Displaying items by tag: Steve Hudgins

This Old "Witch" Makes Horror Flicks - Women I Write About

"PJ Woodside"HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (7/30/13) - "This Old 'Witch' Makes Horror Flicks" is a completely uncensored look at independent horror film making. PJ Woodside is one of the masterminds behind Big Biting Pig Productions, an internationally recognized, but locally-based independent movie company that films entirely in Hopkins County, KY. For a sneak peak behind the scenes, read on. (Note: some content may not be suitable for a younger audience)

I’ve been looking around at potential film festivals for Lucid, as some of you know. This takes time, as I not only must find the festivals and make sure we meet all the criteria, but in order to make the process effective, I need to be selective. Lucid will not do well at artsy festivals or music-centered festivals for example. It will fare better at horror/thriller fests, and even better at ones that stress strong writing. A few non-genre festivals have “dark”categories, which is a great option for Lucid.

One type of film festival I should fit into well is the type that promotes women in film. I’m a woman. I write, direct and even edit these movies. My central characters are women — real women, and not model-thin 20 year old cheerleaders. My villains are women. Female writer/directors are much scarcer than they should be, and any festival that promotes them is a good one.

After searching through the winners of several of these festivals, however, it turns out I’m not a good fit. You see, I don’t write about extraordinary women doing brave things in a sexist culture, which is what many of those film festivals strive to reward. I write about ordinary people who happen to be women as the central characters of interesting and dark and sometimes twisted stories. Human beings. Being human. With vaginas.

Don’t misunderstand me — I LIKE stories about the underdog, about challenging the system, about redefining yourself in the face of terrible obstacles. But women — ordinary women — still represent HALF the population. And all their stories collectively should be getting a lot more screen time. There should be a lot more of them at film festivals (to give festivals credit, the ratio is better there than in the cinemaplex). We should see them on purpose and not give them belittling labels like chick flicks or rom coms just because the central characters are women.

These are the people I write about: Widows, pregnant wives, girlfriends. Women who like sex, women who have scars, women who hurt other people, women who know things they shouldn’t, women who work and drive cars and sleep. Just like men.

I write about women whose stories should be told NOT because they are women, but because they are human. Women in movies should be more than peripheral, assistant, wifey sorts of characters in a percentage that at least reflects the real world.

It’s never been a worse time for female actors. Do your part. Go see some real women. In the movies.

Lucid is now on DVD and can be found at http://bigbitingpigproductions.com/LucidDVD.html.

PJ Woodside is the writer and director of Lucid, which features Bill Johnson and will be released in 2013. She is co-producer of Spirit Stalkers and six other movies with Steve Hudgins of Big Biting Pig Productions, and owner of PJ’s Productions. More from PJ's official blog can be found here.

Sugg Street Post
Written by PJ Woodside
Photos provided by PJ Woodside

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This Old "Witch" Makes Horror Flicks - This Witch is a Total Fan

"credit" PJ WoodsideHOPKINS COUNTY, KY (7/30/13) - "This Old 'Witch' Makes Horror Flicks" is a completely uncensored look at independent horror film making. PJ Woodside is one of the masterminds behind Big Biting Pig Productions, an internationally recognized, but locally-based independent movie company that films entirely in Hopkins County, KY. For a sneak peak behind the scenes, read on. (Note: some content may not be suitable for a younger audience)

Okay, so even though we (Big Biting Pig Productions) make movies and I even gave two of our movies to Norman Reedus when I met him at a conference, I still get a little starstruck when it comes to The Walking Dead. So when Felicia Stewart and I were asked to give a workshop in Atlanta recently, we decided we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit the town where The Walking Dead’s Woodbury is filmed, which is about an hour south of Atlanta.

As you can tell from the pics, we had a fun time visiting there. They don’t give tours (at least they didn’t this particular day), but they are definitely prepared for tourists. The town is clean and picture perfect and has lots of places to park. It’s a simple matter to walk from one end of town to the other, basically from the railroad tracks up through the divided main street for about three blocks.

The town is called Senoia and has appeared in 15 or so movies starting with Driving Miss Daisy. An Atlanta branch of Raleigh Studios is nearby, which I’m sure has something to do with location deals in the area. The prison from The Walking Dead is somewhere in the vicinity but is not open to tourists. Herschel’s house is also in the region. You can go to this site to find other locations - Map of Walking Dead locations.

