If you read my blog regularly, you know I love to support indie projects, especially original web series. I think it’s great that people with talent have the internet as an outlet to provide entertainment for those of us who enjoy such things. So when I saw “Perv The Cat,” I had to ask the creators, Athena Stamos and Brad Hansen for an interview. Because I like cats. And “Perv The Cat” is funny!
“Perv The Cat” is described as “A sexy short comedy, following an everyman about to score with the woman of his dreams who goes to extreme measures to escape the mysterious curiosity of Perv: The Cat.” And for your viewing pleasure, here it is:
Q. Where did the idea originally come from for “Perv The Cat?”
Athena: We’re both cat people…
Brad: …and we wanted to make a film that was fun, fast-moving, and centered around something people (or at least pet owners) could relate to. We thought of it as a live-action cartoon in the style of director Edgar Wright.
Q. Who is the cat?
Brad: The cat is our cat Gizmo. Thankfully he’s a pretty laid back feline, naturally very expressive…
Athena: …and talkative too! Sometimes we wonder if he’s actually a dog inside cats body.
Q. How did you get the expressions so perfect on that cat’s face? Were there a lot of takes?
Brad: We knew going into it that the cat was going to be the biggest challenge of the shoot. He wasn’t trained in any way, so we carefully planned each shot that he would appear in so that there wouldn’t be much interaction between him and the actors. We also did a full day of green screen work with the cat, and then later composited him in so he didn’t even have to leave his home.
Athena: When we had him on camera we made sure he only had to do simple movements: point A to B, certain looks, movements, etc. We used treats, toys, weird noises and a lot of patience to get him to look or go where he was supposed to. I use to take pet portraits where I learned how to initiate responses from animals which really feel helped on this shoot.
Q. How does one go about doing an original video like this? What specifics are involved? Who writes the script and shoots the video?
Athena: Brad’s the filmmaker, I’ll let him answer this one.
Brad: In the new digital age that we live in everyone can make a short film. But it takes a good crew and equipment to make a good one. Thankfully our friend PJ Gaynard was willing to help us out by letting us use his garage full of lighting, camera, and sound gear so we could shoot the picture. The writing started by Athena and I just bouncing ideas and gags off each other until we settled on a short, shootable script. Then I, as director, started storyboarding every shot and planning everything out. We had a decent-sized crew for a microbudget short (8-12 people each day, shooting 5 days total) so we had to make sure everything was completely mapped out before we started filming to make sure everything went smoothly and fit together well.
Q. How do you get actors involved?
Brad: We knew that the couple was going to make or break the shoot. They had to have chemistry, they had to have film experience, they had to be funny, and most importantly they had to be comfortable making out with each other for hours on end, take after take. We quickly realized that the best case scenario would be to find two actors who were already a couple, so they could concentrate on acting and hitting their marks and not worrying about having to smooch with some stranger for days on end in front of a dozen people!
Athena: We started going though the people we knew who we thought would work for the part, but we think it’s important to have some kinda of audition process. Just cause you know someone and they have “the look” doesn’t mean they’re the best match for the project; I feel this is a mistake a lot of indie film makers make. When we landed on Matt DeNoto and Dana DeRuyck and reviewed their acting/comedy footage we knew they were going to be perfect. Matt and Dana have been in comedy troupes together, Dynamite Kablammo for one, and were happy to do the film. We were so lucky to have them. They came up with a lot of funny bits and were wonderful to work with.
Q. Will there be a sequel? Or even possibly a web series?
Brad: It all depends on how many hits we get on Youtube. We have a pretty strong idea where the story would go if we were to turn it into a series of short films and it wouldn’t be the obvious direction of just simply remaking the first movie with the girls as the main characters trying to get away from the cat. It’d be something completely different.
Athena: But we can’t give that away. For now we just hope people are enjoying what we made because we had such a good time making it. Thank you for your interest in the project, Robin.