In this Episode I interview Canadian horror film Producer Chris Ball. He is the producer of "Z" and "Stillborn". He won an award for the film Stillborn and was nominated for another award. He worked on the set of "Hell on Wheels" and did props work for the film Interstellar. He has been involved in many other production projects.
We dive into his early life filming himself surfing on top of moving cars and jumping off of a bridge onto a moving train. We get into how he began his movie career having never gone to film school. We talk about horror films and what makes a great horror film. Finally we touch on his most recent film "Summerland" which he puts the horror aside for a light hearted road trip movie.
Warning, this episode contains spoilers for several movies, although we tried to not spoil the plotline for his own films.
Support the show (https://paypal.me/Coffeebreathconvo)
Welcome back to Coffee Breath Conversations. This episode is with Chris ball, a Canadian movie producer from Calgary, Alberta. Spoiler alert, this episode will reveal the plot lines to a few different movies. Also, this podcast was done remotely. So there may be a few audio glitches that I couldn't smooth out. If you enjoy this podcast, the best way to support it is to go to Coffee Breath conversations.com, the rate show tab and then rate me on Apple and pod chaser. It only takes a minute and helps me out a lot. Now with all that out of the way, let's get started. Alright everyone, welcome back to Coffee Breath Conversations. I'm your host Russell Barton. And today I'm in studio with Chris ball. Chris is a producer out of Calgary, Alberta. He has produced several horror films, including z which is available on shutter stillborn there is another one What keeps you alive. And then he also was producer and writer and acted in a film called Summerland as well. He's also worked on I believe it was hell on wheels, your producer for that TV show. Or were you props? props? Yeah. Helen wheels, the revenants and various other Western shot in Calgary. And I believe you did props for Interstellar as well. Yes, sir. And I believe for stillborn you were nominated for an award in 2018. And then you won the award for scariest film in 2019. Yep. Welcome to the podcast, Chris. It's great to have you here. Thanks for having me, Russell, I'm stoked to be here and talk about some more movies. I watched Zeon shutter, I had no idea that you produce that we were actually introduced through a kind of a common friend, I watched that film and it was recommended under I think it was really good scares. I don't want to give too many spoilers in case people go watch the film after but there was a plot twist in there. That was really nice to see, because it didn't follow the typical formula that you see for your standard horror movie reminded me a bit of hereditary, where you kind of think it's going to go one way, you know, in that movie, you got the girl and it looks like it's gonna be like a possession type movie. And then it just goes completely into left field. And then z kind of reminded me of that a little bit where you kind of think it's gonna go one way. And then when the reveal hits, it sends you completely in a different direction. Well, thanks, man. It's that's the trick, right is to, you know, you've seen every horror movie, you think everyone's gonna have a certain idea of where each movie goes. And the trick is to misdirect the audience. And then, as you said, that twist that comes out of left field. The trick is not to do it in a way that leaves people feeling cheated. Your twist has to be cooler than what the audience thought where the movie where the movie was going. For the movies xid. Another thing I appreciate is that, from what I could see, there wasn't a lot of jumpscares, there was a couple that you kind of saw coming, but there was a few where it was it kind of again came out of left field where it didn't seem like the scene was setting it up for a jump scare. So when it happens, it actually kind of gives you a bit of a jolt. For a lot of horror fans, that's what they're looking for is that unexpected jolt of almost panic or almost surprise when they're watching a horror film to provide some context for anyone who hasn't seen the movie. It's basically it's about a kid with an imaginary friend say imaginary and finger quotations and candidate. The idea is you don't know if the imaginary friend is actually real and is kind of causing all of these disturbances as three student or movies. Like everything starts going wrong, or is it just the kid acting out? Or is there actually something supernatural going on? Those are always the coolest horror movies where you take a simple, innocent idea like, okay, that's an imaginary friend. That's cute. And then you turn that into a horror concept. I remember there was the again, I won't spoil it as much as possible. There was the one scene there at the playground and you have that window and the kid goes by and then completely unexpected. What happens next. Yeah. All right. Are you sure about the Bannister? That was the other one that was another one that that one gets everyone there's a there's a whole Reddit thread with that clip not to give anything away. Honestly, even if you've seen it, even if you know it's coming. Everyone knows it's coming. It's still amazing. There's a whole Reddit thread about it. Those It was awesome to see that like that go viral. Its idea to we're kind of left wondering. Is it something natural? That was just really messed up? Or was it something beyond the pale Brandon Christianson Director He did stillborn which was our first film that we that that we produced with him and they directed z and what he does so well isChris Ball:
actually being a parent himself as he takes these, these innocent ideas that all parents have. And actually what he found was the scariest. And I've heard this from other people, other parents that saw the movie, some of the scariest ones, the scariest things in the movie, not a jumpscare it's not the supernatural or the any of the monster type things. It's when everyone thinks that this kid's something's wrong with this kid. And the mother is trying to call all the friends of the like all the parents of of his the friends they used to have, and nobody wants to play with the kid. And she's just like, alone by herself. And she's like, you know, she's obviously emotional because she can't get anyone to play with her son. I'm not a parent, obviously, I never when I saw that in script, I would never think of that moment being scary or terrifying. But I've heard from, like, parents, that's like, that's one thing that's terrifying to you is that nobody wants to play with your son. There's moments like that, that only a parent can understand that kind of innate maternal fear that you can only get from from being a parent. And that's what Brandon does. So well. We joke he's got this, this trilogy of raising kids because the first movie was stillborn. Which is exactly what the title implies. This movie is the kids like eight or nine like growing up. So the next one's going to be him is like a pre teenager. Like he's just got this arc of what exactly what he's experiencing as a real parent. He's just putting into horror movies. The fear of isolation in horror is I think it's a central theme that you go as far back as even like the exorcist, right? No one's believing this mother that something's going on with their kid, no one really wants to get involved with it initially. And it's like that idea that you're asking for help. And you're just getting closed doors along the way. And people are thinking that you're the problem. Yeah, I'm parallels what happens in real life to people when parents have children with mental illness or their there's, there's problems in the family, where they just feel that isolation that's almost more effective than any jumpscare is, is kind of just getting to that innate maternal fear that we want to, we also want our kids or siblings or family, we want to connect with them. We want them to connect with people like we're connecting creatures, and there's anything anything that eliminates that connection is going to be more powerful than like the cat jumping across the counter. Going back to babba. Duke was also pretty good at that playing with the whole themes of depression and isolation. loneliness. Yeah, hereditary again, seems the idea that this family is completely isolated. And in that movie that plays a central theme and why the horror is allowed to continue is because they're isolated and they don't have anyone to talk to that movie is hereditary and midsummer as well are so good at dealing with grief because that's, to me, that's that's what those films are about. It's about grief. And I've never seen like midsummer the opening of midsummer, it's stuck with me like, I can still imagine it in my head so vividly. The beauty of creating those such those visceral moments is that it's done in a horror movie, but it's still everyone thinks of horror movies is like these, like cheap jump scares or slasher movies. The best horror movies like that, like hereditary midsummer, or get out perfect example or it follows is another one of my favorites. There's a message to be said about either an emotion or there's there's something something to say get out is obviously more political, but hereditary midsummers. It's about grief, it's about something that we can all relate to. But that emotion, that core of the movie, that emotional core is wrapped up in a horror movie, instead of if you just went to a drama, a movie, it's just a straight up drama, about grief, about the same about the same things you wouldn't think about it in the same way. It's not tugging on your fear centers the same way, in this in the same way that in the same way that a stand up comedian can get you to think about things in arguments that you've never thought of. Because when you're laughing, your guard is down. I think there's something similar in the brain that's happening when you're scared, even though your guard is up but when you're scared when a movie really gets to like those fear centers inside, it just gets you to see that whatever that issue is, whether it be grief or whatever it is that the movie is about it gets you to see those issues in such a different way than if you're just watching just a regular movie about it. hereditary. The biggest grief moment for me and hereditary was Toni Collette being snubbed at the Oscars. ButUnknown:
