After watching Amateur Porn Star Killer, I took some time out to exchange e-mails with the director and star Shane Ryan. As you may expect from someone who makes a film like this, he’s an interesting guy with a lot to say. Aspiring filmmakers everywhere should take note, as he has walked down the road of making movies with no money and can talk at length about the experience. Ryan has no problem talking about what he loves and what he’s done, as you’ll see below. As a writer, I take issue many times when people misrepresent quotes or take things out of context – in that spirit the interview exchange is posted in its lengthy entirety. Enjoy and learn somethin’!

The low budget nature of APK2 seems to be a point of pride, an advertising selling point – how much did you spend on it?


Shane Ryan: I don’t walk around bragging about it, but it definitely looked like a good advertising hook. I’m actually surprised we haven’t received more publicity for it. I’ve seen films in the past year get major credit for being a 3 or 5 thousand dollar film shot in a week or whatever. But we made ours with just 20 dollars in one night and got national distribution, I don’t think anybody else has ever accomplished that so it seemed very worthy of mentioning.

But I don’t walk around with my head up about it. Usually friends get mad at me for not bragging. If I’m at a party, unless I’m in one of my hyper moods, I usually don’t mention anything about my movies, even if it’s a networking party for filmmakers. It’s just not that big of a deal to me, which is one of my weaknesses because I know it’s all about networking, but most of the time it feels fake to me, and I hate that fake Hollywood bullshit. I was at a festival recently just to support my town (even though they hate me, lol) and I was showing some filmmaking friends the fliers. They wanted me to pass them out but I knew people there hated me for that movie so I didn’t want to, it felt awkward.

So, my friend, who I don’t even think liked the movie, grabbed the fliers out of my hand and passed out every single one until they were gone in about one minute. That’s how I kind of am. If it’s somebody else’s work it’d probably be easy but I don’t walk around with pride passing out my own shit, it feels big-headed. I hate every time I have to pass my shit out, so I try to do it like it’s no big deal.

And APK2 is obviously the second in a series – how much did you spend on the first?

SR: The first one was a bit more, 45 bucks, lol. Basically because for that one I had to buy a cheap motel room, for the second we had a free location. Some people think the budgets are bullshit because of the camera and editing equipment but let me tell you something; fucking anybody nowadays has a goddamn little video camera and editing equipment, you can find that shit for free in about an hour at the most if you look. And probably a much better camera than we used, so yeah, the 20 budget is legit. The film you watched cost 20 bucks. Now, the cost of making DVD’s, marketing, etc., always of course cost more, but the completed film you watch when you buy the DVD is 20 bucks. If I can do it, you can do it, so go make a movie, no excuses.

Given a big budget, say $20million, what kind of movie do you think you would make?

SR: Wow, I don’t know if I’d know what to do. I’d probably get lazy. I think you’d have to give me a $100 million movie on a $20 million budget, because that way you’re still making a 20 dollar movie, lol. Know what I mean? At 20 bucks, no matter how small the film is, you’re forced to think outside the box and be creative or you’re never going to get the movie made. But in the long run it usually ends up being better that way because you’re forced to think more, do more. So, if you are given only 20 mill to make a 100 mill movie you’re going to be in the same situation, and in the long run might make a much better, more creative film that way. I’m trying to get my “Romance Road Killers” film made but I don’t think it needs more than 3-5 mill, I think 200 grand would be plenty, so 20 mill would probably ruin it. Maybe I would just cast every big actor I knew of and then be left with 1 mill for the movie and have to think with that.

There are a couple of stories from the bible I’d like to tell updated like how they did “O” with “Othello” but with Delilah from Samson and Delilah. It’s an idea I thought out pretty well, might be a 20 mill movie. I really don’t know though. I have so many stories I’d like to tell but none would be over a mill at most. Maybe I’d just make 20 movies with it, lol.

For our technology-inclined fans, what were the tools you used here? Editing system, camera, sound capture? And how much of that was your personal responsibility?

