Interview with Michael Haberfelner

Hello, CSI: Miami Maniacs! I am very pleased to introduce an interview with Michael Haberfelner who is a great screenwriter, producer, and editor from Austria. In this interview, he is sharing his point of view about this site, the series as well as some advice for those who’d like to start making movies. Enjoy reading!

Interview with Michael Haberfelner

Could you introduce yourself to the audience?

Hi, I’m Michael Haberfelner, screenwriter, also sometimes film producer and editor. I also run the film and TV website Search my trash that focuses on horror and indie movies (but really does a little bit of everything) – but interestingly when I write, I prefer comedy to horror, but often mix both.

What made you choose to work in the movie industry?

I always loved to write (and I mean fiction here), so I always did, and when the chance arose to turn something I wrote into a movie – A Killer Conversation – I just seized the opportunity, and here I am.

What are your most successful projects?

Well, above mentioned A Killer Conversation got a DVD release in the US about two years ago. And while it might not have been a top seller, the producer and lead actress of the movie, Melanie Denholme, is working on turning the script into a stage play now, so that’s exciting to say the least.
Talk of the Dead is a short horror comedy starring horror icon Lynn Lowry (The Crazies, Shivers) that’s currently making the festival rounds with quite some success. With the same team (director Eddie Bammeke, producer Eirian Cohen) I’ve also done the dark comedy thriller First Impressions Can Kill, also starring Lynn, and then there’s the wacky comedy The Night Comedy Came Back, starring Human Centipede 2’s Laurence R. Harvey and students from Eirian’s Northern Star Acting Academy. These two have only just come out of post-production though and will enter the festival circuit shortly.
And then there’s, of course, our next big project, There’s No Such Thing as Zombies, which will be an expansion of Talk of the Dead – only not in the way you’d expect … this one’s scheduled to shoot this August then.

How come that you decided to start your website, what do you like or dislike about running it?

Well, back in the day (circa 2003) I was looking for a movie website that was centering on horror but was all-inclusive – meaning giving the horror fan a broader perspective – and I just couldn’t find one. So I figured I know enough about movies, I have experience as a webmaster, why don’t I just launch it myself. And I did, and never looked back …
What I like about it? Well, in a way almost everything, reviewing interesting movies, often before anyone else, talking to cool people, some of whom I even get to film with, making awesome connections – that’s all very cool.
What I dislike? Frankly, all the technical stuff, reformatting interviews, proofreading, making sure things look right, that sort of thing. Basically, the boring stuff that has nothing to do with movies as such.

What are the qualities that make a film/tv series good in your opinion?

Oh if the writing’s not good, everything will fall flat in about 99% (there are exceptions of course, but if you want to make a good movie, you better have a solid script. But that said, film and TV is usually teamwork, so it’s a bit of everything. I have seen great actors carry atrocious scripts and come out on top despite vapid direction, an inventive directorial effort can make even scriptlessness interesting and the like, so there really isn’t just one element. But that said, it makes little sense to trust everything else WILL fall into place if the script’s not up to scratch.

What can you say about the quality of the CSI: Miami script; mention a couple of best and worst aspects based on the chosen episode?

Right, I’m anything but an expert on CSI: Miami, so this answer is almost exclusively based on the episode you suggested, „Raging Cannibal“ (season 7, episode 4), so while I think what I say goes for the series as a whole, I can of course not be sure. Anyways, what I did like: It’s really tense, the story picks up steam at the beginning and then never let’s go again.
What I didn’t like so much, it’s very factual, the „murder mystery“ element’s pretty much missing. They find a clue, do some police work on it (mostly just feed it into the computer), and then see where it leads to and this way get the killer without doing the much deductive thinking and the like. Of course, that’s the very essence of a police procedural, and it’s sure as heck 100 times more realistic than, let’s say, Sherlock – but to be honest, I do prefer a good old-fashioned murder mystery.

Can you give some tips for the newbie scriptwriters how to write a good script for this genre film/series episode? Or maybe advise them how to succeed in scriptwriting in general?

To write a script for a police procedural: Do massive amounts of research. In probably no other genre you need to be as factual as in this one.
Generally speaking (and that includes police procedurals of course): Learn everything you can about story structure – there’s a good reason it has evolved into what it is over the centuries. Try to make your dialogue poignant as this is the aspect of any script the writer has the most influence on. Avoid vapid lines that lead nowhere as these will slow your script down.
To me, these are pretty much the key pieces of advice. Bottom of the line, you can’t just make a good writer out of anyone, one also needs the talent of one‘s own – but with these basics, one will get further than just based on talent alone …

Last not least, what do you think about the idea of writing a blog related to a tv series? What do you like and dislike about this site, would you recommend a friend to check it out, why?

If you have passion enough to do such a blog and hopefully also can shed some unique light on it, then go for it is my opinion.
This blog I’m actually rather fond of, as you do go beyond just the usual, and the thing’s very well-structured. As I said, not the most die-hard fan of the series, but if I need some info about it (which happens occasionally, since when I’m doing research for my website, I might stumble upon something CSI: Miami related), this is my go-to place. And that’s pretty much the exact reason why I would recommend it to a friend.

Wrap up

Thank you for taking time to answer some questions for us, Michael. It was a great pleasure to talk to you. I hope it will give the fans a clue about how movies are made and how to rate their value.
Let’s discuss the interview, Fans. Tell me about the information you found the most useful. Do you have your own experience with movie industry? Feel free to comment below if you have any further questions for us and we will gladly help you.

4 Thoughts

  1. I must admit script writing looked hard before I read this, and now it looks even harder! Making sure you convey everything you need in dialogue just sounds so difficult! I'm totally with him on the research side of thing.

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