Your new movie Wisconsin
Project X - in a few words, what is it about?
In a small town, a mad scientist creates these humanoid monsters that escape
from his lab, they run amok through the streets destroying/Killing everything
in their path, and the small town underdogs have to stop them somehow someway.
What inspired you to write Wisconsin
truthfully, I went to a showing of
Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror, and before watched George
Romero's Night of the Living Dead, Sam Rami's
Dead-films - and that was the fire starter for me to make this film.
You tell your film's story mainly in
close-ups, seem to have eliminated wide range shots and the likes from
your specific cinematic language altogether. Why is that?
To me, it makes it more interesting to watch, it's different. Handheld
closeups, it adds more chaos to a scene that is chaotic, it helps add an
extra layer for the tone I'm achieving. My pal, Thomas Robinson,
cinematographer, thought out of the box, from traditional compositions. I
love the impact raw insanity you can achieve with handheld in-the-face
shots, it just adds more energy to the picture. With close-ups you can
personalize more with the characters and ha ha hide the lack of sets for a
no-budget film, ha ha. That's just my style I guess, too.
would you describe your film's brand of humour?
dry sense of humor. I thought it was hilarious to have a shot of our heros
armed with guns, axes (cardboard ax), and bright rainbow colored plastic
coffee filled squirt guns, ha ha. I mean, that's just crazy funny to me.
And, the humanoids explode when dowsed with Rami's brand Coffee, ha ha! I
love that stuff.
Project X's approach to the zombie genre, and some of your genre
My approach to this genre was to have absolute fun, if it wasn't any
fun, it wasn't worth the effort! Horror doesn't have to be so intensely
disturbing. It can gross you out and scare you, make you jump; that's what
I like in horror movies -- the fun in them. My favorites are as mentioned in
the first question, plus old-school Peter Jackson Dead Alive
& Bad Taste, Zombieland,
Return of the
Living Dead, Darkman, Drag me to Hell, Creepshow,
Jaws, Predator, and El Mariachi. These are the films that are some of my many
A few words about your cast and also
yourself as an actor?
My cast are not professional actors.
They were made up of my wife (who plays Tessa), friends, and family. I
myself, am not a professional actor, but I'm a professional mime. My
background in mime helped with the body movements for the humanoids in the
film. I just place myself in my movies because it's so fun. I love acting,
I played almost all the humanoids in the movie, so fun. Plus, I like
playing pretend still. What can I say, I'm a kid at heart still playing bad
guys and good guys in the sandbox, but now the sandbox is my movies.
As far as I know, Wisconsin
Project X was made on next to no budget. Is there anything you
would have done differently provided you had sufficient funds?
Yah, we had no budget absolutely no budget. I mean, I used duct tape in
my humanoid make-up effects. It all came from my empty pockets and the
empty pockets of the ones who helped on the film, ha ha. If I had a budget I would pay my actors and crew. I would
have shot it on a HD camera,
instead of a Digital 8 camcorder, I would enter more film festivals, I
would have more props & costumes, hired a special effects crew, get a
lighting crew, would have real explosions, more car stunts, more stunts,
got at least one professional actor (Bruce Campbell), and paid myself so I
could take time off my day job to just film the movie. Even if I had a
budget, I would still do some things the same. Like there would have to be
a few humanoids made up in duct tape make-up and I would still use a lot
my friends & family again.
few words about your production company FastCoast
Productions, and the philosophy behind it?
kind of in the title of the company "Fast" - Get good running
speed, then "Coast" through your "productions" as long
as you can with the little money you have. All makes for a great ride.
