Written Interviews

Leaf Blower Massacre 2 (Written Review)

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Screen Shot 2018-05-27 at 8.21.51 PM.pngI’ve often said that the easiest way to come up with a concept for a B-Movie is to add the word “Massacre” to the end of literally any noun. After watching the the 2016 horror/comedy “Leaf Blower Massacre 2” by T-Nasty Productions, I can now state with absolute certainty that my long held hypothesis was in fact correct.

While I haven’t seen the original “Leaf Blower Massacre”, I had no difficulties following the plot of this sequel and found watching it to be an entertaining and surprisingly brutal experience none the less.

The story follows a detective duo of questionable competence investigating a series of leaf blower related murders. The murders are somehow connected to professor Shaver Jennings and the recent disappearance of his fiancé.

The film teaches the potential dangers a leaf blower can pose in the wrong hands. The killer seemingly has a penchant for creative murders such as blasting victims to death, impaling victims and even converting a leaf blower into a makeshift machine gun, the killer successful turns murder by leaf blower into an art.

Each murder is accompanied by a chorus of heavy metal music which helped accentuate the brutality of these scenes, while turning each murder into a nonsensical music video one can’t help enjoying.

At the climax of the film, Shavar has a final showdown with the murderer, where past mistakes come to light and all dangerous lawn equipment are retired back to the tool shed where they belong.

“Leaf Blower Massacre 2” manages to balance gratuitous violence with absurd humor in a way that never felt forced. The story managed to tie together appropriately, leaving no loose ends or questions unexplained.

If you have an affinity for practical blood effects, murder mysteries, and every day house hold items being converted into deadly weapons, then “Leaf Blower Massacre 2” is definitely worth consideration.

Interview with Bri Castellini (Ace and Anxious)

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* We had the honor of interviewing Bri Castellini once before about her zombie themed web series “Brains”. Now, we have the privilege of interviewing her once again about her new film Ace and Anxious.


  1. Why don’t you tell us a bit about Ace and Anxious? What’s the general plot and idea behind the film?

Ace and Anxious is a short film about a millennial asexual woman, Emma, with generalized anxiety disorder. After a period of time without panic attacks, she starts having them again, and coincidentally also ends up learning about the science behind sex and it’s stress-relieving properties, so she decides to test this low-budget “cure” to her anxiety by placing an ad for sex on Craigslist. Hilarity ensues as we go back and forth between her telling her therapist about her plan and her interviews with potential sexual partners.


2. What inspired the idea for Ace and Anxious?

Well, I’m both the things the title depicts- ace and anxious! I haven’t seen really any solid asexual representation in media, other than in a smattering of web series, and I was also dealing with a lot of anxiety at the time I was writing (and producing and editing and doing interviews for) this film, so I thought- what would be the funniest way an asexual character would deal with anxiety? Why, put an ad for sex on Craigslist, of course! I also really wanted to subvert the expectations of a film about an asexual protagonist- it wasn’t necesarilly about her sexuality, and she never doubted herself or who she was; it was about her anxiety and depression and how sometimes they crop up without a trigger. Sometimes, you just have a panic attack in the middle of a grocery store or walking to the subway and there’s no good reason, and that’s really frustrating. You’re powerless- if you can’t fix something, you can’t control it, and that’s incredibly scary. I wanted to explore that fear and feeling of being out of control with comedy, because I think it’s worth talking about but often overlooked- most movies and TV about depression end with the person being “fixed,” but often it’s not that simple.


3. Are there any existing films or other works of art that you would compare Ace and Anxious to, or would say inspired the film in style or substance?

This film was my directorial debut, in traditional filmmaking at least, since my web series was found footage and I only directed one of the thirty existing episodes. So when preparing, I watched a lot of Edgar Wright movies, because I love his dialog and his visual comedy. Then my lead actress, upon accepting the role, told me she was moving to LA in two months, so most of the Edgar Wright-inspired transitions my DP Brandon Smalls and I planned got tossed in service of time. That’s the long way of saying that I’m not sure I’d compare to Ace and Anxious to anything in particular, especially not on a film level, but for the writing I was heavily influenced by Amy Sherman-Palladino, Rachel Bloom, Mindy Kaling, and other fast-talking female comedy writers.


4. From what we have seen so far Ace and Anxious seems to revolve around many different issues involving sexuality and mental health. Without giving too much away, what would you say is the under lying message of the film?

I think the underlying message of the film is that sometimes, things are out of your control, and you have to learn to deal with that instead of living in denial. Mental health isn’t always cause and effect, sometimes it’s just effect. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to get better, but you should also consider giving yourself a break, because the world is complicated, and mental health is complicated, and you’re a person who’s allowed to feel things even when they aren’t productive. This film wasn’t really meant to speak on any particular sexuality issues, so I guess the message is that asexual people of all shapes and sizes are valid and should be represented better in media.


5. In the process of writing and creating Ace and Anxious, did any of the overall story or underlying themes change or did it remain relatively consistent throughout the creative process? 

At first, it definitely was a bit more about Emma wrestling with her sexuality, but I realized while writing that I didn’t want to spend fifteen minutes defending asexuality as legitimate- I wanted to talk about how annoying it was that sometimes I have a panic attack on an otherwise banal day. So I definitely shifted a bit in terms of what the central problem was. Other than that, the only things that really changed from draft to draft were the jokes, something my good friend Chris Cherry helped with a lot.


