How would you describe the movie you made to someone who hasn’t seen it?
The basic plot is the story of a girl from a troubled family. She is traded to a witch doctor for 60 acres of oil land. She has a bad dream, which is the beginning scene of the movie, and finds out about this through a conversation with a professor who specializes in the occult.
How did you come up with the idea for the movie?
I wanted to make a horror film because I am scared of them. This is the stupidest horror movie plot, basically a bad Oedipal story. It allowed me to have a scary person follow someone without having a real monster, which the limited budget could not allow. Also, I wanted to show that all oil people are bad because I worked for Greenpeace this summer.
How did you pick up the cast?
I picked Eliza [Segell ’04] because she is my girlfriend and she could do whatever I said and whenever. I picked people who are actors like Foster [Cronin ’03] and Lili [Zimmett ’05], who is very different from Eliza. I wanted people to look different. I picked Professor [of Religion Brad] Verter because he seemed like the most kooky guy and I really like him. I also thought he would agree to do it and he did. Plus, he has the coolest office on campus with all kinds of action heroes on the walls and stuff.
Was it easy to convince him to do it?
Yes, he did, even though it was kind of a bad time for him to do it as he was negotiating the renewal of his contract. I really hope they keep him. One night he told me he couldn’t act. I thought he was just nervous to act because people are nervous to act sometimes. One time, my friend had to interview Verter and he got really flustered by the tape recorder. He made lots of suggestions about how to film and I pretended to follow them (but I didn’t).
How long did it take to film?
I worked on the film for the whole month. Editing took about two weeks. Taping was about 2 hours.
If you could go back and redo it, what would you change?
I guess I’d change everything, particularly a long car scene in the middle, which I thought was really good when I did it, but it’s really bad; it’s too artsy, bad camera work. The problem was that the person who was in the scene was really sick at the time, and I had to drive to the health center in order to film it. She was really nice and still did it.
Did your film provoke the kind of reaction you expected?
I think people liked it. I got the best reaction from people I didn’t know. When the movie was shown in Bronfman, people screamed. Also, Professor [of English Shelley] Salamensky had the movie shown to her class, and some of the girls were really scared. It is important for a horror movie to scare girls.Â I am scared myself. I can’t go to the bathroom in the basement of Sawyer where we filmed the scene where Foster gets killed â€“ he flushes the toilet before that, so now when I go there, it has the same sound and it scares me.
Do you have ideas about other movies?
When I did this one, I thought it was the only one I was going to do, but now I am planning to film another one at the end of spring break. I’ve already asked people and they agreed. Foster agreed to be the “star.” It will be based on my own experience with an ex-girlfriend of mine who started dating a girl. So, it’s this boy’s quest to define himself as a man.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
Oh yeah, I play in the band “Jazz Money Millionaires.” We play on Fridays at Main Street CafÃ©, so come see us. Fridays are bistro night.