) – I think it is the future of marketing. The fans keep social media close to them; they use it to know what is real and what is not. We strived to make a great film, and everybody on the film did their best, so now it’s up to the fans to respond and tell their friends that this is worth their time. To me social media is a time saver. There are so many time vampires, and social media is a great method of keeping them away.

11. How do you feel about this proposed Screening Room service where you will be able to watch the latest blockbuster at home without leaving the house to see it at the cinema?

Collins (Director) – I think it is a bit upper crust. If I remember right its about $300 bucks to set it up and $60 bucks per film or similar. As a filmmaker and avid film fan I love to curl up in my home theatre and watch great films, but I still go to the movies regularly, because I like to see the reactions of people or the non-reactions. I want to see and experience the outing of going to a movie. While I hate the people on their phones as much as the next guy, I don’t think the experience has gotten so bad that I would pay that much to avoid going to a theatre. Also, I can’t expect to watch films like Gun Woman at my local theatre; those I see at my home theatre, but I bet they won’t be on the Screening Room Service.

12. How important is it to you to have physical copies of your films (E.G. DVD & Blu-Ray) and make them something worth having?

Collins (Director) – It is very important to me and the production team to provide our fans a tangible, highest quality version of KILD TV on a BR and DVD. We’ve made a very high quality BluRay that contains a big huge file with minimum compression and so it takes up most of the disk. The disk is a glass master so again the highest quality possible. The audio is DTS raw, which again is the highest quality possible on a BR. You’d have to get a huge Hollywood film to have that sort of quality on a BR. However the highest quality version of our film is 4K resolution and 10bit. There is (at the moment) no way to provide that to our fans in 4K tangibly unless we stream it.
The plan at this point is to create a website that has the typical behind the scenes information and photos, videos and documentaries. We will do this because we realize that its best to keep the disk provided as pure high quality film/audio. In the end the highest quality version of the film will live on line. We anticipate that KILD TV will be released on VOD on May 5th, and for example we heard its likely that Google Play and Bell network will have it available in 4K with 5.1 audio. Many on demand channels will offer it at a higher quality than most festivals are able to show it; 4K and with full 5.1 sound, etc. So I think the future is not to own disks with inferior quality, but to have long-term access to the film at the highest quality on line. Today the average 4K TV will accept YouTube directly from the net, and when our content is there it will play in 4K to your phone, tablet, computer and home theatre. It’s the solution to the forced screen issue, the best version of Screening Room Service if you will.

Jeremy Lutter Interview


Jeremy Lutter is a director who directed an amazing short film called Reset. When I read the premise of the film I knew I had to know more about the film. Luckily he agreed to answer my questions and the short film is amazing with an incredible performance by Emily Tennant. When it becomes available to watch it, please do so.

1. What was the inspiration behind the film?

This project started at the award ceremony of a film festival. A writer, Ryan Bright, approached me and pitched this film called Reset. I read the script and like any great story it raised a bunch thought provoking questions. Reset is a vision of a possible future and a look at love and objectification. It was also the exact opposite of anything I had ever done before. I loved it. I have a background in shooting family friendly, short films – Joanna Makes a Friend, Gords’ Brother. I wanted to expand my directing repertoire.
2. How were the actors chosen for the film?

The first time I read the script, I pictured an Canadian actress named Emily Tennant as the lead. I had considered her for a part in a previous short film – Floodplain. She is a phenomenal actor. I asked her and she was interested. The rest of the cast we drew on other local talents, Michael Karl Richards, Jessica Harmon and David Nykl. I had two amazing casting directors, Kara Eide & Kris Woznesensky, working with me to help put the cast together.

3. How long did the film take to shoot?

We shot for 3 long days.

4. Did you have any problems when making the film?

One of the most challenging aspects of the film was shooting with flowers. Tulips were used as a symbol of love and over the course of the story the tulips were supposed to age and wilt. The problem was you don’t shoot a film in chronological order and we needed to have a huge collection of tulips on stand by at different stages of decomposition. The logistics of this were much harder than I first thought. Tulips were not in season and hard to find. We kept running out of them and needing to find more but no flower shop wants to sell you anything but prime flowers – so we ended up trying to fast age them with blow driers. By the time we got around to shooting the final scene we had run out of flowers completely but we needed one prop flower. There was nothing but a pile of flower petals. Our clever production designer, Moe Curtin, had an idea and made a flower by gluing flower petals together. It actually looked pretty awesome and that glued flower is in the final cut of the film.

