Interview with Veronica Varlow

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Everyone has a dream. It may be something small, or may be Earth shattering. Whatever it is, every single person has one. You may not have realised yours yet, but when you do, nothing else matters. You would do anything to reach your goal, to see your dream become a reality. It may take a week, a month, or years, but you know in your heart of hearts that before your time on this world is done, you will achieve it. Veronica Varlow is no exception. She shares a dream with her husband Burke Heffner, a photographer and film maker, to make their road trip adventure film, Revolver. Thanks to their Kickstarter, it is getting closer to becoming a reality. Veronica Varlow is currently out on the road taking the same route the film will be, scouting locations, promoting and having an altogether wild adventure. She took some time out to answer some questions about the film, her dreams and life.

The movie Revolver was close to becoming nothing more than a legend. A myth whispered by fans. An elusive film we never saw, but that’s about to change. For those who haven’t heard, can you tell us about the film?

Oh, Hell yes. It’s the story of a quiet cowboy stranded a thousand miles from home and hunted by the law, all to save a New York City showgirl who has hitched a ride. It’s a road trip adventure film. A little bit of Bonnie and Clyde meets a little bit of Thelma and Louise attitude. It’s about two opposite people coming together on the road, sharing stories as the world goes by, and standing up for what they believe in when push comes to shove, even if it means their own lives.

The trailer for Revolver is a few years old now. Does it still accurately represent your vision for the final concept? Has there been any drastic changes made since filming the trailer?

It does absolutely still does represent our vision for the film. The world of the characters of Pocket and Blue are very clear in our minds….and they have been given a little bit of life through that 3 minute teaser trailer. I have been longing to create the rest of it….and once it’s shot and edited, you’ll see how much of the world is similar to what you’ve been introduced to. Blue is obsessed with old postcards, and on the road, they hit all the forgotten roadside attractions that are practically ghost towns or nearly shut down. They inhabit this world that is beautiful and haunted. They whisper secrets to each other under the stars at Storybook Land. They hide out in the House on the Rock to explore after-hours. They have hearts of adventure and danger. The positive thing about us having years inbetween the trailer being shot and us doing the movie – is that both of us have learned so much doing other projects…so we are coming to Revolver again better equipped and more ready to take on this big project.

The Kickstarter campaign to help make this dream a reality launched October 18. If a platform such as Kickstarter didn’t exist, do you think Revolver would have seen completion?

It’s funny because years ago, my friend Kevin from Florida had said that we should ask 100,000 people to give us a dollar. And put all their names in the credits and make this a movie by the people for the people. I was struck by that idea. A film that wasn’t made with studio money, but through individuals supporting it to keep it truly independent. My gut told me that would happen. Lo and behold….years later after that dinner with Kevin and his great idea, other people also had the same kind of idea, and the world got the likes of Kickstarter – which has been a massive game-changer for the majority of artists that I know. Here’s the deal….I don’t know big investors. I don’t know people with tons of money. And if I did, and someone were to invest a huge chunk, the power gets transferred to that person and out of our hands. Now we can fund this through friends that I’ve made all over the world, with people giving as little as a $1 – it really adds up.  And now our film can be truly independent – for the people by the people – and we don’t need to compromise anymore. This has changed my life.

Have you got things such as film crews, actors and filming locations already locked and loaded ready to go once the Kickstarter campaign is complete?

Right now, we are living out of a van and scouting the locations cross country for Revolver – taking the same route that the movie does. And through Kickstarter, the Backers of our project are getting to go on that journey with us – from getting married in Vegas by Elvis, to how I do laundry living out of a van, to maneuvering the desert in stilettos. All the wild stuff that happens. We’ve got an awesome crew – many of the same people who have been friends with us for years and did the Revolver trailer with us are coming back to rock this with us.  And we are currently looking for characters and actors on the road for our film. Which has been pretty damn amazing – as you can imagine – the road brings out the wild and the crazy in people. 

You star in Revolver, but you also wrote it with your husband, Burke Heffner. How did you find the writing process? Was it a case of sitting together and hashing out ideas, or would you write separately, then come back and decide what to keep, what to cut and what could grow?

Great question!  Over morning coffee, Burke and I would sit side by side and create the world by talking back and forth and story-telling together, imagining ourselves in this world.  If we hit something that made us cry or made us laugh, we would jot it down as something to include in the story. I’m the wild writer, and Burke is the master storyteller. So then, after two hours of brainstorming and play acting and dreaming up ideas, we would sit in front of the computer.  I would hack at the scenes that we had dreamed of first, and type pages and pages of dialogue and text and then he would come in and craft it, fine tune it and add his magic. Revolver is truly both of our hearts and minds combined. 

Ahead of the Kickstarter campaign launch, you started a Revolver street team where fans can help spread the word of Revolver worldwide. From what I’ve seen on Twitter you’ve had an overwhelming response. Did you think you’d get that many people putting up their hand to volunteer their time for this project?

