- An Interview with the cast of KILLCAM: LIVE
February 16, 2012
- Interview with director Michelle ChenMiao of SON OF THE STARS
November 16, 2011
- An Interview with Moniqua Plante and John Wynn of PILLOW TALK
November 15, 2011
- Interview: Joshua Leonard of HIGHER GROUND
August 25, 2011
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- January 2003
An Interview with the cast of KILLCAM: LIVE
THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT started the “found footage” genre. Now KILLCAM is poised to start a whole new genre, the interactive horror film. To help build the buzz for the film, they launched KILLCAM: LIVE on Halloween. Soon audiences from around the world were tuning in to this interactive social media horror experiment and interacting with the characters and shaping the direction of the film. At one point, drawing over 3 million participants and breaking live stream records for Stickam. We sat down with the stars of this innovative indie horror that created a global audience on their own with a minimal budget. Fair warning! There are spoilers in the interview
FR: We are here with the cast of KILLCAM: LIVE. Why don’t you introduce yourselves?
ED: I’m Emily Dykes. I play Kessa O’Leary.
TC: Hi, my name is Tracy Clifton. I played Sara Roberts.
AW: Hi, I’m April Wade. I played Jessica Strand aka Charlie.
BW: Hi, I’m Billy Towers and I played Ralph.
FR: How did the idea for the project come about?
AW: We were talking about how new media wasn’t making any money and old media wasn’t quite the same way it was and wondered if there was a way to have a confluence… to have the two support each other. So the idea of making a horror film was because it was more immediate, more interesting and was something that we knew we could pull off really quickly. The greater idea was to try to tell a story on several platforms. So all of our characters had a life on Facebook and Twitter and some did blogs and some did Tumblr pages. We wanted it to be an all encompassing experience for the audience but also to do something that has never been done before … and that’s where the live element really came into play.
FR: When you started the project did you have a fully realized script or did you just have a rough outline?
AW: We had a 60 page outline, Canyon Prince and I, the other creator, and took it to a bunch of investors who all said the same thing, “This is incredible, go make your movie and tell me how it goes.” We then did a presentation to all of our friends. We had a handful of writers step forward. One in particular, Spence Griffeth, took our treatment and wrote it all out. The other phase that happened was after we shot what was pretty much a normal movie…on no money, the kind of film shoot we’ve all done then the live element happened. About 4 hours into the live stream, knowing that it was going to go for 6 weeks, were shocked by how much writing we would have to do from that point out. It wasn’t physical writing on the page but it was storytelling and creating moments.
FR: So were you surprised with where the audience took your film?
AW: Yeah! This is my favorite moment to describe because it is just so indicative of the rest of the stories. About the first 4 hours everyone wanted to solve the puzzle, they want to find the way out, they wanted to check under the table… it was a big game. Then at one point in time our first character who was in the room, Mirai Booth-Ong, she played Amber, she looked at one of the guys who was watching the feed and he had been watching all day. He was smoking and staring at the screen, being really creepy and she looks at him and says, “I’m locked in here and I’m going to die and I can’t do anything about it and there you are smoking your life away.” It got really quiet. It was the first time the chat room got quiet. He said, “Frankly, I don’t that I has much to live for.” We all freaked out a little bit and we’re like this was a real moment. What’s going on? And she handled it amazingly well. She said, “We’ll you’re helping me,” and they had this real dialogue that opened up. He ended up being one of the biggest fans of the show and one of the biggest players as well. That’s was when it really flipped for us. It wasn’t about us talking to the audience; it was about the audience talking in us.
FR: Let’s talk about that because people, on the Internet, can get quite passionate and quite insane, was there anyone that you had to say that we’re going to have to block this person?
AW: About 5 every hour plus there’s a lot of trolls and spammers. With the technology that we were able to use, a lot of open source stuff, that meant we had who we had. We had to constantly try to control people who were doing things that were just not helpful. We didn’t control people that were just being mean.. if they were doing it intelligently because that was part of the experiment. We gave these huge speeches about how everyone was going to be awful and that everyone was going to want you to die and that everyone was going to be angry, awful and mean and to be prepared. And they were but what was more surprising and interesting…was when they weren’t. They wanted these characters to live.
