The first time I encountered Steve Rudzinski was when I read about his movie, KKK Vs. Neo Nazis on the web. Just the title had me interested, so I contacted Steve and he graciously sent me a copy of the movie. It was pretty rough around the edges, as most first films are, but it had enormous potential. So, naturally, I was interested when Steve brought out his second movie, Archangel’s Fall. Archangel’s Fall placed a little less emphasis on humor and a bit more on plot and action, a very nice second effort! Steve makes progress with each movie he makes, and when his latest movies, Legends was about to come out, Steve sent me a copy to check out, and I have to say Steve has once again made progress as a film maker. Is this the equal to a Speilberg movie? I don’t think even Steve would say that, but when someone learns from their mistakes, the next project is always better than the one before it, and Legends incorporates all the humor and wit of KKK Vs. Neo Nazis with the action and plot of Archangel’s Fall in a great mix. If you want to read a review of Legends, take a look at last issue of RC!
But since Steve is one of the nicest guys I’ve met in this industry and his movies keep getting better and better, it’s only time before he’s widely known, so I thought, why not introduce him to all of you now, and save all that time and work on Steve’s part?!
BM – How did you get started making movies? What inspired you?
SR – I got started when I was 16 with the crappy Complete Darkness flick, just playing with my camera. Always for as long as I can remember I always wanted to tell stories, in which way to do that has always changed. First I wanted to make comic books, then I wanted to write video game scripts. But when I was 11, I saw Army of Darkness on the Sci-Fi channel. At that moment, I was completely doomed.
BM – You use a lot of martial arts in your movies, are you a martial artist?
SR – Kinda. I dabbled in Jeet Kune Do for a bit before I couldn’t take it anymore (the place moving and my lack of funds). I self trained myself a bit, so while any REAL martial artist could kick my ass no problem, I could take on a normal schmuck.
BM – In KKK Vs. Neo Nazis you took on both factions fearlessly, did that give you any pause, did you fear any reprisals from the "no tooth" crowd?
SR – Well in this day, the KKK is barely a threat to the groups they ACTUALLY hate. And since most of them lack the internet, I doubted I would run into much trouble in the South Western Pennsylvania area. Mostly it’s just people that get offended at first when seeing the box, then laugh after reading the plot. Although I did receive two physical hate mails from what I believe are Klansmen. They said they would hunt me down. I’m still waiting a year later. I think I’m good.
BM – You use a lot of religious symbolism in your movies, are you a religious person?
SR – Quite the opposite, I dislike religion. However, I do love mythology. I think that the stories passed down through all forms of mythology have a profound affect on our lives, that’s why the stories are so popular. Well, unless you think they’re actually true, then they’re popular to you because you’re crazy.
BM – There’s also a ton of humor in your movies, did you ever think of making a straight on comedy?
SR – Well KKK vs. Neo Nazis was my official straight on comedy. Archangel’s Fall was my straight on drama. Legends is a nice blend of the two. The odd thing with me is that I’m funny, but I can tell a serious story. I might not be that good, but I’ll give myself a little pat on the back for not being too constricted. But I’m still a comedian at heart, that’s why I run VGSpoofs.com. It’s a free online series that just spoof anything I want, so that gives me a place to outsource my small comedy-skit ideas, as well as build up a fan base. I’ve got fan girls from it, ya know!
BM – You seem to have a lot of fun making your movies (see the outtakes!), tell us what it’s like on the set?
SR – A good thing about my sets is that (mostly) there isn’t a schedule. So if the guys and I feel like goofing off, we can. But sometimes they get too rowdy and I have to try to lasso them to finish up a scene. And there are always two constants. Aeyron Moore is always late at the start, and I always take my cast to eat at the end.
BM – A little business, how do you go about financing your movies?
SR – My own money. I worked a real job (weird, huh?) for seven months to build up a decent amount for my films. That got me a camera and an Editing program. Money I made off of KKK vs. Neo Nazis plus my graduation money financed Archangel’s Fall. Legends got financed by three sources: Myself, my Mum (birthday present gave me some cash for a professional DVD Authoring program), and two guys from eBay. eBay is a magical place that I didn’t expect, and I suggest any other micro-budget filmmaker to do the same. I offered an Executive Producer credit and a free DVD in the product. In one week I got a $100.
BM – As a low budget film maker, what do you feel is your biggest challenge?
SR – My mullet. Everyone hears ‘mullet’ and thinks trailer trash. Everyone has amnesia when it comes to Solid Snake, Uncle Jessie, and 80’s Rockers!! But seriously, probably just people taking me seriously. Most people don’t understand that I’m really trying to make something of myself. Hand in hand with that, is that most people are used to Hollywoodland’s type of movies, so they have little interest in Micro Cinema. Fortunately, since VGSpoofs.com targets the video game, anime, and other geeks crowd, there’s plenty of lonely people that look forward to my films.
BM – Well, you can count me in that number, I’m never disappointed when I hear there’s a new Steve Rudzinski movie on the way. Your latest movie (Legends) features the same character from Archangel’s Fall (Abel) is this going to be an ongoing storyline you follow about Abel?
SR – You made a boo-boo Brian! Archangel’s Fall features Paris France. Legends features Abel. So, ha ha.
BM – My mistake! Chalk it up to old age and a failing memory! No offense meant. Alright, I have to ask, what’s up with the mullet??
SR – None taken and I knew this was coming. For years, I had a crew cut. When I first got into high school, I let my hair grow a but and combed it back on top (because I dug Albert Wesker’s hair from Resident Evil). Halfway through my freshman year, I thought about growing my hair long because I really liked long hair. But, I had grown attached to my current look. So, I combined the best of both worlds, short on top, long in the back! I also went with the mullet because nobody else in a fair distance HAD a mullet, I love the 80s, and it keeps the back of my neck warm without any hair getting into my eyes.
BM – Favorite film makers or movies?
SR – Although Sam Raimi is my initial inspiration, as of late I’ve become more of a fan of Robert Rodriguez’s comic book style of filmmaking. My list of favorite movies is immense, but for some reason I love Christmas Vacation the most.
BM – You make progress with each movie (and that’s just speaking as a humble viewer), what do you feel are your weaknesses as a film maker? What are your strengths?
SR – My weaknesses are mostly technical, my funds and my camera. If I had ten grand and a three-chip, I could make something awesome. Instead I’m on $300 budgets that are meant for food and a crappy handy-cam. Lack of girls tends to hurt me, I can barely find any willing females to act in my films. Usually when I do they can’t act (though I got decently lucky on Legends). Oh and my movies suck too. My strength is only one, diversity. That is one thing I will always give myself. Most other Micro-Budget filmmakers always do the same genre in every flick. But I have made three VERY different movies, each for a different audience. I can bend. I guess another strength COULD be my marketing ability. VGSpoofs.com has reached at least five different countries, made the cover of the New York Times, and one skit will be featured on VH1’s Web Junk 20 pretty soon. I’m pretty proud of that baby.
Pretty cool, thanks, Steve! A filmmaker, and a media entrepreneur and who knows what else could be on the horizon for Steve! If you’re interested in checking out Steve’s work, drop on over to VGSpoofs.com for some pretty funny game spoofs and other great parodies or if you’d like to check out his movies then head on over to Dark Mullet Cinema and check out Steve’s movies, they’re great low budget entertainment! And from all of us here at Rogue Cinema, Steve, congrats on Legends, and we look forward to seeing what you have up your sleeve in the future!