Lynn Shelton talks about directing “Your Sister’s Sister”

With only three feature films to her credit, Lynn Shelton has built a reputation as a writer with a keen ear and a director with a similar eye. Her last film, “Humpday,” earned her multiple awards, including the prestigious John Cassavetes Award at the Independent Spirit Awards.

Her latest film, “Your Sister’s Sister,” continues her rise as one of the most talented and respected independent filmmakers of her generation. While promoting the film’s release, Ms. Shelton took time out to speak with Media Mikes about her love for the Pacific Northwest and her even greater love: being behind the camera.

Mike Smith: What was your inspiration in writing this film?
Lynn Shelton: The initial kernel of the film came from Mark Duplass. It was a little different. It was a guy and a girl who were best friends and the guy loses his brother. She sends him up to the cabin to be alone and he meets her mother. Her hot, youngish mother. It was going to be a kind of mother/daughter bed switching comedy. It was something he had envisioned making with his brother, Jay. But because it dealt with a dead brother Mark felt that it might be a little too close to home for them to handle as filmmakers. But he liked the idea still so he brought it to me with Jay’s blessing. And I made a few changes. I set it in the Pacific Northwest, where I set all of my movies. I just finished my 5th filmthere. I live in Seattle and I love to work in Washington state. And I also changed the mom to a sister. I always liked the idea of exploring a sister relationship…I’ve had an incredibly fascinating and rich love/hate relationship with my sisters my whole life and I thought it would be rich territory for a film.

MS: As a writer do you encourage your casts to improvise?
LS: I do. Well, in this case, for sure. My last film, “Humpday,” was 100% improvised in terms of the actual dialogue. I knew what was going to happen in each scene but we would talk before hand. Then we’d turn the camera on and they would find their way through the scene. In this film I actually had most of the dialogue written out. But I asked them to just hold the words loosely in their heads…don’t memorize the lines. It was really a quest for naturalism. I wanted the audience to believe that these people were having real conversations.

MS: You kind of touched on the fact that Mark Duplass is also a talented writer/director. Is it harder or easier to work with someone with that experience? Not to the point that he would second guess you but would he step back and offer advice?
LY: Not really. It’s a very open environment on set and everybody is contributing a lot. All of the actors. And I find that his experiences as a writer and director are really very invaluable. His input is really, really valuable. He never tried to overstep his bounds. He’s always an actor. I like to engage my actors…I like them to bring everything they’ve got to the table. I find it an incredible value.

MS: And as someone who also acts it might be easier to see where they’re coming from in certain situations?
LS: Yes. And that’s why I still like to keep my toe in that discipline. If somebody asks me to do a role and I’m able to…if it’s small and not too time consuming…I like to say “yes” because it keeps me close to that process. It also reminds me how difficult it is and what ittakes to do it. So you’re right. I am extremely empathetic with my actors. I try to create an emotionally safe work environment. That gives them the best chance of giving their best performance.

MS: Since we’re on the subject, have you decided to remain more behind the camera or is there still an acting role out there you’d like to do?
LS: I’ll never say never but right now I’m just so in love with directing that it’s hard for me to imagine taking on any kind of major acting role. But there may be something that comes down the line when I have an opening in my schedule that feels like the right thing to do. So I don’t want to put a total nix on that. But I’ve really just fallen in love with directing so it’s kind of hard to imagine taking acting seriously at this point in my life.

MS: You mentioned that you just finished your next film. Can you talk about it or what else you have coming up on your schedule?
LS: Sure. We wrapped shooting about five weeks ago. It’s called “Touchy-Feely.” My other films have been three character pieces and I wanted to get away from that. This one has an ensemble cast. It’s not a typical “Lynn Shelton” film. It’s a real departure. It was a great deal of fun to shoot.

Darren Lynn Bousman talks about remaking “Mother’s Day”

Darren Lynn Bousman is known best for his work on the “Saw” franchise and to cult fans of “Repo! The Genetic Opera” and “The Devil’s Carnival”. Darren recently took out some time to chat about his remake of the classic 1980 Troma film “Mother’s Day”.

Mike Gencarelli: What can you tell us about your version of “Mothers Day”?
Darren Lynn Bousman: We wanted a film that paid homage to the original without copying it. We wanted this film to be its own thing. We didn’t want to make a carbon copy because the film already exists. We tried to make something that had similarities to the first film while keep it independent.

MG: When did you join the project?
DLB: I was there from the beginning. Brett Ratner approached me about it and then him and another friend and I developed and wrote it.

MG: How did you know you had your mother with Rebecca De Mornay?
DLB: After our first phone call she was so particular about everything. She was particular about everything single aspect. To me that showed she cared. There was no bullshit and she got it. I knew we had her at that point.

