Category Archives: Interviews

#16 Interview with Scott M Wagstaff

Scott Wagstaff Interview with Outward Film NetworkScott Michael Wagstaff is an actor born in the West Midlands. After growing up in Wolverhampton he dived into the world of Musical Theatre training in Leeds & London – furthermore working on tours around Europe, Cruise Ships & shows around the world.

Scott has also appeared in various independent films, including The Time Of Their Lives featuring opposite Joan Collins and 6 Days featuring opposite Abbie Cornish.

Scott continues to develop his own projects alongside auditioning and is represented by leading talent agency Mondi Associates for the London, LA & NYC & markets.

What or who was it that inspired you into a career as an actor?

I guess I’d be expected to say De Niro in Taxi Driver, Brando in The Godfather or Pacino in Scarface and those guys are very inspiring acting geniuses & I’ve learned a lot from watching them. However, if I’m going to be super honest I’d have to say my Mom was the person who inspired me to be an actor. She was quite the entertainer herself, full of life, love, fun and certainly kept me interested in the arts in my youth.

What inspired me to be an actor is presenting an innate ability to feel and furthermore putting that message out to audiences locally and worldwide that as humans we need to feel and it is ok to. A message that resonates with me most right now off the back of the ‘what got me into acting’ is exactly how Viola Davis said it in her Oscar speech this year:

“I became an artist—and thank God I did—because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.” – Viola Davis – Oscars 2017

That is exactly how I feel and have always felt about acting.

Are there any actors that influenced your approach or style?

I’d say James Galdolfini, may he rest in peace. Watching James gave me a great sense of what it is to be vulnerable, even in those ‘tough Italian mob’ roles there is a beautiful truth present in him. He was always human. Always himself. You can see a main with pain, joy, rage, love, seduction, literally everything and anything the moment asked of him in any performance he had to deliver. He taught me what it is to be rather than what it is to ‘act’.

What’s the best bit of acting advice you’ve been given?

Definitely from Anthony Meindl (AMAW Studios) – that acting isn’t acting, it is being. It has to be me in the situation not a ‘character’ because if I’m playing a character then I’m most likely playing an idea. If I’m playing an idea then I’m not truthfully giving myself over moment to moment within the circumstances handed to me. I’m removed by an idea of it being ‘someone else’ other than me. It has to be me. How am I in an argument over betrayal. How am I in a game of seduction and so forth. Then character is built by the audience watching me on screen in those situations with a different name and attire but it’s still me!

Yep. Still feels the best advice to date. It helps me to trust me and the people I’m working with all at once to know that.

Scott playing role of Izaak in Final Reflection 1

Scott playing role of Izaak in Final Reflection

What do you look for in a director?

Someone with a clear vision but with an openness to discovering the unknown, oh and a lotta heart! It’s really exciting to meet a Director who can visualise their creativity and can talk about their vision in an awe-inspiring way, but even more so when they admit that when rolling into production it could change. That sense of openness is important to me, it also tells me they understand actors as we all prep but then let go & have to discover our journey as it’s happening, we can’t predict the future, such as life.




What do you look for in a script?

Humanity. I’m currently filming a sci-fi where the top layer is essentially about a man who unwillingly got passed on the ability to heal with his hands. However, all the themes within the film including the healing of hands were symbolic and all connected to a father letting go of the death of his 11 year old son. Don’t get me wrong, I love action, sci-fi, thriller, fantasy, myth all that stuff, I mean hand me my cape and I’ll meet you on set! However, when there is such truth embodied within those genres that tug at the heart strings then those are the scripts that get me.

How did you find the experience of working on Time of Their Lives alongside actors such as Joan Collins and Pauline Collins?

Such fun! It was all too short lived that film. Joan and Pauline are such great artists to work with, they give you everything, even in the smaller moments they are fully there ready to deliver and willing to collaborate with you. Joan started improving with me on a couple of takes, we had just had fun, that’s all there is to it and I believe Roger Goldby is probably one of the nicest men on the planet.

