If you are thinking of taking a step into Independent filmmaking and don’t know where to start, you need look no further than the young dynamic Australian filmmaker and actor, Bayden Redshaw for inspiration. Overcoming the adversities of bullying and a lack of opportunities, the teenage hotshot made things happen for himself now has several short and full length features under his belt. I got to chat with Bayden about his life, projects and latest feature, ‘The Thin Man’, with the ominous tagline ‘The Curse is Here.’
Welcome to the Emerald Gore Society Bayden! You are an actor, screenwriter and director and one half of the creative force behind Indie Horror Film ‘The Thin Man’ – tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
Pleasure to be here for this interview with the Emerald Gore Society! To answer your question, I'm 19 years old, I live In Albany Western Australia, and ever since I was a young boy I was fascinated with things of a dark nature as well as having a love of and storytelling in general. The man who made me fall in love with storytelling was Stephen King, his stories were completely outrageous and dark and funny and gripping! Those words spoke to me, I was only 8 years old at the time and that's who I wanted to be when I grew up, I wanted to be like my hero Stephen King, the master of horror. I lived in a town called Busselton at the time and I wasn't popular there, struggled with bullying and, finding it hard to fit in so shied away from drama classes. It got to the point where I was actually too afraid to leave my house because of physical and cyber bullying so our family decided to move to a town called Albany and I never went back to a public school again. I had to find other ways of connecting with people my age so I went to youth groups and I met a guy named Elliot Campbell, who shared the same interest of Film and we made a ton of really bad but also fun and even some good short films. During this time I learned how to set shots up the right way and so on then bought a camera of my own when I was 15. I got my brother Dylan Redshaw involved and in the years that followed Dylan would learn from me and we'd recruit our friends and teach them how to act and make films - so The Redshaw Pictures journey began!
Redshaw Pictures is very much a family affair, run together with your brother Dylan Redshaw. As well as the film production, you both act in the movie as well. How do you work together at such demanding and close quarters and is there any sibling rivalry?
Surprisingly no, Dylan Redshaw is my best friend and always has been as we are just 11 months apart - not only are our dates of birth very close, our relationship is too! My friends were his friends growing up so we're pretty much inseparable. It’s weird just how similar our tastes and interests are.
Both yourself and John Von Sheldon met online via YouTube and have collaborated several times despite the fact that he is based in the UK and yourself in Australia. How difficult are these kinds of collaborations or does the internet break down global barriers?
Long distance is always going to be a tough thing, but me and John worked easily with one another - the collaborations were a treat to me! it's always a joy to make something spectacular with someone across the other side of the world that has pretty much the same love, passion and appreciate for film like me - of course we couldn't be on screen in the same room together but instead we made some pretty cool things with what we knew we could achieve in our limits and that to me is enough! We still created magic together.
You have written screenplays and directed the same. How hard is to have turned your vision into a script then direct on a budget while keeping the integrity of the plotline?
It’s always very tough, don't let anyone tell you that making a movie is easy! I started making features in 2013 and 2014, one of them was called ‘The Victim’ and the other was called ‘The Thin Man’, a precursor to the current production. I was unhappy with it as it didn't line up with the vision I had for it, neither did The Victim so those movies were shelved and they were never seen by anyone other than the cast involved. After making them and hundreds of shorts however, I finally decided after making ‘The Thin Man Part 3’ short film that I believed that I could remake ‘The Thin Man’ but much better. I thought people would see how I've matured in the filmmaking area and come to like the movie.
In the past you have worked on a few Horror Short film and anthology projects, tell us a bit more about your early work and how it all led to ‘The Thin Man’.
Well for years me and Dylan and our good friend Adam made nothing but Comedies, Batman Parodies, but we loved horror even though we didn't attempt it much. Finally we did a YouTube series called Family Secrets and from then on our material got a lot darker. I then met John and we decided to collaborate together, with Redshaw Pictures providing a short for his ‘Halloween Creep Tales’ YouTube production. During discussions with Dylan I decided I wanted to create an urban legend of our own, one we can be proud of and say that we made that ourselves – within a short time we had come up with the backstory of The Thin Man, as to why he exists and what happens if you summon him, how you summon him, and I'll keep saying it to this day, it was a spur of the moment thing but it's by far one of the best ideas I have ever come up with and I've always believed it need to be seen on a larger scale by a larger audience, it has the potential to be horrors new icon!
During that year I made a ton of horror shorts that saw me improve and in early 2015 Ihooked up with my old buddy Jacob and we made ‘The Thin Man Part 3’ short film which is the best one out of them all, there was much improvement and the tone felt different from the first 2. My ‘The Thin Man’ vision was coming to its full form in my eyes and that's when I decided that 2015 would be the year that we'd remake the feature and do it better. ‘The Thin Man’ feature is complete and when we did the press release for the online screeners before we decided to go for distribution, people did reviews, not just reviews, good ones! People liked it! We didn't get one bad review and that made me so happy! I put a lot of hard work into this on and I'm happy with the results despite our limited budget.
So ‘The Thin Man’ is a part of the genre of horror film, ‘found footage.’ What made you take this approach?
I wanted to do found footage, at the time when we did the original short. I saw no other way of doing it, it was just.... something about the found footage was cool, it seemed like that style was the perfect match for this story that I was trying to tell. You see people on YouTube trying to summon bloody Mary and the Candy Man all the time - people are curious creatures, they want to see if they can capture things of another world on tape, they love seeking a thrill, even if they know its fake. Deep down it’s fun to seek a thrill, that's why people make movies, that's why I make movies, I get a thrill out of it. I’m not saying found footage is the only thrilling form of cinema because it most definitely is not! It just went together well with the story I was trying to tell.
