Review Fix chats with Amanda Goodman who discusses her new web series, “You Only Die Once.” A self-described Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Goodman talks about the wild and fun production, her creative process and goals for the future as well.
Review Fix: How was this series born?
Amanda Goodman: The series is an adaptation of my award winning short horror comedy film of the same name that we shot nearly a year ago. The idea for the film came as I was watching retrospects on the horror genre and came across a segment on the old Hammer horror films of the 1970’s. I loved how unique they were and wanted to experiment with doing something like that but set in the current time we live in, and more so to turn the tables on how women were usually portrayed in those films. Horror of Dracula was the main one. The story of Dracula in itself, while beautifully written and often gorgeously portrayed in various film adaptations, doesn’t really portray women in a positive or inspiring light. They are easily manipulated, and when they themselves are turned into the same evil as the main villain, they are destroyed because it is unacceptable to give in to one’s sexual desires, especially as a woman. But for good old Drac, it’s cool. So I thought I’d put a funny modern spin on it. We shot the film and after it premiered, people were (excuse the terrible 1st of many bad vampire puns in this interview) “craving” more.
Review Fix: What makes this series special?
Goodman: Our characters are real, funny, and flawed. Most importantly, they are driven by their relationships and conflicts with one another. It isn’t just vampires…run or boy meets girl blah blah blah! Our main goal is giving women in horror (as well as film in general) more of a unique voice outside of being a “scream queen” or “final girl and to explore their relationships with each other.”We are not only a show driven by the female characters, but also 90% of our crew is female. Getting this show-up and running from its inception to the funding process, and all the way through the post was extremely difficult. We fought against all the odds and carried on with a very ambitious production with very limited resources. But we achieved greatness (and hopefully, people will feel comedy gold) because of the tremendous talents working on our set. They all truly believed in this quirky comedy horror show that shows women can kick ass, even if they’re also updating their Facebook statuses while doing so….#SlayLife
Review Fix: What was the feeling like on set?
Goodman: At times tough because we were working at the level of a show that would normally warrant a $50,000+ budget on not even half that. But the hard work that everyone put in despite it all, truly shows in the final product, and that is a direct result of the positive environment we created on our set. Our blooper reel is out of this world because everyone on set was so positive and hardworking that even when we were behind schedule if the actors had to break character and laugh, the entire set laughed with them. We bonded during our toughest moments. I have memories I will never forget.
Review Fix: Who do you think will enjoy it most?
Goodman: I think everyone can find something to enjoy about YODO. We hit upon a nostalgia for horror comedies from the 80s (such as Fright Night, The Lost Boys, and Evil Dead) but we also speak to today’s generation, especially young women who need role models to look up to. Our female characters are all different from one another and we hope audiences will laugh with them, fear for them, and ultimately connect to them. Plus who doesn’t love a good old fashioned 80s styled practical SFX death scene here and there?
Review Fix: What makes the cast stand out?
Goodman: The cast is made up of working TV, film, and improv actors here in NYC. I wrote this project for actors I knew. So the dialogue and the qualities that make them unique and effect how they take action is directly connected to who these actors are and what their essence is. They are so funny and good at what they do. As a filmmaker, I feel so blessed to be able to have them bring this world I’ve created to life. And as a fellow actor, I love getting to play alongside them.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like? What inspires you?
Goodman: My creative process comes from a place of play. As a writer, I think about what stories and worlds that I want to play with/in. Obviously, the horror genre has always been my go-to. There is something so intriguing and inspiring about how some of the great horror minds in the genre’s history (Dario Argento, Wes Craven, David Cronenberg) have created such inventive cinematic worlds. And although the genre has been primarily dominated by men, let’s not forget that one of the best vampire movies to come out of the 80s was not only directed by a woman, but that of the only woman to win an Academy Award, the incredible Kathryn Bigelow (if that’s not inspiring, I don’t know what is.) Back to the visuals: the bedroom ceiling death scene (or I guess every death scene) in the original “A Nightmare on Elm Street” Is nothing short of extraordinary. Italian cinema is also a big one for me. Suspiria is not just a film, but an experience. So for me, I try to create stories that take what I love about films like that but put real characters that I feel I and the audience of today can connect with. And then I sprinkle in my own brand of tone specificity (I have a very twisted sense of humor), and voila….a bloody cocktail fits for any lover of a good story.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Goodman: After our release on May 30th, we’re hoping for a season 2! The second season is outlined, now we just need to sort the rest out and hope audiences “thirst” (ugh…I know) for more. I also have several screenplays and series in development, all with the same women in the genre goal in mind. Can’t wait to see what bloody fun the future holds.
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Goodman: Check out You Only Die Once when it premieres on YouTube on May 30th. You can stay up to date on all things YODO by following us on Twitter & Instagram @YodoSeries.