Your upcoming movie Head
- in a few words, what is it going
to be about?
Short words? Heh, kids. Camping. Decapitation!
The central question of course, why
puppets, and how do they fit into a horror film?
are what we've been doing with Elmwood Productions from day one.
People tend to think of puppetry as genre. But in reality it's a medium
to tell a story. Action isn't a genre, animation isn't also. It's how
stories are told. And puppetry is the same. Here in America we're just
so used to puppets being for family shows we forget how powerful they can
be as storytellers, and actors. And for horror, I just can't find
anywhere an example of puppets being used as the characters. Not just
some monster (like Chucky or the Puppet Master flicks) to terrorize the
heroes and victims. In this film, the puppets are all the parts.
were your inspirations when dreaming up Head?
raised on horror films, and stories. My mom was a huge Stephen
King fan, and loved things like Tales From The
Crypt and old
movies. And since Elmwood began I've wanted to do one, and so has my
co-producer, Russ Bird. We touched on horror/comedy with our web-series Steve the Vampire,
but I wanted to do a straight one. After a
a while ago I watched Evil Dead 2 late one night and though "Why
got put on the back burner for a while. Then in the middle of a bad
snowstorm a few winters ago I spent the weekend typing and enjoying coffee
and beer, depending on the time of day. And Head
can you tell us about the films look and feel, and its approach
to the horror genre?
We're really going for a throwback to
the late 1970's to early '80's
look. My Bloody Valentine, Texas Chainsaw
Massacre and so on. But
with just a little more gloss. Honestly we're not breaking any new ground
in the storytelling aspect of it. When I wrote the original draft I
intentionally wanted to hit all the clichés of the genre. But I still
wanted scares and shock. Using puppets in the film I think will also give
it that uneasy feeling that a lot of horror films just don't have. We're
so used to puppets being family entertainment, that now, with blood and
violence, it may be jarring for people. I like that aspect.
You of course have to talk about
the puppets in the movie for a bit - oh, and about your puppeteers?
puppets are in the Henson/Muppet tradition. Moving mouth puppets,
with rod to move the arms. I made all the puppets too. When designing
them I was aspiring to make them somewhat familiar looking. You may look
at them and think "Hey, that looks like this actor or that
that is intentional. I also didn't want the puppets to look too perfect.
Like the Muppets do now. I wanted them to look more like the 1970's,
and earlier, Muppet style. It was more raw then.
And the puppeteers. Man, these cats are awesome. I trained a chunk of
them, and one of our lead puppeteers, Nick Foreman, has been getting the
new puppeteers ready for the film. I'm lucky in a way. I've been blessed
with a few naturals, like Mike Finland, who joined Elmwood in 2011 and has
become the best guy we have! All the puppeteers on this film are people I
hope stick around to go further with us. It's a good mix of our usual
gang and newbies. And my co-producer on this one serves a mention. Rick
Passmore. Not only has he been working his ass off, he smells OK too.
Nothing like feet at all.
far as I know, the film is currently in its fundraising stages - so what
can you tell us about your fundraising efforts?
hesitant to do a Kickstarter. I've been avoiding doing it for
years. The rest of the Elmwood crew finally talked me into it for this
project. It's time for new gear. The tech has changed so much in the
past five years, and we've gotten so much better at what we do, that it
makes sense to step up our quality all around. So far we're doing well.
People are really supportive and like our incentives. Many crowd funding
projects leave you waiting months for any turnaround on the investment.
We're offering up downloads of our first feature film, Josh and
Story of A Man and His Puppet, as soon as the champaign ends. SO you
one movie right away, and later, you'll get Head
your funds are raised, how do you plan to proceed, and even if it might be
too early to ask, any idea when and where the film might be released onto
the general public yet?
Post-production! We'll be using the
funds for so many things on this,
new audio gear, editing gear, and DVD prep, and so on. I hope to be
holding screenings in the first two months of 2015, and from there hit
horror conventions, comic conventions, anywhere we can to screen it. If
you have a wall and want us to screen it, we'll come with our projector.
I love showing our movies in all kinds of places. We even screened Josh
and Todd at a nursing home. I think we may have inadvertently
some of the elderly with a monster puppet dropping F-bombs! Hahahaha! And then we'll be doing more with our old buddy
Any future projects beyond Head?
after we're done shooting we'll be jumping head first into our
next web-series called The Risley Brothers. It's about two
own a bar, and everything than could possibly go wrong. And then a
feature film called Debacle, best described at "Pulp
Fiction meets Dude,
Where's My Car". Both with puppets as the casts.
got you into filmmaking and puppeteering to begin with, and did you
receive any formal education on either?
No formal education
at all. I didn't go to school for this. Puppetry
or film making. I've always been hands on, and always the type to want to
figure it out and do the rehearch. But never much of a "student"
tradition sense. I'm a self taught puppet maker, and puppeteer. And
film is very much along the same lines for me. I loved the two things all
my life. SO I started doing them! Sounds easy when I put it like that.
But like Jim Henson said; "If it was easy everyone would be doing
What can you
tell us about your filmwork prior to Head?
(Elmwood) started in 2002, with a show that went nowhere, but
learned so much. By 2006 we created a web-series called Steve the
Vampire and we really got the ball rolling then. It's the story of a
adult vamp, that is stuck looking 13 (when he got bit) so no one takes him
seriously. Then we moved onto to a bunch of shorts before shooting our
first feature film Josh and Todd in 2008 and 2009. We've had
responses to both, online, and at screenings. We've also completed two
other web-series; G@mrz, about a group of tabletop
Animal Behavior, about a man and his two murder plotting pet
we've done music videos, and so many shorts! Too many to even wrap my
head around. Sometimes I'll watch them on YouTube just to remember!
course have to talk about your company Elmwood Productions for a bit, and
the philosophy behind it!
Elmwood Productions… If we had
a motto I'd say it would be "We like it!
Hope you do too!" Hahahaha! We do this because we enjoy it, and if
other people like it that's amazing. I think it shows in the work that we
are having a good time. And people like to see that and feel it. We're
like a little family. Some of us have been together in this since 2002,
over ten years. We gotta love each other to keep going!
whoever else who inspire you?
I'm inspired by
the people around me, family, friends, pets, and so on. And I'm inspired
to do good work, even in horror, because it's too easy to just be lazy.
Good work brings good to you, and your world. And my personal philosophy
- "Pants Optional"!
Your favourite movies? ...
and of course, films you really deplore?
My top five movies
(and it's always changing) - Raiders of the Lost Ark,
The Muppet Movie, Jaws, Evil Dead 2,
The Forbidden Zone…
Under the Cherry Moon. I love that stupid movie. I could list dozens of movies I
love and have inspired me. But I don't want to bore anyone! And I've
only walked out on two movies in theaters in my life: Navy Seals and Tomb
Raider, hahaha… And I've never seen a whole Harry Potter movie. And I'm
OK with that.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
movie's/your company's website, Facebook, Kickstarter, whatever else?
website is www.elmwoodproductions.com, and you can get to our
Facebook, YouTube, etc, from there! And Head
has a production
blog at head-horror.blogspot.com, where we update everything we can, from goofy
behind-the-scenes videos to info on the cast and crew, and so on… And of
course the Kickstarter!
- it ends on October 8th 2014… We'd love all the support possible!
else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
for taking time and interest in the crazy stuff we're doing out here!
for the interview!