The upper end of town, around the water tower, is all original. The lower end, which is what you see beyond where Felicia is lying on the ground above, was created for the show. One side of the street has a large old building, but the other side, the one you’re looking at here, was just empty land before the show bought it. We talked with the girl working in the ice cream shop and she said she’s lived there all her life, and it used to be “pretty dead” down at that end, as she described it. Some of the shops along that stretch are real, but some of them are just facades or unused when there’s no filming. In the photo below you can see the back of this stretch of property. The metal building to the right represents the back of the farthest right buildings in the top photo.

"credit" PJ Woodside
Now I’m not so much of a geek that I hunted through stills from The Walking Dead and tried to match them with the town, but I feel sure some of these spots are familiar, including the two below. Didn’t Andrea talk to Milton in this quaint alley?

"credit" PJ Woodside
Didn’t something terrible happen in the building below? (Btw, Felicia is trouble. You should know this.)

"credit" PJ Woodside
In any event, we had a blast while we were there. We had lunch, bought t-shirts, and scouted pretty much every inch of the downtown. We found out they had filmed there just two days before (darn our timing), and would likely be filming more.

I’m almost glad they weren’t filming, though. I know what a film set looks like. What was unique for me was spending time in a real life place that represents a fictional environnment so real to me that I almost felt I could turn around at any moment and see a zombie climbing over a wall. It was ordinary in one sense, but magical in another. It exists as Senoia, but also as Woodbury. It is imbued with story.

I felt like a total fan. And I loved it.

Lucid is now on DVD and can be found at http://bigbitingpigproductions.com/LucidDVD.html.

PJ Woodside is the writer and director of Lucid, which features Bill Johnson and will be released in 2013. She is co-producer of Spirit Stalkers and six other movies with Steve Hudgins of Big Biting Pig Productions, and owner of PJ’s Productions. More from PJ's official blog can be found here.

Sugg Street Post
Written by PJ Woodside
Photos provided by PJ Woodside

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This Old "Witch" Makes Horror Flicks - Birthing a Script

"credit" Jessi SmithHOPKINS COUNTY, KY (7/24/13) - "This Old 'Witch' Makes Horror Flicks" is a completely uncensored look at independent horror film making. PJ Woodside is one of the masterminds behind Big Biting Pig Productions, an internationally recognized, but locally-based independent movie company that films entirely in Hopkins County, KY. For a sneak peak behind the scenes, read on. (Note: some content may not be suitable for a younger audience)

Have you missed me? I’ve been so busy finishing up Lucid, then having the premiere, then promoting the movie, that I haven’t really had the energy to write a blog. But now there’s a little space in my life and I’m ready to start a new script, and this is what I’ve decided to share with you:

Writing a script is hard.

In preparing to start a new script, I always take out my various screenwriting and filmmaking books and flip through them — not so much for inspiration as to remind myself of the process. Then I pull out my notebooks. I like to do much of the early work of a script on pencil and paper,  because it feels less final there, more fluid. Since I didn’t have any new notebooks on my shelf, I looked through my used ones for an unused section long enough for a sketching out new ideas.

And that’s when I came upon my notes for Lucid.

I have to tell you, I had forgotten what a long journey it was from early ideas to “ready to script.” An early working title was Dead Dreams. I had completely forgotten that. In the early versions, Monica was married and had children, and the villain was a next-door neighbor. I can’t begin to explain what moved me from that incarnation to the one that got made, but here are some of my notes from the last pages of the notebook — the point I got to just before I started actually typing up scenes.

Handwritten page 21 starts: “This is the story of Monica, who has disturbing dreams that keep getting worse until she has to do something about it. Her external motivation is to stop the dreams. Her internal motivation is to avoid the guilt of the accident.”

Understand, almost everything up to p. 21 is now no longer part of the story that got made.

P. 22: ”Woman in relationship, woman with tragic past and anger issues and trust issues, starts having weird dreams. She sees a shrink but it’s not helping. Dreams get weirder. Boyfriend wants to stop them. His agenda–to protect her and prove something.”

“External stress — dreams.
Internal stress — trust.”

At this point, the final story is making its way to the surface.