that's that's a good one. I know. Right? She's never gonna get that again. Like, you know, but it's she was I mean, she was so good. And even talking about comedy George Carlin stand up comedy routines, he's getting people laughing but he's getting them to think seriously too at the same time about political issues in America and things like that. So early life I was watching a few things and I mean, I watched you jump off a bridge onto a moving train. You know biggest statement about that was how am I going to get off this train now?Chris Ball:
Yeah, when I was 19 my like, this is like my claim to fame. I jumped off the moving a bridge onto a moving train and I filmed it and and my first words were when I landed on the train in the video you can see it is it's unlike I have no idea how I'm gonna get off this train and that was if you were going to dig deeper Russell, I was a metaphor for my life. Just always wanting to ride the train. into life with no idea actually how to get off. Yeah, I watched a few other videos, he kind of some stunt stuff free running stuff. I have some cousins from Toronto that are big into like urban free running. And it's always fascinated me watch those videos a few years ago, I think it was in Russia, those people jumping off like the 15 foot tall buildings and not having their Shin bones skyrocket over their legs in that. Yep. I don't know how they did it without dying really I don't. What got me into it was like the chase scene in Casino Royale. They're running through the construction site. I thought that was amazing. I remember came out of the theater. I thought that was so cool. It's all my friends. But one of my friends is like, yes, that's not realistic. Nobody can actually do that. And I said, No, I think I think like somebody actually didn't. And it was actually the inventor of free running that did that actually did all of his own stunts for a movie. I thought it was incredible. But yeah, it was just one thing. Like, I've always been an adrenaline junkie, whether it's been that or climbing or sailing, like I've always just been pushing myself like physically. And also there's a bit of it, like taking videos of it to get a reaction out of people. In a sense, you know, people always give me shit about the videos and all the stupid videos they put on YouTube and blah, blah in a way. And then they're surprised when I got into like producing or filmmaking, but in a way, like, even though it's a stupid video on YouTube jumping onto a moving train, or I'd filmed myself falling off cliffs, whatever it is, you're still telling a story, you're it might be a shitty story, but you're still eliciting a reaction from somebody. And like that, if there's a weird method of storytelling in there somewhere, I actually don't, I'm not as surprised that I got into film that way. Because I like, I like pushing the boundaries, and doing cool shit to get a real, you know, to get a reaction of people to something to affect people. I just was lucky I got into an industry very early that nurtured a lot of those creative needs. And I didn't have to jump onto trains for the rest of my life. It's interesting with YouTube, because some people they YouTube is kind of their way to kind of rise to fame, there's been a few people that they start a YouTube channel and they just have unique content. And it can help them kind of later on in life. And it helps them propel themselves into different careers. Although I did like the news article they did on YouTube, where that police officer seemed really, really concerned about your trust passing and the the stuff that you were doing and it was you know, at the end of the day, you're not hurting anyone potentially but yourself. And somebody said I actually I like when he said he said there was one rose roof surfing on top of a moving car and he said in the video, he's like, no, what if a dog runs in front of the car? And I'm like, he's more worried about a dog than he is about that so I took that no, but it was it was just me. Yes. You're exactly right. was never was never hurting anyone except for except for myself. And it was like I can safely say like looking back on it like it was it was a creative outlet for me. I don't you know, regardless of how of how stupid it was, and then the whether it was like the cop or my parents or teachers, everyone was trying to tell me what to do basically, like, you know, you gotta stop getting in trouble. You got to, you know, buckle down, get good grades, go to university and do all this stuff. Like everyone, like nobody knew how to control me, YouTube was my way to was my creative outlet. Whether it was these stupid stunting videos or funny skits with my friends or whatever it was, no one really knew what to do with me. I was very lucky actually our mutual friend that that we got that we got set up on this podcast from Trent. He was my favorite drama teacher when when I was in high school and he you know, everyone says you've got that one or two teachers that you always remember for the rest of your life. Trent he was one of those teachers for me. It was Trenton another teacher, Mrs. McLeod, my, my bio teacher, and they were the only ones that said like, Look, Chris, you're obviously talented. There's obviously something here something going on in your head. What can we do about that? How can we channel you in a way that is safe, and that uses your talents instead of kills them? I was lucky that I fell into an industry very early. So I didn't graduate high school. I didn't go to university. I didn't go to film school I got working on set right away after high school and fell into this amazing industry, probably one of the only industries I would argue, where somebody hears that story, like you jumped onto a train. That's awesome. That's what people said, Where's the cops and the teachers and everyone that was telling me, they were like, you got to stop this and buckle down, sort your life out when when in reality, they're all wrong. Everyone that I encountered in the film industry was like, That's awesome, do more, do more of that, not illegally, but they're like, let's find a way for you to do more of that on screen in a way that it that can captivate people. We always talk about especially with youth, like I work with youth, and one of my kind of volunteer positions and that and I do find that we want to we always tell people, especially kids, you know, you can be what you want when you grow up. But then we box people in, we then set up all these arbitrary rules for people instead of someone saying, Look, you're really creative and that we you know, we impose our own societal views of what weUnknown:
expect people to be like and what people should do with their lives. And I think more and more people are realizing that old school mentality that a lot of us were told when we were younger, which is, go to school, be quiet, be nice and obedient. Get a job at a factory. work there until you're 65. Enjoy a few more years and then die. Yeah, you're so right. When people say like, you can be whatever you want to be the skies. Do whatever you want to do. Oh, but not that. Oh, no. Oh, yeah. Oh, you're making videos on YouTube? No, you can't do that you can be anything else. That is how it seems sometimes then what was so funny was what I remember. With my parents even or teachers when people thought they were trying to help. And again, it's like, it's no fault of them. This is just purely like just a generational gap of you know, people were like, always you want to get into film? Okay, well, let's try and get you into a film school. in their mind. They're like, Oh, film, there's film schools out there. We'll get you into that and like, but what they don't realize that still down the same, the same narrow path, so to speak. Like they're still trying to fit you into these boxes and into this narrative. No one has ever asked me where I graduated school. Even I've been on set of, of some of the biggest $200 million movies ever shot in the world. And nobody, nobody asked where I went to high school. They said, Can you be here at 830? Tomorrow morning? Can you do the job? Are you a good person? Yeah, it's like, there's so many other things. And this can be said for any industry. You're so right. It's more important for us. And I wish I had this as a kid, I was lucky. I had it with a few people like Trent but I wish it was more prevalent in my life. It's so important for us to find out what kids if whether they're acting out, even if they're doing stupid shit, there's a reason that sometimes it's a creative reason, you need to find a way to nurture that. Because chances are, if you can just be that support system for kids like those kids can can do amazing things. It shouldn't have to be a battle to be creative. But also I wouldn't change any of how I grew up. Because that those battles, all those little battles that I had to fight, whether it was