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An Interview with Bubba Fish, Writer and Producer of Clinger

by Mike Haberfelner

September 2015

Films written by Bubba Fish on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie Clinger - in a few words, what is it about?


Clinger is just your average coming-of-age horror film about a girl in her first high school relationship whose overly-attentive boyfriend Robert dies in an embarrassing accident and comes back from the dead to kill her so they can be together for eternity.


Who had the original idea for Clinger, and how did the project get off the ground?


Michael Steves and I were in the middle of preparing to produce another script he had written about a family of wealthy cannibals, when Michael called me on the phone during my senior year in college and told me he had a much better idea. Mind you, this was after months of preparing to produce Good Taste as it was called. We decided it was worth it to scrap all of our previous work (Michaelís screenwriting work mostly), because we loved this idea so much.


What were your sources of inspiration when writing Clinger?


I used my first high school relationship as well as every awkward moment in my life as inspiration, as I know my co-writers Gabi Chennisi Duncombe and Michael Steves did too. In one scene, Fern completely embarrasses herself at a high school party. In another, she loses her virginity and itís a huge let-down. I really wish I could say these scenes were not based on my personal experiences.


What can you tell us about your co-writers, and what was the writing process like?


Well my co-writers are huge divas and I canít stand their outrageous demands. Just kidding they are my best friends from high school and life partners and we now have this trifecta marriage that really works and we couldnít leave it even if we tried.

Basically it goes like this: Michael suggests that a character barfs something out of its mouth, and Gabi and I find a way to make that happen.


As a producer, what were the main challenges of bringing Clinger to the screen, and how much of a hands-on or hands-off producer were you?


I had produced music videos, commercials, and shorts in the past, so I did have some experience, and I felt pretty confident going into it. But a feature film is a totally new beast, and I had no idea how much more work it would be than anything else I had done in my life so far.

I made the mistake at the beginning of production of trying too hard not to step on other peopleís toes, when really I needed to be checking every single aspect of the movie at every moment making sure something catastrophic wasnít about to happen. Even though we had an amazing crew, itís inevitable in a micro budget movie that things are going to go wrong, and you have to have your antennas up at all times ready to catch it before it does. I definitely learned that by the end of production.


What was your collaboration with Clinger's director Michael Steves like during the shoot?


Michael and I had been best friends through high school and college and had collaborated many times before, so we started off with a better heads start than many producer/director combos. Michael is a director that knows how to stay calm in the face of what seems like an insurmountable challenge. He takes notes and feedback in a productive manner, and is not at all hesitant to kill his babies (donít worry he doesnít have any actual children). He also has the unique talent of being able to function on nothing but an unholy lack of sleep and twelve shots of espresso. I think we all three, Gabi Michael and I, learned more on Clinger than we could have ever imagined about being writers, producers, directors, and DPs, but also about being supportive of each other and on the same team.


Do talk about the shoot as such for a bit, and the on-set atmosphere?


Clinger was the most fun and most stressful summer camp in the world. It was summertime, brutally hot in Houston, TX, and everyone was sleeping at Michaelís house or my house. God bless our parents. It was a very large crew for a micro budget film, so it was a social environment. We were on set for a month. Just like any film set, there were a lot of laughs and a lot of late nights where we all just wanted to go to sleep and not talk to anyone ever again. But our crew were the biggest troopers. They maintained a positive attitude and made it the best summer of my life.


Since you were also the editor of Clinger - what were the main issues here, and how would you describe the film's editing style as such?


Oh Lord where do I start?! First off, it was a lot of fun and I wouldnít trade the experience for the world. Also, it was horrible and a lot more taxing than I think I realized at the time. On the weekend we picture locked I didnít leave my apartment for 48 hours straight. I was so absorbed in making our deadlines that I forgot about my car and got a street sweeping ticket. And I was actually fine with the ticket because we were finally picture locked and nothing could bring me down at that point.


Clinger really taught me how many tools are at an editorís disposal to make a scene make sense. At first I was really hesitant to use a lot of ADR, and then Michael pushed me to put ADR in every weak spot in the movie, and we ended up with a slightly less technical professional product but a much more complete film. And when two scenes in particular werenít working, Michael wanted to put animated sequences in their place. They ended up being standout scenes in the movie. Itís fun working in the horror genre, especially such a goofy horror movie, because you have even fewer rules than normal.


