by Dov Kornits

Congrats on Bad Vibrations, can you let us in on home it came together?

Writer/Director Nicole Delprado [below, left]: At the start of the pandemic, a group of female writers and directors came together for weekly zoom meetings. Through this, we became good friends with a mutual love of genre films. We realised we wanted to make something together before Annabel moved to LA and that’s when we got Erica involved. But Annabel was from a different state, so the first time we met in person was the day before the shoot!

Actor/Producer Annabel Maclean [above, right]: As Nicole mentioned, we both became good friends during the pandemic over multiple zooms through our love for genre films, particularly horror, and supporting female-identifying voices in the genre space. As an actor, I wanted some footage of myself playing a character in a horror piece as I didn’t have anything great or recent, and Nicole was looking for new material for her director’s reel. It was from here that the concept of Bad Vibrations evolved.

Actor/Producer Erica Long [below]: I met Nicole while on the set of Shippers, an 8 x 10 minute Screen Australia funded web series that Nicole and I directed episodes of. We got along instantly and when she brought up wanting to make a short film, I instantly knew I wanted to be a part of it!

How many takes did it require to pull off the 1-shot?

ND: There were a few stop and starts but we made it through 7 full takes by the end of the day. The film was technically difficult, shot handheld by DOP Stephanie Furdek, with real time lighting and makeup changes, and complex blocking moving between rooms of the house. Ambitious but fun! A true team effort!

Was the dialogue improvised? How hard was it to keep things fresh take after take?

AM: The dialogue was scripted. We had a couple of read-throughs ahead of the shoot which resulted in some minor line changes but otherwise, it was scripted. I feel like every take felt fresh organically because we were making slight technical and/or performance adjustments with each take. Plus, the challenge of having to focus for a full eight minute take each time really kept me present in each take so it didn’t feel like I was just rolling through the motions so to speak.

EL: We actually did around 26 takes (most were stop/starts) and in a way, this helped to keep things fresh. We made slight adjustments each take and knowing that each one was a 1-shot kept me on my toes, especially because I was constantly stepping in and out of the set during each take and had to carefully time my re-entry back onto set.

In terms of the theremin, how and why did that become such an important part of the film?

ND: The theremin is such a unique instrument – it’s almost supernatural the way it’s played without touching it. This was a really captivating idea for me and a haunted theremin is a novel concept that brings together old school horror with modern tech. Not only was the theme of the film composed on the theremin, but the atmosphere of the film layers music and sounds from it in unexpected ways.

AM: It seemed like a natural move to involve Moog Synthesizers in the project. Claire, Logan, Nick and the Moog team were so fantastic to work with. They sent us a theremin to use for the film and it arrived in lightning speed, almost faster than Amazon Prime! The Moog team kindly connected us with world renowned thereminist Dorit Chrysler. I was lucky enough to have a theremin lesson over zoom with Dorit ahead of the shoot. Unbelievable! She was so generous with her time, and it was so exciting to hear her play and learn about this incredible instrument. The theremin haunting tune in the film had to be composed in advance of the shoot. Prudence, the film’s composer and a professional thereminist, composed the tune and I worked with her to learn the specific hand and finger movements for certain notes that made up the tune. This was challenging and fun.

Where’d you shoot the film?

EL: We decided to shoot the short film at my parents’ place. While we considered a few other locations during pre-production, my parents’ house won us over. It’s got these old, creaky doors and floorboards from the ‘80s that just added the perfect touch of creepiness to the film. During rehearsals, Nicole and I discovered that the house’s layout offered a unique advantage – we realised we could seamlessly both connect and section off different areas, giving the characters more freedom to move while also keeping the crew discreet during takes. Nicole subsequently incorporated this into the story, allowing for additional character movement and immersion in the space.

Have you been to Flickerfest before? What has been your experience, and how exciting is it for the film to world premiere there? Oscars next?

ND: We’re so excited to have our world premiere at a major festival like Flickerfest. It will be playing at 9pm Saturday in the outdoor cinema so the nighttime setting will really set the horror mood. What a great way for audiences to experience it for the first time!

AM: Super pumped to have our world premiere at Flickerfest! Being from Perth, I have previously only been to Flickerfest screenings as part of the festival’s touring circuit and haven’t had the chance to attend the main event. This time round, I still won’t be at the main event unfortunately as I recently relocated to Los Angeles and there’s no spare cash to fly back home when you live over here. I’m very excited that a bunch of our cast and crew will be going along to the screening and can’t wait to hear all about it!

EL: I’m a big fan of Flickerfest – my partner and I actually attend their Love Bites session every year so I’m super excited to have Bad Vibrations premiere there!! Another short film I produced, Beautiful Things, will actually also have its world premiere at Flickerfest on the same day (20 January) so I’m beyond stoked!

Bad Vibrations screens on Saturday 20 January at Flickerfest International Short Film Festival