BT: There were just as many people who were kind of invested… there are always going to be haters… but there are also the people who are invested and…you know…here’s what happened to the previous character; did you try this?; let’s help you try to get out. We didn’t mention certain things about our character’s history, the people online wanted to plug in as many holes as they could. They really rounded out the story in a way that us, in the production or even the writers, could ever think of.
AW: Yea, they would find things. What’s that red piece of tape? And we’re like???
TC: We’re just trying to tape the chain down.
AW: It’s a clue!
ED: Yeah, right.
TC: Just roll with it.
AW: They were so much more helpful and loving then I originally gave them credit for.
ED: And they were incredibly industrious. Like go through the ceiling. Break down the…
TC: I’m not MacGyver!
ED: It’s a set. What do I do? You want to maintain the truth of the story and you want to maintain the illusion but at the same time you want to honor every suggestion that comes to you.
TC: They created a community. What I found interesting was that at some point they wanted to help us police the community. Like, hey Sarah, I think that there’s someone here who is under 18. I don’t think that appropriate for them. Could you boot them off? If people would be super mean or trolly, they would be like.. Oh really… you’re going to come here and hate on us? They became protective of us and their experiences and that threw them even more on our side.
AW: The number one thing to say when you first came into that room was “This is fake!”
TC: Really… no kidding. Mindblowing. Did you get that from the disclaimer that you had to click on? They helped out. We didn’t have to plant people to ridicule them.
AW: They were very protective of the fourth wall.
ED: If people came in and there were.. What is this? What’s going on? Fans would chime in. Well it’s like this and the characters are up to this. It was really cool.
BT: And here’s the link to so and so’s blog or so and so’s Facebook page. As much as people would say that they should have done this or they should have done that, I think that a lot of people were pretty genuinely impressed that were in a room for 24 hours, for however long.
TC: (To AW) You were in the room for like fifty something.
AW: Yeah, 56 hours.
BT: We maintained the social media, Facebook pages, and blogs for months beforehand and I think that they really appreciated that.
TC: We set up the framework with our blogs, Facebook and Tumblr pages and we made friends with some of these people already so that when they jumped in it wasn’t just this new thing to hate on. It was like… I posted on your wall before, I done this. I done that. So that relationship was already built in.
ED: When each character would pass on, every wall would fill up with RIP and I miss you. It was treated like they really had genuine relationships with these characters. It was pretty cool.
FR: Did any one you secretly plant some of your friends to push for your character to live or survive?
ED: I tried to but it’s very difficult to get people to do anything. There’s not much you can really do if they were not part of that core group that was with you for 36 hours or however long you were in there for.
TC: Most of my friends were like I love you and I don’t want to watch you locked in a room and tortured. I’m not going to watch this.
ED: I had to tell my mom not to watch.
AW: I had a very different experience.
TC: You come from a very sick family so…
AW: I had a lot of people tune in to see me curse. I had a different experience because I had been producing and live directing the whole rest of the time. So for me, my mom would bring us food, I could see her feet through the bathroom wall and sometimes she would be dancing to music with me and it would be slightly distracting. People would check in and do codes and I didn’t like it. It was hard enough with me being on the other side of the wall, to keep up the mystery and the reality of being locked in a room. That every time someone, who I adore and love, would check in with me and I could see who they were I be like “argh”. I’m Jessica right now.
BT: It’s almost more distracting than someone going it fake, it fake.
TC: It’s like being on stage and having your family member wave at you.
ED: You would have friends chime in with we’re going to dinner or we’re doing this and you’re like I don’t want to know. I’m not her right now. Not that it wasn’t lovely to hear from them, it just wasn’t appropriate.
TC: You’re in character the entire time. You’re in character when you’re taking your bathroom breaks and when you’re sleeping you have people watching you sleep. You just got to stay that focused.
FR: So were you surprised with the success? With how many users you got?
AW: I got to be honest. We figured out that we would get a lot of people to watch because we were killing people online. The numbers that we got I was really pleased with. It was the interactivity that was the surprise. The things that knocked me off my feet were the level that the audience took it to. We were just really naïve going into it thinking that there were moments when we were going to be bored and there wasn’t a single one. It was the audience keeping it alive. I think the scope was sort of a surprise. We were on every single continent.
