On The Set of the
Horror Thriller “Sanctuary”
(All photos copyright 2010-2011 Nice Wonder
Films unless otherwise noted some Photos courtesy of Dan Reid set
photographer and is copyright Dan Reid and used with permission. We also
have some screen captures right from the film! With some exclusive first
looks at the Demon’s in the film)
Horror, action, suspense, comedy and so many sub –genre combined creates
many different entertaining results. The film process from screenplay,
script, to audition often takes a small army. From hiring actors to
film, crew from so many different departments all combining together to
create a cinematic vision.
The stress of filming and keeping things on schedule, combined with
unexpected events such as an actor or actress suddenly having an illness
can set things back and make the stress high on set. While the right
film crew and dynamics can make the whole process much easier, some egos
can cause the process to be a living hell. When it all clicks for the
collective vision of the finish product, it shows on screen.
My time on the film set of “Sanctuary” was
a mixed bag; some times, it was nice and easy. Sometimes it was
difficult, more often than not due to dropped communication concerning
scheduling it was a stressful time. Night shoots are perhaps the hardest
in my opinion. The cast and crew where incredibly resilient in their
efforts and professionalism, even when every one was dog tired.
As most will attest though, to any production, the crew and actors over
time, form almost a family because you spend so much time together.
These where great people to work with and I would work with them on
another project, just because they are on it, that would sell it to me.
After working with stage combat for over 20 years, I was surprised at
almost dropping the ball. Most of my students where 100 miles from
production, so I could not get any one very quickly to come on set. The
flub was due to scheduling, and my surprising lack of foresight.
Long before production even started, it was explained, I wanted to be on
set for my part as fight/stunt coordinator. Here was my schedule when I
am available, assurances where made and there had been some times that
it was not followed through. Along the line for one evening of filming,
I had to use one of my students to watch over some of the stunts. All
went well thankfully, since I did find out a few days ahead that
scheduling had to change due to production needs.
It just goes to show that when being a part of such a massive
undertaking, it is best to be flexible. With all my years of experience,
I never considered having an assistant ready to be back up as needed. On
film or any production, there may be times that the staff and talent
have to be fluid and ready to go into a different schedule to get things
done because of something unexpected. One may argue that part of pre
production is getting the schedule down, and getting everything in a
The actors and actresses I had worked with
over and over in rehearsal on the fights and stunts, all did spectacular
work at delivering intense performances…while keeping with my safety
directions on how to deliver the fights. It was a true pleasure to work
on a film again rather than a live show. I do enjoy both, and either one
has its challenges. During a live show, you get one shot at making it
right. With film, you can tweak things and reshoot if needed. However,
you have to be ready to get it in one or two takes so as not to waste
time. In film especially, time is money.
Who influenced me over time concerning stunts and stage combat? Growing
up I really enjoyed Bennie Dobbins work. The guy did everything from
western style horse stunts, to high falls and car stunts and of course
what I specialize in, action and fight sequences. From the 1950’s on to
the late 1980’s some of his action set pieces are just iconic. Bennie
was stunt coordinator for such films as 48 hours and Commando. The other
influence for me is Jackie Chan in making a scene more than what it is,
using unexpected things to make it more interesting…I use that
philosophy more on the live action stage combat shows I do, sometimes in
film as well. Over the years, I have learned so much from people that
have become dear friends and teachers.
Such folks as Roy Cox, way- back when I was
younger he was my first experience working under a stunt coordinator,
Later Patrick Johnson, I learned a lot from Pat. Such as not just doing
the fight or action, but also bringing character out in the action
Then also, my dear friend Dean Chandler Bowden, Dean and I worked up
through the years doing many live shows, I think he was like 15 or 16
when he first did a fight on the human combat chessboard at a live show.
Over the years, Dean also became a stunt coordinator/director and I
learned from him a lot about being more patient with things I had no
control over, rather than bluster and be frustrated. I will never forget
that. Dean is wonderful to work with; he is a spectacular fight
coordinator. From his theatre and film background, he sees the big
picture and brings it all into focus in the performers.
Speaking of character, Gary Conner is
another friend and is spectacular when it comes to interactive comedy. I
wish I could do half of what he does off the top of his head with improv
acting. He is a true force of nature when it comes to improv acting.
Now for my time working on this Horror film “Sanctuary”, I had such a
great time. Who would not want to work on a Horror film? A well designed
and presented horror film plays on those deep dark hidden fears in the
human psychology, evoking a visceral response at a particularly well
done shocking finale.
Speaking to the very talented writer, Josh Ingle.
Impulse Gamer: Can this be considered Reaper 2.0?
Josh Ingle: No way. I love Reaper, and will finish it as soon as school
lightens up, but I made Reaper at a much earlier stage in my filmmaking
education. The final Reaper product will look like an extremely good
amateur film. Sanctuary will look completely professional. At most,
Sanctuary is a spiritual successor to Reaper, since both are suspense
films set in a fictional universe, taking place almost exclusively at
night. It’s a subgenre in which I like to write.