5. What cameras did you use to achieve what the film looks like?

We shot Reset on a brand new (at the time) camera called Red Dragon. Our two brilliant cinematographers, Graham & Nelson Talbot (who are identical twins) had just received the camera and this was the first project shot with the upgrade.

6. The film is beautifully shot and lit how did you go about achieving this?

The credit goes to our DOP twins Graham and Nelson Talbot. They are best known for a doritos commercial they made for the super bowl contest. They were short listed and ended up almost winning 1 millions dollars. Instead they got runners up prize (second place) and that included their commercial playing during the super bowl. Anyway, about the beautiful cinematography – we achieved that with careful planning, story boarding and a great lighting team. Seriously, those guys nailed it. It was a cold and futuristic look. And it helped that we had an awesome colourist work with us in post- Rob Neilson of Etch Media – I really wanted the film to have a distinct look.

7. When it came to editing the film, was their much that you filmed that didn’t make the final cut?

This film was very planned out with storyboards and all of the scenes made it into the final cut – losing only a couple of lines here and there for timing. It’s easier with a short film to make a careful plan. I used to shoot music videos the same way, every shot is planned out.

8. How long did it take to have the script ready in a draft ready to film?

The writer, Ryan Bright, wrote a few drafts before he pitched it to me. It took him about a month to get it into solid shape. We were both happy with it leading up to the shoot, but we always agreed there was something a little underdeveloped about the secondary character, Natalie, played by Jessica Harmon. At the very last minute (about a week before the shoot) Ryan wrote a new scene, where Sidney and Natalie interact alone. The scene definitely added something, but also required a glass breaking and an extra page to shoot with little time to make the adjustments. Ultimately we shot the new scene and the movie is better for it. Ryan promises he’ll give me more than a week notice next time.

9. What do you hope people will take away after seeing the film?

I hope that the film leads people to ask questions. Questions about our relationship to technology and our relationships with each other. What does it mean to be human? Can we create a new life and how do we treat people in our life now? There is a theme of objectification that runs throughout the story Do we treat people as objects? What does love mean?

10. What do you hope the short film will do for you career?

I actually shot my first feature film called, The Hollow Ones, right after production on Reset ended – I used Reset as a testing ground for my feature – to explore darker themes, and more adult subject matter. I also took most of the crew from the short and made the feature.

12. The use of music in the film was well used, how do you know when the music isn’t right or too overpowering for a scene?

Music is much like picture editing – it’s all about feeling. You know it’s right when it feels right. I was lucky to have a great composer on board with the project – Terry Fewer who I have worked with many times before.

13. Any thing you wouldn’t do next time regards to making of the film?

This question reminds me of a previous short film I made called Floodplain, which took place on a raft. The entire film was set on, around and under the water. After shooting Floodplain–- people always asked me what I learned about shooting a film around the water. I always tell them I learned one thing – not to do it. It was just very hard. The film turned out and I am glad I did it, but it was a painfully hard journey.

Reset, on the other hand, is a short film with no regrets. I had an amazing team on Reset and two producers Jocelyn Russell and Arnold Lim and things ran fairly smoothly.

14. Was the way Emily’s character was dressed, did it have a huge part in the overall sense of the film?

The actress Emily Tennant played Sidney the lead in the film. It took a long time to get the costumes right – it was hard to give the film a futuristic look, fit the colour palette and give the costumes an arc. Our costumer designer, Kelly Allyn-Gardner, and I worked really hard to define the world and the character. It was written that Sidney wore yellow in the script – but in reality yellow was a bit too strong of a colour and we went a different direction. The most important thing for me was that the costumes changed as the film progressed to add to Sidney’s emotional journey.

15. What is next for yourself?

As I mentioned earlier – I am finishing post right now on a feature film called The Hollow Ones. It’s about evil fairies – hopefully to hit film festivals in 2016 / 17.

Check out the feature:

Reset the short will be available on the BravoFACT website – around Oct this year on their website – check for updates on here:



Conjoined directed by  Joe Grisaffi is a great independent American horror comedy. I loved what I read about the film, so I went and got the DVD. I loved it, so I got the director to tell me more about the film.

1 & 2. What was the inspiration behind the film? How long did it take to write the script?

