Q: Please tell my readers about your short film “Heartless”.
Kevin: Sure thing. Heartless is my directorial debut. It’s a contemporary take on Edgar Allan Poe’s famous short story, “The Tell-Tale Heart”, where an overlooked exec is trying to complete a marketing presentation while a horrific secret eats away at her conscience. We threw in an American Psycho vibe, a lot of blood f/x and some over the top dark humor. It’s a really fun, really bloody, updating of the original story. We had a blast making it.
Q: The “modern take” you’ve chosen aerates an interesting spin on this old favorite. How did you come up with this fabulous idea?
Kevin: Thank you so much for the compliments. I was actually on another shoot in a friend’s house (coincidentally, the house where we ended up shooting the flashback scenes in “Heartless”) and the lead actress and sound guy were discussing Poe (which stories they like best, etc). My favorite is “The Tell-Tale Heart” so, on the way home, I got this scene in my head, which became the opening shot in the film – an innocent looking exec staring in to a mirror getting ready to do a presentation, having done some really horrible things the night before. The idea sprang from that initial image. I just loved the conflict between her outward appearance and the darkness that she’s attempting to hide. I felt that was a lot of stuff for an actress, especially one as talented as Stacy Snyder, to play with. Setting it in a modern, cutthroat corporate atmosphere allowed me to do a couple things. First, I could have a relatable protagonist in the oft-ignored rising exec Shelby. Second, with the aggression forced on her by her co-workers, I could realistically have her remember things that she did that she didn’t necessarily want to revisit. With those things established, I could really go deep into the heart, so to speak, of Poe’s original piece.
Q: What was your favorite part of making this film? Least favorite?
Kevin: My favorite part? So many favorites. I’ll break it down to on-set faves and favorites on the festival trail. My favorite part in the making of the film was when the blood effects worked out. For a 10 ½ minute short to have 7 blood effects in it, well, that’s a bold undertaking. But I had such pros around me and when those effects worked on set, it was so cool. There was an effect in the office that was kind of the centerpiece of the office-related gore (it involves a severed limb), and I remember the entire cast/crew standing in the hallways surrounding the office watching, just to see how it would turn out. That was so exciting. Then, on the first day at the house, both actresses got ovations from the crew for their work in the two most bloody sequences. Those were the biggest highlights of a shoot full of them. As for my least favorite part… I’d say the logistics of shooting in an all-glass office atmosphere. It was a challenge because everything we shot facing the 3 male execs we had to shoot during the day so there was always a ticking clock. Luckily, those dudes are pros and we got it covered, but it was kind of tough logistically from time to time.
As for my favorite part after filming, it would have to be the audience reactions in the screenings so far. It’s always something different that people respond to. I’ve heard exclamations of “oh God, no!” during one screenings to another audience member shouting “Yes!” in the goriest parts during another. Then there were the 4-6 people that walked out in our first screening because it was a bit much (it wasn’t a horror fest so I’m not sure they were ready for the bloodiness). But, in that same fest, a family came up to us afterward and their daughter (prob 12-13 years old) said that she absolutely LOVED it and the “Tell-Tale Heart” was one of her favorite stories. Moments like that are so cool, so yeah, I’d say audience interaction after screenings has been a very special part of it all.
Jen: For me the least favorite it was mostly making sure the wardrobe was ready and there wouldn’t be any issues with continuity--needing to prep multiples of the same outfit is so important but ironing is soooooo boring hehe. Also bloody bags of clothes are not something I’m used to handling. I was kinda hoping I would run into someone while taking those down to the dumpster after the shoot tho. I adore everything else about filmmaking—the pre-pro hunt for the perfect wardrobe and set design, being on set with old friends and making new ones, and watching the magic of turning a written work into a visual one. That process fascinates me. I love to see how each individual person adds their stamp to it, making it a truly unique product that could only exist from that particular group of people.
Q: Were there any major challenges to overcome in order to complete this project?Kevin: Just getting it all shot. Which, I’m proud to say, we got all the scenes covered with no pick-ups necessary. But 11 pages in 3 days with 7 blood effects thrown in there was a bit daunting. But I surrounded myself with badasses – from Mike Testin on camera to the uber talented actors to Josh and Sierra Russell on blood f/x to Ross Scharphorn guiding us on the various stunts – so it all worked out.
Jen: For me it was trying to find the wardrobe as inexpensively as possible without sacrificing quality. We didn’t want the wardrobe to stand out and distract from the tale Kevin was weaving. It had to look super professional so it could hold up to his incredible writing—so that took many, many, many trips to H&M. I think I may be banned from that store now ;)
Kevin: She had racks of clothes, ready to go.
