Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Interview with Brandon Bennett.

Full Name:
Brandon Scott Bennett

Do you have a nickname or what do your friends call you?
My first nickname in school was Dinky, as in the character from the cartoon The Littles. That lasted about a year and a half, when everyone started referring to me as Shaggy. Up until my junior year, I looked just like Shaggy from Scooby Doo. It took hold so well that there were kids in grades ahead and below me that had no idea what my real name was.  Once I graduated, I shed that persona. I guess if I have one now, it’s just B.

Vincennes, Indiana

Current hometown:
Vincennes, Indiana

Favorite city and why?
Probably New York City, even though I’ve only been there once. A friend and I both had a week off when we were, I’d say 22, and wanted to take a trip somewhere. We had maybe $250 between us, and decided to make it work one way or another. Three nights we slept in my car, one in a hotel. Which in itself was an ordeal. Before we found one that we could afford, we accidently stopped at four ‘hourly rate’ motels. The city itself was great, but I think most of the love I have for it stems from all the mishaps and complications we ran into trying to survive the trip and back.
When I was in college, my friends Mike Goodier, Adam Plante and I decided to skip school and drive down to New York City to ambush The Today Show with a giant Buddy Cianci re-election billboard we stole. Buddy Cianci was an infamous mobbed up mayor of Providence that could get away with almost anything and still get re-elected. The re-election sign was a huge picture of him and the slogan “Mayor of America’s Best City”. It was so audacious that they were a popular target for theft and most of my friends had one that they stole off of the front yard of homes from the surrounding suburbs. We made it down to NYC okay, and didn’t get into too much trouble at The Today Show. When we went back to the vehicle the vehicle was gone. Mike had an SUV back when the new generation of SUVs were a new thing and kind of a big deal. He was totally panicking and I calmed him down by saying, “Look. One of two things happened. Either it was stolen, in which case we have to call the police. Or it was towed, in which case we have to call the police.” So we walked to the closest police precinct, and they told us it had been towed to a pier on the east side of the island. So we hiked across the island, and got to stop in Times Square and take pictures with our huge Buddy Cianci sign. The tow and to get the SUV out of impound cost over $200, but I had brought $200, $100 under the insole of each of my combat boots in case we got mugged in broad daylight, because I hadn’t been to New York City enough times to know it really wasn’t like the New York City you see in movies. Mike paid me back and everything worked out okay. Also, a Rhode Island local radio station was kicking off by playing nothing but Tone Loc’s Wild Thing in a constant loop for a week straight. So we knew when we were leaving and entering Rhode Island based on reception for the station.
Perhaps ironically, when I drove out to Indianapolis for the book signing for Forrest J. Ackerman’s Anthology of the Living Dead, you know, the one where J. Trav didn’t get the books in time for the convention, I crashed in my van two of the three nights and stayed at the Knights Inn the other night. I never saw any knights there, but they did have ashtrays in the rooms so I guess that counts for something.

Birthday / Age:
November 14, 1980. It’s currently the 2nd of the month as I fill this out. 33 just seems like another number at this point in my life.
I stopped keeping track at 25. After that it’s just another ride around the sun.
That’s probably what I should do. A few months ago I told someone I was 33, forgetting I was still 32. I guess that’s how much I pay attention.

How would you describe yourself physically?
It’s something I fight with to be honest. There are days I think I’m a hideous chud, and others I look in the mirror and think ‘Damn, I really look pretty fucking good today.”

How would someone else describe you physically?
I was recently compared to a young Elvis Costello as I wore my pea coat, a scarf, and a riding cap. Not sure if I believe that, but I’ll take it. For years I dyed my hair a red/burgundy color, and I was occasionally compared to Seth Green.

The first thing people notice about you is…
If I actually do my hair, that’s the first thing. It’s different all the time: spiked, faux hawked, shaved, etc.

Hair Color / Eye Color / Race?
A dirty blonde/Blue/Caucasian.

Sexual orientation?
Straight I guess, though I act quite homosexual with most of my guy friends. I’ve always felt comfortable in my sexuality.

Religion, if any?
My parents raised me in a Free Methodist church, but by the time I was 14 or 15 I realized I didn’t believe any of it. Up until I was 22 or 23 I was atheist, then I started to lean more toward agnostic. I don’t KNOW there isn’t something more, but I also don’t feel that there really is. Though over the past two years I learn towards Luciferianism when I claim a ‘religion’.

Are you superstitious at all? Any phobias?
Not really superstitious. I have two fears that are really irrational: lady bugs and nutcrackers.

