Sketch Lukas, No Flowers, and Dark Comedy
WE HAVE A CHAT WITH SKETCH LUkAS, THE DIRECTOR BEHIND THE SHORT FILM, NO FLOWERS (SOON RELEASING) AND ASK SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PROCESS, SOME QUESTIONS FROM BEHIND THE SCENES, AND ABOUT MAKING A MOVIE ABOUT DEATH. “NO FLOWERS IS CURRENTLY BEING FILMED IN NEW YORK CITY AND WILL BE RELEASED LATE SPRING/EARLY SUMMER THIS YEAR!
My path was pretty much somewhat set, and then I saw Kill Bill Vol. 1. From that point I knew I wanted to make movies
Sketch, tell the EaRiE audience a little about yourself and what makes you unique in your craft, or as we like to say here, what makes you EaRiE?
Sketch: As much as I would like to call myself a filmmaker or storyteller, it would not fully represent the scope of my work; I’m more of a visual artist.
I was 15, doing oil paintings of naked 20 year olds at a fine arts academy
What is your history in filmmaking and what influenced you to take the route of film-making? Was there was one key moment in your life that you knew this is what you wanted to do?
Sketch: As cheesy as this sounds, when I look back at my life as a kid I was always a storyteller. It started with Legos and drawings that evolved into comic books and short stories in elementary school. I remember in the 6th grade we did a project for a book. I decided to do a book report in the format of an action figure re-enactment, and of course, I was the one holding the camera. I was really into art and got really good at it. Like really fucking good. I was 15, doing oil paintings of naked 20 year olds at a fine arts academy. My friends called me Sketch. My path was pretty much somewhat set, and then I saw Kill Bill Vol. 1. From that point I knew I wanted to make movies. I had dreams to be an astronaut as a kid and I really loved space and sci-fi. So I jacked George Lucas’ last name and changed the C to a K to make it cool. And Sketch Lukas was born. Naturally writing and coming up with stories was the easiest thing to do. I start doing animation classes in high school, which started the foundation of my editing skills. From there I went to college and because no one quite got my vision correct or understood my creative choices, I slowly assumed the other key roles of the film crew. I developed this attitude that if I can’t find someone to help I’m jumping in and doing it myself. About 90% of No Flowers is all me.
With “No Flowers”, you tackle a subject that people usually tend to shy away from or avoid talking about and you make a comedy out of it. Tell us about the development in making a dark comedy film about a man wanting to commit suicide and any hurdles you needed to overcome.
Sketch: I would love to come up with some insightful answer to this question. But honestly I didn’t care. A lot of the scripts and concepts I come up with I basically disregard what people think or feel about the subject. Playing it safe doesn’t make good art. A good friend of mine from college wrote the script after we graduated and he sent it to me. I didn’t have the resources to do it then. So five years and over more than a hundred of music videos later, I decided to do a short and revisited some old scripts I’ve had, I found No Flowers. The overall plot of the story is the slightly the same, but I reworked it into what it is today.
How did you come up with the idea for No Flowers? Was there any personal connection for yourself or anyone you know in the story?
Sketch: The original draft of the script was great but it was missing pieces to the puzzle. The event’s that happen in the story had no reason for happening. You never knew why Tom wanted to kill himself so badly. You never understood why a reaper would want to stop him from carrying it out. So with my version not only did I give these characters a reason for their actions, I also created a universe. When you watch the film there’s somewhat of a mythology that gets revealed; The way death itself works and what happens after you die. When I write characters there is always an exaggerated fragment of myself in that character. Tom’s motivation in the story comes from a feeling I had a few years ago. Being in your twenties is stressful. I can admit one time the thought of suicide came up and lasted for about five seconds. So for Tom’s character I put myself into a place if nothing got better and it just got worse and having no control over it and feeling helpless. Then I imagined doing the one thing you sort of have control over, which is your death, only to find out you have no control over that either. That truly sucks. Dee’s character comes from another side of my personality that everyone has, the condescending asshole in all of us. Dee’s attitude and way he treats tom is similar to a customer service agent just not over the phone and in person.
Without giving away the ending, what do you want viewers to take away from the film?
Sketch: Life is hard but death is complicated and guaranteed. So step away from the ledge. lol
We noticed that you’re working with Isaiah Mueller for your film, who lists that he is also a comedian. How has he made the comedic part of the movie easier for you and the video crew?
Sketch: Isaiah was great. He really becomes his character the moment I apply the make-up to his face.
What has been your favorite part of making “No Flowers” so far?
Sketch: Shooting the scene where ****** gets ****** right after he ****** to ******. And thinking for a brief moment I almost killed one of my actors.
Daniel DiFilppo (Producer/Grim Reaper): Doing the narration as the grim reaper. Sketch gives me the crappiest direction on purpose. He just barks out last names of actors over skype. “More Pesci with a dash of Dicaprio. Less Walken. Pacino give me some fucking Pachino.”
Isaiah (Dee): Playing such a vibrant & enigmatic character and my favorite of the film is when you get to see Dee without his make up during the cake scene.
Jon Andrew (Tom): Collaborating with such a talented, motivated group of people. Every aspect of filming was a team effort and I felt like I was part of a group effort to bring such a special script into becoming a reality. Favorite moment was when after 12 hours of filming the sun started to come up and we covered the blinds to keep the sun out to finish the last scenes. Immediately after wrapping up, we all passed out and after the last cut we were all passed out where we did the scenes with the camera still rolling.
Kadeem Rose (Composer/ Photographer): The moment I walked onto set for the first time and saw Dee, the dramatic colors and lighting and fake cocaine on a table. I felt like I walked through a portal into another world. I was inside Sketch’s head. It was a great experience.
Steven Ellis (2nd Camera Operator): Shooting the VFX scenes were fun. I can’t wait to see how the big finale looks on screen.
If you couldn’t film anymore and you had to choose another art form to express yourself, what would it be?
Sketch: Graphic novels and video games.
What is the best part of being on the verge of releasing “No Flowers” to the public?
Sketch: Knowing how fucked up the film is and the public has no idea what they are getting themselves into.
Exclusive!!! EaRiE Core will be showing a special preview of “No Flowers”. Stay tuned for an extra sneak preview!
Check out the facebook page for “No Flowers”: https://www.facebook.com/NoFlowersfilm/photos_stream