Time of their lives

In addition to Time of Their Lives you also worked on the psychological horror The Dare directed by Giles Alderson. Having worked on two very different genre films, do you find working in different genres develops your ability as an actor?

Absolutely. That’s the great thing about working in different genres, the situations can become more radical in which you’re placed in & that helps growth occur. I truly believe as an actor it’s important to accept that I am everything, every part of me is available with no judgement so there isn’t any genre, role, situation that I’m unavailable for.

Is there anything you’d change in the film industry?

More film investors for more films to be made please!! 😉

Scott playing role of Gwilym in Pendulum

Scott playing role of Gwilym in Pendulum

What’s next up for you?

I’ve just finished up on a lead role in a sci-fi film then onto shooting a Major Guest Lead role for Doctors BBC next week. I also have several film projects of my own in development that I’m continuously working on around jobs/auditions also.

What advice would you give to any young actors starting out?

Any way you can. Literally any possible way. Just find a way to truly embrace who you are. Find yourself and take ownership of self. Don’t be apologetic. Be unapologetic for who you are because that is what everyone in this industry is truly interested in. You. Goes the same for your acting work, if it’s you in the moment then there is no question. Keep digging deep!

You can find Scott via the links below 

Website: http://www.scottmichaelwagstaff.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/scottmwagstaff

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ScottMichaelWagstaffOfficial/

#15. Lara Lemon Interview – Actress

Lara Lemon interview with OutwardAward winning actress Lara Lemon (SIFF Best Actress in a feature & Chelsea Film Festival Best Supporting Actress – Off-Piste – Jack in the Box Films) is experienced in film, TV and Theater.

In our interview we discuss Lara’s inspirations, experiences and her approach to working in film and on stage.

What or who was it that inspired you into a career as an actor?

I always loved being on the stage but as I was a painfully shy child, I only ever really played statues in school plays (true story). It was only once I’d joined a youth theatre at 17 that I seriously considered a career in the business. I have my parents to thank for being hugely supportive too.

Are there any actors that influenced your approach or style?

I’m forever seeing performances that make me feel a mixture of pure inspiration and ‘well, I could never top that’! I have a theory about the actors I love watching; I believe you can tell when an actor loves what they are doing as there is a sense of play. Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Helen McCrory, Denise Gough, Kate Fleetwood, Billie Piper, Julie Walters, Maureen Beattie, Zawe Ashton, Olivia Colman, Parker Posey, Daniel Mays, Rory Kinnear, Leonardo Di Caprio, Stanley Tucci. I know I’ve missed so many actors off this list but it’s a start…

What’s the best bit of acting advice you’ve been given?

I’ve been lucky enough to work with some incredibly talented actor and directors who have shared invaluable advice. Most practically it would be learn your lines for auditions. But more personally, be honest and take risks are the pearls of wisdom I try and live by. And I love this quote from Gustave Flaubert – “Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work”

Lara Lemon Interview With Outward

What do you look for in a director?

Sensitivity and honesty. I want to be challenged by a director to bring out the best work possible and if something is not working, I’d like to be told. We are all, after all, working towards the same goal: a great final product. For me, sensitivity in a director is important; to the script, to the cast, to the crew. I’ve worked with directors who have been dictatorial, bordering on bullying, and I’ve always felt like they haven’t got the best out of people. Trust throughout the team is important and this comes from the director.

What do you look for in a script?

A great story told well. I am often sent scripts to play ‘the girlfriend’ or ‘the wife’, and it can grow a bit disheartening to read parts where the character’s only purpose is to serve the man, but saying that it does appear there is a movement towards more rounded female characters in the industry. I have been lucky enough to work with some wonderfully talented film makers who are helping this shift.

You career is on the rise, with Best Actress awards on the festival circuit for ‘Off-Piste’. Would you like to discuss your career trajectory and how has it affected your creative life?

‘Off-Piste’ gave me a great platform and I’m over the moon with the awards – more than anything, it was such a confidence boost. However, I’m still working hard to secure projects I want to work on. I hope that I continue to work on exciting and challenging projects, film and stage, with as many talented people as I can.

You are a big supporter of fringe theatre and the no-low budget aspect of that arena is comparable to zero budget film. Having experienced both, would you agree with this and do you think, to allow creativity to flourish, there needs to be an attitude shift towards viewing zero budget filmmaking in the same bracket as fringe theatre?

I believe that collaboration in this industry is hugely important – not only are you able to practice your craft (whether it be acting, directing, designing, cinematography etc) but you are able to meet and work with like-minded individuals and build a network. I do think that fringe theatre and the no-low budget film industry have similarities and both face similar challenges. Unfortunately people are easily exploited in this industry which is giving true collaboration a bad reputation. It’s important to know your worth and recognise what is worth your time. I am hugely grateful for experiences I have received from fringe theatre and low budget films (‘Off-Piste’ was made for a mere £25,000!) but I’ve become a lot pickier when it comes to these projects.

What are the different challenges you face, comparing theatre to film? Do you have a preference?

I couldn’t choose one or the other – both come with different disciplines. In theatre voice is key. You need to share the story truthfully while being heard by 800 people each night. There is also the pressure of getting it technically right each night – you have no editor to make you look better! But then the beauty of stage for me is that you can return to the world and scenes night after night to try new things. Having an audience in front of you is energising and running through the play in one go builds a momentum which certainly helps with the character journey. Plus, you have the luxury of three weeks rehearsal. Filming in a non linear fashion and starting & stopping scenes are aspects of filming I find challenging, but in comparison to theatre, I love film because of the collaboration between different departments.

Lara Lemon Interview with OutwardWhat’s next up for you?

I’m back into the world of theatre for a while on a tour of ‘Strictly Murder’ by Brian Clemens. It is directed by Brian’s wonderfully talented son and film maker, Samuel Clemens, and we will be travelling all over the country from Swansea to Inverness to Eastbourne to Lowestoft. It’s a great thriller set in France just before World War II begins. Then, who knows what’s around the corner…

 

For you, what would you identify as the ‘art’ in acting and what’s your personal philosophy towards your work?

I suppose, like most actors and creatives, my belief is that the art is finding the truth in the work you do. And in terms of my personal philosophy towards my work, Judi Dench got it just right: “I think you should take your job seriously, but not yourself”.

Would advice would you give to any young actors starting out?

If you can deal with the lifestyle, stick with it – even with the lows, it is the best job in the world! Take risks. Say yes. Know your worth. Learn as much as you can from as many people as you can. Don’t beat yourself up. And be kind to people, it costs so little but means so much.

Tour dates for “Strictly Murder” can be found here… Strictly Murder Tour

You can find more information on Lara here…

Website: www.spotlight.com/5712-8979-3727

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3738359/

Twitter: @Lara_Lemons

Instagram: @Lara_Lemons




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Interview #14 – Mike White from The Projection Booth Podcast

Mike White - The Projection Booth PodcastOver the past decade film criticism/discussion has found new and innovative ways to embrace new media. One example of this is not in written form but audio. What started in print and then onto blogs, film discussion has moved into the world of podcast.

The good movie podcasts don’t just review film but they discuss and analyse why a film is either good/bad.  The great podcasts do more than this, they explore cinematic history and talk passionately not just about films that’re popular but also films that are (in some instances) forgotten but are worthy of discussion/attention. It’s in this category where you’ll find The Projection Booth podcast.

I’ve spent many hours listening to these guys so it’s an absolute pleasure to have them agree to do an interview with us.

 

For anyone unaware of The Projection Booth podcast, how would you describe your style/format?

Every week we look at a particular film and try to examine the plot, the creation, and the impact of the work. Whenever possible, we try to get supporting interviews with the people involved in the production or experts on the subject matter.  Over the years I’ve had two main co-hosts, “Mondo” Justin Bozung and Rob St. Mary.  They’ve both since left to pursue writing projects.  For the last year I’ve had a rotating group of guest co-hosts who have brought a wide variety of viewpoints and opinions to the fray, all in the name of furthering the discussion of film.

