5 Questions with Jaysen Buterin of Mad Ones Films

jaysen_buterin_LoRes_1-headshotIf you are lucky enough to be at ConCarolinas this weekend you will see Hot Pink Jesus running around (love the silver pastie by the way). You will also be able to meet the mad genius behind The Gospel of Booze, Bullets, and Hot Pink Jesus, Jaysen Buterin. He is filmaker with passion for tacos, beer, and his little Diablo.

Jaysen just got done wrapping his next film Between Hell And A HArd Place, and was kind enough to take a few minutes of his time to answer a few questions:

1. You love movies and you love to make movies. What and/or who has been your biggest influence in your film decisions?
I would honestly have to say my family, first and foremost, in terms of giving me the gifts required to become the fellow and the filmmaker that I am today. At the earliest age, my mother gave me my lifelong love for reading, my obsession with storytelling, while my father was the original Buterin boy behind the camera, being a brilliant photographer for much of his life and most of mine. I’ve been a writer for years – music journalism, syndicated pop culture columns, short stories, novels – I think almost as long as I’ve been reading, I’ve been writing. I just never really imagined myself becoming a screenwriter, although now, I can’t imagine myself NOT being a screenwriter. Funny how that works out. I also owe much of the credit to my beautiful wife, the golden goddess that this mere mortal monkey of a man tricked into falling in love with him.  It was after hearing me continually comment and lament on just how much better of a job I could do with a cinematic story than those Hollywood hacks, finally forced me to put up or shut up. That was back in 2006 and eight years, 18 films, and 13 awards later, I still say I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for her. And last, but most certainly never least, one of my biggest influences is my beautiful baby Boy, my sweet son, whom I fondly refer to as “Stormageddon, the Dark Lord of All.” I kind of look at filmmaking as my legacy, not just for what I can leave the world, but for him. If I can make him proud of his filmmaking father someday, then that’s the only award I will EVER need. I would also be remorseful and remiss, not to mention a prat of epic proportions, if I didn’t thank all the inmates helping me run the cinematic asylum at Mad Ones Films, for following a mad man who’s never had a single film class, or even read a book on the subject, so faithfully into the filmmaking foray. Without them, I would just be the altiloquent arse always talking about being a fantastic filmmaker, but never actually doing so.

In terms of my other influences, I would have to say – Rod Serling and the “Twilight Zone”; the Rolling Stones; the Beat Generation; The Muppets; classical Universal Horror films; Peanuts (the comic strip/cartoons, not the legume); Robert Rodriguez; Quentin Tarantino; Papa Diablo & Mama Mia; George Carlin; Edgar Allan Poe; Tom Waits; Alfred Hitchcock; John Hughes; Stephen Moffatt & the Venerable Joss Whedon.


