Film 101 with…. Mike West

Mike West is the driving force behind Canada’s independent film company “Roadrage Films”; described as “an independent production company focusing on making top quality movies with little to no budget.”

Road Rage Films was started 4 years ago to produce low cost high quality projects. To date they have created 2 short movies; “Just One Night” and “House of Pain”. Currently they’re working on the Body Trade project along with developing a couple of other features and shorts. Body Trade is a new horror project from Mike West and Road Rage Films.

The project, which consists of a Web Series, Graphic Novel and Feature Script, is about a group of prostitutes who run a brothel to cover up the true nature of their business, their harvesting organs. Mike has always been interested in writing. “I was always writing horror inspired stories for writing assignments, so it’s always been in my blood… no pun intended” Mike is currently in marketing and finds his chosen career invaluable to his filmmaking and writing ambitions, but he would love to be a development executive “because I have more ideas then I could ever write on my own”.

It was while working as a cleaner that one of these ideas nudged Mike onto his current filmmaking path. “My wife and I were cleaning at night prior to our wedding. And I HATED IT… one day, I was carrying a garbage bag and it broke. And instead of getting mad, I laughed, and it gave me an idea for a script. From there I started to get back in touch with my writing roots and I’ve never looked back”. But it has not all been plain sailing and inexperience led to his first lesson learned. “My first film was called HOUSE OF PAIN.

It’s a short we shot in Niagara Falls, Ontario, which is about a haunted house attraction that isn’t all it appears to be.” “The shoot went well, sort of, but sound really killed it. And that’s my biggest lesson learned… if it sounds terrible, no matter how nice it looks, it won’t be watchable, unless of course it’s a silent film.

I’m sure I learned many other lessons, but I could write a whole book on that subject. Apart from working on promoting “Body Parts”, Mike and Roadrage Films are working on “Beware of Dogs”. The basic premise is about four teens who find an abandoned farm while geocaching (a treasure hunting came using GPS). “Little do they know that the barn is protected by a ravenous pack of dogs. This will certainly put a new spin on property protection.” “Beware of Dogs will in fact be a zero dollar project. And to do this, I’m going to use borrowed equipment, or the older consumer stuff I have laying around.

I’m a firm believer in the fact that it’s not the tools but the creativity and execution that make a project successful.” “Blair Witch” and “Paranormal Activity” are perfect examples of this. I’ve always edited my projects, and will be composing for this one… so that’s how I can do it for nothing… If we end up using rubbish consumer DV stuff… then it may be a “Blair Witch” type shooting style.” His advice is simple for those just starting off. “In the words of Lloyd Kaufman, “Make your own damn movie” – just go out there and make crap, bad crap, and keep getting better. Learn to write good material. Learn what good sound is.” “Get a hold of whatever camera you can. I once use an old VHS camcorder, so no excuses. ummmm… network for sure, and don’t have too high expectations of yourself. Be realistic and have fun.”