Thursday, February 24, 2011

Interview: Ryan Arnold

In my ever growing series of people involved in the movies I write about contacting me, I got an email from a dude named Ryan Arnold. He told me he was involved with a little project called "Gothic Girls AKA Good Girls Don't Sleep In Coffins", a movie I reviewed way back in 2006. Much like people who experience terrible things, I never forgot this movie and the instant he mentioned this movie, the flashbacks began.

I explain in the review how I came across this movie but the short version if you don't feel like reading the review is some dude named (try not to laugh at this) "Flint Martini" (Ok, laugh) emailed me saying he made this movie and I should review. He sent it to me and I reviewed it, giving my honest opinion. He emailed me one last time saying "Harsh" and I never heard from him again. I only assumed he killed himself due to my scathing review.

All these years later, Ryan emails me and tells me he not only was in the movie but he helped write, direct, produce, cater, make up, and even lived in the apartment the movie was filmed. Before we get to the interview, he had some things to share with me about the movie itself.

First off, let me start with a little background, on how I came to know Flint Martini.

I was working at Starbucks at the time. Actually, that was my day job as I was also pursuing an acting carrier and was doing a fair bit of shitty projects for little more than free food and more footage for my reel. Anyway, Flint started working at Starbucks and we had a lot in common. Namely we liked goth / industrial music, underground comic books, horror films, all the kinds of crap that kids who aren't good at sports are into.

At the time Aaron had been doing a lot of AD work for a company called Full Moon Productions. Namely, he had worked for several weeks on Witch House 3, a film so lame it doesn't even have a wikipedia, but I assume you know the drill, shot on digi-vid, bunch of chicks running around taking showers and getting killed.

Anyway, the guys at Full Moon had a great set up. Basically, they'd churn out these videos about one every two months. Then they'd sell the digital video file to Blockbuster and Best Buy. In the case of blockbuster they'd just print out the disc and pay a flat rate for the filims. Something like 10 Grand. For Best buy they'd press the discs in sort of an on demand "just in time" distribution fashion and pay Full Moon something like 2 to 3 bucks per disc sold.

Then Full Moon would print their own discs and take some of the chicks to horror conventions to sign the discs and they'd make a pretty good haul on that. So Flint decided he could do the same and started working on a script. He knew some actors who were (according to him) "big in the b movie scene" who were eager to star in the film. Basically his idea was to pay these guys and then get a bunch of our buddies (mostly other starbucks employees) to act as extras and such. I read the script which was about 30% finished at the time and was super excited.

I had heard of some of the Full Moon films and the talent that was on board seemed solid, "what could go wrong?" I thought.

Oh, lots. Anyway, onto the Questions!

Jason: Please tell me "Flint Martini" isn't his real name? If so, I have some parents to kill.

Ryan: Flint's real name is Aaron Brown. Aaron is an old school punk rocker. One of those guys who hangs out at goth clubs in jeans and always pulls the hottest chicks just by doing his little dance. He's a snake oil sales man of the highest degree. While living in Florida he worked at an old folks home. This was the inspiration for a short lived underground comic book called "Code Brown" which was basically about a group of old geezers who lived in an old folks home and had a punk band. Aaron wrote several songs and even played gigs as the band in Florida. The songs were actually pretty good. Much better than his goth band "Condition of Gloom" which was basically just a Joy Division cover band. The original idea for Gothic Movie was that it was going to star actual old guys, but that proved hard to cast so the band Code Brown turned into guys who dressed up like old dudes for some weird reason.

Aaron excels at doing things just enough to seem legitimate and then let's his charm and bullshit push him the rest of the way through. He is now married to a high powered lawyer chick so he has even more time to pursue his schemes that will eventually lead him to fame and fortune.

Jason: Exactly how long did filming take? I have a bet that was 48 hours or less.

Ryan: I wish. We started filming this thing in Feb of 2003 and did not wrap on it until something like July. I eventually stopped being involved. The thing was that the script kept changing and actors kept dropping out so we had to reshoot these terrible scenes over and over. We eventually got kicked out of our apartment and that put the movie on hold for a while during our relocation. The shooting was brutal. No planning, just Aaron setting up lights and smoking and then we'd be sitting there for hours waiting until he was ready. We'd shot something then do it all over. I'd say we shot about 5 mintues a weekend tops. The other thing was that Aaron was basically going around to clubs and stuff talking about his movie and then some dude would say "oh I do card tricks" or something and Aaron would say, "that's fucking great! we need to film that!" and then we'd lose a day so he could film something that wasn't even in the script and made even less sense than the rest of the crap.

Jason: Please, please, PLEASE explain to me the final shot where you look into the camera, then slam two beers.

Ryan: During my college days my actor buddies and I would have fairly brutal schedules, along the lines of 7AM to 12PM (I'm assuming he means midnight-Jason) with classes and rehersals and such. We had this ritutal where we'd head straight to the fridge and pound two beers exactly like that after a long day. I don't know why, it was just funny I guess. Bunch of guys guzzling down beers. Stupid really. Anyway, after a long day of shooting I did it just to blow off steam and Aaron thought it was hilarious, he figured that's how Das Helmut would end a day of minion fighting. I guess. Like the rest of the film there is no good reason for it, it's just there because Aaron though it'd be cool.

Jason: The chick that played Suzy, do you have her email address? I liked her. A lot.

Ryan: She's married now with a kid, but you can friend her on Facebook, I'm sure she'd get a kick out of hearing from a "fan". (I won't link to her Facebook, out of respect to her privacy. Me? I'm friending the hell out of her!-Jason)

Jason: You mentioned in your email that you helped "Flint" write (or "write") this movie. Who wrote which scenes?

Ryan: Well I helped him "finish" the scenes. There is a lot of unscripted shit in there that he just put in there, but when I got the script we got it up to the part where the guys get there and Bad Kitty explians what she's going to do to them. I pretty much wrote the scene between Bad Kitty and Suzie towards the end as well as the scenes with Mutt, Helmut and the "ritual" scenes. A lot of the scenes were just outlines and for the most part I was the "acting coach" so I'd be like, "ok say something like this" and Aaron would just shoot it. That is for the time I was invovled. Eventually it became obvious that the thing was going to be a total piece of shit and not going anywhere. I was like, you get one more weekend with me and then I'm done. That's when we filmed all the stuff with the fight scene and the end, after that I basically left Aaron to his own devices.

Jason: The scene where someone is talking to a pizza delievery guy, was that a real pizza delievery guy that you/Flint convinced to be in the movie? If so, how?

Ryan: You noticed that. OK. Well, the Pizza Delivery guy was actually the guy who was originally going to play the virgin character. We filmed a bunch of scenes with him and he was just too boring. Unfortunately that scene was the only one with Trent Hagga (before he realized what was going on and dropped out). Aaron needed to include Trent in the cast so he could sell the thing as legitimate so we reshot a scene where one of the minions goes "it's the pizza guy" or something stupid and then shoved that scene in there. Ridiculous.

Jason: This is just a favor. The dudes that were in the horrible masks the entire movie, please punch them for me.

Ryan: I will the next time I see them. Actually, I was in the mask several times, so I'll punch myself. I guess if you didn't realize that was me then my acting is better than I thought.

Super mucho thanks to Ryan for being a great sport, even after finding out the chick who played Bad Kitty is his wife in real life. If you read the review, you see I didn't say too many nice things about her. Oops.

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