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Owen Mulligan p3

rankenstorm and on-set hauntings. Owen Mulligan on the making of his EC comics-style horror short Pumpkinbane...

READERSVOICE.COM: What do you like to have in a story before you know it’s ready to film?

OWEN MULLIGAN: I prefer stories that have interesting characters with a bit of a morality play going on. The story should also be as original as possible and with a plot that will keep the audience guessing until the end. I’m not always successful with this but I believe I’m getting better with my screenwriting and story creation.

RV: What basic shots did you get before you started full production from Wednesday to Friday, around Halloween and early November?

OM: Well the Frankenstorm screwed up our schedule so we actually started shooting Sunday night before the storm was supposed to hit our area. Then Tuesday we spent six hours shooting a title sequence which wasn’t even originally planned as part of the shoot. Many parts of this movie are completely spontaneous. It was a crazy week.

RV: How many different scenes or shots will you have in the finished short movie, Pumpkinbane, and how long did it take to shoot each one?

OM: That’s really hard to say but it’s about 40 shots or so. Right now, I don’t know how many shots will end up in the final edit. Anyway, some shots took about 20 minutes or so while others took hours. The FX shots usually were the ones that would eat up the most time. We’re actually doing more shots on November 20th as well as some sound work and then it’s full post-production time.

RV: What locations did you use?

OM: One location in a very old and beautiful house located in Winooski, Vermont that couldn’t have been more perfect for the Pumpkinbane story. The house belongs to the mother of one of my actors and producers, Zak Frederick.

RV: What sorts of other jobs do your actors have?

OM: Actually, I’m not entirely sure. One of them is retired.

RV: What were the main difficulties you had during the shoots, if any?

OM: The Frankenstorm Sandy, faulty equipment, on set hauntings, lack of sleep but we all had a blast despite this. To date, Pumpkinbane was the most fun I ever had shooting a short. It pays to work with people you like and who will do anything to make the movie work.

RV: With the shooting of a feature length movie planned for 2013, was it a problem starting production on a short movie first?

OM: This was not a problem. We had been working on the feature since 2011, and for this year, we did all that was needed to be done so we had a window of opportunity to dive in and make Pumpkinbane.

RV: What kinds of lessons have you learned while making shorts?

OM: So many I don’t think I could name them all but most importantly plan every little detail, double check everything, work with people you like, and don’t shoot outside during the winter!

RV: What sort of budget do you have for Pumpkinbane?

OM: I did not track the budget but my guess is somewhere around $300. There really was no set limit for this movie. I was fully prepared to spend whatever it took to do it right but luckily it wasn’t that much. I’ve spent far more on some of my earlier shorts but that was mostly due to me being a complete novice with no training. The cost is also split among the producers, which helps.

RV: How long will it take to edit?

OM: Most likely three months but it might take longer because I’m having an original score done by A.J. Sealy, the same composer that did the music for my last film. He’s very talented so that will be a big plus for the movie and worth the extra time.

RV: What stages of preparation will you go through before you can start shooting your feature?

OM: Same prep I did for Pumpkinbane but since we’ve been working on the feature since 2011, most of that work has already been done. We will do some more FX testing this coming year though, some additional rehearsals with the cast, as well as some location prep. I look forward to shooting next summer if all goes as planned.

-See Deadfi.com for the horror movies of Owen Mulligan.
-copyright Simon Sandall