Monday, 8 June 2020

Interview with filmmaker Jeff Schneider

         Evil Under The Skin will premier at the Straight-Jacket Guerrilla Film Festival

*How did you get into making films? 
I have loved films ever since I saw Star Wars when I was 5 years old. I got into films through a cable access station which taught me how to edit and shoot. For 15 years I worked on a travelling circus and carnival so that life style mirrored how making films worked the hours and the effort required to get things done. 

*What inspired you to make your movie? 
My first feature Lake Noir I did in 2011 then I worked on other projects but really didn't feel Lake Noir ended up how I wanted it took 2 years to edit and was still not what I wanted. In 2016 My Mother was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in  and soon after died. I have always believed you only have so much time, some get more than others, but still only so many seconds, minutes, hours, days and years until your clock gets punched. Her passing motivated me to start making films again and I have not stopped. I love different movies even if I don't completely love it I can respect it. Mandy a movie with Nicolas Cage is that kind of movie. Also Hobo with a shotgun is another highly stylized lower budget film. I like any movie that makes me look at film making differently. I recently saw Terrance Malicks a hidden life which was a beautiful film. I also love Lars Von Triers Dancer in the dark and breaking waves because of the sheer misery he can heap onto his heroines and yet they are still heroic even though society thinks they are trash. expose yourself to all different kinds of films it allows you to draw from many different styles and many different looks. 

*How has your style evolved? 
I learned 3d modeling and VFX as well as editing, shooting, photoshop, sound design, and graphic design by looking at tutorials online. I did this to keep cost down and I also wanted to know how things worked so on set I could confident that what I had could be cobbled together in the editing room. I shoot with a 2 camera set up 2 gh4 cameras with speedboosters and now shoot 4k. My style is simple and fast. I have streamlined the process but now I am trying to take things slower. Earlier this year we shot 3 feature films in 10 days loose luck, Red vs Wolf, and Alien Wars people flew in from Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, Canada, and Texas to be part of it. The scheduling was crazy but we got it done and those three movies will be out hopefully when I am done editing in the spring. I don't know if I would do that again there was no wasted time but you also are a prisoner to your schedule and have to make your days. The other side of the coin is too much time and people don't feel the need to get things shot out and that laziness can create a lot of wasted time. I still am trying to find the balance I am happy with to have a more defined style. 

*Tell us any strange or funny stories while making the film? 
We would scout the locations to make sure they were good for sound and at the time they were. Of course as always someone would be there blowing the takes making sound when we were shooting. One day at the lake house we were shooting and at every house in the area apparently they decided to mow their lawn. So we eventually we had to wait we shot B roll instead. On every single project I have worked on expect that nothing will go your way and that everything can and probably will go wrong that way you will be prepared. On Lake Noir the first day we started shooting every farm in the area started harvesting. The campers of course were suppose to be in the middle of no where but eventually we pushed through, made it work and got it done. 

*The Misrule Film Movement & Pink8 manifesto bring what to mind? 
DON'T BE LAZY SHOOT A FEATURE. I don't know how many people I run across raising money to shoot a short. There is nothing wrong with it I guess but if you have 10, 20, 30k why would you not shoot a feature?? My movies I self fund and the actors pay their way to get to us. I have to cover food and lodging and all the day to day expenses. Those 3 feature films we shot for under 5000 USD physical cash money. I love the beautiful chaos the Pink8 creates by using and casting people you know or strangers of a certain type. Frederick William Walter Ortmann III I use in my movies I have known him from the circus and he along with 10 others live at our large home in Oregon. We are indeed a circus family but back to Freddy. I used him in all three of my new films and he of course is Jim Talent in Evil under the skin. Freddy has a great look and lots of stage experience as a clown and performer but almost no film experience. I wrote all those roles with Freddy in mind because I knew he would be amazing and most importantly he would show up! Never underestimate the importance of your cast and crew showing up! 

*What can we expect from your next film? 
You can expect three. Loose Luck a dating gone wrong movie with a new boyfriend who frames his girlfriend for murder, RED VS WOLF which pits a woman against a psychotic trail killer, and Alien Wars Judgement day a movie about an alien invasion but from the perspective of a man who slowly slides into insanity from isolation and the unusual cast of characters that surround him. Remember Dare to dream but don't be afraid of the work.