Nick Lund-Ulrich and Kerry Carlock are directors who teamed up to create the new action-packed feature-film titled “Armstrong.” Nick is a VES winning visual effects artist and the past owner of Scoundrel VFX, a VFX company that created environments for films and other media projects. He was part of the Emmy winning VFX team on the show “The Pacific,” as well as working on other big Movies like “The Guardian,” “Next” and the A-list film, “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.” Nick has previously directed many short films including one titled “Her Name” which won the Gizmodo Laptop Confidential Contest.

Kerry Carlock also has a strong background in film.

She presently serves as the VP of Programming at Pie Town Productions, a company that produces household name television shows such as “Flip or Flop” and “House Hunters.” Kerry has also overseen projects for Oxygen, FYI, and TLC. Many of her projects have been lauded and even nominated for Emmy’s as a result of her work on television shows and documentaries.

Together, Nick and Kerry created, directed, and produced “Armstrong” which tells the story of a rookie EMT who picks up a wounded superhero on her first night on the job and is subsequently swept up in his mission to save Los Angeles from an evil organization. In a recent and exclusive interview, they discussed working together on this film and more.

Making movies, storytelling, and genres

Meagan Meehan (MM): What first inspired both of you to become filmmakers?

Nick Lund-Ulrich (NLU): Most filmmakers who started in VFX like myself point to “Star Wars” as the reason they got into filmmaking, and I would be lying if I said it wasn't a huge part of my life.

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Kerry Carlock (KC): “Star Wars” definitely got me thinking about storytelling because its framework is just so classic, but the world feels so unique and interesting.

NLU: I also distinctly remember being in awe of the world created in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” That movie really sucked me in, and I became obsessed with how the technical craft combined with great storytelling could completely bring to life a made-up world.

KC: This is a crazy, but it’s true…I thought I wanted to be an actress until I started watching this show when I was in high school called “Behind the Scenes.” It was on E! and I loved seeing what went on a movie set. I distinctly remember seeing Andrew Bergman directing Nicholas Cage and Sarah Jessica Parker on the set of “Honeymoon in Vegas” and thinking- “I want to do that!”

MM: What were, in your opinions, your biggest breaks so far?

NLU: I don’t believe in big breaks.

KC: Yeah, there’s only hard work and luck, really.

NLU: I mean, we’ve both been working in the industry for fifteen years- gaining experience, creating a network, and saving our money to do a feature.

KC: We had interest from a couple of different production companies to make “Armstrong, ” but in the end, we decided to self-finance it. So, to us, it feels like we made this movie happen by sheer force of will.

NLU: Maybe our big break is still coming, and we’ll change our tune.

KC: Maybe!

MM: How did you think up and plan out the script for “Armstrong”?

NLU: We’ve always thought it would be cool to do a movie together that was a mash-up of our different favorite genres.

KC: Sci-fi comic book movies for him and small, intimate indies for me.

NLU: We figured there have to be other fans out there that are looking for a new twist on superheroes.

KC: And we knew it would have to be low budget, so we needed a concept that had a small cast and basically one location. So, Nick came up with the idea of two EMTs that have to help a superhero.

NLU: Yeah, it’s just three characters and an ambulance.

KC: I said if one of the EMTs can be a woman, I’m in!

NLU: And we were off and running.

MM: Would you say that you’re both fans of fun films that embody messages?

NLU: Absolutely, we love movies as entertainment, but I think that the best entertainment also has something to say about the world we live in.

KC: Especially in the genre. Movies can be fun, but they should also give the audience something to think about after it's over.

MM: Are there any screenwriters who inspire you, especially in the comic and/or superhero genre?

NLU: Logan was by far the best superhero movie since “Spider-Man 2” so Scott Frank is definitely on the list.

KC: And two of his other movies “Out of Sight” and “Get Shorty” are some of our favorite films.

NLU: He also wrote “Minority Report” which features Armstrong cast member Jason Antoon!

KC: I’ve been following Meg LeFauve lately- she's writing the “Captain Marvel” movie that will star Brie Larson. Her work on “Inside Out” was amazing!

NLU: We’ve been listening to some of her discussions about the process of writing and are really inspired by her.

MM: What about superheroes, do you both have personal favorites?

NLU: As far as the mainstream heroes I love Batman. I think the first comic I ever bought was a Batman comic. But as far as deep cuts go, I love “Kirby's Fourth World.” It’s just so crazy and creatively inspiring.

KC: We would love to do a Mister Miracle/Big Barda movie for DC.

NLU: Geoff Johns, if you're listening, we're ready!

KC: I'm also a big fan of Brian K Vaughn's comics, and I love his “Runaways” book a lot; not to mention “Saga” and “Paper Girls.”

NLU: Those aren’t superheroes.

KC: They are to me!

Actors, films, and advice

MM: Can you tell us about the cast of “Armstrong”?

KC: This movie needed to have a strong cast if it was going to work. And we scoured our favorite TV shows and films to find actors that we thought were interesting.

NLU: We would see actors and then start asking around if anyone knew them.

KC: We ended up finding the three leads through friends and friends of friends. We had seen Vicky on “Orange is the New Black” and thought she would make a really great Lauren.

NLU: We had a friend who knew someone on the writing staff, and we reached out to her to get us in touch with Vicky. The rest was history!

KC: We saw a great short called “The Gunfighter” which was produced by our friend, Sarah Platt, and starred Shawn Parsons.

NLU: And it turned out that our other friend, Rick Castaneda, had also cast Shawn in his movie, “Cement Suitcase.”

KC: And he was so great in both as two totally different characters, so we knew he would be great.

NLU: Jason also came by way of Sarah since she knew him from a short she produced called “Uggs for Ghaza.” But Jason's in all kinds of great movies and TV.

KC: Yeah, he’s a total professional.

NLU: We also want to point out that our bad guy, Christian Anderson, is also an amazing singer and puppeteer when he's not wearing armor and threatening Los Angeles!

KC: Christian played all the Harbingers in the movie with the help of VFX, except when his wife Camille played our unmasked Harbinger.

NLU: Camille has been in tons of commercials and movies and TV-

KC: And my favorite “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.”

NLU: We were so lucky to get the actors we had since they did a fantastic job bringing the characters to life.

KC: That was a really long answer, but we’re passionate about our cast!

MM: Career-wise, where do you both see yourselves in ten years?

NLU: In ten years we'd love to have a string of more character-driven genre movies under our belts.

KC: Hopefully with bigger budgets!

MM: What advice can you both give people who are aspiring to enter the entertainment industry, especially in the filmmaking realm?

KC: It might sound like a tired old chestnut but don't wait for anyone--just do it! Make a movie however you can.

NLU: The other advice I would give is to make friends with lots of different skill sets and don't be horrible to people. Filmmaking is such a collaborative medium that you need cool, talented people around you at all steps of the way.

KC: We worked our butts off making “Armstrong, ” but we couldn't have done it without all the super talented people working with us!