Do you smoke / drink?   If so, what?   Any bad habits?
I enjoy both. For years it was Marlboro Reds, and then I switched to the Camel Turkish blends. Over the past year or so I have been enjoying Marlboro Smooth 100’s. My actual favorite cigarettes are Kamel Red Lights, but nowhere in town sells them.
As far as drinking, I enjoy beer mostly. Vodka and whiskey are my two favorite hard alcohols. My favorite mixed drink is a White Russian.
Yeah, I bite my fingernails. Something I’ve done since I was a kid and can not quit.

Current occupation / Dream job:
I’m a practitioner of the custodial arts.
As much as I love filmmaking, and most of my friends would tell you that’s my passion…. I want to own and run a comedy club. Right now that’s my retirement plan.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
Spend time with my wife and step daughter. Video games, though I find I’m having issues with them keeping my interest for long these days. I watch a lot of movies, and of multiple genres. Masturbate.

What is your zombie outbreak survival plan?
If it were to happen here in Vincennes, there is a building here called the George Rogers Clark Memorial and it’s where I would go. The building is round, with only two exits: the front, and one to the roof. I’d make sure to have a rope ladder for getting down when I need to leave for more supplies.

Weapon of choice:
In a zombie outbreak? I’d say machete. It’s got some length on it, you don’t have to have a ton of training like with a sword, and it doesn’t make noise like a gun. Guns draw too much attention: zombies tend to be drawn to noise, so the quieter the better.

Do you have any special skills?
Not really. It’s something I think about a lot. There isn’t one thing I am great at, only several I consider myself mediocre.

Did you go to college and, if so, what for?
Twice. The first was for broadcasting, and the second time for elementary education. Both times I dropped out though.

If you went to college, did you manage to pay off your student loans?
Actually, yes.

Any pets?   If so, what are they and what are their names?
No. We rent and our landlords will not allow us to. There are three cats in the neighborhood that I enjoy on occasion. (Not sexually, perverts.) My favorite is grey, has one eye, and will bounce as he follows. We call him Bandit.
Those are my favorite kind of cats. There was one in the alley outside of my apartment the other night and I made it a point to stop to pet it. Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that make it worth living.
I love an animal with character. Something out of the ordinary. Almost every cat I’ve ever owned has been one that I’ve picked up from the street, they seem to appreciate things more and keep their survival instincts intact.

What is your favorite animal?
Probably penguins.

Speaking of pets, any pet peeves?
Something that irritates me are people who do not use their turn signals. Pisses me right off.

Favorite / Least favorite Food:
That’s tough. It’s probably a tie between biscuits and gravy, and pulled pork.
My least favorite food is peas. I hate the smell of them. Makes me sick to my stomach.

What is your favorite quotation / motto / saying?
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” – H.P. Lovecraft

What is the best thing that ever happened to you?
My step-daughter. That little girl changed my life.

What is the worst thing that ever happened to you?
Losing my sister to a car accident a few years ago.

Ever had your heart broken? Is there a story worth telling behind your answer?
Who hasn’t? My story isn’t any better than anyone else’s.

Ever broken someone’s heart? Is there a story worth telling behind your answer?
Almost every girl I’ve ever dated. There’s a story there somewhere I’m sure. Would probably make folks realize I can really be a fucking asshole deep down.

What is the best thing you’ve ever done?
As cliché as it is, gotten married. Aside from that, working on Steve Balderson’s film Stuck!

What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?
This one really took me awhile to think about. I’m not certain it’s the worst, but it sticks out in my mind: When I was 18 or 19, I was driving down a back road when I saw a decent size package sticking out of a mailbox. Pulling up, I swiped it and drove down the road laughing. A few miles ahead, I pulled off and opened said box. Inside was someone’s insulin. I sat there sick to my stomach at myself. What kind of fuck steals the medicine someone may need to live? Collecting myself, and braving what could possibly be an encounter no one would ever know about… I drove back to that house, parked, knocked on the door, and explained to old lady who answered what I had done. She was shocked that I took the time to come back and apologize, telling me how she respected someone who was so young who could own up and admit what they had done to a complete stranger.

What do you do?
I’m a master of the custodial arts. Remember?
Yeah, I’m a janitor.
I also do some work in film and photography when the opportunities arise.

How did you get started doing what you do?
The custodial job happened because a friend of mine’s girlfriend was working, and still does, at the college in town and they were looking for an employee. She put in a good word, and thankfully they trusted her enough to hire me.
The first film I worked on was Steve Balderson’s Stuck!. That came about from me watching his film Firecracker. The first time I viewed it, I sat there awestruck at how beautiful and powerful it was. For an hour and a half after it was over, I didn’t move from my chair. When I finally did, I picked up my laptop and messaged Steve on MySpace. Later, he messaged me back offering to let me come down to Georgia and be a P.A. on his next film.

