Saturday, May 10, 2014

Interview - Evil Night Actor Rik Deskin

Evil Night VHS
Interview with Evil Night Actor
Rik Deskin
By Tony Masiello

How did you get into acting? 
I started in High School is the easiest answer. I was a Junior and had been interested since I can remember.  As a Sophomore I had auditioned for The Wiz, did not get cast but I was definitely interested. I moved from Kentucky to Houston ¾ the way into my Sophomore year and my new school had a 4 year Theatre program, so as a Junior I entered into Drama 1, and later that year worked on my first student films. We were shooting them on Super 8. Old school! I acted in three and produced 1 within the two year span.

How did you get involved in Evil Night? 
As I recall, I think I answered a newspaper  ad. Or my girlfriend at the time, Holly Aeck (also the lead in Evil Night) may have told me about it. I had been working as an actor in Houston for about  three years after a 4-year stint in the U.S. Air Force. This was a Horror film and I was a fan of the genre so was happy to get cast as Rob.

Rik Toking it up in Evil Night

Any recollections about the shoot?
 At some point, the guy playing Spencer was either fired or quit. He had a bad attitude apparently. So we needed someone to double him in the mask. That was me. Throughout the film it was actually me, as Spencer, killing everybody. What was brilliant is that not only did I get to kill my own character, Rob, but then Rob comes back as a zombie at the end and kills me as the killer once again. I felt like I really got meta in this. I was also helping Todd behind the scenes with some of the effects and possibly some of the camera work.

Can you tell us anything about the Director Todd Cook? 

He was a few years younger than me, but shared my affection for the Horror genre. I think he appreciated my dedication to both acting and behind the scenes work. Plus he was the director. Needless to say, he and I got along very well.
Can you tell us anything about the cast and crew? 
Holly Aeck had been my girlfriend, but I think we started breaking up during the shoot. I don’t remember much about the rest of the cast and crew, but this was Houston, so some of us were connected to the theatre scene of that time. I remember several late night shoots on Evil Night that resulted in sleepovers at Todd’s house. He was basically shooting around his own house and was generous with food and shelter.

Can you tell us about your death scene?
Hah! Rob, described as a stoner delinquent, was basically stepped on, with head being crushed: by me!  Todd had devised a dummy version of my head, with a blood pack. The rest is history.

Rik's demise in Evil Night

Did you get paid for your part? 
No. This was a non-union shoot. And I did not know better. I’m in SAG-AFTRA now. But I will say that my experience working on this first film was invaluable. Not only as an actor but as a crew person.

What are your opinions of Evil Night?
 Meh. I like my scenes obviously. And I think for that time, some of the death scenes effects were being figured out as we went. It was an entertaining first effort for me as an aspiring professional. But lacking in quality.

Can you tell us about Demon Dolls?
That was more fun for me! We shot that elongated prologue with the puppet coming to life, and I got to double as the puppet. Then I get killed off a few scenes in. I think that for comedy appearances, my character was funny, and Todd and I worked in an inside joke about another Houston filmmaker that only we three would have got. I did a lot of camera work on this project.  Again, it was a learning experience.

Demon Dolls VHS

Was the shoot smoother than Evil Night?

Yes, because the cast and crew were much smaller. Less people to wrangle.

Any interesting stories about Demon Dolls?
Hmm. Well I remember shooting some scenes at not only Todd’s house but at my apartment. And I remember spending a good deal of time with Todd and Lisa, who were married (I think?) Beyond that, I don’t remember much.

How do you feel now looking back at the early work you did for Todd Cook?
This was the start for me as a professional actor. I believe my experience on both of these films has served me over the years in my work as an actor and a filmmaker. It was very DIY on these projects and I was totally open to it all.

What has Rik Deskin been up to sense those early SOV days?
I moved to Seattle in 1994 with my new wife and two kids. We added two more boys after. I worked as a non-union actor through 1997, finally went to school at Cornish College of the Arts, got a BFA in Acting, and founded my own theatre company. In 2003 I joined SAG. In 2005 I joined AEA and then in 2009 I joined AFTRA. And in 2012, SAG & AFTRA merged into SAG-AFTRA. I’ve been a volunteer Board Member since 2006. I’ve been in a lot of short and student films, commercials, and the occasional TV show. I’m a current cast member of a SAG-AFTRA New Media Series called Look Up In The Sky. You can watch online here and specifically I’m in Episodes 6 & 9:

Plus you can hear  me in Episodes 3 and 11 of Sandbox Radio Live:

And I will be playing the role of Carlson in an Equity Member Project Code presentation: Of Mice And Men, June 19-July 12 at Eclectic Theater in Seattle.
More about me here:

Rik Deskin 2014