‘Found footage horror’ is associated with poor sound, shaky camerawork and poor lighting to add to the ambience of the production. Do these techniques aid a low budget film or is it actually harder direct and produce?
It was a major help to this kind of film we were going for, we wanted it to be made by average people for average people, not big and fancy like Hollywood, we wanted it raw and real, that's the only way I saw doing it. Why even make found footage if it doesn't look or feel real? We deliberately made mistakes with the camera because that's how passionate we feel about wanting it to look real and feel real. That's why ‘Paranormal Activity’ succeeded, that's why the ‘Blair Witch Project’ succeeded and were independent successes, you don't hear much about other films from the found footage genre though, why you ask? Because they are too glamorous, it should only for the average guy in my eyes and that's what sells in the found footage field, rawness and realness. We also used our real names, and real life situations we were dealing with to be a part of the movie, we wanted things to feel as real as it could so we could get into the groove of it all more like the successful ‘found footage’ predecessors.
As the Editor for your projects as well as Director, Writer and Actor, how hard is it to be objective when cutting your own scenes or dubbing?
it's always going to be majorly tough, especially when there's that one line that you love a certain someone saying but realising it doesn't flow well with the movie and needs to be cut -it's always tough but what's got to be done is what's got to be done, if it's going to make the movie better and make it run well as a whole then you have to say goodbye to a few gems along the way. There’s always special features and directors cuts and special editions so who knows, you may see the 2 hour version we did for ‘The Thin Man’! A lot was cut from the movie but it’s still looking good.
This particular film is based on urban legend, a mainstay of recent horror productions. What is it about the urban myth that people buy into so much that it leads them to try and prove or disprove at great personal cost?
Curiosity, it's in all of us, we want to know if there's something out there in this world that is so bizarre and not of natural causes, it's fascinating, it's gripping, it's tempting. To hear about a story of a legend and to blow it off and not seek it out? Where’s the fun in that?! It's much more exciting to seek it out, even if it's dangerous, to explore that curiosity that we all have inside of us and indulge in it - it can be a very tempting character trait to have but it also can be very treacherous if that curiosity leads you into harm’s way and that's pretty much what this movie is, displaying the curiosity of humans and what that curiosity can do to you if it leads you in the wrong direction. In this case they were led to ‘The Thin Man’ and trust me.... that's not the entity that you want your curiosity to lead you too!
What are your favourite types of horror film to watch and why?
I love a good paranormal one, a great slasher from the 80s is always brilliant, and one with a good story is always great! I love originality too, something different, I think we've seen plenty of films with the black guy getting killed off and only the girl being the last one standing at the end, I want something surprising out of a horror, that's why I made ‘The Thin Man’ a bit different, it's not like every horror you see, it's a lot of tension building and creeping you out but also the main characters are different, they aren't the nicest of guys, well they are but they get drunk and show a really bad side to themselves that they normally wouldn't had they not have had the alcohol.
If you could have an unlimited budget and remake any horror film what would it be and what horror film would you loved to have changed the ending to?
I'd Remake Stephen King's ‘It’! I loved that movie as a kid! Actually I hear they've been trying to remake it but have had troubles with the directors that come on board, listen, if they come to me... I'd stick with them and give them the best possible It remake provided I have the tools to do so! and on that note I'd also change the ending to Stephen King's ‘It’, I think everybody agrees with me when I say that the ending (SPOILER!) with the giant spider is such a let-down, we all wanted to see the clown. I know Stephen wrote the ending with the spider in the book, but nobody wants to see a spider after watching a clown do all the work throughout all the movie, we want to see an ending with that demented clown!
Without giving too much away, give us a brief synopsis of ‘The Thin Man’ and what the audience can expect.
‘The Thin Man’ is about a local urban legend called The Thin Man in the town of Albany Western Australia. Now let me clear something up before I get into explaining what the movie is about, this is not and I repeat, THIS IS NOT a horrible low budget version of ‘Slender Man’, this has absolutely nothing to do with it! Okay, now let me get into the story - it's about 3 friends that get together and decide to do a new YouTube project about an urban legend called The Thin Man who they would attempt to summon try to prove or disprove its existence. They do exactly that and the results are terrifying. The Thin Man, was a human from the 1800's a black sheep, who practiced witchcraft, so he was of the dark side. The Catholics tried to convert him but he had no interest and wanted to be left alone, but the Catholics kept bugging him, but he wanted no part of converting to their religion, so they decided that if he wasn't going to join them, they'd need to get rid of him instead, so one night the town come with pitchforks, flaming torches, rope, etc. He was left to starve to death in a blocked up cave, becoming very thin, but before he died he had a lot of hate in his heart for these people, so he placed one final curse on the world, the curse was that if anyone would disturb his spirit after he had died and try to summon his spirit, he'd come after them and pursue that individual until he had captured them like the Catholics did to him, revisiting the same awful ending upon them. With a story like that there are bound to be curious teenagers that are going to want to play games and try to summon The Thin Man. I'll be honest, I tried summoning Bloody Mary and The Candy Man when I was younger, it was a fun game to play at night when friends would have sleep overs, so hopefully I've created something cool here and hopefully people will enjoy this and maybe get a bit curious and try to summon The Thin Man with their friends!
Finally when and where can ‘The Thin Man’ be seen?!
There's not a set release date yet, but we did sign a contract with Parade Deck Films, an independent company in Portland Oregon, I look forward to working with those guys and getting the movie released, We are hoping that maybe January or February, somewhere earlier in 2016, we are hoping that will be the time of release.... so fingers and toes crossed!
Pleasure speaking with you!
You can see more about Bayden, Redshaw Pictures and of course ‘The Thin Man’ right here!