What is your advice to other people that want to get started doing what you do?
Don’t. Trying to get into filmmaking is a bitch. Sure anyone can afford a camera these days and a PC to edit on… but it’s all the headaches along the way: Everything from scheduling to piracy. In this digital age, there are even more roadblocks for filmmakers than ever before.

What are some of the projects you’ve worked on/finished in the past? Give us a little history if you will.
As I said, Stuck! was the first film I worked on. The second was a short called MEATEATER for Jabb Pictures The Collective v.1. Third, I was part of a project called 100 Years of Monster Movies. (Which for those who do not know, is how I actually came to know Scott) Fourth, was probably a film that’s not yet completed by my friend James Hawley: Jesus of Nebula. Recently I directed my first short, TREPIDATION, for The Collective v.6. I’m sure there are a few other things in there I’m forgetting.
Apparently The Monster Channel, as the 100 Years Of Monster Movies evolved into is still on, but I’ve got nothing to do with it. After I lost my job with FearWerx Joe Sena blocked me on Facebook for whatever reason, probably for being blasphemous, and I haven’t heard from him since.
Although filming the first time Elvira and George Romero met was pretty cool.
I tried to keep up with the site for a while, getting into the chat room to enjoy some classic flicks with others. While I enjoy and appreciate the art of horror hosting, anyone can be one these days. How many random dudes do we need with shitty face paint introducing public domain films anyway?
Ugh. I totally agree. My answer would be none. I think you need Elvira and Joe Bob Briggs and that’s all. And maybe Gilbert Gottfried on USA Up All Night.
I don’t mind the gore whores that wear black dresses and push their tits up and together because they’re not hurting anyone and they’re usually sexy on camera and nice in person, but whoever writes their shtick is usually pretty bad so the shows are unwatchable. I get jokes, and everyone gets puns, but I think that they can do better.
A couple exceptions to the rule are Ms. Monster Hel On Ice and her minions Tit & Tat. They’re always hilarious and the writing is solid and they were pretty cool whenever I met them in person.

Also I think The Ghouligans could do a solid job if they broke into the horror host game because they could do skits parodizing the films.

I remember when I was pretty much handling the vetting and feedback for the show and handling the auditioning of hosts I tried to give one host some pointers on how to step up his game. His shtick was that he cut the sleeves off of his t-shirts and wore a top hat and bought a bunch of clearance crap from a Spirit Halloween Store as set dressing and posed in front of a green-screen. That was pretty much it. The writing for the show was practically nonexistent and he seemed to just be making it all up off the cuff. I tried to suggest that he work on developing a character other than just being cut-off-t-shirt-sleeve-top-hat-guy and he was totally passive-aggressive in response to my suggestions. He was all like, "Well, I guess cut-off-t-shirt-sleeve-top-hat-guy isn’t good enough for The Monster Channel.”. And I was like, “Actually, yeah, cut-off-t-shirt-sleeve-top-hat-guy isn’t good enough for The Monster Channel.” I was getting two or three requests a day from regional public access horror hosts and dealing with the top of the B-list tier hosts, which is what I pretty much consider everyone other than Elvira, and having e-mail conversations with Joe Bob Briggs, so, yeah, cut-off-t-shirt-sleeve-top-hat-guy, you’re going to have to step your fucking game up a bit if you want us to let you be on the channel. Soon after that Corpse S. Chris who runs the Horror Host Graveyard http://www.horrorhostgraveyard.com/ took over coordinating the “talent” and I was relieved to let him do so. These days I pretty much just block anyone whose Facebook profile is a horror host persona because I know nothing good can come of that association. Except for the people I already know from back in my Monster Channel days.
I have a handful of exceptions myself. The ones you mentioned being high on that list. Also have a fondness for Wolfman Mac, and a weak spot for Midnite Mausoleum. These are folks who put the time and effort into what they are doing.
While also respecting the talent of those who came before them. Saying that, I didn’t have any personal problems with the hosts who were involved, but I also felt like I kept seeing characters that looked so similar with maybe one or two differences in costumes/makeup. Their humor being so homogeneous and bland.
Wolfman Mac! I totally forgot about that guy! Such a solid dude.
I totally get your weak spot for Midnite Mausoleum. They’re so cute!
I did develop some personal problems with a couple hosts that weekend that we launched The Monster Channel.
Count Gregula’s crew were awful.
His shtick isn’t funny. His female talent is fat and obnoxious. And the whole crew had this false sense of entitlement like they should have been treated like this big thing.
That event, by itself, raised the profile of regional horror hosts everywhere exponentially. I don’t expect people to jerk me off, but as they say, “Give respect. Get respect.” Do I know who you are? Yeah, I know who you are. Now get in line with everyone else. Unless you’re Elvira I’m not impressed.

