Hi Tiffany, let's start this off with a graphic
for the www.racksandrazors.com readers. Would you
describe the room where you are answering these
Well, Id like to say that Im in a
large den filled with a huge collection of
hardbound books, artifacts, and classic film
props, like the original Alien costume etc. But
thats my imagination running
Alas, Im in a small second
bedroom that has been converted into the office
of carSINogenic candy. Im surrounded by
editing equipment, photos, movie posters, my XL1s
that is begging to be put back on my new glide
cam for more practice, a small resin collectors
Alien right next to my monitor, my dogs who are
begging to go for a walk, and a window showing a
pleasant (70 degree) but grey day. Oh yeah, and a
coffee cup with Michigan J. Frog on it.
Well I just watched PRAEY
(which you direct and star in) last
night and was so impressed. You did an
awesome job! Why not begin with telling us
how the film came about?
I had just come back from
performing a role in another film, and was out of
a day job. Rather than just starving, I thought
it would be better to continue my title of
starving artist. Really, I thought
this was a good time to jump in and make my first
film. I spent a month or so on the script. I knew
I wanted to have a killer, and that I wanted him
or her to seem like the nice respectable,
neighborly type. I also wanted the killer to have
some sort of psychological reason to kill, not
just be an undefined monster. So I found myself
reading the case files on www.crimelibrary.com to try to get inside
what makes a killer tick. I found a couple of
cases that interested me, and combined that with
one of my favorite Poe short stories, and that
was the base of some key scenes. From there, I
started to see scenarios for the characters in my
head, and wrote around those images. I pictured
the characters interacting first, and wrote in
the dialog after.
Can you give a quick
teaser that will make seeing the movie
irresistible to the racks and razors readers?
Praey relies on story, emotion,
and suspense for its fright factor. Its not
just blood and gore. There is actually very
little blood and gore. There is a lot of
well-choreographed action (choreographed by Brain
Sheridan) and for the women out there; Sara comes
back with more than a little vengeance (I
personally like that part!). For the record, I
can tell you that there is at least one spot
when, at all three theater screenings during the
premier weekend, just about everyone jumped! It
was really fun to sit up in the balcony and watch
75-100 people pop in their seats!
So did you choose the
spelling of PRAEY to refer to it
both as "praying for survival" and the
"hunting of human prey"?
Yes, you got it! I was
going back and forth on whether to call it
Pray or Prey. I
cant take credit for the brainstorm. Andy
Alexander, who wound up playing The Puppet Man,
made the suggestion of using that dictionary
symbol that looks like a combination
a and e, thus, the play
on words. I loved it and it stuck.
Your role looks to
be so physical. Did you sustain a lot
of injuries or poison ivy or whatever as you were
beat up and slapped and punched and fought and
locked in a trunk and fled and fled and hid
and fled in that small dress (and barefoot)
through the woods? That looked like
torture! What was the worst of it?
Everyone asks about my poor bare
It was pretty physical,
and I was lucky to be working with people I could
trust to beat me up without really hurting me! I
had a blast with it, but I did get a few boo
boos here and there.
Heres a quick run
1) Thorns in the
bottoms of my feet from unseen thorn brush. They
looked like just little weeds, so I mistakenly
ran right through them a lot. It was months
before I found the last thorn in the bottom of my
2) A nice gash on the
bottom of my foot from a root in the dirt that I
stumbled over during a fight scene. We filmed it
actually, but we ended up using the fake wound in
the film. It looked better than the real one.
3) A bruise bigger than
a softball on my butt from sliding down the hill.
That was pretty!
Other than that, just a
few little cuts/scraps/bruises here and there.
Not bad considering what Sara goes through in the
But none of that was
the worst of it! The water Sara goes into may
look inviting, but it was actually freezing cold
snow water running off the mountains. Going under
that water literally took my breath away. Sara
was supposed to swim up stream more in the
script, but we had to cut it short, as I just
couldnt swim in it at all. And my DP, Brian
Gurnett, had to be knee deep in that water the
whole time. I know he was numb! He is a real
trooper. He wanted to get the scene as much as I
Now as a filmmaker was it
a major challenge to direct yourself or were you
able to be fairly objective about your
It was a huge challenge and I
think its extremely hard to be in character
and still be objective as a director. There are
scenes in Praey that I dont find to be my
best acting or directing as a result of trying to
wear both hats at once. It was never my goal to
give myself the lead in a film. In other words, I
didnt make a film so that I could star in
it. But Im living in a small town here, far
away from the huge number of actors I worked with
in NY. After seeing what Sara had to go through,
you can also see where it would have been hard to
find someone to do all that. I was particularly
concerned about the stunts. Ive had some
professional training and still got banged up. I
would have been very uncomfortable casting
another actress and putting her in a position
where she could hurt herself. I dont plan
to even have a role in our next film. I want to
be able to focus better. I have a role in the
upcoming film Take Away Spirit from
One Shot productions. I can satisfy my acting bug
Ultimately what do you
want the viewer to come away from PRAEY feeling
or thinking? What do you want
their experience to be?
