If you’re a regular reader of RogueCinema.com…and if you’re not, then you really should be…then you know that Scott Goldberg and I have something of a history. No, not THAT way, you perverts! Scott has been making movies for quite some time, and we here at RC have been fans of his right from the beginning. Scott is the kind of filmmaker who doesn’t just want to shock you with gore and guts, Scott wants his horror to come from the reality that surrounds us all, and if that’s not scary, then you’re not paying attention! His latest movie, Mr. Mullen is about to hit and I thought it would be a great time to catch up with Scott, find out about Mr. Mullen and what else is going on in this amazing young filmmaker’s world.
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BM – Mr. Mullen seems to be a direct reaction to the collapse of the economy. Is this something that you spontaneously worked on, or was this in the works before the collapse?
SG – The collapse definitely inspired me to include that in the film, but the film didn’t start off like films usually do. We were shooting a Rape PSA and it turned into a scene for the film which we actually built the film around. The storyline began from there – one of the daughters of a mayor who wronged the man by screwing him over financially.
BM – Is Mr. Mullen based on anything you’ve personally experienced?
SG – There are definitely views of mine that are in the film that I feel a lot of people are feeling at the time that the film was made, and especially now with how the economy is and where it’s heading, it’s most definitely a concern for myself and others. The inspiration for the film comes from many different avenues. Interestingly enough I was part of a few political organizations a few years back until I realized that not a lot of things were getting done. It seemed as if people had their own agenda and too many different ideas of what they wanted to achieve – some desired to be famous (an unfortunate aspect of our species) and would scream facts to the people walking by during street rallies to get more attention drawn to themselves while others wanted truth. I was one of the many who wanted truth and later came to feel that truth is universal – it’s something that you have to find within yourself. Everyone has their own reality of what life is as well is what is truth and what is lies.
BM – Your movies seem to be incredibly personal, would you ever work on something that wasn’t completely yours?
SG – If the project was interesting, original and something that I felt that I could effectively make, sure I’d be open to working on it.
BM – Being that you’re a very socially aware filmmaker, what will your next project be? And, is there anything going on right now that really makes you want to do a movie about it?
SG – We are getting right back into shooting The Militia 15, which is a film about a documentary filmmaker who forms the militia in hopes to make a change by counteracting the lies of the mainstream media with alternative videos of truth and proper facts. The film was inspired by the constant misinformation of the mainstream news, as well as local militia movements that are willing to protect their families in the event of Martial Law. After that is wrapped, I’d like to shoot a horror film that I have in my mind, but would need a budget for the special effects. Mark Nadolski and I are currently working on a feature length screenplay right now and hope to get things rolling sometime next year with funding and principal photography. In due time I believe it will get done – sometimes when you’re working with limited funds it takes time.
BM – Do you feel that your movies will become more politically aware? Or do you ever see yourself moving to just a ‘straight’ horror movie again?
SG – What intrigues me the most right now is a revolution of sorts. It seems to happen every other decade. This past decade was horrible in terms of original and effective horror films. It seems as if the scripts that are being produced are mediocre and non effective, delivering the same formula that’s been done again and again. That’s the main issue with horror films of today – they lack a heart and soul.
BM – When can we expect to see Mr. Mullen, and how can we all see it?
SG – Mr. Mullen will premiere July 4th, 2010 online at www.mrmullenfilm.com. The film will also be for purchase on our website shortly after that.
BM – American Citizens Movement started earlier this year. Can you tell us more about it?
SG – The American Citizens Movement is an organization of free thinking citizens located out of New York, with strong ties to Chicago, which promotes creative ideas through filmmaking, literature, music, all tied in to promoting the betterment of American society and political landscape. What we’ve been trying to do with this organization is fund some projects as well as posting alternative news, facts, opinions and information that people might be interested in reading. The name of the organization actually came from a citizen’s movement in the feature length script we’re currently working on, so by the time film gets released, we hope to have a nice amount of citizens who contribute to the site, as well as read the content.
BM – After The Militia 15, what do you think you’ll do?
SG – I’ve learned to stay focused on what’s in the moment and to not plan too far ahead because things can change at any moment. I do know that an upgrade to the equipment from standard definition to HD is something I plan on doing very soon for the films following The Militia 15.