6. What would you say is the most unique aspect of your film?

It’s a film with an asexual main character that isn’t about her asexuality. Also, it uses humor and matter-of-factness to deal with some frankly pretty distressing mental health situations.


7. What has been the general reception of your film?

Overall positive, from what I can tell! It’s doing really well on Tumblr, especially since it’s Pride month and there is often a lack of ace rep in larger Pride celebrations, let alone in media as a whole. My favorite responses so far have been the ones where other asexuals I’ve never met have stated how much they related to Emma. I just went and found one of the things someone has sent me because it warms my heart so much. It’s censored for the faint at heart- “OH MY F***ING GOD I JUST WATCHED THIS… and and and all these stupid thoughts in my head that i don’t say to anyone…are said by this character and holy f***ing s**t.” Thank you to “F*ckYeahPikacha” on Tumblr for that one, and for proving again why representation is so important and so valuable.


8. What impression are you hoping to leave audiences with after watching?

Mostly I just hope they laughed! And if they didn’t know much about the realities of anxiety or asexuality that they learned something.


9. If you could work with any director, (living or dead) who would you work with?

Edgar Wright, for sure. I’m new to the production side of movies and TV, so I mostly only know about writers, but Edgar Wright’s ability to blend funny stories, funny dialog, and funny visuals is awe-inspiring and something I really want to learn more about. I don’t have as much of a head for shots and blocking- yet. And learning from someone with such a unique and inventive style that’s right up my comedy alley would be amazing.


10. Where can we watch Ace and Anxious?

For the rest of June you can watch it on the St. Lawrence International Film Festival Online website here: https://www.stlawrencefilm.com/official-selections

If we win an award, it’ll be available elsewhere on their site forever, and if we don’t, I think I’m going to keep it hidden away until we get a few more film festivals, preferably ones with in-person screenings, under our belt. A lot of film festivals get weird about premiere statuses, and I want to give this weird little film a shot before I make it widely available.


11. Where can we follow you to learn more about Ace and Anxious and any projects that Undead Burrito Productions will be working on in the future?

You can follow Undead Burrito Productions on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr, and learn more about Ace and Anxious and other projects we’ve done on my personal website: BriCastellini.com.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/_UndeadBurrito_

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

Tumblr: https://undeadburritoproductions.tumblr.com/

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Interview with Mela Hudson (Split Cost)

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Split Costs Poster

  1.  What first inspired you to become an actress?

I’ve always enjoyed being in the spotlight. When I was younger I danced on stage and I also acted in theatre throughout my school years. I’ve just always known I wanted to entertain.

2.    What is your favorite part of Acting?

My favorite part of acting is connecting with people.


3.    Are there any actresses that you would say inspired your style of acting?

I was very inspired by Lucille Ball when I was a child but I’ve sort of gravitated towards more dramatic roles, so I would have to say Jessica Chastain. I’m in awe when it comes to her, I think she is absolutely phenomenal and any chance I get to watch something she’s in, I do. I would love to work with her some day, she has taught me a lot.


4.    Could you tell us a bit about “Split Cost”? What’s the general plot and idea behind the film?

Split Costs is about two young women from disparate backgrounds share a ride to western Massachusetts where traumatic setbacks for each to make pivotal decisions at an unforseen crossroads. The story is very powerful in that it illustrates the beauty of two strangers who find each other during the most tragic moments of their lives.


5.    Could you tell us a bit about your character in “Split Cost”? What would you say is her most defining aspect is?

I knew I had to play Emma the moment I read the script. Her character is so complex and layered, I knew it would be challenging but that got me excited. She’s so misunderstood, and I think her tough exterior fooled a lot of people. She is a fragile human being and a bit unstable with nothing to lose. She was raised by an addict and learned to survive on her own. Emma has no idea what love is or how to have a normal relationship with anyone, she’s always felt abandoned. It’s such a beautiful story and character, I can’t thank my director, Jeffrey Palmer, enough for giving me the opportunity to bring her to life


6.   What would you say is the most unique aspect of “Split Cost”? What has the general reaction to your “Split Cost” been like?

The most unique aspect of Split Costs is that we had an all female cast, and we shot the “dead of winter” film during the warmest winter ever recorded in the northeast.


7.   What has the general reaction to your “Split Cost” been like?

The reaction to Split Costs has been overwhelmingly positive. I couldn’t be more happy with the feedback and reviews it’s received. So far we have been the official selection to 27 festivals and have won 14 awards.


8.   Since you’ve acted in several films in the past, what would you say is the most important thing to know about acting?

I think the most important thing is to believe in the work you’re doing. It’s also a lot of work to be an actor. Nowadays everyone thinks they can be an actor but they’re not willing to put in the work. Whenever I do a film I put countless hours of research towards my character. I really live the creating process, your character comes from somewhere, their life doesn’t just begin where your lines begin.


9.   If you could work with any actor or actress, who would you pick?

I would love to work with Jessica Chastain, Al Pacino, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, and I’m deeply saddened that I’ll never have the privilege of working with Phillip Seymour Hoffman. He was truly an inspiration, and so passionate about the craft of acting.


10.   What qualities do you think make a great film, and could you give us a few examples of films that you would consider great?