Chuck Norfolk: Conjoined was simmering on the back burner of my brain for a few years. The inspiration was a “what if” thing. What if you were married to a conjoined twin and her sister was a serial killer. Me and my Tim Norfolk banged out the script in about a month. It kind of wrote itself.

3. How long was the shoot and what challenges did you face when making a low budget film?

Joe Grisaffi: The shoot was 9 days spread out over one month. Two of those days were ½ days. One of our goals with Conjoined was to embrace the challenges of low budget filmmaking. We intentionally limited our prep time, I think to four days, and vowed to come up with “solutions” on the spot for scenes we weren’t completely prepared for, hoping our mistakes or quick solutions would become part of the fun, and it really worked. Luckily, this was a studio shoot and the entire movie was filmed at one location, so we had a lot of items at our disposal, even if the solution wasn’t exactly as scripted. For example, the surgery scene was written to use proper surgical items, but we were unable to locate the correct items in time, but we solved that problem and the movie is better for it.

4. How was the cast chosen for the movie?

We didn’t hold any casting calls. We cast privately. We called actors we wanted to work with directly, asked them to read the script, and if they wanted the part, it was theirs. If I recall correctly, our casting relied on Michelle Ellen Jones. Keefer agreed to play Alisa, the bad sister, but she is a tall woman, and her casting depended on Michelle saying yes – Michelle is tall as well. We had worked with Jake Byrd on Lars the Emo Kid and Haunted Trailer, and just knew he would be brilliant as Jerry. We included Sara Gaston to reprise her role as Detective Waters from Dead of Knight, and found a way to include her Dead of Knight partner Dan Braverman in a cameo as well. Sara recommended Tom Long, who we’ve both known for years now, and he was perfect. I had recently worked with Troy Parker and thought he’d be great as Ty the Video Dating Guy, and finally, Chuck Norfolk recommended Deidre Stephens as the Web Cam Girl, and she was a great choice.

5. What did you learn from making the movie?

Conjoined was really an effort to use everything we’ve learned from our previous low budget endeavors. In the past, I would stress out over very little things in the pursuit of perfection that ultimately didn’t matter to the audience. You know, minor continuity errors, digital effects that might be off just a little. I spent a couple of years worried a couple of composite shots in Dead of Knight, which held up its release – and now that the movie is released, nobody has ever said a word about them. It was my goal to let those little things go if they happened, and they did, but they just made this movie even better, in my opinion.

This film was also a great opportunity to experiment with comedy because so little was at stake financially. Our script was 58 pages long and we needed a 75 minute feature for distribution. Our solution – as part of the joke, I let some scenes linger way too long. And it worked beautifully. Another lesson learned is that a scene can be more effective if you let the audiences’ imaginations fill in the blanks. The surgery scene is a great example of both of these points – I think it’s extended runtime with a couple of false endings works great, and the use of sound instead of graphic visuals makes the scene even funnier.

6. How important is having the right promotion material for the film like artwork and so on?

I think the right promotional material is incredibly important. I don’t really consider myself a poster designer, but I made the Conjoined artwork. I wanted a grindhouse feel to the poster and I think it represents the movie well. I especially love our tag line. If the film gets picked up by a larger distributor or foreign territories (it is currently being handled by Champion Entertainment), I am pretty sure the artwork will change, though.

7. Are you happy how the film has been received?

I am thrilled with how the film has been received. We knew it was funny, and we were pretty sure our target audience would really enjoy it. The film has been shown at festivals and events all over the world. Surprisingly, middle aged women who are not really horror fans tend to love the movie. My mother hates horror films, but she attended a screening of Conjoined – I sat behind her – and she couldn’t stop laughing. Others have said the same thing, kind of embarrassed that they enjoyed the movie so much. J

The film is currently available on DVD and streaming at Amazon Instant Video. We are hoping for wider VOD availability soon and I know Champion Entertainment has been talking for some foreign territories as well.

8. What is next for yourself?

I have been asked to directed a fun horror film called Kids vs. Zombies, written and produced by Courtney Sandifer. We are currently trying to finish fundraising for this family-friendly zombie film. I also have a couple of completed scripts that I’ve written that I’d like to produce, The Barber and Alligator Man being among them, and we have another script called Slugger from Dead of Knight screenwriter Emilio Iasiello. Sara Gaston and Dan Braverman would reprises their roles as Detectives Waters and Sutherland in Slugger.