Jen: So many. Well, we had to get multiples of each outfit because we didn’t know how many takes we would need with all the blood.
Kevin: Lots of returns after the shoot. Thank you H&M. Haha.
Q: What other works have you done or been involved in?
Kevin: We’ve been involved on the production end on several shorts now, most notably Matt Mercer’s horror short, “Feeding Time” and Eric Kleifield’s sci-fi short “Mainline” (which just got accepted to this year’s Cinepocalypse Film Fest in Chicago). The first project I produced was a short I wrote and Matt Mercer directed, called “Play Violet for Me”. It’s a nifty, stylistic noir film that I’m really proud of. It’s available on Youtube and Vimeo if anyone wants to check it out. “Feeding Time” is available on Youtube, as well.
Jen: I mostly do marketing for our work but also help out on set when friends need it—pretty much doing whatever needs to be done—making coffee, unloading and loading equipment and craft services, running errands. For our films I was the production designer and wardrobe for “Play Violet for Me,” and wardrobe on “Heartless.”
Q: What are you currently working on?
Kevin: I’m currently completing a horror script – a survival feature revolving around an estranged couple working to get their stuff together while the world around them is falling apart. It should be done in a few weeks and I’ll start getting the cast/crew together after that. I’m hoping to start filming on that one next year. I also have a larger budget sci-fi project. I optioned the script to a production company a couple months ago and they’re putting the packaging together for that one. I’m looking forward to seeing where that goes. It’s probably my favorite thing I’ve written. As for the rest of the year, I have another larger budget sci-fi and a medium budget horror that I’m hoping to get completed by the end of the year.
Jen: I’m busy designing our new website: www.heartlessmovie.com and working on social media strategies for the film. In addition, I manage our company website and have websites ready to go for all his future projects.
Q: Tell us about being on the 2018 Film Festival circuit. What is that like?
Kevin: It’s awesome. I love film fests. First off, you get to see your film on a theater screen instead of your laptop. It’s such an amazing experience. There’s nothing like watching your film with a group of strangers and hearing them react to different moments. I’ll never get tired of it. Then, with festivals, you get to meet other filmmakers and audiences. There’s really nothing like it. I love it when people come up to me afterward and want to talk about my movie. How cool is that? It’s really a one of a kind experience. And the festival programmers are always super cool. So dedicated and driven by their love of film and filmmakers. It’s always inspiring going to fests and meeting this tremendous variety of people brought together by their love of one thing – film. It’s been great so far. We’ve played some really cool fests and I can’t wait to see what we play next!
Jen: It’s been an absolute blast!! I love going to festivals, meeting the other filmmakers and getting to see the latest incredible indie films. I also dig the red carpets ;) It’s been a special treat to screen at festivals that we went to for “Feeding Time” and “Play Violet for Me” and go back again with this project. It’s like a reunion of sorts with the chance to meet new friends too. I hope there’s lots more in store for “Heartless!”
Q: What are the ups and downs of working as a husband and wife team?
Kevin: None. There are no downs. It’s all ups. Haha.
Jen: Well, we’ve been married quite a few years (actually 21 this June 28th) and we just recently decided to combine forces to create film with Sunshine Boy Productions. And it really is as simple as that for us. We’ve always helped each other out with each other’s endeavors, whether it’s Kevin running the last 5 miles of my first marathon to help get me through, or when I helped find the wardrobe for our first short, Play Violet for Me. We both seem to know what the other one needs and want to help make that happen. Fortunately, our skill set and interests seem to be complimentary and don’t overlap much—so there’s not much of a push and pull when a decision needs to be made. I always thought I’d be on the sidelines of his career, going to watch his films but not able to contribute in any meaningful way, then we made our first short and I was hooked. Listening to incredible professionals act out my husband’s writing was surreal and such a treat. I couldn’t wait to get back on set with his films and the collaborative nature of our relationship makes it truly special for me to be a part of it.
Kevin: Yeah, I think we know what to expect from each other and we definitely know what we like to do in the company. Jen loves marketing. I don’t. I love writing. Jen? Not so much.
But we both love creating films and bringing these stories to life, so we find a middle ground with all of it. Jen loves creating impact on the marketing side, getting people interested in what we’re doing, and supporting the artists behind the films we’ve made so far. I do my best to create the impact with the stories or the productions themselves. On the whole, I think we have a cool mix of skills that don’t really branch into the other person’s realm, so there have definitely been more ups than downs. I’m looking forward to our next project to see what else we can do together.
Q: What advice would you like to share with other independent, or perhaps even novice, filmmakers?