Impulse Gamer: On set, there had been times you where a whirlwind of
rewrites, is there a point at which the process ends and what is on the
page is on the page? When is that for you?
Josh Ingle: Different screenwriters deal with this issue in different
ways. But for me, nothing is final until it’s on the screen. On bigger
Hollywood productions, last minute script changes could have severe
financial and logistical repercussions. They still can on a smaller
budget, but if you can rewrite something without those repercussions,
and it will make the film better, there’s no reason not to do the
rewrites, even if you’re filming the scene the very next day.
Impulse Gamer: When did you start the script for “Sanctuary”?
Josh Ingle: We’d been talking about the idea for years, but I finally
wrote a script in April 2010, just three months before we started
shooting. Needless to say, I did nothing else for those three months
besides polishing the script.
Impulse Gamer: Was it a tough sell to get Reid Nicewonder to do this
film? What did you do to present it?
Josh Ingle: I got the idea for Sanctuary in 2007 (a year after we
finished Reaper). The story was really rough, but I spent a few hours
one night telling it to Reid, who liked it. We were busy with Generation
Why, so we shelved the idea, and were ready to pick it back up in 2010.
Impulse Gamer: What was it like seeing the characters come to life from
Josh Ingle: That’s always the best part. Seeing Blake, or Fedor, or
anyone else in makeup and wardrobe for the first time. It’s an honor for
something that began in your imagination to be fully realized on screen
- not many people get that opportunity. I’m extremely fortunate, and
Impulse Gamer: You have directed as well as acted, and screenplay
writing is in the mix too, what do you like about each? What do like
least about each?
Josh Ingle: Writing is nearest to my heart. I love creating fictional
worlds and characters which examine elements of the real world in unique
ways. Writing is probably the most difficult, because you can keep
writing forever and never know when it’s good enough to put into
production. I’m a perfectionist, so at some point I have to convince
myself it’s good enough. (Or I run into a time deadline, which is
usually the case.)
Directing is the most rewarding, but it’s also the most stressful.
Directors are under so much more pressure than anyone realizes.
Acting is the most fun. It can be very intense, depending on the role,
but I think it’s very freeing, especially compared to directing. You can
get completely out of your head, and have some fun. It’s difficult to
find actors who will both take their work seriously, and not beat
themselves up over it. There’s a comfortable median between relaxation
and professionalism when it comes to acting. The only downside of acting
is that you never know what quality of project you’ll end up on. You
could go through this strenuous audition process and wind up being
directed by some hack who has no clue what he’s doing. I tend to stick
with writing and directing because of that factor, but when the
opportunity comes along to act in a good project, I jump at the chance.
Impulse Gamer: You had been very easy to present ideas to regarding
scenes. The film process is very collaborative, from writer, director,
camera director, actors/actresses, stunt coordinator…do you think this
process brings out the best in the film, and why?
Josh Ingle: Collaboration absolutely brings out the best in any film.
When ego gets involved, it invariably leads to a breakdown of trust, and
the film suffers for it. We certainly had some difficulties on
Sanctuary, but overall we had a good thing going. I know a lot of us are
planning to work together again.
Impulse Gamer: When it came to the action, the Stunt Coordinator
suggested even ramping the action towards brutal in a certain scene
involving a rape. A touchy subject no matter how you present it. Some
people felt uneasy about it, you backed the coordinator up. The scene
was intense and closed set during its filming. Tell us about that scene.
Josh Ingle: Sanctuary is rated R, and it explores some mature themes.
You don’t want to go too over the top, or you risk alienating your
audience, but on the other hand, you don’t what to have X character just
blabbing about how he just raped someone. That would be bad exposition.
Rape is terrible when it occurs in reality, but in fiction, you have to
get away from that disgust, and ask yourself what is best for the story
you’re trying to tell. If that involves a scene depicting the beginnings
of a rape, it would be self-censorship to not go for it. You just have
to be sure to get other people on board who have similar sentiments.
Impulse Gamer: What was your favorite moment during filming?
Josh Ingle: For all the cool action, cinematography, and underwater
shooting that took place, my favorite moment happened during the first
night of reshoots. So much had gone wrong, and for a while, we were not
even sure, if we could finish the film, then things seemed to go okay
during that first night of reshoots. We all hugged and caught up with
each other, and the scene scheduled for that night was this scene in
which the two leads play piano together. Since Michael could not play
piano, Marco - our director of photography, who is quite proficient at
piano - served as Michael’s hand double. Therefore, John Heppe was at
the camera, and Reid said action, and we watched and listened as Marco
and Allie sat side by side, playing this deep, dark piano duet, written
by Paul Stoughton. The music washed over everyone in the room, and we
were like statues mesmerized by this surreal beauty which was suddenly
in front of us. When Marco and Allie finished, we all looked at each
other in awe. It was a small moment compared with the rest of the
production, but it really brought us back together after our two-month
break. After that scene, there was a feeling that everything was back as
it should be, and we were definitely going to finish the film.