I generally write for
entertainment value. If anyone walks away having
been entertained, Im happy. There are some
messages in Praey, but none that I wanted to
force down anyones throat. Sara has a deep
and true mothers love for her daughter. If
anything, I would hope that people see how far
one can go to fight for the people they love. And
how strong the will to survive is. Same for
Charles, really. His psychotic actions are out of
love and hurt. I think the power of human
emotions is intriguing to say the least.
So ethically where do you
stand on hunting...obviously not humans, but is
this a statement as well as animal hunting as
I wasnt trying to
make a statement about animal hunting.
Personally, I could never shoot an animal. I like
to fish, but I dont even keep the big ones,
I let them all go. I have a huge soft spot for
animals. But its not my place to tell
someone else that they cant shoot and eat a
deer. I have heard that the deer are over
populated and if people didnt hunt them,
they would only end up starving to death. I
dont know if thats true or not.
Killing an animal just for fun, disturbs the hell
out of me. I just dont understand it. But
really, many of the animals in slaughterhouses
are treated far crueler. So I guess if someone is
going to hunt for food, they have the right to do
so. You wont see me doing it though. I
actually eat more soy products than animal
a great testament to your capabilities as a
filmmaker. Now that this is out there and
being distributed by SRS Cinema and destined to
find a solid audience what is next on the agenda
We are working on two scripts in
house right now. One is written by Brian Sheridan
and is cool vampire story called Devil at
the Door. The second is a curse story that
Im working on with the working title
Inborn. We intend to shoot both of
them this year.
For the record, we have signed
the foreign contract with SRS, but are in the
final stages of working out the domestic
contract. I just dont want anyone to run to
the SRS Cinema site looking for Praey this week
and wonder why they dont see it. But it
should be out there soon.
I also want to hear what
would be your advice to anyone out there
looking to film their own independent movie
project. What was the biggest lesson your
learned from the experience?
Get a lot of sleep before you go
Really, what I learned
is that all the planning I did was never enough
and even some of my best plans got thrown out the
window. Its not easy, its a lot of
fun, but its not easy. I think you have to
have a very deep understanding of your script and
characters, but then be willing to make it work
in less than perfect conditions. You will have
problems. You will have to problem solve on the
fly. It is both mentally and physically
exhausting. But if you take time to laugh and
enjoy the process, its more than well worth
it. We laughed a lot on the set.
I actually recommend
that any one who wants to direct learn to edit. I
cant imagine not editing my own work. And
Ive learned a ton from the editing process.
Oh yeah, and pay a lot
of attention to sound.
Okay we are pulling the
car into the Tiffany Sinclair Drive In.
What three horror flicks are on the triple bill
and what goodies are they going to be serving up
at the concession stand?
I only get to pick three! Oh
geez. Im going to go with the first three
that pop into my head here, as I love too many.
Aliens (Directors Cut)
The Masque of the
Red Death (1960s Vincent Price)
May (I love Angela
For snacks, traditional
movie popcorn, the kind that is really bad for
you and has lots of butter and salt on it! Pepsi,
not Coke. And sour gummy worms.
What makes you go psycho
in real life?
Apathy and Ignorance.
What scares you in real
Your going to laugh
after seeing Praey, but here goes
Water: I can swim well
and love a pool, but can not stand to be in water
with other living things. Like rivers or oceans
or lakes, etc. I dont care what anyone
says, if there is something living in there that
can bite me, it can surely swim faster than I
Snakes: Scared to death
of them. Again, hey, they bite! Of course,
so do dogs and I love dogs. My puppy is biting my
big toe right now. I dunno, I just dont dig
snakes AT ALL.
The out takes of me and
that snake in Praey are a riot. There is no doubt
about it, I scream like a girl!
Thanks for the
chat, its been really fun!
All the best with
the film Tiffany.