Sunday, April 10, 2016

Digging Up the Dirt with KillDozer David Kruschke of Cardboard Horror

Lovers of the theatrical experience usually cringe when they hear people admit to watching movies on their hand held devices, which oftentimes robs movies of their impact. Seeing something meant for a huge screen on the smallest screen possible, and probably surrounded by distractions, almost guarantees that details will be missed. But what if you cut out all the distractions, so that it was just you and the film? Google cardboard acts as that barrier, placing the viewer in intimate setting, where it's just them and the movie. Pair that with the ability to see 360 degrees of the screen and you've got some great conditions to watch a horror movie! This was the same thought that David Kruschke of Cardboard Horror had, and KillDozer got the chance to pick his brain on the topic.

KillDozer:  Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today. Let's start off with an introduction of who you are and what Cardboard Horror is all about.

David Kruschke:  Thanks for having me! My name is David Kruschke and every week, I'm posting virtual reality shorts on my YouTube channel It started a year ago when I saw the VR documentary Clouds Over Sidra at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York. I was just blown away by how much empathy I felt. My first reaction was literally "I want to make a horror short like that." The YouTube channel grew from there. The channel itself is essentially my film school. In most of the videos, I'm trying out a new effect or editing technique. Making things in virtual reality is very new and a lot of trial and error is required.

KillDozer:  Where does the inspiration for your films come from? I've noticed a lot of comedy aspects to your films, do you find it hard to combine horror and comedy?

David:  Ideas come from a lot of different places. Sometimes it's just a case of Christmas is coming so let's make a Krampus short. Most of the time though it's just the pressure of making a new video for the week, looking around and using what's in front of me. I like mixing comedy and horror. If a character makes you laugh, it's harder to see them die. I think the best horror films are the ones where you care about the B plot or the characters. Dance of the Dead, The Descent, and Hatchet are really good examples of this. It's also easier to add the comedy. It's very hard to be grim horror when you're using your friends as actors and don't have budget to build sets.

KillDozer:  Is Cardboard Horror a group of people or is this a solo project?

David:  I get a lot of help from my friends but I'm the driving force. 

KillDozer:  Where do you hope to go with these films? Would a full length project be out of the question?

David:  I'd love to make event marketing for a movie or television show. Something that either plays at comic con or runs on Facebook to promote a new movie. I have two things in the 15 minute range in development but the scripts need work. I'm hoping to release something of that length later in the year. I don't think the general public is ready for a ninety minute film yet but maybe after Oculus releases. I really think gaming will push the threshold of how long someone will tolerate wearing a headset.

KillDozer:  Why 360 videos?

David:  VR could just be a fad but I think it's really fun. Jump scares work here; if you're wearing headphones, sound design can really get under your skin. I'm not saying everything needs to be 360. I've made a few traditional horror shorts as well.

KillDozer:  What is funding like for these films?

David:  Currently, I'm self funding. Most of the props came from a 50% sale at Spirit the day after Halloween. I have a donate button on the YouTube page but so far no one's clicked it. My plan is to kickstart a longform 360 video later this year. We'll see. Currently the goal is to get 10,000 subscribers. That's the magic number that will let me use the YouTube Space in LA. Once that happens, production design will skyrocket so please subscribe! =)

KillDozer:  For those that don't know, what does a person need to view these videos properly?

David:  This issue came up so often, I made a How To Video to explain. For desktop, you need to be watching on the current version Google Chrome or Firefox. Safari and IE will not work. On mobile, it's best to use the current version of the YouTube app. I think it only works on Android and iPhone. To take it a step further, on android, you can view YouTube 360° on google cardboard. This is my favorite way to watch.

KillDozer:  Do you do your own effects? If so what is that like?

David:  I can do very basic effects on my own. Most of the time I need help to take it to the next level though. Sometimes we do our own practical effects. My friend Debra is a great makeup artist and also has her own YouTube channel. We're planning on cross collaborating in the future where we make a 360 makeup tutorial for her channel and then feature that monster in a video on my channel. When it comes to digital effects, I rely on my friend Manuel. He's an After Effects wizard and is responsible for the awesomeness that happens in Catzilla and Captain Harmon.

KillDozer:  Who inspires you most as far as film making is concerned?

David:  That's a hard one. Francis Ford Coppola, Edgar Wright, Tim Burton, and Roger Corman to name a few.

KillDozer:  Can you share with us any new 360 video ideas that you are currently working on?

David:  I'm currently making a follow up to Captain Harmon where the Captain and Cadet face off against a space mummy.

KillDozer:  Now some quick fun questions... What is your favorite horror collectible?

David:  I love collecting blu-rays. Scream Factory is the Criterion of horror movies.

KillDozer:  Who is on your must meet bucket list?

David:  I'd love to meet the guys from Red Letter Media. I learned more about screenwriting from their Star Wars reviews than I did at film school.

KillDozer:  What film wise is a guilty pleasure?

David:  Scott Pilgrim vs The World is the best film of the last decade. I'm pretty serious about this. It has a Kubrick level of tiny details and easter eggs. I can talk for hours about how magic realism and perspectives of reality are portrayed in that film. I just love it.


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