Your new movie Turnover
- in a few words, what is it about?
owner Peter leaves his disgruntled manager Henry, to take care
of business, Henry instead hires a crew of misfits, including
his replacement. Peter returns to an
unrecognizable business but soon learns the value of camaraderie
and bonds with the new team. Only through
their help is he able to save his business, his life, and find
Very basic question,
why did you set the movie in a restaurant?
I grew up around restaurants with a mom that was a bartender
and waitress, and it seemed like a good setting for the story I
had in mind.
Do you at all
see yourself in Turnover's
central character Peter and his journey? Or in any of the other characters
for that matter?
I personally identify more with Pepper and
even a little Gladys.
(Other) sources of inspiration when
It started out being a study of why older people are
attracted to younger people's energy (the Peter/Henry
relationship), but when I developed it further, I love underdog
stories and fell in love with the 'misfits'.
talk about your co-writer Laree' D. Griffith, and what was your
I wrote the original script, and when we started getting ready
to produce, we wanted to amp up the characters a bit, create
more tension, and build more of the lesser characters out to
attract bigger names, so I brought Laree' on board because we
worked together on another project I wrote/directed/produced
called Halloween Party, and we had a great working
relationship. She's also a very talented writer I met
Despite all the drama going on, Turnover
is at times also highly comical - so what can you tell us about your
film's brand of humour?
It is tough to put it in a genre. You would think it's
a drama, but like you said, the real humor that comes out of
natural situations is ever present. I think it's really
more of a dramedy and the humor is very situational.
Do talk about your overall
directorial approach to your story at hand!
When I write something I'm going to direct, I generally take
off the writer hat and let my co-writers handle anything needed
on set or just for background info for actors. I tend to shoot
2-3 takes only per angle but we move fast and get a lot of
footage. I really take input from both my DP (Jen Hook)
and editor (Scottie Simerly jr) before and during filming.
I also like to let the actors improv a bit since they spend so
much time developing their characters. I feel like they probably
have a much stronger voice for the character than we probably
wrote. Once we're finished I let Scottie give me his
editor cut and then I give him notes from there to begin shaping
what I think the film is in my mind. I've worked with the same
team for several years so there is definitely a shorthand we all
have that really works.
What can you
tell us about Turnover's
key cast, and why exactly these people?
We are very lucky to have this cast. They all are
exactly what I thought the character would be. I've known
and worked with Julia Silverman the longest and always saw her
in the role, but we did have an actress with more of a name that
ultimately ended up not working out, so I got my pick of having
Julia in the role. She really is the perfect 'Gladys' and
is such a pro. Carlos Carrasco in the 'Miguel' role was
another amazing result of not getting an actor I originally
thought of. I had written the role with Danny Trejo in
mind, but Carlos adds a much deeper level to the character and
is so lovable, especially when he smiles. I really couldn't have
had a better actor in that role. When Paul Guilfoyle was
submitted to us and we met him, our whole producing team knew he
was the right actor for Peter. Fortunately for all of us,
he loved the role, and actually brought a much softer, more
likable 'Peter' than what was written. A funny thing that
happened with 'William' is I had just gone on the internet and
searched awkward, gangly African American teen actors and Adwin
Brown's photo came up. I didn't know his name, but then
when we got submissions, his photo was in there. It was a sign!
We were just praying his audition would be great and he killed
it and the role! Another interesting thing involved Blair
Williamson in the 'Charlie' role. I was introduced to him
and his mom, Gail Williamson who is an agent for actors with
disabilities. They were the first to go over the script
and sort of put the dialogue of 'Charlie' the way that Blair
spoke. Eventually as we began casting, Blair recommended
his friend Jamie Brewer (American Horror Story) for the role of
Gina. There was only two lines for Gina in the script
during the reading, but Jamie was such a breath of fresh air and
really captured all of our hearts, so we sort of split the
lines between 'Gina' and 'Charlie' and gave her a bigger role in
You of course
also have to talk about the restaurant Turnover
was actually shot at, and what was it like filming there?
That was amazing! My husband found it when he was
walking near our house and it's a second 'take out' location for
a very busy Mediterranean restaurant called Open Sesame in
Long Beach. I had written there would be that competitor
restaurant down the street, so it was awesome! Anyway,
they rent out their corner location for events so we rented it
for two weeks, and the first week shot the Creperie Cape and on
the weekend changed it to the Eclectic Cafe and shot the
following week for those scenes. Honestly, that location
raises the production value of the movie so much! It's
incredible. I can't imagine what the movie would be like without
few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
The shoot was a lot of fun. There's always some times
of stress but overall everyone had a great time together.
We live nearby so our house was the base camp and we all walked
to set. We also had three different production periods.
The first was in August for 11 days for the cafe scenes.
Then in November we shot for 5 days in a studio for the
breakroom, Peter's office, the hospital sets and we spent a day
in Long Beach for the sailing and bar scenes which we shot at
Panxa in Long Beach. Then in January, we all felt we
needed the 'Wela' scene where Miguel is taking care of his
grandma and we shot the opening of the movie, making the
turnover, so that was an additional day.
$64-question of course, where can Turnover
Right now in festivals. We have a screening at
the Manhattan Film Festival 5/3/19 and also the same day, it is
playing at the first annual Palm Springs International Down
Syndrom Festival. We'll have producers and talent at both
sceenings. We are hoping to be in more festivals through
October and then a mini theatrical in November, and hopefully in
2020 on VOD.
Anything you can tell us about audience and
critical reception of Turnover
So far the movie has won or been nominated at every festival
so far. It won Audience Choice and Best Family film at the
Idyllwild Int'l Festival of Cinema, the grand prize, Best
Feature film at the Golden State Film Festival in Hollywood, and
was a finalist for Best Feature at the Maryland Int'l Film
Festival in Hagerstown. We've also been getting some
pretty amazing reviews! Check out our IMDb page for those:
Any future projects you'd like to share?
Of course! Well, I'm a huge advocate of anti-poaching,
banning trophy hunting etc. We have a franchise of films,
a TV series, video games and more under the names of Cat
Dexx, Wild CAT and Cat Dexx: Inkosi. The story is about a
female Rambo hunting poachers in Africa 'Tarantino' style!
We have over 111k Facebook friends and 4500 Twitter followers so
my big push is marketing and selling that and Turnover this
I also have two other short films that will be coming out
this year. Intervention, which focuses on a mother/daughter
story dealing with the opioid crisis, and Nakusa, which is a
musical-logue set to Rachmaninoff's Prelude in D Major Opus 23.
It's one of a series the creator, Jennifer Kramer, is doing and I'm
mentor producing/directing with her. She's a classically trained actor
and pianist that is bringing classical music into the modern world with
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
All of my work can be found at my website:
and more info about Turnover and where
to see it can be found at
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
I'm all good. Thank you so much for the review and
for the interview!