“Okay, guys we are rolling! Quiet please, everyone standby…Action!” I was mesmerized, it was my first day on the set of the campy horror film, The Ice Cream Truck. It had been many years since I had last been on a working film set of any kind. Watching everyone work together to achieve the same goal was powerful and a pleasure to witness. Little is known about the premise of this film, and with that being said I was carefully watching every shot and piecing it together, and my creeps, you are going to be in for a deadly sticky treat!
Like most moviegoers out there when I watch a film I immediately connect with a piece of my childhood, the memories flood through my brain like water roaring through a broken damn! Director and Writer Megan Freels Johnston very much tares at our childhood psyche with The Ice Cream Truck. Ice Cream has been making the majority of us insanely happy since childhood. We had smeared it all over our faces, and screamed for it when we were babies, and now we are going to run like hell! Described as both comedic and gory, the world will never view an Ice Cream Truck the same as the jingle glides up the street, moving closer and closer.
The production is very fortunate to have a beautiful, talented cast and not to mention the hard working crew, working hours that I am sure felt endless! Everyone I came into contact with has a succulent passion for their profession. Witnessing all the technical aspects involved with film-making most certainly reiterated my appreciation for the process.
Enjoy behind the scenes photos below and take a gander at our interview with Director Megan Freels Johnston, and as always check back with iHorror for updates and exclusive content on The Ice Cream Truck!
Mary’s husband gets relocated for work which allows her to move back to her suburban hometown. As Mary’s family ties up loose ends back home, she moves into their new house all alone and ….waits. Although her familiar suburb is a constant reminder of her youth, something seems strange. A local Ice Cream Man with a love of nostalgia starts to kill some of her neighbors. Mary is torn between her mature instincts that something wrong and the distracting memories of her younger days.
Recently ihorror caught up with The Ice Cream Truck’s director Megan Freels Johnston and spoke to her about the adventures that she has ensued in the film industry as well as filming her new feature.
iHorror: Megan, The Ice Cream Truck has been described as a campy type of film full of nostalgia, what were your inspirations for creating this film?
Megan Freels Johnston: When I moved into my house, I soon found out there were several Ice Cream Trucks that drive by every day. I would hear the jingle coming from the truck and my mind would wander. There is something so haunting about the music, and The Ice Cream Truck is such a strange beast. We are taught not to take candy from a stranger. But it is perfectly acceptable to take Ice Cream from a Stranger. There seemed to be so many opportunities for a story to lie within that concept.
iH: What have been your greatest challenges during the production of The Ice Cream Truck thus far?
MFJ: The biggest challenge when making an independent film is time and money. You only have a certain amount for your budget and only a certain amount of days to get everything you want which is really difficult. I tend to do a lot of rehearsals too, so everyone is ready when we start shooting. Some things, though, you just can’t plan for. The police came on one of our nights at the Playground. I almost lost it. They were just doing their job but them being there for over an hour caused me to lose a pretty important shot. What can you do?
iH: How was The Ice Cream Truck financed?
MFJ: The Ice Cream Truck was financed through Private Equity. Getting financing for a film is easily one of the most difficult parts of filmmaking. It’s the reason there are so many talented directors out there, not making movies. It’s a grueling process.
iH: Any memorable experiences or stories during production?
MFJ: The production for The Ice Cream Truck was very memorable. What I will remember so much is how great the Cast and Crew were. Everyone wanted to be there, and everyone was so passionate about the project. It was a great feeling. We had so much fun! We laughed a lot. So much, so I think we might put in a Gag reel.
iH: How was working on The Ice Cream Truck different from Rebound? Any similarities?
MFJ: The Ice Cream Truck was nothing like making Rebound. Rebound was a life changing the experience for me. I had been a producer for so long, and it didn’t occur to me make a film myself. My frustration with the film business and films not getting off the ground led me to want to make a film on my own terms, which became Rebound. Making my first very small film, allowed me to get my feet wet as a filmmaker. It taught me A LOT. Far more than I had ever learned as a producer.
I was able to take all that knowledge and apply it to a much bigger film. Rebound will always have a special place in my heart, but The Ice Cream Truck is truly a film that represents me as a filmmaker. It’s a feminist horror film with a lot of layers.
iH: The film industry can be very rewarding, however on the flip side what are some of the Catch-22s of the business that you have experienced?