the teachers, or the cops, or whatever, those all made me who I was, and it kind of it does kind of make you stronger, I think you need a bit of that resistance as well. So if it's too easy, then no one has any room to grow. Things do have to you do have to have challenges, or else there's no room for that growth. Yeah. We see people in films we hear about famous directors and producers, you know, Zack Snyder, Christopher Nolan. Some of the other ones are kind of up and coming like area Master, and even ones that never really got famous, but just kind of stayed indie. People always wonder how do you go from not being in the industry to being in the industry? Is there a job website you apply on? Is it just do you have to be connected with anyone in the industry? Like how does someone go from not being there to producing a movie? That's a great question. That's why everyone had a hard time trying to help me because common there is no common knowledge from there's no internships really, at least at least, you know, not in Calgary, Vancouver. Maybe the best thing to do is tell the story of how I got in the industry. Just a couple months after I didn't graduate high school. I volunteered as an extra in a film and it was Craigslist ads, Kijiji ads for extras all the time, especially for indie and low budget pages, just you know, come out for free being extra into movies, that kind of gig. I didn't know what I wanted to do in film I knew I wanted to produce but I knew you don't just become a producer. I wanted to I also wanted to work on set and pay my dues that way. I just wanted any job on set. So I was an extra. And I'm trying I'm looking at every department trying to trying to play say, okay, those cameras. Those are kind of cool. Okay. And it's like, well, what are the guys playing with the guns? You know that that looks cool. I like guns. And there's a props department. I didn't know this. There's a props department is props, guys. They're handling rubber guns and fake guns for the actors. I thought that was really cool. I bet I could do that. And so I became friends or just started chatting up the props guy and begged him for a job literally begged him for jobs, I'll do anything. I'll work for free whatever. He took my number I expected never to hear from him again. Six months later, his assistant bailed on him for a show. And he called me up and said, Hey, can you be on set in Edmonton tomorrow? 830 in the morning. I was in Calgary at this time. And Cochran actually working at Domino's Pizza as a delivery boy drive delivery boy, best job ever, by the way, but that's the only job I would ever go back to. I was working until 3am closing, but I just said yes. I said, Yeah, I'll be there. So I finished work at 3am I drove to Edmonton. I slept in my car for 45 minutes. And then I worked on set for a 15 hour day and it was just the happiest, you know, I was making anything then. And literally the rest is history. That's so that that guy was he was a props guy in the industry in Calgary. He went then went on to get hell on wheels. And he brought me with him and I've done everything with him for the last 1011 years. It really is I can trace every job I've had even the producing ones back to that first that first encounter. To answer the question more specifically, the best thing to do is just to get out on set. There's Facebook groups. There's even networking groups in Calgary, Calgary, so making network groups there's one called camera beauties, which is for more cameras specific people. No one will ever say no to having to volunteer out to help you know, we all because we all understood how we how we got into the industry. And so the best thing to do is is like just to get out volunteer Get out onto set. The more that you're on set, the more that you're connected in the industry, you already have an advantage over somebody who's just sitting at home googling how to make a movie, I would even go one step further, you have a bigger advantage over somebody who went to film school, who spent somebody who spent 30 or 40 grand going to film school to learn how to direct a movie, or you can be on set for free, better yet even getting paid for it. That's your film school. I'm obviously biased because I didn't go to film school, the the importance of just getting on set and volunteering, that is the best thing to do and try different things you'll figure out very quickly, which department kind of you gravitate towards, to community, it really is one of the best communities once you're in, I mean, you really just like you need one day on set, if you can just network and just be a social be a social creature, and just and have no shame in the fact that you're new. Because don't try and hide the fact that you're new, because people will know people like so that you can do to hide it. But that's okay on that. And that's what I did. I said, Hey, this is my first like, it's my first day on set, you know, don't let the camera show you how that works. Everyone from the director to the DP, me, you're gonna start on end stuff, obviously, everyone will take the time to nurture you and bring you into that community. Talk about film school, and maybe I'm a little bit biased. I have an x that went to university to learn about film and wanted to be involved in, in film. And they never ended up in film, they spent four years in degree, and they never actually ended up being involved in any film production whatsoever. I would always tell that person Well, why don't you volunteer at your local drama club or something like that, like get involved in theater or something locally? build those networking in those skills? No, was no, no, I got I got to go to school, they're gonna show me they're gonna get me. internship, I got to agree with you. Like I think even the job that I'm in now, the only reason why I think I really got into the work. The way I did is because I was volunteering with different things. And because I was, in fields that were volunteering in areas that were sort of related to the field, where I could apply that knowledge directly into that field. Film is one of those industries that I can't speak for many other industries, obviously, there's there's many merit, there's merit in having many degrees, specifically, because it shows that there's a baseline level of experience. But film is different. There's not much baseline for experience other than getting on set. And unfortunately, there's no film school out there that at least to my knowledge, film school, you can't replicate a film set in a classroom. You can't I mean, like, they can teach you how to the fundamentals of making a movie, how a three point lighting system works, where to put the camera, things like that how a dolly works, but I mean, you can google you can google all of that you can on YouTube videos, you can find YouTube for fucking anything. And to take it one step further, I should put a disclaimer on so film school is is I think is great for networking. Like it's you definitely you build a community of other filmmakers that are like you that are in this that are in the same, the same kind of position, so to speak, like other people that want to be directors and filmmakers. And that was kind of what I that was what I wrestled with when I was deciding if I should, well, first I had to go back and graduate high school before I could get into film school. But I was still you know, trying to figure out how I was going to how I was going to pull this off. And I figured out you know, before making my first movie I wanted to do a couple years in the industry. That way, my friends that I could call where people on set people that were the best of what they're doing. So when we were doing our first movie, and we had to flip a car, for it was the you know, the big stunt in the movie, the people that I called on to help me you know, I called the I was working on The Revenant at the time. And I called the stunt coordinator over and it's like, how do you flip a car? And he's like, Oh, well, I'll get I'll tell you and he just tells me how to do it. You know, he's like, I gotta you know, like replace the fuel tank but a roll cage in it and you need a pipe ramp. That's what I got one of those He's like, well, special effects guys usually have the usually have the pipe ramp is actually the special effects coordinator on this show has one go talk to him. So I literally walk over talk to the special effects coordinator said hey, give him a pipe ramp for flipping a car. He's like, yeah, hey, we got one in the backyard was like, cool, can I borrow it? He's like, Sure, you can have that kind of community or you can have a community of other people. And if you're in film school, you have a community of people that are in the same level as you you're gonna, you know, you're gonna get you're gonna have a community of people in film school with you that are in the same with us at the same level as you helping you out. And that's, that's good, too. But what do you do with that? If you want to just be making films with your friends and with your friends from film school? that's and that's fine. There's nothing there's nothing wrong with that. But I saw a quicker path to with being on set with professionals in the industry. Because I wanted to do things in an indie movie that nobody had seen before. like flipping a car in a movie, you know, in an indie movie, or like z for is the perfect example. The train stunts at the end, you know, we we had a CP rail train that we rented that we got, you know, for this big stone was barreling towards the kid on the tracks, right. It's kind of the big finale of the movie. That was huge, especially knowing my record from all my train jumping