Interview: Director Tyler MacIntyre Makes Films That Are Frightening And Fun

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Monkeys Fighting Robots

Lurking in the shadows of what we’ll call Off-Hollywood, you know, like Off-Broadway, is film director Tyler MacIntyre who is two great genre movies into his career. Tyler MacIntyre is the director behind two recent horror-comedies, Patchwork and Tragedy Girls. The former is available on Netflix while the latter is available on BluRay. Monkeys Fighting Robots caught up with Tyler to talk about making movies, horror-comedy, and Back to the Future.

“Once Apple made things like iMovie, and
everything shifted digital it all became easier.”

It all began for Tyler as a child, “I started making movies when I was pretty you. I was in middle school. It started off because my dad was a professor and so I had access to a VHS camera. I started playing around with that.” More chances to make videos arose “I started using it [the camera] for school projects and stuff like that. Made video presentations.”

Tyler’s desire to make movies only grew stronger “As I got older, I got more serious about it.” Technology changed the game too “Once Apple made things like iMovie, and everything shifted digital it all became easier.”

The young filmmaker, armed with a computer and camera would “… get an idea, go out and shoot a movie. Edit it. Show it to people. And that’s where you really start to learn, seeing people’s reactions.” During his college years, Tyler “… continued to make short films.”

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All that leads to a wow moment for anyone
who knows anything about film.

Even with a passion for film, Tyler admits “I went to college for Psychology, but I ended up taking a lot of film classes.”

After grad school in Canada, filmmaking became the focus of Tyler’s life. “I ended going to the American Film Institute down in Los Angeles. That was where it really transitioned more to a professional endeavor. I learned much more about the industry.”

All that leads to a wow moment for anyone who knows anything about film. “I ended up working for Roger Corman …” At this point, I did audibly wow, “… yeah, I was kinda of the last lucky people get started under him. I edited a movie called The Racer.”

“Once you kind of check off certain boxes with a genre,
you can kind of do whatever you want.”

Tyler’s life in filmmaking continued “… doing more editing, cutting DVD features, television movies.” All the while, Tyler says, “I was writing my own scripts and continuing to make short films.”

All this experience brought Tyler into genre filmmaking which he loves “Once you kind of check off certain boxes with a genre, you can kind of do whatever you want.” During this time, Tyler made a “Frankenstein story” called Patchwork. The original short was only two minutes, but a feature was soon born “Chris I wrote that we were able to get the money together. Shot it in twelve days in Los Angeles with a bunch of our friends.”

Patchwork played festivals all over the world and “It directly lead us making Tragedy Girls.” Tyler, along with Chris Lee, was brought in to do a rewrite of Tragedy Girls. “We were able to make it our own. I got the opportunity to direct it. And it premiered at South by Southwest.”

“I’m a much better feature filmmaker than I am a short filmmaker.

“We have a very specific approach to genre. We tend to do a pretty hard subversion of certain tropes. They wanted that kind of vibe. The original [Tragedy Girls script] was more of a traditional slasher movie with a who-done-it vibe.”

With two feature films under his belt, what did Tyler learn from one movie to the next “I definitely took the lessons I learned from a logistical point of view. Even though I was under a different kind of pressure with Tragedy Girls, I was able to manage it because of Patchwork.” And one thing is clear to Tyler now “I’m a much better feature filmmaker than I am a short filmmaker. Features allow for more course correction during the process.”

Tyler hasn’t considered working on a streaming project, say for Netflix, but Patchwork is on Netflix and Tyler says “It has been really good for us. It has a lot of eyeballs. I think Netflix is kind of the equivalent of Blockbuster Video.”

“… structure can set you free.”

Director Steven Soderberg’s next movie Unsane is shot on an iPhone 7. Indie darling Tangerine was shot on an iPhone 5s. So, what does Tyler think about this new trend towards shooting on smartphones? “I’ve heard about that. That’s pretty interesting. He’s always been forward thinking. He’s always trying out different things. It’s very exciting to me. It lets people get into making film and create.”

The topic of creating films turns the conversation on the rules of movie making, Tyler believes “… structure can set you free. Once you have some rules, you can play a game, and that’s what makes it fun.” For Tyler, without understanding rules “It’s a lot harder to get motivated.”

So, what’s next for Tyler? “We’re currently working on Nightlight … partnered with Sony … it’s about this monster-obsessed eight-year-old kid who witnesses a murder across the street and has to defend his home against invaders.”

As a fun, final question, we posed Tyler this question: If you could’ve made one movie, what would it be? “Back to the Future.”

Get your peepers on Patchwork via Netflix or Tragedy Girls on BluRay ASAP. You’ll laugh, you’ll cringe, and you’ll most definitely want to see what Tyler MacIntyre does in his next film.