Crank: When did you start making films?
Jon Rhoads & Mike Marrero: We started making films together in 2014. Before that, we made films on our own. Mike even made a feature called Lucid.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a filmmaker?
When you think you have planned enough for a production, plan some more.
Where did you get the idea for your short film?
It’s as simple as seeing a phone number carved into a bathroom stall in an Alabama gas station and wondering if anybody ever calls them. I called and only heard a beep on the other end, which led to me thinking that maybe I just signaled some dark entity to come find me.
How did you find your collaborators for this film?
We had just wrapped a much larger, ass-kicking production and wanted to shoot something quick and simple as a palette cleanser. So all of our collaborators were already in town for the other film. We only had one crew member besides ourselves and a couple of awesome actors.
How long — from start to finish — did it take to make this film?
We shot the short in one day in a steamy bathroom at a Key West plant nursery. But including writing and post-production, the film probably took 3 months to finish.
What is your filmmaking process?
We shoot really fast and get a lot done in not a lot of time. They are physically demanding shoots but they are fun and wrapping feels like a religious experience.
How did you bring your ‘creature’ to life?
We had tried all kinds of makeup effects for the mud on the creature but none of them looked quite how we wanted it to look so with the permission of the actor, we dug some dirt out of the yard and just smashed it all over her, head to toe.
When speaking to first-time filmmakers, what advice would you give?
However many days you think you need to shoot your short, add another day.
What’s next for you guys?
Currently we are working on a feature version of our last short, Riley Was Here. We are also finishing up another short called The Sexton and the Spade about a lone survivor and his shovel surviving on a mysterious island, burying dead bodies that continue to wash ashore. And prepping for a new short that is basically a Tropical possession film.
Any last words?
If you like the film, please donate to MARC House in Key West. They graciously let us shoot this weird film in their bathroom and they do amazing work!
About the Filmmakers
Mike Marrero and Jon Rhoads met in Key West, Florida and founded Bubba Prime Films. Their first film, BACON was chosen as an official selection of the 2014 Key West International Film Festival and their last film, RILEY WAS HERE screened at over 30 film festivals including Fantasia and Fantastic Fest. In addition to filmmaking, Michael is an artist, award winning-photographer, and playwright. Jon also works in theater, having produced several plays including ROSHAMBO, a two act play exploring alternate timelines in a small Florida Keys town.