MG: What are you most excited about now that the film is released?
DLB: I am glad people are finally going to get to see the film. Once a director turns in their movie you never know what’s going to happen. We tested high and thought this movie was going to be a big hit. The film then ended up sitting on the shelf for a few years. Now that it’s finally out I hope it finds an audience. I hope people will see it and support it.

MG: How does this film compare to your other films?
DLB: Every movie I have done has been completely different. This movie is more along the lines of a “Saw” film but more adult. You can’t compare it to something like “Devil’s Carnival” which is completely out of the box. “Mother” is more of an adult thriller/drama.

MG: What do you have planned next?
DLB: “Devil’s Carnival: Episode 2”!

Darren Lynn Bousman talks about “The Devil’s Carnival”

Darren Lynn Bousman is known for directing films like “Saw II, III & IV” and “Repo! The Genetic Opera”. Darren is reuniting with Terrance Zdunich from “Repo” on his newest film “The Devil’s Carnival”. They are also currently touring with this film to over 30+ cities. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Darren about the film and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: Can you tell us about the origin of “The Devil’s Carnival”?
Darren Lynn Bousman: Terrance and I have been trying to find another project to work on since “Repo! The Genetic Opera”. We just couldn’t find the right one. We knew the project had to be great and not just good. We threw ideas back and forth but nothing struck us as being great. All of a sudden this idea hit and we knew this was what we had to do. When you know you know and we jumped on this immediately.

MG: What do you feel is the hardest part of shooting a horror musical?
DLB: Every aspect. This is a self funded thing. We actually received funding from Empire Film and Entertainment Group in Florida. I met them through one of the producers and they are great guys. There was no studio behind us. It was basically just us doing this thing. We had a real lack of support. This was just a bunch of friends making a movie together. It’s sounds awesome but it was really hard because there was no infrastructure. Doing everything from the soundtrack to the posters was the hardest part. We recorded an entire album without the help of any outside system. We shot the film which should have taken a month in just seven days.

MG: How do you compare this production with that of “Repo! The Genetic Opera”?
DLB: This production I think is a little more mature. I will always love “Repo” as it is one of my favorite things. I just feel “Devil’s Carnival” is more mature and accessible. This film is equally bad ass and out of the box as “Repo”.

MG: Can you tell us about the cast?
DLB: It’s as extremely diverse and equally crazy as the Repo cast. Emilie Autumn, who is my favorite person in the world now, plays the painted doll.  Clown from Slipknot, Nivek Ogre, Sean Patrick Flanery and Paul Sorvino to name just a few. This cast just is extremely diverse. I think that makes it awesome! It gives the film that “What the fuck” factor. To me that’s my favorite thing about this movie. It is just so crazy and out there. This casting on this film was very unsafe.

MG: Can you tell us about the 30 city tour you currently have going on?
DLB: It’s fucking insane! I am in a van right now with seven other people and it smells like feet and farts. It’s punk rock film making. The good people at Empire Film and Entertainment Group are funding this and we are doing this on the cheap for the art. Hopefully when people come out to the shows they see something they have never seen before. We want to make going to the movies and experience. This is a rock and roll concert in a movie theater.

Meet Stars of Darren Lynn Bousman and Terrance Zdunich’s “The Devil Carnival” When Tour Comes to Your City!

Do you want to meet the stars and minds behind the new musical movie sensation, THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL, face-to-face? Now is your chance! THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL team recently confirmed the list of cast and crew appearing on each date of this exclusive road tour and are now revealing this list to the world!

The creators of the film, director Darren Lynn Bousman and Terrance Zdunich (Lucifer), are scheduled to appear at each tour stop and will be joined at several exclusive showings by numerous stars of the film. The stars will participate in meet & greets, Q&A forums, sing-a-longs, and more! See below for a list of the cast and crew currently confirmed to appear on the tour and stay tuned for more appearance confirmations for the remainder of the tour coming soon.

***Stars CONFIRMED to join THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL creators Darren Lynn Bousman and Terrance Zdunich on the tour are:

Marc Senter

Hannah Minx

Hannah Minx

Hannah Minx

Hannah Minx

J LaRose

J LaRose

J LaRose

Ivan Moody of Five Finger Death Punch

Ivan Moody

Ivan Moody
J LaRose

Briana Evigan

Briana Evigan

Briana Evigan

Emilie Autumn

Emilie Autumn
M. Shawn “Clown” Crahan

Emilie Autumn


***All celebrity special guests are confirmed on tour but are subject to cancellation due to professional commitments outside of THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL’S control. Please visit our official Facebook page for tour news and updates:

Buy your tickets NOW to experience the devilish insanity in person with your favorite actors and musicians. Keep in mind, THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL can only be seen on this exclusive tour, so you must attend a showing to witness the madness!