Reid Nicewonder directed the film, and he
has an easygoing style. Anyone doing any kind of directing work knows
that acting in film is demanding in a technical way. Sometimes for an
actor, also the least rewarding in regards to the process, in film they
often shoot out of sequence and may even shoot an ending first. Imagine
having to give just as much as an emotional performance even though,
they may not have even seen or acted the scenes leading up to it.
While in theatre or a live show, there is one steady flow from scene to
scene. Let me tell you, on the film set before the actors and or stunt
folks get up and even before the camera start shooting, there is a lot
of waiting around while the crew gets things like lighting just right
for the shot. So, it is very different than a live show. The result of
good lighting and spectacular cinematography cannot be stressed enough,
and the people working camera and lighting where good at what they did.
Marco Cordero director of photography was behind the camera for the film
shoot. Marco is a study of calm and masterful mind of a cinematographer.
Measuring the lighting and the angles and knowing his shots either ahead
of time or on the fly when a technical shot needed to be figured out
right at the moment before cameras started.
I got the chance to interview several
people from the production staff, and even the actors of “Sanctuary” for
this article, first up the very talented Director Reid Nicewonder of
Impulse Gamer: What is your favorite part of making a movie?
Reid Nicewonder : Beginning when I was around nine years old, I found it
fascinating to shoot video with my Dad's camera. This interest
eventually led to filmmaking as a hobby. Now after graduating from film
school, I hope to make it my career. As for my favorite part about
making a movie, they say a movie gets made three times – in
pre-production, production, and post-production. I would have to say my
favorite is production. During this time, everything planned for gets
set into motion and the movie comes to life. Your cast and crew come
together and the cameras roll. Every day I get to satisfy my
Impulse Gamer: What was your most
embarrassing moment, ever?
Reid Nicewonder : This happened back in late 2009. I was on a set for a
friend of mine's capstone shoot working as a steadicam operator. The
action was two men run out of a building down a street. One man chasing
the other, I would be in front of them both shooting the action
backwards as I ran forwards. I'd done this type of thing many times
before. Even on the day, this happened around the sixth take. What
happened had to run faster and faster on each successive take, I managed
to fall flat on my face while filming the shot with thousands of dollars
worth of equipment going down with me. I came out of it with just a few
scrapes, but I broke the DP's brand new monitor which was rigged next to
the camera (we didn't have the right cables to use the steadicam's
monitor). In other words, it was bad. I now hate cobbled stone roads.
Impulse Gamer: You had a diverse crew
(Assistant Director, Sound Mixer, Gaffer, Director of Photography, Stunt
Coordinator, Production Designer, Wardrobe, and Makeup) on this film.
Tell us how you decided on each individual and why.
Reid Nicewonder: For the most part, I chose my crew because I already
knew them. I had worked with them before so I knew they could do their
jobs well before they even started. This was the reason for our DP,
assistant director, gaffer, and stunt coordinator. The rest we found
Impulse Gamer: What do you love most about
Reid Nicewonder: I love working with the people. Film is a collaborative
art form. Just making something with others and being apart of something
greater than your self is really fulfilling. Directing this film is the
hardest thing I have ever done but it never felt like work.
Impulse Gamer: What do you not like about filmmaking?
Reid Nicewonder: I do not care for the business side of things. Funding
and selling are just stressful. Marketing is not too bad.
ImpulseGamer: You have a very reserved laid-back style on set. Have you
ever lost that calm working on a project? What caused it?
Reid Nicewonder: Not yet, no. No matter what, it is only a movie. I do
not know what it would take to make me upset.
Impulse Gamer: What attracted you to
Reid Nicewonder: In late 2009 my roommate Josh, the writer
of Sanctuary, simply asked what kind of movie I would make if I could. I
said without hesitation, "A horror movie." He excitedly responded
"Really?” ”Me too!” We had both never done anything like that. We were
eager for the challenge, drama is cool and all, but genre movies are
just so much fun.
Impulse Gamer: What was your most memorable
moment during filming?
Reid Nicewonder: My most memorable moment was during the night we we're
shooting out in the front of our main high-rise location. It involved a
character finally seeing the danger that surrounds her. There was some
action during the shot; many wind effects, some lighting gags. It was
intense. We decided to roll on the first practice take and when we did,
I will never forget it. I was uncontrollably smiling the entire time.
The shot looked amazing.
Impulse Gamer: When are we going to get to see the finished Movie?
Reid Nicewonder: The movie will be finished by the fall of 2011 this
year. I hope that you will see it in festivals soon after that,
ultimately online by 2012.
Next, I spoke with Addison Bryan the producer for the film….
Impulse Gamer: How did you get started in film work?
