Q: You started off as an actress before you started producing and directing. What prompted the urge to direct?
When Mike and I started discussing the project that became WereGrrl, the idea was mainly mine so Mike made the suggestion that I direct it. I thought about it for a while and realized that I had a great support group in our cast and crew. And since this was a short mainly to try out our new equipment it was a good project to try directing. It was a good experience that I enjoyed so I figured I'd try it again on Severe Injuries. It's something that I do enjoy although I wouldn't want to do it on every project.
Q: Does being an actress help directing the other actors because you know where they're coming from?
I think being on the acting side of the camera really helps me to direct other actors. Even though every actor is different, it does help give me an idea of how to describe to an actor I'm directing what I want from them.
Q: Name five other women horror directors.
I didn't know there would be a quiz!
Q: The first movie you were a producer on was THE RESURRECTION GAME, which is finally being released. Why did that take so long?
There are a couple of reasons The Resurrection Game has taken so long to be released. Our favorite saying is "the technology finally caught up with our ineptness". What this actually means is that when we started filming, we were actually filming. Mike Watt, my husband and co-producer, had just graduated from Pittsburgh Filmmakers. At that time, digital video was just coming into the school and it was nowhere near what it is today. Film was the only way to really do it. So we used film. Anyone else who has used film knows how expensive and difficult this can be. We were self-financing with some small investors so we shot when we could get the money for the film and expenses. Then we had to get money to get the film processed. And you didn't know until you got the film back whether the shot worked or didn't, or, and this did happen, there was a light leak from the magazine or the lab screwed it up. If that happened we had to re-shoot. And then we had to added headache of our lead actress moving away after we shoot half of her scenes, so recasting and re-shooting. So because of money and the other problems, shooting itself took over 3 years. Then Mike editing the entire thing on film also. Not only cutting and editing the work print, but when that was done he actually cut the negative by hand to save some money. Cutting the movie took quite a while as well, keep in mind you have to cut picture and sound separately and then sync them up. Around this time, Digital video and computer software became readily available and inexpensive so we had the print transferred to digital. Mike then re-edited due to problems with soundtrack and composers, etc etc etc. Mike has edited and re-edited this movie more times than I can even guess on different formats but at this point we can use what's out there to finish it up and get it out.
Q: Your directorial debut was WERE-GRLLL. How would you say your style/directing has changed since you've directed SPLATTER MOVIE?.
I think my directing style has improved a lot. I'm a lot more comfortable with telling the actors what I want and also more comfortable with camera placement and movement.
Q: Also, with SPLATTER MOVIE you're one of the main actors. Do you find it easier/more difficult to also act in a movie that you are directing?
Splatter Movie was an easy movie to direct and act in, since I was acting as the director. It was easy to switch roles around with that. I was nervous at first, but again, I had a great cast and crew who supported me and made it easier. I think it depends on the project whether it's easy or difficult to do both roles.
Q: How much of the character, Amy Lee Parker, is based on you?
There is a good deal of me in Amy Lee Parker in that we both are trying to make it in what is traditionally a man's world. And a good deal of her views on the state of filmmaking is mine also. The main difference is that she is a lot more jaded. The basic message is the same, but she is a lot more militant about it and wants to shove her message in front of viewers where I tend to try and have a softer approach.
Q: Your husband, Mike Watt, directed DEMON DIVAS AND THE LANES OF DAMNATION, the most recent Happy Cloud Pictures production. Do you two flip coins as to who is going to direct which movie?
It's not exactly a flip of the coin, but close. When we're discussing a project and getting into the writing and pre-production stage there is usually something that tells us who should direct. Whether it's one of us that really wants to direct that particular project or, like in Splatter Movie, it makes more sense for the other one. We also share some of the directing duties no matter whose name is in the credits. Mike is much better at the technical aspects of directing. Shot placement, lighting, etc., while I prefer working with the actors.
Q: What is your favorite part of the whole movie-making process?
Again, it depends on the project. On Splatter Movie I enjoyed the shooting immensely. With other projects I've liked pre-production or post. There is really no one part I've liked the most on each project.
Q: And you still act in other people's movies--with roles in the upcoming DEADTIME STORIES and Kim Sonderholm's new movie. What are those about?
Deadtime Stories is an anthology series. I had a fun part in one of the shorts about spelunking. I can't wait to work with them again. Kim's film kinda of sounds a bit like Splatter Movie. I shot my part here and sent a few different takes to him. I'm looking forward to the final product. Sometimes I really enjoy just acting in someone else's film. It's great to have only one hat to wear for a while.