Just do it, if you have an idea to make a film, there is nothing stopping
you, except yourself. We make High Impact Raw Insanity
no-budget-low-budget films fueled with exploding creativity. Fun and
entertaining is behind all our work.
go back to the beginnings of your filmmaking career. How did you get your
start in making movies, and did you recieve any formal education on the
I started really making features when I was in
High School. I had been making short films since I was allowed to use the
family camcorder. But, High School is where I really started trying to
make feature films. All my friends would come over and we would make a
movie. I'd hook up my karaoke machine, VCR, CD-player, VHS camcorder, and
start editing my films that way. Then, teachers would let me show them in
my class. To my surprise the kids liked my movies and I was asked to show
them in my art class, drama class, and chemistry class. Right out of High
School, I worked shortly at NBC KECI News Station in Missoula, MT as a
camera operator. I then took some media art classes at M.S.U. Bozeman,
MT--never got a degree, though ha ha. Then, I got a job, 10 years now,
with the local TV Access Station MCAT. I've always been around this type
of art (filmmaking) and just got experienced that way. You think my films
would look better, in quality ha ha. I found no matter how my movies
looked, people still liked them. They wanted to be in them and wanted to
watch them. I guess it is in the eye of the beholder in whether your film
is good or not. I can't stop making movies. It's just too much fun.
A few words about your movie Catastrophic
Catastrophic Denouement was the short psychological thriller 25 minute film
that gave me hope in my filmmaking career. Hope, because I won my first ever
film competition. I received an award for Non-Professional Original Teleplay
through Hometown Video Festival 2003.
What can you tell us about your
animated/live action puppet Halloween children's movie Midnight Mansion
House of Haunts?
That's funny, here at the local television station, they asked me to make
something for Halloween. I thought, I'll make a movie. So in three days I put
this crazy halloween movie together in my little apartment. I entered that in
the Best of the NorthWest Video Festival in 2005 and won Excellence in Video
Art/Animation. I just did basic 2D animation and blue screen special effects
with puppets and my stuff animals I had.
Virtual 3000 is also a live action/animated piece. I tell people it's like
Roger Rabbit meets the Power Rangers. I'm proud of that movie because that was a
major step for me. Making a feature length animated/live action movie takes a
lot of time. I'm most proud that my little sister and brothers love that movie.
The craziest part making that film is one of the main characters is an animated
character. That was a challenge. I watch it and cringe sometimes because it is
so cheesy, but at least cheesy on purpose.
My friend wanted to make just a plain action movie. He had this vision of a
car speeding down a dirt road and a lone gun man facing off with the car. He
shoots the car and the car spins out of control. Ha ha, sounds like a movie to
me, I said. So, I put my filmmaking hands to the plate and we made a fun action
piece. Used catchup for blood, baby powder for mussel flashes, and the usual
cardboard & duct tape.
Both your films G.R. and Zombie
Spoof seem to anticipate Wisconsin
Project X already, at least to a point. A few words about these
G.R. is a remake of a black & white version G.R. that I made
in High School. I just love that movie and wanted to remake it. It was inspired
by the movie Darkman. I wanted to make a Dr. Jekyll and
Mr. Hyde slash Darkman movie. This movie is where I discovered how to use duct tape
for makeup special effects. I accidentally left my liquid latex makeup at home,
but had all the prosthetics. I didn't want to drive 20 miles back home. So, I
grabbed the duct tape and went to work.
Zombie Spoof, is a very sentimental movie of the good old days. It was made during my senior year at high
school. I was going to move to another state. So, it was the last fun ride of
VHS camcorder after school moviemaking with my buddies. We had a blast making
that film. Silly and funny -- It says it in the name - Zombie Spoof. The
interesting thing was that movie was made all in camera, literally. I would
press the record button on the camcorder my pal would start saying a line, I
would stop recording, move in for the close-up, start recording, and so on. We
could play back a completed edited scene just after shooting it. Once all done
shooting the movie, I'd run it through my karaoke machine and VCR from the
camcorder adding sound effects and music. It's such a bad, but so good movie.
Then, I wanted to show it on my local access television station (MCAT), and
remastered it taking out all the original copyrighted music. I replaced it with
music I composed with a computer. So, now anyone can watch it.
Any other movies you'd like to talk about, any
I'm planning on making another zombie
movie, working title Christian Ackerman's Zombies of the Living
Dead - it will be like a way better and scarier Zombie Spoof, and right now I'm working on a little film called
Vortex, a psychological thriller. Terror Vortex is a
movie I'm making on a small Kodak Zi8 handy cam that shoots in HD 1080p.
I'v adapted two wide angle lenses and a telephoto lens with focus pull to
it. I'm just doing it to see if I can make a movie all on a small camera.
