Filmmaker Interview

by Anthony Picerno

Megan Emerick

Dark Comedy Productions Spotlight

 

With roles in independent horror films such as “The Hospital 2” and “Don’t Look In The Basement 2” as well as an extensive list of credits as a voice actress for anime shows, Megan Emerick reveals what it’s like perform both on and off camera.

 

DARK COMEDY PRODUCTIONS:

 

“What got you into acting?”

 

MEGAN EMERICK:

 

“When I was a little kid and used to play that I was on the big screen and I’d always be playing characters. I’d play the witch, or the werewolves…that’s the stuff I loved, and I always watched horror films—even though I wasn’t supposed to. I pursued it years and years later, because it was so much fun for me to become something that you literally cannot be—like the sociopath, the serial killer. Yes, I love playing the evil characters. They’re so much fun.”

 

DCP:

 

“And what draws you to those evil characters?”

 

ME:

 

“I’ve always been kind of macabre. I used to work in a funeral home. I went to school for psychology…and the sheer fact to examine your id and reach the level of behavior that’s so unacceptable and not within norm—having the ability to go there in my own brain is enticing to me. Because that’s something I would never be.”

 

DCP:

 

“Basically examining a sick mind from a very safe distance.”

 

ME:

 

“Exactly. One of the characters I just finished up for the Hospital 2…that was one of the most disturbed characters I’ve ever played. And she’s been likened to Harley Quinn [from Batman]. So having that breach of normality within my own brain, yes it’s definitely a safe distance.”

 

DCP:

 

“Let’s talk about your voice acting. What’s it like being in the sound studio? Walk me through a typical day.”

 

ME:

 

“Okay, a day in the life…you go into the studio—and thankfully most of the time I’m no longer in what they call ‘the box’ because it’s literally the size of a closet. Funimation is such a great company to do voice work for, now they’ve got these huge rooms and so it sets an ambience, a feel you get to walk into. You’ve got screens and microphones, and you put your earphones on. Every once in a while you’re in the box which is funny to me. Funimation is such a great company to work for and the directors and seasoned voice actors are all so nice and they help everybody out, the sound guys are great…I have not had a bad experience going up there. It’s amazing to get to see the animes that I’m involved in and other people are involved in…I love anime. The first animes I got into were Kurumi Steel Angel. It’s just bizarre and absurd and wonderful to get to play those characters, and not seeing myself on screen, but seeing basically just a cartoon that’s even cooler to me.”

 

DCP:

 

“You play multiple voices for the same series. How do you vary your voice up for the same show?”

 

ME:

 

“That’s just a lot of practice. And I’m still working on it, still getting better at it. But I do a little boy voice where I almost have to pull it from my stomach and talk from the back of my throat…it’s a workout. Other times I just have to raise my tone, or go down really low. It’s not perfect, I know voice actors who you can go up to and say, ‘How did that just come out of your mouth?’ And it’s just the range, it’s so interesting to see other voice actors be able to do that and it’s definitely one of my goals to get even better at it. Practice makes perfect so it’s definitely fun being up there.”

 

DCP:

 

“What’s currently on the agenda for voice work?”

 

ME:

 

“Currently I play Chloe on Sky Wizards Academy and I just finished up the character White on Blood Blockade Battlefront…which was made by the same people who did my favorite anime, Trigun, so I was beyond giddy and thrilled and totally fan-girl’ed out when I got the character White.

 

DCP:

 

“How is voice acting different experience than being on stage/camera?”

 

ME:

 

“When it comes to feature films, you have the screen and other characters to work with. You’ve got the other people to bounce off of, and that changes the way you react. You’ve got your facial expressions, you’ve got varying levels of ‘you’ that you’re able to work with. When you’re just behind that microphone you have to utilize all of that and it all has to come from your voice. So to me, it’s almost I guess in a way at times more difficult, especially if you have to cry and scream and fight—you don’t have that other person there to counter you, so you’re talking to yourself and it’s insanity…times a billion. You’re crying at basically no one. You’re crying at a picture. You’re fighting a picture and so people who can voice act really well, I aspire to become people like…Caitlin Glass, Monica Rial, Colleen Clinkenbeard. These are voice actresses who don’t just have a ton of things that they’ve worked on. They’re incredible voice actresses that I really strive to learn from and follow in their footsteps because they bring their characters to life so well that I would love to be even remotely considered in the same class.”

 

DCP:

 

“You have multiple film credits on Don’t Look In The Basement 2. What was it like being on the production end of the business?”

 

ME:

 

“I tried really hard not to have any expectations, especially when I’m so green on that side of it. I tried going in with as clean a slate as I could, and I utilized what little knowledge I had. But writing on it with Anthony Brownrigg was an experience I won’t soon forget; it was incredible. We were on set rewriting things and it was mass chaos of fun—and to me, I enjoy being in production. That’s art to me. My art is not just acting, my art is also creating the project and seeing it through. So it was very daunting, because I’m on set with people who’ve been doing this for years.

