How to create a vampire short film – Tex: Vampire Hunter, the interviews

Previously I wrote  a bit about a new short coming our way soon.  Tex: Vampire Hunter or Make Thick My Blood: A Tragedy in One Act. I caught up with Gabriel, the man responsible for the movie and had a chance to talk briefly about this freaking awesome vampire western.  Gabriel started his project through the Seattle Film Institute but it seems to have taking on a life of it’s own and grown a bit bigger than a final project.  Now it’s a full fledged, hand-carved wooden bullet vampire slay fest.

Tex is a gunslinger in the old west who has dedicated his life to hunting down and killing vampires. His travels bring him to a brothel used by vampires as a front to lure their victims. This evil bordello also happens to be run by his ex-lover, a beautiful vampire named Elisabeta. Tex is haunted by his past, but will he be able to discover the dark secret that binds him to his prey, or will his righteous rage blind him?


TC: From conception of this film to today, how much time have you invested in it?  How many hours a day go into creating a film?

Gabriel: It’s been months of work, not just by me, but by the entire crew.  My Assistant Director and Cinematographer were incredibly dedicated. We met together for  hours every day for weeks during pre-production, storyboarding and planning all the shots.  Shooting is the more fun and glamorous part, but it can be tiring too.  We put in some 14-hour days.  But you can only justify making people work that hard if you have everything very well planned. I’m sure if you calculated the actual man-hours it would be well into the thousands.

TC: What do you expect the running time of the finished film will be?

Gabriel: We’re in the midst of the editing process as I type this, so it’s not known for sure yet, but I’m hoping to get it down to 10 minutes.  The problem with most short films is they’re too long.

TC: Once this film is finished, where can people like me go to see it?

Gabriel: I’m submitting it to festivals all around the country.  Hopefully there’ll be one near you.

TC: Are you basing your vampires on the body of mythology available or have you had first hand encounters with actual living dead beings?  You won’t end up in my convertible on night like Tom Cruise in Interview with a Vampire, right?

Gabriel: They’re a combination of traditional vampires and my ex-girlfriends.

TC: From the photos I’ve seen it looks like there are some pretty interesting ways to off vampires.  How many vampires bite it in your film?  Do you have a favorite method?

Gabriel: Over the course of the film, the world population of vampires is reduced by nine.  Most of them are killed by Tex’s hand-carved wooden bullets.  One catches a ricochet bullet deflected by a sword.  One is done in by the traditional mallet and stake.  One gets a stake pounded in by the butt of Tex’s gun. And one is crippled by a sword and then finished off with a wooden bullet, which is my personal favorite because it’s the most gruesome.  It was really fun developing that scene.  The stunt coordinator and I are holding Jen Page by the arms and legs and we drop her onto the sword, then we cut to a close up of a false corset back with a blood packet, which we stab, with a satisfying burst of blood, and finally we have a half-sword welded to a plate that we slipped under the corset, with the blade sticking out.  Movie magic!  Of course Jen really sells it with her awesome gasping and writhing.

TC: Can you tell me a bit on how you came to direct this film?  How are you connected to movie production in general and the SFI specifically?

Gabriel: I’m a student at SFI.  Tex is one of the final projects of the program.  That’s how it started out anyway.  It quickly became a much larger beast, as more people heard about it and wanted to help out.  That’s how we got our makeup people, our wardrobe lady, our fang maker, our fight choreographer and stunt guy.  People heard about it and loved the script and wanted to be involved.

TC: Between cast and crew, how big is your production?

Gabriel: Something like 30 people contributed in some capacity.

TC: Do you have any advice for would-be vampire slayers?  Tips on what weapons to use, diet, training and wardrobe would be very helpful.

Gabriel: Vampire hunting should only be undertaken by trained, experienced professionals.  I would recommend aspiring hunters to participate in an apprentice program of some sort, where they can get hands-on training and guidance from a mentor.  If you’re foolish enough to try it on your own, I’d suggest the traditional method of tracking the vampire to its daytime resting spot and stabbing it through the heart with a stake while it sleeps.  It’s more cowardly but has a greater chance of success.  Not everybody can be as badass as Tex.  People get hurt trying.

TC: Who are your influences when it comes to film making and script writing?

Gabriel: Oh damn.  This is a hard question.  Once you start listing influences, people expect you to be as good as them, or start looking for evidence of it in your work.  I admire, but do not pretend to emulate or equal, the “film school” class of directors from the ’70s: Scorsese, Coppola, Kubrick.  And I’m also really attracted to the intensely personal nature of movies by younger directors like Paul Thomas Anderson and Darren Aronofsky.

TC: Once Tex is done and behind you, what’s next?

Gabriel: My next project will probably be a music video for the Seattle band Throw Me the Statue.  Long term, I want to use the Tex short to pitch the feature length version.  And then I have a few other feature length screenplays written and ready to be made, but I think Tex will be an easier sell.  The basic idea is to get people to trust me with millions of dollars, and then make a movie.


Let’s not forget that the perennially peasant swatting, beast shirking scifi maven Jen Page will be here for the fun as well.  And finally, because I like this image so much, here’s a bloody sword sticking out the back of Jen’s corset, sans Jen I hope.


[tags]tex vampire hunter, jen page, vampires, movies,interview[/tags]

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