P. 23: This couple is still getting intimate — have moved in together but not complete trust.”

“First turn — she wakes up doing something dangerous (violent).
Second turn — dream woman shows up in real life.”

And here we have the beginning of the actual script that got made into Lucid.

It’s only on about handwritten page 28 that the Sandman shows up, in the form of the Guru. When the name “Sandman” came to me, I was ecstatic, as it worked so much better than “Guru.”

At that point I believe I began typing out more complete scenes, moving from paper to laptop as the “treatment” had become more defined. That first draft, of course, is still far different from the finished script, and farther still from the finished movie.

Birthing a movie is a long process, longer than we want to remember when we’re thinking of starting a new one. It’s kind of like what they say about having a baby — if you truly remembered what it was like the first time, you’d never do it again.

But here I go . . .

Lucid is now on DVD and can be found at http://bigbitingpigproductions.com/LucidDVD.html.

PJ Woodside is the writer and director of Lucid, which features Bill Johnson and will be released in 2013. She is co-producer of Spirit Stalkers and six other movies with Steve Hudgins of Big Biting Pig Productions, and owner of PJ’s Productions. More from PJ's official blog can be found here.

Sugg Street Post
Written by PJ Woodside
Photo by Jessi Smith

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This Old "Witch" Makes Horror Flicks - Does the Witch Look Pretty?

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (7/17/13) - "This Old 'Witch' Makes Horror Flicks" is a completely uncensored look at independent horror film making. PJ Woodside is one of the masterminds behind Big Biting Pig Productions, an internationally recognized, but locally-based independent movie company that films entirely in Hopkins County, KY. For a sneak peak behind the scenes, read on. (Note: some content may not be suitable for a younger audience)

One of the strangest things about making movies occurs when I have to edit myself.

Yep, that’s my big face on the screen. And oh my, I look fat. That’s a weird expression. Did I just sing that line instead of speaking it? What was I thinking there?

It’s kind of torture. The upside is that I can make myself look as good as is possible given the takes for the scene. The downside is that when I am acting I’m not directing (Steve is) and so I don’t get to call do-overs based on the weird thing I just did with my mouth.

So here is my list of DOs and DON’Ts for casting yourself in something you will also have to edit:

1.  Get over it.

Yep, that’s about it. I could tell you to remember the camera adds 10 pounds when choosing an outfit, or to get lots of takes when you’re in the shot (for optimal angles), or to review every take before you strike set so you’ll know if you need more, or to always film your best side, yada yada yada.

The truth is, you just have to get over it. You won’t always like how you look onscreen. You won’t always be pretty. Sometimes you’ll look pudgy or pasty or mean.

But it’s not a senior photo shoot. It’s  a movie. What you should be looking for is how well you portray the character you were cast to play. Do you inhabit the scene? Do you connect with other characters? Are your actions authentic?

It can be difficult to separate yourself the “vulnerable affirmation-seeking inner child” from yourself “the editor.” But you have to. If you cast yourself in the part, you gave yourself a job to do. How well did you do it?

If you can’t be objective and disengaged from your feelings in this , you shouldn’t cast yourself. Simple as that. The movie is not about how good you look. You’re just one part.

Okay, okay, so you probably won’t ever be in this situation, but I think there’s a life lesson here. It’s not how you look in any given moment that matters — not the car you drive, or the jewelry you wear, or the job you have. What matters is your part in the story.

And for the record? Sometimes you look awesome.

Please visit our Kickstarter page if you’d like to donate to our next production, The Caretakers!

PJ Woodside is the writer and director of Lucid, which features Bill Johnson and will be released in 2013. She is co-producer of Spirit Stalkers and six other movies with Steve Hudgins of Big Biting Pig Productions, and owner of PJ’s Productions. More from PJ's official blog can be found here.

Sugg Street Post
Written by PJ Woodside
Photo by PJ Woodside

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This Old "Witch" Makes Horror Flicks - The Story of The Story

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (7/10/13) - "This Old 'Witch' Makes Horror Flicks" is a completely uncensored look at independent horror film making. PJ Woodside is one of the masterminds behind Big Biting Pig Productions, an internationally recognized, but locally-based independent movie company that films entirely in Hopkins County, KY. For a sneak peak behind the scenes, read on. (Note: some content may not be suitable for a younger audience)

We just finished up Lucid, so it seems like a good time to stop and reflect about how a story gets from idea to finished film.

