Thursday, May 26, 2011

A S.P.I.F.F.Y. Idea

Me in a hallucination...or not.

I was a lab rat…in a film about lab rats: a very bizarre, surreal head trip of a film about lab rats.  

“Freudian Eyebrow”, a mix of campy horror comedy and psychological thriller, tells the tale of an offbeat group of college students partaking in a mysterious midnight experiment that involves drugs, hallucinations and a suspicious proctor. Director/Producer Stephen Mouton had created what he called the Speed Process for Improving Feature Films (S.P.I.F.F.) as a way to minimize wasting environmental resources and improve return on investment for investors. “Freudian Eyebrow” was to be the prototype; so everyone involved was, in a sense, a lab rat. Seemed apropos.

I was playing the nefarious proctor--a smug, sadistic creep called Herr Phyno Zeit. It was a juicy, over-the-top, scenery-chewing role; the kind you rarely get a chance to play  in film. Did Zeit really work for the drug company subsidizing the experiment, or not?  Was he really a hypnotist?  Was his worst vice a snarky penchant for S&M?  Or was there something darker under his Nazi-esque nastiness…something bordering on sociopath? The film lays out manifold questions and only a few answers. It’s a little like Alice in Wonderland meets David Lynch by way of Judd Apatow.

Being the ultimate extreme S.P.I.F.F. prototype, the film was shot in four days. Yep: a full length feature filmed in four days. That made for an exciting and challenging shoot; everyone had to be on top of their game, focused and ready to handle every Murphy’s Law eruption that came our way. Scenes were rewritten, cut and shuffled left and right; anything to keep production on schedule. It was a maelstrom of madness…and it was an utterly unforgettable experience. The resulting film, odd and imperfect as it is, has gone on to garner a nice handful of awards from the indie film circuit; some in direct recognition of the experiment that it was. Being part of that experiment--a part of the prototype, a part of the first S.P.I.F.F. film ever made--is a pretty cool thing. 

And I got a kick from one reviewer's take on my character:  “That dude was a freak!” 

Yes.  Yes, I was.

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