MUFFPick: Allie & Lara Make a Horror Movie
“I just want to be myself, and I am still figuring out who that person is, and what she wants.”
Sometimes you’re scrolling through Twitter and sandwiched between gifs and overshares is something super special. Nope, we’re not talking about that photo of the seal looking super unimpressed. That’s rad and all but it’s nothing compared to stumbling across a tweet of what looks like the most rad web series currently in crowdfunding.
Behold: Allie and Lara Make a Horror Movie! Created by Alicia Faucher & Larrisa Thomas, this web-series is about two women trying to get their horror movie Womantis made. WOMANTIS, y’all. WOMANTIS.
If that doesn’t excite you… you may be dead. But also, hows about you check out the first episode to see if that doesn’t kick-start you back to life:
You want more already, don’t you? Well, if you donate your hard-earned dollars to this campaign, you can help get the final 11 episodes made. Sounds like a sweet deal to us! Get to know the creators and click through to the crowdfunding campaign below!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got involved with filmmaking.
Larissa Thomas: I got involved with filmmaking by accident. I started out as an indie cartoonist, realized my writing sucked ass, but I couldn’t find anything useful on how to improve it related to comics. I started reading screenwriting books, and that’s how my obsession was born. I’ve always been a rabid horror movie fan, so it was kind of a “Duh!” moment. Having said that, getting into the “industry” in Canada — that’s something I gave up on years ago. Hence, generating our own work/projects. Don’t wait for other people to give you permission.
Alicia Faucher: Some days I wake up and have no idea how I got here. I dabbled in so many areas of the industry in the last nine years. It’s pretty amazing where things can take you.
Tell us about this project! Where did the idea come from?
LT: We were trying to write a serious horror feature together and then realized—
AF: —we are not serious people. Well, we are, but it’s not what we wanted to be doing together. We were having too much fun with our lighter ideas. When this one came up, we ran with it so hard. I think I was out of breath from pacing and shouting “and what if—” at each other.
LT: This project has also changed a lot since we started. Actually bringing the project to life ourselves has informed the re-writing/episodes. Life imitated art imitated life. #metabating (Fuck off, Regina — #metabating totally will happen.)
What excites you about using crowdfunding?
LT: Right now, nothing. I kind of want to stick my head in the microwave, haha. But when I’m feeling logical and well-rested, I love how it engages our existing and potential audience, and gets them involved in the creation process. Crowdfunding is key to helping us build an audience. I’ve seen people put excellent stuff out without an audience, and it’s just a fart in the night. Having an audience that’s invested makes the hard, long nights feel worth it and it excites us to be able to share the work with them. It’s also really awesome to see the good feels coming from our cast and crew when the support is there.
AF: I have a blast interacting with people about it, especially on Twitter. The little gifs that Larissa has made as thank yous amuse the shit out of me. I think crowdfunding allows us to be ourselves a little more and find an audience that will like us for who we are and our voice. I don’t want to put on a blazer in this heat and force a smile and small talk on topics I don’t care about just so people will take us seriously. We don’t take ourselves that seriously and we hope our audience gets that and likes our stuff more for it.
LT: I love you.
Tell us about some/all of the other amazing women who worked on this film!
AF: Maddy Foley is just an incredible talent. She is so much fun to work with that we actually miss her on off days. Heather Dicke is a force. She basically grabbed Maddy in the chemistry reads, committed to her, made her feel at ease, and because of that they knocked it out of the park. She cares so much about everyone on the team, and she keeps it real. Adding Sharon Belle to the mix as Becca was a no brainer. I feel like everyone kept saying, “Have you thought about Sharon?” She has a reputation for being the kindest, sweetest person to work with, and nothing has ever been more true. She rounded out our team perfectly! Larica is so calm. I have never admired a person more for how they approach a stressful situation. She is very focused, but always has a moment to look up and flash a warm, reassuring smile. Larissa Thomas. What do I say about Larissa Thomas that she hasn’t already said herself? (“Hahaha” — Larissa) I can’t begin to tell you what these ladies mean to me. We’ve had so much fun, and we’re growing!