Projection Booth podcast

How long did it take for you to find a style for the podcast, particularly with regards to length and tone?

For the first few months we were beholden to an hour length as we were being re-broadcast on a terrestrial radio station out West.  However, it was after just a handful of episodes that we began to find it impossible to keep things under an hour.   It might have been the Freaked show (Episode 11) or shortly before that but we quickly adopted what Rob St. Mary called “The Fight Club Rule of Podcasts” in that “Episodes will go on for as long as they have to.”   

In regard to tone, I think things were a bit more humorous in the beginning when Mondo Justin (Justin Bozung) was my co-host.  I’ve cut out a lot of the jokes, though I will often use sound clips as punch lines or counter-voices to discussions.  The tone of the show depends a lot on the movie being discussed but the overall “Projection Booth”-ness settled into place about a year after we started doing the show.  

A couple people have said that there’s an NPR vibe to the show, which makes sense, I suppose, as I wanted to emulate shows like Studio 360 and RadioLab.

How do you go about picking the films for each podcast?

I’ve had a working list of episodes going from about three months before the first episode ever aired.  This list could last into 2021 if I didn’t add anything to it but things are constantly being introduced and shuffled around.  

Ed Neumeier, Writer of Robocop and Starship Toopers

Ed Neumeier, Writer of Robocop and Starship Toopers

On the rare occasion, an interview opportunity will land in my lap.  Otherwise, I’ll see who I can get for a particular film before really considering doing an episode about it.  And, if I do land an interview, I’ll immediately think of other films in that person’s oeuvre that I would also want to discuss for another episode.   For example, if I can talk to an Ed Neumeier about Robocop, it’s natural that I’ll want to speak to him about Starship Troopers.    

There are a few movies that have been discussed where finding even a tangential interview subject proved challenging but that’s when it’s time to get creative.  I try to balance episodes without interviews with those that have them.  I’ve gotten a little paranoid that some people only listen to the show for the interviews… for some reason I’m suddenly reminded of Playboy.

At the end of the day, I’m choosing films that I’d like to discuss, that I think need more attention, that I think are misunderstood.  I occasionally get a suggestion from a co-host and will try my best to make a show out of those.  In 2018 I’m going to try something unusual and break open the Suggestion Box we keep on the site and see what kind of episodes I can make of them.  

Your podcasts can vary in length with some reaching the five hour mark, how long (on average) does it take to produce and create the Projection Booth podcast?

The longest episode we’ve done so far was the Conan the Barbarian show which clocked in at almost eight hours. The average length of shows is closer to two or three hours.   If one were to count all the planning, the researching, the phone calls, the editing, and the final file creation a typical show might take around 200 hours to produce.  That’s on top of my working a day job and trying to have some kind of social and family life.  Fortunately, I plan ahead quite a bit.   

I think that might also be what helps make The Projection Booth what it is; my obsessive compulsive disorder. I’m not satisfied to watch a movie and talk about it.  If I can, I want to read the book on which it was based, various drafts of the screenplay, reviews, essays, and more.  When I can, I try to dig out as many pieces about a particular film as I possibly can and create a “course pack” of material to read (and share with my co-hosts) with the hope that these various pieces can help inform the discussion even if we don’t specifically speak to them.  

Your conversational approach allows for more of an analytical study of the films you discuss on the podcast, how important is the editing process to allow for this?

Fortunately, the conversations we have on the show are pretty terrific.  I use editing to help shape them but it’s the rare occasion where I have to move sections of discussion around.  I’m usually editing out the errant “ums” or some of the more tin-eared jokes I throw out.  Honestly, I think that I cut out 5% of what my co-hosts say and 15-20% of what I have to say.  So, imagine that next time you listen to a show and hear me droning on.  My poor co-hosts have to hear even more of that!  Oh, and my obnoxious, braying laughter.

I think the most fun I have during the editing process is when I pull in sound clips as quotes from the film we’re discussing or, moreover, the clips that call back to the references that we may make.

How do you think podcasting could change film criticism?