SR: 100% personal responsibility I guess. I had to borrow the camera and use of editing equipment but that was easy because half the people in my family own one of the two (as do many people so again to aspiring filmmakers, find somebody. Right now the camera is broke so I found a friend with the exact same one to use, you can’t lose).

We shot on a little Digital 8 Sony camcorder and other scenes on a little mini DV Sony camera, nothing special. Edited on Premiere, self-taught pretty much (my dad taught me linear editing when I was about 7), never took any editing classes or read the Premiere book even, just messed with it till I figured it out, I’m more hands on than book smart. Sound was the hardest part (on the “movie” version). Mixing in the music with the sound from the camera while trying to get rid of some of the loud sounds from the camera being tossed around (since we just had to use the camera mic, it was a pain in the ass). I took the photos for the cover, and mapped out a basic idea of how I wanted the cover and then Cinema Epoch did the final pro stuff for that.

It’s funny because some people who hate the film refuse to give me credit for anything, even for the stuff they liked. They’ll say, “well, the only good thing about it was the cover art, or the title the producers came up with, or the marketing, or at least the distributor gave us a great amount of extras on the APSK1 DVD, or this or that.” Sorry guys, all me, I will have a big head about that. My title, my pictures, my idea, my suggestions for the cover, my extras and choices for the DVD, so Fuck Off. Though of course I gotta give Cinema Epoch major credit for picking the film out of all the films out there and giving it a chance. Many people didn’t think the film would ever sell, and now we’re on Part 3 after just a few months of the first coming out, so thanks Guys! And Fuck You to all the people who made sure I knew they doubted me.

On to the movie itself, what gave you the idea for this? And in relation to the budget, did you set out to make this movie or did you end up making this movie because of the amount of funds available?

SR: A girl I dated for about a month worked on an idea with me about a porn star girl who is turning 18 and making her first porn and something bad happens in the process. We dropped the idea after we spilt but it stuck with me. At the time I mainly just wanted to put her in a movie because I liked her, that old bullshit. So, years later when I was trying to think of an idea I could do with no money I thought of the porn star idea I had a couple years before. It was much different, but the porn part stuck (mainly because every time I went to do a movie people would say “a movie? Like a porno?” fucking retards. So it – the title – was also sort of an inside joke). Anyways, I had always wondered about the snuff film in the movie “8MM.” I wanted to see a whole film about the victim, from beginning to end, how she handled the situation. I’m really interested in human behavior. Not horror, like many people think. In fact I use to hate most horror movies, thought they were stupid and silly. So, it came from lack of funds, and at the same time wanting to see a movie like this myself. That was the idea for the first movie. A lot of other stuff was involved as well. I was at a really bad point in my life with depression and shit, and bottom line is I really had to make a feature film to satisfy my creative needs. And something I could get done within a week because I felt like if it took longer it was never gonna get done. So, I went with the porn star idea. And since all this horror film networking I have learned to appreciate horror a bit more. :)

Now, as far as Part 2, I didn’t want to spend another 3 years trying to get a film distributed (which is how long it took the first to get out there), so I figured just make a sequel. Plus I figured I could explore the character a bit more, and make it more like a continuation than a lame ass sequel. Then I figured do 2 versions because so many people had complained about the artsy part of the first, but I like the artsy stuff. So, by doing 2 edited versions, I could do a straight up snuff version, and then a way more-so artsy version than the first, which is what I really wanted to do. And I had a blast experimenting with the editing. And I also learned that I could be really artsy on a deadline. I use to hate deadlines, I felt forced like it wasn’t art but business, but I think APSK2 came out just how I wanted art-wise. A couple little tech glitches but creatively I’m completely satisfied.

Clearly this could have been a tough one to cast with what’s required – what was the casting process like?

