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Combat Nuns All or Nothing | An Interview with Rick Williamson

Interviewed by Barry John Terblanche

Combat Nuns, all or nothing: Not all Nuns are as they seem – caring and innocent! In
particular, Sister Brickball. You’ll not want to run into her in a biker bar… she’ll more than
hit you over the head with a bible. She’s not a sinner, nor is she criminal intent. She’s just
unorthodox in her ways, and the priest of her church is tired of her daily visits in the
confession booth.

Cult Critic – You are the screenwriter to Combat Nuns, all or nothing. A unique story with a strong theme and premise. How did the story come to mind.

Rick – Years ago I read an article in the Los Angeles Times newspaper about a group of tough, Catholic women who challenged an abortion clinic and were subsequently arrested.  I just took the idea and ran with it.

Cult Critic – The film’s premise, plot, and story are unique. It’s a very compact 5 minute film… do you see it as a proof of concept to a feature film… maybe a series. Not quite Charlies Angles, but, Charlies Nuns?

Rick – Absolutely! It’s so funny that you mention Charlie’s Angels, because I have often used that comparison for Nuns!  But, I like your Charlie’s Nun name even better!  Yes, I do see it as a POC for an eight-episode, half-hour series, and I crafted it with that in mind.

Cult Critic – Have you worked with producer Regina McKee Redwing before?

Rick – As a matter of fact, I have! Several times! And she plays Foxy the Bar Owner, too!

Cult Critic – Sister Brickball, played by Dot Marie Jone, gave a remarkable performance. Have you worked with her before? How did you cast her?

Rick – Gary Kasper, who plays Mohawk Murphy, introduced me to her before I wrote Nuns, and when I was looking for a Sister Brickball, Gary suggested her, and I thought she was perfect: Emmy nominated actress, 15-time arm wrestling champion and has a heart of gold!

Cult Critic – You opened with short flashback scenes of the Nun’s violence, that gave a great character backstory. This was well executed, and not done by many short film directors or screenwriters. Your take on this.

Rick – I’d rather show exposition than tell it.

Cult Critic – The story has a strong message, what would you like viewers to take from the story?

Rick – There is a power of good that is always fighting for you

Cult Critic – Were there any production challenges and or BTS you’d like to share?

Rick – Sure!  The scene after the credit roll was an impromptu moment that worked out well.  We were moving from the bar scene to the confessional scene (the whole movie was shot in one long day) which was set up on a sound stage at Screenland Studios in Burbank Calif.  As we were loading in, Gary Kasper and Dot were talking about Gary’s motorcycle and I asked Dot if she could ride and she replied, “Heck yeah!”  “How about a spin around the block?” I asked. She was ecstatic!  We’re clapping and yelling as Dot takes off just as the camera crew pulls up and I’m thinking…this might work….

Dot comes back on the motorcycle and I suggest a line for her to say as a Public Service Announcement and then drive down the alley behind the studio (no traffic) toward camera, stop and say the line (we’ll hook up a boom microphone) then drive past camera, and we’ll see what we get.  She does it perfectly, but the battery on the bike dies and she can’t drive off!  We only needed one take and we got it!  It wasn’t exactly as planned but it works

Cult Critic – As a screenwriter, filmmaker, and director; do you only write what you intend to film?

Rick – Nope. I’m open to all possibilities.

Cult Critic – Do you ever scout screenwriting forums for your next film? If so, to you, what stands out in a script? This is a question pondered by most aspiring screenwriters.

Rick – No, I don’t.  Don’t really need to.  Life offers so many ingredients for possibilities to create amazing stories, that all you have to do is listen and then sprinkle a little imagination on top.

Cult Critic – Screenwriting is a visual medium. As both a screenwriter and director what advice can you offer aspiring screenwriters.

Rick – Don’t stop writing. Write. Write. Write!

Cult Critic – What came first for you, filmmaker/director or screenwriting. And what inspired you to become the secondary?

Rick – Writing came first and directing came second as natural way to complete the process of creation.

Cult Critic – How did you come about being a filmmaker, director. And what advice can you give aspiring short filmmakers?

Rick – I’m a theatre trained actor, so writing and directing scenes, plays etc has always been a part of my life, so the segue way to film directing wasn’t that big of a step for me.  My advice to aspiring short filmmakers is to keep creating and surround yourself with positive, artistic people.  I like to test myself on how I can tell a story, or express an idea as clearly as possible with a minimal use of time.  Brevity is key.

Cult Critic – What’s next for you… is there anything you are currently working on?

Rick – I’m in pre-production (with Regina producing again!) on an animated short, “The Escort”.  I want to run the gamut of as many human emotions as I can using animated images and music, no dialogue.  Plus, I’ve never directed an animated movie, so I want to teach myself that process as well.

Cult Critic – Lastly. Your ending, after the credit role. The Nun on a Harley Davidson, saying; Kids, always wear your helmet. Cause its good advice! Your take on having inserted that scene.

Rick – We were screening Nuns in a film festival at a theatre in Beverly Hills on a Friday evening.  There was a press event before the screenings began.  After seeing Dot ride a motorcycle, I thought why not have her pull up on the motorcycle while everyone is waiting in line for tickets?  So during rush hour traffic on Wilshire Blvd in Beverly Hills Calif, Dot Marie Jones, wearing her habit and smoking a cigar, drives down the sidewalk on a Harley Davidson motorcycle amid cheering and the blaring of car horns!!  What fun!! And how many complaints did we get?  Nun!

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