Addison Bryan: I would like to say that my love for film did not begin
in the cliché' way, but it did. I always had a camera in my hand and was
always making short films with my best friend in the neighborhood. I did
not think I could harness that into something productive until my 2nd
year at USF where I was studying engineering at the time. Staying home
for college was essential to save money and USF did not offer a film
program, not did I think my family would be too supportive if I pursued
it somewhere else. I found UCF's program online and took a leap of
faith, telling them that this is where I wanted to transfer too, and
film is where I wanted to be. They supported every step of the way and I
was on my way to Orlando. Many students just get their education in the
classroom, get good grades and move on, but I wanted to make an impact
and get connections so I tried working on as many student projects as I
could. Moved from production assistant, up the ranks, met many great
people and the rest is history.
Impulse Gamer: You wore many hats on the production of "Sanctuary" what
was the hardest part and why?
Addison Bryan: Being the person that EVERYONE came to for his or her
answers took a lot of getting used to. I am used to following directions
and getting the job done, but playing the role of the "answer man"
producer was extremely difficult and I learned more on one set than I
will in the rest of my days in the film industry. I felt as if I should
never let anyone down in that position, but it is just not possible and
so I gained a lot of confidence after the first go around, so when it
came to the re-shoots I was much more prepared.
Impulse Gamer: It seems you are a multi
talented person. You even recorded some of the sound while filming. How
important is it for a filmmaker to have knowledge in so many aspects in
filming and why?
Addison Bryan: The knowledge to understand what your crew needs and how
they are feeling is essential to run a positive and productive set. The
more experience you have in the different fields of filmmaking, the
better. If you need to take over someone's job, or you need to provide
guidance, you have the confidence that you are giving them the right
information to get the job done, as if you were doing it yourself.
Impulse Gamer: How did you get involved with "Sanctuary" and why did you
choose to do this project?
Addison Bryan: Reid and Josh (director and writer) both came to me with
this idea and we had a round table discussion about what each of our
respective jobs would entail, along with developing the idea into
something concrete. I wanted to do this project because the three of us
had always discussed the possibility of creating a feature film on top
of the web series that we have done.
We all thought it would be an adventure and we knew it would be tough,
but with our experience, we could pull it through and be proud of such
an accomplishment. The project was very ambitious and not the typical
film college students would even touch as their first movie but we
jumped in headfirst and it turned out to be a landmark, life-changing
Impulse Gamer: Being film students and in
school still, it is said that film students don't do such large
projects, while still in class. How difficult was the project? Would you
do anything different?
Addison Bryan: Film school was definitely looking out for us, but I
think everyone needs to have an experience like this, to open their
eyes. Everyone I talked to on set said they too learned more on this set
than they have on any previous films, whether it was good or bad. There
are definitely things I would have done differently looking back on it
and many of the changes are common sense that I just never thought would
be a factor. For our web series, Generation Why, we were used to 4 hour
days, working on one episode and the cast and crew comes over, we shoot
it and everyone goes home.
This was 30 straight days of intense 7pm-7am night shoots, away from
home, and everyone living in cramped quarters because of limited
funding. Any philosophies we had for our series would have to eventually
fly out the window and we would just hold on for the ride. We had the
most amazing and resilient cast and crew that anyone could ask for, so
when had our hand forced to operate a specific way, they rolled with the
changes brilliantly and I cannot thank them enough for that.
Impulse Gamer: How has filmmaking changed in the past ten years?
Addison Bryan: With the development of affordable personal cameras and
YouTube, it is now possible for anyone that has an idea, to shoot it,
edit it and put it out there without having to contact a studio for
major funding or distribution.
One of the motivations for going to UCF was the notion that the creators
of "The Blair Witch Project" attended UCF and with their education, they
were able to pull off the most profitable film ever (at the time) with a
camera, some actors, crewmembers and an extremely low budget. That is
something we needed to apply to this film and for future films until we
can get some solid ground under our feet and with all of the recent
developments in the indie film world, we are living proof that it is
possible. Independent film is rising dramatically and it could not have
come at a better time for us.
Impulse Gamer: Some say that the art of
filmmaking has suffered with technology, loosing the character story
telling. What do you think and why?
Addison Bryan: I actually believe the contrary. I think with new
technological developments, filmmakers are able to expand in the ways
they tell a story and are able to do that with CGI and special effects.
However, there are many that do not take this route and unfortunately,
some of these big blockbusters are the only ones that are seen, because
of name recognition incessant marketing. Technology can always be for
the greater good of film, if it is used appropriately while enhancing
the product rather than being the reason why the film was made.
Impulse Gamer: What was your favorite part about working on the project
Addison Bryan: Of course, I have many favorite moments throughout the
shoot, but I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed casting. Watching our
film come alive through the voices and actions of people we did not even
know, was amazing. All of these actors took time out of their day to
come audition for us, some from hundreds of miles away and we are
thankful for such a deep talent pool from which to choose. These were
actors that the audience would relate to. The fact that we could instill
full faith that they would tell our story in their own special way was
Impulse Gamer: What is next for you?
