Filmmaker Tom Byrne on Reanimated: What’s it like to crowdfund the end of the world?

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One of the first things we asked ourselves was can we do this? And more importantly, can we do this well? We looked at our resources, skill sets and experience and the answer was yes, we had a lot to work with. If we ended up cutting a few effects or shocks here and there the story was solid enough to shine through. Which is great, but not good enough.

Because then you have to always have to ask how can we make this better? Which is a much scarier question, because the answer is almost always about the budget. With more funds we could do everything we wanted to when we first talked about this freaky idea. Not that much more, comparatively speaking, but just enough for us to reach even further. We’ve also factored in a bit of contingency into the budget too, which allows us to focus on the terrors on screen, rather than the terrors of running out of money because something goes wrong.

So, this is a good one! Tom has been a friend of mine for a few years now, and he’s currently working on a short film – an adaptation of one of Lovecraft’s Herbert West stories. That, to me, sounded pretty interesting, so we had a bit of a chat about that – about why Lovecraft’s work still resonates today, the challenges of realising the infamous Miskatonic University in 2019, and, most interestingly of all, what crowdfunding a movie is really like on a practical level.

Hopefully Tom will be able to raise the funds to make Reanimatedif you’d like to donate to the kickstarter, here’s a link.

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Screenwriter Luke Davies on Beautiful Boy, masculinity, and ‘manipulative’ filmmaking

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Well, all film, including good film, is manipulative. The word has negative connotations when what it means, I think, is that ‘manipulation’ has an agenda that is deceptive and buried. Ultimately, I can support and I live with this film because the agenda is not deceptive. The books are incredibly moving and I can vouch for the fact, as an ex-addict myself, I vouch for their authenticity and their power. And as an ex-addict, or let’s say an addict who is 29 years clean and sober, I believe in the message of the film, which is not even hitting you on the head with a hammer, but which to me says there are no clearcut, black and white answers, but that love is at the centre of the answer and that there’s no guarantee that your loved one will survive the traumatic chaos of addiction.

We can’t hold your hand, but we can show [a story with] the kind of message that is you keep showing up no matter what. As filmmakers, what we tried to do was to not be morally judgmental, to not make one of those movies that is hitting you on the head with a hammer. Ultimately, yes, all films are manipulative, but I prefer the gentle flow of Beautiful Boy, which tells the story, much of which is very distressing, and gets to a point of ambiguous resolution with father and son scene at the end.

First interview I’ve done in quite some time, this! I didn’t realise it’d been so long, actually – about six months since I spoke to Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn about A Quiet Place – but it’s a good one to come back with, I think. I’m really pleased with this piece; it goes a lot deeper, I think, than a lot of previous interviews I’ve done, and hopefully sets a new standard to try and reach in future.

In theory, I’ll have a review of Beautiful Boy up on the site in a few days time – I, admittedly, wasn’t a massive fan of the film. (That said, though, it’ll be interesting to watch the film again with this interview in mind – I wonder how much it’ll influence my opinion?)

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Writer Cavan Scott on Pacific Rim: Aftermath, ordinary people in extraordinary worlds, and more

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I’m massively influenced by comic books, no matter what I’m writing. As I said, when I was starting to read as a kid, they were pretty much what I first read, rather than books, rather than prose. Also, anyone who knows my past, knows that I’m quite heavily linked to Doctor Who, and Doctor Who has been a massive influence on my storytelling. From the classic series of the last century, that’s all episodic cliffhanger based storytelling – which again works very well for comics, yeah, and the kind of books that I write as well. [The books] are usually thriller based, both for adults and kids, and very much [shaped around] cliffhangers. At the end of every chapter there is a cliffhanger – it hopefully keeps you reading on! I have to thank Doctor Who for that, because at such an early age [it was] so influential.

Had a very nice chat with Cavan Scott recently about Pacific Rim, visual storytelling, and of course Doctor Who. Cavan is a very nice guy, whose voice was much deeper than I expected it to be. Though that might just have been our phone connection. Anyway, check it out!

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Screenwriter Tim Rose-Price on Agatha Christie’s Crooked House, murder mysteries, and more

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Agatha Christie knows about people, human emotions, weaknesses, greed, envy – and poison.  People like murder and they like working out whodunnit and she keeps you guessing to the last page.  The definition of the devil in The Wrong Box – I think I’m right about this – was someone who went round public libraries tearing out the last page of Agatha Christie books.

An interview with Tim Rose-Price (not pictured) about his recent Agatha Christie adaptation.

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Director Daniel Fitzsimmons on his new movie Native, his love of smart sci-fi, and more

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The characters in the film are from a society who are constantly connected to each all the time through telepathy. So, there’s no need for expression, there’s no need for art, there’s no need to make sense of the abstract, because there is no abstract, because everybody’s feeling what everyone else is feeling all the time anyway. In that sort of immediacy there’s a numbness, which I found quite an interesting subject to explore through, through these two characters.

