When working for a small independent studio, such as the puppet-centric Elmwood Productions, one person will take on many different roles. Mike Finland is a puppeteer, voice actor, special effects supervisor, and producer for the film and series producing company. He takes us through what all those positions entail and why the studio has found success.
You joined Elmwood Productions on the series Steve the Vampire, an odd coming-of-age tale about Steve, who is, well, a vampire. What about the series ignited your interest to be a part of it?
I honestly came in at a lucky time. I had no idea it was at the tail end of the Steve the Vampire series. I was interested in all of it, everything.
“…diehard Evil Dead fans, and we knew we wanted a Bruce Campbell character.”
On the horror-comedy Head, you voiced Bruce, one of the leading characters. What kind of collaboration did you do with the director to get a proper handle on the role?
Jon Bristol (the founder of Elmwood Productions) and I are diehard Evil Dead fans, and we knew we wanted a Bruce Campbell character. So, we based our Bruce on the actor and his character from that franchise, Ash. So, our Bruce took on some characteristics of both the man and the iconic character.
You also did the special effects for the film, as in all of the gore and blood effects. Given this is a horror production, that is a lot of viscera. What techniques did you use to create all the blood and guts? Also, since this movie involves puppets, what unique difficulties did that present in bringing the effects to life?
This was actually my first time doing any kind of special effects. As such, I ended up sticking to low-budget materials like corn syrup and food dye for blood. Oh, and Jell-O as guts. We really tried to make sure it didn’t look juvenile or like a fluff piece. We really wanted the viewers to feel like what they were seeing was happening to actual people.