Brand New Exclusive Interview With Nicholas Thompson Co-Director Of Flesh Art
By James Whittington, Monday 29th August 2011
Nicholas ThompsonThis FrightFest, Horror Channel is proudly sponsoring The International Short Film Showcase, a collection of 10 of the most exciting and interesting short movies from around the world.

Flesh Art from Nicholas Thompson and Christopher Goodman is a bleak, apocalyptic vision with state-of-the-art effects and a disturbing storyline. We chatted to Nicholas about this gory piece and what advice he would give to people wanting to ake their own horror short.

HC: So are you a big fan of the horror genre?

NT: Of course I love Horror always have! but Horror like any other genre is most effective when it is done right! The aspect of Horror I really enjoy is creeping menace. When someone has established a lot of tension such as The Wicker Man and seen in the classic Hammers, or The Shinning. You know when this element of tension becomes a character in its own right? You’re being led to an event and when that event happens you know it’s going to be bad! In contrast I also like films that deliver bang for your buck that celebrate large FX elements proudly stating I am a horror film enjoy! Such as An American Werewolf In London or The Thing.

HC: How did the project come together?

NT: The film was made as part of my Special FX masters at the National Film School. One of the modules of our Special FX course was a prosthetics module. We managed to beg borrow and steal our way to convince them that zombies needed funding too.

HC: There’s little dialogue, only what’s heard on the radio, was this always the case or did you have the “artist” speak at any time?

NT: Personally I’m a big fan of dialogue but with such a short piece, and needing to establish tension, the scene, setting and not have ‘the artist’ just mumble to himself, we thought it better to allow the radio announcer to do all of the talking. Hopefully establishing how screwed up the world that you never see is!

HC: You directed the film with Christopher Goodman, did you each take control of specific scenes?

NT: As well as co directing the film, myself and Chris both sculpted painted and applied a zombie makeup. So the breakdown of who is directing when is roughly when you see Zombie One its Chris directing and when you see Zombie Two its me directing! Although we storyboarded and scripted everything so we knew what was going on well in advance so it wasn’t exactly as rigid as that.

HC: What sort of budget were you working with?

NT: Well this is a question that is impossible to quantify because of the way that the film was made; as the final module in special FX masters at film school. So a lot of the things that you would have to traditionally pay for (camera rental-location fee) were taken care of by the virtue of it being shot at film school, but conversely we did have to pay tuition fees!

HC: The special effects are quite stunning, did they take long to achieve?

NT: All of the SFX were made by the six of the guys on our SFX course under the expert supervision of our tutor Pete Tindal, while we were at Millennium FX. The process was long but I think that it was worth it (though you have to be the judge!) My abiding memory of coming home on the tube Christmas 2009 was that I had a huge army bag stuffed with body parts that I had to paint over the holidays. If someone had checked my bag I would have been arrested no doubt!

HC: How nervous are you that its being shown at FrightFest?

NT: It’s a journey that I said right from the start - ‘This film is going to be shown at FrightFest’ Ernesto our DOP kept on looking at me as if I was mad but I was determined! So yeah nervous, but excited too. The FrightFest audience are who we made the film for. They understand the conventions and the history of zombie lore and will hopefully enjoy what for me at least is a bit of a love letter to Rick Baker and classic practical SFX ‘I’m sure Chris will say something else!’

HC: What advice would you give to someone wanting to make their very first horror movie short?

NT: It may sound really boring but it’s all about planning sorting out those logistics, leave nothing to chance. Things will always go wrong and you will have to think on your feet, but if you have a game plan then things will go more smoothly. I’m not working for them but I really can’t recommend The Gurellia Guide To film enough. Read that bad boy cover to cover before you start and you will save yourself years of hassle. Also watch Horror films! What aspects do you like? What would you try and emulate? One of my largest bug bears with short/student films is when people threaten to do something and as a audience member I'm watching it thinking your not going to do that, because you can’t work out how to do it/don’t have the budget. As soon as someone threatens something that you know that they can't deliver I am outside of the film and the veil falls down. So don’t have some one pull a gun unless you can blow somebody’s chest away with it! Oh and watch Troll 2. Make it short. Its better to make a 10 individual 2 minute movies that get better each time as you master your techniques rather than going for a 90 min feature for your first time.

HC: So what projects are you working on at the moment?

NT: I work up and down the country on shorts doing SFX. This year I have killed WW2 soldiers, smoked horses, made snow fall in June and created infected tramps! As for my directing work I have a few projects in development and continue to make my own shorts, but if someone wants me to direct an ad or promo I’m listening! Contact me here

HC: Nicholas Thompson, thank you very much.

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