We’ll besides having an amazing story and cast, I absolutely love when cinematography is used to communicate with the audience. Adding underlying characteristics or hidden messages, or just the craziest plot twist ever gives the viewer that, “Oh shit” moment and that’s what I look for, and strive to use in my own films. Fight Club, Shutter Island, and The Sixth Sense had the craziest plot twists of all time and it keeps you talking about them years later. To get back to story and cast, take Seven Pounds for example, it is truly a remarkable film, the story is beautifully crafted. There is this constant struggle between life and death throughout the entire film and Will Smith gives the most honest performance. I seriously can’t watch that film without crying


11.   What advice would you give to any who wants to begin acting?

To anyone who is just starting out in acting I suggest you get as much training as possible. It is so important to be constantly learning and working towards perfecting your craft. Take any opportunity you are offered to act in front of someone. Don’t be intimidated by the audition process, it’s part of the journey and helps you grow as an artist.


12.    Where can we watch “Split Cost”? Where can we follow you to learn more about “Split Cost” and any other projects that you will be working on in the future?

You can watch Split Costs at and the password is 2journeys1ride You can also view our press kit here: I’m currently working on my animation film Tomboy, and my short dark drama Eight. I’m directing and starring in both so I’m very excited. Indiegogo campaigns coming soon! Connect with me on: Snapchat: ItsMelaHudson


Interview with Andrew Pledger (The Knock)

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  1. Could you tell us a bit about your short film “The Knock”? What’s the general plot and idea behind your film?

The plot of The Knock is about a girl who hears a strange knocking noise. She’s not sure where it’s coming from and then she realizes that it is coming from a strange and unexpected place.


  1. What inspired the idea for “The Knock”?

I was looking online one day and I saw an ad for the My Rode Reel 2017 short film contest. Right when I saw it I knew I wanted to enter. I looked at the rules and saw that the film had to be 3 minutes or under. So that was very hard for me because I like developing characters and plot and 3 minutes wasn’t enough. Then I decided I needed to find a very short horror story that I could film in 3 minutes. I looked and looked and found nothing I liked. As I was looking on the Internet I saw a line that said “two sentence horror story.” I clicked it and it brought me to Reddit and the first story I saw was “I woke up to hear a knock on glass. At first, I thought it was the window until I heard it come from the mirror again.”


  1. What would you say is the most unique aspect of your film?


I would say that the most unique aspect in my film is that it takes place in two worlds. The spiritual world and the physical.


  1. What qualities do you think make a great film, and could you give us a few examples of films that you would consider great?

I think a great film consists of relatable characters. If a character isn’t relatable then why would you care if they get in danger. And definitely a believable and good story. If the story isn’t good nothing else matters. And films that I would consider to be great would be Shadow Of A Doubt which is directed by Alfred Hitchcock. I think it’s a great film because it has a very relatable character. The main character is Charlie who is named after her uncle. What makes her relatable is that she’s an ordinary American in an average American family who feels that her life is so routine and boring. And she wants some excitement and I think anyone can relate to feeling that way. Another great film I think is another Hitchcock film which is very underrated is Marnie. Marnie is about a woman that is a kleptomaniac, pathological liar, and has other mental problems. I think Marnie’s character is relatable because she is starving for love and affection and she’ll do anything to get it. I think the story is great because it shows all of her psychological problems and someone helps her found why the way she is and how to heal. It’s a wonderful film about self discovery, healing and forgiveness.


  1. On the opposite end, are there any films you enjoy as guilty pleasures? Movies that aren’t exactly great, but you like watching anyways.

Oh my goodness! Yes! I love watching The Burning which is a Friday The 13th ripoff. It’s about a caretaker of a camp who got burned by some pranksters and comes back to the camp on a killing spree for revenge. Another one I would say is Strait-Jacket which is an old film that stars Joan Crawford. It has a lot of cheesy axe murders, but the ending is shocking.

  1. What advice would you give to someone who wants to create an independent film of their own?

The advice I would give is never give up even if you think you aren’t getting better just keep making films and learn from your mistakes and just enjoy the journey.


  1. Where can we watch “The Knock?

You can find The Knock on YouTube. My YouTube channel is Filmmakingman.


  1. Where can we follow you to learn more about “The Knock” and any projects that you will be working on in the future?

I post about my projects on my Instagram page which is Filmmakingman.


Interview with Trent Garlipp (Lobelia)

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  1. What first inspired you to become a film maker? I started making short videos in middle school with my older brother on this really crappy no-name-brand digital camera that my parents got us for Christmas one year. We screwed around a lot and made really ridiculous sketches that we uploaded to YouTube, and our friends thought they were funny so we kept doing it for a while. Then in high school me and my friends would make short films for English class projects because we didn’t want to write papers and for some reason the teachers let us do it, for almost every project. We made films for The Odyssey, The Count of Monte Cristo, To Kill a Mockingbird, and a ton more that I can’t remember. We also made short films on the side for our personal YouTube channels. So we slowly got better and better at filmmaking and started to make homemade greenscreens and steadicams and other shitty rigs, then at some point I realized that I could actually do this for a living if I kept at it. So I applied and got into film school and here we are.


