This continues the interview I started a few weeks ago. The director has been very busy. Right now his crowd funding campaign has about seven days left. Check it out and maybe get involved. You can get involved by just telling others about it through your social media. Share the campaign and you never know what can happen.
I would like to again thank Ted Moehring for taking the time to do this interview. .
During the last year I have interviewed a lot of film makers and they all seem to have a different approach to film making.
First question that most film makers that are just starting out want to ask is what kind of camera did you pick for your shoot and why? I do not think the camera is nearly as important as how to frame a shot and how to light it, but it is usually the single most expensive piece of equipment on the set.
-I'm usinga Canon hdslr for "Revenge of the Devil Bat", but for my movies, "Bloodbath in the House of Knives" and "Invasion of the Reptoids", I used a Canon HV30. I definitly like the hdslr alot more, i've learned alot more about exposure using it then the hv30 and it's more like shooting actual film. My very first movie, "Night Hag", I started shooting on super 8 and regular 8mm film, but it just cost to much and I had to finish it on digital. I definitly agree that the camera is not as important as proper composition and lighting. Which I admittedly have alot to learn about. My photography is mostly inspired by people like Jess Franco, Jean Rollin and Orson Welles. Shooting and framing a shot is probablly what I enjoy most about making movies. Also while the camera isn't as important as the technique, with how cheap cameras are now, there is no reason not to shoot 24p and HD, unless you are going for a video look.-
My first love is writing. I understand that you write your own films. Do you start with a story or outline or do you just start with a blank screen and write until you hit fade to black?
-With writing, I usually think of an idea, then start to visualize it. With Bloodbath in the House of Knives, the first thing that popped in my head was the opening shot of darkness, then a door slowly opens with blue light shining through it and a hand slowly opens the door. I tend to think about the movie for a long time, seeing it in my head, all the shots everything. During this time I take lots of notes and do outlines of where I want the story to go. When I go to write the actual script I do it a little bit differently. From the rough draft I have every single shot in the movie numbered and I know exactly how the movie will be edited. So normally I would only shoot exactly what I needed. This drove the actual actors crazy because I would break up conversations, etc. With Devil Bat I'm trying to run through whole scenes with the actors and I'm trying to get actual coverage from other angles which was nonexistint in my other movies. I think I'm getting better performances from the actors this way. Though everything in my movies is meticuously planned out, I'm also always open to those "happy accidents" that sometimes happen on set, you definitely have to be open to change and able to adapt quickly with anything that may happen when making movies. If you are to rigid you will never finish anything, and the bottom line for me is just getting the actual movie finished, which when you are doing a feature is really like running a marathon.-
You decided on a sequel to a public domain film. Is it more fun or scary to take on something that has had a seventy year life of its own?
-I think it's fun to take on something already established like Devil Bat, because, well I love the original Devil Bat and 1940s poverty row horror movies. Plus Bela Lugosi is my absolute, all time, favorite actor! As with my other movies some people will like it and other people will hate it, for me all I can do is make the best movie I can make, and as long as I am happy with it then I don't care what other people will think.-
We all have out favorite film makers. For me, all time, you know it is Hitchcock. I admire the work of Takashi Miike. He does horror, comedy, drama, action as well as anyone on earth and he has even done musicals. The guy did claymation in middle of a film. When the budget would not allow for the stunts he just turned everyone into claymation characters, did the action scene and then turned them back into real people. I like film makers who break the rules. But then again I end up talk for hours about guys like Don Siegel and Terence Fisher who were just get the job done technique film makers. Who are your favorite film makers?