9. Why do you think horror and horror comedies are always so popular?

I believe both are cathartic. I think comedy is the hardest thing a filmmaker can do, because it is so subjective, but when it works, it can work brilliantly. Even a poorly made horror film still has value and can find an audience, and may even become an unintentional comedy.

10. If you could have the ultimate cast for a film who would be in it?

I don’t really have a dream team cast list, although there are a lot of actors I would love to work with in the future. The dream team cast would certainly depend on the material.

All About Lizzie

All About Lizzie is an exciting new and fun television series I had read about. Thanks to the Internet I got ask the creator/director John Hopson about it all. If you get a chance when it becomes available. seriously go check it out. I’ve seen the Pilot and loved it. So read on.


1.) What was the inspiration behind the series?

It was a combination of things,  It started when I was watching Will and Grace with my ex-girlfriend (roommate) now lesbian. I said, “Wow this is like us only in reverse” My ex replied, ” It is, you should write a script about this”.  Many men are fascinated by the lesbian world and would like a bit more insight and understanding into this universe. My sister is also lesbian and I used to hang out with her and peers often.  My determination to get the show out grew when many people including my college professors told me the show was too controversial  and would never air.  I became very determine to prove them wrong.

2.). How did the cast and crew come on board for the series?

Many of the cast members auditioned for their roles.  How the roles of  Lizzie and Jordan became cast was interesting.  We had been auditioning for three weeks for the role of Lizzie and after three weeks of brutal casting we had given up on finding our Lizzie.  Allison entered the room she was very late and begged for an opportunity to audition.  Too be honest I was very tired and a bit frustrated how late she showed up.  I remembered how it was for me as an actor so  we gave her an opportunity and she seize the moment.   She was a bit young, but delivered.  As for the role of Jordan Corey landed the role by filling in for the main actor who could not make it to a reading.  Corey had done such a phenomenal job that we had no choice, but to give the role to Corey, who has done an amazing job.

3. How long did it take to write each episode? 

About three weeks per episode.  It depends on how well the writing teams gels.  Sometimes an episode can get cranked out in a week and half.

4. How did the internet play a part in what you are doing?  

A huge part. Had it not been for the internet I would have never had met you. We used many sources of social media from YouTube to Twitter to get the word out about our show and through that we connected with ROKU who plans streaming the first season of All About Lizzie.

5. Do you think streaming/VOD has changed the face of Television and movies itself?

Absolutely!  Many audiences have out grown predictable network television and reality TV has leveled out a bit.  Cable TV for many Americans is just too expensive.  Most of the cast on All About Lizzie are streaming over cable TV.  Which is very logical given that you can stream 10.00 a month versus 100.00 a month for cable television. Netflix out grossed HBO last year and will probably will gross higher numbers this year.  It would seem that streaming is the next evolution in film and television.

6. Is it harder to get shows up and running these days?

With so many cable channels popping up and the emergence of streaming getting shows up are easier.  Ten years ago I would say two-thirds of the TV shows we see today would not have gotten on the small screens.  Having said that, the competition is much harder these days. There are a lot of talented people that are now getting opportunities to show-case their talent.  The viewers have also become a lot smarter as well.
7. What do you hope people will get out of the series?

Tolerance for alternative lifestyles, but also I hope my will have fun watching the show.  We are hoping to change the way television is view by audiences. We want to redefine expectations for film.

8. What were challenges faced when getting the show together?

The biggest one was financing.  Two of my investors pulled out right before the filming.  I had to sell my car and several family heirlooms I also had to cash out my 401k program to make up for the lost financing.  Working with a limited crew do to lack of financing.  There are people I will be indebted to for the rest of my career, that really step up to the plate.  Another would be confidence. This being the first major project I worked on I found myself hoping that the talent and crew would believe in me and see me for my lack of experience.

9. What are you working on next?

I have several projects that I am working on each one quite different from the All About Lizzie experience.  One being a documentary on veterans.

Hanson Hosein about the documentary Independent America


I did this interview on the 19/11/2007  (but due to the site change I forgot to put this up) well that when the answer came back from Hanson of the film makers of the important documentary Independent America and it is about mom & pop stores in America and big business. I think this is was a very good interview which I did, I gave him some good questions to answer.  If you have any interest in small businesses in America, you need to see this.

