MAILER DAEMON

short film by John Mudge

How disappointing is it to send a perfect email and immediately receive a “Delivery failed: return to sender” slip of automated disappointment airmailed back to your inbox? Now, find comfort knowing that inside your email, there’s an underappreciated, chain-smoking blue devil-like creature named Todd that has the tedious day job of sending your bounced messages back to you.

They’re called Mailer Daemons, and John Mudge’s new short film Mailer Daemon unfolds what happens when Todd’s humdrum existence inside a stuffy email server is interrupted by a plea for connection from a woman with the same search for an affirmative response from an uncaring world.

Mailer Daemon – Trailer

Mailer Daemon Poster
Mailer Daemon

John Mudge is a writer and director from Belle Chasse, Louisiana who lives and breathes the Louisiana film scene. He graduated locally from Louisiana State University, worked as a production assistant on NCIS: New Orleans, and is currently working on his next short film as Mailer Daemon makes its way around the circuit as a selection at sixteen different festivals.

Mailer Daemon is a surreal, heartfelt debut by a filmmaker with a naturally nuanced sense of storytelling. It reminds you that whether you’re a regular human or a blue, horned demon-creature working a dead-end job—we all crave a sincere connection.

We talked to John Mudge about his process for shooting Mailer Daemon and here’s what he had to tell Fable House.

Where did you guys shoot and when?

“It took a long time to determine where we were going to shoot. We had to find a location that met all of our requirements. We were planning on shooting in an office space on UNO‘s campus, but it would have been difficult to shoot around summer school hours. Then the idea came to me to shoot in my dad’s garage. We used money from the production budget to construct flats. This gave us the freedom to build in the mechanics of Todd’s office. The space also gave us total privacy. So, it really worked out.”

How long was production?

“The principal photography was four days in the summer of 2018. We then had a day of reshoots in February of 2019. We were submitting to festivals by the end of that year. The project had been one I had been trying to get off the ground since about 2017.”

Mailer Daemon BTS

Any stories you’d like to share from production?

“I don’t know if I have specific stories but if I sat here and pondered on it, surely small incidents here and there would pop up. All in all, it was a great experience. The thrill of making a movie with your friends is a feeling I’ve been chasing ever since.

Mailer Daemon BTS

What was your post-production process like?

“We started the post-production process shortly after we wrapped shooting. Thomas Baumgardner was my editor. He would piece together a cut and I would go over to his studio and watch it with him. I would give my opinion and he would make adjustments and we would go on like this for a couple months. It was during this time that we determined we needed a day of reshoots. We basically rewrote the second half of the movie, and reshot it in a day. So that significantly prolonged the entire production. But it was worth it.”

What’s your favorite shot in the video?

“My favorite shot in the video would have to be one of Todd’s singles. Perhaps the final shot of the movie. I think that Joey Harmon, who played Todd, had such an ingenuity that he brought to the character. And I feel like he expresses the message of the film very effectively with a few words and body language in the final shot.

Mailer Daemon BTS

Is the film available for viewers to watch now?

“The film is not available to the public, since I am still technically being vetted by film festivals that had to push their scheduling back due to COVID. Once the run is complete, I plan to make the movie available.

Festivals?

“I think currently I’ve been selected to 16 festivals around the US. A few of them are Louisiana Festivals, so that was exciting. I’ve been denied acceptance to many many more haha. I won’t share that number with you. Unfortunately, I was not able to travel to any of the festivals due to Covid and other obligations, but I hope to experience my future projects screening at festivals in the future. “

What are you looking to direct next? What are you excited about now?

“I’m gearing up to shoot another short in March. The tentative title is “The Fish.” It’s a project that I’ve been developing for over two years now. I wish it didn’t take me so long to get the script to a place where I thought it was ready for production, but here we are. It basically takes a dark-comedic-fantastical spin on the classic “father-son fishing trip” story. I’m very excited to share it with everyone!”

MAILER DAEMON – BTS

Fable House is a video production company based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana that specializes in production for film, video, commercials, and TV. Our team are experts in physical production, post-production, and VFX. We produce content for major brands, TV networks like Syfy and Lifetime, and provide production services to Louisiana’s never-say-die indie filmmakers.

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