Addison Bryan: The three creators have been working on Josh's thesis, 15
Minutes of Faye, for the MFA program at UCF and we will be set to shoot
in July. We will be able to take all that we learned from Sanctuary and
apply it to his film, and since it is alot less complicated, that should
make for a great experience. Reid and myself are also hoping to be in LA
late this year to "take the film world by storm," so they say and make
the best out of any opportunities we can get our hands on.
Now I also got the chance to get some interview time with the screen
Me being the stunt/fight coordinator I had no idea what I was going to
get in the screen talent… in terms of, not only physical abilities…but
also the ability to follow direction so the scene would not only look
good, but be safe also. After all, as I said my introductions to the
talent, I said again, what had become my mantra over the years. “Our job
is to look dangerous, not be dangerous. After meeting everyone and then
starting the preliminary blocking of the chases and or fight scenes, I
was actually very happy with all of the talent.
The two women on set really put the men on notice when it came to
action. Both of the ladies where very professional when it came to doing
the action scenes. The extremely beautiful Shanna McLaughlin was a true
delight to work with. She plays Heather in the film. She is a Playboy
model and actress with a wit as sharp as the crack of a whip. At this
time, the lovely and talented Shanna is working on a show looking for a
net work, the show called “Shop Angels” In the basest terms its
beautiful women working on vehicles. You can check out “Shop Angels”
I was especially impressed with a young woman who was a fireball when it
came to her action. While all of the actors/actresses on set where very
open and understood about following direction, this young woman seemed
to have a fire for knowledge and doing her role to the fullest. I am
speaking of Alexandra Willers.
Not only is she that type of actress that the camera just loves, but she
was so eager to learn about her action and chase scenes, how to fall,
how to slam into a door jamb…and she did it in the moment. The emotional
desperation she put forth in the character during these action scenes
and chases was amazing.
Alexandra has done theatre musical and comedy, and has been on an
episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, she played Angelica Carlos in
an episode called “Let It Bleed.” Two dead bodies in the same dumpster,
one committed an armed robbery in a stolen police uniform, and the other
is the teenage daughter of a South American drug lord.
In Sanctuary Alexandra Willers plays
Impulse Gamer: You had some time in California; tell us a bit about your
pursuit of your acting while there.
Alexandra Willers: While I attended college in La Verne, California, I
attended as many auditions as possible while balancing school and
acting. I lived about 35 miles outside of LA, so I would commute into
the city for an audition and then rush back for class at ULV. It was
quite hectic to say the least.
Impulse Gamer: You ended up in Los Angeles around August 2007, about
when the writers’ strike was affecting many shows. Did the opportunities
disappear with the strike? Where there any auditions going on? On the
other hand, was the town on hold?
Alexandra Willers: Yes, I arrived in L.A. right around the writers’
strike and the halt of productions. As far as auditions go,
opportunities did not exist due to the hold on production. However, the
strike allowed agents more time to review submissions, so in a way, it
was good timing for any newcomer seeking representation.
Impulse Gamer: For the CSI gig your head shot was the first thing that
got the director's interest, tell us a bit about what you did for the
Alexandra Willers: At the first audition, I read one line for the
casting director. My callback took place in front of the director,
writer, and producer at the Universal Lot. I remember being so nervous,
to the point where I was shaking, and all I had to do was read the same
line. I really did not know what to expect walking into the room, and
just being on the Universal Lot was overwhelming for me. After being
introduced to everyone, I read my line, and then they asked me to
perform an improvisation. Everyone was really nice and encouraging, and
a few days later, I was on the set of CSI, as the dead victim in the
dumpster. It was surreal.
Impulse Gamer: Do you believe in roles that are more traditional for men
and women, or is it better to break the mold? In addition, Why?
Alexandra Willers: I believe choosing a traditional role or breaking the
mold is up to the individual, depending on one’s goals.
Impulse Gamer: How was the audition process
for "Sanctuary"? What drew you to do this film?
Alexandra Willers: I am always nervous when I go on auditions, and the
audition process for “Sanctuary” was a little nerve racking for me.
However, the callback is one that I will never forget because it was
really hands-on and fun. We had plenty of room, so we were running
across the stage with the script, yelling, and laughing. It really did
not feel like I was in an audition and overall it was a great
As far as what drew me to the film, I would have to say it was the
character and the paranormal activity in the script.
Impulse Gamer: Tell us about your character in this film, what kind of
place is she in when we first see her?
Alexandra Willers: My character in this film is Crystal, a troubled
young adult dissatisfied with her current lifestyle. When we first see
her, she is in a dark place struggling with the reality of her life.
Impulse Gamer: Do you have any favorite scenes you did in the film, and
why is it your favorite?
Alexandra Willers: My favorite scene was the first exterior night we
shot. After a relatively quick and calm rehearsal, I remember Reid
calling action, and suddenly, leaf blowers were blowing full force,
production lights were shining from ten stories high, and Fedor and I
were in the moment battling invisible entities. It was a real adrenalin
rush and a neat set up.
Impulse Gamer: It is no secret that I have been surprised with how well
everyone picked up on the fight choreography during the filming.