Three steps: First you write a script. Then you film it. Then you edit it.

Only, there are about a thousand detours in that scenario.

First, the script itself is typically significantly different from the initial ideas that the story sprang from. In the case of Lucid, I knew I wanted to make a movie about dreaming. And I knew I wanted a female protagonist. And I wanted her dreams to become more and more disturbing. The first incarnations of this version, however, were much different from the actual treatment we ended up with.

I also knew the main character would be fighting for something over these dreams, and that element is the core of the story. But story and plot are two different things and none of the above is a plot. A plot requires change, obstacles, actions.

What I do at this stage of the writing is to brainstorm scenarios and pursue them until they don’t work anymore or they do work and become THE ONE. This is sort of a zig-zag trial and error process that I have to go through in order to get anywhere with the script. It’s important at this stage to keep in mind a few key things:

>Main characters need motivation, both internal and external.
>Villains need motivation, both internal and external.
>Ideally, the story should take a strong U or L turn at the 1/3 and 2/3 points. (this creates your classic 3-act structure)
>Questions should be initiated early on by events and circumstances.
>These questions should be answered somehow by the end of the movie.
>Action should begin as late as possible. (no sooner)
>Action should end as soon as possible. (no later)
>Backstory is for the writer, not the audience.
>The story must say something that matters. (Don’t get this confused with a moral — but this is what makes a story different from a series of events)

After I have pursued a number of ideas and settled on the ones I think work best, I then sketch out a 10-12 step plot script that represents the main events of the movie. This helps me to keep it simple.

Nothing is written in stone, you understand. Revisions are constantly happening as new elements have an impact on the character, situations, etc. After I’m happy with the current version of the plot list, I begin sketching out scenes. Again, I’m constantly moving forward and looping back, moving forward, looping back.

You get the idea.

In truth, a script is never finished being revised until the movie has gone to press, so to speak — we make adjustments all through filming and all through editing as well. ”Better versions” sometimes become apparent to me only AFTER I’m in the editing room — sometimes not in a way I could have predicted, but because of the collaborative nature of film.

We constantly make choices in the editing room, making the story better, stronger, different from the script. In the case of Lucid, we added a scene late in the game, several months after principal photography had ended. I added audio that wasn’t in the original script. I also completely flipped around scenes in the last third of the movie.

In short, the script is just the beginning. We know that. But that’s not a reason to have a weak script.

You can only imagine a great movie if you have a strong script to start with.

Lucid trailer here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woji15tH9L0&list=UU6uhhRbkP0QTSOnMaJEBtyw&index=1

Please visit our Kickstarter page if you’d like to donate to our next production, The Caretakers!

PJ Woodside is the writer and director of Lucid, which features Bill Johnson and will be released in 2013. She is co-producer of Spirit Stalkers and six other movies with Steve Hudgins of Big Biting Pig Productions, and owner of PJ’s Productions. More from PJ's official blog can be found here.

Sugg Street Post
Written by PJ Woodside
Photo by PJ Woodside

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Community Collage: Lucid World Premiere

"credit" Jessi SmithHOPKINS COUNTY, KY (6/28/13) - On Friday, June 21, Big Biting Pig Productions held the World Premiere of Lucid at the Ballard Convention Center in Madisonville, KY. Thunder echoed eerily throughout the building as excited moviegoers got in line for their chance to get an autograph from Bill "Leatherface" Johnson of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 fame.

In all, over 300 people were in attendance and the film proved a huge success. The two masterminds behind Big Biting Pig Productions, Steve Hudgins and PJ Woodside, were thrilled with the turnout.

"The crowd was lovely and seemed to be having a great time despite the thunderstorm washing out the 'red carpet' aspect," says PJ Woodside. "I've heard nothing but praise for the movie and the new venue. Bill Johnson was a trooper and signed a lot of DVDs, posters, photos, and even a few other 'unique' items."

"It was our first time at the new venue, the Ballard Convention Center, and everyone seemed to have a blast," says Steve Hudgins. "We're happy to be able to have our premieres in Madisonville. It gives the folks in and around town a chance to experience a movie world premiere and meet a horror icon like Bill 'Leatherface' Johnson."

