On Thursday, September 21st, a cohort of the Roadtrippers went to see the new indie film, "Four Eyed Monsters," by Arin Crumley and Susan Buice. Like most indies, Arin and Susan face the difficult task of distributing their film. However, unlike most, Arin and Susan have used the internet and podcasting to build their audience and gain notoriety.
"Four Eyed Monsters" is a mostly autobiographical film about Arin and Susan’s meeting and subsequent relationship. After finding each other online, they come to know one another through writing and artistic endeavors—never through speech. The film traces their relationship as it develops.
The "Four Eyed Monsters" video podcast (video delivered via the internet, generally distributed through an RSS feed) began as a behind-the-scenes look at their efforts to make and distribute the film. Yet this simplistic description really doesn't capture the film. Their podcast, which I had been watching since last December, was a movie unto itself, filled with happiness and heartache, failure and success. I was eager to see the film that followed the podcast.
"Four Eyed Monsters" was funny and beautiful, but we were all blown away by the inter-textuality between the film and its earlier video podcast. After the movie, during the Q&A session with the directors, I asked Susan and Arin how the two projects were related. Was Four Eyed Monsters just the film and the podcast just a separate “Behind-the-scenes” story? Or is it all Four Eyed Monsters? They explained that though the movie works by itself, it is more encompassing than that. It is the movie and the evolving podcast together that create the very dynamic Four Eyed Monsters.
What makes this indie flick different is that it uses two contrasting mediums: film and the internet. Sure, the movie succeeds as a stand-alone piece for those who had not followed the podcast. But for those of us who did, the whole experience seemed revolutionary. Terin Mayer, fellow Roadtripper, explained that it was as if the film was constantly referencing and alluding to the podcast, and vice versa. This made the film extremely engaging and thought provoking. The entire subway ride home was was filled with discussion.
Four Eyed Monsters is a living, evolving project, and it is paving the way for rising generation of digital filmmakers who move easily between the net and the big screen.