Interview: Chris Seaver (11/15/05)

[Ryan]: Was there a particular film that made you think “I want to make movies”?

[Chris Seaver]: A Nightmare on Elm Street. My mom took me to see it when I was seven, and it blew my mind. I told her then that that’s what I wanted to do, and for Christmas that year my family
got me a video camera. And I’ve been making movies ever since.

[Ryan]: Who would you say is your favorite director working today?

[CS]: I don’t really have a favorite, I guess. I have a few. I’ll just name who I really dig. I did Robert Rodriguez, I dig Tarantino, but I think Lloyd (Kaufman), Peter Jackson, and John Waters are the top three.

[Ryan]: And a favorite director of all time?

[CS]: Peter Jackson.

[Ryan]: What is your favorite part of the filmmaking process?

[CS]: Writing and editing. I’m not too into the whole filming of it, just ‘cause I’ve always felt that I’m a better writer than I am a director, and I have an extremely hard time getting what I want out of my head and into the people. I’m seeing it play in my head, and I’m editing the whole movie in my head as were doing it. To me I’m just like “of course! That’s what you have to do. You have to make this weird face, you have to make that weird sound and that’s how you have to say it!” But they’re just standing there and noticing that I haven’t said a thing to them. It’s all there when I’m writing and it’s all there when I’m editing, ‘cause that’s when I’m really forming the movie and putting it together. I’m getting better. I think I’m getting better at the whole directing of it mostly because all of the
people in my films are all my friends. They know how I am and they’re getting used to the style and they try not to question too much anymore. And I’m getting better at telling them exactly what I
want. For the most part, I tell them “your character has to act like this, and this is the voice that the character has to have, and occasionally you have to make this weird sound out of nowhere and occasionally you have to make this weird face out of nowhere, and just trust me.” But now they’re getting to the point, well some of these people have been with me for four years, this new wave of actors, they’re very used to it now. They’re used to the style and they know what I want so that’s good. But, yeah, writing and editing for sure.

[Ryan]: What advice would you give to people trying to get their foot in the door?

[CS]: I tell everybody, basically, that if you want to make a movie get off your ass and go do it. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, it really doesn’t, because we make these movies for nothing. Some of these movies are thirty-five bucks. It’s just if you have a good idea, if you have the talent at your disposal, just try to make it as entertaining as possible. I’m not a dude who’s out there trying to make anything artsy or that has a statement or means something. I’m just a dude who’s trying to make people laugh, and give them a kick for an hour, or 70 minutes, or whatever. I just want to make people laugh and entertain them, that’s what I want to do. It’s something that you really have to be passionate about because a lot of people these days are like “I can make that, I can do that, I can do that bullshit.” And then they pick up a camera and make the worst fucking shit in the world and then they go out and sell it because it’s a quick buck. But If you really fucking want to do it, then you will do it and all of your time will be devoted to it. I’ve been doing it, well I got the camera when I was seven and that’s it, that’s all I’ve wanted to do. I’ve known since I was seven years old that I wanted to make movies, and I haven’t stopped. I devote most of my life to that, and the other half goes to my wife. And that’s all I have to say about that.


[Ryan]: What was your most recent project?

[CS]: Destruction Kings, which was a movie that we had been trying to make for about three years. It was an idea that Debbie Rochon and I first came up with in her apartment one night. I was sleeping on her floor and we were just laughing, we were up all night just shooting the shit about stuff and she was like “wouldn’t it be funny if you put Teen Ape and Bonejack together as a sort of buddy cop thing. So that’s where the idea came from but over the years we’ve had so many false starts and budget issues and this, that, and the other thing. We finally got to do it with a Tempe deal – this last summer, two movies for Tempe, back to back, and one of them was Destruction Kings. By that time my passion for the project dwindled. I know it’s been hyped for three years, and it’s supposed to be this explosive film that we’re gonna release, but to be honest: it’s probably going to be crap. Because I had no passion while making it, at all. I was just like “why the fuck am I doing this?” Right now, after fifteen years of starting Low Budget Pictures and creating so many of these characters, it’s gotten to the point where everybody wanted to see these characters over and over and over again in every single movie. And now I’m ready to fucking stop that. That universe and those characters are so lame now to me, and I’m just getting stale writing for them over and over again. So, with Destruction Kings, it’s sort of the end of Teen Ape and Bonejack, ‘cause I’m done. Fuck it. It’s time to move on and get away from that universe. So that’s the last movie shot and I haven’t even started editing it yet. It’s going to come out in June through Tempe, next year, 2006.

[Ryan]: What was the first film you worked on, and what was it that you did on that film?

