Monday, 15 July 2019

Interview with filmmaker John McLoughlin

Straight-Jacket Guerrilla Film Festival will be screening Underwood

How did you get into making films? 
I started out as a musician and songwriter and that led me to story development as a teenager.  After high school I went to NYC and studied as an actor with a few different coaches and wound up booking some small roles on a few network shows and managed to get one of my first script ideas developed into a feature film titled "Along the Way" with my old friend actor/director Andrew Bowen. That movie didn't quite find it's audience and everyone lost a ton of money.  I eventually left L.A. to focus on screenwriting began helping friends out on a handful small indie productions while I worked on getting "Underwood" made with a shoestring budget... and 5 years after cameras rolled on our first scene... here we are. Underwood launched onmazon Prime last month and has racked up over 70,000 views so far. Fingers crossed that it keeps going up.

*What inspired you to make your movie?
Underwood was the first project I developed after leaving L.A. - It's based on  one of my early short stories,  I've always loved a good ghost story and I felt that I had a plotline that people enjoyed reading so I just went to work filling out the gaps and developing the characters enough to hopefully engage the audience.

*How has your style evolved?
I used to think BIG and write even BIGGER... sky was the limit... and screw the budget!!! But then reality came along and kicked me in the balls enough times that I started thinking smaller and writing to match the budgets or lack thereof... like my father always told me as a kid... "if you don't get wiser... you just get older"

*Tell us any strange or funny stories while making the film?
Oh man... we almost got shot and or arrested when shooting the cops scene in the woods one night... As an indie guerrilla filmmaker... you have to be resourceful and downright sneaky most of the time to get some shots made... be it begging, bartering and in many cases... "borrowing" a location. This one night we were "borrowing" a small patch of woods located in the Ocala National Forrest. 
So there we are with cameras, lights, cast and crew shooting a scene  were the leading man runs up to a police crime scene and the startled police officers draw their weapons and bark some orders at him... 
Well, as were were shooting that exact moment in the scene... along comes a REAL off-duty park ranger  who now thinks he's pulling up on and witnessing an episode of COPS doing a REAL drug bust in the woods!!! So he pops out of his car ready to assist our fake movie cops in busting the bad guys... only we WERE the bad guys too!!! All got cleared up but not before a lot of explaining and a few favors for the ranger and the scene turned out great.

*The Misrule Film Movement & Pink8 manifesto bring what to mind?
I am guerilla...  I work in the fringes. I don't have access to studio money or resources so everything I do is breaking the rules and the norms of what Hollywood dictates as the the way you should do this. And if we all waited around for the Hollywood machine to discover us... nothing would get made.  My film "Underwood" is PURE independent problem solving 101. Every day on a micro budget you must find ways to get your shots in situations and places that you already can't afford to be... truthfully if I COULD do it the studio way... with studio money... I would still break rules and wind up cutting costs every place I could. I love knowing that I can make a full feature film with a tiny crew that people will watch and be entertained by. And I didn't have to spend millions in the process.

*What can we expect from your next film?
Not sure which one we will do next. I have a small stack of scripts on my hard drive and hopefully "Underwood" will open a few doors so we can possibly get some funding to make it. This one taxed my credit card pretty hard so everyone PLEASE give us a watch on Amazon Prime tonight!!!