To read a movie review and interview with Bill Johnson, check out the Sugg Street Post's latest installment of Movie Mouth by Nick Faust.

If you would like to purchase a copy of Lucid you can order one on the Big Biting Pig Productions website or at Red Wagon Antiques in the Parkway Plaza Mall in Madisonville.

To see a collection of photos taken by Sugg Street Post photographer Jessi Smith, simply scroll below.

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Written by Jessica Dockrey
Photos by Jessi Smith

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This Old "Witch" Makes Horror Flicks - Special FX on a Shoestring

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (5/31/13) - "This Old 'Witch' Makes Horror Flicks" is a completely uncensored look at independent horror film making. PJ Woodside is one of the masterminds behind Big Biting Pig Productions, an internationally recognized, but locally-based independent movie company that films entirely in Hopkins County, KY. For a sneak peak behind the scenes, read on. (Note: some content may not be suitable for a younger audience)

When you make movies on a budget, you get used to looking for the most cost-effective (read “cheap”) ways of doing everything. One item: blood, gore, slashes, stabs, bullet holes, dead bodies, monsters, etc. I never dreamed I’d spend large chunks of time practicing making a throat slash, but over the years we’ve gained a small repertoire of skills in this area.

People often ask how we make our blood, and truth is that Steve “made” blood during his earliest project (The 3rd Floor) and it was such a disaster that after that we used pre-made blood that comes in a gallon. I call it Gallon-O-Blood though that is not its technical name.

Other effects, however, we have made from scratch. Below are some of the most memorable:

Maniac on the Loose:
Primarily, Dr. Grim’s foaming vomit. This was basically a baking soda and lemon juice mixture with bottled blood. Mixing this concoction in his mouth caused Nick to literally “foam at the mouth.” Fun. Most of the rest of the effects were faked. The broken finger in the torture scene is actually Steve’s finger — he has a strange but convenient ability to bend some of his joints backwards.

Goatsucker:
Primarly, the creature’s suit. This one meant hours of latex and toilet paper application onto an actress in a unitard. As it turned out, we didn’t like the looks of it onscreen and so cut most of these scenes down to the bare minimum. Everything else was practical stuff — milk tinged with food coloring for vomit, contact lenses for the weird eyes, sprayed blood for the hiking kill. We did drag one of our actors through the woods to approximate a monster dragging him off. That was memorable!

Widow:
The throat slash. I actually used silicone, not latex, for this effect. Silicone can spread thinner and look more natural than latex, and it takes makeup better. I used my thigh as a foundation, to approximate the curve of the neck. The great thing about silicone is that it’s reusable, and that same slash has found its way in other movies as well (sometimes on the same actress!)

Hell is Full:
We had several challenges on this one. First, the zombie makeup. We wanted people to look freshly dead, not long decayed. The best makeup choice for that is a Ben Nye makeup in the color of Death Flesh. One of the tricks of zombie makeup is matching the bone structure — you want shadows where hollows would be, in the cheekbones, in the temples, in the eye sockets. A little blue on the lips. That’s enough to give the impression.

Other than that, we had guts in the woods, which we created with pantyhose and jello goo. We had a blue finger, which I created with makeup and latex. And there were lots of bloody flesh wounds — a little latex and toilet paper and some makeup, and we were good to go. An infected bite wound (on the character I played) proved a bit of a challenge. Latex, toilet paper, and makeup gave a good base for the wound, but it turned out to be mustard that made the wound look infected. Gross!

One of the most difficult bits was portraying a shot to the head of one of the main characters. That’s a combination of latex, toilet paper, makeup, and blood. The best way to get proficient at this sort of thing is to practice, which we did.

The Creepy Doll:
That throat slash again (on the mother-in-law character, played by the same actress as in Widow!) We had a scissors kill for one of the characters, which we accomplished by attaching a cropped pair of scissors to an L joint and then duct-taping that to the actor’s chest. We did something similar with a knife blade later in the movie.

The pregnancy belly was actually one of the easier effects — we used a nerf soccer ball as the base, which created a nice firm foundation for the rest.

