Q&A with Bevin McNamara, Director of “The Hoaxing”

Featured image

Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual/personal level?
Clarice Starling from Silence of the Lambs.

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?
Creativity is messy, uncertain and can be scary because we become vulnerable. I analyze to find the core of the “bad idea” and persistently mold it to a shape that feels good. For instance, when we were in post on The Hoaxing and needing to amplify the monster qualities of the ghost of Mary Meeker, at one point I suggested she turned into a CGI monster – a demon creature. I had seen a few other shorts where this worked for their story. Iteration after iteration just didn’t feel right for The Hoaxing, and for how the movie was shot. So, I reflected on what my instincts are as a filmmaker, and what I’m drawn to. We pared down the effects and relied on syncopated jump cuts to set the eerie mood of Mary. The process helped define the ethos of the film.

Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
Yes, but it’s more of a film-loving community with a heavy emphasis on horror and psychological thrillers.

When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
Deadlines. I am constantly and enthusiastically absorbing information and content, so I need deadlines to help me organize and keep me accountable. I like to get away from my computer and go to a museum where I can witness different forms of storytelling and representation of the human condition. Having a three-year-old has also given me greater insight into the art of anticipation. Tickling or playing hide and seek are direct reflections of what we are trying to achieve with a jump scare or suspense on the screen. Everything informs everything, so the inspiration is all around. And the deadlines force me to compose all of it into something cohesive (hopefully).

What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
Since we shot The Hoaxing on location at my studio, I feel like I woke up inside my film every day. I wholeheartedly relate to the character of Angie as she delves into her inner psyche to confront her fears about art-making. However, I would have killed Cash sooner as well as the Landlord.

Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
This is my ultimate villain dinner party crew:
Jack (The Shining): to bring the fun and games
Mogwai (Gremlins): for the party favors
Carrie (Carrie): for her feminine power
Hannibal Lector (Silence of the Lambs): for the banter and appetizers
Annie Wilkes (Misery): to nurse our hangovers.

Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
Freddy, Stephen King, Mostly Practical, Post Apocalypse

How do you go about creating the props and sets for your film? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
Since we shot The Hoaxing in my art studio, the set was essentially built with my personal belongings and I think that makes the environment relatable and authentic. When building the world of the characters, I try to identify a dozen or so featured objects / props that could summarize their personality and trajectory in life.

And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
Too many! But if I’d have to say, it’s a tie between The Shining and Silence of The Lambs.