days. That was awesome that we got that I wanted to do stuff like that in movies. You know, I don't want to make art house Because I want to do, I wanted to push the boundaries. And that's it was better to just get on set and get experience with the professionals then go through two years of film school with a community of people that are also going through two years of film school. I honestly think into independent media is the future. People go to journal school, for example, they go to school to be a journalist, and they get a job, you know, CBC, or CNN or Fox News or whatever type of industry, they're not getting the exposure, the or anything like that they're collecting a paycheck, you know, who's getting famous is the 20 year old that straps a GoPro onto their chest, live streams that on their Facebook page, and they just go into the middle of a riot or a protest and they start filming everything going on, they're getting hundreds of 1000s of views, they're getting the hits, they're the ones they're getting the calls to be on these shows later on to be on CNN with Don Lemon or or Tucker Carlson on Fox News. I'm trying to play both sides here cuz I know Pete Yeah. about that stuff. They're the ones that the calls for that sort of stuff. And why because they're not staging in a nice safe area, getting a nice sanitized statement from the police chief and the mayor and all that know they're on the ground, putting the work in. That's interesting point, that's a hell of a way to bypass getting a journalism degree. I never thought about that. But that's, that's really cool. Like, and your point is, which I just which is so true is like just getting out there and doing it again, you take two people, one who's doing that one person who's going to school for a journalism degree, you know, you can argue all you want about which one's gonna get there, like, you know, this person's going to get there faster, if they're just out there doing it. And they've tapped into whatever it is that's working. That's, that's getting those views that's getting those hits, so to so to speak. And you can argue which one is you know, has better morals, but at the end of the day, it doesn't matter. And that was kind of always my approach to there's part of me, I wish I had stuck with the YouTube actually, the only reason I didn't was because I got charged for that particular train jumping video. And part of it was like, they're like, you can't do any YouTube. They're like, we can't convince them that you're trying to grow as a person. If you're still out there doing YouTube videos on like Africa, I guess that's a good point. But I also chose to just like, Okay, I'm going to set that aside, and I'm going to go just work on set and just again, just get it done. There's no way I'm going to school, like I just can't learn in a classroom. You know, some people can and that's cool. But if you're just in the community of filmmakers, or if you're just like running around with a camera like you are all right, just those people know that you exist, when you're in a school, nobody knows you exist, nobody knows. Like you can say on you put on your Facebook and your Twitter that you're studying for something, and that's what you want to do. But at the end of the day, the person that people see out there like existing, those are the people that are going to get more opportunities. My opinion in schools make a lot of money off that too. They they sell this idea that they're going to get you into film or journalism. To me a big thing that I see a lot is police, foundations, colleges, universities, I'll take this course and you'll get into law enforcement. Now you want to know the best way to get into law enforcement go work at a soup kitchen for a year, and actually actually work with people that are in vulnerable situations. If you decide to do like, you know, some community outreach work or Meals on Wheels, you know, stuff like that, where you're going to be working directly with people, that's going to go a hell of a lot further than showing up and saying, well, I got this piece of paper that said, I studied a little bit of law and a little bit of policy. Yeah, and actually, as you say, like actually out there actually out there making a difference to a lot of schools make money on I mean, especially especially with film schools, there's a lot of privatized film schools, you know, it's one thing if you're going to university and can't you're kind of getting that college experience, like I actually always wanted, I always wanted I wouldn't go to film school, though. But there's part of me like I would go to university or college like for that the social experience more than anything. But with a lot of privatized film schools. They're really expensive. Like we're talking 30 or 40 grand, that's when I would have applied I'm sure it's much more now you could take that same amount of money and spend it on a film like we made our first feature film for 50 grand. That's pretty close to what a lot of people spend on on a film school and including moving and cost of living for two years. 250 grands nothing. You can go out and make your first movie. What I always tell filmmakers trying to get into is your first movie is going to suck. There's nothing wrong with that. It's gonna suck like it's just everyone likes to tell the stories of like, well Chris Nolan did momento and that was his first that wasn't it? That wasn't his first movie, but he did a movie before that is no way ever nobody's ever heard of. And he did a short film before that. And it can feel like you know, we have this romanticized idea that people make it big on their first movie. The only reason you you only hear about that movie that's done really well. You don't hear about the other movies they did. Because they sacked And so again, that's that's not a bad thing. I mostly just I said it's like just to kind of ground people's expectations. Your it's gonna be your first movie, it's gonna look like your first movie, but that's okay. So why not? Like if you're going to spend the money on school, why not spend that on your first move because you'll learn just as much probably. You'll learn more actually, the best part when you finish your first movie, then you get to learn the business side. selling a movie and getting the movie out there to the world and all those things that they don't teach you that they definitely don't teach you in film school. And then after that you get to make hopefully you get to make another movie, and it doesn't suck anymore because you've been through it. You know what you're doing? And that's when you go out there and you make it, you know, to casman the first podcast episode I ever did, I had no idea what I was doing. I mean, I watched some YouTube videos. I I never thought to myself, I'm gonna be the next Joe Rogan or anything like that. Did you? Did you have was it just through the laptop? Like Did you have that? Did you have the microchip like a homemade microphone? Or? Oh, I just I had a I bought an h4 n Pro. Yeah. And I had two lav mics, and I was in a nice echoey room. And plastic. Yeah, yeah. And then people started saying started saying to me, Well, why don't you live stream this kind of, you know, live stream and then put it out into a podcast afterwards. So now I had to learn like you said about three point lighting and camera work. And yeah, you set up like egg cartons on the wall. So it wasn't like so echoey like he certainly start learning the bootstraps of it. Yeah, well, I went on Amazon, I bought a bunch of foam that came in really tight package. I had to use a hairdryer to get the foam now actually. I love it. Well, your your studio looks great. I think I think it looks awesome. So you've come you've come a long way since the first first episode. One of the questions I had for you is, in your opinion, what makes a really good horror film, cuz like I said at the beginning, I've seen a lot of good horror films. I've seen some quirky ones. And I've also seen quite a few bad ones as well. I know it's a pretty famous film, and maybe some people are gonna disagree with me. I thought the latest conjuring movie that they did was awful. I thought the whole annabell series was awful. And people are like, well, they like those movies. I just, it just wasn't my thing and I just not judging it just wasn't for me. So why is it some horror films rise to the top and some just kind of sink to the bottom even if they're produced with multimillion dollar budgets. When we first got into horror movies, my producing and directing partner occurred harder and I we adjusted we've done our first movie, which was sci fi we had never even thought about for until we we linked up with another the director of the director of z and stillborn and they had a script for a horror movie and we kind of just teamed up and did stillborn with them. We actually had to watch horror movies for the first time because it occurred and I we never we didn't like we'd like to work. You know, we'd watch it with friends but we weren't actively seeking out horror movies. And so we kind of had that same question. Like Like, I don't really I don't really like horror movies. I'm not a huge fan. So we did it when we can did a deep dive. We just watched everything under the sun. We did watch like slasher movies, we watched conjuring movies, I found the ones that I gravitated towards. So first of all my my favorite horror movie of all time is it follows just a fantastic movie. And the reason it's my favorites is also the answer what what I think makes a good horror movie is actually simplicity. When you when you've got all the bells and whistles the you've got, as you said, like a multimillion dollar