|Kevin Strange of Hack Movies.com : Before we get started, I want to say thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to do the FIRST EVER Hack Movies interview! You guys have been super supportive of our crappy movies and we are truly greatful! OK, on to the questions…———————————————————————————-
HorrorSociety (HS): So tell everyone who you are and what youre doing here?
My name is Kevin Strange, and I’m here because I made a movie that you seem to like enough to want to do this interview lol.
(HS): How did hack Movies get started?
Hack Movies began the way any independent film company begins, with a dream. Unfortunately-Ah screw it. Here’s the deal. When HackMovies.com went live, I didn’t have a crew, so I didn’t have any real history. I’d shot two short films. Big deal. I wanted people to see Hack Movies as more than some aging twenty-somethings in desperate need of real jobs. So I wrote us an epic story, complete with fake crew bios tying into our history. Our “About Us” section on HackMovies.com is still our official history. The reality is, about 4 years ago, I knew some guys who wanted to make movies. They never really did anything until one night we all watched the “Toxic Avenger 4: Citizen Toxie”. We ended up watching the behind-the scenes documentary, “Apocalypse Soon”, and I was hooked. Lloyd and Trent looked like hell, everyone was pissed, nobody could sleep, and food and toilets were scarce. It looked like they were living in a war zone, and I loved it! After that, I borrowed a friend’s copy of Robert Rodriguez’s book, “How to make a movie for under 10,000 dollars”, and Lloyd Kaufman’s “Make Your Own Damn Movie!” Before long we were shooting The Pumpkin Menace. It was around this time that I had a life changing experience. I got ahold of a copy of Chris Seaver’s “Mulva Zombie Ass Kicker”. After watching Seaver’s AWESOME no-budget movie, I scoured the web for more of his work. I found the Low Budget Pitcures website and realized right away what I was going to do with the rest of my life. I built HackMovies.com, and the rest is history.
(HS): How long has everyone been together doing this?
Hack Movies has existed for a little over a year now. But I literally built up my crew while casting for Dream Reaper. And by casting I mean begging anyone and everyone I knew to be in it. Before Reaper, my girlfriend, my brother, and my best friend Kevin, who’s a marine, shot our short film Fight Night while he was home on leave in January. After he left, I was back to square one. No crew. I loved the flick though, and I needed to shoot a feature. I finished the script for Reaper and sold my soul to the devil. Not really, but I did show Fight Night to every single human I’d ever met in my entire life. I guess people liked it, because before long, I had secured locations and cast the movie. I was lucky enough to get some AWESOME people involved and they’ve mostly all become my core crew.
(HS): Who came up with the idea for Dream Reaper and what the hell were you thinking at the time??
I came up with idea for Reaper after seeing the “I Heart Dick” shirt on clearance at a local retail outlet and I was thinking that I was about to build a No-Budget film company the likes of which the world has never seen. :)
(HS): I noticed on your myspace account that Hack Movies will be going to the Twisted Nightmare Weekend convention soon, are we going to see you guys at more of them this year and next year?
I don’t know about this year. My mouth is really sore from all the blowjobs I had to give to come up with the cash to attend Nightmare! But rest assured, in the very near future Hack Movies will become a staple of the Horror/Sci Fi and Comic Book convention circuit.
(HS): I see that you had a fish fry a while ago; did you have any fish, or just get fried??
Are you implying that we do drugs? We don’t do drugs! OK some of us do drugs…MOST of us do drugs, but I don’t. Honest. We had lots of fish man! Our resident Doctor, Lippy Longstocking, and his wife have some super secret, passed down from generations of Tahitian Monks, recepie for the best freakin home fried fish I’ve ever tasted in my life! We’re gonna do an annual fish fry every June to celebrate the birth of Hack Movies. You should come some time. Everyone should come!
(HS): OK, on with the real questions you have a tutorial on the DVD for special effects, I have to ask, what did you use for the penis dismemberment? It looks like silly putty.
Paper towel. No one believed it would work, but I just wadded up a paper towel, drenched it in fake blood and made Matt put it in his hand. I shouldn’t have said anything though! I love people’s guesses as they try to figure out just what the fuck is oozing blood out of my crotch area. Most people seem to think it’s some sort of meat product, but silly putty is cool too!
(HS): Here is some technical shit. What cameras did you use to shoot the movie with and what did you use to edit everything together?
I own a three-hundred dollar Sony Digital8 Handycam. For editing I use a pentium 4 with Windows XP and about 2 gigs of memory. I edit with Adobe Premiere Pro, and build DVD menus with Adobe Encore. I use Photoshop to make the DVD inserts. God, how I wish I would have found a straight forward answer for that question when I first started! I shot “Zombage!” and “The Pumpkin Menace” before I was even sure it was possible to do Desktop editing. We ended up using Windows Moviemaker, which comes free with XP to edit all the shorts. Reaper was actually my first experience with the horror of the Premiere encoding bugs. *shudder*
(HS): Has anyone at Hack Movies actually gone to school for film making? It seems like you are good in front of the camera and the shots and camera angles are decent. Is that just practice makes perfect, or a little film edukashun?
How about blind luck? lol We’re all novices man. I’ve never taken a writing class, none of the crew have ever taken acting classes. And I really think that’s what makes it fun. We’re all learning together. The crew believes in my vision for the films, and we all learn the technical aspects of filming scenes together. Sometimes it’s hard for us to remember lines, so I shoot everything from 3 angle
s. Close on speaker 1, close on speaker 2 and a wide. That way I can take the best lines from a dozen takes and make the scene work. It’s shit like that you just have to learn from being on a set.
(HS): Now I know that no budget really means out of pocket money did you try to get financing for this one or just pool your money together for it?
