ByCody Rhyse, writer at

Urban legends have always fascinated me. I remember my older cousin relaying to me the tale of Bloody Mary for the first time when I was about eight, and the avoidance of any dark room with a mirror for the years following. Even then, clearly, I knew that there was no way a long dead woman was forcing herself through my Mother's vanity to <insert terrible repercussion here> for summoning her, but just the idea alone was so unsettling that I promptly adopted a NOPE approach to it all. Not. Even. Gonna.

Fast forward to 2015. My filmmaking parter, Tim Buel, and I started spring-boarding ideas this summer about urban legends, and the variations and tropes that have arisen over the years. We decided we needed a backstory and a ritual, and upon crafting our own (cobbled together from various reference material) we kinda just sat and stared for a bit at the wall. What could we possibly do that hasn't been done yet, without breaking it? We quickly found the answer in the form of our own question. We HAD to break it. Have a look for yourself:

Watch 'Skin Thief' here!

I've become enthralled, as of late, with the idea of identity, and what that means from a four dimensional perspective (I, admittedly, had just watched Shane Carruth's Primer the day before the script was written, so there's that). We can't always be around another individual, twenty-four seven, so how do we know that upon next meet that it's still, in fact, the same person we were with before? Talking crazy like that until our heads exploded led us to decide to break the convention down and reset the expectations for what we were trying to accomplish. We grabbed the camera and made a couple calls.

Sean Garin, Skin Thief - 2015
Sean Garin, Skin Thief - 2015

Hot off the heels of releasing our first feature length film, In Residence , in March, we knew we wanted to keep the production small, but still challenging enough to keep us learning as filmmakers. You might ask, "what better way to do that than to cast all teen aged non-actors for your roles?". Well, that's exactly what we did. A tiny crew and a fledgling cast later, we put it in motion. For the record, these kids all killed it. They attacked nine pages of material in just over six hours in the middle of the night and didn't even bitch once. True champs!

Jeremy Hill and Alec Katner, Skin Thief - 2015
Jeremy Hill and Alec Katner, Skin Thief - 2015

Where to now?

Our foray into features earlier this year helped us learn real quick just how much we needed to grow as filmmakers before attempting to tackle our future planned productions. In Residence was written with a zero budget in mind, and afforded us a lot of liberties that we feverishly took while shooting it. Getting back to the basics has revitalized our techniques, and our budgetary constraints force us to keep the creative edge keenly sharpened. They might not always work, but each and every further piece we do helps continue refining our skill sets, keeping us hopeful for the day when our resource chest might not be so scant.

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Cody Rhyse

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Tim Buel

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email us: [email protected]


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