SNS: How did you initially become involved with Flesh of my Flesh?
Sean Strauss: It was Fall 2004. Hungry, temping, doing pro bono video and getting fed up. My roommate mentioned a Craigslist post for a zombie movie needing people.
I emailed right away saying I’d do it.
A few days later
I drove to the director Edward’s house in Tigard for a production meeting and realized we worked at the same office. So there that is.
SNS: So, what was your main role on the set? Also — tell us about Dammasch!
Sean Strauss: When I showed up for the first meeting I brought a Digital-8 camera and asked if I could produce a making-of. Everyone seemed cool with the idea.
Aside from that I just did what needed to get done. A big one was locations. Most of the dialogue scenes for the movie were in open abandoned spaces.
I’d just been to Dammasch filming ghost hunters and thought it might work. The place is enormous and delightfully weird.
So I brought a six-pack out there one night and met up with the groundskeeper. We talked it over and, after a few phone calls, the production basically had carte blanche. Team Flesh went in there and got to work.
By the end of production, I’d jumped into a bunch of positions; Leopoldo called me the Strauss Army Knife.
SNS: What is your favorite on set memory(memories)?
Sean Strauss: Ron Richardson, who plays Herbert West and also donated the production cameras, came down from Seattle in a big RV. Ron’s hilarious and likes to party so we became fast friends. Throughout production that RV became the VIP chill space. Hanging out in that RV rescued my sanity a few nights.
SNS: Tell us about the documentary included in the special features!
Sean Strauss: I just wanted to shoot shit.
I was teaching myself how to make movies by making them.
I love behind the scenes movies, especially the ones that are more porn than advertising.
A zombie movie felt like a great chance to mess around with a making-of porn.
Edward and I were location scouting at OMSI and I asked if I could get fifty or seventy-five bucks to fund the documentary. He turned me down.
For a minute it’s like “American Movie” and it’s Oh shit really? Then you meet Edward Martin, and you’re like — Oh, this is real. He can write and he’s already strapped in for the rocket launch, um, better help him out.
Edward is the intellectually hulked out straight-edge Oregonian version of Mark Borchardt!!
Naturally he became a friend. Lots of us became friends. Everyone was sweet as pickle pie
Anyway, shooting friends is cake. No one minds if there’s a cam in their noses.
There was a lot of time spent walking around Dammasch looking for things. I found a room that had been painted blood red and looked cool; I got bored and painted it as if it were a promotional display for the movie. And decided to shoot the interviews to give the crew a chance to say their thing.
The Digi-8 got freeze-fried during the Clackamas Blizzard shoot, so the interviews have these digital drop outs and white balance shifts.
So the footage became a birthday montage for Edward, then a 27-minute half-finished thing filled with inside jokes and raunch dressing.
Then I kinda left the making-of alone during the deep space stretch of visual effects and company, but then ten years later when Edward was like, “I finished the movie. Think you can finish the documentary?” it became a necessary thing to make something of merit because a lot of people had worked their butts off.
I yanked the hard drive out of the closet, launched iMovie for the first time in seven years and found 400 clips I hadn’t catalogued yet.
So I told Edward to give me a month, he asked for two weeks, I asked for two hundred bucks. He said a month would be fine.
In the end, it’s a rushed and crude piece but I hope it makes the FOMF peeps happy and got some other Flesh fans juiced.::
SNS: We all worked so well together. There was such a sense of camaraderie. Is there anyone you’d like to work with again?
Sean Strauss: When Flesh was in post, I worked with a bunch of the crew on a couple of music videos. Travis, Leopoldo, Propmasta T were all there. Edward loaned out Flesh gear. The DIY Home Depot dolly affectionately donned Big Blue Bastard came in handy once or twice.
Mark Vetanen and I worked together on a few things. It was like family for a while. A lot of stuff got made as a result of the Flesh collaboration.
SNS: What projects are you working on now?
Sean Strauss: Wrapped/screened a five-year music documentary, writing a narrative feature, being a family guy.
I’m sure I’ll be in touch with a few Fleshers when it’s time to re-engage.