Interview by Jasmina Nevada
*This originally was intended to be a 3 minute interview but the film maker was so happy to discuss his film with me and kept demanding more interview time which I gave, on listening and in transcribing the interview I thought I would leave the original interview intact and by enlarge unedited as in my opinion I considered that the interview provided a great depth & insight into this short film providing many pointers for those in the industry behind and in front of the camera. Also that it would provide readers into an idea of the personality behind the whole idea, production and execution - Jonathan Martin. * Note by Interviewer Jasmina Nevada*
This short film premiered at the Hollyshorts Film Festival Friday August 12th 10pm
-Where are you from?
Born and raised in Houston Texas, but I currently reside in Provo Utah
-What was your inspiration where did this concept for this particular short film come from?
What happened was I was asleep one night, suddenly I woke up in a cold sweat and I heard a voice, it was in a deep some might say satanic tone 'Jonathan, Jonathan - you must make a movie about my comatose mother' - I said what if I add 'an evening with' to that 'that's good enough make the movie put a clown in it put a tiny Tim make it funny make it good' (comments made in character!) (very funny)
-Having seen your screening as were aware from my response in the theater, what kind of response did you anticipate from your audience? also what kind of perception did you hope for from them?
What I always appreciate is when the audience laugh, and they are getting the joke and the fun of the film and I think by enlarge the audience bought into the fun spirit of the film. I think it is creepier than it is scary
-Was that your intention?
Yeah, I did not necessarily want to like to scare you to death, but again it depends what you are scared with? Are you scared of clowns, are you scared of old people are you scared of crippled children? I think there are all sorts of things that you know it is a little bit of a carnival of thrills in a sense and so if that stuff scares you then you might actually get scared but the intention was more to have creepy fun. It's more of a throwback to the classic horror film that I think that we have drawn away from, and it was really nice to see that the crowd really, really responded well, but to be perfectly honest we played at a lot of film festivals and every crowd that I experienced it with has loved it, really have and we have gotten fantastic responses.
-Fantastic, I am glad to hear that I am curious to know what format did you shoot the short film in and why did you choose that particular format?
We shot it in high definition we did it 16 x 9 and also shot on the Canon 5D. Honestly the reason why we shot the short on that format was because the cinematographer owned a 5D and had a whole cannon range of lenses and when I looked at the footage that he had done of his previous work I was like that was going to work great and we will touch it up here and there and we will do some things with the lighting and all that to make it even more cinematic. For my and our purposes it was what we needed you know, I am sure that we could have shot it on a Red or any of these other devices but if it cost's more money why? Well it would look just as good and all that.
-With regard to your last comment about cost are you pleased with the finished result?
As pleased as one could be I would say I am tickled like a pig in a pen
I like that response.
-How long will you be here in Los Angeles? Just for the Festival?
Yeah, through the end of the Festival then I actually fly catch a flight to DC, a red eye after the Festival is over, for another one we are up for 6 awards.
Wow! I Congratulate you on that
(at this stage the intent was to conclude the interview- however Jonathan wanted to talk some more..)
-Are you enjoying the Festival so far?
I think it is the best Festival we have been to
-How long did it take you from start to finish for this short?
From the beginning of the script, I started writing the script in late November beginning December 2009 didn't finish the draft really, got about halfway through and didn't finish the draft until January, but basically that's not your question that you are asking fully.
Basically from the very beginning of the concept, very beginning of writing was like November December and finished the film, sound design everything getting done was March 2011
-Just to clarify you are the writer and director for the movie?
Also, Producer and uncredited Art Director and I did a few things that are uncredited I even built the set with my assistant director it was just me and him
-Did you go with the original script or did you change a lot of it when you were into the practicalities of it shooting it etc..?
In the first draft we had the Tiny Tim and the clown spoke a lot more and then in the 2nd draft I actually switched it to a headless horseman with Tiny Tim, and that would have been really cool but in the 3rd draft we switched back and I streamlined it a bit more I wasn't too happy with the talking clown bit and so it was pretty much the same to the 1st draft but tweaked up, I believe we had 3 drafts on the film.
-I am curious to know where did you come up with the character of the Mother? How did you develop that character?
Well as I was saying earlier the satanic voice spoke to me in the night and told me, well commanded me to make Mother come to life
-How was it casting for the role of 'Mother'?
It was pleasurable,.. so good, all the stories about the casting couch all true!
-The lead actress in it – how hard was it to find the right person that would understand the material in the way that you had written it?
Well the film has a very tongue in cheek playful tone, and I casted a girl, in fact we had a really great demand in the casting, so by the time we got to the 2nd half of the casting just had everyone read 2 lines and have them get in and out, because there was a lot of people reading for it and she was the only one in that 2nd half Wendy Macey who stood out in that group so I had her read a little more than others. She wasn't my favorite there were 3 that we called back, she wasn't the favorite of my 3 initially but she became kind of the obvious choice in the callback but even then we still had to work with some things as a tongue and cheek approach to things is not necessarily what you are asked to do a lot so you have to kind of understand that but I think that she did a really great job. I think that sometimes to have a very honest answer is sometimes that it doesn't work for some people, I think it is a matter of preference I think that it if you are buying into it and seeing the tongue and cheek performance and the fun that is being had, I think that you can really enjoy a performance but if that is not something that is up your alley or that you are seeing you might not fully appreciate or understand the performance and you might not like it in the end but for me I think it for me I think it is fantastic
-I have to say I enjoyed it thoroughly and you know from my laughter in the theater it was absolutely excellent
Yes like a hyena,
You kind of went for it, maybe the honey badger even
-I don't know if I am going to accept that from you, your short movie was really funny and really touched me in the heart and I expressed that so it was nice
Of course you are nothing like a hyena, truthfully, you were just having a great time I could see it
-Yes I was having a very fun time and I have to say that horror is not my best genre but I am kind of warming to it now
-Where did the development of the clown come from? The actual makeup and everything etc..
The clown is I think, not like people know, people actually think it is an actor in there, but it is an animatronix doll, there were 3 of them and obviously we did some trick photography, little tricks here and there. I gave him the perception I said really wanted to be creepy on the edge of pedophile, with this clown so I wanted to really make him creepy, you know what I mean and even give a little harlequin sense and even in his makeup on the clown doll himself has a little bit of a Geisha quality to it that I asked him to do. The actual modelling of the doll itself came out after Freddie Mercury. If you look at the credits his name is Ready Mercury
I thank you for your very informative interview!