One of my goals with the show is to bring immediacy to film.  At the same time, I’m trying my best to fill in some gaps where possible.  If anything ever smells odd about the “facts” of a film’s history, I will try to find clarity, often by going straight to the horse’s mouth.  

The preponderance of apocryphal blog posts, YouTube “essays”, and podcasts that just skim the surface and never go deeper than essentially eating each other’s vomit won’t do anything or film criticism. However, there are particular critics who do dive deep and while I don’t see them changing film criticism, I see them working more in the theoretical realm where we’re going beyond simply recapping plots and pithy comments.  It’s easy to say that a film is “good” or “bad” but it’s quite another to say why.  People remember the thumbs up or down from Siskel and Ebert but they forget the discussion that lead to the thumbs.  

Sorry for jumping on my soapbox but film criticism can be as simple as saying, “Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes” or it can be something far richer.  

Your Mulholland Drive podcast is a personal favourite, how easy is it to get the likes of Laura Harring and Patrick Fischler to appear on the podcast?

I was kind of shocked that I was able to land those interviews!  I simply reached out to their representatives and they both agreed to be a part of the show.  Laura Harring really did her research on me and I’m wondering if my casual friendship with director Greydon Clark (who cast her in The Forbidden Dance, one of her early roles) had something to do with her coming on.

Laura Harring Mulholland Drive

I find that it never hurts to ask if someone will be on the show — if I can find a good contact method.  The closer I can get to the person I want to interview, that is, if I can ask them directly, I usually get a yes.  If I have to work through a publicist, I get refusals more than I get agreements.

Fortunately, that’s another area where my OCD can be a boon. I love to put on my deerstalker and tracking down addresses and contact information.

Patrick Fischler Mulholland Drive

And, by the way, I’m glad you enjoyed the Mulholland Drive episode.  I’ve had a lot of fun discussing the films of David Lynch over the last five, going on six, years and I look forward to the next one.   Perhaps one of these days I’ll get to speak to Mr. Lynch himself.

How do you compare and contrast the approach to film criticism in this verbal form compared to written?

I’m at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to visually demonstrating my points and the lack of footnotes though that’s what the obligatory “show notes” can provide.   I’m at an advantage when it comes to having multiple points-of-view on each episode and being able to build on each other’s thoughts.   I’ll admit, too, that there have been times while I’m talking about a film I’ll suddenly make a point that I’d never considered before.  Verbalizing helps me think. And being in a “safe space” among friends can lead to throwing out some off-the-wall ideas and seeing how they play.  

Obviously, I don’t think that I can go as deep as a 5,000 word essay but I have hope that some of the interviews and discussions on the show might lead to further research by those so inclined.

Do you listen to any other film podcasts?

I do!  I really admire the amount of research that comes through in the discussions of The Feminine Critique, and Daughters of Darkness. I also frequently listen to Outside the Cinema, F This Movie, Kulture Shocked, Talk Without Rhythm, The After Movie Diner, and Badasses Boobs and Bodycounts.  You might not think so, but the two shows that I refuse to miss are comic discussions of film; We Hate Movies and God Awful Movies.

Do you think podcasting can improve considering the popularity the medium has found over the past few years?

I definitely do.  For one thing, the term “podcast” is still a foreign one to a lot of people.   I still find myself explaining

NPR’s Serial

the concept and how one can gain access to podcasts.  It’s a hidden world to too many potential listeners. NPR’s Serial helped a bring awareness to the medium though I think it could use another boost.  

One of the great things about podcasting is that anyone can do it.  It always reminds me of the old days of fanzines.  Just like with fanzines, the quality of the presentation can overshadow the content of the message — good or bad.  That said, there’s always room for improvement when it comes to technical prowess.  I own that The Projection Booth can sound better.   I’m constantly re-investing in the show though, and endeavor to do that in the future.

Do you have any tips/advice for anyone looking to start their own podcast?

