Some people study stories to figure out how they work. Other people live them. And then, there’s Corey Adams. His first foray into directing involved two weeks on a chicken farm, the Hell’s Angels, and $15,000 in unmarked Canadian bills, resulting in a rather unconventional web series about a couple of Canada’s most entrepreneurial hillbillies. His second and third films came into being when Corey won over a million American dollars in production money from Fuel TV, which he promptly converted into a one-way ticket to that liminal space where the surreal meets the familiar. Corey’s second feature, “Machotaildrop,” is a hairy love letter to skateboarding that is excelled on the festival circuit. His work is joyful, wry, transgressive, paradoxical, absurdist, magically-real, humane, smart, and not to mention funny.
1. How did you get into all of this and tell us some of your start up story.
Professionally it all started with the Hells Angels and 10k in cash. Nobody had ever given me a dime to make anything up until that point. I guess that was my big break. They had a weed fertilizer company back in like 95 and wanted a video series about two hillbilly’s who grow weed.
I gathered some friends and we camped in the back of a farm for about 10 days and filmed. I had allergies so bad I would wake up with my eyes stuck together. The neighbor thought we were doing satanic rituals cause we shot a scene with a wizard in a throne and some torches and stuff. He came the next day and said he’d been watching us all night through the scope of his gun. He wasn’t happy. Luckily we were pretty much finished so we packed up and left. Once it was all cut together I took it back to the financiers and showed it to them. The room was silent. The main guy turned to me and said “what the fuck was that” I guess you could say they didn’t like it?
2. When & how did you get into stop motion?
It was a pandemic gateway to sanity. I was super bored and needed something creatively to sink my teeth into. I had always loved stop motion so figured I’d give it a try. I had a vhs cassette of a film called “The Street of Crocodiles” by some twins called The Brothers Quay that really inspired me years ago. With stop motion it seemed like I could do a full production by myself which was the key. I built an animation table in my studio and started watching videos dissecting them on how to animate. I got som tips from Joel Dickie who is a good friend of mine who was an animator on a great show called “Ed Ed and Eddy” and now directs animation. I used to hang out at the AKA animation studio in vancouver a lot back in the 90’s so animation was something that was always around me, but I never really considered doing it. Having a background in SPFX make up really helped with building puppets and props so most of that stuff came easy. I’m still a terrible animator but I think with stop motion there is a certain beauty that comes from the mistakes. If you can create a good world and vision then hopefully one day the animation will catch up.
3. Where do you get inspiration for your art & how did you find your style?
I think a lot of inspiration comes from music. I find it way easier to visualize things when listening to the right tune. Skateboarding definitely informed the style a lot. And films. Just watching a ton of films growing up. I used to watch Apocalypse Now at least once a week in my teens.
4. What films have influenced you?
Early on it was things like Star Wars or Robocop. Seeing those as a child was an insanely magical experience.
Then as a teen I got into Ralph Bakshi’s “Street Fight” or some old karate films like "Super Ninjas."
Then in my twenties I got into the weird stuff. Movies like "Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom", Peter Greenaways “A Zed & Two Naughts”
Apocalypse Now as mentioned previously. Stroszek by Werner Herzog. Delicatessen by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro.
Now a days it’s Michael Manns "Miami Vice" which if you haven’t seen is a masterpiece. Yorgos Lanthimos "The Lobster" and "Killing of a Sacred Deer" are incredible.
I really love anything that Nicolas Winding Refn makes, His films always have a great tone and vibe to them. Fellini's "City of Women"
"Brazil" by Terry Gilliam. David Lynch's "Wild at Heart" is a top 5. "Werckmeister Harmonies" by Béla Tarr is a must see. That film is incredible.
"In the Mood For Love" from Wan Kar Wai. "Black Cat White" Cat is a Serbian masterpiece by Emir Kusturica. There's so many but this is a good start.
5. What is the most difficult part of your process?
Time. It takes a long ass time to do stop motion so there’s patience involved. Just moving an object in tiny increments for hours. Actually maybe it’s the clean up of the animation. Removing the rigs and stuff in after effects can be pain staking as well.
6. What goals of yo have for your work and whats on the horizon?
I would love to do a stop motion feature film. There’s so many possibilities in world building with stop motion that financially are tough with live action. It’s like anything is possible. There’s no limitations with it really. I’ve started writing it but writing is a painful process for me so takes forever. If there’s any writers reading this who want to help hit me up please. :)
On the horizon we are just finishing up a TV series I directed called “The Edge of Sleep” it’s live action but has a few sprinkles of stop motion in it. Hopefully it will be out in the new year.