horror movie. And it's a you're like sit with take, like saw saw as the opposite of simplicity. When you think about all the sequels and all the different shit going on. It's not scary, you know, at some point, and even The Conjuring they all kind of starts to follow a formula that you've seen before, right. And I think the reason I say simplicity is in in regards to it follows. It follows is just about an entity in the form of a person that is just always walking slowly towards you. That's the best way to describe the army. when when when when you describe it that way it sounds stupid, but it is one of the most effective horror movies because it just this image of something slowly walking towards you. It's not a jumpscare it's not somebody coming after it's not it's not this, this elaborate saw trap that's going to kill you in this in this intricate complicated way. So something slowly coming towards you. And there's nothing you can do about it. You can run as fast as you can. But you know, once it gets to you, it's gonna kill you. And that to me, I was like, those are the kind of movies that I kind of gravitate towards. It's just it's just simple concepts you don't need you don't need all the bells and whistles the jump the jump scares are certainly are certainly a must in some movies and, and they're fun, simplicity. And then I would say, I would say tapping into what we talked about before tapping into those innate fears that you don't even know you have. Like the best example was what what Brandon was able to do with z with parents being worried about their kid having an imaginary friend like it's something that you always got going to get real friends like that's a fear that only parents have and you're kind of you're tapping into something there that they don't even like parents they don't even know they have right you're just tapping into this fear that that only comes out when they're watching when they're watching the movie so I would say simplicity and tapping into those those fears that you don't know you haven't faced or watching the movie industry should I I'm going to go back to hereditary because I've seen it follows and I thought it was a really good movie but the first time I ever saw hereditary now I was scared with the exorcist when I was when I was a kid that movie scared the bejesus out of me when I was a kid and it was eggs. phenomenally produced and it's a, it's a really good movie for its time. But when I saw hereditary, I remember at the end of the movie, when the screen goes dark, and you realize that's the end of the movie. I remember, something felt wrong about that movie. It's uncomfortable. It's uncomfortable. Yeah, it was extremely uncomfortable. I can't really describe it. Yeah, I guess I can't really describe it. Just it. It felt uncomfortable. It was unsettling. It didn't really have the jumpscares. It had a couple near the end. It didn't really even have that much of a horror element until the end, when the big reveal sort of happens. And I'm not too worried about spoiling this one because it's been out for a while. And I mean, if you haven't seen it's on Netflix, so yeah, if you're seeing hereditary, there's something wrong with Yeah. It wasn't until they did, let's say on scene that I really thought okay, there's something going on here. And even then, they they reacted in a way that I thought was kind of typical, I guess, because they're so grieved, and they're so traumatized by what happened, that seeing that doesn't even faze them. Yeah, it's, it's a sense of powerlessness to which comes with grief. Like it, you know, the movies about grief. And I think that sense of powerlessness, like all these things are happening in the movie, and it slowly builds and builds and builds there and you you feel I think that movie makes you feel what the characters are feeling when they're grieving, which is that sense of powerlessness. If I if I had to do that deep dive and summon up that's that's how I would sum it up. When I first saw hereditary a funny story with that. Our first movie, sorry, our second movie that we did after still was called what keeps you alive. And we premiered at South by Southwest the same night as hereditary or the night before. Rather, everyone had heard about this movie. There was no trailer out though. But we really wanted to go see it. It was kind of it was before the height there. But no trailer, we just knew it was gonna be this this crazy horror movie. But the it was the lineup was around the corner. It was full, it was completely sold out. And so me and one of the other producers, we walked this right past the lineup guy right into the theater. And as they were like they were setting up the reserved seating that you normally get for the filmmakers. We walked in, we're like, oh, yeah, you know, we're actually going to need a couple more reserved seats just up there at the top, please. And they're like, okay, right away. They thought we were the filmmakers. They thought that we were they thought that I was already asked Ari Astor. And we thought that we were the director and producer of the film. So they set up more reserved seating at the back, they set up like five more seats for us in our team. And then we went we got everyone in went in, and we just sat up at the bat, like up at the back corner. And then like all the lights went down in the actual filmmakers came in and then everyone came in and filled their seats. And and that's how we we snuck into the premiere of hereditary by pretending to be the filmmakers. That's awesome. You don't know unless you try, right? Oh, yeah, exactly. We've had a couple of drinks too, because we were celebrating our premiere and had a little bit of liquid courage and it works. And, and I think horror changes over time, too. I mean, when people saw psycho people were scared, you know, of that movie. And I mean, it had some themes of at the time that were a little bit more taboo, based off the book, which was already taboo enough at the time, you know, Norman Bates cross dressing as his mother for the time period that was kind of some really out there. They hadn't even produced Rocky Horror Picture Show at that time. So yeah, yeah, just the idea of a grown man dressing up as a woman was was enough of a horror movie for the masses at that time. Yeah, if you were like a square or something like that, that was something completely out of left field. Yeah. Where do you think horror is gonna go? Where do you think the future is? For horror films? Do you think it's gonna be more of the indie films because it seems to me like the indie films are the ones that are kind of rising to the top of the tried and true methods. The slasher ones, the really gore based ones, they seem to be really kind of falling to the bottom. I think there's there's two camps. There's the horror films that have the budgets and the filmmakers behind them like get out like Jordan Peele, and that are making films about relevant topics today, like topics about race are actually Michael Bay just did a horror movie about COVID and so you're gonna start to see that in the mainstream camp I think with just read like movies about whatever the next relevant topic is. Studio is going to put money behind it to do it in which I don't always think is the right way to go. Jordan Peele is amazing, but I saw that the trailer for that COVID horror movie I just thought looked, I was like, Oh, this is Michael Bay doing a horror movie. This looks awful. But I don't remember what it was. I don't remember what it was called. That's how that's how memorable the trailer was. The indie horror movies are the ones to watch out for like Ari Astor did hereditary midsummer obviously, whatever. It's whatever his next horror movie you just know it's gonna be it might not be you might not be able to compare it to the same as you can never you can never compare it to the firt whatever the first movie, they did, no, but it's gonna be something unique. Like he has such a way of building tension without jumpscares and I don't think there was very many jumpscares in mid summer at all that I can remember. Good, just the tension, same thing uncomfortable. I actually don't want to walk Watch those movies again because I'm like I saw once I'm good, like that was uncomfortable enough for me and that's a visceral feeling. So I think that's the question. It's like, look out for the indie movies especially with how how much everything is changing with streaming now everyone is dying for content if you can make a good effective horror movie with a limited amount of people cuz you're not gonna be able to get a big crew with COVID you know, the those are the the films that will rise to the top are those filmmakers that find innovative ways to make movies with limited crew? Not a lot of money, but do it? Well, that sort of resistance that we were talking about that I think everybody needs that sort of resistance? is a is a creative necessity or It forces creative necessity, I think and that's where you'll see all these little these little indie gems pop up. I think there was one I watched on Netflix recently, and it was all done via kinda zoom. Oh, yeah, I can. I've heard about it. I've heard where it's all zoom. Yeah, it's all Yeah. It's all like a zoom call. And yeah, and I was kind of like, Okay, this is it won't be that good. And Netflix, sometimes things are really that's kind of fish in a barrel sometimes for what you're going to get. Yeah, I watched it. I was actually surprised. I didn't find it that scary overall, but I thought the premise was well executed. I thought that they did a good job of building an atmosphere. For people that aren't even in the same household. That's all done via