LT: We just added Emily Milling (of CANMAKE Productions) to our team as Producer. Her enthusiasm right out of the gate, and psychic ability to read our minds, is helping us keep momentum during this stressful time. And, not a woman, but we want to give a special nod to our wonderful cinematographer, rock, and Yoda — Pierce Derks.
Nods to a few other lovely ladies that have stepped up to assist when we needed it: Violet Mount, Danielle Bartlett, Ami Leigh Holmes, Jenna Elberson, Serena Whitney and Leslie Hatton.
Tell us about why you are a feminist and why it’s important to your filmmaking.
LT: Uh oh… I feel a rant coming on… I don’t know that anyone would consider me a traditional feminist — or a traditional anything, but here goes… For me, being a woman (and feminist) in the film industry means finding the confidence to keep going when I’m not being taken seriously, having to deliver stronger work, prove myself, be okay with the destruction of relationships with insecure people, deciphering between actual opportunity and some pervy guy hoping to get laid, and using the sexist BS I’ve experienced as a tool to grow as a person. When thoughts like, “Do I seem like a harpy? Does this or that make me seem less attractive or somehow threatening?” creep in, I gotta force myself to say, “Fuck it, I’m doing what I want. If you don’t like my period joke, or you can’t take some well-meaning criticism from a woman, or that me chasing my dreams makes you feel less important — then you can suck my big tampon until it’s white again.”
The more women do, the more women have support, then the more women — and girls! — will come out of the woodwork to start making glorious films/series’ instead of being scared that they’re not good enough, that it’s pointless, or that they’ll lose people they care about. Women need to actually support each other. That feeling of “there’s not enough for all of us” spurns some nasty comparisonitis, jealousy, and backstabbing. For every sexist man out there I’ve encountered, I’ve also faced a woman who’s made me feel like total shit about my creative endeavors — I don’t know if it’s rooted in how women perceive themselves through the male gaze, or it’s something else. It burns more when a woman dismisses you — because we’ve come to expect it from men, but not women. The more that women put themselves out there, and the more normalized female projects become, the less women will feel the need to compete with each other, or feel that they have something to lose by pursuing their dreams or supporting other women who are. Being a feminist, to me, means owning my specific shortcomings as a woman in a creative industry and working to change them. /rant /run-on sentences
Just want to add that Alicia and I hope to convey a balance of male-generated sexism (as seen in our first episode!), as well as the rivalry, jealousy, and shit women do to each other that’s just as bad in our series.
AF: I just want to be myself, and I am still figuring out who that person is, and what she wants. I never want to stop learning, stop growing, stop changing my mind when I feel like something isn’t working. It’s like writing, it’s a journey. I want to live in a world where this is okay. I don’t want to adhere to the confinements and expectations of anyone — that includes other women too — I feel strongly about that. You be you, I’ll be me, I’m gonna put my arm around this gal here that sees and respects me for that, we’re gonna have a cry, and a laugh, and then go make some shit. K?
Who are your favourite women working in the industry?
LT: Karyn Kusama, Diablo Cody, Karen Walton, Alice Lowe, and 80s/90s Kathryn Bigelow. Most recently, Julia Ducournau blew my fucking mind with Raw. Her Q&A at TIFF filled me with light and hope. And of course, Larica Perera, Emily Milling, and our friends Serena Whitney and Shannon Hanmer. And ourselves. Can I put ourselves? Maybe just Alicia. She’s pulled me out of the self-sabotaging, self-loathing hole I dug many years ago, and lifted me into the light!
AF: I’m shouting out to Annie Briggs because I fucking love her. Her digital series Clairevoyant received IPF funding, and she is just killing it every day. I am a HUGE fan of Melissa Hunter — Adult Wednesday Addams, her Wolfgirl pilot, & Backseat Bitches are so my jam. When it came to web, I really appreciated being able to look to her work and feel confident that there is an audience out there for the type of things that I want to make.