  1. Why don’t you tell us a bit about this Lobelia- The Movie? What’s the general plot and idea behind the film? The story is about a woman and her husband trying to reconnect after a traumatic experience that has separated them emotionally for quite some time. The woman has become obsessed with maintaining her isolated backyard garden until one day her flowers start mysteriously dying. This causes a chain of events that leads to her starting to lose her grip on reality, experiencing terrible nightmares and becoming obsessed with curing her plants, until her and her husband are forced to confront the source of their trauma.


  1. What inspired the idea for your film? I started off with the idea that I wanted to tackle a film about depression, because a lot of screenwriting teachers told us not to, and the subject was important to me. A lot of people have told me that a protagonist who is depressed is not active and an audience gets bored with that. So I took that as a challenge and tried hard to find a way to make an active character who was also depressed. It’s important to me that more stories like this get told because depression really sucks, and we need more characters on-screen that show it in a realistic way that also gives hope to people that it can get better. It’s definitely something I struggled with a lot in the past and still do, but I think I’m much better at managing it now. I was also interested in telling a good story about a broken relationship, because I’ve seen a lot of unhealthy relationships fall apart, and I wanted to explore how that happens and how a couple might be able to fix a relationship that was once healthy and now seems doomed. I was also really into magic-realism when I wrote the script so that’s where the dreams come in. I wanted to blend a realistic situation with imaginary situations and make it hard to tell which was which sometimes, without resorting to any cheap twists or deus ex machina. The inspiration there came from movies like Pan’s Labyrinth and Birdman.


  1. What would you say is the most unique aspect of Lobelia- The Movie? I think the juxtaposition of the beauty and tranquility of the backyard garden in this isolated rural landscape with the horrible state of mind the character is in makes for an interesting world that I don’t see too often. And although I’ve been kind of advertising it as a horror movie it’s much more of a domestic drama with some surreal horror moments, and really doesn’t have the kind of ending you’d expect in a similar movie. At least I hope so. I really want it to be honest and realistic despite all the dreamlike stuff.



  1. What impression are you hoping to leave your audience with? I want it to leave the audience kind of sobered and a little bit hopeful by the end. I want people to learn something about themselves with every film I make, in some way. If just one person watches this film and has an epiphany about a relationship in their life or feels like they’re not alone anymore, that’s enough for me.


  1. What qualities do you think make a great film, and could you give us a few examples of films that you would consider great? I think it has to be personal in some way to really be great. If a director has no personal connection to a story then what’s the point? A personal connection can happen with any material, even if you’re making a film about a character who’s the complete opposite of you, as long as you show empathy and find a way to relate to the material. I mentioned before that I really like Pan’s Labyrinth. My favorite movie is The Big Lebowski. Other movies I keep coming back to are There Will Be Blood and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.


  1. Are there any films that you would consider guilty pleasures? Films that aren’t exactly great that you still really enjoy anyways. Oh man, I’ve watched Hot Rod probably about thirty times. I don’t even think it’s that great it just sort of became a tradition at my house to watch it every Christmas eve, and there are a few parts I think are really funny and surprisingly touching. Another one is Escape from Tomorrow, which is a terrible film but I enjoyed it a lot. It’s a horror movie shot in Disney World without permission and it’s super surreal and absolutely ridiculous. I think it’s really interesting and fun to see a movie set in Disney World that makes the space feel so much different than it does in real life.


  1. What advice would you give to someone who wants to create an independent film of their own? Get good at networking. I’m still pretty bad at it and it causes me problems all the time. It really is a collaborative process and you need to find good people to work with to make the best work you can. And you’ve got to actually listen to other people’s notes, because if you make a project in isolation, there will always be things you didn’t realize are issues until other people point them out. Take all the help you can get, because you’ll need it. And always help the people who help you. Basically just be a good person and people will like you and help you out. Feels good


  1. When is Lobelia- The Movie set for release and where will we be able to watch it? Post-production should be done by the end of the summer, then I’ll be submitting to festivals to hopefully screen at some by the end of this year or early 2018, then I’ll be posting it online on Vimeo and YouTube after it’s had its festival run. This is assuming I get into festivals. Otherwise it’s just going straight online.


  1. Where can we follow you to learn about Lobelia- The Movie and any future projects that you will be working on? You can follow the official twitter for the film @lobeliafilm and the facebook page, https://www.com/lobeliafilm/. I don’t have a website for myself yet so for future projects I guess you can occasionally Google my name and see if I’ve made anything in a year or so.

Lobelia -The Film

Interview with Patrick Templin (Reyes)

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  1. What first inspired you to become a film maker?

I love watching movies & music since my early youth. At first I was producing (just smoking pot and flowing on beats) hip hop music in my youth together with friends and then we filmed music videos for our tracks and published them on the German rap platform rappers.in. Trough the music videos I was teaching myself amateur techniques about directing, cinematography, editing and everything. After that I began to produce gaming content on my own Youtube channel together with a friend of mine. Parallel I was searching for film projects to get involved, so I was getting involved in my first project as a producer, and after that several projects followed soon.

  1. As someone who has worked as a writer, director, producer and various other roles in the film making process, what would you say is your favorite job?

There are so many jobs on the set I love when I make movies. But if I have to choose, It’s the directing part I would prefer. I think that there is nothing more exciting to see than how written ideas getting built into moving images filled with music. I love working with several actors and a good, working team. But in our budget class I am often forced to do more than one job at the same time. So I get used to it. And plus that, I also love the whole organization, production and planning stuff as a producer a lot.