What projects are you working on now?
I’m currently working on three different VHS releases. Two are mixtapes, the third will be a release of a friend of mine’s film. I’m also working on writing two other shorts as well.
What’s your favorite mixtape?
To be honest, with the few companies that are releasing them now I’ve only purchased one. It was a Halloween themed mixtape released by SECRETLAIR. It was great packaging, and came with a bonus tape and Halloween candy. While I enjoyed it, and the work put in, I felt it was a little short. Perhaps that’s on purpose, to work towards those whose attention spans are equally as short.
Dude, we totally have to get you lined up with a Cinemageddon account. I know you don’t like torrenting, because you like supporting the creators of the media you enjoy, but Cinemageddon has probably literally at least a hundred different mixtapes for you to check out. Some of my favorites are The Whore Church; Forbidden Transmission; Everything Is Terrible; Doggie Woggiez, Poochie Woochiez; American Dream, American Nightmare; and King of the Witches.
It’s true, I am very supportive of indie filmmakers. Just recently a friend of mine allowed reviewers and people who pre-ordered his newest film to have early access to it via a YouTube link. Not less than a week later, the film had already hit torrent sites. For someone who barely makes a “living” off no budget films this is heartbreaking and a stab in the back. This has to be demotivational. You and so many others put hard time and money into a project, only to see it being stolen… shit. With it becoming so easy to make films, it’s getting harder and harder to make a living.
The thing I have found interesting in the wake of these situations is that Pirate Bay has been working with artists, of different kinds, to allow the use and sharing of their projects. While I know this is not a solution, it may be the way to work through it. That, and with more and more artists setting ‘name your own prices’ and digital rentals.
I totally support the philosophy of paying artists for their work. But I’m poor, and I know how to get almost anything I want for free. What I try to do to work off some of the bad karma is to try to do reviews or interviews and try to raise the profile of the artists whose work I enjoy because I know that not everyone is as savvy as I am about getting their media for free.

What are you watching?
I rarely watch TV, so just movies I guess.

What are you listening to?
I’d tell you, but you’d just make fun of me anyway. HA!
Fair enough, tell me anyway.
Some old Alkaline Trio, Trampled by Turtles, Ween, Mad Season, Spoon, Blue October, Monster Magnet, and probably some others I can’t think of.
I recognize the names. That’s about it. So I can’t make fun of you for any of it.

What are you reading?
I’ve been slowly reading everything Lovecraft has ever written: shorts, novels, letters, etc.

Favorite author / book?
Burroughs. Not sure that I actually have a favorite book though.

Favorite band / song?
It’s not uncommon knowledge, and I await any comments you have to my answer: Third Eye Blind.
My favorite song is Glory Box by Portishead.
I don’t know Third Eye Blind well enough to make fun of you for liking them. And by not well enough, I mean, at all. You should check out Chelsea Wolfe. I think you’d dig her. Also Black Box Recorder.
Third Eye Blind came out in the mid 90’s… same time as Matchbox 20, Counting Crows, and Tonic. That pop/rock explosion. They were influenced by bands like Queen, The Clash, and Fleetwood Mac.
Funny you mention Black Box Recorder, I found them several years ago while I sifting through CD’s at a local library. The name reminded me of an Alkaline Trio song, so I was interested. Found them at the same time as Red House Painters.

Least favorite band / song?
I can think of a lot of bands I don’t like, but I’m not certain who I dislike the most.

If you could do anything other than what you do now, what would you do?
Own a comedy club. There are so many amazing comics out there, and I want them all in my life.

Who would you want to meet that you haven’t met? You get three choices:
Alive. Dead. Fictional.
Alive: David Lynch
Dead: Anton LaVey
Fictional: Abdul Alhazred

What’s the best and worst job you’ve ever had?
Worst was working at a factory unloading train cars.
The best is probably my current job as a custodian in the library at Vincennes University.

