You said earlier that you don't block scenes, so that means you have to be ready to follow them anywhere they go.
Jay: Pretty much.
Mark: That's why our movies look the way they look. [Laughs] I mean, literally, just running around, catching it like it's a documentary.
In an interview on The Puffy Chair DVD, you talk about the way you light everything, putting brighter bulbs in all practical lights, using globes for even lighting, so the room is lit for them to go all over.
Mark: Lit for the world. That's the key.
Jay: For us, it's all about the actors' lead. We don't bring the actors to the cameras, we bring the cameras to the actors. There's something immeasurable about the spontaneity of "I don't know what's going to happen," and I think that that translates to the audience in some way. We've only realized this in retrospect, but there is something subconscious about the fact that nobody really knows exactly what's going to happen.
Mark: The audience experiences the movie through Jay's camera and he doesn't know what's going on.
Jay: There's something being transmitted there that says, "This is not an entirely controlled event."
Mark: And anything is possible.
Jay: People love reality TV right now and I think it's because TV and the movies have become so controlled that you kind of know what to expect. You know, the plot sets up and you kind of know what's going to happen. Just to have that opportunity to feel like, "Oh, man, I really don't know what's going on here," I think that's…
Mark: Come see Baghead, it's almost as good as an episode of The Bachelor. Almost. [Laughs]
We talked about the expectations of romantic comedy conventions and certain comedy rhythms and punchlines. Baghead is a film that plays with audience expectations. The film keeps telling us that it's not a horror film, it's a film about characters making a horror film and playing mind games along the way. It took me by surprise.
Mark: That's great and that's what we want. We've been trying to keep it very, very quiet and we want to continue to keep it quiet as much as we can.
Jay: We've just realized that the less people know about this movie before going into it, the more fulfilling experience they're going to have. Because I think a big part of the fun of the movie is: What is it? And where is it going?
Mark: And where am I headed?
Jay: What is at stake here? What is on the line? What is real and what's not real? That's one of the most exciting things to us about the movie.
Mark: I'm glad that worked for you. That was one of our big goals, to feel that turn.
If you don't want people to know too much about it, why are you going doing all these interviews?
Jay: Because we have to get people into the movie theater. But it's art, it's hard to talk about a movie and not talk about exactly what it is.
Mark: What we try to say to people is, the heart of this movie is, hopefully, a sweet, funny story about what it means to be a desperate actor, what that drives you to do and what it does to your relationships, and there will be some funny stuff and some other weird stuff in there as well.
Baghead begins as a romantic comedy, shifts into psycho-drama as the characters use the Baghead idea to play mindgames on one another, and then evolves into something else, all while preserving the integrity of a character-based film. What was the hardest part of mixing genres?
Mark: The hardest part about mixing genres is mixing genres. It's managing tone.
Jay: The main thing that we knew we wanted out of the movie is for people to care about the characters and for the relationship things to work out. And then the comedy would come from that and then hopefully the scary stuff would also make it such that, if you actually care about these people and they're actually going through something like this, it would mean more than your average horror film where it's like a bunch of idiots taking a shower, even as danger arises.
Mark: But that's just like, we say these things, but this is a lot of intellectual talk. "Great, let's go for that," but then you get on the set and Jay and I were stressed and nervous the whole time. Our editor was with us on set and we were watching footage every night, belaboring over the edit, and it took over a year with a lot of testing to iron it out.
Jay: We'd do something and our editor would come back and be like, "I know you thought you were getting this, but you didn't. He said this at this point and you cannot do that, it's totally unrealistic, it doesn't make any sense in terms of what a real person would do," and we'd have to go back and figure something else out.
Mark: We do a lot of reshoots when we're on set. Basically, this movie was much more meticulous in terms of the little pieces of information we can give out and when to do them and so on. It's a lot more plot oriented than The Puffy Chair was and we were a little in over our heads on that. We learned a lot making this movie.
Are you going to make a real horror film next?
Mark: Absolutely. Baghead 2.
Jay: Electric Boogaloo.
I think Baghead could become a real cultural phenomenon. And it would be the cheapest Halloween costume ever.
Mark: It's true. About 14 cents.
Jay: That would be pretty amazing if we saw some Halloween costumes.
Mark: That would be such an honor.
Jay: That would be like the greatest achievement of our career.
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