Jen: Keep working, keep learning, keep helping other filmmakers out. You’ll find your group and hopefully keep doing it forever :)
Kevin: Just do it. Plain and simple. Whether you’re an indie filmmaker deciding to direct your first film or write your first thing or take the next big plunge, just do it. If you’re someone who’s never made a film and you’re on the fence, well, you can stay on the fence forever or you can just do it. If you look at it, we’re in a wonderful time in film. You can go out and film something (maybe even something worthy of Sundance) on your phone. So, why not? I can’t express how much it meant to be on the set of “Play Violet for Me”, seeing these awesome actors bringing my words to life. It changed my life. But the change happened when I decided to write it in the first place. For “Heartless” I remember laying on my living room floor a week before we started shooting, asking my wife, “what have I done to myself.” Two weeks later, I’ve directed my first film and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. You never know what you’re gonna be good at or what’s gonna resonate with you until you take that shot. Always be open to where your life can go. That’s my advice. Just do it.
From The Horror Report: A big, HUGE thank you to these two wonderful people. Not only for taking the time to do this interview but, also for their wonderful creation. I am so excited to see what comes next! What a great group of people working on this film. They have obviously found a team that works (in more ways than one). I wish them ALL nothing but the best and profound success!!!
I was fortunate enough to get a chance to interview Mr. Chris Pardal, who is starring in the new Corey Feldman film Corbin Nash coming out on April 20th. I can't help but say Chris seems like a really cool, down to earth kind of guy. It was such a pleasure to have this opportunity for this interview and I can't wait to check out the new movie, Corbin Nash!
Here's the entertaining interview in its entirety:
Q: What attracted you to pursue a career in acting?
Chris: Fame, Fortune, Attention. All the wrong things. It isn't until later when I was taught that it’s about what I’m going to give back to people.
Q: Of all the roles you’ve played in the past, which is your favorite? Why?
Chris: Frank Sullivan from Corbin Nash. I like him. He’s a guy that I’d hang out with and want to be partners with if I was a cop.
Q: Tell me what you are currently working on now (or next)?
Chris: I’m working on a feature about the Tampa Bay rave scene in the late 90s. I lived in Saint Pete, Florida at the time and was in that scene. It was vibrant and electric from everything from the lights, the music and the outfits; but underneath it was drugs, death and pain. It was the candy-coated rot of despair.
Q: What was your first role as an actor? When was that?
Chris: When I lied to everyone in 5th grade about changing the grade on my report card and had everyone convinced that it was a substitute teacher that had done it. It caused a lot of chaos.
If you’re meaning a part in a play, then it would be playing Lawrence Oberman in David Mamet’s “The Water Engine” in 1995. It was at Saint Petersburg College, and we went to a couple of theater competitions with it and I won a couple of awards. I didn’t really appreciate at the time what an amazing experience that was.
Q: What sort of roles to you plan to seek out in the future?
Chris: An antihero. The idea of dichotomy within one character really, really interests me. Someone that is looked at as terrible but the audience can’t help but to root for him or at least understand his point of view. Tony Soprano, Walter White or Al Simmons, otherwise known as Spawn.
Q: Tell me about your latest film, Corbin Nash.
Chris: Badass cops, underground fight clubs to the death, sexy strippers, scary vampires and tons of blood wrapped up in a great story.
Q: What makes this film unique and a must-see feature?
Chris: With vampire stories, I think it’s hard to be original because there are specific rules that you have to follow in every universe - but Corbin Nash is definitely original. The legendary actors in this were all so incredible. Dean is a mega-superstar in the making and his brother, Ben Jagger, is a very gifted director. I do have to say that Corey Feldman as Queeny is enough to want to see this movie. He was pretty dope.
Q: Tell me a little bit about the character, Frank Sullivan, that you play in this film?
Chris: He’s Corbin’s partner on the streets of LA and he looks out for him. He’s badass, but still caring and willing to get his hands a little dirty if he has to. Frank is also very handsome.
Q: What did you enjoy about playing this character? What presented a struggle to you?
Chris: I like Frank. If he were in real life, he would be the kind of guy who you meet at a convenience store at 3AM and talk to for hours about politics, life and conspiracy theories.
The struggle for me was to make sure that I was prepared, relaxed and ready to go. When you have a movie such as this with so many experienced actors, you don’t want to be the problem or the guy who slows things down.
I have a lot of respect for Ben, Dean and Carmen and when I met them, I knew that this was a project that means so much to them. I play Dean’s partner in Corbin Nash and I wanted him to feel that I was there for him when the camera wasn’t rolling.