No. I really didn’t. I actually have burst out in tears several times over the overwhelming love and support towards our dream. I always felt that Revolver was going to be a struggle to get made because it was the dream of just two people. You guys proved me wrong. It’s become a dream of so many people – and it wouldn’t be where it is without everyone who has helped spread the word and everyone who has helped back us. I will be in debt to all of you forever. I’ve never felt so supported in my life and it means the world to me. I really feel like everyone’s got my back on this one…and it has breathed life into my ultimate dream. PS – your friends creating the Sydney Street Team video blew my mind, my Dad called yesterday and was freaking out about seeing that video….he was so touched that people all around the world are doing so much to help our dream come true, and so am I. I will never ever forget this.

Those who know you are aware that you are a burlesque performer and teacher, as well as one of Emilie Autumn’s Bloody Crumpets. I have to ask, once the film kicks off and more of your attention is required, will you continue to tour with Emilie Autumn?

Definitely! Touring fuels me and I love performing live and meeting everyone that comes out to the shows. They have become my family – both the band and all the people that come out and are a part of it. It’s changed my life for the positive and something I’m eternally grateful for. Emilie and I have been best friends for years. We support each other in all that we do. She’s actually playing a very cool role in the movie – she’s a wild best friend of mine who gets us into trouble in Revolver. *wink* I was able to do a mini tour AND do this Kickstarter campaign simultaneously, which showed me I can handle both. I don’t get much sleep, but I feel more alive than anything when I’m doing creative projects I love.

What’s the plan when it is finished? Will it see a straight to DVD/Digital release?

Nope! I want to take it through the festival circuit, through Sundance and Cannes, and get a worldwide distributor to be screened in theaters. I believe in the story and the project, and I will fight to get it seen all throughout the world. The popularity of this Kickstarter project because of so many of you, will actually give us leverage with distributors because we can show how many people are interested in the movie and how many people fought to get it made. That says ALOT. So backing us and spreading the word – means more than just getting Revolver funded, it gives the full dream a future as well. So THANK YOU.  Once again, even backing for $1 or spreading the word can make a massive difference. You are my heroes. Truly.

While I have you here, as you are aware most of my friends are huge fans, and are supporting you endlessly. A couple of them had some questions they’d like to ask you, and so I decided to add them to this interview.

Laura Cagnacci: Veronica, did you ever anticipate that your performing with Emilie Autumn would gain you such a devoted following? How does it feel to have your own loyal fanbase, and do you sometimes find your role challenging?

No. I am continually – on a daily basis – blown away by the love, passion and devotion of this kickass following. I am honored, humbled and excited by it. I would go to the ends of the earth for all of you, too. I never find my role challenging….the most challenging role I’ve had was doing a job in my life that I hated for so long in Corporate America. This is my dream. And I am grateful every fucking day that you guys exist and we can know each other in this lifetime and affect each other so profoundly. YOU have changed my life.

Lady Cyanide: Your blog posts have certainly gained a large following since you started posting a year ago. How does it feel to have such positive feedback from something that started off as a personal challenge to write more?

Being able to be honest about my life experiences, the good and the bad, the highs and lows and to put them out there and have people relate makes me feel like I’m not alone. Talking about battling low self-esteem, or talking about depression, or talking about adventure and my dreams – and having people come forward and share theirs, and share their experiences has inspired me and fueled my writing more than anything. The Danger Diary is my way to connect with the world three times a week and share back and forth.  The positive feedback and support has given me the courage to push myself further and go for my big dreams. To be honest, it was the encouragement from the Danger Diary, and the support there that pushed me to do this Kickstarter for Revolver, and leap into my biggest dream ever.

Lady Cyanide: As someone who is well within the arts circle, are there any other artists you would like to put the spotlight on?

DAMN. Great Question! There’s SO MANY. I am constantly inspired by my friends. Kim Boekbinder is a musician, and dear friend, who blows my mind regularly and part of the music you hear in the Kickstarter trailer for Revolver is hers. Our Lady J is a musician and an icon of inspiration for me. Erin Morganstern is a new and kickass friend of mine who wrote The Night Circus (which if you haven’t read, you must). Visual artists such as Molly Crabapple, Zelda Devon, Katelan Foisy and Fred Harper have taken me to other worlds with their artwork. Zina Brown and Kai Altair are releasing Dreams of the Last Butterflies soon – a short fantasy film with beautiful music by Kai. Sarah Sparkles is a designer who has an incredible jewelry line – and is also the voice of the NY underground with her book “Parades, Parties and Protests”. Kayvon Zand and Anna Evans are two people rocking the Alternative Scene in New York City and bringing back a hot subculture. I’m kind of obsessed.

Lady Cyanide: What was the last song you jammed out too?

Iggy Pop’s Lust For Life came on right after we hit our half way mark on Kickstarter, and I turned it up and was jumping around on the bed in the van we’re living in.

And finally…

Lady Cyanide: Why are you such a classy bitch?

Damn, Girl, I am learning this from YOU.  *takes notes* Ahem. If you want to see how classy I really am – you should watch Extreme Laundry on the Road, my latest youtube video (below) that shit is the sad truth right now. Van livin’, dream catchin’ and a rock and roll heart! xo

Thank you for your time. Best of luck with Revolver, I look forward to seeing the completed project.
ME TOO!  I fucking love you. Thanks for all the love and support. You keep me going.  

If you would like to back Revolver, direct your attention to www.freeniney.com

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