BM – How important do you feel music is to your films?
SG – Music is one of the most crucial elements to any film. When a musical score works in a film it’s magical. Without music, a film will lack emotion most of the time. There are certain films that I am sure don’t have music that can still bring out an emotional response but I feel music really brings out so many emotions. One of my favorite scores has to be John Harrison’s score in Day of the Dead. That and the music of Pink Floyd. Their album Wish You Were Here IS perfection in my opinion. Animals, a lesser known album by people who aren’t familiar with their music, is also great.
Scott’s new film, Mr. Mullen, features music by Mark Nadolski. Well, since Scott feels that music is important to films, I thought it’d be nice to talk to Mark about the music for Mr. Mullen.
BM – You also did the music for Scott’s film, Loss Of Hope. What can we expect with the score in Mr. Mullen?
MN – Well, since I scored Loss of Hope in 2008 when I was 20, and now it’s 2010 and I’m 22, that’s two big years of musical development. Mr. Mullen, as Loss of Hope was, is synth-driven using sounds from the Prophet V and other synths heavily used in dark 80s scores, but this time around, I expanded into using instruments that I performed and recorded myself. A variety of electric guitars are used in the score, as well as Rickenbacker bass, and monstrous taiko Japanese drums for the more violent scenes. If I went back to critique my score of Loss of Hope, it would be that it is quite thin in places, and does not layer or modulate any of the sounds I used. In Mr. Mullen synth tones are in perpetual modulation, blending together as one mass to create a heavy and dark sound that I think is unique.
BM – Where do you draw your inspiration for music that you compose in films, specifically Mr. Mullen?
MN – In general, most of my synth tones are based off the sounds of Pink Floyd, Jan Hammer, Tangerine Dream, John Harrision- basically the sounds of the 1980s. Specifically for Mr. Mullen, I really concentrated on the idea of "sound morphology", which is a twentieth century technique used by classical composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen or Edgard Varèse. I studied their techniques that they usually apply to an orchestra, and applied them to my synth tones and guitars. "Sound morphology" for me creates an ever-blending mass of music; one synth tone fades into the next, which may have a brighter sheen to it; or a roughly attacked stinger is followed by a smooth synth which seems to evolve from the decay of that sting. Very subtle stuff, but effective as a whole. That was the main compositional inspiration for Mr. Mullen in terms of technique; in terms of the actual music created, a lot of my influences come from the groups that I mentioned earlier, and from almost any genre. For example, the backbone synth for many of Mullen’s sadder sections recreates the synth used in Fergie’s Glamourous (produced by Polow da Don)- a #1 Billboard club hit, while many of the musical ideas are inspired by 80s composers such as Jan Hammer, John Harrison, and Mark Isham.
BM – What advice can you give to young aspiring composers who desire to make music for a living?
MN – Rather than spouting clichés such as "oh work hard and persevere" (those are all true of course), I would say that the best way to make a living scoring films, is to learn all aspects of filmmaking, and then work at the producer level. One of the best books that I have ever read is Tom Malloy’s Bankroll, where he writes of his experience producing films: "He who has the gold, makes the decisions". By working at the producer level of filmmaking, you control the gold, and you get to pay yourself what you think is a fair wage. You can find so many ads for projects: Producer: "Please score my film in a week. It needs to be Wagnerian in scope and wall-to-wall music for every scene. Oh yeah and I can’t pay you because I blew all the money on something stupid but I know you’re desperate for work so too bad." Sure I’m exaggerating, but as a composer your potential returns are usually back loaded into the profit of the film (if there happens to be any, which is rare for indie films) and you can be sure that you are the very last person in the post-production chain. By producing films, you are the first person of the entire chain (well, second to the investors) and you can make sure that you can make a livable wage composing music for film.
BM – Thanks, Mark.
MN – Thank you.
BM – And thank you, Scott.
SG – Thanks, Brian.
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Well, if that doesn’t interest you in checking out Mr. Mullen, then you’ve probably got something wrong with you! Scott is an amazing filmmaker, who insists that his work have some substance behind it, something that most up and coming filmmakers don’t really think about. And Mark’s scores add to the moods that Scott is creating. They make a great team and I, for one, will be online at http://www.MrMullenFilm.com on July 4th to be the first to catch this movie! I’ll see you there.