INTERVIEW: East Side Effects And The Visual Music of The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a new film on Netflix from the Oscar-winning Coen Brothers, and East Side Effects made the film look its absolute best with a dazzling array of effects that are both shocking and subtle. 

East Side Effects boasts an impressive filmography that includes work on Creed, American Ultra, Into the Woods, and Mother!. PopAxiom talked with Alexander Lemke and Michael Huber, the driving force behind East Side Effects about their work on The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and a whole lot more.

In the Beginning …

The two men took wildly different roads to get to where they are. For Alex “… I always wanted to be involved with visual effects. I grew up with Star Wars, and that had a big influence.” However, Michael says “I didn’t know anything about visual effects. I was studying literature and philosophy. I went to film school and started seeing how all this stuff is done, and I was hooked.”

The reality of how any industry operates from the point of view of those within it is often full of surprises. Alex quickly learned “There’s so much that goes into a movie that most people aren’t aware of. The effects are hidden in there all over, helping to tell the story.” And for Michael, the surprises were “Everything!” However, he continues ”All the invisible stuff that puts viewers in the time and place.”

Did You Shoot An Arrow At James Franco?

In the trailer, James Franco is on the wrong end of a hangman’s noose when an arrow whizzes by, narrowly missing Franco who turned his head just in time. However, the arrow keeps going, hitting a rider on a horse way in the background. Buster Scruggs features many shots that require uncanny timing. Of that Alex says “We were very concerned about getting the timing right. If you don’t get that right, it all can fall apart.”

Michael adds “It’s a lot about helping the moment and what’s happening. Doing the little things that put you in the moment and makes it all more believable.”

Buster Scruggs isn’t just about invisible effects. Just watch the trailer, and you’ll understand “There’s a lot of subtle effects but also in-your-face ones because of the nature of these stories.”

Alex adds “There’s something a lot of fun about working on six themes. This was like making six different films.”

Buster Scruggs runs 133 minutes, and according to the team it features “704 effects shots.”

Practical and Digital

We’re in an increasingly CG world, but there’s a lot of practical going on too and discussions about which to use and when are “… a common conversation behind-the-scenes.”

What did the Coen Brothers want? “The Coens are the kind of directors that if they can shoot it for real, they will. If they can solve it with a practical effect, they’ll use practical.”

However, the beauty of CG allowed the team to do the pragmatically and ethically impossible “They wanted these violent, forward fall of horses and it had to be done digitally.”

Michael asserts that a marriage of the two often works best “A movie like Mad Max: Fury Road looks so amazing because they shot much of it practically then went in and enhanced it with CG.”

Wrapping Up

What’s coming next from East Side? “We’re working on Ang Lee’s next film Gemini Man with Will Smith.” Alex adds “Also, we’re working on a Netflix show Triple Frontier.”

Thanks to Alexander Lemke and Michael Huber and Impact24 PR
for making this interview possible.


Holiday Gift Inspiration From Fleabag | Prime Video

According to Fleabag, the best last-minute gift is The Burrower. » Watch the new season of Fleabag now exclusively with your Prime membership: » SUBSCRIBE: About Fleabag: Fleabag is a hilarious and poignant window into the mind of a dry-witted, sexual, angry, grief-riddled woman, as she hurls herself at modern living in London.…

AXIOS on HBO: Joe Biden on Senator Elizabeth Warren (Season 2 Special Clip) | HBO

The former U.S. Vice President sits down with AXIOS co-founder Mike Allen to discuss why he didn’t mention considering Senator Elizabeth Warren as a potential vice presidential candidate. #HBO #AxiosOnHBO Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: Known for delivering news, coverage, and insight with a distinctive brand of smart brevity, Axios on HBO helps viewers…

Belichick & Saban: The Art of Coaching (2019) | Educators at Heart (Clip) | HBO

Belichick & Saban: The Art of Coaching is a documentary that spotlights the four-decade-long friendship between the two most powerful coaches in football history. #HBO #HBODocs #BelichickandSaban Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: Don’t have HBO? Order Now: Get More HBO: Get HBO GO: Like on Facebook: Follow on Twitter: Like…

The Expanse Season 4 – Space Opera Drone Show at Intersect 2019 | Prime Video

The Expanse drone space opera lit up the sky at the 2019 Intersect Festival in Las Vegas. » The Expanse returns 12/13. Watch the current seasons with Prime: » SUBSCRIBE: About The Expanse: The disappearance of rich-girl-turned-political-activist Julie Mao links the lives of Ceres detective Joe Miller (Thomas Jane), accidental ship captain James…

Origin of The Irishman: How Martin Scorsese Brought the Epic Story To the Screen | Netflix

Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, and "I Heard You Paint Houses" author Charles Brandt discuss the origin story behind THE IRISHMAN and how Frank Sheeran's story made it to the screen. Watch The Irishman, in theaters and on Netflix: SUBSCRIBE: About Netflix: Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with over 158…

Final Trailer | 6 Underground starring Ryan Reynolds | Netflix

Get some action this holiday season. Ryan Reynolds + Michael Bay = 💥. 6 Underground is coming in hot, only on Netflix, This Friday, December 13. Watch 6 Underground, Only on Netflix: SUBSCRIBE: About Netflix: Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with over 158 million paid memberships in over 190 countries…

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina | Part 3 Date Announce | Netflix

Knock knock knock on the gates of Hell...On January 24th, she's back. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina returns with Part 3. Watch Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Only on Netflix: SUBSCRIBE: About Netflix: Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with over 158 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries…

Atypical Season 3 | Artists on the Spectrum | Behind the Scenes

The journey to success is atypical for these artists on the spectrum. An exclusive look at the making of street art created by Exceptional Minds in collaboration with Netflix’s Atypical. Exceptional Minds is a non-profit professional academy and studio for visual effects artists and animators with Autism. Season 3 of Atypical is now streaming:…
Ruben Diaz
Writer, film-fanatic, geek, gamer, info junkie & consummate Devil's advocate who has been fascinated by Earth since 1976. Classically trained in the ways of the future.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here