Your new movie Love Me
Not - in a few words, what is it about?
It’s basically a story about love; or
rather, love lost. It’s the story of
Jenny, who after countless bad relationships
– mostly found on social media and dating apps
– is pushed to the limit and decides to
mend her broken heart by having a
Valentine’s Day dinner with her current ex
Brad and six of her exes, whom she had
did the project come into being in the first place?
Well, the first two films I directed for
did very well and were well
received, but both films focused on the
senses. Our writer Brantley [Brantley
J. Brown interview - click here] and I had
decided to do something different, something
that had some meat… and dialogue! So what
better than a story of a woman who
monologues for 8 minutes to six dead bodies
and a guy tied to a chair.
can you tell us about Love
Me Not's screenwriter Brantley J. Brown, and what was your collaboration
like? And since this isn't the first time you've worked together, what can
you tell us about your previous films, and how did you first meet even?
First off I need to say that I am a huge
fan of Brantley’s writing. We were
introduced by a mutual friend a year and a
half ago when he and his husband decided to
move to California. He wanted to be a horror
screenwriter, and his friend Landon said
‘meet my friend Michael.’ We talked
briefly as I was back in Massachusetts
filming The Man Who Killed Hitler and
then the Bigfoot. When I got back home we
just talked about life, horror, writing, the
industry. It really was as simple as that. I
had read his script Chuckles and loved
it. When I was approached to adapt my horror
short Del Obispo Road into a feature
film, I asked Brantley to help me generate
some ideas… three months later we had a
script. The process was incredible since
Brantley and I have very similar styles. We
also have no ego, so we know that any
changes we make are for the betterment of
the story! Just for the record,
Brantley and I have written seven (7)
scripts in (9) months. From there we
launched Horror House
with my friend Ray to
showcase Brantley as a writer and me as a
director. The funny thing is – our
first script we sold was a Christmas script!
That is how we found our agent (Black Apple Talent) and our manager Matt Chassin
As for Love Me
collaboration… Brantley and I have learned
to trust each other as artists. As a fellow
writer it is important for me to keep the
original content as much as possible –
that is our blueprint after all. If I feel
there needs to be any changes, I talk to the
parties involved – if possible – to
ensure that the changes we make are best
suited for the story. Screenwriting is
storytelling and directing is VISUAL
storytelling – either way it all comes
down to story.
talk about Love
Me Not's approach to both horror and comedy for a bit!
Well in all honesty, I feel like both the
horror and comedy of Love Me
Not come from
the story. When you are true to the
story, the honesty of it comes out. I
approached Love Me
as struggle of a
woman dealing with loss rather than a horror story. Seeing her pain is more real and
honest and justifies to the audience the
validity of Brad’s murder.
Not being entirely set in one room, what were the advantages
there, but also the challenges to keep things interesting?
Well the advantages were that once
everything was lit and dressed it was only a matter of
tweaking lights when we did coverage. The
challenges were trying to make a woman
monologuing for 8 minutes interesting. We
shot everything mostly on a slider, so even
when she was standing still there was slight
movement. I had her walk around the table
and interact with the dead bodies – after
all, she still loved them.
can you tell us about your directorial approach to your story at hand?
A lot of this was answered above in the
two previous questions. I like to approach
directing much the same way Hitchcock does,
in that, I focus on the story and the best
way to visually portray that. In Stalk, we
were mostly handheld since it was story of a
woman walking home alone at night. With Love Me
it was a story of a Valentine’s Day
dinner. So for this project we focused on a
color palette since the table was decorated
with rose petals and Valentine’s Day cards
and blood! Jenny wore a purple dress and
Brad’s shirt was purple as well. And then
we used blue in the hallway. Also, I should
point out, I love candles. The shadows they
cast on the walls and on the actors is very
sinister. We had a huge candle we used in
Soundbite and it was very effective. I also
believe in subtlety. It’s my job to tell a
story for the audience to enjoy. If I start
cramming a message down your throat then
I’ve lost the audience’s interest.
talk about your key cast, and why exactly these people?
Well I met Vanessa Esperanza [Vanessa
Esperanza interview - click here] at a film festival
award ceremony I was directing. She was our
Emcee. She was brilliant. She was so funny
and charming, plus I found her elegant and
classy. To me, the character of Jenny in Love Me
was someone who was tragically
beautiful. She came off like Miss Havisham
in Dicken’s Great Expectations. Plus
Vanessa has great acting experience in drama
and horror. And I was excited to have a
Latina lead in a horror film, as that is
something you do not see.
As for Brad, played by David Blanco.
David is a good friend of mine. When our
actor had to pull out at the last minute due
to a personal conflict we scrambled to find
an actor. He was 6’3 and we had already
bought the suit to fit his size. David is
6’2 which helped. I knew he was an actor
and was looking for more roles – and he
has a great look. It also worked out that he
is Latino. It was serendipitous! I agree
that things happen for a reason.
Our dead bodies were truly amazing as
well. Our writer Brantley is the young man
who Jenny picks up and dances with. His
husband AJ (who was also our production
designer) was the young man who she lifts up
in the beginning with the slit neck. The
other 4 dead bodies were friends and
coworkers of Brantley.
few words about the shoot as such?
One of the best experiences I have had.
Truly. There was a sense of bonding that
lasted well after the shoot ended. We were
just on this high! Plus I was able to have
my nephew Majd on set helping me. He loves
the process of filmmaking and I am glad I
get to share this with him.
$64 question of course, where can Love
Me Not be seen?
On our YouTube channel for Horror House
Anything you can tell us about
audience and critical reception of Love
Overall Love Me
has been greatly
received. People seem to really love our
first two films
Soundbite and Stalk
mostly because I think they are
short and precise. This is the fist film we
have done that is more in-depth and with
more dialogue. I think we took people by
surprise with this one. I never expect
everyone to enjoy each one of our films –
even the horror genre has sub genres. I am
glad though that everyone enjoys the look of
the film as well as the writing and acting.
Any future projects you'd like to share?
Brantley and I have many things that are
stewing… so definitely. We have an idea
for a continuation of Stalk
– as it has
two separate story lines we are exploring.
We are also developing a series for Horror House.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
My website is www.michaelcoulombe.com
and my insta is @mcoulombe
For Horror House is
and our insta is @horrorhousmedia
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
I have a twin sister and I’m an
for the interview!