1. Why did you decide to do a documentary on Mom & Pop stories and small towns fighting to remain independent?

Prior to moving to a small city in British Columbia, Canada, I had lived in Tel Aviv, New York and Paris — all vibrant cities with healthy independent retailers in their city cores.  Back in my native Canada, in one of the most beautiful settings in the world, we noticed ugly “big box” development happening everywhere, even as we were developing friendships with local farmers, bakers, butchers, chefs, winemakers and artisans.  It made me wonder whether this was happening everywhere, particularly in the USA, the home of Wal-Mart, Starbucks and my wife Heather’s family.  So when I got back from six months of reporting on “Operation Iraqi Freedom” and its aftermath with NBC in the Middle East, Heather and I hit the road to find out what was happening.

2. Were you surprised with the people support in the towns you visited when you were filming and making the documentary?

I’m always surprised by the support we receive in the most unexpected of places.  I think this subject really hit a nerve, and you didn’t have to be a left-wing liberal to understand what’s at stake.  First, contrary to the perception overseas, we found the Americans we met to be amazingly sophisticated and intelligent with their responses to the issue — which I believe comes through clearly in the film (one reason why I believe Australians liked the documentary so much).  Second, they were unexpectedly receptive to this odd looking couple with their dog showing up in their town with a camera rolling.

It was also interesting that much of this return to “Buy Local” was a direct impact of a growing concern by many Americans that they had lost control over their big, powerful institutions in Washington (Iraq, Hurricane Katrina) and in corporate boardrooms (Enron, Martha Stewart, etc.).  So why not focus on what they could control?  Right at home.  Increasing fuel costs, global warming, and concerns about global security heightened this awareness.

3. Did you think that it is sad that a lot of these small towns have lost their culture and identity and basically become like every other town?

It’s incredibly sad.  As Angel Delgadillo from Seligman Arizona said in our film (Seligman was also the inspiration for “Radiator Springs” in the animated film “Cars), if his small town gets a McDonald’s all the tourists from around the world won’t be as interested to visit this highlight along Route 66, as it’ll look like everywhere else they’ve been.

But more importantly, as retail diversity disappears, and residents of these towns lose their independent livelihood, they become dependent on one or two major corporations to supply them, which can be dangerous to democracy if it’s a company like Wal-Mart that censors its cultural inventory, or a chain bookstore (it’s often the independent bookstores that takes risks and support new authors, like Khaled Hosseini who wrote “The Kite Runner”).

4. Did you learn a lot from making the documentary and visiting these towns?

Yes.  I learned that America can’t easily be classified as “Red” and “Blue.”  And that it’s important that if big media won’t pay attention to what’s going on in rural America, then we should take things into our own hands, and make sure they have a voice through alternative means (blogging, online video, etc.).

5. Do you have a better understanding of what these small towns have faced?

I do.  And why it’s so important that they continue to survive and thrive.  Not everyone needs to live in a big city.

6. What was the highlight on the journey of making the documentary?

That Heather and I are still married!  And that a crazy idea that we had, that no major broadcaster would fund, could ultimately reach so many people.  It was hard and lonely out there sometimes, thinking we were wasting our time and the last of our savings to do this.  Luckily, we had a supportive partner, our Executive Producer Tom Powers, in Toronto, who kept us going.  And when we met people like philosopher-farmer Tod Murphy in Vermont, who advocates eating products that are supplied as close to home as possible in the name of community security, we were completely inspired and reinvigorated.

7. Are you surprised how well it has been received and that it has been shown in a number of country’s around the world?

We had actually been hoping that people overseas would pick up on how the world’s economic superpower is having second thoughts about its love affair with big corporations.  That said, we were utterly surprised at how Australians and New Zealanders were the first to really embrace the concept of Independent America.  Must be something in the water over there.  I still fantasize that we’ll get to do an Independent Oceana Tour 2008.

