Your new movie The Device
- in a few words, what is it about?
JEREMY: It's about two estranged sisters who are trying to reconnect.
There's a tragedy in their past that has put a wall between them and now
they're trying to move past that and heal so they can have a real
relationship again. As they are beginning this process they find an object
in the woods at what looks like a plane crash site. The object turns out
to be an alien artifact and the finding of this object will have lasting
repercussions on the sisters and their family.
What were your
initial inspirations for writing The
JEREMY: I've always been fascinated by
aliens and alien abduction stories. My mom had a close encounter of the
second kind before I was born and I used to ask her about that experience.
It fascinated me and it spurred me to read about other abduction cases. As
for the object itself, I was inspired by this because I felt it gave us
the opportunity to do something a little more character-based with the
genre, seeing how this artifact affected the different characters and
played them off one another.
JOHN: I've been terrified by aliens for as long as I can remember. Growing
up watching shows such as Unsolved Mysteries and The
X-Files, there were
few things more horrifying to me than the idea of being abducted by
aliens. I'd always wanted to tell an alien abduction story on film because
it's such an underrepresented sub-genre and the subject is so inherently
scary. The only problem was I could never come up with a second act. The
film would start with an abduction incident and then I knew what the
repercussions of that would be in the finale, but I couldn't nail down
what would happen in between. Jeremy then told me his idea about an alien
device being found in a wreckage and I knew that that important story
element was what had been missing when I tried to outline my own abduction
Since the film's about alien abductions
and the like, how much research went into this aspect of The
Device, and your personal thoughts about the subject?
Well, I'm definitely a believer, as you can probably tell from what I've
already said. It's a topic that has fascinated me all of my life, from
books and movies and TV shows, to discussions with people who've actually
had encounters. I even had a concept for a book I started writing when I
was in my early 20's but I didn't get very far.
JOHN: I've been researching this project my whole life from the
documentaries, movies, and TV shows I've watched to the books I've read.
This was very helpful because we had a very short period of time to make The
Device. We had another project, my film Valley of the
we were shooting in June. So when Ruthless Pictures (the sales reps behind
our previous film The Invoking) came to us in December and said they
wanted to co-produce a film with us and they liked the idea of The
Device, it gave us 6 months to complete shooting before Valley of the
Sasquatch was going to be in
production. We also didn't want to step on Valley of the
Sasquatch's pre-production time
too much, so we decided to shoot in April. So over the course of 4 months
we outlined the story, wrote the screenplay, completed pre-production, and
shot the film. If Jeremy and I weren't so familiar with abduction
mythology, I don't know if we would've been able to pull off such a quick
can you tell us about the film's look and feel?
love atmosphere and wanted to capture that idea of not feeling safe
wherever you are, even in your own home. Part of that was trying to create
a style that would feel real but also be disorienting. Some of that was
the look itself, which is intentionally more desaturated with many earth
tones in the color palette, very different from most alien abduction
films. But I would say most of that was created by my editor Autumn Lisa
Mason. We wanted to utilize bright lights and jump cuts to simulate the
idea of loss of time that many abductees experience. Autumn really took it
to the next level though, creating the dream sequences and jump cutty
moments from scratch and really giving the film a language that it was
missing in its most basic form.
words about your key cast, and why exactly these people?
Our key cast was made up of three performers: Angela DiMarco [Angela
DiMarco interview - click here], Kate Alden [Kate
Alden interview - click here],
and David S. Hogan [David S. Hogan
interview - click here]. Jeremy and I worked on a short film entitled
which Angela and David starred in and produced. We were really impressed
by how they were both able to give great performances off of a script they
just read (Trauma was a 48 Hour Film Contest film, meaning it was written,
shot, and edited in just 2 days) in a production where they were also
wrangling the production. So it was very easy to imagine them in these
complex roles. Kate was recommended to us by another actress in the film,
Lorraine Montez who plays Aunt Linda. Lorraine produced a feature called
The Darker Path that Kate was the star of. She recommended that we have
Kate read for the role and it was easy to see that we had our Rebecca
after she auditioned.
