Mr Video Director Interview

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We had a chance to talk to Alex Masterson about his brand new film Mr. Video which we first told you about a week ago. Not to ever let things get old we tracked him down for an interview which our very own MovieMaven conducted. Here is what he had to say;

Welcome Mr. Masterton to Horror-movies.ca. I am pleased to be talking to you about Mr. Video. First of all, give us an idea of what your film is about.

Mr. Video is basically about a guy who owns a rundown video store and is driven to breaking point by having to compete against DVD piracy to earn a living. Thematically, I suppose it's the old story of the ‘spider and the fly’, kind of a modern day ‘Sweeny Todd’, if you will.

What do you think have been the worst repercussions of video piracy?

How it's destroying many small businesses associated with the entertainment industry.

Mr. Video is actually a short film, coming in at 15 minutes. Did you find it difficult to get what you wanted across in such a short running time?

Absolutely. The video store where we shot the film was open for business during the day, so we had to shoot everything at the night, while the store was closed. It was grueling, to say the least. With very little money and a tight shooting schedule, it was a real challenge to try and get in all of the shots I needed in order to tell the story. But directing is about adapting, thinking on your feet, so it was a great learning curve. Having written quite a few feature screenplays, in some ways, I think it's actually harder to write a good short script, as there's not a lot of room for character development. But I'm pretty happy with the way Mr. Video turned out, all things considering.

What was your inspiration for Mr. Video? Is this a message that is relevant to you personally?

The inspiration for Mr. Video was very personal. The location we used for the story is actually my local video store in South London, here in the UK. Myself and the manger of Mr. Video, John Gray, are film buffs, as well as being mates. We always talked about making a short film in the shop but never really got around to it. Over the years, as Mr. Video revenues slowly went in decline, John said that the owner was closing down the shop, and if we wanted to make a short film, we'd better do it sooner than later. With this in mind, we sat down together and quickly wrote out a story we felt was both scary and entertaining, but more importantly, underlined how DVD piracy was killing off the real Mr. Video store.

Your film was displayed at the Rhode Island International Horror Film Festival as well as the Freakshow Horror Film Festival last October. What sort of feedback did you receive and was it what you expected?

Unfortunately, I couldn't attend those film festivals due to prior commitments, but I did receive a few emails from some fans that saw the film and enjoyed it. The best response and feedback I got was when Mr. Video won second place at last years Silver Screams Film Festival, in Houston Texas. I was well chuffed, as the three winning short films were screened alongside three classic horror feature films from the past.

How do you find American horror fans differ from those of the UK? Was it what you expected it to be?

I was initially concerned that the humor in Mr. Video wouldn't really travel very well in America as it's quite British, so I was genuinely pleased when I discovered American audiences found it just as funny as the UK horror fans did. No matter where you come from, I think horror is a pretty universal genre for people who love to be frightened.

Do you have any plans to do a feature-length film? And if so, will you stick to the horror genre?

I've just finished writing a low-budget British feature film screenplay, which I hope to direct within the next year or two. It's not a horror, but a dark twisted thriller, that deals with themes of money, power, and revenge. I do have a fantasy horror feature script I wrote a few years ago that I'd like to direct one day, but as it would require an enormous budget, I'll have to wait until I'm in a better position to do that.

Do you hope to continue inserting political messages into your work or do you just want to do something for the fun of it?

I think every artist strives to hold up the mirror to life and reflect it in their work. Especially with all of the crazy shit that is going on in the world today.

Please tell us a little bit about your background.

I was born in England, but raised in Toronto, Canada. After touring as the guitarist in a Van Halen tribute band for a few years, I attended the University of Toronto, graduating with a degree in English and Dramatic Literature. As film was always my first love, I moved back to England and completed an MA in Feature Film at Goldsmtihs College. Since then, I've worked as a writer, producer, script editor, and screenwriting instructor.

Who would you say are some of your biggest influences in film, horror or otherwise?

Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch, Roman Polanski, Martin Scorsese, George Romero, Francis Ford Coppolla, David Cronenberg, Nicolas Roeg, to name but a few.

What is one thing you wish our readers to know about you, the writer/director?

I will make a great horror feature film one day, one you'll never forget!

If you could direct any actor/actress you wanted, who would that be and why?

Christian Bale. His screen presence, talent, and commitment to the choices he makes as an actor, are truly amazing.

Some people feel that remakes are necessary to reintroduce classics to a younger generation while others feel they are nothing more than a cheap, uninventive way to beef up ticket sales. What are your personal feelings about the recent crop of remakes we seem to be hit with on a daily basis?

I think remakes are all right if the original film is being improved somehow, but to remake a classic is somewhat pointless.

Okay this is your chance to pimp your stuff. Do you have anything coming up that you would like to share with our readers?

I hope to write and direct another horror short film before the end of the year, so watch this space.

Are you a frequent reader of horror websites like Horror-movies.ca?

Definitely. I'm always interested in reading the latest news on what horror films are being made and by whom. Your website is one of the best out there. Keep Rockin’!

Well that's about it. Thank you so much for your time, Mr. Masterton. I look forward to checking out Mr. Video as well as anything else you do in the future. Come on back and visit us anytime.

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