The one thing that I’ve stressed to people who have asked me the same question is that podcasting doesn’t have to be an expensive proposition.  The barrier to entry is such that one can start a fairly decent show for $65.  If you don’t mind, allow me to pimp a book I wrote on that very subject, Podcasting on a Budget:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/mike-white/podcasting-on-a-budget/paperback/product-18671821.html

Additionally, I’d stress the before the microphone even goes on to decide what kind of show you’re going to have: the tone, the ground rules, and what will set you apart from other shows that might live in the same space.

You can find The Projection Booth via the links below.

Website:  http://www.projection-booth.com

Twitter:  @proboothcast

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/theprojectionbooth

 

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Interview with Neil Parmar

reflexionsposter

NEIL PARMAR is a writer, director, producer and editor who has worked on many short films and is currently working as the editor on the feature film Junction Six. We spoke to him about ‘Reflexions’,  the latest short from Red Mosquito films. It’s a piece of experimental cinema written by Nick John Whittle which gives a snapshot of six people’s lives through what appears at first glance to be disjointed narrative. However, the structure is not as complex as it seems. As each person presents his or her secrets it soon becomes apparent that the characters are not disparate and have much in common, even relational. Throughout, only we are the inquisitor and as such privy to the interconnected stories of six broken individuals and one entity.

What sort of themes do you explore in the film?

Ultimately, the film explores the complications of being human in today’s society and how our relationships with other people shape our feelings, whether they are happy or sad feelings. If there was one thing I wanted to have with this film, it was a cast of 5 or 6 characters that explore a range of different emotions, therefore there is a range of themes explored within.

Tell us a bit about how the film came about?

I had recently watched a video essay on Vimeo that explored how characters in films are often at their most vulnerable when they are alone in front of a mirror. It looked at how women will cry in front of a mirror, where a man will smash and break. I loved this idea therefore I simply jotted down the basic idea (in bullet points) and listed character types i.e. ‘Cheating Woman’, ‘Man in Love’ etc. I then sent the notes to scriptwriter Nick John Whittle and he came back with the script complete with a story arc with for these characters.

How did you fund the film?

The budget was very minimal, as all Red Mosquito productions are. The equipment we used was our own; the locations were spread between my own house and Nick’s house. The actors all worked for free. The music throughout the film is royalty free. I’m actually struggling to think if we spent any money specifically for Reflexions.

In all your films, to what extent does money become a barrier? How do you overcome it?

Obviously without any real budget, you are restricted to using what you have access to. This could be why I took on so many roles to produce this film (producer, director, cinematographer, editor). I’m so used to figuring things out without a budget that the question of do we need to spend anything rarely comes up because we are already know that spending money is the last thing we want to do.

What challenges did you encounter when making the film?

This shoot was actually one of the most relaxed shoots I’ve ever been apart of. It could be that most of the time the crew was very minimal and it was generally very straightforward as we had easy access to all the locations and scenes were fairly simple to shoot. All the actors were well prepared with script and gave great performances, so there was very little time wasted.

What, if anything, did you learn while making the film?

By the time we went into production for Reflexions we had already worked with most of the cast in previous productions. Therefore casting was very straightforward and relaxed. As there was a relationship there already, everything felt comfortable on set and that relaxed environment brought out the best performances. I knew this already but it really came in to fruition when producing Reflexions. Good relationships create enjoyable productions, in my opinion.

What are you hoping to achieve with ‘Reflexions’?

Just to make a film I’m proud of and better the last production. We are going to enter into festivals and try and get it screened anywhere and everywhere but ultimately, I just wanted to make a good film. Festival entries, wins and any other accolades are a nice bonus. I do feel like I have achieved what I set out for.

There are a wide number of festivals these days in which you can submit short films. How do you decide which are best to go for?

I have no real preference. When on filmfreeway, I just enter it into where I feel like it could be appreciated. Oh and where it’s not too expensive to enter!

