Interview: Director Abigail Braman and Actor Matt Mercer of the Upcoming Stop-Motion Horror Short "CADILLAC DUST"

Welcome witches and warlocks,

Today I will be interviewing director/writer/artist of Cadillac Dust Abigail Braman and actor/director Matt Mercer about their upcoming horror themed short Cadillac Dust.

Craig Thayer:  Thanks so much for sitting down with me today to talk about your upcoming short Cadillac Dust!  What made you pick stop motion animation as the medium to tell this tale?

Abigail Braman:  I'm a huge fan of animation - always have been.  It still blows my mind to this day how the entire process works.  I love the overall techniques and creativity behind this art form.  Working with stop-motion animation is something I've always wanted to do, and for me, it's an absolute dream come true.  I felt this medium would be perfect for Cadillac Dust; it will bring a very unique and artistic presence to an eerie story such as this one.  It's very rare to find any professionally done stop-motion animation that is solely geared to adults in the horror genre, so we're very excited to make this happen. 

CT:  How are you achieving this look?

AB:  David Ernst and I are achieving a very realistic look through basically the elimination of stylization. Generally, when you see any stop-motion animated film, it has a particular look and style to it, leaning more in the realm of having cartoon elements.  We are eliminating this aspect by keeping our sketches and designs as natural as possible - there are no exaggerations in bodily proportions, our sets and props are based off of the real deal, etc.  There will definitely be many artistic elements in the style we're going with, we just want to keep the overall vibe more natural.  Our look will be in the same vein as how the humans look in Fantastic Mr. Fox and Anomalisa, but with our own approach of course. 

CT:  How have you pulled together your team for this short?

AB:  I love how our team got together for Cadilla Dust - everything kind of just fell into place very naturally.  David Ernst and I met at my part-time job, actually he and his kids take music lessons at the store I work at.  We would often talk about how much we both loved art and animation (and horror, of course), and when he told me the previous work he's done ("Celebrity Deathmatch", "Prometheus and Bob") it sort of just took off from there.  We initially started working on a full-length stop-motion zombie movie that was a story that Dave wrote however we quickly realized how overly ambitious a project like that would be for just two people haha, but that's how I initially got in touch with Matt Mercer (Contracted, The Mind's Eye).  He's great in every film I've seen him in and I thought he would be perfect for the lead in our movie so I reached out to him to get him involved.  I hope we will someday venture back to Dave's movie (when we can actually get a full team together) but for now, Cadillac Dust is a perfect starting point.  Matt was totally down to switch gears and be on board with us and we couldn't be happier about it! 

CT:  Has the collaboration changed anything within the short?

AB:  Honestly, not much.  Dave and I are on the same page with basically everything which is fantastic - we both want to achieve the same look and are super anal when it comes to attention to detail.  I suppose some minor things have changed here and there but more so along the lines of storyboard and sequence changes, which is normal in any animated film.

CT:  Matt, what are you doing to set this role apart from your many other acting roles? 

Matt Mercer:  Well, the obvious answer is that I don't often get to do many voice performances, but I was happy when Abigail reached out.  This film is the first stop-motion project I've been involved in.  That's the biggest difference between this role and others. 

I also was attracted to this role because I think this character is more reserved and internalized, and his agenda is a bit more... I dunno, unknown, than other roles I've done.  Those aspects will be fun.  I also just liked Abigail's vision. 

CT:  Matt, did you get to choose which of the nameless characters you would be?

MM:  I didn't choose.  Abigail had me in mind for one of them specifically and I agreed.  I trust her judgment, haha.

CT:  What has been the most fulfilling thing about working on this short for both of you?

MM:  So far the most fulfilling aspect has been meeting a new voice like Abigail and learning how this stop-motion process works.  We've only just begun and we're having our recording session soon and I'm sure it'll be great.

AB:  For me, the most fulfilling thing about making this short film is getting to work with such talented and creative individuals.  I seriously could not have asked for a better group of people.  Dave's talent is immense and he's taught me so many ins and outs of the stop-motion process.  To me, that type of experience is priceless and something that I'm very thankful to be a part of.  And Matt has been absolutely amazing - this guy is super talented and unbelievably hardworking.  It can sometimes be difficult to find artists who are truly passionate about their craft and who solely do what they do for their absolute love for it.  You can see it in their presence, dedication, and work, and Matt is one of those individuals. 

CT:  If you had to pick an influence you are tapping into while working on this project, what or who would it be? 

AB:  There are definitely a few things that are getting me in the mood for a project like this. If anyone out there knows me, they know I'm very much into anything with a spooky undertone. Cadillac Dust is actually a song title by one of my favorite frontier rock/death country bands Elliott BROOD.  I love their music and they are incredibly nice guys - they've graciously allowed me to use their song title for the film and I will be licensing that song to put in the end credits. So yeah, I've been listening to a lot of their music and just taping into darker animated films such as "Secret of NIMH" for its atmospheric tones etc. Another good inspiration for me has always been reading, especially short stories. 

CT:  Thank you both for taking the time to tell our readers about this new horror short.  Those who want to know more or are interested in donating to help get this film made can find information at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/cadillac-dust-stop-motion-horror-short-film#/  You can also follow Cadillac Dust on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cadillacdust-shortfilm and on Twitter at @Cadillac_Dust.

Nighty nightmares,
- The Creeping Craig