Every so often, after I’ve done an interview, I realise there’s a question I should have asked but didn’t. In this case it was “do you think all art is an attempt to express an abstract concept?”

Of course, what I’m not going to do is edit the interview to make it seem like I said something I didn’t. Because that’d just be ridiculous. Wouldn’t it?

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Director Mark Gill on his Morrissey biopic England is Mine, his creative influences, and more

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We all present an idealised version of ourselves. It came from the fact that, I think I once heard Morrissey say, that he never performs on stage, he just is himself, and it’s the only time he can ever be himself. So, I wondered, does he mean that we never see Steven? I just feel that everybody presents a version of themselves, and I think with him it is just highlighted, because of his personality and then his status. 

I think, with anybody, anybody has that front. You see some of the most arrogant people you would probably meet in your life and probably underneath they are probably the most insecure. You often wonder, how do we all survive? We all try things out in our teens and I think he just found something that he was comfortable with and I think, his mum may have had something to do with that. She’s a very strong, perceptive woman.

I spoke with Mark Gill recently, about his new film England is Mine. I really enjoyed talking to this charming man.

Heaven knows, though, he… no, I don’t actually know enough Smiths songs to carry that on. Anyway, yeah, this was a neat interview. Probably the most notable question, mind you, is where I ask Mark why he thinks Morrissey is considered such a quintessential British figure – or, at least, quintessential to the point that’s how he’s described on his Wikipedia page – and Mark seems to think I’m asking why Morrissey is such a screaming racist these days. Mild awkwardness ensues.

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Laura A Anderson, Roland Moore and James T Harding on writing for the supernatural web series Cops and Monsters

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I think there’s not just room for more shows about the supernatural world, but there’s a huge appetite for it. Personally, I can’t get enough – I still rewatch Buffy whenever I get the chance! For me, Cops and Monsters is unique because of the Scottish angle it brings to things, and because of the story world that Fraser created. I particularly love the complexity of the main characters, like Maya doing the wrong things in her quest to do right, to Alexis trying to find herself after years of exploitation.

Here’s my interview with (some of) the writers of Cops and Monsters, Laura A Anderson, Roland Moore and James T Harding.

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Fraser Coull on Cops and Monsters, the difficulties of indie filmmaking, and more

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Whether it’s the availability of an actor, or a location falls through, and scheduling around 20-30 people around weekends to make sure you get everything shot, [there are always some challenges]. You’re always waiting on the crowdfunding money to come in so you can pay for things and make sure the cast and crew get paid for their work. Nothing runs to plan 100% of the time. But we’re professional, we keep our heads down and work our way out of any problems we face. Hopefully by the time the final episode goes out, people won’t notice any problems we had.

Here’s my chat with Fraser Coull about Cops and Monsters – now on Amazon Prime! Fraser’s a pretty nice dude, and his enthusiasm for Cops and Monsters really leaps off the screen whenever he talks about it.

This piece is definitely worth a read for any hopeful filmmakers out there; I’ve learned a thing or two from it myself, stuff which I’ll keep in mind when I start working on some films myself.

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Bernard Zeiger and Casey Stein, the team behind Otis, on interactive drama, new modes of storytelling and more

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Our development on this short began about four years ago when we stumbled on an article about a boxer in the American Rust Belt whose life turned to crime and eventually caught up with him. We decided to try to write his story as a feature-length film. When we finished it, we hated it. There were so many people playing crucial roles in the way this man’s life turned out who were not getting the attention they needed to tell the full story. After struggling with it for a while, we decided we wanted to get a more holistic view of the events by telling the experiences of multiple characters – all at once.

Recently did an interview with the team behind an interesting new project!

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James Dashner on his new novel The Fever Code, the challenges of writing prequels and the rise of dystopian fiction

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I think a lot of it has to do with how connected people are these days on social media. I don’t know, I feel like younger people are much more aware of all the problems in the world outside of their own spheres than they were when I was a kid. Dystopian novels take a lot of current themes and a lot of current tragedies and geopolitical disasters, and kinda turn it into story form by projecting it into the future and giving you a chance to talk about it.

I think they identify with our own world sinking into complete despair; you know we see it in the news all the time, and this takes it to the next level. I think kids enjoy losing themselves in these potential futures where they could maybe save humanity from all the bad things going on.

My recent interview with James Dashner, writer of the Maze Runner series.

Sometime after this interview, James Dashner was dropped by both his publisher and his long-time agent because of harassment and abuse claims. Had I known about it before the interview took place, I would have, I suppose, made some attempt to raise the issue during our conversation. Or refused to do the interview in the first place, I’m not wholly sure.

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