See below for all CONFIRMED cities and theaters showing THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL and buy your tickets here:

4/9 – Tucson, AZ @ Tucson Loft Cinema

4/11 – El Paso, TX @ El Paso Starplex

4/12 – Austin, TX @ Alamo South Lamar

4/13 – Houston, TX @ Alamo Drafthouse

4/14 – Dallas, TX @ Lakewood Theater

4/17 – Nashville, TN @ The Nashville Limelight

4/18 – Atlanta, GA @ The Plaza Theater

4/19 – Orlando, FL @ The Premiere Cinema 14 (at Fashion Square Mall)

4/20 – Tampa, FL @ The Tampa Pitcher Show

4/21 – Charlotte, NC @ The Neighborhood Theater

4/22 – Richmond, VA @ The Byrd

4/24 – Pittsburgh, PA @ The Hollywood Theater

4/25 – Baltimore, MD @ The Charles Theatre

4/26 – New York, NY @ Times Scare NYC

4/27 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Painted Bride

4/28 – South Hadley, MA @ The Tower Theater

4/29 – Boston, MA @ The Foxboro Theater

5/1 – Toronto, ON, Canada @ Toronto Underground Theater

5/2 – Toledo, OH @ Collingwood Arts Center

5/3 – Chicago, IL @ The Music Box Theater

5/4 – Des Moines, IA @ The Fluer Cinema Cafe

5/5 – Kansas City, KS @ Leawood Cinema Theater

5/6 – Denver, CO @ The Oriental Theater

5/7 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Tower Theater

5/9 – Seattle, WA @ The Admiral Theater

5/10 – Portland, OR @ The Clinton St. Theater

5/11 – Sacramento, CA @ The Colonial Theater

For more information and to view the official trailer, visit

Purchase the sinister THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL soundtrack at, iTunes, or!

THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL is produced by EMPIRE FILM AND ENTERTAINMENT GROUP. Executive producer credit goes to Stephen Ruff and Thomas M Kastelz.

Interview with Mary Lynn Rajskub

Mary Lynn Rajskub is known best for her role of Chloe O’Brian in the TV series “24”.  Mary Lynn is currently co-starring in “How To Be a Gentleman” with David Horsnby, Kevin Dillon, Rhys Darby and David Foley.  The show premiere’s September 29th on CBS.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Mary Lynn about her now show and what we can expect from the season.

Mike Gencarelli: How is it working with a primarily male cast on “How To Be a Gentleman”?
Mary Lynn Rajskub: I don’t mind it. Men can be exciting sometimes. We have a lot of women on the crew and there also is Nancy Lenehan, who plays our mother on the show.

MG: How was it working with Kevin Dillion, who is fresh from “Entourage”?
MLR: It’s great! He is a super nice guy and he is very funny. I think this show gives him more to do and we get to see more of him than on “Entourage”. He really had no break as once that show ended he started work on this one. We are shooting episode number five right now. It’s been pretty fun so far.

MG: What can we expect from the first season?
MLR: The idea of the show was created by David Horsnby. He had this book that I think his mom gave him on how to be a gentleman. The book has all these archaic rules about politeness and things a gentleman should do. David loosely based the show on a guy who lived his life by every rule in that book. I play the sister who tries to get this guy into the real world. Kevin Dillon plays the guy who used to be the bully in high school and wants Andrew the main character to get laid. It’s really a story about a guy attempting to change his life.

MG: How does it feel going from a show like “24” to a comedy like this one?
MLR: It’s been interesting. It’s been a lot different and I don’t have to worry about who is getting shot or if the bomb went off yet. This show still has high stakes overall but its more about the relationships. I get to be a girl and wear sexy outfits. It’s a lot lighter.

MG: How do you feel this show differs from other television shows?
MLR: I think every show is different. What I like about our show is that the characters are very likeable. I think everyone on our show is really good at comedy and each character is endearing in their own way.

MG: What was it like working with Fred Savage?
MLR: Fed Savage is super sweet and very high energy. He is like a little kid as he has so much fun directing and with his job. Fred is just a great guy that has grown up in the business and loves directing. He has a very infectious personality.

MG: Any word about the rumors circulating in relation to a “24” full length movie?
MLR: I haven’t heard anything but it is something I would love to see. I am not sure how they would handle the countdown but I haven’t heard anything yet. I hope it is still in the works.

MG: Can you tell us about your upcoming film with Kristen Bell titles “Safety Not Guaranteed”?
MLR: I got to work with Aubrey Plaza and Jake Johnson who is super funny as well as Jeff Garlin who I have known for a long time. It was one of those scripts that were sort of odd and sweet but kind of dark. It was good timing and was just a few days of work. I play a boss of a magazine that is very cold and rude. The film is based on a personal add about a guy that wants to time travel.