Barbra J. Dillon, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor: You recently released MovieMaze’s latest film, The Plumber. For our readers who may be unfamiliar, can you tell us about the premise of the film?
Erik Lundmark: The Plumber enters a building and sees a guy in underwear and one sock run by in the lobby, dropping a phone. The phone rings. Depending on whether you answer or not will determine the different adventures right from the beginning. The various storylines involve saving the world from an evil alien, saving a theme park from being blown up by a pirate, and fighting for survival from two demonic sisters.
Brian Prisco: It’s a much larger and more intricate world than the first project, The Mechanic. The three storylines in The Plumber are pretty much entirely independent from each other – it’s a completely different adventure down each chain. With each prospective project, we’ve been able to blow the stories out to really epic proportions.
BD: MovieMaze utilizes its own app to display its films. How would you describe the app to viewers, and how does it enhance the movie-watching experience?
EL: The app presents the film in a traditional way at first, but then you come to crossroads in the story where you have to make choices. These choices will change the direction of the story sometimes, and, sometimes, you will die and have to go back and try again. It’s a blend of a feature film and a video game.
BP: It’s a movie you get to play your way through. You control the character, you decide what happens next. Most of the fun comes from taking all the dead ends. It’s like a Roadrunner cartoon. You watch to see the ACME props clock the Coyote. Here, the fun comes from making the wrong choice and seeing the mayhem delivered.
BD: How does The Plumber stand apart from MovieMaze’s previous film, The Mechanic?
EL: The Mechanic was our proof of concept. Does it work? Do people like it? The response was so good, we decided to keep going with a much bigger production, more cast, more locations and effects, and more complex story lines. And, the result is seen in The Plumber.
BP: The Mechanic is really silly fun – kind of a Bollywood film. But, The Plumber has a really insane scope and some really over-the-top characters. We’ve got witches, aliens, a mermaid, an Indian princess, a giant spider, and a bunch of surprises.
BD: The cast and crew of The Plumber consist of some talented creators and performers. Can you tell us about the process of working with the creative team and the contributions of these individuals?
EL: All of these actors are top notch. There’s no way we could have accomplished this with just friends. Everyone was ready to go at the drop of a hat and was able to switch gears throughout all the variations of the same scene depending on what choice we were filming. We also believe that comedy feels fresh and funny when you allow a certain degree of improvisation. Brian, Darcy Donavan, and Steven Molony all contributed beyond expectation in this area. Very often the whole crew cracked up laughing after we yelled, "CUT!"
BP: Erik gets his shot super fast, so we had time to play around. And, we did. In the moment, in the space, we were able to really have fun, to find some interesting dead ends, and to still get everything we needed. We’d just say, “Hey! Let’s try this!” and Erik and Maria were always ready with, “Sure!” And, a lot of that experimentation made it into the final cut.
BD: Brian, how would you describe your experience in working on the film?
BP: It’s always a treat. Erik and Maria are very supportive and talented, and they work really fast. It’s low stress and free form. We’re free to take chances, try different things, go wild with the improvisations. And, we try to dip in the same pool of actors, so we’re comfortable with each other.
BD: Are there any other projects on which you are currently working?
BP: We’re currently working on the script for the next MovieMaze, The Babysitter, which is horror based. We’re really going all out on this one – it’s gonna be bloody and horrifying. Because of the format, we can really explore so many avenues, from straight-up slasher to paranormal to more Sam Raimi scare-laughs. I’m about to put out my second short story collection of nerdy-D&D-coming-of-age stories, Other Worlds Than These. It’s the follow-up to Twenty-Sided Die, from my successful Kickstarter project. It’s kind of a Kevin Smith-y version of Stand by Me, mashed up with South Park.
BD: Being that we focus on all things “geek” at Fanboy Comics, would you care to geek out with us about your favorite films?
EL: I’m a big fan of all kinds of sci-fi and will watch the same movie on Blu-ray over and over, wearing a new hat every time (director, cinematographer, editor, composer, etc.), including all of the bonus features. I got the 30th anniversary edition of Blade Runner recently and have been going through everything on it. I did the same thing with the Alien collection a while back. I’m too embarrassed to tell you how many times I’ve watched the Back to the Future trilogy and Star Wars. In terms of new movies, I liked Interstellar a lot. I hope to do some cool and geeky sci-fi MovieMazes soon.
BP: I’m actually geeking out about Black Mirror, a British kind of horror/sci-fi reboot of Twilight Zone/Outer Limits. They’re finding their way, but it’s awesome that people are willing to take chances on insane genre projects like this. Mick Garris was going strong with the Masters of Horror series. I’m a sucker for the old Tales from the Crypt, and I’d love to see a resurrection of the hard R horror serials.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about MovieMaze and The Plumber?
EL: There’s so much to explore in the experience. Try to find all the funny dead ends and replay your favorite scenes. As viewers, the MovieMaze™ team enjoys watching ensembles, such as Saturday Night Live and Monty Python. This is something we want to create with MovieMaze, as well. You get to recognize the cast and look forward to see which new roles they have. We are toying with the idea of creating Easter Eggs, meaning hidden links that you have to find on your own that could open up a new scene or two. We don’t have it yet but that’s something that might come down the road.
BP: There so many angles and genres we can explore with the format. As long as people support us, we can take bigger chances and go bigger with the stories.