Spirit Stalkers:
We had lots of blood in this one, but some of the more difficult effects were making Horace Hammond’s skin white and dappled, making the ghost sisters pale and bloody, and creating a realistic throat slash. I’m reluctant to give any more details than that. The worms were not an effect but a real event: we used real worms on set. That was quite an experience, and gives the scene a verisimilitude that simply cannot be faked.

Lucid:
Okay, I’m not ready to talk about the effects in Lucid yet. But suffice it to say, there are some memorable ones. Enjoy!

Btw, advance tickets for Lucid are on sale now!

Here: http://bigbitingpigproductions.com/LucidWorldPremiere.html

Lucid trailer here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woji15tH9L0&list=UU6uhhRbkP0QTSOnMaJEBtyw&index=1

Please visit our Kickstarter page if you’d like to donate to our next production, The Caretakers!

PJ Woodside is the writer and director of Lucid, which features Bill Johnson and will be released in 2013. She is co-producer of Spirit Stalkers and six other movies with Steve Hudgins of Big Biting Pig Productions, and owner of PJ’s Productions. More from PJ's official blog can be found here.

Sugg Street Post
Written by PJ Woodside
Photo by PJ Woodside

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This Old "Witch" Makes Horror Flicks - Continuity and Other Challenges

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (5/28/13) - "This Old 'Witch' Makes Horror Flicks" is a completely uncensored look at independent horror film making. PJ Woodside is one of the masterminds behind Big Biting Pig Productions, an internationally recognized, but locally-based independent movie company that films entirely in Hopkins County, KY. For a sneak peak behind the scenes, read on. (Note: some content may not be suitable for a younger audience)

All movies have their challenges that make them stand out in your mind for one reason or another. Below are some of the ones I associate the most with each of our movies.

Maniac on the Loose:
The hospital set. We prepped the upper floors of the old Madisonville Hospital for use as the Psychiatric Hospital. They were dirty, full of junk, abandoned rooms that had at some point BEEN a psychiatric ward. One room was full to the brim of computer monitors. Another had broken office furniture. The place was rank and nasty, but it ended up looking great and we used it for several more movie scenes before they condemned the place and wouldn’t let us in anymore.

Goatsucker:
Hiking through the woods. Since a large portion of the movie takes place on a “hiking tour” and/or in the woods, we spent a LOT of time hiking. These were trails you couldn’t drive to, except for the four-wheeler that carried our provisions (and us, on occasion, for a bathroom run). Unbelievably, it was NOT unbearable.

Also, latex. If you spend a few hours applying latex and toilet paper to a person’s body, you pretty much learn all of its properties.

Widow:
Filming in my house. Widow is one of those claustrophobic, small-cast, psychological sorts of movies that takes place mostly in one house. There are advantages to filming in your own house — you know where things are when you need something on the fly. The downside — continuity. To make it easier on my family (and myself), I made sure the main character was the type of person who kept things very neat and very spare. That way, it was easy to keep up with how things were supposed to look. One jar on the counter, one framed photo on the shelf. Voila!

Hell is Full:
Zombie blood! We tried to shoot in chronological sequence, but sometimes we couldn’t. The nature of the plot required people to be in the same outfits (it all takes place in one day, over a few hours) and keeping up with duplicate clean/zombie bloodied outfits presented a bit of a challenge. We bought/created duplicates when we could, but there were a couple of times I was very glad I had learned how to get fake blood out of clothing.

The Creepy Doll:
We filmed most of our night scenes in that house during the day, so we spent quite a bit of time hanging and taking down black plastic (which worked like a charm!).

The dolls were not as much trouble as you might expect, although keeping up with which dolls belonged to whom (several people donated collections) took a bit of advanced planning. I mostly remember buying lots of curtains for that house, because the person who lived there didn’t have any, and also painting the bathroom a dark brown that ended up looking like black.

Spirit Stalkers:
The old house was perfect visually, but the creaky floors made it difficult to get clean sound (I’m particularly pleased that we won an award for sound, since it was quite difficult). The biggest filming challenge, though, was simply having such a large role in the movie, the part of the homemaker. And with Steve and me both in several scenes together, we had to do more advanced planning than usual. We also had some actors get a bit too realistic in a fight scene and break the stained-glass front door. That’s not a phone call you ever want to have to make.