Anything you can tell us about critical and audience reception of Clinger yet?


It seems to be getting a really solid reception from the indie and horror critics alike which Iím really proud of. People are willing to excuse some of the amateurish elements of the film because of how much heart it clearly has. And I think they are recognizing that Clinger has something to say both about how ďnice guysĒ sometimes feel entitled to girls and about how incredibly powerful yet ultimately misleading first love can be.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


Gabi Chennisi Duncombe, Michael Steves and I arenít tired of each other yet for some reason so we wrote our second feature together, The Cold Descent, a supernatural western starring Tony Todd (Candyman) Lance Henriksen (Aliens, Terminator), and Michael Eklund (Bates Motel). Itís currently in post, and weíre really excited it about how itís coming out!


You entered the filmworld as a commercial and music video director - so do talk about that aspect of your career for a bit, and did you receive any formal education on the subject?


By the time I started producing Clinger, I had just graduated from USCís Film & TV Production program, and I had been directing for my entire life. Which like I talked about above basically means nothing when youíre making your first feature. USC prepared me as much as any set of classes could. Ultimately though, there is no way to learn how to make an indie feature, other than doing it yourself.


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Clinger?


Before Clinger, I did a lot of music videos and shorts. One short that Michael and I made, Workout Buddies: A Bro Love Story, got over a million hits on YouTube and helped us get funding for Clinger. During post on Clinger, around this time last year, we had a music video gain traction online for portraying an aging same-sex couple looking back on their life called #ThisCouldBeUs. It was covered in The Huffington Post, Upworthy, Logo and some other outlets -- that was a very rewarding experience and obviously super different from Clinger. This year, Michael and I co-directed a spot about the recently deceased, 103 year-old founder of an insurance company who left his final message to his company before he died. Itís very sweet and inspirational, and I canít wait for people to see it. It was my first time co-directing with Michael, and it was a blast. Gabi produced too, which was new for her.


Filmmakers, writers, whoever else who inspire you?


Making your own feature allows for a very unique phenomenon known as ďan appreciation for bad moviesĒ. First of all, movies that I used to think were bad I now think are total genius as long as I walk out knowing exactly what happened in it. But more importantly, it now doesnít matter to me if a movie is considered bad or good before I watch it, because if itís good, Iíll enjoy it, and if itís bad, Iíll enjoy everything I am learning from it. I realized that I learn a lot more from bad movies than I do from good movies. Good movies are inspiring artistically, but you get too emotionally involved in the film to be able to recognize all the mechanics of it. I find that bad movies (or even better, mediocre ones) teach me so much more about how to make a good movie.

So my answer isÖ bad movies inspire me!


Your favourite movies?


Preparing to write and produce Clinger made me into a horror fan. We delved deep into the genre to write this film, and I found so many movies that I consider among my favorites today.


... and of course, films you really deplore?


Clinger taught me a very important lesson. If you walk out of a feature film and you know exactly what happened in it, it is actual genius. In a short, commercial, or music video, itís pretty easy to get the audience from A to B in a story, but a feature film is so different. We would finish shooting a scene, patting each other on the back, thinking we had absolutely NAILED it. Then weíd watch the assembly the next day and we would look at each other and ask ďwait what the hell just happened in that scene?Ē In fact, the first cut of the movie (pre our reshoots six months later) made very little sense for that reason. And that is why I learned to respect Adam Sandler movies. For most of them, you can walk out of and at least know what actually occurred in them. And that is so much harder than it looks.


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That having been said, I donít like films that arenít enjoyable to watch out of a belief that they are somehow more artistic that way. I think films should always be enjoyable to watch, and if youíre movie is boring, youíre fucking up. Thatís why I didnít like The Tree of Life. I actually think Clinger is better than The Tree of Life because itís never boring. Itís a lot of other things. Yes it's clearly made by a bunch of recent college grads who had never made a movie before. But itís not boring! Clinger: 1, Tree of Life: 0.

Okay for real though I really did like that one second shot in the Tree of Life where the mom is magically floating in the air like an angel.


Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?

@ClingerTheMovie on Twitter & Instagram


Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


No you pretty much covered it!


Thanks for the interview!


Thank you!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
content of sites from a third party.

Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD