Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. I like these AUTOMATON TRANSFUSION guys. Actually, I like any filmmakers out there busting ass to do things themselves, and one of the things I’ve always enjoyed about working here at AICN is the opportunity we have to give a worldwide platform to indie filmmakers. Weresmurf, one of our Australian correspondents, obviously feels the same way, and here’s the second half of his interview with the team behind the movie.
Heya guys, I’m back as promised! Or as threatened, depending on your point of view… So here we have the second half of the interview for Automaton Transfusion, it’s with the director, Steven Miller, quite a nice guy actually… and hopefully my boy and I will get the chance to appear in AT 2 and 3 as zombies!!! Wouldn’t that just kick so much ass!?! I apologise for the second part being so far spread out from the first, to those two of you who read the first one… my emails been buggering up so Mori didn’t receive it til the last 24 hours. But the GREAT news is I’m finally on broadband! So no more email worries and vocal interviews are coming! So on with it! Subject: Automaton Transfusion interview 2 of 2 Victim : Steven Miller : Director of Automaton Transfusion The Weresmurf: First of all… the name ‘Automaton Transfusion’, for the uneducated (yes yes that’s me…), what exactly does it refer to in the movie, or is it like one of the old 80s movies ala BLUE STEEL where the title just sounds cool but doesn’t really reflect anything in the movie? Steven: The title has more to do with the Franchise as a whole rather than the first film. The Weresmurf: Australia in the last few years had it’s own little quirky ‘zombie’ movie in the form of Undead. We’re rather proud of what the Spierigs pulled off with our own little ‘Outback undead flick’, it showed what can be done on a low budget and a lot of imagination. How was it for you working with such a low budget, limited resources and a mountain of a task ahead of you? How did you cope and were there any times you felt the project just might not make it to release? Steven: The big difference between ‘AT’ and other low budget films, is ours was REALLY REALLY low. Haha. I mean we shot the film for 30 grand in a matter of 9 days. As a first time Director it was the most challenging and most exciting undertaking I could have chosen. With NO money, you really have to look to everyone for support. I had an amazing crew, who I completely owe my life to. Working 18 hours a day and moving from location to location in crazy weather was very exhausting, but everyone on set was always upbeat and having a good time. I never once thought we wouldn’t get this thing finished. The Weresmurf: Using Undead as a template again, it brought something rather original to the zombie genre, Alien interference via a meteor shower bringing the zombie plague with it and the subsequent rain washing it off and cleaning the infected… It did it, I thought, rather well. Do you think Automaton Transfusions story brings anything new? Or does it alternatively, borrow from a lot of other sources and try to improve on whats already been like a lot of movies do? (FYI that’s not a bad thing at all people. Look at 28 Days Later… running Zombies were around 20 years before that in Return of the living dead…) Steven: As a HUGE fan of horror/zombie flicks and comic books, I definitely nit picked from other films that I loved, but I think AT has its own life force. The concept behind AT is very simple and helps keep the pacing of the film at high speed. I wanted to make and action movie and still stay grounded in my horror roots. This isn’t a ‘hold up in one spot’ type zombie film. This film is all over the place with some crazy action and lots of gore! Most Indie horror films are ‘Wide Shot Theater’ and always look like they were shot on video. That is where I think AT stands on its own. YES it was shot on DV, but I was able to find a way to attach 35mm lenses to the end of the DVX100a , which allowed me to really focus on Depth Of Field and it looks fantastic! Even though the film was shot so rapidly, I think older fans of horror films will appreciate the choice of shots and the younger crowd is going to love the kinetic energy of the film. The Weresmurf: When I was young, it didn’t matter what kind of movie we watched in the horror genre, for some reason, Zombie movies always scared the shit out of us the most. Although I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Freddy for giving me nightmares for a year at age 8, I’ll always love and yet hate Romero for putting the fear of god into me about a zombie holocaust happening when I was around 10 or so. For you, obviously being a movie director, was it this kind of fear that affected you as well? Did it drive you to become a director? Did it have ANY kind of impact? Steven: My first horror film was EVIL DEAD 2 at the age of 7 in my friends basement. I really don’t remember watching the movie as much as I remember watching my friends reaction to this amazing flick. The way it made him jump, laugh, and get amped was all I needed to realize what I wanted to do. I wanted to cause those kinds of reactions out of people and so I started watching every horror film, comic, and game I could get my hands on. That year I also received my first camcorder and thus started my obsession with making films. The Weresmurf: Filler question time : Of all the consoles being released are you an Xbox360, PS3 or Nintendo Wii man? Or are you like me and want all 3? (I own a 360, but I just cant bring myself to sell my firstborn to afford a ps3!!!) Steven: The XBOX 360 is my jam! I could play ‘Gears of War’ till I pass out from some weird kind of video game disease. Actually, Jamey Scott, the sound designer and composer on AT did all the sound design for ‘Gears of war’. His sounds are so intense and