Q&A with Brendan Beachman, Director of “Two Birds”

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ALTER: Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Horror spirit animal?
BRENDAN BEACHMAN: I’m not sure there’s a specific character I’d completely relate to on a spiritual level… on a surface level, I’d say perhaps the werewolf. There have been a few weddings and/or St. Patrick’s Days where in the wee hours of the night, whiskey enters the equation and I wake up the next morning with clothes tattered and nothing but flashes of memories of the wild beast that inhabited my body and mind.

A: You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?
BB: How about weird ideas that I’ve actually shot? I had a crazy fever dream a while back that followed a complete 3 act structure. I woke up in the middle of the night, drenched in sweat, and proceeded to write it down in a notebook. I have since shot that fever dream as a short film and am in the process of editing it. The film is called “Goddamn Cats” and it follows a strange little man as he marches into the Mojave Desert to release his beloved fish. I won’t go into great detail, but there are flying cats and severed fish heads…it’s very weird.

A: Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
BB: My wife and I watch horror and suspense films almost exclusively, but I wouldn’t say I’m involved in a community per se. Wouldn’t be opposed to it though!

A: When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
BB: On an technical and aesthetic level, I look to other films that I really enjoy. On a more subconcious level, I’ll usually come up with ideas late at night. If it’s a horror film, I’ll close my eyes and then try to imagine the scariest possible thing that I can conjure up to be standing at the foot of the bed. With comedy, in public I’m consistently imagining the funniest/most irreverent thing that could disrupt the monotony of daily life. I also try to read as much as possible. Myths and folktales are a great resource as they touch upon universal themes of life and death.

A: What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
BB: I’d tell Flynn to stay the hell out of the cellar.

A: Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
BB: Freddy, Leatherface, Michael Myers, Toxic Avenger

A: Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
BB: Freddy, Stephen King, Practical, Both!

A: How do you go about creating the props and sets for your film? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
BB: For the monster, I rented fake arms and hot glued long, nasty, fake fingernails to them. The actress held onto the prosthetic arms inside long sleeves. In post production, I had my VFX person curls the fingers in order to make the effect more realistic. Nea (the actress playing the creature) actually owned an array of special contact lenses to make her eyes creepier. Emily, our Makeup Designer, did an amazing job with both Eve’s and the Creature’s makeup. As far as sets…the entire reason I shot this short was because my own cellar has long creeped me the hell out. I decided it needed to be used for a horror film location. Descending down stairs into a dark and scary basement is a fear that I feel most of us can identify with—whether that be from childhood memories, or current day fears. Speaking of current day fears, I need to go down into the cellar now to do laundry. Wish me luck.

A: And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
BB: The Shining