Interview by Phil Slatter

Interview #13: Wyrmwood

wyrmwoodofficialposterThe filmmakers behind Australian zombie film Wyrmwood Road of the Dead describe it as: “A rip-roaring Ozzie classic with beer and people being very sweary.” If first impressions are as important as they say, then Tristan and Kiah Roache-Turner’s debut feature leaves an indelible scar on the consciousness of any genre fan, the bold vision of what genre cinema can be embraced with great affection by the filmmakers.

During the course of our conversation, the brothers looked back on the Wyrmwood experience while keeping their one eye on the future. As Kiah explained: “Usually it seems like filmmakers take about three films to find their tone. I do feel that Wyrmwood is kind of a pastiche of Romero, George Miller and all these people. It is certainly bursting with original energy, but I think Tristan and I have to make a couple of other films before we really find what our style is as directing brothers. But it will be fun finding that tone!”

 

Why a career in film? Was there an inspirational or defining moment?

TRT: I’ll jump in there! I became obsessed with film when I was thirteen maybe fourteen; absolutely obsessed with Raiders of the Lost Ark and Star Wars. We had a family friend who had thousands of movies, and so I started devouring Apocalypse Now, Blade Runner and Taxi Driver at a very young age. I developed this weird OCD obsession with filmmaking and as soon as we got our first camera when we were fifteen or sixteen Tristan and I just started making films together.

The first film we made I chopped him up and put him in a bag. When our mom saw that film she started screaming and crying. It was then that we realised what a strong reaction we could get from an audience, whether it was our mother or somebody in Spain, which we would find out about twenty years later. So we just started making films: short films and music videos for ten, fifteen years and then inevitably we would wind up making a feature. We sat down and decided to make a zombie film which took us four years. We started in 2010 and here we are now talking about it.

Why do you think the Zombie monster and the apocalypse continue to endure within narrative fiction?

KRT: It is a difficult question to answer and we have thought about it a fair bit, because we are in that genre now. I think people have an obsession with the end of the world, and zombies represent the end of the world. The apocalypse is a fascinating thing especially with global warming and all that bollocks. But if you move all of that intellectualisation aside, one of the things that people love about zombie films is that you are in a world where you can blow your neighbours head off with impunity. There are are shuffling corpses wandering around and suddenly you are in a live action video game where you can pick up a shot gun, run out the front door and cause a bit of mayhem. It is like a game and you have to survive. One thing that people love is the video game concept, which is a challenge and it can also be adventurous. Years ago Tristan and I used to have a big obsession with shoot ‘em ups, and zombie films are basically living through a first person shoot ‘em up. Hey what do you reckon Tristan…did I answer that one well?

TRT:  Hell yeah! Me personally I just love shotguns. I just love the idea of having something coming towards you that wants to kill you, and you have not only the right but the responsibility to blow the damn thing away! [Laughs]

 5_brooke_gun_1

Reflecting on your experience in the director’s chair for your feature debut, how did the expectations compare to the reality?

KRT: What do you reckon Tristan?

TRT: I reckon this movie turned out so much better than I expected it to. I always thought it was going to be awesome; a good romp and good fun. I thought it was going to be so patchy and rugged, but it actually doesn’t look like a movie that was filmed over four years, and it doesn’t seem like the script was created in this haphazard, completely transformational way that changed dramatically over the time that we shot. It seems to be a pretty cool complete little piece, and for me it was great. The amount of articles and reviews that have been written about it, I wasn’t expecting at all, and so it exceeded all expectations. It has been a great ride, and it has been humbling. It makes me think the world is a really beautiful place… It has been great!

The British setting of Under the Skin and Nina Forever afforded these films a certain feel. What does the Australian setting bring to the Wyrmwood and is the identity of the film intrinsically linked to its spatial settings?

KRT: Definitely, and just to say that I loved UNDER THE SKIN. I fucking adored it. It is one of my favourite films and I could never make a film like that. It is brilliant! But, yeah the landscape and the country should be intrinsic to the art of the film.

