Movies & TV / Columns

Writer/Director Domenic Migliore On His New Film Routines

June 23, 2020 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz

The 411 Interview: Domenic Migliore


Domenic Migliore is a writer and director from Illinois who has made several short films, according to imdb, since 2008, including Love’s Illusion, Womyn, and Debeaked. Migliore’s first feature film as a director is the dark comedy Routines, which stars Michael Bugard and Anita Nicole Brown. In this interview, Migliore talks with this writer about making Routines, what kind of movie Routines is, and more.



Bryan Kristopowitz: How did you know that you wanted Routines to be your first feature film as a director?

Domenic Migliore: I didn’t really. I wrote the film 10 years ago. I had been trying to get it made for the same amount of time. It’s not my first film as a writer. I wrote a film that was produced in 2013 called Ashley. That film was completely different. It was a drama based on a girl I knew in high school, but at the time it was made, I did not have enough experience to direct a feature. In those 10 years, I’ve directed 5 short films and several music videos. I guess the real reason Routines is my first feature is because it took me 10 years to gain the experience. Well, also because no one wanted to make Routines. Every producer told me it was too vulgar or didn’t make sense. So, it’s also because I was the only one who would direct it.

BK: How did you cast Routines?

DM: It took me 10 years. I had about 5 different people in every role. I had one guy in LA who was gonna play Bruce. He had to drop out. That was 5 years ago. I had a guy named Bill Oberst Jr., who is big in the horror community. He had to drop out. Originally, one of my friends who acted in one of my music videos was gonna play the role of Darling. She had to drop out. Another actress named Lillian Lamour (also big in the horror community) was gonna do the part, but dropped out. At one point, I had John Hawkes read the script. He rejected the project completely. He said the content was “too much” (even though he went on to play a redneck who murders pedophiles in the Nicolas Refn TV show last year). I actually didn’t cast Michael Bugard and Anita Nicole Brown until literally several months before filming. I was friends with Michael on Facebook so I just messaged him. He said yes. And my producer Willy Adkins cast Anita. She was originally going to play the bartender. Kaylee Williams (who played Bruce’s girlfriend Sandy) and my friend Petey Hixson (who plays the drug dealer) are the only two who have been on board since like 2013. Petey Hixson also did most of the music for the film.

BK: Where was Routines filmed?

DM: In and around Chicago. The comedy club was a bar my friend found (Bernice’s Tavern). The video store was a real video store (Odd Obsession Video). The place just closed a few months ago. A lot of it was filmed at my grandparents’ houses. Darling’s bedroom was my friend Petey Hixson’s bedroom.

BK: How long did it take to make Routines, from finishing the script to completing post-production?

DM: 10 years. No, 11. I wrote the script in 2009.

BK: What was the hardest part of making Routines? The easiest?

DM: The hardest part of making any movie is getting people to show up for filming. That’s why I’m not a good producer. Willy Adkins did all that. For me, the easiest parts are writing and editing. Not that they are “easy”, but that I am alone and don’t have to deal with anyone yelling at me.

BK: How was making Routines different from making one of your short films? How was it similar?

DM: My short films where I had a budget and real crew, it’s actually pretty identical. You have professional actors, and a schedule, and everyone knows what they are doing. But some of my short films that I shot myself with non-professional actors and no crew? Completely different. It’s just everyone yelling at everyone.

BK: Is it right to call Routines a black comedy or is it meant to be more of a drama?

DM: It’s both.

BK: Is that video store a real video store?

DM: Yes. Or, it was. Odd Obsession Video in Chicago. Sadly, they just closed about two months ago.

BK: Any moviemaking heroes?

DM: My favorite director is Pier Paolo Pasolini. I also love David Lynch, David Cronenberg, Abel Ferrara, Ken Russell, Peter Greenaway, and a lot of others.

BK: Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

DM: I have written two other scripts. They are both horror scripts. And I am currently working on another script that’s a detective thriller set in a suburban town. They are all just scripts right now.

BK: What do you hope audiences get out of Routines?

DM: It’s up to them. I don’t control other people.

BK: How will people be able to see Routines?

DM: It’s currently submitted to festivals, and we are talking to distributors. Hopefully it will be available online/VOD soon.

BK: Who made the “Yuk Yuk Hut” sign and where is it?

DM: My film school teacher, Killian Heilsberg, made it. It’s currently in my parents’ garage.

BK: What the heck was that cocaine made out of?

DM: Originally, I used powdered sugar. I packed like a dozen baggies of them months before shooting. Then, the day before we filmed the scene, Michael Bugard said powdered sugar won’t look real, use baking soda. So I had to have my Dad help me pack baggies of baking soda the night before.


A very special thanks to Domenic Migliore for agreeing to participate in this interview and to david j. moore for setting it up.

Check out the official Routines Facebook page here

Check out my review of Routines here

Check out Domenic Migliore’s Facebook page here

Check out the Breaking Fate Entertainment official Facebook page here

Check out the Film Regions International official Facebook page here

All images courtesy of Domenic Migliore.