Monday, November 14, 2016

Exclusive Interview w/ Byron C. Miller, Director: The Anatomy of Monsters


  1. What inspired you to create The Anatomy of Monsters?


It all started 11 years ago. I was a movie theater manager, and one night after the midnight shows had let out I gave one of my stranded employees a ride home. I dropped her off and was heading home, middle of the night, driving through a neighborhood I’d never been in, and this creepy idea hit me. What if I was a serial killer and my MO was to go to a place I’d never been, randomly pick a house, grab whatever weapon was lying around and use it to murder everyone inside. As that creep nugget gestated I was listening to the Ladytron album “Witching Hour” and kept getting this specific image of a woman. She was a DJ in LA, and a serial killer. I had all of these ideas about her life, and the flashback, Permanent Midnight style flashback structure. I had a lot of notes and ideas but it wasn’t a complete story. So I put it away until, fast forward a few years. I’m living in Seattle, working with Paul Morgan on an number of music videos of which he was the Cinematographer and I was the Director, Editor. We decided it was time to do a feature together, which would be my second feature film after NIGHT (2006). As we were going over concepts Paul remembered this idea I had told him about, and he thought the concept sounded doable on a microbudget. I have him every note I had about Sarah, Nick, and the basic structure. Paul took all of that and put the huge twist on it…It’s not Sarah and Nick in the room, it’s Sarah and this new character, Andrew. Two dangerous people, a game of wits, and then we free up the Sarah, Nick story to blossom on its own within the flashback structure. Paul very quickly wrote a screenplay that not only nailed the characters and meticulous structure, but the poetry of the piece that I so dearly wanted. This is a layered story about relationships, about the terrible cycles we can find ourselves in, and it’s a mood piece meant to evoke a feeling of late night hours and unsafe thoughts.


  1. Does being a musician help you in any way with movie making?


Being a musician and a performer definitely helps me on set. I’ve been performing in bands, as monsters in haunted houses, and some acting for most of my life. The performance and acting work (along with years of corporate work in management and leadership roles) help me to work well with and understand my actors, and the needs of my crew. Also, touring for years when I was in God Module, playing shows across the world helped me to always be ready to adapt, problem solve, and to be “on” even when you’re exhausted. It works the other way too. I approached my new band, Ghosts in the Graveyard, like a director. You see, while I’m the lead singer and write most of the lyrics, I don’t make music. When I approached Paul to create this band with me and make all of the music I presented him with a clear vision of what I wanted the band to be, gave him multiple songs for reference, took him through how I thought some of the songs should be structurally. From all of that he knew what I was going for, and ran with it, creating a sound that was everything I imagined and so much more. That’s what I do as a director; inspire a vision in my team so that we can all soar to greater heights together…and have a little fun along the way.


  1. What was the most challenging aspect of making The Anatomy of Monsters?


The biggest challenge and hardest lesson was the hard drive crash. We had shot over 70 pages of the script. We were nearing the finish line when we realized it was high time to back up all of the footage so it wasn’t just on one massive hard drive. As we began this process the hard drive fell over, on carpeted ground, a slight tip over on its side and it was toast. We knew there were data recovery options but that would take time and if it failed we wouldn’t have a movie. Very quickly we decided to stay the course, finish the shoot. I’m so glad we did because 80% of the footage was recovered, and what we lost only made those scenes stronger when we did reshoots a year later.


  1. What has been your proudest moment (so far) from The Anatomy of Monsters?


I don’t know if I have just one. Landing distribution with a company as cool as Artsploitation Films, and to be among their impressive library of unique films meant the world to me. Every time someone tells me how much they enjoyed the film, and different things they took away from it. I can’t aptly put into words how important that is to me. I put my heart and soul into every creative project, and it means everything when someone connects with the material.

I’m super proud of and thankful for the cast and crew! Everyone really gave it their all and went in with a great desire to make something special.


  1. In your own words, why will genre fans like The Anatomy of Monsters?


I think genre fans will resonate with the films creepy mood, and it’s exposed beating heart. If you like deliberate, layered, artsy, poetic, strange films this is going to be right up your alley.

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