FX artist Robert Bravo!
And here we go…
Bravo: I actually got into the film industry as a producer; my first project was about a kidnapping that goes to fuck, I think we shot that back in 07 or 06. I’d been playing around with FX stuff much longer then that, my first legitimate FX project would have been “Monsters” which we made in 09
TDBS: What if anything prompted you to take this career choice?
Bravo: Well… I grew up in entertainment; there are photos (somewhere out there) of Jack Nicholson bouncing me on his knee when I was a baby. I spent a lot of my early days on tour buses with signers who I’m sure you’ve heard of. Point being Entertainment’s in my blood, I got into making monsters and gore because I couldn’t afford to hire FX artists on my movies, and as I learned it, I realized I liked making the madness more than the movies
TDBS: Is there any particular movie or scene that “grabbed you by the throat” and led you on this path?
Bravo: There are two: American Werewolf In London and Alien.
** This interview was conducted prior to the tragic passing of legend H.R. Giger who created Alien
TDBS: In your opinion is there a movie (that may be highly underrated or unseen by many) that budding FX newbies should view, with any particular scene in mind? (kinda tied in with #1)
Bravo: I’m going to go back to “American Werewolf” It’s by no means underrated but its older, so a lot of this generation just doesn’t even know it’s out there, which is a shame I mean the climatic transformation alone, It’s brutally painful to watch, and at the same time its fucking beautiful. The corpsing effects on “Jack are also great” I’m a practical FX. guy
Bravo: I’ve got a feeling you could guess this one, Yep “American Werewolf In London”, I’d like to modernize it a bit, and redesign the wolf and make it mine. Also like to take on “Day Of The Dead” 90% of what I do is Zombie movies so…
TDBS: Two very excellent choices!
Are there any scenes in particular you would change?
Bravo: It's not the scenes I would change but how the scenes were shot, does that make sense?
TDBS: Yes, that makes complete sense.
I'm a huge Peter Jackson fan, who woulda guessed...right? Do you have a favorite amongst his many films?
Bravo: Definitely The Hobbit hahahaha just kidding. Honestly I’m not sure. Maybe Bad Taste I love it when the director helms the FX, The vision is more genuine
Bravo: If I got a phone call from Mr. Jackson offering me the sequel I’m pretty dammed sure I’d say yeah
TDBS: We agree with a hearty “HELL YES!”
I hail from the land of 'Video Nasties', do you have a favorite movie from that infamous period that you believe deserves a remake? (My vote is for Cannibal Holocaust but that's probably because I'm a tad jaded in my viewing habits.)
Bravo: I know they just did it but do you still count Evil Dead? Its kind of soft by today’s standards, but that’s a story I would love to play with, I’d enjoy trying to do Cannibal Holocaust, but I think without the brutality that went into the production (and if you’re readers don’t know, man there was brutality) I don’t know, I don’t think it would be the half as um… extreme. Side note I've eaten turtle
If you were at the FX helm in this "rehash" who would you wish to direct?
Bravo: I’d want Guillermo del Toro. The man knows twisted
plus with him I get Doug and that would make me happy. I've always wanted to work with Doug Jones
Bravo: Well, I’ve meet Lindsey in passing and she was no where near as much as a twat as I expected, Paris on the other hand; well I have a personal problem which I will keep to myself, but (keeping in mind this is fantasy) I’d say a tank full of hungry Rats, then I’d feed the rats to snakes, the snakes to birds, the birds to
dogs, the dogs to bigger snakes, then keep the big snakes as pets, I really dislikeParis but I do like snakes.
TDBS: Excellent Sir! I don't think we could agree any more but we do feel bad for those Rats!
in hopes to get a wider audience or perhaps for other reasons.
Bravo: The thing to remember is if I’ve done my job right you won’t notice it. It seamlessly comes and goes. As far as being removed to tame a project down well... No one wants there hard work to be lost, but I understand why it has to happen. I try to work mostly with independent filmmakers so I haven’t really had too many issues.
TDBS: Is there a case in particular you can tell us of?
Bravo: One does come to mind, but in the interest of professional decency I’m inclined to reframe from discussing it. Sorry.
Do you still get paid if your scenes get removed? (And nope...I don't work for the IRS!)
Bravo: As a rule you get paid for your work, otherwise productions run the risk of being sued, however it all depends on the wording in your deal memo i.e. contract. I try to always draw up my own. On the other hand if a scene is cut because you fail to create a gag, then you’ve breached your end of the deal and its up to the production. Keep in mind if I fail and the production has to lose the day it can cost anywhere from 10k to 100k depending on the over all budget, in this case they may be inclined to tell you to go to hell, and I wouldn't argue.
TDBS: Understandable. Is there a typical budget for any specific scene featuring FX work, or does this usually depend on the director?
Bravo: The Director has almost no say in the matter.
Very rarely do they control the budget, and in truth since many times a gag can only be shot one way and from one angle the FX artist ends up directing their particular scene anyway. Budgeting is a responsibility that goes to the EP or the producer.
As a rule you go into a meeting and give them two quotes, the cost to make the gag happen, then the cost to make it good. They take that and decide what they can afford
Bravo: Creatures!!! But I’m stronger at causality. The cool thing about monsters is you kind of get a bit of a “God complex” (in a good way) I can draw a picture of anything and in 3 days see it walking around in the real world. Casualty on the other hand you’re limited to what can happen in the real world. I once had to stab a guy in the eye. The research was more brutal than the effect, I spent weeks looking for just the right blood patterns, the right angle for the knife to sit, I’m sure Google has me in some kind of file for my image searches haha. You don’t have to worry about any of that with monsters.
Bravo: I’m going to say if it’s still on the air (and any good) in two or three years then maybe.
I know a few people who have been on the show, and here’s the thing, It’s a lot of work and not that incredible a reward, you get some good exposure, which I don’t really want right now, some supplies, and cash. Just my opinion but a lot of it is about stroking your ego. So we’ll see, ask me again some time
TDBS: The floor is yours Sir, please tell us of any future work(s) you are excited to start. Anything we might see your craftsmanship in?
Bravo: Right now I'm taking some off time from active production, working with some other FX artists to better my craft, training in foam fabrication and some other cool stuff. There are some wicked projects coming down the pipeline. One about cannibals and another about um I guess you’d call them werewolves.
I’m also thinking about putting back on my producer hat and taking on a story I’ve wanted to tell about monsters I designed a few years ago. It's too soon to say but I’ll keep you in the loop.
(Fiend wanted me to ask :P )
Bravo: I’ve got a ton of there stuff on my computer but truth be told I couldn’t tell you which album I like most.
TDBS: Do you prefer a type of music to work to?
When I’m designing casualty gags I tend to listen to death metal, industrial, anything fast and loud. Creature creation on the other hand I like classical, opera, but my computer has literally everything you could think of , I listen to it all.
TDBS: So do we Sir, so do we!
Be sure to follow Robert Bravo on Twitter & Facebook for all his latest!
Stay tuned for more exclusive interviews from the worlds of both horror and metal as we continue this venture. Thanks for taking the time to take the journey with us! Leave us a comment and have a great day!