TRT: With Wyrmwood what we really wanted to do was to make a film that celebrated Australianess, like they did back in the seventies with Mad Max and all those Ozploitation films. There has been a tendency in the last couple of decades for Australian filmmakers to kind of make these films with American accents, and I think that is where it started to pander to an American audience. But we didn’t want to do that. We wanted to make a rip-roaring Ozzie classic with beer and people bring very sweary. We wanted to make a zombie film where the lead guy is a mechanic from Bankstown, which is a suburb in Sydney where tough blokes come from; where the real Australians come from. It was important for us to shoot in the bush because most of the zombie films that you see, whether it is World War Z or 28 Days Later which is London, they are always shot in those settings. It was very important for us to go out into the bush and the Blue Mountains and film a landscape that is deeply Australian. We were also very lucky that we were able to find someone like Leon Butchill so that could we could also bring the indigenous side of things to the film, and make it a fully rounded Australian experience. So that was very important, and Tristan and I discussed that while we were writing it, and it was definitely something that informed us during the making of it.

Once you have made the film and you have put it out there for the audience to experience, do you perceive there to be a transfer of ownership?

KRT: As soon as you release your film, go onto YouTube, look at the trailer and the first comment underneath the trailer is: “This is shit! You realise that it is no longer your baby. You have released into the world and some people will hate it and some people will love it. It is a very interesting lesson because no matter how much you love it the audience makes up their own mind. Tristan, what do you reckon?

TRT: I agree! You are releasing it out there into the big bad world and people are going to either love it or hate it. I totally agree with that, and I think you can hone it, and father it for as long as you want, but once you actually get it out there and release it then it is up to the masses mate. It is up to whether they like it or not.

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The collaboration between the filmmaker and the audience is a vital one. Wyrmwood has shown a new level of interaction exists through the audience’s active participation to help make the film. How do you perceive the way that film is evolving and the benefits of this level of interaction?

KRT: That is a very interesting question because back in 2010 we shot a scene which we considered was going to be the opening scene of the film. But it turned out not to be – we cut it from the final film. So we released ten minutes of footage online and had a huge response. We were lucky as filmmakers in regards to that we knew we had an audience; a fan base that was waiting for the film for three and a half years. When we went after crowdfunding the anticipation meant people wanted to buy the film ahead of time. So we were very successful in that people bought into this project very early on and we have been interacting with our audience for four years prior to releasing the film. We didn’t release this film nervously because we knew that we had an audience waiting for it. We hoped that it made a bit of money and it got a distributor, but what we didn’t know was that we had a much larger audience than we actually thought. So when we were seeing the tweets from Glasgow, the film premiere in Texas and all of these fans come out of the woodwork…when we premiered in Toronto the film hadn’t even been released, but all these Cosplay’s turned up in costumes that they’d made from the film; from posters. So it is a very interesting time for filmmakers because you can build a fan base without having even shot or finished a film. I am fascinated by the concept because I know a lot about film and film history and this has never occurred to me the Internet has blown the doors wide open in that regard. Obviously the piracy is an issue, and is something that we have to work through, but in terms of being interactive and having a personal relationship with your fans, it has never been better. It is an exciting time to be a filmmaker.

What have you taken away from the experience of your debut feature film, and how will the experience help propel you forward?

TRT: I think momentum is the best lesson that I have learned from making Wyrmwood. You just have to keep up your momentum and keep on moving ahead no matter what, because if you stop then everything just comes to a grinding halt. But if you just keep on going forward, then you are going to be able to make it happen.

KRT: You know what I learned from this whole experience more than anything – it is the simplest possible thing in the world. I learned that I can direct a film and people will like it. Being a filmmaker and as it is my dream hoping – can I, will I be able to do it? Yes I can, and that is a fantastic thing to be able to say. The best lesson you could learn is that you can follow and fulfill your dreams.

The hardest thing that we are going through at the moment is how do we top it. We have had this success; everyone loves the film and it is a cult classic, but now we have to make our second film. In a way it is more important that we get this one right. So now all I am thinking about is the second film. I love Wyrmwood but it’s like we’ve got to get the next one totally right, and we’ve got to build on that. So that is a scary concept.

Interview by Film Frame editor Paul Risker.

You can find Wyrmwood on Twitter here.