A film crew that included several Seattle Film Institute alumni has recently finished shooting "The Killing Joke," a full-length independent film. This movie tells the story of a standup comedian on the brink of his big break- until a series of murders trail him and chaos ensues. The story is a creative integration horror and comedy, planning to reach the film festival circuit next year.
“Horror and comedy are extremely intertwined and it was fun and challenging dealing with that connection,” said Director and Producer Jeremy Berg.
The film crew worked together to create a film that they hope both scares the audience and gives them a few laughs. They hope balancing horror and comedy will create a fun and unique movie-going experience for viewers.
The crew includes five SFI alumni: Nicky Smit, Aubrie Cain, Louis Ziob, Michael Martino, and Jeremy Berg.
Since many of the crew members are recent alumni, working on this film has given them real-world experience and strong insight into the world of professional filmmaking. Crew member Nicky Smit said he was impressed by the level of professionalism from the crew members, and that he got a feel for the lingo and other practices customary in the film business.
“The crew puts all of their effort into every shot,” Smit said. “It sometimes means we take about one shot angle an hour, but it'll be a dang good shot.”
Martino said one of the biggest challenges of working on a feature film is the long hours spent working on the set. Oftentimes the crews work between twelve and 14 hour days, but he says it has been worth it to have the opportunity to put what he learned in school into practice.
Berg added that getting together action set pieces on a tight schedule can always be a challenge when making independent films, but he is proud of how the crew was able to come together and create great results with the time and resources they had.
In terms of how attending SFI has helped them succeed in the professional world of filmmaking, alumni crew members were in agreement: many aspects of education at SFI helped prepare them for careers in the film industry.
“When [other crew members] would ask ‘do you know how to use this?’ I could almost always say ‘yes,’ and that was great.” Smit said.
Berg said SFI helped immensely in learning what it takes to put together a production. He said it also helped shape his understanding of how people need to work together in order to make a successful film.
“It's not an easy task,” he said. “But having experience organizing people and helping them do their best work in service of the film is the essence of filmmaking. Being able to do that in an environment with other students before you have to go out and do it with paid and experienced crew members is definitely beneficial.”