Friday, December 7, 2018


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From Switzerland arrived to USA to prove his talent and to pursue his dreams, that's how Mike Boss our guest today begins the interview and I think that's what really matters in life: Decide to live the life we want and do what we really want to. How I said, Mike Boss decided comes to USA and try to delve his efforts to become an actor and he did, but now life shows him a good outcome as a director too, first, shooting his short film INIMICUS in 2015 and now shooting his awarded film ANONYMOUS 616 marking out his feature film debut and ¡how he made it! Now, for sure, you, neophyte filmmaker if you wanna know how to shoot your first micro- budget film and how to get it distributed, hey, please go on and read this awesome interview.

EFF: Hi Mike, thank you so much for your time to talk to us about your career and your insights about filmmaking. Where are you from and when was the moment you felt that you wanted to be in this industry?

MB: My pleasure! - I'm originally from Switzerland where I worked as a "Civil Engineering designer" (draftsman). - I always had a tendency to think about "life" and I was never really satisfied with my job, my surroundings and my lack of "purpose" in Switzerland. - After becoming quite rebellious, I got in trouble with the police and THAT was the moment everything changed for me; I not only decided to become a very positive and optimistic person with a high-level of integrity, but also concluded that I needed to leave Switzerland in order to follow my dreams and pursue happiness in America. - I left my home country when I was 25 years old and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting. On my YouTube Channel you can see an inspirational, no-budget documentary THE DREAMERS about my crazy journey from Switzerland to Hollywood. (The Youtube Link is on the bottom)

EFF:  How did you begin in this industry? What role did you play first? Tell us about it.

MB: Once I arrived in Los Angeles, I first had to get situated, study the English language and learn about the film industry. - I started doing "Extra work" for about 2 years and worked in over 200 movies, TV shows and commercials. - Then it was time to take acting classes and I pursued acting for about 5 years. - During that time I also I started to develop my own projects and ultimately focused more and more on screenwriting for the next 10 years or so. - I never really intended to become a director, but things happened and I directed my first short film INIMICUS in 2015 with my wife in the lead role. 
INIMICUS (2015) Imdb | Amazon | 

EFF: Let's get into the business right away; ANONYMOUS 616 is your feature film debut as a writer/director, how did you come up with the idea?

MB: Yes, ANONYMOUS 616 is my directorial feature film debut, but I initially didn't write the script with the intention to produce and direct it myself. - At this point I had already written over a dozen feature screenplays when I noticed a trend of producers and production companies constantly looking for "low-budget" or "micro-budget" or even "no-budget" screenplays with limited locations (1-2) and limited cast (4-6). - I was intrigued, took this challenge and wrote about 4 micro-budget screenplays with the before-mentioned criteria of which one of them was ANONYMOUS 616. - I think the story idea started with the thought of how terrifying it would be if some "Anonymous person" would tell us that they knew EVERYTHING about us and then went on to prove it!! - SCARY!! - I also chose the scenario of a computer chat room, because I thought most people would easily relate to such a setup. - I also intentionally chose to write something in the most popular genre, which is the thriller/horror genre. 

EFF: How many drafts did you write it until you had your final script? 

MB: I usually put in a tremendous amount of thought before I even start writing, so my "First Drafts" are usually not too far away from the final draft, but I definitely went back and forth a few times in order to make small adjustments and to improve the script overall. 
   Anonymous 616 (2018) Imdb | Amazon Google Play iTunes Microsoft 

EFF: After you developed the idea and got it on paper, tell us the path of pitching it to producers or how were you able to get the money to make this feature film? 

