Q&A with Mike Hickey

Master and the Mistress - Still

Mike Hickey’s film Master and the Mistress is the latest to join our film channel. We asked Mike a few questions about the film.

What inspired you to make the film?
The film was made as part of a 48-Hour Horror Challenge hosted by the Nickel Film Festival in St. John’s, Newfoundland. I had participated in the Challenge last year and had a great experience so I really wanted to participate again. As for the actual story it was really inspired by the prop and character I was given. As part of the Challenge I was assigned a Politician and an ATM as a character and prop that had to be in the film. I knew about a really cool looking ATM about an hour of town so we drove out and shot some footage with that and ended up writing the script after that scene was put together. We tried to keep it simple, stay away from too many effects that would be hard to pull off with the short time frame, and that’s where the Lovecraft reference helped us out.

Summarise the film in less that ten words?
“You might want to turn down the volume near the end.” Sorry, that’s 11 words.

How did you go about putting the project together?
Knowing the Challenge was coming up I had scouted out a location I thought I could work with and lined up actors and my friend Tara Murphy who’s a great SFX make up artist. Then when we got our requisites for the Challenge I got to work on writing a script that I thought could work out to be a creepy short film.

What difficulties did you encounter in making the film?
Well, I thought the ATM we ended up using was 45 minutes closer to town than it was, but the biggest difficulty was losing my production partner, Blair. He’s a great writer and a huge horror fan and we worked on our Challenge film last year and planned to work together this year. He was out of town working and was supposed to be back on Friday night but weather left him stuck working and we only found out he wouldn’t make it in town on Saturday morning. Not only is he great as a co-directer and writer, but Blair also owns a lot of his own gear that we were banking on using. Him not being around left us scrambling not only to put together a movie without his input, but also without the lighting and sound gear we had expected.

What advice would you give to independent filmmakers?
Make a movie. Just get out and do it. This was made for about $100 ($40 in sound gear rentals, $60 in pizza) and I think it came out pretty well. Making movies is so accessible now there’s no excuse not to do it, and the more you do it, the better you’ll get.

Do you have any future projects coming up?
Yeah, Blair and I are working on developing a web series. He also has a couple short scripts in pre-production that I’ll be Director of Photography on.

You can watch Master and the Mistress here.