Category: bloghorror

This weekend there are a couple of great looking horror movies coming to the theaters, Hatchet 2, Let Me In are leading the pack, but my favorite film of the year is playing in your living room! Gareth Edwards first film MONSTERS is available now through Video On Demand, iTunes, Xbox Live, Playstation Marketplace, Amazon and Vudu! Fortunatly I had a chance to ask Gareth a few questions about how he actually made this movie for the rumored low price of $25,000. Many people are trying to figure out how to finance films and make multi million dollar indie films, Gareth just did it…outside of the system. Read on to find out some of his thoughts on Low Buget filmmaking andthe state of the horror industry.

1.

The rumor is that you had a crew of 4 people on location, and an editor to accomplish all of the production side. Yet the movie looks and feels so large in scope, what were some of the tricks you incorporated to accomplish this?

 

I think the most important thing was to be completely ‘open minded’. If you look at the process of most films, it all begins with a ‘writer’ having an ‘inspiring experience’ somewhere in the world, then deciding to write some of those details down in a script, then a producer comes along and raises a lot of money to recreate all those details onscreen, then hundreds of people come along and start hiring and building things to recreate all those details in front of a camera… I guess we just cut out the middle bit, as the ‘writer’ I was holding a camera the very moment we had the ‘inspiring experience’ and shot it there and then, for free… obviously we had a story, but in terms of the scene being in a chicken-bus, or a flooded road, we were completely open, whatever details or random events appeared in front of us were the ones that ended up in the film.

2.

One of the things everyone wants to know is what kind of Camera did you use, what lens package, and camera gear were you lugging around from day to day?

A Sony EX3 with a Letus Ultimate 35mm adapter, and mainly a Nikon 50mm f1.2 lens.

3.

When we met at Frightfest, you mentioned that you still have a bad back from all the heavy lifting, care to expand?

Yeah, I still have to click it once an hour to stop it aching. With all those adapters etc on the front, the camera became VERY front heavy. And I pretty much damaged my back… there’s a funny story about this though. My back hurt so much during the shoot that I went to get a proper massage from this lady in Mexico . They played this relaxing music and it was the first time I had real space to think about the film properly. The big debate back then was how to end the movie, is it an uplifting ending, or a pessimistic ending? I was contemplating this when the lady giving the massage leant down into my ear and whispered ‘happy ending?’… you’ll have to wait till you see the film to find out if I took her advice!

4.

While I firmly believe that you are leading the pack of the next generation of filmmaking, the most important aspect of film is still the story, and what we are seeing more and more in horror lately, is unoriginal low budget garbage. How did your story evolve beyond the typical genre fare during the writing stages, and was that a conscience decision, or did it evolve more in the edit suite?

Thanks man, I don’t agree, but I’ll take the compliment!… I have a Filofax that I carried around the whole shoot with the scene-by-scene treatment in it. I read a bit again the other day out of curiosity, and many of the details have changed, but the actual story is 90% the same as what we set out to shoot…. I guess the reason I didn’t write a script, and just kept it as a loose scene-by-scene guide, was that we wanted to the film to feel as real as possible. I didn’t really want the dialogue to feel written. I think the problem is as a writer, is when you have months to write something, then the dialogue can often sound like you had months to write it, near perfect exposition, or incredibly witty observations about life, and no-one I’ve ever met ever talks so perfectly, and I really wanted to capture the struggle of figuring out what to say as you say it, which only really comes from improvising the script… When people hear that you ‘wrote’ directed, shot and did the FX yourself, they think you must be a massive control freak, but I don’t think this film could have been more ‘out of control’ if we tried.

5.

No traditional script, stolen locations, few actors, DIY computer FX, and prosumer camera gear… Did you set out to make a film that would break rules and redefine filmmaking as we know it? And would you do it again in the same fashion?

Thanks for saying that, but I can’t agree with your compliment!… I think the way things are supposed to work, is that you ‘behave’ yourself on your first movie, then if people like it then you get to do a slightly bigger budget film where you ‘behave’ yourself again, then if people like that, you get to do an even bigger budget film where you have to ‘behave’ even more… then finally, years and years later, you might be trusted enough to have a go at making a film about what you want, the way you want to. I just figured, screw that, let’s make that film now, if people hate it then at least I’ll know now and haven’t wasted my life trying to climb the ladder… When we set out to do this, everyone involved agreed that the film wouldn’t be OK, it would either be great, or complete shit… it doesn’t belong to us anymore, it belongs to the audience, and I guess I’ll find out soon how it turned out!…. eeeek!