-My absolute favorite directors are, Jess Franco, Orson Welles, and Ray Dennis Steckler. What makes these three directors my favorite, isn't just their films, but their unbridled, sheer love for cinema and the act of filmmaking. They all lived and breathed to make movies and they all died while working on new projects. I love that story about how on "It's All True", the movie that ruined Welle's career, even after the studio backing him backed out and everyone left Brazil, Welles still remained, even shooting the movie himself! In the 1980s Welles was trying to shoot gothic movies in his own living room with Gary Graver. I find these three filmmakers to be incredibly inspiring and I had the pleasure to be able to communicate with two of them. I am deeply saddened by the loss of Jess Franco, my dream was to go to Malaga and make a movie there and I talked to him about it. But now I guess it will never happen. I love Franco's hermetic, self referential film world that he created. Not all of his movies might be good, some are boderline un-watchable, but he has made some that are very, very good. I also identify with him a lot because before I made movies I mostly made music for about 15 years. Nothing special, I just played in punk and hardcore bands, which is totally different then the jazz that he played, but the diy attitude definitely influenced how I make my movies, just like Franco's jazz playing influenced his movies. Now I like alot of other filmmakers also, Jose Mojica Marins, Al Adamson, Nobuo Nakagawa, Fassbinder, John Cassavetes, Jodorowsky, Jerry Warren, Yilmaz Atadeniz, Jean Rollin, etc. I could go on and on. But there is something about those three filmmakers, Jess Franco, Orson Welles and Ray Dennis Steckler that is special to me. Plus meeting Ray Dennis Steckler, and his attitude of working with what you have and not waiting for everything to be "perfect", to make your movie, because that "perfect moment" will never happen, is probablly what gave me the final push to go ahead and try to make my first movie.-
You have made horror films. Film makers get typecasted the same way that actors do. Do you consider yourself a horror film maker?
-I love horror and don't mind if people consider me a horror filmmaker, I would just be happy to be considered any type of filmmaker. I think what I personally love about horror though veers more to the side of that old term, "Fantastique". I like anything strange and unusal, I like the atmosphere, the surreal quality, the oddness. I don't really like torture, serial killers, that kind of crap. I like the aesthetic quality of older horror movies. Especially German Expressionism. While I do have other types of movies that I would like to make at some point, even serious dramas, I love horror movies so I guess I would consider myself a horror filmmaker, but that term has so many connotations, thats why I prefer, "fantastique". I know that sounds all pretentious and crap. Ha ha!-
I need to ask about the cast? You got a lot of well known actors to work on your project. Most micro budget film makers are stuck using their cousin Doug and someone who played the second lamp post in a high school production of a Streetcar Named Desire. How do you go about getting name actors who can actually act?
-I started off just using my friends, but I've been really lucky to be able to get the chance to work with some of my idols and people I loved watching growing up. I still can't believe Gary Kent is going to be in Devil Bat. He was a excellent actor that should have broken out of independent movies into the mainstream. I am so thankful for people like George Stover and Dick Dyszel helping out. And it's always fun to work with Conrad Brooks and Lloyd Kaufman. I don't really have a secret to getting these people or anything, I think anyone could, just have a good concept, a readable script and don't be afraid to ask! I have found that I have alot more trouble with actors who "think" they are big then actually established actors that have done alot of work.-
One more casting question. Many directors have a go to actor or idea lead for their films. Directors are often remembered most for their teamwork with certain performers. Living or dead or in their prime who would you have wanted to work with?
-Without a doubt the actors that I would have loved to work with, more then anyone else, are Bela Lugosi and Orson Welles! I understand that you edit your own work. Are you self taught and what do you edit on?
-With editing I am self taught and it shows alot. I think each movie does get better and tighter, when I watch Bloodbath now I see so much that could be cut tighter. Ideally if I could afford it I would do a rough cut myself and then have someone else tighten it. I actually hate editing because it is so time consuming but a lot of that is probably because I don't know shortcuts and the proper way to do things.-
I have to ask about the movie Revenge of the Devil Bat and its crowdfunding campaign. Is this your first time at raising funds this way? With about two weeks to go what are you hoping for?
-Devil Bat is my first attempt at crowdfunding. Before I would just sell as many of my possessions as I could part with and eat alot of mac and cheese. I tried indiegogo first and that was beyond disappointing, I wasn't going to try kickstarter but some friends talked me into it. And I'm glad they did. We still need to raise about double what we have so far and we have only one week left, but regardless I've been pleasantly surprised that we have raised this much so far and I consider it a success even if we don't reach what I really need. Also all credit for the great documentary on the kickstarter page goes to Leslie Morris. And thanks alot to Cedric Crouch for actually setting up the page, I was pretty despondent and negative and I know I wouldn't have done it without them both pushing for it.-
Again I would like to thank Ted for his time and to remind you that there are only a few days left in his crowdfunding campaign. You know that ever dollar counts when making a micro budget film.
We are going to check back on this campaign before it is over.
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