  1. Could you tell us a bit about your upcoming film “Reyes”?

As I am a character driven writer, I like to tell and build my stories out of my characters. And so Reyes is about a down at heel guy who gets into the vortex of a big secret society underground organization. He meets his old big love named LEYA who is a part of the trouble there and he wants to save her out of that. Step by step MICK (the main) realizes, that he has to get over his personal issues to gain enough power to handle the dark forces which are ruling his hometown.

  1. What inspired the idea behind “Reyes”?

The first idea was to create a movie pitch in front of the background of the feasibility. I at first every time begin my stories with: It’s about a guy/girl who… and so I structured the story a little bit, and my co-writers René Wiesner and Peter Ahlers helped me coming along with that. After that and with every discussion about the characters and the story, the script grew bigger. While creating the idea I was inspired by genre movies like “the Ninth gate” or “Eyes Wide shut”, but also by a lot of other movies which include mysteries and riddles.

  1. What would you say is the most unique aspect of “Reyes”?

We have really amazing actors involved and I think we are very special because we’re combining genre elements of the mystery and the thriller, together with elements from exploitation movies. And also our international cameos are interesting, also one complete short segment of Reyes will be shot in Mexico. And of course we have blood & tits 😉

  1. What are your favorite types of films to make and why?

I like many kinds of film projects, but I love developing and filming drama scenes, because there are so many emotions to transfer to the audience. I love discussions with actors about how to play the role and how to react in different situations. I also love to see how good actors can show several facets of their acting.

  1. Are there any directors or writers who you would say inspired your style of film making?

I am a big fan of the older works of Roman Polanski, and of course everything by Werner Herzog. Also Scorcese inspired me a lot, but I also like the German director Akiz for his endurance and creativity. And of course I don’t forget the lots of German independent directors.

  1. If you had the opportunity to work on a film with any director (alive or dead) who would you pick?

I would love to work together with Lars von Trier. Should be amazing to do this.

  1. What qualities do you think make a great film, and could you give us a few examples of films that you would consider great?

As I am a big fan of image aesthetics, good storytelling and film craft, I will name some movies which represent those points in a good way in my opinion:

  • Platoon (1985) by Oliver Stone
  • Stone (2010) by John Curran
  • Swordfish (2001) by Dominic Sena
  • Red Dragon (2002) by Brett Ratner
  • Dark City (1998) by Alex Proyas
  • Tokyo Tribe (2015) by Sion Sono

I know so many more, but just a little list of movies 😉

  1. What advice would you give to someone who wants to create an independent film of their own?

As every experienced filmmaker would say: Just do it! The possibilities are much easier and cheaper to make movies, so go out and just create an interesting flick, guys!

12. Where can we follow you to learn about “Reyes” and any projects that you will be working on in the future?

Watch out & Thanks for the interview!








Reyes Poster


Interview with Bri Castellini (Brains)

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  1. Could you tell us a bit about “Undead burrito Productions”? When was it started and what kind of films do you guys specialize in?

Undead Burrito Productions is the name I gave my fake production company when we started making my show Brains, because my director and an actor from a different show he was working on also had fake production company names to make the productions sound more legitimate. Since Brains, I’ve worked under the name a few other times, and eventually hope to register it as an LLC as I continue working on indie projects. Right now, the specialization is “things I write or produce with close friends.” The name is now associated with Brains and all its spin off properties, my short film “Ace and Anxious,” and my friend Chris Cherry’s web series “Relativity.”

2. Why don’t you tell us a bit about “Brains”? What’s the general plot and idea behind the series?

The shortest way I can explain Brains is the tagline “love, friendship, neuropsychology, and zombies.” Basically, it’s a found footage “vlog” series about a neuropsychology major, Alison Sumner, as she makes videos of her life on her college campus after a three-year zombie apocalypse. At first, she’s mostly focused on trying to seduce her crush, Damian, while simultaneously investigating whether or not he’s secretly a zombie. In this world, if a zombie eats enough brains on a consistent basis, they can appear mostly human. As the show goes on, it becomes much more a diary of her post-plague life and the lives of her friends and fellow students.

3. What inspired the idea for “Brains”?

The idea behind the series is that a few years ago I thought it would be funny to write a zombie story about a girl who studies brains and is also frankly unimpressed by the apocalypse. First it was a five minute play, then it was the first few chapters of a novel, then it was a short story, then it was an even shorter short story that got published in a literary journal, and eventually, it was this show.

4. What would you say is the most unique aspect of “Brains”?

Probably the way we use the vlog and found footage aspects. Most vlog-style web series right now stick to one room, and rarely move the camera from its tripod. We take the camera all over the place, and the fact that the footage is being uploaded to the internet and only a handful of characters know that is very important to the story itself. It creates a lot of dramatic irony and heavily influences the behaviors and decisions of the characters in the show.

5. Could you tell us a bit about the character you play in “Brains”? What is this character like and what is the most interesting thing about her?

I play the lead, Alison Sumner. She’s a neuropsychology student, a scientist, and obsessed with her five year plan. The apocalypse derailed her previous five year plan, but the world is starting to put itself back together and she couldn’t be more ready, at least in her own mind. Alison is basically me if I made slightly worse decisions. We’re both very detail-oriented, we like to plan things that can’t really be planned, and we sometimes value efficiency over other people’s feelings.