BT: I was really impressed with the amount of user generated content. The whiteboard. Users were drawing pictures of knives dripping blood. The character of Leonard, Sam’s character, people were doing tribute videos. Some characters really generated a lot of fan hysteria. So many of the more frequent users, they have their own clips or tribute videos. If you didn’t know what happened, you would know which fans had the kill videos.
AW: Thanks Kevin Crocker.
BT: A lot of them did it in a way to support each other and find out what parts they missed.
ED: There was even an animated video that someone was doing.
AW: That’s Andrew Clay. Doing a shout out. My guitarist was making songs for us.
TC: They created a community. The Killmunity. So everyone’s dead. The show is over. You can go to Killcamlive.com right now and there will still be people there.
BT: About 20 people chatting on any given day.
TC: They’re a family.
AW: I’m in regular touch with Gracie and she sort of updates me. They’re all kind of like what’s next? Everyone’s starting to leave, April. There’s nothing going on. I didn’t intend for there to be something going on. The fact that even a single person was in there after we were no longer live was really a pleasant surprise.
FR: So now you are wrapping up the feature version. Is that going to be any different for those who sat through the entire Killcam experience? Will there be any surprises for them?
AW: Yeah, we did shoot some stuff that will take the story in a different direction. Hopefully what is going to be exciting for people is to relive and resee the moments that they helped us create. That was the original idea with the DVD. We do have some, I would call it extra footage, but the story continues past were we left off.
FR: With a DVD and especially a Blu-Ray, you can create a whole other level of interactivity. What are you planning?
AW: We’ll see. Everything is always a matter of money. That’s the thing I’m kind of hooked on this kind of storytelling now. Every project that I looked at doing prior to this just doesn’t feel fun unless there’s a level of interacting with the audience or having fans help you create something The movie was so unique with how it was made, that we will obviously have to do something unique with the DVD. For me, this is how I want to make movies.
FR: Any plans for a Killcam 2 or will you do something completely different?
AW: Boy, is that the question of the month for me. We’ll see. I think that these characters and these stories are important and special to me and I hope they have a chance to live on but it’s really opened my eyes to what is possible right now. I think that what is possible with technology is only getting more and more incredible so I can’t imagine going back.
BT: The audience will appreciate the effort that went into it. We took into account so many of the things that could go wrong but the response that people gave in a positive way is really strong reinforcement to continue to try to do something like this.
AW: People were so much more intelligent and creative then I could have given them credit for.
TC: Absolutely, you don’t think of that when you think of the Internet. There are a lot of people who really appreciated the fact that we interacted with them. One time after killing someone, Charlie, the killer, sat down and did a live chat with everyone.
AW: That was Spence Griffeth, usually, by the way.
TC: He was amazing. He just blew my mind as the killer. People are asking him, where do you get your ideas and how long have you been killing. He’s just firing off quips and afterwards I’m sitting in the chatroom and people are like, man that was so awesome. You never get to talk to the killer. You never get to chat with the killer in a horror movie and ask why are you doing that? What’s your next move? It was so cool just to talk to him.
AW: We actually had the killer clean up on camera. And that was Kirk Cabana, Charlie was many people. Kirk Cabana was amazing. We couldn’t have made the movie without Kirk. He played Charlie a lot and would clean up and do antics. He was wonderful. Can I do two more shotout?
AW: I have to thank Kenya Prince who created the story with me, stepped back and John Darko who directed the feature and then who came in for the live stuff after I had basically been up for 36 hours and I could breath or walk anymore. Juan Manuel Rocha who never left this project’s side, Vito Lapiccola and David Brewer who could not have been more above and beyond the call of Director of Photography because he was there with us in the chatrooms every moment of the day and Dennis Benson who did our website who was very much a behind the scenes unsung hero because I kept calling him…something went down and I don’t know what happen or fix the counter please. Those are my shout outs. I had to say that because there was such a small handful of amazing people that help this project get made. We had investors out of the Middle East who are just wonderful filmmakers themselves. There was a small but mighty amount of people that made something pretty big.
TC: The best things was when it was finally all our turns to get into the kill room, we realized that there was such amazing people that were going to take care of everything. Things would go wrong but for me, I absolutely felt taken care of. I walked in there with 100% trust. I knew that it was going to be an amazing experience and I only could have done that, put myself in a room being watched 24/7 because I knew that there was an amazing team of people.