2. I have followed you for years through social media outlets and at cons. It always seems that your super high energetic creative juices are flowing. Are you ever at your wit’s end with creative blockage, and if so how do you handle it?
Luckily for me, I’m not that graceful so I tripped and fell over the edge of my wit’s end many moons ago, and have just been floating happily in a sea of creative serendipity for years now. I think the one thought that every writer dreads to hear is, “what if I’ve run out of words?” and that tormenting train of thought usually derails in my head once a week or so. This tends to send me into a faux fit of cerebral self-flagellation, often resulting in a fury of a flurry of ideas/thoughts/dialogue lines/shot lists that I had no idea were lurking underneath the surface. Some writers may beg to differ but I’ve never been one to force the words onto the paper. (Yes, I still write everything out long hand with a pen and a pad of paper, revise it, revise it again and THEN maybe, just maybe I’ll type it up.) I can try my hardest to herd the idea demons screamin’ in my head towards a certain point but there’s really just no forcing them. I’ve also been very lucky in the fact that I always seem to have way too many irons and never enough fire at any given moment, whether it’s my own projects, or something else that I’m helping bring to life. With filmmaking, as I suspect it is with almost any artistic endeavor, long before you ever finish what’s now – people want to know what’s next. And you better have something to tell them, even if you’re just pulling things out of the proverbial air, or ass, depending on the proclivity of your profundity for profanity. At this manic magic moment, I’ve currently got six different script ideas, a short story adaptation, two upcoming acting roles, post-production on the new film, a slew of rock & roll videos, and a children’s book series ALL running amok in my head at once. It’s kind of crowded in there, so if anyone knows of any space for lease, please let me… err, rather, us know – would you?
3. Sooo Tacos? You love them. This I know. What is the most glorious taco experience you have ever had? Is there such a thing as a bad taco?
I don’t think it comes as any surprise at all to anyone to knows me, or even knows of me, that I practice and preach the Gospel of Taconic Enlightenment. However, what may raise an eyebrow or two is that I have the culturally-refined and discerning palate of a toddler throwing a tantrum, and how very basic (boring) I like my tacos – meat, cheese, sauce… that’s it really. Maybe some lettuce, if it’s lucky. I’ve never been a big fan of vegetables, after all, they’re what food eats. That may have something to do with my faithful fealty to Jack in the Box tacos – well, that and they drop the ENTIRE damn taco in the fryer, but that’s a rant for a different interview. As far as the most glorious taco experience I have ever had – unequivocally, unabashedly and undeniably, that would have to be when I was on the set of “Max Diablo’s Tits & Taco-Rama,” the topless taco bar I created for Acts II and III of the HPJ Trilogy. Between the two sinfully delicious shoots, I probably spent about 12-14 hours living the dream, literally surrounded by a sea of tits and tacos… as far as the wide-eye could see. Of course, being the director and running in 666 different directions at once, I didn’t actually get to enjoy any of it, but still… good times. As for a such a thing as a bad taco, I think it was Shakespeare, or maybe Mel Brooks, who said, “sex is like a taco, even if it’s done bad… it’s still good.” Hmmm, that might have been pizza… dammit, now I’m really hungry. If ONLY there was a topless taco bar around (hint hint: Mad Ones Films is currently accepting investors for this BRILLIANT MILLION DOLLAR MONEYMAKING idea!!!)
4. Your fans have been loving Booze, Bullets, and Hot Pink Jesus, but now we are going to get to see something new from Mad Ones Films – Between Hell & A Hard Place. (I will paste the description into the article) What inspired it and when do we get to see it?
 If I had to pinpoint one particular muse that inspired the idea that became the story of “Between Hell & A Hard Place,” I would have to most certainly say the opening sequence of the “Twilight Zone” movie. Albert Brooks and Dan Akyroyd, driving around out in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night, each trying to “out scare” the other. There’s just something so simple, and subtly sinister, about that scene that it’s been stuck in my head ever since 1983, especially the line, “you wanna see something REALLY scary?” I think even used that scene as an explanation for the look and feel I wanted for the film and my crew just instantly and intuitively understood what I wanted. The “Twilight Zone” series itself also played a big part in inspiration for me, as I’ve always been completely in awe of just how powerful the stories Rod Serling and company were able to show and tell within such a short period of time. The most important thing for me was that I had this burning wildfire desire to simply tell a simple ghost story, to really scare people with fright and delight, without resorting to either “torture-porn/what’s grosser than gross” tactics, or reimagining something that’s been remade that’s been rebooted. With this film, and the absolutely brilliant and astoundingly talented people both in front of, and behind, the camera, I have every confidence that we have a macabre masterpiece on our hands! “Between Hell & A Hard Place” will have its world premiere later this summer (July 19th to be specific) at the MonsterCon Film Festival in Greenville, SC!! After that we’ll hit the film festival/convention circuit with it for a spell. It’s also going to be a part of the upcoming horror anthology, “Beneath the Old Dark House,” a frightfully delightful homage to the 80s horror anthologies we all know and love (Creepshow, Tales from the Darkside, Cat’s Eye), so as soon as all the segments are shot, look for it on deadly DVD soon!!!
5. This year’s theme at the Geek Gala is Time Travel. Being a movie buff, what is your all time favorite time travel movie that you think everyone should see at least once, and why?  
Don’t say “The Time Traveler’s Wife”… Don’t say “The Time Traveler’s Wife”… Don’t say “The Time Traveler’s Wife”… 
Actually that one’s kind of a tough one – not just because I can never go back in time and take back the whole “Time Traveler’s Wife” thing, but because there are just some bloody brilliant ones out there. I would have to say, in terms of my favourite time travel movie that everyone SHOULD see, but more than likely HASN’T, would definitely have to be 1979’s “Time After Time.” I mean, It’s got a mustachioed Malcolm McDowell as H.G. Wells and David Warner as Jack the Ripper… what more could you POSSIBLY want in a time travel movie? Unless what you could want more is a toga-wearing fire-fighting Sean Connery and a fistful of miniature mischief-makers, then it’s a moral and temporal imperative to go with “Time Bandits.” (Most Honourable Mentions must also go to: ANY of the “Back to the Future” franchise; “Army of Darkness”; “12 Monkeys”; “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure”)
Thanks Jaysen! Check out Mad Ones Films and The Gospel of Booze, Bullets, and Hot Pink Jesus.
Spread the love and spread the geekiness. Don’t forget to try the tacos.