like, a screen like we're sharing right now. Yeah. And then what's cool about that is that's a relatively new thing. Like, you know, like when you think of, when you think of, you know, psycho or the exorcist, or even hereditary, like, you know, there's there those are all movies, movie concepts executed well, that we've, we've seen before, right. But like this idea of a horror movie, like all being done on zoom, like this idea of, of all of our zoom, all of our family and friends zoom calls that we have every week is a relatively new thing that we've only done in the last year because of COVID. I think that's tapping into what I was saying before, where it's tapping into a fear that there's that there is there. And in this case, what you're saying is that like that's a new fear, right? That's, that's something that we're we don't really we've never had to deal with like having a zoom call with 30 people or friends and family or, or having board game night on a Friday, like turning that into a horror movie is such a cool idea. It's such an innovative thing to do. There was another one I saw a couple of days ago that I was kind of anticipating it's by a 24, which I think is really kind of up and coming. And they got some really good content they're making I mean, not even up and coming. They're they're amazing. They're killing it. They they're they're top of the game. They're I mean, they, I think hereditary was with a 24. They also did a movie called it comes at night, which is which is really awesome. We I saw the premiere for that. And sorry, not not not to cut you off. But the beauty of seeing films like that in a premier setting at a film festivals. You don't get the hype, you don't get the film set, you don't get like the trailers and everything like that. It's so hard that if there's an art and not spoiling all of your jumpscares for your movie, and still making it scary, like that's a that's a new art that that boggles my mind or how people do it. But sorry, you're saying, well, they hadn't they had a movie that I recently saw. And it was called St. Maude. And I just kind of seen the trailer for it. It's a low budget film, it takes place in maybe four sort of Central locations. So it's not last set work overall. But it was well done. In my opinion, the scares came way too late in the film, like they built a lot of atmosphere, but the payoff was little too late in the film to really, to really get that full payoff that you're kind of waiting for. But again, it's a new kind of entry level Director Producer for that film. But they're trying something new. They're trying something they're they're exploring themes that really haven't been looked at before. Because I hear all the time. Well, all these movies they've been they've all been done before. What's new, what can we possibly do now that we haven't done before? And I see that a lot where they're redoing films now. You know, everyone's running out of good ideas. Well, they think they're running out of good ideas. Personally, I think it's laziness is I mean, Total Recall, they redid that movie. And then when I was watching the remake, I was like, they didn't need to do this, there was no need to do this. It's if you're going to remake it's one thing to remake something if you're going to remake it. Like then that remake of Total Recall was just so bad. It was an entire, like, the only thing that they kept was like just the general story idea. There's no nods to the original it was just it was just it was so bad. And there's no like if you're gonna if you're going to remake it, like you know at least like just released just do something to something different or or make it in a way that you're actually giving nods to the original and embrace that, you know, you can't have like, yeah, it's just it's all bad. This is a whole other conversation about bad remake so I mean, my my disdain for that is, but it's just it's because they know Yeah, you know that people are gonna flock to see it. Even if people hate it. It's still gonna you know, people are still paying to see it, even if they're even if they're gonna hate it. So That's where the money is. Unfortunately, I'm looking forward to the remake of Justice League. Oh, I mean, that's not even a real that's not even a remit. That's like a recut. Right. So that's, that's actually that's different because it's actually Zach's original vision for the movie, so I'm actually stoked for that too. or trying to think of or a mortal kombat m stone for the Mortal Kombat movie cuz like, so I think that's maybe that's kind of doing it right. It's like, you know, it's kind of a remake, but it's like they're just they're embracing all the campiness of the games, but just making it so cool. You know what I mean? Like they're not trying to it's like they know exactly what it is. It's a mortal kombat movie. It's gonna be awesome. You know, they're not they're not giving it like the the Chris Nolan remake and trying to make it like serious, realistic, it's Mortal Kombat. People are shooting fire from their arms, embrace that, you know, it's going to be awesome. One of the industries I've always found is had a very difficult time is video game. Adapting into movies in general is generally not gone very well. But I look at the original Resident Evil movie when it came out. Wes Anderson and and his wife Mila Jojo vets kind of working on that movie. I thought it was really well done. Now I know the video game industry, they got their own issues where they have to, they have to gate keep everything, but I thought they took the concept of it and they just went with it. All the stuff that makes the Resident Evil games or Resident Evil games were in that movie. They may not have been executed 100% but they were in that movie. I agree. I think that and actually Silent Hill wasn't bad. as a as a horror movie. As a fan of the of the first couple Silent Hill games for PlayStation like, watch the movie. You're like, this is not bad. Which is a great compliment for a video game movie to say that it's not terrible. But you're right. I think Yeah, Resident Evil is probably the probably the best I think I dare I say probably the best video game adaptation. The the one video game adaptation that I'm watching out for is the Metal Gear Solid movie because it's Metal Gear Solid. It's already kind of a movie anyway, with the with just the with with the way the game plays. So I think that if anything, they'll either make it easier or harder but I'm definitely I've got my ears out for that one. Now all the other ones like all the new Resident Evil movies, the monster hunters as well. Those are all garbage. Not the best again, cash cows just kind of riding out what I believe is they're hyping up the title. Oh, look, it's associated with your favorite game. Yeah, I mean to be amazing. And so and the the the mother of all video game movie directors who a bowl huva bowl, I'm probably butchering his name. He's gonna beat me up. But he's Did you hear this? So he's, I mean, obviously, objectively, a terrible, terrible director, all of his movies are terrible. So one of his critics, like somebody online challenged him to fight him, and was like, I want to fight you. That's how bad your movements are. And you will do a bowl was like, Okay, yeah. And he's like, if I win, you have to say you're sorry and apologize and never write a bad review of my movies. Again, he was like, okay, turns out he will bowl this director is like, like a world renowned boxer from Europe from whatever country he's from. And so he completely demolished this guy. This average Joe that just like challenged him to a fight online. He completely like knocked him out kayode him in a box in the boxing ring, and videoed it too. And it's just like, you know what you feel like that's, that's one way to own your bad movies. Hey, I got a question for you TV series. Really quick. Just get your take on. Have you seen the boys TV series? Oh, it's it's so good. Yeah, it's like, it's so refreshing. Because with all the Marvel properties, all the superhero movies, it's so refreshing to see like, Oh, this is actually what superheroes would do. They unreal psychopathic killers, and sociopaths. And, and, but that's sorry, that's the best part. The best part is how they're like, they're turned into products. Like if I buy and you've got these companies that are like turning him into toys. They've got like social media marketers working with like, that's the coolest part. We're like, Oh, yeah, they're, they're like, Instagram influencers, basically, like is like, you know, they care more about like making these movies and these Instagram ads while blowing people a bit. It's just It's so funny. It's so good. I can't wait till season three. Yeah, the guy who played plays homeland or I forget his name. It's just absolutely phenomenal acting that scene where he lands in the village and that guy uses some superpower. And he just puts his hands up like, oh, and yeah. And he just got some Yeah. My favorite part is I think it's the same season is the whale when they're all in a boat in a rash into this whale. And what was so cool is they did most of that practically, I saw behind the scenes video, they built this giant whale. And I just think like the effects of the effects on that show are amazing. Like and to work on that show. That would be awesome. I think that's another whole conversation to let you know, CGI versus versus kind of live props in that. I mean, you look at talk about horror movies, Kurt Russell in the thing. You could take that movie now. make someone who's never watch that movie, watch it. And they'll still be creeped out by the creatures in that movie. Because there's no CGI there. It looks