Amazing Schlock may have the greatest indie film motto of all time:
“Just because it’s bad, doesn’t mean it can’t be great.”
Amazing Schlock’s first video release, “I Was a Teenage Frankenstein’s Roomate” was released by Sub Rosa films, where, before it sold out, it was ranked as the fourth best-selling “campy comedy” on Amazon.com.
Their second release through Sub Rosa, Hey, Stop Stabbing Me! came out on DVD and VHS September 2nd. Featuring the same writers (Worm Miller and Patrick Casey), same director (Worm Miller) and almost all of the same actors as “Frankenstein’s Roomate,” Stabbing is proof that these guys stand behind their motto.
With Stabbing on the shelves and “National Lampoon’s Dorm Daze” in theaters this fall, Worm Miller agreed to talk to Film Threat.
What kind of equipment did you use to shoot Hey, Stop Stabbing Me!?
We only used two pieces of equipment for the film. One was my Canon XL1, the greatest Mini-DV camera on the market when I bought it, and, all these years later, still the best that I’ve seen. The other piece of equipment was my crappy tripod that I bought for $40 at a camera shop. For our films, partly because our cinematography is such crap, I’m not a huge fan of stationary camera shots, so I knew we’d hardly use it (worst panning action ever – just check out the second to last shot of the film and you’ll see what I mean; that’s as smooth as I could get it). Regrettably, we can’t afford a steady-cam or dolly, but that’s life. Oh yeah, plus we borrowed two small lights from the local television station we worked at during high school. They’re usually nice enough to let us swipe some stuff.
When you and Pat are writing together, how do you function? Does one pace while the other types, or do you each take a crack at a particular section and then rewrite each other?
We always plot out the story together, sometimes on a big dry erase board, sometimes not, but the actual typing process has tended to vary in the past. Because we were making our movies during college vacation, with a lot of our projects we weren’t in the same state during pre-production; on those I did the typing. Usually when we’re together we’ll just keep switching off at the keyboard every few scenes while the other plays video games or whatever. That’s how we did Stabbing Me, just switching off. For our films the story and story structure are more important than the dialogue. Once we have the story down, the actual scripting out of the scenes is fairly secondary. That comes easy. Thinking of what the hell is going to happen is the rough part.
How did you get such great sound with such a small budget?
‘Cause I’m so goddamn awesome! No, seriously, while I am goddamn something, it was really nothing fancy or clever. Though we do have an okay boom mic, we only used it for one scene in the film. For the rest we used the microphone that came on the Canon XL1. The camera mic? Madness, you say? Actually it is an excellent mic if you use it right. For Stabbing Me I’d say I used medium shots and close ups for about 90% of the film. And since we only used a wide-angle lens, that meant I was unpleasantly close to my actors’ faces (unpleasant for them) with the camera in almost every scene. This, however, also means that they were close enough to the mic to give me crystal clear audio. Hurrah for low tech!
Where did you mix, edit, and score the film and how long did it take you?
I was editing it at home during the fall of my senior year on my G3 using Final Cut Pro, which rocks, unlike Adobe Premiere, which does not. I found Final Cut very user friendly, which is good because I’m one of those a******s who refuses to read the instruction booklet (which for Final Cut looked like a novel). There was no real mixing on the film in the standard sense. We did almost no foley work other than punch and stab sounds, and there was no ADR or looping of any kind. Sean Hall, who co-wrote and recorded the score (a majority of which was only two guitars recorded live together in my parents’ basement), would give me the music on a CD when it was done and I’d just lay it. The film is in mono, by the by. Classy, I know. As for how long it took, I believe it took me the whole semester in my free time.
Did you shoot your films with an eye towards getting a release, or did you originally shoot them to get experience shooting a feature?
Like all young and moronic first time filmmakers, Pat and I intended for our first film, “Murder Made Easy,” to really go places. It would hit all the festivals, this and that, sweep the nation by storm, that sort of new artist B.S. Then our director-of-photography ended up hijacking all the raw footage, threatening us and then eventually suing us. That sort of killed our enthusiasm to break out on the scene. So all the movies we made after that, Hey Stop Stabbing Me! included, were just for s***s and giggles. No more sweeping anything by storm. I had been making movies with most of these people since seventh grade, so we didn’t need a reason. That’s what we did for fun instead of sitting around playing “Mario Kart.” We made “Frankenstein’s Roommate” specifically intending to give it to Sub Rosa, but after that we did not think about it as much. I think if we’d been planning to succeed in the underground video world we could have done a better job; added tons of fetish nudity, way more gore and probably some, I don’t know, fart jokes and dwarves just for good measure. We’re damn surprised that people are actually responding to Stabbing Me.
The interview continues in part two of LAIR OF THE SCHLOCK WORM>>>