What’s the best advice about filmmaking you’ve ever received?
LT: The one thing I struggle with the most, that several people have given me advice about: focus on one thing at a time and don’t spread yourself thin over multiple projects. Didn’t listen to it, but worth sharing. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. And, don’t be afraid to “fail.” You can’t be successful until you fail. And failure is really just an opportunity to learn and improve. Do/create what makes you happy and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. #fuckthehaters
AF: “Just do it!” “Fuck them!” “Write everyday.” “Read.” “Everything is a learning experience.” “Suck it up and do better next time. Just make sure there is a next time.” “It’ll never look as good as your dailies, but it will never be as bad as your first cut.” “Stay scared.” “Dig deep.” “Go. Be. I’ll see you when I see you.” — That one was my mom. It applies to everything. All the time.
Was it a conscious decision to develop this into a web-series, as opposed to a film?
AF: Yes. We saw it as being more accessible and manageable online. We saw it playing out in small instalments, each focusing on another aspect of filmmaking, or crazy issue. It never really felt like a feature, and it was much more entertaining to us to make it as confusing as possible in a title vs. platform way.
LT: It’s also allowed for a learning curve that a feature wouldn’t have. We started out taking really small steps — eh, it’s just a web series — with testing the water and shit. Then, maybe we should make it ourselves? Once we dove in the deep end, we had to learn to swim or just forget about the project. Learning all-the-things in a compressed period of time has really changed my perspective, attitude, confidence, and definitely informed the work.
Can you describe how you approached balancing all of the different tones and elements (horror, comedy, a movie within a movie)?
LT: Is it balanced? Haha. Alicia thinks my episodes are off the rails (“and loves it!”- Alicia), so maybe the balance comes from an even spread of psycho episodes and grounded episodes. We’ve had to embrace the insanity. Everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong. We might be haunted. It’s all just grist for the mill that is Allie & Lara Make a Horror Movie. If you asked about how we balance our lives with this project… we’re still figuring that out.
AF: I think we just live in a content driven world, where how we communicate and converse has morphed into shorthand, references and inside jokes, very reflective of our current pop culture-shock state. So that’s how it’s balanced. Their dialogue is a shorthand of industry related inside jokes, the references are in the tone of the scenes, shot set-ups (future eps), set dec…etc. Horror is our subject, not our genre on this one. It’s a bit more freeing.
What’s your go-to jam?
LT: Animal by W.A.S.P. Just change out “fuck” with “write”. [Later note: In hindsight, this song is probably incredibly sexist, not #MUFFapproved — I’m taking it back for the women out there because I refuse to give it up!]
AF: Just one? Well right now I’ve been listening to a lot of Def Leppard because I was mashing their lyrics up to horror stills and feeling romantic about it. (See Instagram.) But I do love Bat Outta Hell—that will become evident to you. I am a huge Eagles fan so One of These Nights has always been my jam. Our A&L psyche up songs are usually Burning Up — Madonna, and Never — Heart.
If you had your own talk show, who would your first three guests be?
LT: Stephen King, Sophia the Robot, and Megan Fox.
AF: Stephen King, Steven Wright, Amy Poehler. We both think SK is the coolest apparently.
LT: Except I don’t find him hot, haha. Childhood idol.
AF: I find him incredibly sexy. I’m so into his mind.
LT: Do you think Stephen King gets Google Alerts on his name? Hey, Steve wanna hang? We’ll drive to Maine and take you out for a picnic. Definitely won’t Annie Wilkes you.
You were just given a yacht. What would you name it?
LT: “Hot or Yacht?”
AF: “The Mr. Beaumont” or “The Seaward”. Naming a yacht is like wearing a t-shirt for your fave band, but in my case, TV show.
Recommend one #MUFFApproved film for our blog readers!
LT: Jennifer’s Body! I also recommend the comic book and the possibly unauthorized YA novelization.
AF: Easy. Slumber Party Massacre is one of my all time faves.