It’s a dream come true: Two friends and longtime coworkers are producing their first big movie as director and producer. Harvey Lowry and Todd Tucker are the go-to guys in Hollywood for any unusual makeup and special effects, but have stepped beyond those boundaries to experiment in complete film production, hence creating Monster Mutt.

The family-friendly, spook comedy is about a family’s dog being kidnapped by an evil CEO whose testing goes wrong and creates a monster mutt. The independent film is being produced by Lowry’s relatively new company, Green Pictures, in association with Burnside Entertainment and Tucker’s company, Twisted Productions.

Between filming shots on set, director Todd Tucker revealed how Monster Mutt is inspired by Steven Spielberg’s Gremlins and E.T.

“Something like this is really cool for me because it’s what I remember watching when I was a kid that got me where I am now,” he says. “I wrote the story, and this is definitely from the get go either my success or disaster.”

Lowry and Tucker are aiming to score big by keeping the budget low and allowing a huge profit margin. It’s a clever yet risky plan as budgets always spill over. However, if anyone can stretch a few million to make the theatrical release they want, it’s them.

They have learned a lot from spending the last 20-something years managing their makeup and special effects company, Drac Studios. They are milking Drac, as they should, to take advantage and achieve a truly monster looking mutt and other surprise characters in the film as well.

I got to see the secret Monster Mutt myself, and it’s more work and effort than I ever imagined went into one character. Producer Lowry says it cost several hundred thousands of dollars and five people to control it, including the actor.

Drac Studios provided the bigger than life animatronic puppet.

“We brought our A-list team on for this. These guys are great. They’re amazing,” Lowry says. “We’ve done visual effects for The Passion of the Christ and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, but our passion is in practical effects, hands on. It’s there, you can see it, touch it. That’s the direction we want to go with this.”

Besides Monster Mutt premiering the best of animatronics, the cast features a variety of actors including children and live animals, which the crew says they are proud of and impressed by. Rhiannon Leigh Wryn (The Last Mimzy) and Billy Unger (National Treasure) star in the film as the two children and Bart Johnson (High School Musical 3 and 4, Daddy Day Camp) plays the father. The cast also features Brian Stepanek (Bolt) and Zack Ward best known as Scut Farkus from A Christmas Story.

Tucker says the cast has interpreted their parts better than he expected, and having done some acting himself, he is able to encourage that onscreen chemistry.

“Sometimes when you’re actually filming a scene, things will come instinctively, and that is better than what’s written. Brian Stepanek and Zack Ward are putting in more funny than I even have in the script,” says Tucker. “If a director’s too stuck in their ways and doesn’t want to give them the opportunity, it lessens what could be done.”

Part of the chemistry is also because the director is friends with a lot of the cast and crew, including Ward.

“We’ve been friends for six years and have been working on a whole bunch of projects together,” says Ward. “It’s actually a dream come true to work with your best friends and people who you love.”

With that, Monster Mutt is already a dream come true in more ways than one.

Monster Mutt is tentatively scheduled for a Christmas 2009 release.