"Jennifer’s Bodies is a roving annual festival of female-helmed horror movies and part of Women In Horror Recognition Month, an international assortment of affiliated events organised partly to highlight just how much women can and do contribute to the genre outwith the typically accepted factors of tits, ass and mezzosoprano screaming." Starburst Magazine

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

An Interview with WiHM Founder Hannah Neurotica on her Video for New Todd Michael Schultz Single Survive!

So it is with great pleasure that I bring to you a spangtabulously awesome new music video from the one and only Hannah Neurotica, our Women in Horror Recognition Month founder, for the new single from Todd Michael Schultz.  Hannah had never done anything like this before, and I think she's done a wicked job for her first time.  She taught herself how to edit as she went along, none of this film school stuff.  Anyhoo, I thought that this would be a wicked start to my new Jennifer's Bodies blog, which is going to run in collaboration with my spangly new website.  So yesss.....I bring you, Miss Neurotica herself...

How did you get involved with making this video?

One night I wrote a short film that didn't have any dialogue. I really liked how it turned out and said so in a Facebook status.  Todd commented and asked to read it (which meant so much to me) and said it reminded him of a music video.  I had secretly always wanted to direct music videos so it was an interesting observation. Todd had been working on a treatment for his song "Survive" and asked if I would be interested in checking it out and maybe directing it. I was fucking honored that he trusted me with his beautiful song - knowing I had never done anything like that before. I'm forever grateful to Todd for believing in me, giving me an opportunity to create, and patience in the learning process I went through to make it come together. I also am forever grateful to him for giving me the opportunity to bring an incredible group of people together who are now like my little art family for life (whether they like it or not). 

How did it feel finally stepping into the directors seat after so many years of promoting the work of others? 

I co-directed a short film called "The Water's Fine" with Tammy Dwyer for the 2012 New Hampshire 48-Hour Film Project (which won Runner Up for Best Film). However this video was my first solo project and a completely different type of process. Directing is challenging for someone like me who tends to do so much of my work in isolation. Just to give an example of how amazing everyone was-  I kept forgetting to yell "action" or "cut" and so Chris and Rina were like "we don't know when to stop?"  (it was like I didn't know the right moment or got lost in watching them).  So then I would say "action!!" and Tony (the DP)  would be like "wait, I need to say camera rolling - then you say action!" it was hysterical and phenomenal because it wasn't done in a way to make me feel bad- it was totally encouraging and like a DIY film school of my dreams! I can see many people being like "oh god. She doesn't know what the fuck she is doing! Why am I here?!" And I get that because I really didn't know what the fuck I was doing. But unless you actually do it and let yourself learn from others then you never will. The key is dropping your ego & I don't mean a little bit. I mean like- let yourself be fucking dumb and soak in everything everyone there has to teach you. It's the smartest move you can make. And on the flip side- if you are working with someone who is learning - be kind and teach them without a chip on your shoulder. 

Did you know everyone that you wanted to get involved with you from the start, or did you have to look around for certain people?
I knew immediately who I wanted to work with. Chris Dubey and Rina Fay-London had taken part in the 48 Hour Film project I mentioned above and we all had been wanting to collaborate ever since. Chris is a filmmaker as well and was kind enough to let me use his camera/lights. Tony was the DP on The Water's Fine and is such a fucking pleasure to work with I pretty much jumped up and down when he agreed to come do this with me. Manda (set design and assistant director) had been the editor on the last project and her and I are like creatively connected in that way that comes along very rarely. Ken and Jason were great at making the House of Brigit website work how we needed. Jade Kitty was a friend of Manda and she was such a great addition- lending her modeling to our porn-y website. I hope to work with all these people again - many many many times. Not to mention Dexter Cockburn and Miki Hickel for the awesome artwork. 

Were you a big old bundle of nerves on the first day of shooting, or did you feel at ease behind the camera, like it's where you belong?
Oh god. I seriously almost vomited on multiple occasions but definitely a lot of dry heaving. The morning of the shoot I was so dizzy and puke-y. I kept telling Manda (the set designer/ A.D.)  "I can't do this! Why on earth did I say I could do this!? Is it to late to cancel???!" Manda has become great at handling my freakouts and she really did help me calm down. Also, once everyone was in the space it all started to come together. Film making is where I belong and I plan to keep doing it until I die. I am already writing more shorts and a feature. The anxiety though is in my nature- that will never change. Many people have said that if you aren't nervous then something is probably wrong. I just need to find the balance and I believe that will come from experience. 

You learned to edit as you did the video. What was that like?
I had no idea what was going to happen with the post production of the video. Originally a friend of mine was going to do it but for various reasons it didn't work out. I was really anxious about that part because all I had access to was iMovie and no real clue how to use it. I went with my guts and decided to teach myself how to edit because the vision in my head was so hard to explain to anyone else and I wanted to learn as much as I could about the whole process.  I watched a bunch of tutorials from this adorable little British kid and then taught myself how to edit as I went along. Considering it was my first time I feel pretty damn fucking proud of what I accomplished. Editing is something I realized I love just as much as production itself. It's like meditation. It reminds me of making zines.

Keep your eyes peeled for an interview with Todd as well, where I Morley quiz him about what it was like working with the lovely lady herself.  :) 

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