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Interview with 'The Guest' director and VFX Artist - Vladislav Evdokimov

How did you first break into the industry?

I started filming different short films when I was 12. Those were very dumb comedies which were watched only by the people who participated in them. The first ones I edited in camera by rewinding and overwriting the cassette.

In 2011 I was browsing youtube and stumbled upon Film Riot channel. I was blown away by the quality of work they were doing and at the same time saw how good DSLRs are for shooting video. Also Corridor Digital and Freddiew were amazing for their VFX shorts. All this led me to buying a camera myself and little by little I tried to make a similar youtube channel producing shorts with my friends. It was a fail overall as we were too slow filming and being the only one in charge of everything is hard as my friends weren’t passionate about filmmaking. However my works had been noticed and I started making some commercial work, music videos.

In the past few years I've also been making horror shorts. Horror for me is the easiest genre to work with and I also really enjoy watching it. So for now I’m sticking with horror shorts and hopefully a feature film some day.

Who/What inspires you as a director?

Everything visual. I love watching movies, animation, playing video games or just watching other people's paintings and concept arts.

I love the work of Edgar Wright, Neil Blompcamp, Ari Aster, Wes Andersen, Bong Joon Ho, Hayao Miyazaki just to name a few.

Overall the most impactful film for me was the first Jurassic Park. Also it is the first film I saw behind the scenes for (on an old trusty VHS cassette). I’m also in love with dinosaurs since then too, lol.

My top pick in horror is probably The Witch directed by Robert Eggers. There are no jump scares, just enormous attention to detail and great atmosphere.

Also stories of directors like Ilya Naishuller, David F. Sandberg, Dan Trachtenberg, Andy Muschietti and others are all very inspiring and pushing forward to create. Today is really the best time for us filmmakers.

What was your best set moment on ’The Guest’?

Working with non actors is really hard as some even the easiest shots could take dozens of takes. This is both very funny and painful on set. Our record was 40 takes for a very simple scene and in the end it isn’t even in the final cut.

What sort of person is going to love this short?

I think one who loves monster stories, creatures, good atmosphere and also tired of many horror shorts following the exact same pattern with a jump scare at the very end cutting right to the credits.

What advice would you give aspiring directors?

I’m not that experienced myself so we are in the same boat. One thing for sure is to stop waiting for something and just go and shoot. Too many people are afraid to start. Of course first works will look awful but that’s okay. Movies we all love and admire are also being hated by their directors quite often.

What advice would you give aspiring VFX artists?

Install Blender. It’s completely free fully fledged VFX software with a ton of tutorials and training courses. Learn the basics, then try to make the effect or shot you like. Just don’t copy tutorials 1 to 1 as it’s always recognisable and not fun.

Always use some kind of reference, for example in The Guest the creature is actually based on a real world animal called sea spider. You think you know how something looks or moves like but in reality there are so many details and they are the key for something to look believable.

Where can we find more of your work?

Mostly upload my work to Vimeo.

I also have my earlier short film The Drawing acquired by CryptTV as a part of their Monster Universe. So go watch that as well.

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