Are there any questions that I didn’t ask that you wished I had asked that you would like to answer now?
Perhaps about my involvement in JABB Pictures The Collective. A friend of mine, Cameron Scott, was asked to be a part of the first volume and mentioned that I should speak to Jason Hoover about doing a short for it as well. I kind of dismissed it not knowing anything about the company, and knowing I couldn’t come up with anything because of my lack of equipment at the time. Though I was in a short on the first release, one called MEATEATER which came from a story by J. Trav and shot by some friends of ours.
My short, TREPIDATION, was shot on HI-8. It has the look and feel of an 80’s shot on video flick. Those styles of films are some of my favorite. It amazes me what directors accomplished with no budget, no real actors, running around in their backyards and any other location they had available. It was real guerilla style, before mini DV and digital filmmaking existed.
Side note: I’m actually involved in a documentary titled SOV: The True Independents, which is on that genre of filmmaking. The website is up and running already. It does, and will, feature: video/written interviews, reviews, reenactments, and stuff cut from the final film. It’s being produced by Number Signs Productions' Tony Masiello, a man who has worked on several low budget horror films including (Hi-8: HORROR INDEPENDENT 8, RETURN TO THE QUAEDEAD ZONE) and even several recent mega budget Hollywood blockbusters (which include HUGO and TRANSFORMERS 3).
It can be found at:  http://www.sovhorror.com/

Anyone you recommend I interview that you can put me in touch with?
Probably a handful of indie filmmakers. My friend, actor, musician, and author Mike Adams.
Fair enough. You handle the introductions and I’ll handle the follow-through.

Got any questions for me?
I’ve always wondered, how did you get into writing?
I got started writing books by reading a ton of them.
Then one time when I sent an e-mail to a publisher asking to get a couple free books for review they pretty much said, “Hey! Your e-mail is pretty well composed. Ever thought about writing a book?” and I was like Jason Lee at the end of Mallrats and I haven’t looked back since.
Most of my stuff has been published, but, then again, most of what I wrote I wrote for friends and acquaintances looking for submissions for their anthologies so I’d just ask them what the theme of the anthology was and go for it.
I can write about pretty much anything if asked to.
Now if I can only figure out how to support myself doing it I’ll be all set.

Thanks for letting me subject you to being interviewed!
Of course man! It’s my pleasure. You need a real nobody every once in awhile to shake shit up.

Pitch parade:
Give me all of your links for things you want to promote.   All of them.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/BrandonSBennett
Twitter: @B_S_Bennett
Blog: indiefilmrevue.blogspot.com/ (though I haven’t updated it since July of 2012)
Etc.: www.facebook.com/WellHungPictures

About the Interviewee:
Hailing from southern Indiana, Brandon Bennett helmed the Indie Film Revue blog site (http://indiefilmrevue.blogspot.com). He co-founded his production company, Well Hung Pictures, with friend and author J. Travis Grundon in 2010.
His work in film includes Steve Balderson's film STUCK!, Dark Rider's Meateater (a short film in Jabb Pictures The Collective Vol. 1), James Hawley's upcoming Jesus of Nebula, and his first short TREPIDATION (written by Grundon) which is a part of The Collective v.6.

About the Interviewer:
Scott Lefebvre has probably read everything you've read and can write about whatever you want him to write about.
Mostly because when he was grounded for his outlandish behavior as a hyperactive school child, the only place he was allowed to go was the public library.
His literary tastes were forged by the works of Helen Hoke, Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Edgar Allan Poe, and H. P. Lovecraft.
He is the author of Spooky Creepy Long Island and a contributing author to Forrest J. Ackerman’s Anthology of the Living Dead, Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction, The Call of Lovecraft, and Cashiers du Cinemart.
His reviews have been published by a variety of in print and online media including Scars Magazine, Icons of Fright, Fatally Yours and Screams of Terror, and he has appeared in Fangoria, Rue Morgue and HorrorHound Magazine.
He is the Assistant Program Director for The Arkham Film Society and produces Electronic Music under the names Master Control and LOVECRAFTWORK.
He is currently working on a novel-length expansion of a short-story titled, "The End Of The World Is Nigh", a crowd-funded, crowd-sourced, post-apocalyptic, zombie epidemic project.
Check out the blog for the book here: theendoftheworldisnighbook.blogspot.com
Check out the Facebook Fan Page for the project here: www.facebook.com/TheEndOfTheWorldIsNighBook
Check his author profile at: www.amazon.com/Scott-Lefebvre/e/B001TQ2W9G
Follow him at GoodReads here:
Check out his electronic music here: soundcloud.com/master_control
And here: master-control.bandcamp.com
Check out his videos at: www.youtube.com/user/doctornapoleon
Check out his IMDB profile here: www.imdb.com/name/nm3678959
Follow his Twitter here: twitter.com/TheLefebvre or @TheLefebvre
Follow his Tumblr here: thelefebvre.tumblr.com
Check out his Etsy here: www.etsy.com/shop/ScottLefebvreArt
Join the group for The Arkham Film Society here:
Stalk his Facebook at: www.facebook.com/TheLefebvre
E-mail him at: Scott_Lefebvre@hotmail.com

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