Ben and Dean (Jagger) used to dig ditches to raise money for this film; when Richard Wagner, the producer, first came to LA, he lived in his van and eventually would be the executive producer of Corbin Nash - and he’s an actor in it too! Carmen Aiello and I both started our careers out here together and he cast me in one of my first projects and he brought me in for ‘Corbin Nash’ and he was so passionate about the project that he became a producer on it.
I knew that I was coming into a passion project that meant a lot to a lot of people; people who have sacrificed a lot in order to make this incredible movie. I knew I had to be on top of my game and my passion had to be up to their level - which wasn’t hard to want to strive for after being around this cast and crew.
Q: Without giving anything important away, what is your favorite line of dialogue from the film?
Chris: “Yo, Adrian, I did it!”
“I’m gonna shoot this asshole.”
Q: What was it like working with Corey Feldman?
Chris: Surreal at first. This is the guy from Lost Boys, Stand by Me, Gremlins, Friday the 13th, License to Drive, Dream a Little Dream, Meatballs, the voices of Donatello and Copper (The Fox and the Hound). Basically every movie we all watched growing up. He was in character all the time and it was fantastic watching him work. He’s extremely professional and an exceptional actor. I remember thinking, “Oh yeah, he’s been doing this for 40 years!”
Q: If you could play any other character in this film, who would it be?
Chris: I love Frank but if I HAD to choose, I would wish for the writing team (Ben, Dean & Christopher P. Taylor) to write me in as a vampire… or maybe they did.
Q: Who in the film industry do you admire?
Chris: Daniel Day Lewis, Gary Oldman, Denzel Washington, Ryan Coogler, and the list goes on.
Q: Where do you draw inspiration from? What people have inspired your career the most?
Chris: Writers and teachers. Acting is a craft and the best teachers carry on a long tradition of teaching acting as a craft with technique. So many teachers have inspired me. From Mr Sopneski in 6th grade letting me write and direct puppet shows, Mrs. Newberry in high school making me join the drama department because I disrupted class, Dr. Sybil Johnson trying to teach me how to handle my life offstage; to Robyn Cohen, Larry Moss and Howard Fine; he’s really taking my craft to the next level. The best teachers are also fans of writers and want actors to love writers as well. My favorite writers are John Patrick Shanley, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Martin McDonagh, Quentin Tarantino, Jason Milligan, the list goes on. The writers of The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Boardwalk, This Is Us are fantastic.
Q: What do you do when you are not working/acting?
Chris: Ride my motorcycle, ride roller coasters, shoot guns, build and play with RC cars and helicopters, dance, write and anything spontaneous.
Q: If you could choose any role at all in any film (past, present or future), what role would you want to play next?
Chris: Shy J. Tampa Bay’s biggest ecstasy dealer in the movie “Rave”...
...oh wait, that’s my movie I am working on at the moment!
Q: Did you enjoy making the film Corbin Nash?
Chris: No hated it. Of course I loved it! On the set, it was like family. When you’re in a movie and everyone's just so happy to be there, that’s a real gift because it’s not necessary to make a great movie. There’s was no drama or complaining at all, everyone was just there to make an awesome movie.
Q: Who was your favorite cast mate?
Chris: Dean. What a great guy.
Q: What is something that you know now that you wish you knew when you first started acting?
Chris: OH MY GOSH YES. I wish I knew the craft early on. I'm learning so much with Howard Fine now that I look back and wish I could play everything again. I'm always growing though. If I don't feel the same way in 5 years then I'm doing something wrong. I also would've liked to know that the reason to be an actor is to offer catharsis and emotional expression to people who may need it. In the beginning, I believe that people get into acting for selfish reasons but then realize (hopefully) that we should do it for selfless reasons.
Q: Do you have any questions for me?
Chris: What are your favorite horror movies? Mine are The Shining, Halloween II (The original), Shocker and the Nightmare on Elm Street series.
Me: My favorite horror movies would have to include the Nightmare on Elm Street series, Psycho, Halloween, Strangeland, The Shining, IT and Misery and The Hitcher just to name a few right off the top of my head.
Q: Is there anything you would like to promote or add?
Chris: Yes. Come to my Facebook page. www.facebook.com/chrispardalactor
I’m always updating what’s going on and I’m always positive. It’s fun and I interact with everyone as much as I can and it’s really me. My followers are friends of mine, some as long as 30 years, my family and my colleagues. Sometimes I’m talking about Portuguese recipes with my dad or other actors about acting stuff. Politics is at a minimum. I like it to be positive and light as much as possible. Right now I have the time to interact with people, so I do. I don’t feel the need to speak about myself in the 3rd person on social media.
You can find Chris and his content at the link below. Go check him out!!!
My website is www.chrispardal.com and it’s being completely rebuilt but come by and check it out!