Artist of the MonthArtist of the Month: Gustav Ljungdahl

Interview with Swedish Props-Builder and Filmmaker Gustav Ljungdahl
2019-02-01 11:02189
Gustav Ljungdahl
Propsbuilder and Indie-Filmmaker


Hello Gustav thank you for taking the time for this interview. You‘re a man of multiple talents, even more projects and therefore very hard to reach. How do you even manage to get all your projects under one roof?

GL – Good question, my key to getting things done, is to actively finish things that I start, so there is a list I make that reminds me of things I have to do. I have no high-speed internet where I live, so I can’t be distracted by stuff on Netflix. But for example scripts take a long time to make, because I have some ideas that pop up from time to time. So I write them down, and then they slowly mutate into a full script. Like funny situations or lines of dialogue and then basically I make them connect.

You develop and build props, work on scripts and manage not only to film projects, but also to fill your YouTube channel with material. Admit it, you have a clone chamber and there is more than one Gustav´s out there. Right?

GL – I wish I had the technology to clone myself, it would make stuff much easier. The YouTube thing works out well because I make the costumes and film it at the same time. And when I make something from a video game example, I try to produce it in two of three days. As I said, I have a lot of time and no distraction.

I’m completely jealousy at you. I wish I could force myself to go offline more often. I have the feeling it is a creative “Energy Drink”

GL – It is. It grows you some wings.

Let´s talk about “Root of Darkness”. I saw it and it is indeed a homage for “Evil Dead”. Tell us, what was your intend to make it?

GL – Root of Darkness is my fourth feature film, I have made six so far. The story behind “Root of Darkness“ was a joke that went too far and became a movie. The joke was: What if Ingmar Bergman made a horror movie (Evil Dead). So I wrote the script while watching almost all his movies to write in the same style of his dialogs. However, when we started shooting the movie we changed the direction of the movie to more monsters and less dialogues.

What were your parts in this film?

GL – What I did not do on „Root of Darkness“ is the better question. I usually say that Jasper and I have a 90-10 work share: I make the set costumes, effects, filming, editing, co-writing and minor acting. It might seem unfair, but it works. I would be happy to collaborate with more people, that can help me out.

Sounds like a real Indie-Moviemaker. What’s your intention behind making movies and how long did the production take place?

GL – My intention is always to make a movie I want to see myself, I think that is the best way of making movies. My movies usually take a year from start to finish. I think if it takes longer, then you will likely lose interest in it.

You’re right, I know that feeling myself. As time goes by so goes the spirit and the will to complete things. Let’s talk about your YouTube Channel. Personally I could watch you build things all day long. I like the art of your performance in your videos, it looks so unscripted and I’m sure you‘re a one-man-show there too, right?

GL – Yes the YouTube thing is totally unscripted and yes I film it on a tripod in the workshop. No scripting or anything, so it is what it is. Some other builder channels have other people filming them and plan their performance and so on. I am not doing that, most of the creations are stuff I will use in my movies like the mesh suit.

Could you tell us in more detail how you do one of those videos?

GL – As already mentioned the YouTube videos start by me building something, that I need or is requested, so I start building it and film it, so I never plan anything really and when I finished building it I film the list of stuff to use and then the intro and outro. The editing is basically speeding up the clips so it is more interesting to see things being made and try to make the videos as short as possible to make them not boring to watch. And finally I make the voice-over, also totally unscripted.

The new project is a robot or android, right?

GL – Yes it is an android for one of the shorts of Mark Ratering.

So you’re the props builder for this short film?

GL – Yes, and the director and a lot of other jobs.

Yes of course, don’t know why I asked in first place. You work with all kinds of materials. And as a long time viewer of your Channel. Am I wrong or do you own a 3D-Printer?

GL – I bought one this year and it is indeed a good tool for me to make parts that are difficult to do. And cheap.

That´s high end tech man. I’m stunned.

GL – Well I saw that this one had a lot of automated functions to do. I’m terrible whit computer stuff. So I decided to buy it. And yes, 3D Printing is the future of props building.

Awesome. Give us a hint. What can we expect from Gustav in the near future?

GL – What to expect from me in the future is a good question. Hopefully I will manage to get external financing to make some more better quality movies or find people to collaborate with, though most people don‘t take me serious.

Gustav, I have to be completely honest to you. That was my first thought when I met you the first time. If you remember, we both met on a Horror-Convention in Germany. You visited our exhibition stand and showed us a trailer for a movie in development. Wait, I have to be more specific: You came down the hallway in the crowd… stopped at our stand… looked around… looked at us… positioned yourself in front of us… started a video file on your tablet and after the trailer was done 3 minutes later… you smiled, closed it and left. My partners and I turned to each other thinking “What the fu** !!!”

That was the moment I told my partners to stay as I started to follow you -Jason Bourne Style- to find your own exhibition stand. And that is where I met you, Ola Paulakoski, Anders Hasselroth, Jonas Wolcher and Kim Sonderholm. THE WHO IS WHO of Scandinavian Indie-Filmmaking. And I really, really have to say. I didn´t took you serious, and that´s the fact why you were interesting in first place. This business is so full of bullshit talkers and people playing there parts day by day, it was a relive to meet a guy like you that doesn’t care what others think about him. And one day we all will be forced to take you serious.

GL – I have nothing more to add to that 🙂

Gustav, thank you very much for this interview. And we at IndieNuts are really looking forward to seeing stuff from you soon.

“I thank you.”

1Social Media Massacre2017
2Root of Darkness2016
3Kill Team 2013
4Jaws of the Shark 2012
5Rape Man: The Night Humper2008
Credits Art department
1The Dead Man's Mound pre-production
2Reyes filming
3Skatecop post-production
4Attack of the Cyber Octopuses2017
5Vogon Poetry: Dangers of Space2017
6ABCs of Superheroes2015
7Cannibal Fog2014
8Rape Man: The Night Humper2008

1 Handgranut2 Handgranuts3 Handgranuts4 Handgranuts5 Handgranuts Ø: 4.33

1 Handgranut2 Handgranuts3 Handgranuts4 Handgranuts5 Handgranuts Ø: 4.33


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Artist of the Month: Gustav Lj…

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