Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Interview With Keith Boron, Writer/Director Of "Murder Is Like Sex"

Have you ever been drunk at a bar and an argument over some film breaks out? When they break out, do you ever think to yourself, who the F are you to argue with me on this? I went to film school. I've made films. I've written screenplays. I know this shit... you're a plumber. If an argument about plumbing broke out, I wouldn't question you! So, why the hell is it that people who WATCH the occasional movie think they KNOW movies? I mean, I watch plumbing, but I don't claim to know shit about it. That's actually a stupid scenario and I think you know I'm kidding, but here's my point - there's a reason that plumbers, teachers and every other person out there has an opinion on film, they're passionate about it. And it's easy to be passionate about film, it's part of our lives. It's entertainment. It's modern day storytelling. People get sucked up into the world's that filmmakers create and they feel that they're a part of it. For some people, that passion simply starts and ends with being a viewer. For others, sitting on the couch isn't good enough - they need to create.

If you're reading this, chances are you're in the latter category. Maybe you've just scribbled a few notes and 'plan' on writing your opus... or maybe you've made 20 films. But, whatever you've done to this point, just watching isn't good enough for you. This is why I love the current state of the indie world. With inexpensive, powerful PC's and cheap equipment, almost anyone can get out there and make a film. If not for the money, just for the sake of getting off the couch and creating something. Films driven by passion. I recently had the opportunity to check out "Murder Is Like Sex", from Keith Boron, and it is one of those films. Keith made this feature film over two years on a shoe-string budget, plagued with setbacks. We had the pleasure of discussing the film with Keith and, after reading it, you'll see that he went through a lot of the same trials and tribulations that other micro cinema filmmakers go through, but he also went through some very unique setbacks. The film is definitely worth checking out, as it's a true product of passion and we're very happy to recommend it... and I also hope you take the time to read the interview.

First off, tell us a bit about yourself. What are your influences and what got you into indie horror?

I've always been interested in horror movies, but didn't really watch them until the mid-80's when they became widely available on videotape.

I didn't actually get involved in the production process until my friend Bill Schotten asked me to help out on his first feature, DEAD LIFE. This was back in the summer of 2002. Although my contribution to that film was minimal, I learned a lot by watching.

Film school: yes or no?


Tell us a bit about your film, “Murder Is Like Sex”

The title was inspired by what Dario Argento said in an interview about his movies. He said the murder scenes were like sex, because they start with foreplay (stalking), progress to the main action (attack on the victim), and end in climax (death).

In the case of my movie, it refers to the lead character (Kevin Wright). He hasn't had much success in dating women, which has caused a lot of fear and resentment. He repressed these feelings because they are hard to deal with. But the feelings eventually manifest themselves, and the movie tells us what happens when he has to deal with them.

What was the budget for the film, how long was the shoot and what did you shoot on?

I didn't keep track of the budget, but it was minimal. Other than Robyn Griggs, we got everything else for free.

We could only shoot on weekends. It was over a period of two years, but would have been considerably shorter if two things hadn't happened: first, one actress was almost never available during the early stages, then the other actress decided to quit on her last day of shooting. We wound up having to reshoot her entire part. Fortunately, we got Heather Summers, who did a fantastic job, even though she had never acted before.

We used a Panasonic DVX-100, which was one of the best consumer digital camcorders at that time, in film mode (24 fps).

I really liked the whole story and thought it was drawn out well. Talk about the screenwriting process and how you put the script together

Thanks, I am glad you enjoyed the story.

Although I wrote the screenplay, it was based on a novella that I co-wrote many years ago with my friend, Mike Petrucci. In it, a guy meets a beautiful woman who turns out to be a demon in disguise. She changes into another form near the end of the novella, but I decided not to include that in the movie, because to do it well would require expensive special effects. Also, I came up with the idea about how she was created by reading some literature from Tibet about tulpas, which are entities that can deliberately created by a person's mind. Some American paranormal researchers believe poltergeists are created in a similar way, except that the person responsible is not aware of doing it, like Kevin in the movie.

The film was far more driven by the story than by sex or violence… even though the story could’ve lent itself to having some excessive sex and violence. Was this intentional?

Definitely. The story always comes first - although if we had more money, there probably would have been more sex and violence.

What were your goals when putting the film together? Was this something that you put together for the sake of just getting a feature done or were you always intending to get it distributed?

I was just hoping to get noticed by the indie movie scene. Unfortunately, after shooting, a couple of the members of my crew decided that the movie belonged to them, and took the necessary legal steps to accomplish this. I didn't find out until it was too late, so I lost control of the movie at that time.

How is distribution going? Talk a bit about the process of getting distribution and is there anything you would pass on to other indie filmmakers?

I have no idea. I set up the meeting between the distributor and the members of the company, but I wasn't there when they signed the contract. I noticed that they had never put the movie on IMDB, so I submitted the basic data (title, director, etc) for them. The distributor thanked me, but the company sent me an e-mail saying that they were upset that I had set up the IMDB page without their permission.

My advice is to always be aware of your business and legal status regarding any movie you participate in.

Where can people find out more about “Murder Is Like Sex” or, better yet, buy a copy?

I normally wouldn't promote something that was stolen from me, but since I think J.R. Bookwalter is a good guy, go to the Tempe Video website and buy it there.

What’s next for you? Any more projects in the works?

My Parkinson's Disease, which started back in '96, is so severe now that it really limits what I can do. I have started another screenplay, though.

Also, Tempe Video is releasing "The Brass Ring", which is a documentary on the making of "Dead Life". I'm in that, and one of the extras is "The Man With The Talking Body" , a 2008 short that I wrote and acted in. Check their site for more details.

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