We just threw some money together man. A couple of really good friends threw some money at me for a PC upgrade just before the end of filming, but the majority of the cash came from me and a few crew members buying some syrup here and there and digital8 tapes. The props like the Reaper costume and the big ass sword are just bullshit I bought on clearance after Halloween. I usually spend a couple hundred bucks a year just hoarding halloween crap.
(HS): How much did it really cost?
(HS): Have you thought of trying to send Dream Reaper to Troma to see if they might distribute it on a larger scale?
I sent a screener copy to Troma as well as about 10 other indie distributors, but only after we started getting such high praise for it. I never in a million years imagined that people would be asking me that question, but it seems to be a recurring theme! I hope to run into LLoyd at Nightmare. I’m sure he’s going to be swarmed by fans and industry peeps alike, but hopefully I can get a quick second to hand off another copy to him. That would be a fucking dream come true, man! Wow. Dream Reaper on Troma? Unreal.
(HS): There are a lot of short movies on the website, are we going to see more of them or more feature length films?
Both. I want people to be able to download free content from the site, as well as purchase our feature length DVDs and merch. After we finish a feature, look out for a short on Hackmovies.com before the next feature comes out. It’s for the fans, man!
(HS): If you had an unlimited budget for making your next movie, what kind of stars and celeb type fuckers would you hire?
None! I’m a shitty actor and a shoddy director. What makes this shit work is that it’s me and my friends having a blast making goofy bullshit. We never fail to double over with laughter while shooting. I laugh till I cry shooting these things, man. That’s the best feeling in the world, creating something for the world to enjoy and having the best time of your life doing it. Give me $10,000 and I’ll fuck it up. Give me three guys, some dick and vomit jokes, twenty bucks and a camcorder and I’ll make you laugh your ass off.
(HS): I really thought that the plot of the movie seemed to move along and really stay tighter well; did you do any kind of story boarding for this, or just shoot as you go?
I tried to draw up storyboards, but eventually my hand cramped so I gave up. I think we have storyboards for 3 scenes. I wrote a 30 page script, which isn’t very long, but I leave out lots of details, like scenery, lighting, camera positioning etc. When you don’t know who’s going to show up, or where you can shoot a scene, details like that are pretty much useless. My scripts are all dialogue and action.
(HS): Whats with the guy that never really talked, or even moved in Dream Reaper? Was that planned, or did he just not want to do anything?
It was planned. What, wasn’t that funny? lol. I thought it was funny.
(HS): Do you have any regrets or wish you could have done something different with Dream Reaper?
Of course! At this level, you have to basically compromise your entire vision and just shoot what works. We’re not actors, directors or editor, so I may want a scene with a guy jerking off upside down and backwards while shooting fire out of his asshole, but I’m happy to just get a shot of some goofy faces and fake cum. The Dream Reaper in my head, and the Dream Reaper on screen aren’t even remotely related. That’s not to say I don’t like the flick, I mean come on, “If you wont rub my tender buttox and love me…YOU WILL DIE!” That’s funny stuff!
(HS): What do you do for a living, your day job?
I wish I could say I make money at this. God knows, when I first started, I read interviews with people like Chris Seaver hoping to hear that he was rolling in enough doe to buy a different one-eyed Siagon-whore every night of the week. Unfortunately, the reality in this stage of the game is I spend money to make movies. As for my day job, I was the manager of a porn shop till it went out of business. Then I tried my hand at furniture moving. Now I’m actually scheduled for orientation as an usher at a movie theater tomorrow. Wish me luck on that! lol
(HS): Any plans on moving to Hollywood and trying to make a real career out of film making?
Not a chance. Like I keep saying, I’m no director. You put me on a real set and I’ll shit myself. Leave me with my camcorder and buddies and I’ll make you laugh. Do I want to make a living at this? Fuck yes! But I don’t think Hollywood is the answer. I mean there’s what, a million gorgeous, rich, smart people in Hollywood trying to “make it”? I think I have a better chance playing the lottery. But I honestly don’t think we need hollywood anymore to be successful. In fact, I think it’s hollywood that makes what I do possible. How many more re-makes of classic 70s and 80s movies can you handle? Do you really think it’ll be too long before we get re-makes of John Huges movies? Or classics like “Gremlins” or “Back to the Future”? Nobody wants that, those movies are classic for a reason! But Hollywood loses so much money to net and DVD sales now that they don’t have a choice. It’s not a muliti-billion dollar sure thing every time you put Sandra Bullock on screen anymore. People want change, and right now, with consumer level electronics as cheap as they’ve ever been, guys like me are a REAL alternative to “She’s Got Mail” part 5. It’s a revolution man, Hack Movies fo life.
(HS): Whats next for Hack Movies?
I’m working on the scripts for the next four features from Hack Movies. A little bit of everything will be flying at you in the next year. A sex/horror/comedy, a “Dream Reaper” sequel, an Action comedy, and finally a movie about the Pumpkin Monster! In between those, we’ll be uploading short films for everyone to enjoy and hopefully hitting up some more conventions. We’re just getting started, baby!
(HS): Anything else you want to say, plug, promote or anyone you want to tell to Fuck Off??
Yea, yea, let me get my plug on! I want to say wut up to Doughead Productions at saltwarz.com! And uh, wut up to Dr. Chud from reelsplatter.com, and yo yo to a
ll my peeps at fiveoneseven.com and erm, oh yeah, rock on over at gameoverfilms.com and ismell.net and Kenny from the13thfloor-troupe.com! And hello, Mindee, my little poopy butt-butt. :)
And last but not least, I want to say what’s up to my crew. You guys are the most dedicated fucking freaks I’ve ever met!
Thank you for your time and effort with the interview Kevin. Its much appreciated. Keep up the good work!!