I grew up outside Boston, and since I was very small, made home movies with friends on a SONY handy-cam. I even staged a production of Return of the Jedi in 3rd grade (true story.) When I got into my 20s, I did the responsible thing, and got a job as a graphic designer, and did pretty well, so I never followed through with my dreams of being a director, I didn’t think that was something you could do living in Boston. There’s not many jobs! But I met Steven Tyler from Aerosmith in 2006 and lied my way into editing a DVD. That was when he kind of pulled me aside and said “you need to be directing movies and music videos!” so he took me on the road to film Aerosmiths shows, and it snowballed into other jobs for them, including a theatrical concert film entitled Rock for the Rising Sun — a film I basically shot and editied on my own, without telling anyone, and the film ended up in theatres (for a small run!)
After working so much for Steven, he urged me to do The Captivus. Which leads me to:
Sci-Fi is my favorite genre, my daughter’s name is Ripley (Aliens) and my son’s Dutch (predator), ha! And I was tired of the same run-of-the-mill sci-fi, with flashy graphics, and sqeaky clean space suits (this is why I loved DISTRICT 9) so I wanted to deconstruct that a bit. I was always a huge fan of Hitchcock and The Twilight Zone, things like amazing stories, so I wanted to make a short that was my tip of the hat to material like that. I wanted things broken, old, dirty, I wanted it to look used, and I didn’t have any money! So, what better way, then to use stuff from the dump! EVERYTHING inside that spaceship, cables, old hospital equipment, is from the Boston city dump. I wanted all the ship’s graphics to look archaic, so I did everything in Final Cut Pro, then exported each frame through an action in Adobe Photoshop that made it look 8-bit, I think it’s really cool.
I feel like the editing could be better, because I edited it myself, and I’m not an editor, but I wrote it, directed it, did the production design, all the FX, and I’m really proud of it. And people seem to love it!
It definitely helped me get financing for my first feature, HAPPY BIRTHDAY. When I met with Vannessa Lengies (Waiting, Stick It), she said she didn’t need to meet me, she wanted to do HAPPY BIRTHDAY because she loved THE CAPTIVUS so much, so that was nice to hear!
It played at a bunch of festivals, and got some fans online like Seth Green, Zachary Levi, and more. —Casey Tebo