It's like a test and if successful it will be coming out soon to the
public. I just don't know when. My wife and I are expecting a new addition
to our family. First time Mom and me first time Dad, so excited. That's my
next project you can say ha ha. Then, junior will end up in Dad's movies
for sure ha ha.
You also have a background in
stageacting, most prominently as The Mime. Why don't you talk about
that aspect of your career for a bit?
I've been performing the art of mime and slapstick vaudeville comedy
since I was 7 years old. I've been really successful with it winning a few
competition here and there. My true home of my Mime performance is with
First Night Missoula in Montana. I've been performing at this event for
over 15 years now. This last show there, I performed at the MCT Community
Theater and had over 300 hundred people show to watch me perform. I
couldn't believe it. I made the local paper in the Missoulian about the
whole thing. My mime act is a mixture of slapstick comedy, traditional
pantomime art, Charlie Chaplin-like acts, break dancing, lip sync singing
as Elvis, getting stuck in a box, and my calling card body shake or
electrocution act done all to swinging upbeat music.
How does working
on the stage differ from working in front of/behind the camera?
is a big difference, totally. I've noticed on camera, that less is more.
And, on stage, more needs to be even more. One thing I love about making
art on camera, is that you get a number of takes to make it right. One
thing I love about the stage is once you've performed, you're done. No
more takes. I love both though a lot.
(or indeed actresses) who inspire you?
(actresses) that inspire me: Bruce Campbell because his choice of
movies and acting style, Michael J. Fox for his comedic timing and now how
he doesn't let obstacles get in his way, Sandra Bullock because of her
style of realism to characters, Jodie Foster because of her ability to set
the tone for a film, and Edward Norton who's just a freaking awesome character
actor. I have much more but these are the choices of a small sample of my
top pics for inspiration.
have influenced you?
Spielberg because of how young he was
when he started and how he's never lost his love for the art form, George
Lucas mainly because of his documentary-like style filmmaking for example
in American Graffiti -- I love that movie. Sam Raimi's ability to use the
camera movement to generate powerful imagery, Peter Jackson, his kid-at-heart fueled
movies -- very epic, John Hues, Robert Rodrigez action pack
filled full moving movies, George Romero, Fred Dekker, Joe Dante,
Sylvester Stallone - I just love his directing style and story telling. The
big one for me as a kid growing up would be Robert Zemeckis I love the
Back to the Future-movies and of course Who Framed Roger
Your favourite movies?
Geez I have a million, lets see ... American Werewolf in London,
Star Wars, Jaws, Captain EO, 5th Element, Hellboy,
Night of the Creeps,
Monster Squad, Critters, Evil Dead-movies,
Back to the Future-movies, Zombieland, Night
of the Living Dead (original), Dead Alive, Gremlins-movies,
Last Action Hero, Die Hard-movies, Predator and Predator
II, American Graffiti-movies, Terminator 2, Terminator
Salvation, Rocky-movies, Rambo-movies, Expendables,
Tremors... the list will go on forever ha ha.
and of course, movies you really deplore?
There are a ton
of movies I dislike, but I can't think of them right now ha ha.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
film's website, Facebook, whatever else?
you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
Project X is available on
Pay-Per-View & Video On Demand on Bresnan, Verizon FiOs,
AT&T, Dish, and many more providers everywhere for only a few months right now.
It also is available to save the DVD rental on NETFLIX right now and
hopefully soon will be available on their instant queue/download
streaming. It will be available through Brain Damage Films on July 5, 2011
at many other vendors too. If anyone out there is willing to invest in my
next movie, I am looking for film investors to budget my next film ha ha.
And, many thanks to you for doing this interview and review of my movie.
Many thanks to the cast & crew of Wisconsin
Plus, my old school movies like Original
G.R., G.R., Catastrophic Denouement, Zombie Spoof,
Midnight Mansion House of Haunts, Virtual 3000, The
Mime, and Unknown Emissary are available on my
websites and through amazon.com
and many other venders. They are available on DVD that is fully loaded
with extras and on Video On Demand too.
for the interview!
No problem, thank you so much!