Alison’s the type of character whose confidence is infectious- she’s so sure of herself and her place in the world it’s hard to fully hate her, though she definitely has qualities worth hating, particularly in season 2. She’s so single-minded and organized that it can be hard to change her mind, which is sometimes a really good thing, and sometimes a really bad one. Playing her made me a more confident person in real life, so I’ll always love that most about her.

6. What qualities do you think make a great film, and could you give us a few examples of films that you would consider great?

Unpopular admission: I don’t watch that many movies, and I certainly don’t watch movies most people would consider great. I’m a TV gal all the way. That said, my favorite movie of all time is A Few Good Men, which I love because it’s a perfect blend of drama, comedy, hot people arguing, and quick, witty dialog. For me, what makes a great film is one that is honest and authentic without taking itself too seriously.

 7. On the opposite end, are there any films you enjoy as guilty pleasures? Movies that aren’t exactly great, but you like watching anyways.

Most of the films I watch would be considered “guilty pleasures,” but I’m not a huge fan of that term because I think people should be allowed to like what they like without fear of social alienation. Things like Easy A, Star Trek (2009), and Zombieland are movies I’ll watch over and over again, even if they aren’t considered cinematic masterpieces. I’m also a huge fan of the Captain America franchise branch of the MCU, and I’m weirdly obsessed with “What’s Your Number?” with Chris Evans and Anna Faris. Rogue One was probably my favorite recent movie.

 8. What advice would you give to someone who wants to create an independent project of their own?

My advice is the same no matter who asks me: just do it (copyright: Nike). Seriously. I have a weekly column about making a web series for the first time which you can read every Wednesday over at TVWriter.net, but the only way you’re going to get started is to start. Even if you don’t think you’re ready, because I definitely wasn’t. But now I have Alison’s confidence as well as some of my own, which I’ve used to continue working in the indie film arena.

 9. Where can we watch “Brains”?

You can find Brains at BrainsWebseries.com, with links to all the YouTube playlists as well as both extended universe projects, promo videos, blooper reels, an FAQ, and plenty more behind the scenes content.

 10. Where can we follow you to learn more about “Brains” and any projects that you and “Undead Burrito Productions” will be working on in the future?

We’re @BrainsWebseries on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr, and I’m @BrisOwnWorld on the same four sites. The best place to find out about new Undead Burrito projects is my website BriCastellini.com or my Twitter account, where I spend at least 18 hours a day. This is not a joke: I spend almost all of my time on Twitter. So come say hi!

Interview with Sarah Hawkins and Myah Hollis (Or Die Trying)

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  1. What inspired the idea to create “Or Die Trying”?

MH: We created Or Die Trying because we wanted to tell our own stories and talk about the types of things that we experience, both in this industry and as women in general. We also wanted to build this really strong network of women who are working together and supporting each other, because that’s so valuable and rare. To us, this show wasn’t just important to produce because of the story we’re telling, it’s also important because of the way we told it.

2. What would you say is the most unique aspect of your show?

 MH: I think there is an interesting dynamic between the four main leads and the actresses that portray them that is unique because we’re each actually doing what our characters do on the show. There’s a duality that makes our connection to our characters really genuine, but also helps us appreciate the distinctions between those women and ourselves. We also have an amazing crew that is particularly invested in this project because they too see themselves and their lives reflected on-screen.
3. Have there been any unexpected challenges in making “Or Die Trying”?
SH: Lack of time and money are always obstacles, but I think what is unique about ODT in this capacity is that we shot close to 70 pages within five and a half days, producing the entire series with a budget a little over 13k. It’s definitely not something I’d recommend, but looking back I think it was a pretty excellent feat that we were able to get it all in, while still producing at the high quality that this story deserves.
 4. What qualities do you think make a great show or film, and could you give us a few examples of shows or films that you would consider great?

MH: I think all great TV shows and films have solid, well-developed and realistic characters that are, on some level, relatable to the audience. They don’t have to be likable, they just need to be three-dimensional and complex. To me, great stories are ones with endings that are reflective of how life actually works, whether happy or sad. Grey’s Anatomy and Shameless are two of my favorite shows because they exemplify all of these qualities.

SH: I definitely agree with Myah on developed, relatable characters. Authentic characters will translate to your audience, no matter the medium. As far as series go, I’m really loving LOVE right now. Judd Apatow has a way with dramedy that is just so good; balancing the line between authentic character drama and quirky slice of life mishaps. In film, a stand out that strikes a similar balance would be Little Miss Sunshine.

5. Are there any movies or shows you enjoy that are guilty pleasures? Shows that aren’t exactly great, but you still enjoy and appreciate.

 MH: I don’t really believe in guilty pleasures. If I enjoy a show or a movie, that means there’s something about it that’s entertaining to me regardless of whether it’s generally considered good or bad. So, on some level, those filmmakers did what they set out to do. I’m not here to diss anyone’s work. We all like what we like.
SH: I definitely have a soft spot for rom coms, but I think a lot of them are great! They might not win an Oscar or anything, but if it makes you feel something–cry, laugh, cry because you’re laughing so hard–that’s all that truly matters.
 6. What advice would you give to someone who wants to create an independent film project of their own?
SH:  Be confident in what you’re building and invite others to be apart of it. Filmmaking shouldn’t be a one man band. If it is, you are doing it wrong.