like there's like same with alien. Same thing. You can watch alien now 30 years later, and you'll still be creeped out by the thing popping out from that guy's chest. When you're when you're talking about us and people in our generation. But what here's, here's what's so funny. I don't know if you've had this happen to you yet. But a friend of mine showed his kids the original Star Wars movies for the first time. And they thought everything was fake. They thought everything they thought everything looks so fake and knows and dumb. And they actually preferred like the newer the newer trilogy. Yeah. So here's here's what's so funny. Here's what's what's so what's so fucked up. There. I said his kids aren't because they're growing up on CGI think that that's what looks more real. Just like in the in, I guess in this in the same way that if we looked at effects from a movie from the 1920s, where they all that doesn't look as good. But this movie from the 80s they really figure that out. It's It's such this relative thing generationally like kids today, you know, like they, they would look back on something like the thing and think that it looks fake. They would read it, but then they see the CGI that they've grown up on. That's what looks real to them. But that's so that's it's mind boggling to me. That is that is because I look at CGI. I'm just like, Oh, yeah, that backgrounds fake. And it kind of to me, I can't even suspend disbelief anymore. I'm just okay. Well, this is all fake. Now, what did you think of the effects in z? Because z, we try to use as much practical effects as we can. That's just like kind of my mantra. Personally, I thought the effects were actually really well done. You have to suspend disbelief somewhat. But at the same time, I think the way that the effects were done, we're done in a way that you didn't have to suspend belief to match. And it's always important to have the creature like practical like the creature was a real It was like a guy in a suit with really good prosthetic makeup. That's always important. And then I think I always find CGI to enhance that is oh, you know is a good is a good idea. So doesn't look like a guy in a suit, obviously. But then there's things like for the big finale, when the train is barreling towards the kid on the on the tracks, you're using computer tricks to make him seem like you film him on the tracks, and you put him and you film The train separately, you're combining those two, that's always the best marriage of computer effects and practical session, you're finding tricks, you're using practical elements, we're using computer trickery to combine them in a way that's most effective. I don't think that CGI should be abandoned. I agree you, you have to find that balance. Because Yeah, some tricks, you're gonna have to use some form of CGI for sometimes it's just not puppetry, and that just isn't going to be good enough to to make things work. paranormal activity. The first time I saw that movie, I thought it was really scary. And in fact, when I first saw this as many years ago, my ex actually had trouble sleeping that night. After seeing that, the reason why is you never see the monster so it's left completely to your imagination of how awful this thing is. It could be anywhere. It's the same thing that made the newest Invisible Man a horror movie. Yeah, it's kind of done as a suspense movie. I thought it was a horror movie, because until you actually saw his suit, and knew that it was actually happening, you were left to believe that it was all just in her head that she was just a victim of PTSD and domestic violence. And I thought they could have made that movie so terrible, and awful and campy. But instead they added this twist of of control a male controlling a female she has to run away from she has to get away. But he's faked his death. And he's found a way to get back at her and make everyone like gaslighter Yeah, and well and that's that's exactly what what we were talking about before of lag of when a movies about something else. It's not just an invisible man that's trying to kill her. It's about you. It's about gaslighting and domestic abuse and all these things that that are very real issues and like arguably more terrifying than than the movie so it's, you're tapping into those fears of real issues. And if it's not done well it's you know, like you said it could have been can't be could have been like hollow man remember hollow man with Kevin Bacon? That was that was the that was the The Invisible Man of my growing up. That's not a horror movie at all. No, no, not at all. Well, looking at z for example, there was another and again I got I kind of go back to this scene because I thought it was so well done because it was the first jumpscare that got me in the movie. There's that scene where the where they're at the jungle gym or whatever and the kids playing and like what happens when you go to a park if you have kids, I don't have kids but people go to park or they go to a like a playground area. The parents sit outside and they watch their kids play right. What I thought was really well done is you see the kid go by. And then you see the other thing that happens And and I don't know when it made me jump because it was totally unexpected. And then there's the fear that parents have, you know, like, what, what did a lot of people grow up thinking, you know, like predators hang around at parks. Right? The idea that the parent isn't directly there. Can I get to my kids to ensure that they're safe? You know, what's new to me? That was a really, really well done jumpscare so good. Yeah. Well, thanks. And it's that fear of like, I just stepped away for 30 seconds like and yeah, that same feeling of like helplessness. And you should check out stillborn I think it still runs on shredder as well. That was our sophomore, our sophomore horror debut for shutter. Okay, yeah, I haven't seen it. So definitely take a look at it. I got a couple of questions that people had asked. So Trent asked a question. No, no. What what are some of the biggest challenges doing prop work on a set? Oh, good. Great question. props, is props is just the the among the unsung heroes of the set. I'm a little biased, but it's because when the when the job's done well, you don't notice it. But when it's done terribly, like we've all seen a movie where somebody's you know, drinking something, and the level of the drink changes between takes that continuity. That's so important. Props define the characters. I mean, you think of your favorite characters, they all have a prop. Indiana Jones has his bullwhip. Luke Skywalker has his lightsaber props. Is someone had someone had to think of those props. You think, oh, somebody went to the store and bought a bullwhip? No. It's like, what does the bullet look like? Why does it look that way? The way that it does? What it? It's been aged in a way, but how has it been aged? What is he done with it? Like, these are all the things that make and define a character and all of those us? No one ever thinks of that. But those, it's all those little details that go into? When you think about it. It's like why do we own the stuff that we do, I'm sure you've got things that you own that you've had for 20 years, when you make a movie about a character that has, you have to then populate that person's life with all of these things that they own, and they'll cherish that are so important to that character. The biggest challenge is working with the director. People think prop guys, you're just like, oh, like, here's your cup of coffee, okay, by itself, you're working with the cast, the actors and the directors to make a story. Why does this person have what they have, that's the challenge is getting into the Act, also the actors, because the actors gonna have the input. Now I want you I want this watch, because it was given to me by my dad, or whatever it is, whatever it is that they make up. And you also have to have input too, as well. And, and so that's the biggest challenge is like finding the best way to make these inanimate objects tell the best story for the movie in this characters. The movie you referenced was that Christopher Walken, and Pulp Fiction? And that was not actually but good that I should have just said, Yes, yes, I was thinking and the watch. But that's a perfect example. Because that prop makes that story, that story doesn't exist, or it well, that story is not as good without the watch that he's that he's holding. Then, when the watch is carried then throughout the movie, it has that that story behind it. Now all of a sudden, this inanimate object that's just held on screen has a story. And it matters. She can't tell you how much thought and how many meetings they probably had over that watch. What does it look like? And why? Yeah, you're right. The props do make the movie because that's what makes everything believable. And if you want to go for a movie that is campy, it's what makes the movie can't be on itself, too. Like I recently watched a movie I'd highly recommend if you're looking for a comedy, a sci fi comedy called psycho gore man. And that already. And in the movie, like props are all bulky and they look like it's it looks like a bad 80s movie. But it's purposely going for that. So someone, you're right, someone had to think of what does a bad action villain look like? And what type of body armor would they be wearing that would show just how bad and can't be an 80s? It is on the lighter side of things that the other biggest challenge is to because actors will always get to the scene. And sometimes sometimes it's what's not written on the page. That is also the biggest challenge. Because actors will get a scene in