Bob Heske; Indie Creator Interview with writer/director Jake Barsha.
(JAKE:) THE FUNNY MAN is about a bipolar comedian who derives pleasure from wearing a creepy sponge-like mask, video-taping his victims and demanding that they “say something funny”. It’s a psychological horror thriller in the vein of PSYCHO. The story involves an attractive young woman, an overbearing ex-boyfriend, a nightclub owner and his domineering wife, a nosy neighbor and her husband, and an actor/producer. They all find out the hard way that THE FUNNY MAN really isn’t very funny.
I like to tell people that if you loveunconventional stories, unusual characters, psychological thrills, and dark twisted entertainment, then we are making this movie for you! I’m doing a lot of pre-production work; locking down the cast and crew, locking in locations, equipment and at the same time securing additional funding. Most of the muscle behind THE FUNNY MAN, comes from an independent film company called Empire Films. They have signed on as Co-Executive Producers bringing a lot of infrastructure, equipment and will provide marketing support. A lot of talented people are standing in support of THE FUNNY MAN prior to complete funding. A lot of people really love the screenplay.
Matthew Prater has signed on as one of the film’s Producers. Matthew has tremendous enthusiasm for the project, and offers the level of commitment one wouldn’t expect for a project that is not completely funded.
Danny Cahn is also on board; he’s the current president of the Editors Guild. Danny comes from a very prolific family of filmmakers and brings a great deal of experience to the project. His father Danny Sr. edited tons of TV shows including MAN FROM ATLANTIS and I LOVE LUCY and movies such as BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS and HEAVEN WITH A GUN. Danny’s uncle, Ed Cahn, directed a huge number of creature features for the studio factory system during the 1940’s and 1950’s. Coincidentally, Danny’s father is my grandfather’s nephew, so we are distant relatives. My grandfather, Leon Barsha, was also a very prolific filmmaker. Leon worked for the studio factory system as well, directing, producing, and editing close to 100 movies and TV shows (if not more) from the 30’s to the 60’s, including the iconic films LADY IN A CAGE and LONELY ARE THE BRAVE.
You are taking a rather unconventional advertising/funding approach – relying on the web and Social Media. How have the results been thus far?
(JAKE:) I don’t understand social media, but I love the concept. I’m definitely not a social media guru, but so far, the internet is the best avenue that we have to get the word out. We have posted comments in group discussion on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. We have reached out to bloggers and writers, and established our own movie blog-site. The results have been great! We created a Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/righthookfilms.thefunnyman, It has more Facebook friends than I do! A year ago, I made a series of videos about a deranged woman who invites a guy on a date, drugs him, and holds him captive in her sub-basement under the delusion that he is her new boyfriend. It is called LEIDY’S NEW BOYFRIEND. It’s a modern twist on the MISERY theme except, instead of the adoration of a psychotic fan, it’s the delusion of a non-existent relationship that drives the antagonist. We put it up on sites like Youtube and Dailymotion for everyone to watch and enjoy for free. Eventually it was even picked up and distributed by a company called KoldcastTV. So far, it’s had close to one million collective views.Basically, that’s one million moments someone somewhere was exposed to an idea and it was not the result of an expensive professional advertising campaign. When we get underway with THE FUNNY MAN, we are going to release a number of short form segments, not actual excerpts from the movie, but excerpts pertaining to the story and characters. My goal is to offer something that is cool, and free for people to enjoy. If it leads people back to the movie, great, if not, that’s okay too.
Tell us about some of the cast you’ve assembled thus far.
(JAKE:) I’m thrilled about THE FUNNY MAN cast. Things could change, but if the balance of schedules permit, I have Leslie Easterbrook; Mother Firefly in Rob Zombie’s hit THE DEVIL’S REJECTS. She was also in Rob Zombie’s HALLOWEEN and at least another dozen recent horror features. Most people instantly recognize her from thePOLICE ACADEMY movies, but she was also in dozens of movies and classic American TV shows like LAVERNE & SHIRLEY, LOVE BOAT, and even THE DUKES OF HAZZARD. I also have Domiziano Arcangeli. He is an amazing international actor and model with fans all over the world. Domiziano has acted in more than 100 films with film legends like Samuel L Jackson, Dennis Hopper, Sean Connery, Brett Halsey, Anita Ekberg, Mickey Rourke and Sir Laurence Olivier. Some truly legendary European genre directors have cast Domiziano in their films and his credits are vast. Ryan Reyes, Matthew Prater, Laura Soares and magician Larry Frick have also joined the project and I trust all of them. I’m currently in the process of casting the lead roles, RACHEL and LEE (AKA THE FUNNY MAN).
Where will you shoot THE FUNNY MAN? Who is your Director of Photography. What is the budget for the film?
(JAKE:) I’m planning to shoot inLos Angeles, but I’m flexible. The Director of Photography is yet to be determined. Marc Levy did a wonderful job shooting my first movie, but he is in high demand now and might be booked. Finding someone with a great eye, who is willing to take chances is important to me. I know there are many amazing DP’s out there. Working as a Film Loader/Camera Assistant, I have had the benefit of working on a lot of commercials under some amazing A-list DP’s like Jeff Cronenweth, who was nominated for an Oscar for shooting THE SOCIAL NETWORK, and Paul Cameron whose work is mind blowing and innovative. I’m fascinated by camera work and what some people are able to achieve. The budget is modest.
Tell us where we can go online to follow the twisted path of THE FUNNY MAN, and make a contribution to the film. Is there any other way that people can help you go from development to completion?
Yes, if you are interested in following the twisted path of THE FUNNY MAN, drop by our blog-site
(http://righthookfilms-thefunnyman.blogspot.com/), and our Facebook page
Hit us up on Facebook, click “like”, send our links to a few of your friends, and look for the movie when it comes out. Feel free to write something dastardly on THE FUNNY MAN Facebook wall. Alternatively, send us some good thoughts, we welcome all good vibes. Everyone who steps in on our Facebook page and posts a comment or tells a friend is making a welcome contribution, and it’s free. If you would like to be become more extensively involved with the project and/or contribute to its development and completion drop by www.righthookfilms.com and contact me, I would love to hear from you.
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