Lucid:
Lucid is the sort of movie where events take place in particular locations throughout the movie — the main character’s home, her workplace, her therapist’s office, the sleep study clinic — and yet the mood, the plot, the feeling of these locations as we move through them changes dramatically. Logistics for shooting meant we were often filming five to eight scenes in a location in quick succession that actually represented very different emotional locations in the movie. Keeping track of wardrobe continuity was critical. Sometimes we had our main actress in and out of eight different outfits in a shooting day.

To further create difficulties, some scenes were in daytime and some were in dark, so that we’d shoot, for example, scenes 14, 29, 26 and 88 in the daytime, and that very evening we’d shoot 17, 33 and 95. It was crazy complicated and keeping track of it is the sort of job that you make good money for in Hollywood.

My favorite shoots, by far, were the times when everyone was on set in their underwear and pajamas. Now THAT was FUN!

Btw, advance tickets for Lucid are on sale now!

Here: http://bigbitingpigproductions.com/LucidWorldPremiere.html

Lucid trailer here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woji15tH9L0&list=UU6uhhRbkP0QTSOnMaJEBtyw&index=1

Please visit our Kickstarter page if you’d like to donate to our next production, The Caretakers!

PJ Woodside is the writer and director of Lucid, which features Bill Johnson and will be released in 2013. She is co-producer of Spirit Stalkers and six other movies with Steve Hudgins of Big Biting Pig Productions, and owner of PJ’s Productions. More from PJ's official blog can be found here.

Sugg Street Post
Written by PJ Woodside
Photo by PJ Woodside

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This Old "Witch" Makes Horror Flicks - Risky "Witchiness"

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (5/20/13) - "This Old 'Witch' Makes Horror Flicks" is a completely uncensored look at independent horror film making. PJ Woodside is one of the masterminds behind Big Biting Pig Productions, an internationally recognized, but locally-based independent movie company that films entirely in Hopkins County, KY. For a sneak peak behind the scenes, read on. (Note: some content may not be suitable for a younger audience)

A fellow filmmaker asked me recently to talk about a time when I took a risk with a story and it paid off; and conversely, a time when it didn’t. I can think of lots of story risks that have worked; we like twists, and we don’t shy away from a dark ending. In hindsight, they’re all risky.

One story risk, however, that gave me shivers the very instant I conceived it (pun intended) was in the creation of the main character in The Creepy Doll: a pregnant woman who commits horrific deeds.

The character of Kate is visibly quite pregnant throughout the movie – check out the screen shots and you’ll see this is true. We made a special belly for the actress and she was so convincing on set in her gestures and body language that I often felt compelled to tell her to rest, take a load off, responding as if she actually were pregnant. A pregnant woman evokes sympathy. And that’s what I was going for.

I intentionally play with female clichés in my scripts, turn them upside down, take them to extremes. My first movie, Widow, exploits the archetype of the sad and devoted widow. My next one, Lucid, explores the unpredictable girlfriend.

Kate, in The Creepy Doll, is a devoted wife and mother whose very identity is usurped by a doll (yeah, that creepy one). But the doll is really just a metaphor for how pregnancy can feel to a woman: as if nothing else matters except the child, as if the mother can no longer devote any time (or energy) to herself without being seen as a monster. And what of the mother who resents this subversion of self? Will she become a monster? These are the archetypes I’m playing with in The Creepy Doll.

People sympathize with pregnant women as long as they seem to care about their unborn babies, and Kate clearly cares – at first. Then she becomes something else. Is she a risk to her baby? Will the audience turn? At what point? Allowing Kate to become the kind of crazy monster who can kill as easily as she does was a terrific risk. Would people be so offended they would hate it? Would they refuse to experience the true terror of the movie? Would they think me a monster as well?

So far, no reviewer has picked up on these themes, and I’ll be the first to admit that you should enjoy the movie without having to think about themes and archetypes and motifs. But making a pregnant woman the villain of a horror movie was definitely a risk. And I think it paid off.

What do you think?

Please visit our Kickstarter page if you’d like to donate to our next production, The Caretakers!

PJ Woodside is the writer and director of Lucid, which features Bill Johnson and will be released in 2013. She is co-producer of Spirit Stalkers and six other movies with Steve Hudgins of Big Biting Pig Productions, and owner of PJ’s Productions. More from PJ's official blog can be found here.

