What was the inspiration behind Little Corey Gorey?
They say, "Write what you know", unfortunately Little Corey Gorey is a little autobiographical. Not that I ever killed anyone, but many of the characters are just overblown extensions of family members and many of the incidents were either real or frequent fantasies, but whose childhood wasn't traumatic. Then again, Cinderella had a lot to do with the story line too.
What was the budget for the film?
15,000.00. Originally the budget was $100,000.00. I had sent the script to Devine, from Pink Flamingos and Hairspray (the original). Devine loved it and agreed to do it, with him as the star I was able to get a letter of intent to distribute from a distribution company and then I found an investor willing to put up the 100K. Devine flew in to sign the contract and died in a hotel in the valley the night before we were to get together. The backer backed out, and the distributor stopped taking my phone calls, but the rest of the cast still loved the script and wanted to continue making the movie even if they had to work deferred.
It took me a month to earn an extra $1,000.00, which purchased enough film and processing for a weekends shooting so we worked one weekend a month for a year. I edited the film in my living room on a borrowed old upright Movieola. I cut the negative in my bedroom and finagled an answerprint from a lab in Canada for $3,000.00. It took a year to shoot and two years to complete post production. By the time I got a finished print I was emotional and financially exhausted. Good think I loved every moment of it.
What year and where did you shoot the film?
1988 – 1990. I shot Corey in a nice house I rented in Bellflower California. We lived there for a year and moved out shortly after finishing the film. It put a strain on my relationship. Elaine had a 10 year old son who didn't want to move from his friends. You would think making a movie would be an adventure, but all it was was a means for the kid to screw with the man who was living with his mom. Forget the domestic problems, the house was the perfect location, as you can see when you watch the movie. Remember the first rule of ultra low budget filmmaking, write the script to take advantage of one main accessible location.
What were some of the challenges of making the film?
Continuity, often there were months between when two parts of a scene were shot. Also, the only movie camera I could get was a Bolex, a very noisy camera, so we could only record a scratch track and had to loop every bit of dialogue and foley all the sound. Because I could only afford a limited amount of film per weekend we had to get each shot in three takes, period. I found an old guy, Mr. Beck who owned an old sound studio on Westen Blvd and he agreed to do my sound mix deferred, when he had free time. So we had to do all the ADR and Foley nights and weekends, a couple of hours here and a couple of hours there as the studio and the talent were available. It took months.
Any info on the distribution process?
The challenges you discussed earlier? a 16mm release print of Little Corey Gorey was around $5000.00 so I could only afford to send my one answer print out to the film festivals, I was able to get it into a couple of festivals, but each festival would keep my one print for months. After a couple of years I gave up on the festival circuit. None of the smaller distribution companies were willing to pay me money up front and most wanted me pay for a re-edit and new answer print which I couldn't afford. After three years I took a distribution deal with a small company willing to take the movie as is. I never heard from them again.
My new rule, no money no master. It's better to sit on the masters then give it away. Maybe some day I'll figure out how to drive enough traffic to my Pay Per View site to finally pay the actors and crew what I owe them. Fortunately, the cast and crew had such a good time shooting the film they have never pushed me to pay them and some still call to say how they miss our monthly shooting party.
Any thoughts on the actors?
I love them all. We became a family. They would bring their sleeping bags and the cast and crew would spend the weekend. It was like a party, barbque, sleepover all in one. For years after principle photography ended they would call to say how they missed shooting. Some reviews were hard on the actors, some weren't. In general I think they did a great job under the circumstances.
How old were you when you made the film?
Can you tell us about the work you did with Ted V Mikels?
Ted! I worked as a production manager, line producer for Operation Overkill working title we took a school bus full of actors and crew to Reno for thirty days and shoot a karate movie with Tiger Yang, who claimed to be the inventor of Ty Quan Do. Ted was a strange man, he believed that all woman wanted to live in a harem and that woman were not happy unless there were at least four living in the same household, and in fact he always had four or five woman living with him.
During preproduction here in LA, Ted assured me that and locations were being arranged by a friend of his in Reno. When we got off the bus in Reno it turned out that his friend had taken the money and gambled it away, so I had to feed the cast and crew at the Circus Circus buffet and find tomorrows location, today. I got the locations, but don't eat the Circus Circus buffets Swedish meatballs. Half my crew and cast ended up going back to LA with food poisoning. Funny, why do I feel that this is the only question that matters?
Any future plans?
I just finished an action adventure film called The SafeHouse and it came out great. You can read the script and see the cast and crew at http://www.thesafehousemovie.com. I just finished color timing and the audio mix and rendered a release DVD. This time I can afford to make the DVD's I need to get it out to a lot of festivals. I just started casting my next movie, Roll Call. You can read the script at http://www.rollcall-themovie.com. It's a comedy and the script is very funny. Again, these are ultra low budget productions. SafeHouse cost about $5000.00 - total. And Roll Call should be about the same.
I wish I had HD camcorders twenty years ago, or better yet when I graduated NYU, I'd have 100 films by now. I figure I can do two features a year by bringing in partners to help with the needed cash. HD has brought power to the people, MGM, Fox, Universal, your monopoly is over, the death of Kodak marks the beginning of the death of the major studio system. I am a studio, me and my computer and camcorder and friends. All I need is a great story, all we all need is a great story and a way market the movie...and that's the catch. I bet the day I figure out how to make money from the movies I am making, my heart, or the diabetes or the colon cancer will kill me. Ain't life a bitch!