SR: Actually the first 2 films were pretty damn easy to cast. Now that the films are known it’s been a bitch casting the 3rd. It seemed like I had no trouble finding people when I had nothing accomplished, but now that I do it’s difficult, go figure. I think many people, actresses especially, are afraid of success, especially if it involves nudity. Which explains why I’ve gone through some shit with actresses before. They have no problem getting naked in front of the camera when it’s just me with them, but then when I do what I set out to do (which is get the film seen), they freak out. Even though they’ve had it explained to them beforehand that lots of people will see this. But I think before it was okay because they didn’t think I’d actually succeed, or something like that. But now that the first 2 films are out and the 3rd is a guaranteed release they freak out. This one girl I just met with was all down to do it but it wasn’t the nudity that made her change her mind, it was the fact that lots of people have seen the first 2 films and she was afraid of the 3rd being a hit.

For the first APSK I cast a friend who had worked with me on 3 other films doing sex scenes so I knew she was down to do it. But the blonde girl in the film I had never met and she was actually just a waitress serving me coffee. I got good vibes from her, so I asked her if she’d want to do it (thinking she’d slap me), and she was totally down for it. I thought after explaining everything and that people would see it that she’d change her mind but she was very open about the whole thing, so that was really easy. The 2nd movie I put out a few casting calls for supporting roles but ended up using recycled footage from other films because it was becoming too time consuming trying to do it in time. But as far as Kai that again happened by accident. I was talking to a friend, Jenn, who I had worked with on my short “The Pure Exodus” and mentioned I needed a lead. She suggested Kai who just happened to be on her way to the coffee shop we were hanging out at. So, Kai came by, I asked her thinking no way she’d do it (and she had a tough attitude which I thought was perfect and a vast difference from the girl in the first, but also didn’t think a girl with that type of attitude would want to do a film like mine). But she seemed interested, so we checked out some of my films, got to know each other enough to get comfortable, and then shot it a day or two later.

As far as the 3rd it’s been a bitch to cast. But it looks like I got several indie names and a couple of actual porn stars for the 3D version. It needs to be done within the next month (originally it was going to be shot in March but this fucking girl wasted my time for 2 months prepping her only for her to drop out), so I’m finally trying to get this done and out of the way.

Basically, what it comes down to, is I like using non actors for improvised stuff. When you improvise, I think it’s more about the connection you have with somebody, especially when it’s a sexual one on one thing like these APSK films. And when I do use real actors, I don’t like to audition, it’s a bunch of shit usually, you can’t tell much. I like to see what they’ve done before, then meet up with them for some coffee and sit and talk for an hour or two and get to know them. If we click creatively, then there’s a great chance it’ll work out. I noticed this the one and only time I did audition actors. About ¾ of them flaked so a few actors hung out with me after they auditioned and I found that much more helpful than the audition itself. So, I ended up casting the guys I connected with (which was only 3, and one had to drop out for a paying gig, so I had to take his role, the one time I was trying not to act, this was for “The More The Better”). I found a lot of actors to be cocky and stuck up so I didn’t use them, I used the ones I connected with and got great performances out of them.

Now you yourself act in the film and you put yourself out there for everyone to see in a graphic way – what was that like? Any reservations or just another day living the dream?

SR: Ha, I try not to think about it, I don’t even like taking my shirt of in front of a single person. But I figure it’s acting, right? Many people think I just like to get sucked off on camera, lol, I’m pretty goddamn fucking shy, they don’t know shit. When I have had to do kissing or nude scenes in front of more than one person I freak out, but I’m getting better at it. It’s always awkward though, unless you’ve done it with that person in front of people before. With the APSK films it’s one on one, so it’s not too bad, but it’s so much more graphic and people see it later, so I try to just forget about it, or look at it like it’s not me, it’s the character. Otherwise the idea of being exposed like that is pretty damn weird and uncomfortable.

Things get pretty rough in some of the scenes – was there a safe word here, or much discussion about what was going to happen? What was the relationship you had with Kai Lanette?

SR: We didn’t know each other hardly at all, just said “hi” once or twice over the years. But we tried to get to know each other enough before hand, but not too much because we wanted it to feel real and fresh. I can’t remember what the safe word was, just something like “Shane stop”. Real names quickly break you out of character and make you realize something’s wrong. But we were both tough about it, never had to stop. The times I did have to change tapes or whatever I made sure she was ok but we never had to break character for anything being out of control. I was mad we didn’t take it further because I realized we both could have. We talked a little bit before hand about doing the spanking and choking and spitting stuff and about her leaving at one point, but nothing in detail. We wanted it to come natural, so we basically agreed that anything goes, make it real and intense, and if anything happens to just say whatever we agreed the safe word or words would be.

I thought the interactions were pretty natural between the two of you – how much was scripted and how much was ad-libbed?

SR: It was all pretty much improvised. I think we made up a little backstory that our characters had met the day before at a coffee shop and I was new in town but we didn’t have any scripted lines. It was just like the first film in that sense, but in the first the characters had no backstory with each other, they were complete strangers, and we had no backstory for ourselves either.

The soundtrack was pretty bad-ass. How did that come about and what role did you have in it?

SR: The song at the beginning and end (plus another somewhere in the middle) was by Daniel Hawks whose music is also in the first film a lot more (when he went by Daniel Scot).
(Check out Daniel’s Music Here).

We worked together in Lompoc at a restaurant back in 2003 I believe. I loved his music and he gave me the rights to use some of his songs. I didn’t use anything for a while and then ended up using them eventually in APSK1 when I re-edited it back in early 2005 after we lost touch. Then I used another song for Part 2 and we found each other again and now he’s playing a gig through my friend Mark Doty (Check it out) who hooked me up with Erik from Silent Dream Records which is the soundtrack for APSK2. The music was from songs he did with his band but without the singing. At first I didn’t think I’d be able to use it but then I started putting the music to the images and one by one I started loving the music to the visuals until I ran out of songs. Then I had to start tweaking the songs (i.e. the music in the shower scene is the same song from when they first get to the apartment but slowed down about 30-40% so it’s much longer and sounds a lot different). So, as far as that goes, I had to really have an ear for what sounded good once I started reusing his music in slow versions. A movie like APSK2 I can’t edit with that much intensity and effects without music so I edited the movie entirely to the soundtrack.

I don’t know much about music as far as names of people or bands, etc., but I’ve done lots of work on films in the music department, both pro and with my own art, so I had a pretty good idea of how to make the music work for the film, and how to edit images to beats. I think both Daniel and Erik are amazing and I winded up with a great film because of them and from feeling that connection to their sound.

What has been the general reaction to your film? Crossing horror and hardcore has always been an idea, I think, but one rarely executed.

SR: It’s been pretty 50/50 as far as love/hate goes. Some people think I’ve started a new wave of filmmaking, some think I’m the downfall of filmmaking, lol. But to be considered either is better than people forgetting about your movie, so I’d say any kind of impact is good. I think I rather prefer somebody thrash the hell out of it than say it was just “alright”. But of course I rather get an amazing review than a thrashed review.

Some people consider it a porno but if you actually count up the minutes of hardcore (not nudity but hardcore penetration and blowjobs) I think it’s only 2 minutes out of 80, that’s nothin’. I don’t really consider it horror either though, in my eyes it’s more of a drama, or true horror. Actually, I’ve come across lots of hardcore horror porn recently, I think it is pretty common, just harder to find. Like, you can’t get it through Best Buy or even Amazon, unlike APSK. But I’m talking about films I’ve seen covers for which appeared that way, so who knows what the actual film has. I wouldn’t even be interested in that stuff. It basically looks like porn with gore thrown in simply to be sick and shocking. Unlike what some people think of the APSK films, I am trying to make a statement and only use what I feel is necessary, not merely shocking. I feel it’s about the perversion of the situation and character, not the blood or gore, which is why it stays clear of that stuff.

So I saw a teaser ad for Amateur Porn Star Killer 3 – what can we expect from this installment and when is it coming?