8. What was the greatest challenge when making the documentary?
Other than handling all the filming and editing ourselves (especially because it was HD footage), the greatest challenge was continuing to believe that we were on to something and should persevere.
9. Do you wish there were more locally owned department stores in more small towns around America like the found you found where the money stays in town and helps the community?
We do, and we think it’s beginning to happen.  The community-owned store in Powell, Wyoming (“The Merc”) now serves as a model to other towns, which are now asking Powell for advice as to how they can do the same thing.
10. Were you surprised how well Arcata has done at limiting the number of big chain stores from coming into there town?
If that kind of law is going to work anywhere, Arcata is one of the most likely places for that to happen.  It’s on America’s “Left Coast” in a progressive university town.  The law has also served as inspiration to a good number of other towns in the United States to do something about the proliferation of corporate chain retail (like Port Townsend, Washington).  Other communities have preferred to stick to “Buy Local” publicity campaigns instead, such as “Keep Austin Weird” in the Texas state capital.
11. Why do you think these big business try to come into these towns where they don’t them?
Money.  These corporations are held to a constant growth standard by Wall Street, so if they’re not always opening new locations and developing new markets, they’re penalized by analysts and shareholders.  Starbucks is the worst offender of this.  Happily they’re now getting some resistance in the United States for oversaturarating certain markets, and maybe even losing sales because of that.
12. Do you think there needs to be more towns like it?
I think each town needs to decide, individually, how they would like to support their residents and neighbors.  We’re hoping our film will encourage them to do that.
13. Do some of these towns really need 3 or 4 of same store when their town doesn’t really need to many of them?
No.  But often those stores serve as magnets to draw in residents from other, nearby towns — which can kill local businesses there too.
14. Was it hard going through all the footage you shot to edited it for the documentary?
We shot about 80 hours of material, for an 81-minute film.  I looked at every single frame as I was putting it together.  We started with a four-hour version, then two, then 81-minutes.  We even have a 52-minute edition for broadcast (which was shown on SBS in Australia).  It was sometimes painful to relive some of the more difficult parts of our journey, but you often don’t know what your story is until you get back and put all the pieces together.
15. What it is next for you two and your company?
We’re frankly exhausted by everything we’ve done in the last two years (Independent America, plus a series of films on economic development in southern Africa which involved driving from one ocean to the other).  So since IA doesn’t seem to want to die, we’re still involved in marketing the film.

We’ve moved to Seattle, in an area that really embodies much of the values of Independent America.  We’re finally starting a family.  And I’m exploring some of the potential of what we achieved technologically with IA in my new position as Director of the Digital Media program at the University of Washington Department of Communications.  I’m really hoping that our next film project will involve some ambitious application of mobile telephone video.  No point resting on our laurels!

My amazing friend Michelle Page has her short film Scraps which she starred in available for purchase.

It’s a really great film and Michelle is amazing in it, it’s worth checking out.


Emily Sandifer


Photos copyright respected holders.

Emily Sandifer is one of we have interviewed a few times. As a friend and fan of her work, we think she is an extremely gorgeous and talented. She is an actor, director, screenwriter and also a photographer. I think she will go very far, with heaps of projects in the works. This talented lady is going places so read on.

