Filmfanzine: Where did the idea come from?
Todd:: I was watching something on television where a group of people were on stage being hypnotized. They were all being asked to perform ridiculous acts that they would never do normally (or when they were sober). I then wondered what these people would say if they were asked to reveal something humiliating about themselves. Following that line of thinking, I wondered, what if one of these people actually admitted to murder?
Filmfanzine: How did you finance the project? What is the budget?
Todd:: We came up with a budget that we felt could be realistically obtained through a private group of investors made up of family and friends. And while we're not willing to give up the actual cost of the production, suffice to say we could not have done it without the help of Kodak, Universal Studios, Panavision, Hydroflex, and others. Although the film was made on a slim budget please do not confuse it with looking or feeling "low budget." because many of us were recent graduates of AFI (the American Film Institute) we had much support from vendors, crew, actors, locations and other established professionals. We were determined to put every dollar on the screen. We had an amazing crew, from our cinematographer and production designer to the camera operator and set painter. They gave us a polished, professional, beautiful looking film.
Filmfanzine: Why did you choose to shoot it in 35 mm? Did you consider doing it digitally?
Todd:: We NEVER considered doing it digitally. I'm very old fashioned that way. Even though the digital format has come a long way, there is still nothing to compare to the look and feel of film. Digital video still cannot provide the detail and richness of the deep blacks and highlights that film can. With digital video, there is a lack of contrast and other subtle midtones—details much needed to enhance the mood and image on the screen. There is a general misconception out there that it is easier and cheaper to shoot on video, but i disagree. An HD camera is extremely expensive. Instead of assistant camera operators with tape measures and grease pencils you need technicians with waveform monitors and numerous other devices. And because video does not have the latitude of film, it actually takes more lights, and therefore time and money, to light a scene for video. Of course, it IS cheaper if you want to just run around with your mini dv camera and shoot with any old available light source.
Filmfanzine: On what level do you see the suspense in Blood Deep? Will it be a slasher/gore film, or more a psychological horror film? Or both?
Todd:: Although i grew up in the 80's, the boon of the slasher genre, and even though i saw probably every gory slasher movie ever made during that time, i am still more drawn to the ones that use gore sparingly and scare you psychologically. To me, the original Halloween is the ultimate scary movie. Watch it again and you’ll notice there is actually very little blood. It's just so well made—from the directing to the photography to the editing—it comes off as this terrifyingly bloody movie. And that soundtrack is just awesome. Having said that, i also grew up a big fan of Tom Savini, Dick Smith and Rick Baker. I do appreciate a good gory scene with well-crafted and well-executed special effects. I'm a huge fan of monster movies, but it is distressing that so many of them these days rely on computer graphics to bring them to life. I mean what's scarier, the werewolf in An American Werewolf in London or the digital wolves in Cursed? And Rick Baker's werewolves, made 20 years ago, still look better. As a matter of fact, many years ago I used to sculpt and create prosthetics with our special fx make- up artist Richard Miranda. All of that said Blood Deep will be a mixture of both. If i did my job correctly then we won't have to rely on shocking the audience with an undue amount of blood and gore... but there are definitely bloody moments.
Filmfanzine: How did you work with the actors? Was it more improvised, or was it more strictly to the script, with rehearsals?