[CS]: Well, when I was seven, it was backyard Freddy and Jason movies. Me and the neighborhood kids and it was a bunch of murder set pieces, basically. Let’s see how many ways we can kill my friends, with me dressed up as Freddy and or Jason and my buddy rolling the camera. That’s what we did for a very long time. For years, we just kept making little Freddy and Jason movies.

[Ryan]: What’s the earliest Chris Seaver film the public can get a hold of?

[CS]: That would be Meter Man, which is on “Vintage Seavage, vol. 2.” That’s the earliest of the flicks that I will release, it was shot in ‘94. There’s a good six or so movies before that that I’m not going to let anyone see. Only the LBP crew has seen those films, and a select few people who bought the stuff a long time ago. The first time I had the stuff selling was through a company called Cemetery Cinema out in Texas. They saw potential in what I was doing in ‘93 or so, and they said “can I sell your stuff?” And I said “it’s not the greatest, it’s not stuff you should probably be hocking to people.” They put out VHS compilations and shit like that, and they threw them on there as extras. So some people have seen some of the early Friday the 13th things I did and this flick called Bloody Bobby that I did. But as far as right now, the earliest they can pick up is ‘Vintage Seavage, vol. 2” with the Meter Man films on there, Meter Man I and II.


[Ryan]: Do you try to use the same cast and crew repeatedly, or do you prefer to try to get new people in?

[CS]: I like to use the same people because they’re really fucking good. None of them are actors at all, they’re just my friends. I think we’re about to go into the fourth wave of LBP. The first wave was my buddies growing up in Wellsville, and that was ‘91 until probably ‘98 or so. And then the second wave was moving to Rochester, that was ‘99 until maybe 2002, and then I got rid of those jackasses. And now from 2002 on we have pretty much the same crew and they’re awesome. They’re just really good; they know the style I do and they know me, on a personal level as well, so they know how sick I am. They know I’m going to ask them to do a lot, and they just keep coming back! I love the crew I’m with now. Occasionally I’ll throw in some new people here and there to be a “side player.” An extra here and there or we’ll bring actual actors and actresses from New York City to do some of the stuff. I generally like to keep the same people, it’s just more comfortable that way. They’re all a bunch of hams, so they end up being really fucking good.

[Ryan]: What filmmaking “jobs” do you do?

[CS]: I shoot the movie as much as I can; if I’m playing a part I’ll either set it on a tripod or I’ll give it to someone that I trust. But, otherwise, I shoot the flicks, I write the flicks, I edit the movies, and before we got the Legion of Terror to do the special effects, I used to do the special effects as well, along with some of the other LBP peeps. I try to do as much as possible just because I tend to go nuts if something is going how it should be going. I’ve had a few projects where I had people shot for me and looked at it afterwards and just about shat my pants because they did a horrible job. Obviously, if you know what you wanted, and you have control of the camera, then you can get exactly what you wanted. Again, I try to do as much as I can because I know exactly what I want and I’ve had bad luck with people not being able to interpret exactly what I want.

[Ryan]: How close to the scripts are your final products, usually?

[CS]: Extremely close. This is something that we’ve been asked before, many many times, because a lot of people think that there’s so much improv because of the style of the films. To be perfectly honest, there isn’t. Everything, right down to the facial expressions or the weird ticks that each character has, is written into the script. Very rarely do we try to improv stuff. And if we do, it’s usually to see if a scene will work better if we do something in a different way, it’ll be something I’ve come up with on the spot while we’re shooting that we’ll throw in there to add some extra weirdness, or some more comedy to it. But yeah, the script is the bible.

[Ryan]: Out of the films you’ve made over the years, is there any one that stands out as your favorite?

[CS]: I hate everything that I do. I sit there and I edit them and I’m like ”goddamn, this fucking sucks, this is horrid, this is going to be the worst movie ever.” Usually, when it’s all put together I’m more like “eh… all right, that’s cool.” I think the “Heather and Puggly” films are the best things I’ve done. Lots of people are going to argue that, but for me personally Heather and Puggly Drop a Deuce, Heather and Puggly Crucify the Devil, 12 Inches of Dangling Fury, those are probably three of the best written films that I’ve done. So I have a soft spot for those. And Bonejack High – I loved the script, I loved writing that movie. I’m not crazy about the final product, but it was one of my better scripts. But this new movie we did, Appollyon the Destroyer, also known as Carnage for Dummies – which is what Tempe is calling it – that’s the first movie that I’ve actually been pleased with the final product. I feel like this is a pretty sweet movie, all around. I couldn’t even give you a
favorite, because deep down I don’t really like any of them. Sorry.

