The Making of…Johnny Garrett
By Writer/Producer Michael Knight
After completing a music video, I spoke with Terry about doing another project. I was impressed with Terry’s enthusiasm and drive. It’s easy to start a project but when problems arise, a lot of people bail. Terry proved he could finish what he started and make the best of it.
I had several horror fiction stories published at the time and had envisioned them as short films. After some reading we decided on my short story, The Downfall of Johnny Garrett and adapted it for film. It was like the old DC horror comics tale, a simple revenge story with a lot of visual aspects to it. In fact, the original story only had two lines of dialogue in it.
I also had ideas for doing horror soundtrack music with predominantly guitar. Not song placements but actual atmospheric music background for the film.
We were going full-on gorilla filmmaking because of the locations we wanted to use.
Steve Rodriguez had a great look for the 70’s style gang leader, Johnny.
Nicole Bryl made for the perfect innocent Sheila.
One of the problems we had was starting off with too big of a crew. Trying to be discreet with 12 people setting up a shot was a problem. The police kicked us out of our chosen locations on the first night of shooting. I decided to send half the crew home and to cut them from the remainder of the project. More was definitely not better in this case. My knowledge of Queens NY helped me think of secluded places we could shoot on the fly.
Lighting was a problem for several scenes because we didn’t have access to electric. We adjusted as best we could as we went along.
We shot the final scenes behind my (at the time) music studio in Massapequa, NY so we had privacy, permission to be there, and access to electricity. It certainly paid off for some great shots.
My buddy, John Hoelzer set up props and the arm and bone prosthetics for the arm chop. Craig Lindberg set up the blood pump. Jason Alvino did the dead woman’s make up. And my buddy, Ben Guzik helped with lighting (and driving to 7-11 for coffee and cigarettes, lol)
It was a fun project and it showed me how much work goes into shooting a short 15-minute segment like Johnny Garrett.
If you want to see what Michael has been doing since, check out his Amazon Authors Page: