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Show Will Eubank Some “Love”

Show Will Eubank Some “Love” (photo)

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Describing his first film “Love” doesn’t come terribly easy for Will Eubank.

“It’s a little bit of a dark look at how fragile our existence is on this one planet,” says Eubank. “A little bit of Carl Sagan in there, based on hoping to someday look back and go, ‘God, remember when we just all came from that one planet and we almost wiped ourselves out numerous times over?'”

He laughs, realizing it’s a lot to process both for the mind and the mouth. And he can afford to now because on the eve of the film’s premiere at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, he has accomplished something nearly as epic with the story of an astronaut stranded in space staving off loneliness and his only company is a journal penned by a soldier from the Civil War since the ambition on screen is equaled by what happened off. The trailer is here:

“Love” is the unusual product of a four-year collaboration with Angels & Airwaves, whose frontman Tom DeLonge plucked the director from the offices of Panavision and gave him the opportunity to direct 10 music videos based around a concept album they were recording, which Eubank in turn decided to turn into a feature. While this isn’t exactly a new idea – coincidentally, The Flaming Lips’ eight-years-in-the-making “Christmas on Mars” came out during the production of “Love” – it’s certainly rare and Eubank’s dedication puts him in an even more exclusive club, having personally screwed in thousands of nuts and bolts on a replica of the International Space Station in the backyard of his parents’ home for the film’s set on a miniscule budget. As Eubank explains below, he was just 24 when he began “Love” and at 28, says a “totally different filmmaker” finished it, but if there’s one constant it appears that it was the writer/director’s resolve to make a film that’s stands up to those he considers classics in his favorite genre of science fiction. Recently, Eubank took the time to explain how “Love” came together, what it was like working with Angels & Airwaves and how to negotiate with junkyard dealers.

How did you initially get involved?

Almost four years ago in 2007, Tom had seen some of the spec commercials I was doing and posting on YouTube because I was working at Panavision as a digital imaging technician and he just really dug the stuff. He was like, “oh, this stuff is really cool. I want to meet you.” The irony was I didn’t really realize his involvement with Blink 182 or really who he was or what he was about, so I met with him and he was just like, “yeah, man, we want to do this project. We want to do all these music videos. I [thought] that sounded really cool, but from there, I convinced them to turn it into a movie instead.

02012011_Love1.jpgSince the project was commissioned by the band, did the creative process start with their music?

I work as a cinematographer and as “Love” was happening, I was getting more jobs, so now having worked on more professional situations and real movies, it’s like so funny for me to look back and go, “oh my God, I can’t believe this happened.” It was basically like [Angels and Airwaves] had this album “I-Empire” and [they asked], do you want to make 10 music videos for this? There was one song that just stuck out to me. It was sort of a space-oriented thing and at UCLA, I was doing a lot of cosmology classes at the time, so I [said], “I have this crazy idea – what if someone was on the international space station and they got stuck there?”

[The idea was to] build 10 music videos around that and make it like a movie. And we started down that path – I guess it was 2007 and as the music videos were coming out, they were cool, but it was really boring watching 10 music videos. It was almost so boring I couldn’t even imagine it. So I [thought] we need to rehash this and instead of trying to make a story that goes to the music, what if I just started from scratch? I wrote the script and I showed it to [Tom DeLonge]. He’s [asked] what do you need to do that because we had already spent [approximately] $70 grand and we were already a year-and-a-half in. [I decided I was] going to try to build a space station that we can have control over and shoot in. So Tom basically just gave me his credit card and they went on tour.

I probably spent about $30,000 at Home Depot and a year-and-a-half later in my parents’ backyard, [we had] a big replica of portions that I had taken from photos of the international space station. It’s hard to even explain that process because during that year-and-a-half, there was parts where Tom would call me and he’s like, “Are we still making the movie?” But I didn’t really have any production. It was just me and my little brother when he would finish school, he would come home and we would just continue to build and it just got bigger and bigger and bigger until literally, it was the whole entire driveway – there was tunnels and things covered in six mil visqueen.

What was your parents’ take when you told them you’d be building a full-sized replica of the International Space Station in their backyard?

At this point, I was 24 when I started. I’m 28 now. At that time, I was about 26, so my parents were like alright, our son is living at home, building a space station in his backyard – he works for a rock band or something. [laughs] I was on salary for the first two years and then Angels and Airwaves were like we can’t really afford to pay you anymore, so I was like fuuuck! I’ve got a fucking space station built in my backyard. I can’t really explain what was going on in my head, but at that point, I thought the best thing I could possibly do was finish shooting this thing and then show the band what I have. That’s the coolest part about this project is it really was, for me, a total “if you build it, they will come” thing.

I’ve shot three other films during this time as a cinematographer for hire and it took working on other people’s films to realize what I have with this film is. I used to be out there at three in the morning pushing water off the set and cursing Angels and Airwaves. I was like fuck, man. I have no help. Why am I really doing this? I’m not really getting paid anymore. So I’d be cursing this movie. I’m pulling all the favors from Panavision. My parents think I’m crazy. And now in hindsight, I [realize I] had the wrong attitude at that time.

02012011_Love3.jpgWhen I showed the footage to Tom, he was just like, “Oh my God! This is crazy!” Anything that he or I had been worried about or I had been worried about was completely out the window. Tom really gave me like a golden credit card and was just like do what you want to. Make it cool. Having that freedom and being able to do that versus doing a quick straight-to-DVD movie out in Michigan where they’re getting the tax credit and we have 15 days to shoot a cop drama, [it made me] become better as a filmmaker and knowing that language a lot better, but also let me cherish what I did have on this movie [“Love”].

The trailer is very strong visually, but I imagine the fear with a first film like this would be getting caught up on the technical side and not paying enough attention to the story. Was that a concern of yours?

Here’s what I want to say about that: first off, I had the script kind of written before, but while spending a year-and-a-half building [the sets], there was so much time. There was 19,000 furniture staples in this thing and it’s made of pizza bags and so many pieces, it was so monotonous putting all the details together to make it look somewhat real that I had a lot of time to just be sitting there in my head thinking of things that would be happening in the environment. So the actual throughline of the narrative really congealed.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

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IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

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IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

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IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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