MB: Yes, finding money for a film always seems to be the toughest part! - I had pitched screenplays for many, many years to hundreds of producers and production companies, but I came to the important conclusion that if you really wanna see your film on the screen, the very best chance of that happening is if you do it YOURSELF! - I teamed up with my wife, Jessica Boss (actress/producer) and a third partner, Peter Fuhrman (cinematographer/producer) and we all decided to pitch in a few thousand bucks ourselves in order to get the ball rolling... and the ball started to roll and never stopped until the film was completed! - I think the most important decision we made was to NOT WAIT until we had ALL the money for the film, but rather to START producing with the intention to keep raising money for every single step ahead. - In other words; we first raised money for pre-production, then we raised more money for production, then more for post-production etc. - Although it was a bit risky, it turned out to be a much easier approach, because people were more willing to support us and give us some money as soon as they saw that the "ball was already rolling." - Btw, on my YouTube Channel people can find over 50 short video clips that lay out the entire journey of the film from the development phase to production to post-production and even distribution. - If this interests them, feel free to check out the playlist on my YouTube Channel titled: "How I shot my first micro-budget feature film" (Playlist Link:

EFF: Now, as you enter pre-production, how was that stage? Which items took more time than expected or demanded more effort over you?

MB: I can't really point out one single issue that took more time or more effort, because everything was a challenge. Since our budget was almost non-existing, we were pretty much forced to do everything ourselves, so it took a tremendous amount of time and effort to accomplish the following: Finding the location (#6), organizing the entire casting process (#8), creating the contracts for talent (#9), making sure that the paperwork for our company was in order (#10), vetting and hiring all the crew members (#13), selecting and buying all the wardrobe (#15), organizing all the movie equipment (#16), gathering all the props, including a police car (#17), dealing with Film LA in order to get our film permits (#18), organizing food and catering (#19), getting production insurance for our company (#20), creating a shooting schedule (#21) and so on.  It really seemed like a never-ending process and, on top of that, I created hundreds of storyboard pictures for the film (#14). - We all worked between 10-15 hours every day for about 2 months... and then it got even worse during the entire production phase, but, of course, it was also a fun and exciting experience.

EFF: The film is entirely shot in one location, a house, why did you set it up this way?  Was it to save money or did it have any other reasons?

MB: No, there were no other reasons. - The one-location scenario was simply chosen in order to save money. - Micro-budget films are usually done in one or two locations, otherwise it quickly gets too expensive, because "time is money" and breaking everything down and moving all the cars, lights, equipment, actors, props, makeup, catering, wardrobe etc. to another location and then setting everything up again takes just too much time and therefore requires a lot more MONEY. - The "key" to a micro-budget feature film really is to write or "find" a COMPELLING script (#5) that you can then shoot yourself in ONE location.

EFF: When did you start shooting the film and how long did it take? In addition, what were the biggest setbacks you had to solve?

MB: We started shooting in March 2017 in Rowland Heights, California. - We were shooting 9 straight nights and then 3 straight days. - So, all in all, we were shooting for 12 days with one day off in between. - We had several setbacks and several things we needed to solve on spot, but we were also very BLESSED (#30) with circumstances that were beyond our control. - We experienced several setbacks in regard to "continuity", which is a very tricky thing (#28) - But I guess one of the biggest obstacles we had to solve was finding a replacement "special effects makeup artist" 6:am in the morning. - That was a crazy situation, but had a pretty amazing outcome (#31).
Stills from Anonymous 616

EFF: Having a good cast it’s important for every film, but low-budget indie films often lack good acting. How did you find your actors and how did you get them to perform in a way that accurately portrayed your ideas within the film? How was the casting process? Did you post a casting call or did you have the actors already in mind? Ah, and how was the experience of directing your wife?

MB: The casting process (#8) was one of the more fun parts and you're definitely right, having talented actors is a MUST in order for the film to work. - Bad acting can quickly destroy a film and your reputation as a filmmaker and especially as a director. - Yes, we posted casting calls Online and, since I had studied acting for many years and my wife is a professional actor, we focused like laser beams on the submitted demo reels from actors. - We KNEW we had to find extremely TALENTED actors in order to make the film pop, and we did! - We were even able to find a casting house to hold our auditions for free (#8). After the casting, we then had a table-read (#11) and a few rehearsals where I made sure that all the actors were on the same page (#24). - Directing my wife was a joy, because she's very talented and very professional and so were all the other cast members, all of them were extremely talented and we couldn't have made such a successful film without them (#29).

EFF:  The story is about a casual reunion between friends that ends up in a carnage perpetrated by a deranged person. What inspired you to write this story? Any references from other movies?

