I just recently got the chance to watch the indie horror film She Was So Pretty. I was so impressed by the direction that Brooklyn Ewing took, I had to know more about her and the film. I can tell you that, after this interview with her, I am just blown away by this woman in horror and I think you will be, too!
PopHorror: Brooklyn, I enjoyed She Was So Pretty so much! Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. I am curious, how did you get into filmmaking?
Brooklyn Ewing: I have always been in love with movies. From an early age, I dreamt of making them. I decided to start off taking photos, and a lot of people told me that my photos looked like stills from movies. I spent 8 years focused on storytelling with my photography. Most of it was horror-themed, then I branched off into fashion.
I wrote a short story based on my first time meeting Jerry Larew, Jr., who you may know as Alfie from She Was So Pretty. Jerry had a lot of weird mannerisms, and I immediately started writing the night I met him. We became great friends and started hanging out and watching horror movies. Eventually, I told him about the short story, and we began working on the screenplay for She Was So Pretty. It was supposed to be a fun project for my friends and I, but people saw it, and encouraged me to show it at Days of the Dead. And it all began. I definitely wouldn’t call myself a filmmaker. I had no technical training, I just grabbed my Nikon D3100, and started shooting.
PopHorror: I think it was fantastic! How did you make such an awesome film of She Was So Pretty on a zero dollar budget?
Brooklyn Ewing: Over the years, I have collected basements full of cool old crap. I also have a huge collection of vintage tools. When I started planning She Was So Pretty, I just tailored everything to props I already owned, or to things I could score at yard sales and thrift shops. I’m good at creating something out of nothing. I have also been working in the local community as a photographer, and I did a lot of work for free. When I started looking for music, art, and other people to help out, everyone chipped in to make it happen. I also own a big home that allows me to turn the space into a serial killer den for as long as I need it.
The only money spent on the film was for drinks and food for one weekend of filming. It’s obvious that we did not have a budget for sound, but we’ve upgraded for part 2. All of our sound was in camera for the first one. And I regret it. I think my knowledge of lighting and using strange techniques to light made the first movie stand out. I am proud to say that it was lit with weird vanity light fixtures, old lamps from the 70s, and a battery powered husky light for most of the film. I guess I just used what I had and wrote something I knew we could make without a budget. I tried not to write things that we could not make happen for free.
PopHorror: The film really did capture that vintage vibe! What was your favorite scene to film?
Brooklyn Ewing: My favorite scene to film ended up being the cabin sequence where Valerie wakes up to see Alfie above her and she runs away into the woods. We were filming in Norton, West Virginia, at a friend’s cabin. The Smith and Miller families hooked us up for the weekend of filming. They prepped the cabin, provided a generator, drove us up the mountain, and even brought foods and drinks for the cast and crew. They are some of the coolest people I have ever met. The chase scene changed dramatically because we ran out of daylight. I decided to try and light it all with one husky work light. We only ran through the scene one time, and I started recording. Everything just fell into place. After a rough day, I knew that the footage turned out amazing, and now when I watch it I get chills.
PopHorror: There are so many beautiful shots in the film. So by now we all know that there is actually a sequel called She Was So Pretty: Be Good For Goodness Sake! How can people get involved to help to make this movie as awesome as the first?
Brooklyn Ewing: For the next month, we will be accepting donations for producer credits. For $50, you receive a producer credit at the end of the credits; for $75, you receive a producer credit on IMDb and the end of the credits, plus you get to see a cut of the movie before anyone else. To donate just Paypal the money to email@example.com, and help support indie horror. We have a couple of associate producer credits to offer, as well as two business sponsorship spots. If anyone is interested in those opportunities, they can message me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook.
PopHorror: Awesome! When can we expect for the sequel to be released?
Brooklyn Ewing: You can look for a special premiere late in the year, and a wider release during the Christmas holiday 2017.
PopHorror: How did you capture the vintage feel to She Was So Pretty and does the sequel have that same vibe?
Brooklyn Ewing: I think when I started filming, I wanted that grainy 70s look, and so I just shot a lot of darkness. Upping the ISO and allowing it to look like crap from a technical perspective gave it that feel. I shot hand held for the entire first half of the film. I wanted it to feel voyeuristic and wild. Once Alfie was in his lair, I started locking down my shots to give the audience a safe feeling. The sequel is going to have a sharper look. It still holds that vintage charm and dirty vibe, but we upgraded our cameras, lighting, and sound equipment. We grew up a bit during this sequel. Although, I will admit that we never tried to fit into an era for the movie. I think my influences just took over, and that’s how it all worked out.
PopHorror: Do you have a favorite horror director?
Brooklyn Ewing: I have to say that Wes Craven is my favorite horror director. Although Eli Roth is right up there. Torture porn rocks my socks.
PopHorror: Great choices! What is your favorite horror movie?
Brooklyn Ewing: The answer is Pumpkinhead. Forever. Always.
PopHorror: Do you have any other upcoming projects?
Brooklyn Ewing: We are actually working on a set of short films. A lot of different themes. I just have so many ideas, and I want to make them all. We will be casting for two of them very soon. Keep your eyes peeled.
PopHorror: I absolutely will! What advice do you have for other film makers starting out?
Brooklyn Ewing: If you are getting into this to make money, run the other way. It’s hard. It’s work. And if you don’t love it and plan to live it, then just skip it. If you are passionate about it, then look for local films in your area, and get involved. If you are organized and willing to sell your soul to it, then get a crew and get started. We live in a world where everyone can get a decent camera and film something. Go for it. A lot of people came to me and told me I was brave for starting with a feature instead of a short. I was never into shorts growing up. Access to them was limited. So, I made a feature. I wasn’t brave; I just loved it. If you love it, even the shittiest days are worth it.
Be sure to check out She Was So Pretty and check back to PopHorror for more exclusive interviews with the cast and crew of She Was So Pretty: Be Good For Goodness Sake!