The following is an interview with Maria Olsen and Angel Corbin, the producers of the film Way Down in Chinatown. In this interview, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor Barbra Dillon talks with Olsen and Corbin about the various genres included within the film, its commentary on corporate vs. individual creativity, and the film’s impressive cast and crew list.
Barbra Dillon, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor: You are both currently in post-production on the film Way Down in Chinatown, which tells the story of two playwrights whose only goal is to write a great play, until temptation stands in their way. For our readers who may be unfamiliar, can you tell us more about the story behind the film?
Maria Olsen and Angel Corbin: The film is looking gorgeous, and we can’t want to show everyone the different trailers we’re cutting. The story of the film ultimately reflects today’s attitude of corporate creativity vs. individual creativity, where, so often the lure of money triumphs over the desire to create something unique and new but not necessarily commercially viable.
BD: While the premise of the film may allude to a story about the theatre and its behind-the-scenes drama, the project makes its way through several genres, including science fiction, film noir, horror, and psychological thriller. How does Way Down in Chinatown maneuver through these dark and disturbing genres?
MO and AC: Even if it wasn’t for the brooding and intense performances given by Way Down in Chinatown’s stars, the fact that it was shot entirely in black and white goes a long way to providing it with film noir status. As far as science fiction is concerned, the uncovering of an enigmatic and threatening underground world echoes the best of both Wells’ The Time Machine and Lang’s Metropolis, while horror is represented by dark doppelgangers and strangely deformed, worm-like beings that are out to infect all humanity with their depravity. And, any film that features gun-toting vigilante women dealing out sudden death must, without doubt, be classified as a psychological thriller!
BD: The cast and crew of Way Down in Chinatown consist of some amazingly talented creators and performers. Can you tell us about the process of working with the creative team and the contributions of these individuals?
MO and AC: Working with the Chinatown creative team has definitely been an experience that we at MOnsterworks66 won’t soon forget. Possibly the most enriching experience was working creatively with such wonderful and iconic actors as Nancy Wolfe from the original Helter Skelter and Lisa Loring, who everyone will remember as Wednesday Addams from The Addams Family original tv series.
BD: As actors yourselves, do you find that it is more refreshing or challenging to be on the other side of the camera for this film?
MO and AC: For Way Down in Chinatown, we were actually on both sides of the camera, and, yes, being on both sides can most definitely be challenging. The creative is always going to have to be juggled with the administrative, and it just depends on what your particular job is on any given day as to which half of the brain has to win out and take control!
BD: Like many independent creators, you initiated an indiegogo campaign for the project. What encouraged you to use this specific fundraising method, and how has indiegogo enabled you to provide further promotion of the project?
MO and AC: We believe that a well-run crowdfunding campaign is the way to go for projects of a certain budget level, which are also new, imaginative, and commercial enough to be able to create and sustain public interest. Indiegogo is incredibly easy to use – and easy to publicize through social networks like Facebook and Twitter – and, with a professional, intriguing, and inspiring project summary, promotional video, and perks list, it’s not all that difficult to create and maintain public interest in an exceptional project.
BD: For our readers who may be interested in donating to Way Down in Chinatown, are there any specific donation perks that may pique our readers’ interest?
MO and AC: The fundraising period for Way Down in Chinatown actually ended several weeks ago – and MOnsterworks66 has, in fact, just finished another successful IGG campaign, this time for Brandon Scullion’s so-cool-it’s-frozen horror feature Live in Fear – but MO66 supporters should keep their eyes out for our next campaign, which will be launched mid-August.
BD: Being that we focus on all things “geek” at Fanboy Comics, would you care to geek out with us about your favorite films?
MO and AC: Fave comic-geek films include Spiderman 2 and, of course, Supergirl, where the line about throwing coconuts across the world with pinpoint accuracy has GOT to be one of the best lines of all time!
BD: What is the most important piece of advice that you can offer to independent filmmakers who aspire to create their own projects?
MO and AC: Never give up. It’s that simple.
BD: On that same note, which creators have inspired your work?
MO and AC: There are so many creative geniuses that have influenced and inspired us that it’s difficult to even know where to start. From writers to comic book artists and from actresses to directors and even singer/songwriters, the list is way too long to just pick one or two. What we do and how we do it is a culmination of our soaking up like sponges what we’ve read, seen, heard, and watched.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Way Down in Chinatown?
MO and AC: Way Down in Chinatown’s website is presently under construction, and we will most definitely let everyone know when it’s up and running, so that they can check it out. In the meantime, they can like the film’s pages on Facebook and IMDb.