David S. Hogan
JEREMY: I really enjoyed the experience of working with David and Angela
prior to The
Device. Angela is wonderful at taking a direction,
internalizing it, and then turning that direction into something real and
honestly, probably better than the direction I originally gave. I knew she
would be perfect for bringing Abby to life and showing her mental and
emotional disintegration as she's so good at bringing her emotions to the
David is an
amazing performer and a great guy to have on set. He's always searching
for the right moment in every scene and he's never satisfied, which I
appreciate. I think he really made Calvin a fun character on screen but
did it without sacrificing the tragedy of the character so the audience
doesn't lose their sympathy for him.
somebody we found through auditions. I was convinced immediately she was
right for the role of Rebecca. Her face is very expressive and her
emotions translate so well to film. She was able to convey her characters
emotional inner life in a very concise way, which was really impressive.
of course also have to talk about your film's creature for a bit, and how
much of a say did you have in its design?
JEREMY: I worked
with our creature designer, Kate Dixson, on the look of the alien. We each
brought our own ideas to the table and were able to meld them into a happy
JOHN: One thing we wanted to do was respect the classic (and nightmare
inducing) look of the greys. From the cover of the book Communion to the
TV miniseries Intruders, this look of an alien visage had horrified us for
decades. But we didn't want to have the key creature of our film be
something that everyone has seen before. So we changed a few things up in
the head and hands and increased the stature to make our design look even
more alien, but still as scary as the classic greys.
written and produced the movie together, and were director and assistant
director on it respectively - so what was your collaboration like through
all of this?
JOHN: Jeremy and I have known each other for
about 8 years. We started off as PAs on the same set and have worked
together ever since. We'll write together, I'll assistant direct things
where he is the director, and he'll be the cinematographer for things
where I am the director. Because of this it's pretty easy for us to know
what the other wants and be comfortable on set because we know how much
the other will bring to their role.
JEREMY: John and I have a great working relationship and we stay pretty
communicative through the entire process. I don't think there's a day that
goes by that we didn't talk about the project and keep it moving forward,
together with our producing partner Matt Medisch. All together the three
of us were able to take this project from concept to completed film in
about 8 months, which is a crazy schedule to keep! I wouldn't want to keep
doing that but I think it's great that we proved to ourselves we could
What can you tell us about the shoot as
such, and the on-set atmosphere?
JEREMY: The shoot was a
quick 12 days and a few of those days were pretty long and intense. That
being said, we had a lot of fun on this shoot. Most of the people on set
had worked with us previously and were friends and the new additions to
the cast and crew fit in perfectly. We just try to have a good time and
make a movie and the chemistry on set really helps our efficiency.
JOHN: Like Jeremy mentioned, we had 12 days to shoot the film. We shot
around south Seattle, WA and in a town across the Puget Sound called
Belfair. In the first week we had a bunch of locations and company moves
which kept us on our toes. During the second week we shot everything
taking place in Calvin & Abby's home, which was a house we rented in
south Seattle. The one major thing that was different about this
production compared to the others was that this was the first film we shot
in the city where we live. So instead of spending the entire shoot in one
location and sleeping on the set, we got to go home each night. So that
was a nice change of pace.
The $64-question of
course, when and where will the film be released onto the general public?
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Device has been accepted into a few film festivals and we still have
several to hear back from. It will have its world premiere at the Local
Sightings Film Festival in Seattle, WA on September 27th. After our brief
festival run the film will be released on DVD & VOD in the US on
December 16th by Image Entertainment. A UK release will follow later in
future projects you'd like to share?
JEREMY: We have a few
projects in the pipeline, mostly in the funding phase of things. The
biggest project is Valley of the
Sasquatch, a film written and directed by
John that is currently in post-production, and slated for a festival
release next year.
JOHN: We're really excited about Valley of the
Sasquatch. It's my
directorial debut and, like The
Device, based on my lifelong love of the
film's subject matter, in this case Bigfoot. It's the biggest
People production yet and we will have a festival run that starts in early
2015 and goes throughout the year. In addition to that, there are many
more stories we are all itching to tell and we can't wait to get back on
set and get rolling on them.
Thanks for the interview!