7. When is “Or Die Trying” set to premiere and where will we be able to watch it?

SH: We will be announcing our release date soon! Stay tuned at odtseries.com for news and updates.

8. Where can we follow you to learn about “Or Die Trying” and future projects that you will be working on in the future?

SH: For more information on our series, visit odtseries.com. “Like” us on Facebook at:facebook.com/odtseries and follow us on Instagram and Twitter @odt_series.


Outside of ODT, you can find me @_sarah_hawkins on Instagram and Twitter and sarahmariehawkins.com.

MH: You can find me @myahhollis on Instagram and Twitter and on HolliBaker.com.

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Written Interview:Jakob Barnes (JumpCut UK Productions)

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  1. What influenced you to work on independent films?It all began when I was sat in a lecture at university a few years back. Although I studied English Literature, I was keen to take some film modules – watching films is easier than reading books, after all. By looking at film on a deeper level, I started to really appreciate film and almost immediately realized that I needed to work in the film industry. I’d like to think I’ve always been somewhat creative and imaginative, so I decided to try my hand at writing some stories with a view to turning them into films. Unfortunately, though, Hollywood doesn’t come knocking the minute you decide you want to make films, so I decided to make it happen for myself.
  2. Could you tell us about your company “JumpCut UK Productions”. What kind of films do you guys specialize in? Do you guys have a signature style that define your films?Well, I say I made this happen for myself, but the truth is, you cannot succeed in this industry without a strong support network around you. Luckily, I have an excellent team of like-minded creatives pushing in the same direction as me – Nick Deal, who shares my love for telling stories; Samuel James, the man with an eye for great cinematography; and Oscar Barnes, our Art Director. To be honest, our films so far have been rather dark, but I wouldn’t say we specialize in, or are limited to any particular style or genre. We have lots of projects in development, from comedies, to crime-thrillers, to realist drama; we just want to try our hand at a diverse range of films and experience as many aspects of film-making as possible.
  3. Could you tell us a bit about your short film “Harlequin”?‘Harlequin’ actually started life as a piece of poetry I wrote a few years back. From there, I developed a deeper story, and eventually put this together as a short script. On the surface, this is a story a pretty creepy clown who isn’t very good at what he does. Hopefully, though, if the audience looks deeper, they can recognize my attempts to portray the contrast between appearance and reality. I find it equally fascinating, and upsetting, to consider that many people out there have deep-lying problems, “demons”, if you like, that they feel should be hidden away and bottled up. I wanted ‘Harlequin’ to act as something of a reflection, albeit an extreme one, of the negative effect this kind of behaviour can have, and hopefully this message can resonate with some viewers and help them to confront their “demons”.
  4. Art films such as Harlequin seem to have a lot of imagery and the usage of color is very important in order to express certain moods and expressions. How do you balance out imagery and color while still managing to tell a coherent and entertaining story? Whilst I’m a big fan of the visual aspects of filmmaking – I can be a sucker for a nice colour palette and an interesting camera angle – I firmly believe that nothing is more important than the story at the heart of any film. A mantra I follow strictly in my filmmaking is that “no amount of visual flair can rescue a poor script” – get your narrative right, and then you can start to think about cinematography and all the other trimmings which make a good story, great. I’ve always got time for some neon lighting though.
  5. What was the process of making this short film like? Were there any unexpected challenges?I think ‘Harlequin’ was something of an anomaly to be honest, in that it all ran pretty much smoothly. I wrote the script, sent it to a few independent production companies and I was lucky enough to get the attention of a company called Felix Mater Society. They liked the story, have an amazing outlook on supporting emerging artists, and wanted to collaborate to make this vision a reality. Then, I had the privilege of working with the uber-talented Kenton Hall – an actor whose work I very much admired after watching the wonderful indie film ‘A Dozen Summers’ – in bringing the central character to life. Kenton was superb during filming, simultaneously lending his experience and advice, whilst respecting my own ideas and direction. I would say the main challenges arose during post-production. As a small team, we currently handle all of the editing, too, and let me tell you – editing is damn hard.
  6. We saw that your company has a new short film that in production called “Conscientia”. Could you tell us a bit about what that film is going to be about?This is a very exciting project, for many reasons. First of all, this is going to be my acting debut, something I never thought I would be saying. Until last year, I hated the thought of being in front of the camera, but after seeing Kenton in action, I decided to give it a go. ‘Conscientia’ will also be Nick Deal’s directorial debut, so this will be a new challenge for all of us. I don’t want to say too much, as the mystery will add to the experience when viewers first watch the short film, but I can say that ‘Conscientia’ is a horror, which will hopefully scare the shit out of lots of people.
  7. What qualities do you think make a great film, and could you give us a few examples of films that you would consider great?I think the key to making a great film, for me at least, is not only about the way the film makes you feel duringviewing, but how it makes you feel afterwards. For days, weeks, months, and in the best instances, years after watching a film, I want there to be some kind of connection to the story and the characters I’ve seen on screen. If a film can keep me pondering long after, then I feel that film has achieved something pretty special. My favourite film, for example, is Donnie Darko – a film which I stilldon’t understand, after about 100 viewings. But I love it because of this. There are lots of other elements to making a film “great”, but ultimately, it all comes down to the emotional effect. Great films are the ones that get you asking questions, the ones that surprise you, inspire you, intrigue you and enthrall you; Films like ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, ‘The Shawshank Redemption’, and more recently, ‘La La Land’ and ‘Ex Machina’.
  8. What philosophies or beliefs, if any, do you follow when creating a film that you believe are integral to making the film great?As I mentioned previously, the narrative at the heart of a film is paramount. The story, and the characters have to be your first priority if you hope to ever make a great film. When it comes to my writing process specifically, I always follow the words of the brilliant Stanley Kubrick, who said: “If it can be written, or thought, it can be filmed”. Because of this, I never limit myself or compromise on the story I want to tell, and I never worry about what the budget might be further down the line – if a story is good enough, someone, somewhere will ensure it makes it onto the screen. It’s also very important to be open to new ideas, and responsive to the feedback of your peers; there is a big difference between having confidence in your own abilities, and being ignorant to the fact that others could offer something you may have missed.
  9. What advice would you give to someone what wants to create an independent film of their own?There is no greater, or simpler advice that anyone can offer to someone wanting to create their own films, than to simply say: “Do it”. If you have an idea for a story, write it down. If you want to turn this story into a film, pick up a camera, gather some friends, and shoot it. There is no better way to learn, than from experience, and most importantly, from mistakes. Whilst it’s nice to daydream about making films, you’ll get nowhere unless you go out and make it happen.
  10. Where can we follow you to learn more about “Harlequin”, “Conscentia” and all future projects by you and your company?You can follow me personally on Twitter @jumpcutjakob, but be sure to follow @jcukproductions too, if you want a slightly more professional approach to filmmaking chatter.