the game just blows my face off! I doubt ill get all into the PS3 for the simple fact that I like my xbox and it seems pointless to change the formula if its still working. The Weresmurf: Talking to Jeff Reddick, he had an absolute hard on (sorry for the term lol), like I do, for 70s/80s style horror. We both seemed to agree more or less that horror in the last 15 years lost a lot of its shine. How do you stand on that? Would you agree or would you say it’s a case of wearing Rose colored glasses? Steven: I completely agree with that statement. Horror has a funny way of reinventing itself constantly. The late 70’s and early 80’s was horror at its best! Then its seemed like it went into this drought and almost died had it not been for ‘Scream’, which really got studios back in the ballgame. The problem till recently is Hollywood was too nervous to take chances on horror films, but I think that is slowly changing. Recent movies like ‘High Tension’ and ‘The Decent’ have really shown Hollywood that horror movies are back. Horror is such a great genre with infinite possibilities; I think its only going to get better. The Weresmurf: Where do you personally want to take yourself in the horror genre. Do you want to dabble in the big leagues, getting a bigger budget, making a more expensive movie, taking bigger risks, or are you more content to stay in the minor leagues, smaller budgets with a more ‘guerilla’ approach to movie making? Steven: With the ever increasing popularity of the Indie film, most people would probably say stay in the indie realm because Hollywood knows nothing about making good films, but I disagree. If Indie Filmmakers like myself who love making movies would step up into the ‘Big Leagues’ then we can change the way Hollywood makes flicks. So I defiantly want to make bigger scale films and make a bigger social impact. The Weresmurf: Automaton Transfusions plot in less than 30 words… go for it! Steven: The Government made a serum that brings dead back to life and the worlds hope lies with four High School Seniors who have geared up to kick some Zombie ASS! Note: Spot on 30!!!! Way to go Steve! The Weresmurf: I once read an article, where a director said that every director should be able to criticize their own movie before criticizing others. If you had one criticism to share with the general public about Automaton, what would it be? Steven: The biggest criticism for me is the character development. With NO money and so little time to shoot this, I really felt the first film just needed to make a statement. A statement to Hollywood like: “Hey this is what I did with nothing, now give me a real budget and ill show you something even more impressive.” My thought from the beginning was to get people really into this because of the style and horror elements, then get the proper budget and time for the next installment to blow peoples minds even farther. The Weresmurf: Tell me three things you hope to improve in the eventual (hopeful if its successful when released) sequel(s)? Steven: 1.Character Development 2.Shoot on film and 3.More naked girls The Weresmurf: I live in Australia, where we wait forever and a day to get horror movies above all else released (Well, we don’t see much porn here, seeing as it’s banned at all… except in Canberra incidentally the capital of Australia and home of all our politicians… hmmm coincidence?) Any news you can share about an overseas release date? Steven: There is no news yet about the overseas release date. We have offers from LionsGate, Ghost House, The Weinstein Company, and Fox Atomic. All are great companies and now its time to choose and let the world get a taste of the Transfusion. The Weresmurf: What does the future bring for Mr Miller, what’s up next and can you fly me out to be a zombie in Automaton 2 if it happens??? seriously, I’ll even bring my 3 year old son to be a junior zombie! (I have no shame… I have no shame… Seriously I have no shame…) Steven: Well I do have some things in the works. Tom Desanto (producer of X-Men, X-men 2, and Transformers) has jumped on board to co-write and Produce the next installments of ‘Automaton Transfusion’, so that’s a HUGE thing for me! I also have a few other projects I am trying to get off the ground including a Werewolf film and another horror film I’m working on with comic book mastermind Geoff Johns. AND YES! You bring your kids and I’ll bring my daughter. Us horror kids should always have no shame! The Weresmurf: It’s been an absolute pleasure interviewing you Steve, I hope Automaton takes off and does well, all the best for the future and we’ll catch up after Automaton is released. Do you have any final words for everyone out there? Steven: Final words… Just want to thank EVERYONE who supported me and the film for the past year and I hope everyone sees that this is just the beginning and there is FAR more gory times to come…Who Needs A Drink?! The Weresmurf: I do. JD and coke. On the rocks. Stirred, not shaken. With a Lamborghini on the side… Steven : Thanks for the great questions! Ok, there’s an old saying that ‘No man is an island’, which I believe, roughly means that everyone gets help or something like that. I’d like to say thanks to those who’ve helped me so far. Jeff Reddick, you’ve been a brilliant source of contacts and getting to know you has been a blast so far, Matt Folwell from Zombie Nation (shameless plug I know) has helped me with a bit of contact info, and without his help, well, half of this wouldn’t have happened either. Last but not least, the guys at AICN for publishing my ramblings! So that’s it for the AT interviews… I will hopefully be interviewing some more people very soon, so stay tuned guys!!! If you wanna check out the myspace page for Automaton Transfusion, CLICK HERE!! Weresmurf out! p.s. Monki… no reply???? Whatsa matter, up in the tree playin with yer coconuts???