[Ryan]: What’s with John Stamos?

[CS]: It’s really all for comedy. Like “ha ha, look, there’s a sight gag. Count how many times you can see Stamos in the background.” It came from one day I put Stamos in the background of a shot and there. It sprung out of Anal Paprika, the whole thing’s about this transient caveman retard who hates John Stamos. I was like “well, I have to get a picture of John Stamos, and wouldn’t it be funny to put it in a frame? wouldn’t it be funny to put it in the background?” So, it kind of sprung from Anal Paprika.

[Ryan]: What would you say is the average budget of your films?

[CS]: Average is about fifty bucks. When Tempe pays for the movies, it goes up to a couple of grand, but other than that we try to keep it real low. I really don’t have to spend money on things because we have so much, after doing this for so long, I tend not to throw to much away, so I keep a lot of things. SO I have the equipment, the body parts, we make the blood, so we really don’t have to spend too much money. The most we spend on is DV tapes and food for everybody, which is basically pizza or Taco Bell. Quest for the Egg Salad was the biggest disappointment, budget wise, ‘cause we spent like ten grand on that and it’s the worst piece of crap we’ve ever done. I hate the movie, I can’t stand that movie. I hope to never have to spend that much money again on something that I do personally.

[Ryan]: What’s filmmaking like in Rochester (New York)?

[CS]: I’m the only one out here doing what I’m doing, this type of independent horror filmmaking. There really isn’t a lot of it out here. Most of what’s going on out here is douche bag film students who spend six years on one movie and try their hardest to get someone to see it at a local festival or show it at a local theater. There’s too many people out here taking it way too serious, which sucks. Most of the people who know that I do this think that I’m making porn, or that it’s a waste of time. What do you do? You can’t please everybody. It can be tough to try to get people to be involved in this, because like I said most of the people out here take it way too serious and they would scoff at what I do, so you really have to find the rejects.

[Ryan]: What’s the “securing distribution process” like?

[CS]: It was all in who you knew. I wrote a bunch of scripts for projects I was going to do in ‘98, ‘99 or so, and I sent one of them, which was Anal Paprika to Trey Parker and Matt Stone, just because I have the attitude that it doesn’t hurt to send things out to anybody no matter how big they are. You’re either gonna get a response or you’re not gonna get a response, either way, it doesn’t hurt to fucking send you shit anyplace. So I sent it, and two months pass. I get a phone call from Matt Stone and Jason McHugh and I was like “wha?!?” I ejaculated in my pants, I was so excited. They said my stuff was pretty damn funny and I should be working with Troma. I was like “no fucking shit, why didn’t I think of that before?” I grew up loving Troma, Troma was a big influence on me. They said that they would send some of this stuff over to them, and after 40 minutes on the phone, that’s where the phone call was left: that they were going to send it to Troma. A few more months pass by and then Troma got a hold of me and said that we should be working together. I was making Anal Paprika 2 at the time, and I got Troma involved in that, and Troma got me involved in a lot of stuff they were doing. Promotional stuff for Terror Firmerand Citizen Toxie, and working on the ”Edge TV” TV show that they had rocking. I did a lot of camera work for them, and played Kabukiman a million and two times for them, and basically started working at the Troma building and not being employed at the Troma building. Doing anything Lloyd asked because he was doing so much for me. Then, I was getting Mulva: Zombie Ass Kicker prepped with this chick Missy, from Long Island, and Doug Sakmann who was head of production at Troma at the time and is now one of my really good friends, suggested getting Debbie Rochon involved. And then Debbie suggested getting Trent (Haaga) involved. So we got those two locked to be in Mulva. So we did Mulva, and Troma did a lot of promotion for that and got a lot of the zombies – they did a casting call for the zombies. I’m getting to a point here. So we made Mulva, and I took it home to Wellsville from Long Island and did a rough first go at the flick. Debbie wanted to see it, so I was like “all right,” so I sent her a VHS copy. She was just about to go do a Full Moon movie, with J.R. Bookwalter, and while she was out there she kept giving the VHS to everybody around the set. People, I guess, kept talking about it and were laughing at it and people thought it was hilarious, and then it got to J.R.’s hands. He saw it, and apparently he loved it, and I got a phone call from J.R. that basically said “if you don’t have any distribution for this, then I will take it in a heartbeat.” So that’s how that happened. It was all through knowing somebody. That was in the tail end of 2000.

[Ryan]: Where did “Filthy McNasty” come from?