Further, it's no secret how impressed I have been with how you throw
yourself into the action scenes. Tell us a bit, about what was going
through your mind for the action scenes. Was there anything your
especially proud of accomplishing, action scene wise?
Alexandra Willers: I really enjoyed shooting the action scenes and
learning the different choreography. During the action scenes, I wanted
to make sure that I was hitting the right movements, landing in the
right spot, and not hurting the other person or myself. I am proud that
I was able to accomplish the action sequence with Blake because that was
one of the most challenging action sequences for me in the movie. I was
proud of my bruises too.
Impulse Gamer: What can you tell any other
young people wanting to get into acting?
Alexandra Willers: I would suggest to anyone wanting to get into acting
should enjoy the process and take small steps. Explore the different
outlets provided, such as school productions, acting classes, and local
Impulse Gamer: After seeing the footage and was blown away by it, I can
only say the camera loves you....what is next for Alexandra Willers?
Alexandra Willers: Thank you Edwin next would be to focus on graduating
and to continue learning from all the experiences, opportunities, and
challenges that come my way.
Next, I got to speak to one of the male actors Blake Logan. A great guy,
who is very passionate about acting.
Impulse Gamer: What is one of your most favorite acting experiences, be
it film or theatre...and why is it your favorite.
Blake Logan: My favorite acting experience so far has been that of Simon
Kraus in "The Miseducation of Simon Kraus". It was the first time I
actually carried a film and not only did it make me a better actor, I
came out of the experience with some of my best friends.
Impulse Gamer: When you first started working in film, what where you
most surprised at working in front of the camera?
Blake Logan: I am constantly surprised and so often times amazed at just
how much labor and actual people go into making the most seemingly
mundane looking shots look absolutely brilliant and relevant.
Impulse Gamer: What is your professional philosophy?
Blake Logan: Give it your all both on and off set and always treat
everyone with respect.
Impulse Gamer: Describe your acting process for a character.
Blake Logan: I try to put myself in his shoes and then create mental
scenarios from which the character's personality has an opportunity to
Impulse Gamer: Tell us about the character you play in the film
Blake Logan: I play Brandon - a former cop turned entrepreneur who has
pretty much given up on
Impulse Gamer: What was your favorite scene and why?
Blake Logan: I think my favorite scene was when Brandon confronts Cole
about needing to breakup with Crystal and "get rid of the f*@king baby".
Brandon is at his most manipulative self and reveals his sense of dark
Impulse Gamer: You picked up the fight
sequences pretty fast, tell us about the stunt fights. Was there
anything you liked the most? Surprised at?
Blake Logan: I had stunt experience on a previous film "Gutter King" and
onstage in plays like "King Lear" so I felt somewhat familiar with the
fight choreography process, but I'd never say I feel comfortable doing
stunts. I am always afraid I am going to hurt someone. It takes me
dozens of times to get comfortable enough with the choreography before I
truly feel I can incorporate the character. However, I was happily
surprised to learn that I have retained some of the knowledge that
various fight choreographers have passed on and I hope to apply those
new techniques learned from Edwin to my future projects.
Impulse Gamer: You where quite the care
free joker on set, then when camera rolled you where in the zone, that
takes some professional discipline, was that hard to come by or was that
just something that is you?
Blake Logan: Being the eldest of three siblings, I've had years of
experience as a professional instigator. I enjoy making people laugh
and I do think it helps me relax into whatever emotion the character
must play. Tension/self-consciousness is, for me, the biggest obstacle
to acting or anything creative, so if laughter eases or eliminates that
tension, you had better believe I am going to do it. A byproduct of all
that fun is that I think it makes me a more efficient actor and not one
who must spend forever "getting into character".
Impulse Gamer: What's next for Blake Logan?
Blake Logan: Who knows! That is the exciting answer. I moved to L.A.
October 25th 2010 and absolutely love it here. I am thrilled to now be
a part of this amazing city and hope to join the ranks of the acting
elite. I few of my films will be hitting the major film festival
circuit this upcoming year so keep an eye out for Blake Logan!
Next I spoke to the some times hero, sometimes villain of the film Fedor
Steer. I was anxious to work with Fedor after seeing his audition
footage. One second there was this normal guy, then the next instant it
was some loony. It was great footage and he of course brought that
electric performance to the character in this film.
Impulse Gamer: How long have you been an
Fedor Steer: Depends on how you count the years! I started acting in
the late 90's and I was starting to get pretty busy with it. But then I
flew to the Caribbean, met my wife, moved to Thailand and the Middle
East, had kids, and the whole acting thing got put back on the shelf for
a while. It's only been the last year and a half that I've been able to
get into it again. It's nice to be back.
Impulse Gamer: You worked on a couple of episodes of the Disney TV show
"Honey I Shrunk the Kids". Tell us, what was your most memorable
experience on those sets?