SR: We actually just did a press release for it so I’ll use that for the answer cause it totally covers this question.

“Amateur Porn Star Killer Part 3” will conclude the trilogy of the seriously dark faux snuff film series, and then “Amateur Porn Star Killer 3D” which will be a parody of the series.

I was asked to do APSK3 in 3D which I thought was a terrible idea given how dark and handheld the style of the films are, it would for sure make you vomit if you haven’t already with 3D added. Not to mention it would kill the seriousness of it. 3D movies are usually campy horror, hokey porn, kids movies, or Sci-Fi/Action. I thought the only way to do this in 3D would be to make it a campy horror porn film. But I didn’t want the trilogy to end that way so we agreed on doing my serious Part 3 version as well as a campy 3D movie.
Both films will be released as a double feature DVD just after Halloween of this year, with the 3D version also available in a 2D version, for a total of 3 versions for “Amateur Porn Star Killer 3”. Given the 2nd was in 2 versions and the first film in one version it plays out perfect that way. Expect a theatrical run for the 3D version before the release. And for girls who love getting naked on camera, there’s about 2 weeks left to get in on the film if you live in the Southern CA area, as well as for people who want a credit in the film. Check out all the info on the official page.

A few indie celebs have already been cast in the 3D version, names to be revealed soon.

After the APK series, do you have plans to move on to something else?

SR: Oh yeah, for sure. The first APSK started as a fluke, and I was never the type of person to want to do a sequel. I had tried making several features before APSK in a more professional way and there were never enough resources to get stuff done. So, one night, I said “Fuck It”, picked up a camera, grabbed an idea and a girl, and shot APSK. Then, like I mentioned earlier, did part 2 and 3 because I knew they would sell and have had fun doing them, but at the same time a couple near-nervous breakdowns from playing such a vile character.

My first big failed feature turned into numerous short films, I did a bunch of other shorts and music videos, and still have 2 features in post-production which I shot back in early 2003. Those would be “Reality Sucks” and “The More The Better” (Check it out) which I hope to finish editing eventually. And we’re working on adding more scenes to this other film we did awhile back called “ill-fated lovers”.

Then there’s “Romance Road Killers” (Check it out) which I’ve been trying to get financed, and Cinema Epoch is planning on letting me do “I Fell In Love With The Devil’s Daughter” (Check it out) watch out for test footage coming soon. We’re also getting ready to pitch a mainstream regular movie version about the APSK character, but I’ll just be acting, not writing or directing. I’m really trying to steer away from directing after these and focus on acting, which is what I’ve always wanted to do. But it was so hard to get roles that I just found it easier to make my own films and star in them. But making films is such a bitch that now that I have some credit to my name I’m really hoping to just use that to go for the acting thing and then come back to directing later.

What would you say to the person on the fence about watching this? Someone who doesn’t want to watch it? Someone who loved it?

SR: Someone who loved it? Well, I hope you loved it for the right reasons, as in you found a statement in it, a message, an artsy side, a realistic effect, an impact, etc. But if you liked it because you like watching rape and/or violence against women then I hope you’re seeking help.

To those who wouldn’t want to watch it because of sex and violence then I’d say “don’t watch it, you’re on the right track”. If they don’t want to watch it because they think it’s a campy title then I’d just say “the movie has a much more serious side, the title was just to draw you in; if that didn’t work then check out the trailers”. If they say “you’re sick and die you dumb fuck” then I’d say, “well, now, you’re just being a goddamn hypocrite, aren’tcha?”

Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions – anything you’d like to say to all our horror fans out there?

SR: Hmm. You don’t need blood to make a good horror movie. If you wanna thrash my movie for not having blood, then don’t. That’s lame. Come up with a better reason. And while you gotta love the camp in great horror, and the zombies, and the ghosts, and serial killers, etc., remember, there’s true horror all around us, and that might make a damn good movie, too, so give one of these quirky, artsy little indies a shot. We’ve seen enough of the same shit over and over; there’s nothing wrong with trying something new.


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