MFJ: The biggest Catch 22 of the film industry is that you can’t get financing with out a huge star, and you can’t get huge star without financing. It’s exhausting.
There is also a large portion of financiers who want a certain kind of B-List Name Actors attached who I will not name. Casting that way, to please your financier, is never a good idea but sometimes you feel tempted because more money will make things easier on the production. It does not, however, give you a better film.
iH: What stage is The Ice Cream Truck currently in? Any distribution for the film?
MFJ: The Ice Cream Truck has distribution already. We are currently in post-production. We are about to add score to the film. There will be a new poster and a teaser out shortly.
iH: Do you have any projects that you are currently working on? Anything planned for the future?
MFJ: I have several projects in development. Some I will direct and some I have other directors attached. It’s hard though to focus on other projects at the moment since post-production is pretty time consuming.
iH: Staying conservative is an essential skill when working in the world of independent films. The last thing that a director / producer needs are going over budget. What precautionary measures were taken to meet your budget during filming?
MFJ: I think as an independent filmmaker these days, you have to be resourceful. It’s no walk in the park. Making movies is hard work. When you have a small budget to work with you, have to be willing to compromise your vision a little bit. Choose your battles. I also find that people will help you if you’re passionate about what you’re doing.
iH: What was the process for casting The Ice Cream Truck?
MFJ: Deanna Russo was the first person we cast. She is absolutely incredible in this film. She carries the story, and you really relate to her. I typically don’t make people read. I’d rather just watch their work, and I can tell a lot from that. The Ice Cream Man was probably the hardest to cast. It’s a very hard role to play. The character is sometimes funny and sometimes very scary. We ultimately lucked out finding Emil Johnsen. He is fantastic in this film. He’s a classically trained actor, and it shows. The wrong person in this role would have really changed the film. Ironically Jeff Daniel Phillips came on board because he had worked with Emil and knew how great of an actor he is. All the actors are great in the film. We really lucked out!
iH: What can you tell us about the actual Ice Cream Truck? What is the story behind its resurrection?
MFJ: I was looking for Ice Cream Trucks for sale on Craigslist among other places, and I found this ad for a gorgeous vintage milk truck on Ebay that had been restored by Laguna Vintage. So I called them. I thought there was no way they would be in my price range, but I thought, “What the hell? It can’t hurt right?” Well, it turns out they are the nicest guys. I told them about my film and why one of their trucks would make the film so much better than a clunky old Ice Cream Truck. So they agreed to work with me. Not only are they amazing guys, but they came to the set a lot and enjoyed the process.
Megan, thank you so much. As always it has been a pleasure speaking to you about your new film. We wish you the best of wishes and luck and look forward to talking with you again. Currently, in post-production, The Ice Cream Truck will be terrorizing your neighborhood in 2017!
So my advice to any filmmaker is that it is not over when it’s done. Make sure that you pencil in another year and a half of your life because you have to work that hard all the way to the end. I mean it is never ending, it’s like a baby your film is your baby. And because I think of it as 150% of my vision it gave me all the more all, the more drive to give it life. And I do think that some filmmakers get tired and are just like, ‘I can’t do this anymore’ and you have to keep going, it’s like a marathon.” – Megan Freels Johnston, Director, Writer, & Producer. (Rebound film, Red Carpet Premiere 2015).
(Photos Courtesy of icecreamtruckmovie.com)
Director – Producer – Writer – Megan Freels Johnston
Producer – YuMee Jang
Producer – Omid Shamsoddini
- Behind The Scenes Photography – Heather Lynn Cusick
-ABOUT THE AUTHOR-
Ryan T. Cusick is a writer for ihorror.com and very much enjoys conversation and writing about anything within the horror genre. Horror first sparked his interest after watching the original, The Amityville Horror when he was the tender age of three. Ryan lives in California with his wife and Ten-year old daughter, who is also expressing interest in the horror genre. Ryan recently received his Master’s Degree in Psychology and hopes to some day write a novel. Ryan can be followed on twitter @Nytmare112