MB: The main inspiration for the story lies in its MESSAGE. - We're living in a "feeling-based" society where millions of young people staunchly believe that the most important thing on this planet is "how they FEEL about things." - I'm challenging this belief by putting forth the concept that it's infinitely more important "how you ACT rather than how you FEEL." - There is, of course, also a battle between good vs. evil within the script. - In regard to referencing other movies; I never really think about other movies when I'm writing a new script, because I do not want to be influenced by other films, or at least not on a conscious level, but our film was compared by some movie critics to movies like "The Invitation" and "Coherence" etc.   
 Mike Boss behind the scene - anonymous 616

EFF: What references did you have at the moment of shooting the film, cinematically speaking? What camera did you use for this film and do you have a favorite shot, angle or shooting technique?

MB: After deciding on the color theme of the film beforehand, the only reference I used during shooting were my own storyboard pictures, which I had painstakingly created in an effort of hundreds of hours.- The camera we used for this film was the cinematographer's own camera, a Sony 7As - As a side-note; we shot everything in HD. - Since I'm a first-time feature film director, I didn't really have favorite shots or angles, but I consulted and worked closely together with my cinematographer (DP). - But the one thing that was very important to me was achieving the "cinematic look." - I told my DP that I wanted to see some "blurry shit" in the foreground and background whenever possible.
EFF: Tell us for real, how much the budget of your film was? And what item extracted the most money from you?

MB: Ah, yes, the budget! - Isn't it frustrating when filmmakers refuse to disclose their budgets and only leave you with vague answers? Well, that's not me, I will tell you exactly how much money we spent: The total budget to make our movie was $27k. We spent about $4k for the location, $10k for cast and crew salaries, $5k for equipment, $3k for post-production and $5k for miscellaneous expenses (food, props, wardrobe, permits etc.). After seeing the movie, a producer friend of mine guessed the total budget to be around $250k. - Well, you can imagine his reaction when I told him that it was 10-times LESS!
Mike boss and Peter Fuhrman (DP)

EFF: What was your biggest challenge to make this film?

MB: The biggest challenge was withstanding the pressure of the responsibilities I felt on set during filming. - At one point during production I was awake for 43 hours! - This was by far the most exhausting and stressful time of my entire life and for some time I even wondered if I ever wanted do this again. - But, of course, most of the stress was caused by the fact that we had a shoestring budget and therefore were forced to do the job of 5 people at once. - So I'm looking forward to having a bit more money next time, so we can hire more people and alleviate the pressure to give us more space to focus on our own main tasks, i.e. directing (Mike), acting (Jessica) and cinematography (Peter).

EFF: Can you tell us something about distribution? How did you find distribution for your film?

MB: Yes, distribution is a HUGE and very important subject that can't be ignored. - The indie film distribution has completely changed within the last few years and is now much more favorable for us filmmakers. - Many independent filmmakers choose the route of "Self-Distribution" rather than teaming up with a "conventional" distributor who will never pay out. - Since this subject is a bit too complex to write about, I would encourage any filmmaker with a finished film to do some research on their own and to watch the 3 episodes on my YouTube Channel on "Distribution" (#48, #49, #50).

EFF: How has been the response from the audience, festivals and critics so far?

MB: The response from the audience has been very positive so far! - Of course, you'll always have some haters or "low-IQ" viewers who think that A616 was the worst movie they have ever seen, but their arguments often fall short of logic and expose a certain inability to comprehend a concept, but that's okay, because the overwhelming positive feedback we received so far makes up for that by a big margin. - Also, there's a clip on my YouTube Channel where I "Explain" A616. 

The reviews we have received from well-known movie critics were even more fantastic. - We had some of the biggest players like DREAD CENTRAL and HORROR NEWS and HORRORPEDIA write stellar reviews about our film. A616 was called "A film that pushes micro-budget filmmaking to shocking and thought-provoking extremes." Another critic compared A616 to films like "The Blair Witch Project" and the first "Paranormal Activity." 