Written Interview with Nicola Piovesan (Attack of the Cyber Octopuses)

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1. What inspired you to become a film maker?
 It started almost by chance, but since I was a little kid I loved to invent stories, create new worlds, use the imagination a LOT! And of course I’ve always watched tons of movies that one day I said to myself: “Well, it’s time to make your own ones”.
2. Why don’t you tell us a bit about “Attack of the Cyber Octopuses”? What’s the general plot and idea behind the film?
“Attack of the Cyber Octopuses” is a retro-futuristic cyberpunk film, made as in the 80s (aesthetically and technically: no CGI is used, lot of practical effects). The plot is a metaphor of our society and how addicted we are to the internet. It takes place in Neo-Berlin, 2079 A.D. A dark and rain-soaked city held by mega corporations where the only way for people to enjoy life is by connecting into cyberspace and taking the “binary trip”, a cyberdrug that fries your neurons but promises a feeling better than a hundred orgasms at once. In this setting a team of detectives is investigating a new menace: an army of cyber octopuses that are killing member of the parliament and CEOs of corporations.
3. What inspired the idea for this “Attack of the Cyber Octopuses”?
I wanted to make a tribute to the science fiction movies of the 80s: Blade Runner, Escape from New York, Terminator, Aliens, etc. I really love those films! Especially living now in an era where lot of movies relies on massive CGI… Somehow cinema lost its magic: watching all those behind the scenes with the actors walking on a green or blue screen is very sad.
4. What do you think is the most unique aspect of your film?
Compared with other 80s tributes (like Kung Fury, Megaborg or Turbo Killer -which I love, don’t get me wrong-) what sets “Attack of the Cyber Octopuses” apart is the lack of massive reliance on CGI, in this film everything will be hand crafted and shot on real locations, using a computer only for the final compositing or to recreate some vintage graphics. Also, despite the title, this film is not gonna be a cheesy tribute to the 80s, but it’ll be made very seriously. Something like Blade Runner with a touch of irony.
5. What qualities do you think make a great film, and could you give us a few examples of films that you would consider great?
There are too many factors that can make a film great. It’s a very hard question… Personally, I love a good script when it’s combined with great cinematography and some original way of making it. Something that while I watch it I say “WOW!”. A film is made of so many elements that it works when all of them are good and combined in a good way! (music, acting, cinematography, script, etc). About my favourite movies, well, I like a lot of things, very different each other: from Blade Runner to Pulp Fiction, from Werner Herzog to David Lynch, from Sergio Leone to Billy Wilder.
6. What advice would you give to someone what wants to create an independent film of their own?
The most important thing for an indie filmmaker is “never give up” and try to be creative. The lack of resources can push forward the creativity and it’s possible to create amazing things with very very low budget. One of my most successful short films, called THE BEARDLESS GARIBALDI, costed only $500 and it has been screened in more than 60 festival worldwide, winning about 25 awards!
7. Where can we follow you to learn about “Attack of the Cyber Octopuses” and any future projects that you may be working on?
It’s very important for this project to reach the Kickstarter goal. We are half way the campaign, but the goal is still far away. We need support for each passionate out there! The rewards are great and beside the more common Blu-Ray, TShirt, Poster, etc. we are also giving away the props and models! Generous backers might have the weapons, vehicles, part of the city miniature and even the cyber octopuses! Check out the kickstarter page for more details about the perks. You can follow the project on kickstarter: https://www. kickstarter.com/projects/ piovesan/attack-of-the-cyber- octopuses , facebook: https://www. facebook.com/cyberoctopuses/  and all around the social media. At the moment I’m very focused and putting lot of efforts on reaching the campaign and make an amazing movie. Other future projects can wait for now!