Brooks is a loving, hard-working, responsible brother to his little sister Laura. He has also inadvertently garnered a macabre reputation for being a hitman for people’s furry friends, or the Pet Killer.
Pet Killer (AUS) co-writer and director Tibo Pinsard spoke to Melbourne Webfest to share with us the secrets to making a murderer.
Pet Killer is both comedic and macabre, how did you go about finding the perfect balance?
Good question, hard to answer! This balance probably comes first from the script, co-written with Paul Michael Ayre. But, that’s not enough, Pet Killer could have gone all wrong during the filming. So I think that one of the important things that helped me keep a good balance between comedic and macabre was the “pet killer” himself, the talented actor Charles Cottier.
He really is the heart of the series. Despite all the bad things his character does, Charles keeps his character’s humanity really tangible. And Charles being very good in comedy helps a lot: he could do horrible things on screen and still be funny.
What inspired your series?
The Coen Brothers, Blake Edwards and Buster Keaton, mostly. And The Growlers! I wrote listening to a loop of this band from South California.
What were the benefits of making Pet Killer into a web series?
We have been able to explore a new situation – meaning a new pet killing in each episode. It was a lot of fun. And working on 10-minute episodes requires keeping a tense rhythm in the storytelling.
Pet Killer Trailer
What was your greatest challenge creating the series?
On-screen, you can kill people, plenty of people and still be a hero. But killing an animal and you’re a monster. Building the series with a pet killer as the lead protagonist is really risky, you can easily lose the audience… Plus, I had to make a comedy out of it!
And on set, filming with animals was not an easy thing… It was a first for me, filming with dogs, cats, a pig, a snake and a rabbit… Now I’m ready to film Titanic 2!
Has the end product strayed far from your initial vision?
The end product is kind of close to my initial vision. Once I had the script ready to film and all the locations chosen, I story-boarded like 95% of the series. This story-board was fully digested by my cinematographer Shing Fung Cheung. Sharing it with him helped me a lot to enhance my vision. We were completely on the same page and he did an amazing job.
Having a complete story-board also helped us keep our focus despite the craziness of the filming schedule (but incredibly well-built by the experienced 1st AD Rick Beecroft): we only had 20 days to film numerous locations, actors and plenty of animals!
Another reason my initial vision was not lost during the filming is that my Australian producer, Enzo Tedeschi, is also a director. He has a strong artistic sensitivity.
A catalyst to the story is Bruno the dog, was he a good doggo both on and off set?
He was! So was the other French poodle, the other dogs, the snake, the rabbit, the cats and even the digital piranha! They were surprisingly easy to work with once you know what you can do and what you can’t do with animals. But I couldn’t say the pig was easy to work with. An adult pig is like a 3-year-old child, it can easily be angry and very stubborn… and it bites harder than a toddler!
What is the future for your series?
Being released, broadcasted as much as possible… And hopefully having a sequel! That’s all I hope, but it’s not in my hands. I’m waiting for the series to meet its audience. This is why I’m really glad to be in competition at Melbourne WebFest!
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