Sugg Street Post
Written by PJ Woodside
Photo by PJ Woodside

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This Old "Witch" Makes Horror Flicks - The Third Floor, One Witch's Beginning

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (5/19/13) - "This Old 'Witch' Makes Horror Flicks" is a completely uncensored look at independent horror film making. PJ Woodside is one of the masterminds behind Big Biting Pig Productions, an internationally recognized, but locally-based independent movie company that films entirely in Hopkins County, KY. For a sneak peak behind the scenes, read on. (Note: some content may not be suitable for a younger audience)

The 3rd Floor is technically not a Big Biting Pig Productions movie, but it’s the film that started it all. Steve Hudgins (my partner, see photo above) doesn’t like people to see it – that’s how rough it is – but it’s the one that made all the other movies possible. Because of The 3rd Floor, we knew we could make a feature-length movie. And we knew we wanted to make more.

I only had acquaintance with Steve as an actor at the time he began making The 3rd Floor. He’d met some guys while he was doing a theater production in Paducah, KY, and together they cooked up the crazy idea to make a horror movie. One of them had access to a pretty good camera. Another had directing experience. Steve had a script or two in his desk. And they all had acting experience. Steve cleaned up the script (based on an unpublished novel he’d written) and they begin looking for locations in Paducah.

I was asked to play a small role, and that might have been the extent of my involvement in the project. I had no experience with movie-making, and though it tapped into several of my interests – acting and writing and even directing – it didn’t occur to me to think on it any further. But I’d only just gotten back into theater, and loved the collaborative nature of it. I could see this movie-making had a similar energy.

Several of my friends had roles, and I charted the progress from the sidelines. I even helped on set a couple of times. And after a few months, I heard everything had been shot.

You know how sometimes things happen for a reason but the reason isn’t clear until much later? It just so happened that I’d spent a couple of years learning to video edit on my job, not as anything central to my job but just as an offshoot of being part of a program that had the money for the equipment and a reason to document events on video. At the same time, Steve and his production team at the time had not considered the editing portion of movie-making.

That seems crazy to me NOW. They shot a movie with no idea of how to edit it. But at the time, they were just going with the momentum of creativity, not worrying about the next step, having faith it would happen somehow.

That’s where the PJ Woodside/Steve Hudgins partnership really began. Steve asked me if I would edit the movie. I didn’t REALLY know if I could. But I was willing to try. On a borrowed laptop on my dining room table, we sorted out all the footage, tried to make sense of it, and cut it together. We were both in a play for part of this, and often worked for hours before and after rehearsal. What turned out to be our strengths as a team began to emerge in this creative give-and-take. I make sense of details; Steve fights for drama. For me, a story must make sense; for Steve, a story must have power. The combination is a good one.

I spent some time researching editing, and learned an invaluable lesson or two from a new friend, Nick Faust, who is something of a mentor for us now (he’s a brilliant script and movie critic). I learned about the 180 rule, and cutting on action. I learned how to create momentum or clarity or suspense simply by arranging takes a certain way. This process brought together all my interests – writing, acting, and directing – in a way I’d never experienced before. I was hooked.

We finished the rough cut but realized we would need help on the final mixing and scoring, so we worked with a fellow named Jon Doss to get the final copy created. (It was a lot more work than we knew it would be, and I still apologize to Jon’s wife every time I see her for our late night sessions!) After that, my role was pretty much done. Steve and his buddies set up a screening and I attended.

That, I think, is when the bug truly hit me: being part of an audience watching a movie I helped create was fulfilling in a way I’d never experienced. Though it was rough and clunky in places, it still held together as a feature-length movie. People laughed in the right places. People shrieked (there’s one awesome “hit” that still makes me cringe). The movie made sense and it entertained.

Lucky for me, I guess, Steve’s original production team didn’t want to pursue a second project. So Steve approached me about partnering with him on our own production company, based locally. I accepted. The rest is Big Biting Pig history.

Oink oink.

PJ Woodside is the writer and director of Lucid, which features Bill Johnson and will be released in 2013. She is co-producer of Spirit Stalkers and six other movies with Steve Hudgins of Big Biting Pig Productions, and owner of PJ’s Productions. More from PJ's official blog can be found here.

Sugg Street Post
Written by PJ Woodside
Photo by PJ Woodside

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