Although we never really planned to enter A616 into film festivals, I ended up submitting it to a few purely for shits and giggles. A616 has since won bronze for "Best Writer" and "Best Feature Film for a first-time filmmaker" and in another festival won "Best Actress" for Jessica Boss and was nominated for "Best Director" and "Best International Feature Film." - Anyway, I'm not saying that these awards are extremely important, but it does show a certain level of appreciation and points out that our film has something special and apparently stands out from many others.
Awards - Anonymous 616

EFF: Are you a horror fan? What horror films and directors do you like most and why? 

MB: It might come as a surprise to you, but I'm not really a big horror film fan, but I do like psychological thrillers and I do like ANONYMOUS 616. If I'd be forced to mention some of my favorite horror films, I would probably say: "The Fly", "The Ring", "Get out"  Also, unlike other filmmakers, I do not really have a list of my favorite directors, but I do have a list of my 100 favorite movies on my personal website (, i.e. "The Devil's Advocate", "The Matrix", "Contact", "American History X", "Ex Machina" etc.

EFF:  What advice would you give to those aspiring filmmakers who are unsure about how to make their first film? 

MB: My very best advice to them would be to watch my YouTube series on "How I shot my first micro-budget feature film." In this series, I talk about everything we did to make our film A616, from A-Z, in an honest and straightforward way.

EFF: What is new in your career, what can people expect from you in the future? 

MB: Well, one of my scripts, which I had optioned to a company over 2 years ago, is apparently very close to be fully financed ($5-10MM) and supposed to become a theatrical release. - If this comes to fruition, then that would be an amazing achievement and finally a good payday, but all this doesn't really mean anything until it actually happens. - I have been optioned 11-times, but no feature film has ever been produced and that's why I suggested to do it YOURSELF! - I'm currently sitting on about 20 feature screenplays, so I will keep pushing several of my own low-budget projects forward in order to see which one is able to attract FUNDING. - No $$ no movie.

EFF: Do you see yourself always making horror films or do you see yourself shooting other genres? 

MB: Since horror films aren't really my passion, I will most definitely shoot other genres. - But since the release of A616 (available on all digital platforms), I made LOTS of friends in the "Horror Film Community" and therefore I wouldn't completely rule it out that I'd write another psychological thriller/horror script. - But for now, I will probably concentrate a bit more on my other projects, which are more in the direction of drama and faith-based.
Mike Boss behind the scene anonymous 616

EFF: If a rookie filmmaker with no experience asks you for advice in regard to cheap cameras and equipment in order to make a low-budget film, what would you recommend?

MB: In regard to cheap cameras I would recommend to ask a real cinematographer, because THEY know a hundred times more about cameras than I do. - Then I would recommend to maybe watch some of my videos on my YouTube Channel in regard to "How I shot my first micro-budget feature film." That would probably be my best advice!

EFF: If a producer gives you a chance to direct a remake of a horror film, which one would it be and why?

MB: That's a tough question, because the horror films I like and REMEMBER don't need a remake and the other horror films I don't really remember. - Honestly, I'm not even sure if I would be interested in such a scenario. - I think I would rather try to convince the producer to invest the money in a new, original film rather than in a remake, but that's just me.

EFF : Any fun anecdote to shout out to us?

MB: Many years ago Madonna saw me in a modeling magazine and had her assistant call me in Switzerland in order to acquire about my interest in maybe being part of her next movie!! - WHAT??? - Yes, how crazy is that, huh?? - This was probably one of my craziest moments in Switzerland and a HUGE wake up call, which made me believe in my dreams even more. - Again, you can learn about this and many other crazy stories in my no-budget documentary THE DREAMERS, which you can find on my YouTube Channel

EFF: Something you would like to say?

MB: Hmm... Let me think. - Well, in regard to filmmaking I would say: STORY IS KING and the most underestimated element is PRODUCTION SOUND. - And in regard to LIFE I would say: "There is no wisdom without God." - BTW, I'm not a fanatic, I'm simply a rational and common sense human being who understands that there can't be any wisdom without God! - Go think deeply on that!!  

**Mike Boss' | Imdb | Webpage | Facebook | Youtube |**

**ANONYMOUS 616's | Imdb | Webpage | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon Google Play iTunes Microsoft **


1 comment:

  1. Outstanding and accurate interview. I know this guy well and respect all that he does and the type of person he is. Go dude!!!