1. How does it feel to have appeared on Castle?

Amazing! It was my first of hopefully many TV credits. Hard work pays off. I also just did a small co-star on “The Mentalist” in January. It airs March 10th.
2. What was it like working with the cast and crew of “Castle”?
The cast and crew have been together for so many seasons that they are definitely a well-oiled machine. They work so efficiently and so well together. It was inspiring to see and be apart of. The cast was wonderful, too. Nathan Fillion and Stana Kalic were so much fun to be around and I really appreciate them making me feel at home. Actually, every single person on set made me feel at home. 
3.What was it like working on an Asylum film?
Great cast and crew (40 Days and Nights). It was a low-budget feature film, and we had a lot of issues during filming, but the experience of working with such cool people made it totally worth it. 
4. What did you gain from working on the film? 
I learned how to scuba dive! That was really awesome. They trained us for 2 hours before we shot the scene with Christianna Carmine and myself diving into the water to save the ark. The other thing I gained: meeting Christianna. She’s become one of my closest friends and we were both just at the Idyllwild Cinemafest (each with our own films we’ve made), so it’s been really fun! She’s a unique soul with a lot of talent. 
5. What is the inspiration for the film “Salton”?
That’s a long answer, but basically my obsession with the Salton Sea area in Southern California started back in 2008. I wanted to make a film that was shot there and I started researching the history, the myths, etc. If you want to read more, we have a website for the film at that has a Tumblr link with a director’s statement, etc. Go to the “About” section.  Salton Sea holds a special place in my heart, so the film is very special to me, too. 
6. When will we expect to see that?
I had hoped to do more sound editing on the film after seeing it screen at the Idyllwild CinemaFest. But, since projects will never be perfect no matter how much you fiddle with them, I think it’ll be ready to view online in the next couple of months.
7. What inspires you now as an actor?
We could be here all day if I went into that. Everything inspires me. The world around us, the people we see and interact everyday, the stories you read in the news or in books, photos I see, paintings, music, amazing performances. If you really pay attention to all your senses, it’s easy to find inspiration and then translate it into your work.
8. Who has been you favorite person to work with recently?
Oh, I can’t say I have one favorite person. But recently, I’d say a few people deserve some credit. I already put a shout-out to Christianna Carmine. I also really enjoy my collaborations with my dear friend Amanda Dow. She has been wonderful to work with in “Salton” and “Vacillate” whether it be acting alongside her or directing her, or vice versa, and I’m so excited about our current feature film we’re working on getting funding for: “Intrepid” ( I see a lot in store for us with that project. I also have to say TJ Dalrymple, since we’ve worked together quite a bit in the past two years. He’s one of those actors I’ve felt safe with, and I grew so much through the projects we did together, both as an actor and a filmmaker/director. I’ve been lucky to work with a lot of great people in a short amount of time, but as far as people who challenge me and make the set a better place for all involved, those are my top three currently.
9. How does social networking help you as an actor?
Social networking. The dreaded phrase to many of us “artists.” You love it, you hate it, it seems completely vain, but it’s becoming somewhat necessary in today’s crazy social media driven world, especially to us “unknowns.” It definitely has helped me get my projects out there in the world. People have hired me just by seeing my reel online or seeing photos on my website. I’ve met wonderful people, such as yourself, who take an interest in the work we’re doing and it enables us to share our work with the whole world. That really became apparent when Nick Acosta posted our little “fake fan trailer” for 50 Shades of Grey. Suddenly people from Brazil, Ireland, Thailand, and numerous other countries were all becoming fans and supporters. It’s very cool. I think if you use it in a positive way, and don’t lead by the ego with it, then it’s very helpful indeed.
10. What have you got next in the pipeline?
Crossing my fingers to book something awesome here soon. Other than that, just finishing old projects, getting “Intrepid” funded and produced, and continuing to work on my craft, my writing, my photography, and my life in general.
11. What would find in your stereo at the moment?
Hmmmmm. A lot of 80’s music for whatever reason (Church’s “Under the Milky Way” — it’s been on repeat). Also, just a random collection of anything from Adele’s “Skyfall” to Stateless’ “Bloodstream” to Lana Del Rey to Citizen Cope. So… a mix of genres and decades. I’m pretty up and down with my moods, so it just depends on what I’m feeling at the current moment.
12. What have you seen recently you have enjoyed?
Most recently watched “Beasts of the Southern Wild” – loved it.
13. What inspires you when writing now?
Right now, I’d say my writing is being inspired by astrology, heartbreak, and comedy because of the current projects I’ve had cooking in my brain for the past few years. I love listening to people’s life experiences; it always inspires me. I write down any strange dreams I have, too, and I figure those will inspire something someday.
14. What do you like to do to unwind?
When I’m feeling stressed or need to think something through, I love going on walks. Or driving somewhere (usually some secluded desert). Also love watching movies, doing personal projects that are just for fun, and I’m currently reading 3 different books and a script (I should probably just try one at a time…).
15. What do you do to keep yourself looking so amazing always?
Ha, well, thank you. Photoshop! Okay, just kidding (sarcasm doesn’t translate well in writing, does it? Oh well).  I only say that because I’m a photographer who really loves natural “flaws” and “quirks” in everyone. I changed my eating habits back in May 2011 when I went Paleo (just google it). I dropped nearly 25 lbs and I feel amazing. But, looking healthy doesn’t mean losing weight (I’d just say for me, personally, losing weight made my energy levels skyrocket because I’ve been putting way better food into my body. I didn’t do it to lose weight, I did it to feel better). Exercise is always good, especially for the mind. I think when you take time to be mentally and emotionally self-aware, it shows in your overall appearance. Take time to reflect, take time for yourself, treat yourself right, and do things that make you happy. I always look my best when I’m simply that: happy.

Interview with director Joseph Pierson about the film EvenHand

EvenHand is a film I came across a few years ago about the lives of cops in a small city in America. I liked the look of the trailer and thought the movie & it’s director needed some PR. So here is the interview and find out about the movie.