Fedor Steer: That was my first time on a big budget set. The first
episode was a little part, but I was on the sound stage for about five
seconds when I was cast in the second episode as a photo double for
Michael Berryman (of "The Hills Have Eyes"). That was a thrill because,
people kept telling me, that I'll get work because I have unique look,
it was actually happening.
Impulse Gamer: Over your career as an actor, you have played a few not
so nice characters, but you are actually a very nice guy in real life.
How do you keep grounded?
Fedor Steer: Staying grounded is the easy part. I have no choice with a
3-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl at home climbing on top of me and
demanding my attention. They are so much work, but also so much fun.
They make me laugh, and that is all good.
Impulse Gamer: What was the audition process like for you, for this
Fedor Steer: The auditions came at a busy time of year for me, so I
could not make the drive to Orlando. The producers let me submit a
video, so I waited until my wife took the kids grocery shopping. I had
about an hour to record some lines on a camera I propped up on a table,
load the video onto the computer, and send it off. They emailed me for
a callback, so I went through the whole process again the next time the
family went to the store. I guess that was good enough because I got
the part. I was happy to get it because Virgil is such an interesting
and multi-dimensional character. Plus they were filming in Naples where
I live! How often does that happen?
Impulse Gamer: Tell us a bit about your
character Virgil in this movie.
Fedor Steer: Virgil is normally a quiet, introverted person who is
caught up in a fantastical world he would not even have dreamed
existed. The "real" Virgil only lasts a couple of minutes into the
film. Without giving too much away, I can say that from then on, he
exists in various altered states, struggling to help the people trapped
in this world, but at the same fighting to define himself in the
changing circumstances. It was enjoyable playing Virgil. It took me a
while to figure him out as he figured himself out.
Impulse Gamer: Sanctuary was shot all at night. There is one scene
where your character goes face first in the pitch-black waters of a
marina. Tell us a bit about that, and what it felt like looking at those
deep dark waters, knowing you're about to go in.
Fedor Steer: That was one of the hardest things to shoot in the movie,
not that I was worried about what may have been lurking below the
surface of these shark-infested waters. The first take was actually
quite easy. The second and third takes were difficult. By then I knew
how much it would hurt when I hit the water flat. It knocked the wind
right out of my chest. It took all my will power to push my body
forward off the dock!
Impulse Gamer: How has it been working with your fellow actors on
"Sanctuary". Are there any particular scenes that where your favorite
Fedor Steer: I really enjoyed chasing the beautiful Alexandre Willers
around the set in one scene. It was a fun to just play the purely evil,
nasty version of Virgil. Another scene that stands out is when
Alexandra and I were trapped outside the building. The crew had a leaf
blower blasting at us, and the wind and noise really ramped up the
intensity. We were screaming our lines! However, I also have to say
that any scene I did with Blake Logan and Michael Andrew Scott was just
incredible. Those guys are such fine actors, and I enjoyed playing off
of their energy. I will also remember spending two hours in the make-up
chair as special-FX artist Josh Counsel worked his craft on me. Oh, and
knocking down a Playboy Playmate (Shanna McLaughlin). That wasn't much
fun, but it just doesn't happen every day, you know?
Impulse Gamer: Virgil's body is like a punching bag in this film, though
he does get to punch back from time to time. Tell us about working on
the stage combat fights on the film.
Fedor Steer: Yeah, I got beat up pretty badly. However, we had a great
stunt coordinator, Edmin Millheim, who put together well-choreographed
fight scenes. We rehearsed a lot, and even after I thought we had it
down pretty well, Edwin made us go through it another dozen times. Even
so, once we brought the scenes up to performance speed, the challenge
was to maintain control while releasing emotionally. I can't say I was
flawless in my execution, and I got a few bruises. But at the end of
the day, I was pretty proud of my battle wounds, and I happily showed
them off to anyone who would listen to my war stories.
Impulse Gamer: What would you like to tell our readers about
Fedor Steer: I would say that yes, "Sanctuary" is a horror movie, but it
is also a movie with brains. The "horror" part is secondary to a good
story, written by the talented Josh Ingle. It will keep you thinking and
talking long after you leave the theater.
Now finally the easy going young man
Michael Andrew Scott, who plays Cole in the film.
Impulse Gamer: Tell us about how you got your start in acting, what was
the draw for you?
Michael Andrew Scott : I don't ever remember a time when I DIDN'T want
to be an actor. My first "role" was as Count Plaqueula, the evil
plaque-causing villain in my third grade parents' day skit. I never
looked back and from there on out it was a daily challenge for my mother
to keep me from performing one-man shows on my makeshift stage, made
from our living room fireplace landing and a cardboard box. As far as I
was concerned the performing arts was the only real option there was for
me as a profession.
Impulse Gamer: On set you broke into improv comedy between takes, what
is your improv background and why is it perhaps a good skill for an
Michael Andrew Scott: As a teenager, I had the tremendous fortune of
taking classes with famed "Groundlings" creator Gary Austin. From him I
gained an enormous amount of invaluable education into creating
something from nothing. In high school, I was a member of our "theatre
sports" team, a group of drama students who competed against other
school's teams at improv games. We were champions three years in a row.