But I had a thrilling time. Being in the original location of Don’t Look In The Basement was like reliving history—and creating new history—and the cast and crew were unreal. We laughed and giggled and played every day. It was like a vacation to me.”

 

DCP:

 

“What were some of your responsibilities?”

 

ME:

 

“I had a lot. I was production coordinator so I made sure things were ready to go once we got on set. And then I took a step back once we started working—most of the time. Every once in a while I’d jump back in and do some schedule stuff or jump in and help clean up. Anthony [Brownrigg] and I bounce off each other really well, and so when we had to do rewrites…we wouldn’t even let each other finish sentences, just back and forth. So being the associate producer was to wear many hats just to get the project done and make sure that everybody was happy, healthy and taken care of.”

 

DCP:

 

“What challenges did you face on set?”

 

ME:

 

“The locations that we used were very, very old buildings. We had to make sure people stayed safe for all of the shots. It would get hot during the day and then weirdly cold at night, and sometimes it was raining and that messed up sound. Thankfully we had an onset caterer, and she kept us fed at least our bellies full but every once in a while we’d have wardrobe malfunctions or have script malfunctions and thankfully there wasn’t anything on set that was so overt that caused any real issues. It was really such a stellar cast/crew that we all kind of became a family. With any project you’re gonna have some pitfalls but nothing was too major.”

 

DCP:

 

“What was it like to continue a story from so many years ago?”

 

ME:

 

“Oh…that was incredibly daunting for me because Anthony [Brownrigg] is the son of SF Brownrigg. So not only is this a lineage piece, I’m also working with the son to write a continuation of a story that Anthony knows like the back of his hand. He grew up with it, he was around while his father was on set...

 

There was definitely a learning curve because I had to learn the first film just as well, if not better than Tony. When we were talking about it, it wasn’t ‘What scene are you talking about? What are we referencing here?’ And then on top of that, having to create a whole new storyline. Tony and I would fight, we fight all the time. But as in playful brother/sister kind of thing, but it was also really invigorating to be able to sit down and take the characters and pull them out of the first film and create something entirely new.

 

DCP:

 

“How did you get into character to play Jennifer?”

 

ME:

 

“To be honest, being the production coordinator and associate producer helped me get into that role because she’s the head nurse. Things have to be done a certain way. She’s slight OCD, borderline bitch…very sarcastic but also very dry. So it really was taking my own personality and expanding it a little bit, and making it a little bit worse. Okay a lot worse, because I’m not that bad. But how I got into it…I gave myself some down time. I gave myself some time to myself to be able to kind of pull that bitch out and as I’m doing that, I’m coordinating production, so I would mix the two and then when I walked on set, I was already in that character.”

 

DCP:

 

“Where do you see things going for indie horror in the future?”

 

ME:

 

“The future of indie horror films is going to the low, low, low, low…no budget. I think that’s kind of where everything’s heading. Because that’s giving so many more directors, producers, actors opportunities to be a part of something awesome that they want to create. We live in a world of technology that makes it easier to have a low budget feature. Granted, that means half the time the cast crew and the rest of them don’t get paid—which sucks.

 

I think right now where indie horror’s going is truly low budget slashers. We’re going back to the 80’s, back to practical makeup, less heavy digital FX. I think as a horror fan, it’s kind of where I’d love it to go. I’d love it to be handed back to the audience. Less of ‘what’s gonna sell’ and more ‘Let’s do this great idea.’ That to me is far more lucrative creative-wise. You’re gonna get more out of it. You won’t hit millions and millions, but you’ll hit that target niche and the people are gonna go insane.”

 

 

 

DCP:

 

“If you could go back in time and give yourself advice what would you tell yourself?”

 

ME:

 

“Relax. It’s okay to feel and look stupid. It’s okay to screw up. It’s okay to not know, but just give yourself the opportunity to learn. Take your time. Don’t expect things to happen overnight because they don’t. And have fun. Step out of your own head and step back and say it’s fine. Yeah, you screwed something up, it’s totally cool. And hey, that screw up actually might be better than what you were going to do. I’ve learned the whole concept of getting out of my head from Tony. When I really got into acting, I was going on auditions and Tony became my acting teacher to a point but he’d see what I was doing and go ‘You were in your head at that point. Do you see how I can see it?’ I started to understand how I was standing in my own way. So I did The Hospital 2 which really broke me of that because I had to run around in a clown costume. You know. You kind of can’t really care what you look like anymore when you’re running around in a tutu.”

 

Be sure to see Megan Emerick in “The Hospital 2” and look for her in upcoming film, “I Dare You! Truth Or Dare 5.”

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