there. They're just having a conversation in the kitchen. But nobody ever just, it has a conversation in the kitchen. So what happens is like you block and rehearse the scene, and the actress is always like, Well, can I I gotta be doing something in this scene. Can I be making coffee maker? And you just have to be like, Yeah, sure. Yeah, we can do that. We ended you got to go get coffee, you got a coffee maker and water, because it's not written on the page, right? So if you're a good prop guy, you've thought ahead if that is the case, probably going to want to make coffee in the sea. Maybe he's like, maybe he's washing dishes, right? It's like any scene, actors are always doing something. And whatever they're doing is a prop. So like, no one is ever just sitting in a room talking to each other. You think about even when somebody is entering a room, they take their coat off, they hang it up, they you know, they they go to they go to check something on their computer, they're getting ready for work, whatever it is all of those of theirs. They're all props. They don't have to be made and put somewhere. And so it's always funny. It's always funny when actors are like one actress Mary Louise, Mary Louise Parker that I worked with, and it was a scene again, and Kitchen is the worst places to set scenes for a prop guy. And she was like, I want to be making a bloody mary in this scene. I can't be making a bloody mary props Chris. That's cool, right? I was just like, you can't say I can't say no. So I'm like on the radio. It's my assistant like, okay, you need to go to the store. You need to get whatever whatever's in a bloody mary because I don't know we make Caesars here in Canada. So whenever we need to make for a Bloody Mary, and rush back in 20 minutes before we shoot the scene, cinema, Mary Louise Parker can make a bloody mary in the scene, but like, It's fun. It's still fun, but those are the unsung challenges. I have another question. But just before I ask, just because I got this question on my mind. So you worked on you did props for Interstellar. Did you get to meet Matthew McConaughey? I did not Unfortunately, no, I did the scenes that they shot. They shot about a third of the movie in in around Airdrie and okotoks and Calgary. And I did a lot of the town stuff where there's like, when they're at the baseball game, and then they're driving through the town and the big dust storms, and then I did not get to me, Matthew McConaughey. Unfortunately, right now, that would be a highlight. This comes from Clint. And Clint was actually the guest on my last podcast episode, where we talked about vaping regulation in Canada, and whether it's good or not some of the proposed government regulations that they're looking at. And he said, if you could work with any horror movie producer to do a collaboration horror film, dead or alive, who would it be and why? Oh, okay. I like the Dead or Alive off that I okay, for a live, it would be Jason blonde, like blumhouse Productions. They're doing all really, really great stuff, their model, because they do they do everything, fairly low budget for those film standards, like all their budgets are around 5 million. And the reason they do that is so that they can just have complete creative freedom. So they do that even though they're actors, they're all star cast will take pay cuts. And if they want star trailers, like if they want their big fancy trailers, they have to pay for it. Like that's how they keep they keep their budgets so small, that way they don't have to make the movie doesn't have to be $100 million $200 million box office head so that there's lower risk, but higher reward and gives the directors like a lot of creative freedom to do what they want. They'll absolutely be the best person to collaborate with someone who's dead. I almost want to say Alfred Hitchcock just because of how ridiculous just I wouldn't want to collaborate with him. But just to like, work with him and just see him on set. You're like, Wow, really? Like this is how you like, how does, how does he do that? That'd be my answer for that. See how he pulls off his magic. I would have said Stanley Kubrick but I heard he was pretty abusive. Yeah, exactly. That's why that's why I wouldn't like Stanley Kubrick would be like you over there, get him to go get in the scene. 250 typically, I don't want to you know, I want to just be a fly on the wall and kind of see how they work. Now, you've worked on a few horror films done production on some television sets. But I understand that you recently branched out to a different type of film genre with your film Summerland. Do you want to talk a bit about Summerland? Yes, I'm glad Yes, yeah, after doing a few years of horror movies, we just really wanted to do something like completely different completely out of left field. We'd have this script that we've been playing around with for a while, but we could never to be honest, we just never like get the money to do it. It's a gay roadtrip movie. So literally the complete opposite of any of any horror movie we had done. It's about a gay kid who catfishing someone on a Christian dating website, but he falls in love with him. And he rode trips across the country to meet him with his best friend and his best friend's girlfriend. But his best friend's girlfriend is the girl that he's pretending to be. And so everything kind of culminates at this meet at this music festival. And so it's just this, it's just a fun, like have fun gay roadtrip comedy. We wanted to make a road trip comedy, we wanted to do a road trip. And also it's important for me to say, because my my personal life, growing up in a small town and coming out was obviously never easy. I acted in it as well. I acted to help write it and produce it. It was nice for me to be in a movie playing a gay character with like the movies. Not about that, even though it's about him. catfishing someone, it's a comedy. It's fun. And there's just gay characters in the movie, just cuz that's really important. To me. It was just like, it was like as far away from a horror movie as we could get. And also just an excuse to do a road trip. We talked a little bit about this before we went live here on the episodes, LGBT representation in movies. Quite often when there is a gay character in a movie, especially in TV shows. The theme around that character tends to be their sexuality and their sexual orientation. And we don't see a lot of movies where it's just you know, you're watching the movie and someone shows up and oh, look there they brought their husband with him. No one says anything. They just the it's just part of the movie. No one questions says, oh, what happened? What tragic thing happened in your life. You know that you had to come out of the closet for anything like that. They just, they show up with their husband or their wife and no one says anything. I think that's kind Important to see it's just normalized. Yeah, and it's certainly getting better actually, there's what one of the films we did after stillborn called it's called what keeps you alive? It's a lesbian horror movie. The only reason I call it a lesbian horror movies. It's just just two lesbians in the league. That's it. There's no there's no, there's nothing else. Like, there's no there's no struggle. It's not a plot point. It's just it's an it's a really standard story of like, a wife, who goes crazy and tries to kill her wife on their anniversary. Like, that story has been told many times with straight couples. It's like, why wouldn't it be? Why would it be to women? Like why not? Another really good example. I think it's a 24 film, it's called the invitation. It's really good. It's a horror movie. It's a culty horror movie. Really simple premise. There's, it's a, it's a bunch of couples at dinner. One of the couples is a gay couple. And just nobody says anything about it. It's like, just cuz that's so important. Like, just the biggest thing. Obviously, there's important stories to tell to about the struggle of coming out. And those are important too. But the best thing to do to normalize it is just exactly what you said. It's like just there's characters and movies, some are gay, some whereby Some are trans, what some are black, some are, it's just, there's just, you know, they're just people. Those are the kinds of stories that I'm really interested in telling and if they and it's fun to wrap those stories up in into into horror movies when you can. Well, Chris, I really appreciate you coming on to the podcast today. It's been a great episode, probably one of the best conversations I've had because I absolutely love horror movies. And I felt like we were able to have some really really good dialogue about horror movies. So from what I understand if people want to watch your films, your films are available on shutter z, stillborn Summerland? Is that on Netflix, or where can we find that movie? So some land you can rent Google Play or iTunes here in Canada, if you're in the States, Google iTunes or Amazon for around the world as well. And then yes, stillborn z, they're both on shutter, the shutter exclusives. What keeps you alive is on crave TV, I believe Still, if not, I'm not going to encourage people to torrent it illegally. But however you watch it, it's fine. You know, as long as as long as you watch it. That's the key. They'll find it. They'll find a way I think you can rest on YouTube as well. Again, appreciate your time talked about before. Hopefully we'll have you back on for another episode. We'll kind of choose a couple of themes and I think a great to have another conversation about movies in the movie industry. I hope so too. Man. This is a lot of fun. Russell, thanks for having me.