[CS]: My brain. It was basically “hey, I’m gonna make another movie. What’s this movie gonna be called?” It was first called Boneappadie. That’s the original version, and we shot a whole movie as Boneappadie, and the demon in it was Phil. I created the world in Boneappadie basically ‘cause Lloyd said “you’ve made like 10 movies so far, none of it has been really extreme. Why don’t you do something really gross and disgusting?” I was like ”all right,” and that became Boneappadie, so I put a lot of sick shit in there. After watching Boneappadie, I was like “thins movie sucks – I want to remake it.” A couple of weeks later I re-tooled the script, and there is a line in Boneappadie where somebody calls somebody a “Filthy McNasty,” and I just re-titled the movie Filthy McNasty. I took some stuff out, and put some new stuff in, and we re-shot it. I asked Debbie to come up and do it, and Debbie came to do it, and that was Filthy McNasty.

[Ryan]: How did “Scream, Science Bastard, Scream!” happen?

[CS]: I had gotten an email in 2002 from this dude, Scott Phillips, and he was writing that he’d seen Mulva and Filthy and he loved it. Or maybe it was Quest, I’m not sure. But he loved the flicks and basically was just giving me compliments, giving me props for making some weird fucking shit. At the end of the email, he said “I don’t know if you know who I am, but I’ve made a couple of little movies” and he named off Cryptz and Horrorvision and then Drive, and that was the end of the email. But when I saw the name Drive I was like “wait a fucking minute” so I wrote him back. I was
like “thanks so much for digging my crap. This movie Drive wouldn’t be the Drive with Mark Dacascos and Kadeem Hardison, would it?” because if that’s that movie, I fucking love that movie. It was one of my favorite movies for a very time, I just thought it was a kick-ass flick. And he was like “yep, that’s me,” and I was like ”OH MY GOD!” and I flipped out, told him how much I loved it and we started talking on the phone. So back an forth, since 2002, Scott and I have been friends, and we’ve met up at conventions, and I’ve let him have some of my table at conventions, and we’ve been friends ever since. Last year he said that he was going to do a sequel to Science Bastard and that he would love for me to take a pass at it, to inject it with some comedy. And I said sure, but I was really fucking busy prepping Filthy 3 and Mulva 2, so I told him that I would do what I could. It ended up being 10 or 11 pages was all that I could do. So he took that 10 or 11 pages and I don’t know what he did with it. I don’t know how much of my stuff made it into the final flick, but I loved doing it. If I had the time I would do another Science Bastard, ‘cause it was a lot of fun.

[Ryan]: What’s coming soon from Chris Seaver?

[CS]: We’re doing this movie called The Karaoke Kid which is being used for a pitch film for studios. My friend Heidi Martinuzzi – she is the biggest LBP fan I’ve ever met and she is tireless in promotion us and supporting us – has all these connections to these studios. I’m writing and directing this Karaoke Kid movie and I’m giving her the finished product for her to do her thing, to either get them to buy the idea or get it re-made. So that’s one of the films we’re doing. I’m also doing a Troma movie which I’m officially announcing this weekend at one of the conventions. Lloyd asked if I would make a movie for Troma and I said yes, as long as I can write it and direct it and it would be like an LBP version of a Troma movie. So he gave me some guidelines as to what he wants in the film; not like story wise or dialogue wise, but certain elements that he wants in the film. I said “ok, I can do that,” so I’m going to be making this Troma movie. It’s a Kabukiman adventure for Troma that Lloyd is paying me to make. I just got the contract for that Saturday. So I’m doing that, Karaoke Kid, and I’m doing three more movies for J.R. so that he has some stuff to release from LBP in 2006 and 2007. So I’m doing Bonejack High 2 and I’m doing Son of McNasty and I’m doing a third Heather and Puggly movie, because he’s also going to take Heather and Puggly Drop a Deuce and Heather and Puggly Crucify the Devil and put it on a double feature disc, and the this third Heather and Puggly movie will be he last Heather and Puggly movie. So from now until next summer I’m doing six movies or so. That’s what’s going on with LBP. Hopefully things work out for The Karaoke Kid, because I’m getting tired of the whole same old characters and same old same old. I have so many ideas and The Karaoke Kid has nothing to do with LBP, it has nothing to do with any of the characters I’ve come up with, it’s strictly a vulgar little goofball comedy that pokes fun at The Karate Kid. It has the LBP crew in it, the same cast of all my people, but it’s completely different, which is something that I really want to do.

[Ryan]: Do you have anything else to add?

[CS]: I probably could but I’m not going to get into it. It’s just my views on the independent scene these days, but I know it would really piss off and make some people angry. I’ll keep that to myself,
I suppose.

Chris Seaver’s website: http://www.lowbudgetpictures.net

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s