1. What was the inspiration for the film?

1. The
screenwriter, Mike Jones, is a Texas native. One day, his sister frantically called
him from the airport saying she had forgotten her ticket. Mike found the ticket
and sped off to the airport with it. He was shortly pulled over by a cop for
speeding. Mike jumped out of the car, waving the ticket, expecting to explain
his way out of a jam. Instead, the cop drew his gun and yelled for him to get on
the ground. In the cop’s eyes, he was a lunatic, jumping out of the car, waving
his arms. This led Mike to ponder what it must be like to be a cop, to never
know what to expect when you knock on a door, or pull someone over. He then
watched a lot of "Cops" episodes and wrote "EvenHand."

2. Was it hard to raise funds for the movie?

2. Yes,
it is always hard to raise funds for a decidedly low concept indie flick. But,
I believed in the script and my persistence paid off.

3. What have you learnt from making the movie that you would use in future releases?

3. Be
prepared. Time is your most precious commodity, so you have to make the most of
every moment. Shot list every scene. When someone doesn’t show up, or something
breaks, find a creative solution. When an actor questions your choice as a
director, be able to defend yourself and your choices, but also have the
flexibility and presence to recognize someone else’s good idea. Don’t use the
cheapest camera equipment you can find because it will break and then you will
be screwed. If anything else breaks you can work around it–not the camera. But,
don’t compromise on sound–believe it or not, bad sound is worse than a bad

4. Was it hard to edit the film to make the story flow?’

4. EvenHand
is very episodic in nature, so it took a lot of tweaking to find the right rhythms.
It wasn’t possible to know how it would all fit together until we got to the
editing room. And knowing how to edit is one of the most important skills to
have as a director. One important example: you can’t be too in love with
everything you shot because inevitably some of it just doesn’t belong in the
movie. You need perspective to know when it just doesn’t work.


5. Was it hard to make the film with the budget you had?

Absolutely. We shot on 35mm, which was the only real option then for a film we
wanted to see in theaters. Distributors weren’t too keen on digital formats at
the time. But by using almost all local cast and crew, we saved a lot of money.
The DP, me, one of the lead actors and three or four other crew members stayed
in a rented house to save money. It was like living in a dorm, but filled with
insane film people. I slept in the converted garage. One of my fondest memories
are the blue pancakes my Swedish assistant made for breakfast.


6. Did the actors stay pretty much to the script or was improv allowed?

6. I
thought the dialogue in the script was excellent, so unless the actors could
come up with something better, I encouraged them to stick to the writer’s
words. But, as they got into character, there were subtle changes that
reflected their interpretations of the characters, which made the film feel
more real. We also shot several scenes of the two cops riding around talking that
became part of a series of montages, that were entirely ad libbed by the two
leads. These are some of the funniest moments in the film, and entirely
consistent with the characters Mike Jones created.

7. What was it like having a real cop on the set. What did he bring to the table?

7. We
had several real cops on the set on most days. But one, Richard Hodge, became
our unofficial resident consultant. He advised us on radio protocol, how to
cuff a suspect, and innumerable other small details of day to day cop activities
that really helped the film to be as realistic as possible. Most police
officers who have seen the film are impressed with the verite quality, which is
in large measure due to Richard’s and his colleagues’ contributions and eye for
detail. We also used off-duty cops for all the police scenes that involved
additional officers. They showed up in uniform and we simply swapped their San
Antonio Police badges and patches for our own San Lovisa versions.

8. How did Mike Doughty get involved with the film?

8. Mike
Doughty was a friend of Bill Dawes, one of our lead actors. Bill introduced us
and after Mike saw a rough cut of the film he agreed to write four songs for
the film. I was very pleased that he really understood the film, which is
reflected in the excellent songs he wrote for us.

9. Do you think it is hard to make an independent film in this day in age?

9. From
a logistical standpoint, it has never been easier to make an indie film. The
technology is cheap and easily accessible. But 1000 channels on TV and streaming
video on the internet means even less money in license fees for the handful of
films that are lucky enough to get some form of distribution. And all I hear at
festivals and panel discussions these days is that the filmmakers are now
expected to be their own distributors. Making movies and marketing movies are
two very different skills.  Artists are not expected to know how to run
galleries; writers don’t start publishing houses, and yet twenty-something
filmmakers have to become their own distributors and marketing executives to
achieve any measure of success. I’m not sure if that means it’s tougher than it
used to be, or just a different kind of tough.

10. What is next for yourself?

10. I
have a novel by the great Patricia Highsmith under option now, "A
Suspension of Mercy." My friend and colleague, Bruno Coppola, has written
a terrific screen adaptation and we are now shopping it around. With any luck,
we will be in production sometime in 2012.