Improvisation skills are, I believe, crucial to any actor in order to
create a character or the dynamic of a scene, ESPECIALLY in film when
nothing is ever set in stone and creating real, genuine moments on the
spot is necessary to better tell the story.
In my opinion, acting is being able to access and imitate emotions. I
believe in order to improve as an actor the two most important things I
can do are: first, to constantly be observing life and the life around
me, making sure to feel and remember my feelings as vividly as possible
for the occasion when it will be necessary to call on them in character.
The second is to stay in performance shape; by that, I mean reading
plays, rehearsing scenes with friends and practicing character
dissection and research even when I am not in a production. These are my
tools and I keep them sharpened for the job.
Impulse Gamer: You and I joked a few time about doing unofficial stunts
for the film, a trip here and there. But I was very happy with your
stage combat skills. They serve you well. Tell us about some of your
background with stage combat.
Michael Andrew Scott: My first experiences with stage combat came from
roughhousing with my kid brother. Since ACTUAL contact fighting would
get us into serious trouble, we were forced to "fake fight" as my mother
put it. We would fake punches, trips, and falls and react to each
other’s jabs and kicks to the gut and face, never actually making
contact. After a couple years of daily fake fighting we eventually were
able to choreograph (or improvise) a pretty convincing (and scary) fight
for anyone willing to watch. I eventually got formal training in stage
combat through the Seattle Children's Theatre from a veteran combat
coach named Geoffrey Alm, who refined my "technique".
Impulse Gamer: Would you want to be an action hero for a movie? What
would it be about?
Michael Andrew Scott: I can't imagine the director who would look at me
and think "He's the next Arnold!!!" On the other hand, if Tom Cruise
could (sorta, kinda, but not really) pull it off then why can't I?!?! It
would probably be something like the Lord of The Rings, where the hero
is someone more unconventional. I am not going to lie though, I have
always looked up to MacGyver (I could rock the mullet).
Impulse Gamer: What attracted you to the
Michael Andrew Scott: What attracted me initially were the small cast
and the fact that it was all in one location and dealt with the dark
side of human nature. I liked the idea of playing a blind character (a
first for me) and I love the people who wrote it.
Impulse Gamer: What was your favorite moment of filming Sanctuary, and
Michael Andrew Scott: On the final night/morning of filming, after we
wrapped, the cast and crew sat around the living room table of the house
we were filming in and we asked each other this exact same question. My
answer at the time of course was that the whole shoot was so memorable
that I could not single out any one moment as my favorite. However,
since then several more people have asked, and after some thought I've
realized that I was most deliriously happy when the whole cast and crew
were together, goofing off between takes, making those long all-night
shoots feel effortless and go by at a laugh a second.
Impulse Gamer: These where all night shoots, how tough was that?
I have had a miserable case of insomnia since I was in the sixth grade
and have never really been a great sleeper, so actually the shooting
schedule being nocturnal was perfect for my sleep schedule. I hardly had
to adjust at all.
Impulse Gamer: When are you satisfied with your acting work?
Michael Andrew Scott: I am never satisfied with my acting work on film
because there are an infinite amount of options and possibilities for
each line and there are simply not enough hours in the day to do as many
takes as I would want in order to explore them all. Recently, I found
myself looking through the Sanctuary script and reading my lines in ways
I had never thought to during rehearsals or the shoot, and think to
myself "Aw, why didn't I think of that!?!" There is no way to be
completely satisfied; you just have to put your faith in the director
and editor to find the take that does the most justice to your character
and the story. However, because of its nature, I find myself constantly
satisfied with my work in theatre because of how I am able to refine it
through a month of rehearsal and anywhere between one to six months of
performances, in front of a receptive audience. It is amazing how
different the two mediums feel in the final outcome.
Impulse Gamer: Some actors and acrtresses find it hard to watch
themselves in a film. How is it for you and why?
Michael Andrew Scott: I do have a slightly
hard time watching myself on film because I cannot be genuinely
objective of my performance. All I really see is me "acting". But once I
get over it and stop being ridiculous, I remember that it's not really
MY work I'm watching; it's dozens, possibly hundreds of people's, and I
remember that I in fact played a VERY small part in the enormous mosaic
that is a finished film.
Impulse Gamer: What is Michael Andrew Scott up to next?
Michael Andrew Scott: I'm developing a TV show with some friends based
on the artistic design of a short film we did a year ago, which we're
hoping to pitch to the networks at some point (fingers crossed). I am
also starting a theatre company in NYC where I will be producing and
performing in new plays and musicals.
There you have it fellow Impulse Gamers, Some of the primary cast and
crew of the upcoming Indy film ‘Sanctuary”. With exclusive first looks
as some photos on set, behind the scenes and right from the dallies of
the film. Check out Sanctuary the film on Facebook.com -
Have fun, play games,
United States Editor