My interview with Bay Area filmmaker, Paul Acevedo (“Busty Kraut”).
Cameron: How did the idea of “Busty Kraut” come about?
Paul Acevedo: Originally, it was the creation of my co writer, The Bunny . She had a dream and told me about this porn star from Germany that wanted to star in one of my short films but I was too scared to ask her if she wanted to work with me at this party. I thought it was interesting idea for a short film about a washed up German porn star living illegally in the U.S. trying to jump start her career so I wrote a screen play and directed it.
Cameron: What was the writing process like?
Paul Acevedo: Difficult . It took me about 5 months to write a script and screenplay that was affordable for my budget to film (and that was easy to remember for the actors to improvise). So money was a big factor in how the script came out. A lot was changed or was thrown out during the actual shooting, due to time and money . Trying to create the character of Busty was really hard . Me and the Bunny started to refer to Busty as though she was a real person, which was funny, but we really put alot of ourselves into her which made Busty really weird instead of trying to be sexy or giving her a washed up feeling.
Cameron: How did you go about finding the money?
Paul Acevedo: I funded it myself working my day job cleaning rich peoples houses and selling vinyl records to record stores like Amoeba.
Cameron: What was the casting process like?
Paul Acevedo: Very difficult . Craigslist talent section was my life’s blood in making this film . I posted up an ad but wasn’t too specific of what the story was about, as to not turn off the actress who might be interested in looking at the role. 7 actresses ended up turning it down, six SAG and one non union . They either wanted alot of money for doing a short student film or just thought the story was garbage. So I tried one more time and Diana Slampyak came in, and she fit perfectly. I mean, she is Busty Kraut . Without her the film would have not happened. Then I needed to cast her agent and I found one actor who said he was SAG and I needed someone desperately who fit what I was looking for and he agreed to shoot it but then I thought I should have a back up in case someone can’t make it so I got one of my friends Damian Talmadge who has played in local grindcore punk band s like Lie Still and Paranoid freakout if he would like to be in a film and he wanted to do it so I told him if this so called SAG actor didn’t show he’d be the agent . Well day of the last apartment shoot , the SAG actor flaked and so Damian got the role and did well for his first film. Catherine Kim Poon who has a large resume of film work and was in my first short film ” Kute Killer” , plays his girlfriend. The other actors had little or no screen experience but they came through word of mouth for extras or Craigslist but their appearance helped to move the story alot.
Cameron: Please discuss the look of the film and how you achieved it.
Paul Acevedo: The look is a homage to old 70′s exploitation films which I’m a big fan of. I used very little lighting in scenes but in postproduction they got darker with the effects filters to give it a more dirty “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” look. It wasn’t really my idea but it worked to make the film really gritty like something you’d watch in a shitty shady adult theater in the 80′s.
Cameron: What was the hardest process about making the film?
Paul Acevedo: The hardest process was finding the actress to play Busty and finding locations to shoot since I was on tight budget–but I wanted to make the scenes believable and just make it look good. Plus, I was turned down many times to shoot in people’s apartments because of the noise and the use of fake blood which was barely used at all.
Cameron: What piece of filming went more smoothly than expected?
Paul Acevedo: None actually. It was all difficult, really due to time constraints of my actors, location rentals, gun props and racing cars on the street.
Cameron: Was it difficult to work with the actors?
Paul Acevedo: Actually, no it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. Especially since there was no rehearsal for any of the major scenes and some of the actors I just met the day of filming. Everyone got along well actually for those 8 hours of shooting.
Cameron: Discuss the special effects. How did you achieve them? What software did you use?
Paul Acevedo: My CGI f/x editor Marko Los of Delirium productions handled that duty . It took awhile to get it done esp. with the very shakey handled camera action I was doing which probably gave him a headache in trying to render gun flashes and blood. I think he used Adobe after effects and Nuclear.
Cameron: What editing program did you use? Discuss your editing process.
Paul Acevedo: I edited on final cut and imovie when final cut acted all weird and shut down. My editing process is do a cut, show it to my co writer, let her add or change anything she did not like and then allow Marko in the CGI post to fix anything or edit it . Then I would add something or cut something till I feel its smooth and easy to watch which was very little since the third cut was done well.
Cameron: Are you happy with the film?
Paul Acevedo: I’m very happy with how it came out . It was 2 years of anxiously waiting to see how my experiment turned out. Ya there’s some things I wish I did better like the sound and lighting .
Cameron: What are your favorite parts?
Paul Acevedo: My favorite part is when Busty and her ex agent are having their show down, plus the scene where the agent and his corrupt narcotics agent buddy are having a tense conversation. It was done in two takes in 15 minutes before the location manager wanted us out immediately out of the building.
Cameron: Looking back, what would you do differently?
Paul Acevedo: Oh I wish I could have added more to Busty’s background , why she was washed up to flesh out her character more so you’d feel more sympathetic over what she did, how did she get that shotgun and grenade. I filmed it but it really slowed down the pace of the film.
Cameron: What are you working on next?
Paul Acevedo: Right now, I’m working on two films that both take place in the same universe, same time but different places. One of them is called “Doll Fiasco” about a Julian Assange type computer hacker, who uses an evolved sex doll as a personal assassin. The other is called “Cancer Lottery.”