Steven Coy is the creator of the small, independent media company Better Non Sequitur. Coy wrote and directed the DVD Rubix Cube Dinner and wrote the book Sandwich, both BNS releases.
RRM: Despite the humorous negative line in Rubix Cube Dinner concerning Star Wars and George Lucas–you do really like the original Star Wars, right?
SC: Um… YES. The original Star Wars rules! It’s a perfectly great epic-hero story and I really can’t touch it. It’s just the new ones I’m not so hot about. But yeah, I bow down to the old stuff for sure and don’t actually hate that guy (George Lucas) like the character in RCD.
RRM: What kind of capital did it require to found Better Non Sequitur? Has it been financially profitable?
SC: Basically, I mailed a letter to everyone I knew exuberantly describing my intentions, promising exceptionally high quality material, and offering millions of soul-points (and free stuff) to anyone who replied with a donation. Enough people responded to cover the costs of the initial runs of Sandwich and Rubix Cube Dinner. And BNS began paying for itself not long after its birth. As long as there are enough people out there who find the spirit of independent media worthwhile and admirable enough to help keep it alive through simple support, I’ve got no worries. The gratification of seeing something like this actually taking hold and reach people from all over is far better than any paycheck of any size, no question.
RRM: Could you summarize the purpose of BNS in a casual “Mission Statement”?
SC: BNS operates according to the merits of generosity (large portions for small prices), excellence (quality over quantity), and flexibility (open to art of all forms, and main offices are the trunk of my car) in order to produce, publish, develop, and promote Better Media—media of towering quality, that is, in the forms of (but not completely limited to) books, DVDs, and CDs. In the true spirit of independent distribution, BNS specializes in small-run, limited-edition material and aims to be the parents of cult-classics, special editions, and rare collectors’ items. We fervently provide an open area where otherwise unnoticed talent might produce a work without tiresome corporate mumbo jumbo.
RRM: I was really impressed with the quality of Rubix Cube Dinner– what kind of production costs where involved and what hardware/software did you work with?
SC: The production of the film was pretty straightforward and cost no more than the price of two Rubik’s Cubes, props and costumes purchased at thrift stores, and enough granola bars and soda to keep a very tiny cast and crew going for two days. The movie was shot with a Canon XL1s camera and sound was recorded with two Sony Lavalieres and a Sennheiser K6 ME66 Shotgun condenser microphone. Post-production was completed slowly over the course of many months (see also: this letter) using Adobe Premiere. The DVD was authored with Adobe Encore, replicated by DCA, and illustrated by a good buddy of mine known to some as Daniel Touchet.
RRM: What length of time period does the work in Sandwich cover? Did these pieces get a lot of editing before their inclusion in the collection?
SC: The stories in Sandwich I wrote over the course of about a year. I edit my stories obsessively. The only way to finish them for real was to publish them. The idea to publish a book for real was first suggested by my Communications professor, Gary Carter, who actually ended up writing the foreword. In addition to teaching, Gary is an accomplished publisher of a San Diego magazine and was kind enough to show me some tricks of the trade in between classes (I also drew heavily from So New Media and No Media Kings). The artwork inside by Jeremy Vaughan took yet another year to complete. So yeah, after a couple of years I’m glad to have it locked and finished forever.
RRM: A lot of the material in Sandwich seems just short of some formatting from being plays, and much of it is written as a play- do you plan on translating more of this work to film?
SC: The shorts in Sandwich that look like plays are technically screenplays, but I don’t disagree that they would work also, perhaps even better, for the stage—I also admit to writing under the influence of big-name Theatre of the Absurd guys. I’ve recently adapted “Kissing Bárbara,” originally prose, for the screen (another absurd incident starring Kürt Norby) and hope to shoot this summer, directed by Aaron Reznick. But after this project, I hope to explore narrative structure and tell a feature-length story as opposed to the short and fun stage-ish episodes found in Sandwich. They aren’t unpromising shorts, no, and I’ve received much delight from them, but I’d prefer leave the remaining un-mades open to anyone who wishes to make them, if ever.
RRM: What sort of sandwiches do you prefer?
SC: A remarkably simple but delicious turkey sandwich with butter. Unfortunately, such exquisite thing is currently prohibited by my diet.
RRM: I noticed one of the stars of Rubix Cube Dinner, Kürt Norby, has considerable experience in plays around San Diego- have you considered doing any stage productions?
SC: Kürt Norby is amazing, definitely going places, and I’m very lucky that he’s willing to work on my unusual projects. And yes, I have thought about doing a stage production. I would love to see “Disappearing Incorporated,” “Kissing Bárbara,” and “Rubix Cube Dinner” as a 3-part show of one-acts. I’ve thought about writing some new stuff too specifically for the stage. But I’m still only thinking about it.
RRM: What kind of educational background are you coming from and what variety of employment have you suffered?
SC: I attended a film college in Santa Barbara called Brooks, but left after the first year due to creative differences. I am currently working on getting a degree in English from San Diego State University. By day, I am the one and only administrative assistant of the Brigantine Corporate Office (a chain of seafood and steak restaurants throughout San Diego). It’s a fun job and my coworkers take active interest in my book and movie stuff. After I graduate, I plan to move far away. Luckily BNS is portable!
RRM: Is there a health condition or disease that you particularly fear? Why or why not?
SC: Things that makes you die. Other than that, I FEEL NO FEAR.
RRM: How does you roommate Bárbara feel about appearing in your work as a metaphorical bowl of oatmeal?
SC: I just called her and read her this question and she replied, “I don’t know.”
RRM: Do you feel oatmeal has an unfair and undeserved stigma for it’s mostly grayish pallor, mushy consistency, and reputation as a wonderful food for horses?
SC: I don’t think so. Oatmeal’s pretty well off, man. Have you seen how many flavors it comes in these days? And it’s not as cheap as you’d expect it to be! It’s also dangerously loaded with carbohydrates. Don’t let it fool you, Ryan. Question everything and resist!
RRM: Why is this guy so pissed off? What material is he most likely to build bombs from?
SC: He’s an angsty teenager, dude. He’s figured out the world and it upsets him. He will build bombs according to the ingredients given in Fight Club