BT: Mario, the stunt coordinator.
AW: Thank you. God. Mario was coordinating in the parking lot because we were changing kills. Like Jessica on camerasn’t supposed to kill anyone. I killed three people. I’m not a stunt person. Mario Rocha to jump in constantly, our make-up artist, Danie Cansino and Melaine Togo and Annette were just phenomenal constantly jumping in. No one had ever done anything like this before. None of us and kind of no one on the planet.
BT: Blood, stunts and hijinks.
AW: Little did I know that it was the low budget horror film that was more difficult than any could be.
ED: I’m never going to get over the visual of just being covered in blood and you just sitting there placing gooey up, bloody nylons on my face after having my face sandblasted off. There’s blood literally everywhere.
AW: My favorite part of that was that those were two supersoakers and Juan and I just put our fingers over the nozzles and we were just spraying blood everywhere.
TC: That’s the magic, folks. Supersoakers.
BT; It was my favorite looking kill because you’re like how did they do that?
TC: And you came back for your very own Christmas special.
BT: That was fun.
AW: Ralph was spared and… then he wasn’t.
ED: That lobotomy was really hard to watch.
TC: It was incredibly disturbing. He was lobotomized by a screwdriver?
BT: Yeah, phillips.
TC: Oh, yeah, flathead. Who uses flatheads these days?
AW: Samantha’s death for me was my favorite death. She laid on the ground for 45 minutes. Writhing…calling for the characters.
TC: Bleeding out and sobbing. And it was just quiet in the room. People were like it’s on a loop. And people were like it’s not on a loop; she’s doing this for 45 minutes.
AW: That was pretty gnarly for me. Is she okay? Should we go get her? She lying there a long time.
FR: So what’s next for everyone?
ED: I’m working on a music project right now. It’s a band called No Way North and we’re going to be releasing our album at the end of March. Check it out at nowaynorth.com.
AW: Devil’s Pussy has a really good EP I here.
ED: Yeah, it’s on its way.
AW: Your fake band was so kick-ass.
ED: We’re trying to figure out a way to release it on iTunes.
TC: I’m a lead in a web series called HELL FROZE OVER and we’ve raised enough funds on Kickstarter to get a second season going. So you can check that out on hellfozeovertv. I play Jody.
AW: One more quick shot out. Best husband on the planet earth. Corey Wish, I got married in the middle of making this movie. We didn’t elope. This was a big wedding in the middle of making the movie and he was there for every step. I love him. What’s next for me? I’m working on another great experiment called CONCESSIONERS MUST DIE where we’re going to see what we can do about having the audience help us create from script up. We’ll see where that goes. And I’m trying to figure out where this live stream meets narrative goes from here. Working with a couple of partners and taking it out to some producers to see if we can get the idea to be bigger.
BT: For now, my primary role is daddy. My little girl just turned one years old a week and a half ago. In the meantime, I’m also working on some writing projects and we’ll see what develops.
FR: I look forward to seeing the finished feature and that you for talking to us.
If you would like to find out more about KILLCAM: LIVE and the actors is the film. Check out these links.
Hey! Had a blast watching and interacting with everyone on killcam. I do wish there was going to be a part 2 that would have been awesome. Can’t wait for the DVD to come out. <3Posted by Miquela (Kaylak) on 02/17 at 06:12 PM
yeah i really enjoyed all of it and loved the interactivity…but i have a feeling the endings are always bound to be bittersweet cause the amount of ideas from everywhere coming in… but it was wonderful to be a small part in an interactive experience like no other…Posted by nyan on 02/17 at 06:48 PM
Wow! I really loved the show. I joined when jessica was in the kill room though. Although I did get kicked a lot because I was under 18. But besides that,
WE WANT SEASON 2
Had a blast. Expecting the DVD :DPosted by Mark Reddington (marky) on 02/20 at 10:19 PM
Wow awesome job everyone especially to my neice April! As always I remain your loyal fan and await each and everyone of your projects.Posted by Kathy Kastelz on 02/23 at 08:28 PM
I loved Killcam getting to know the killer and victims. Getting to meet a lot of people who enjoyed this experiences with me. I so looking forward to watching and being apart of more stuff from April. Hope to see a Season 2 of KillCam Live.Posted by Adam Schiffer on 04/20 at 08:49 PM