Your new movie I Am
Alone - in a few words, what is it about?
Loss, humanity and finding one’s self when everything around you has changed
Am Alone being a zombie movie, is that a genre at all dear to you,
and some of your genre favourites? And what do you think makes your movie
stick out of the crowd?
I love horror. It was actually the first genre I saw when I was kid. And
since then for the last 10 years a bunch of us friends get together for a
horrorthon around halloween, 5 of our favorite horror movies (a voting
process happens) from 3pm to 3am. It’s a night of scary fun. And lots of
top three favorites are The
Exorcist, Hellraiser &
Nightmare on Elm
think I Am
sets itself apart because we focus on humanity and we
don’t rely on the infection to drive the story. This is one man, Jacob
Fitts in the woods trying to survive a horrible couple days and he
doesn’t know or understand what is going on around him. Jacob doesn’t
know what a zombie is, someone attacked him that he had to kill. How would
we, ourselves react to that type of situation. That’s what Jacob is
trying to negotiate and I think that makes our film stand out.
Other sources of inspiration
when writing I Am Alone?
movies and music and for both two words come to mind, John Carpenter. The
Fog, The Thing, Escape from New York. The score to The Fog is just brilliant.
Also movies like The Shinning,
Omega Man, Outbreak, Dawn of the
of the Living Dead, Cast Away & The Road. We listened to a lot of
Mogwai, Sigur Ros
and This Will Destroy You while writing the film.
chose the found footage approach for I
Am Alone - was this a decision from the get-go, actually, and your
thoughts about the found footage "subgenre" as such?
it was a decision we made from the get-go. We decided early on to capture
this film in a way the was both documentary style and found footage. The
use of the Gopro cameras allowed us to get specific camera angles
without compromising the story. Jacob is a survivalist so we felt this
would enhance audience’s experience. I enjoy the found footage subgenre
when done correctly, movies like REC, Paranormal Activity, Chronicle,
Troll Hunter, The Fourth Kind & Cloverfield all do it justice. I think
you have to make sure you’re always working to serve the story no matter
can you tell us about your co-writer, director and long-time collaborator
Robert A. Palmer [Robert A. Palmer
interview - click here], and what was your collaboration like - and how did the
two of you first meet even?
has a great sense of where we’ll be down the line, he’s very thought
out in terms of story. Where a lot of the time I do not think about where
we are going and focus solely on where we are at. So it helps me a lot of
the times knowing that without even talking he’s got a fierce sense of
what's next. When you’ve known someone for as long as I have, 26 years,
it makes things a lot easier. Trust isn’t something gained overnight so
it’s nice to have that trust in someone, it takes out a lot of the worry
of “will this work” and replaces it with confidence and ingenuity. Rob
and I have have endless conversations during our writing sessions about
story and character and being able to bounce ideas off one another is a
fantastic way to write. A lot of times we write scenes that just don’t
make it into the film but we allow each other to try new ideas out and
that’s one thing I love the most. Even when when shooting a scene we
talk a lot the night before we’re on set so that we are prepared for the
day. The more trust you have the collaboration gets easier and that’s
one of the best traits Rob has in his arsenal of traits.
and I have known each other since we’ve been 12 years old, we met in
high school in a math class I think, I forget the teacher's name but he
used to throw dry erasers at us if he didn’t like you and make you sit
in the trash can if he really disliked you. And he didn’t like most of
us. So we bonded over prank calls, trading cards, fantasy football and
movies. We made short films for our friends in high school for their
English reports. Rob would direct and I’d help edit and do music and
sound fx. That was the start of it all.
How much of a say did you
have when it came to casting I
Am Alone, and why exactly these people?
one unit I can say Rob and I both had 100% say of casting. There was never
a time when we liked someone over another and had to fight for our vision
of a character. From the start we knew we wanted Gareth David-Lloyd &
Gunner Wright. We had our number twos and threes but we went heavily
after our first choices. Gareth we LOVED from his Torchwood run,
especially the Children of Earth series which inspired Rob to make a short
film called People of Earth, which I edited, it was placed into the
Night Film Festival in Louisville where we met Gareth. Gunner we saw in a
film called Love by Will Eubanks, his portrayal of the last
man on earth in space was just fantastic and heart-breaking, it was one of
those movies we watched about 9 times in a week. For the Dr. Marlow role
we were looking for a presence on screen, someone with a look, who had the
bravado of Dr. Marlow but also who could deliver the unknown and Marshal
Hilton walked into our casting session and knocked it out the park.
were the main challenges producing I
Am Alone - and in connection with that, also do talk about your
locations for a bit!
me start out by saying we shot in Montrose, Colorado and there couldn’t
have been a better, nicer more welcoming town for us to work with in shooting
Am Alone. One of the main challenges for I
Am Alone was shooting
on a 5000 acre mountain at 10,000 ft above sea level. We had no 4 wheel
drive trucks with us. We had a cabin that had a gas powered generator
which could only be run for four hours a day and it broke on day 1. We had
to bring generators up the mountain to power our cameras and lights and we
did not have the budget for as many as we actually needed. And I’m not
talking about movie generators, I’m talking about personal generators
the ones you’d find at Walmart. So I had to go into town, door to door
asking the people of Montrose if they had ATV’s, 4x4 trucks and most of
all generators that we could borrow for a couple of weeks. The people of
Montrose couldn’t have been more welcoming. We had people bring us about
eight generators, a local in town guy lent us his two ATV’s and the ATV
trailer which we turned into the make-up trailer. People came out in
droves with tents and food. FOOD! Three times a day our local house mom
Lynette Bean and her 89 year old mother made our meals! The townspeople
came out to help our film in any way they could. When it was time to shoot
our pivotal town attack scene, Montrose closed down streets for us and
allowed us to shoot at their City Hall. This film was as much of a collaboration
with the city of Montrose as it was with Rob and I.
What can you tell us about the
shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
on-set atmosphere was a little rocky when we first arrived. We took a crew
of about 15 people, most of whom we hadn’t worked with before, up on a
mountain to live for three weeks with little to no power. Now you can
explain to people all about the mountain and it’s terrain and weather
and what they need to be prepared for but it wasn’t until once everybody
got to the mountain and saw with their own eyes did they all realize where
we were actually shooting. People were nervous at first but soon settled
in once they realised A) there was nowhere to go and B) we’re about to
make a kick ass movie. We had also hired a security team run by our technical
advisor Rick Bresett who helped make every day a fantastic day
of shooting. If we had a lot of extras Rick and his crew from Accurate
Intensions would help warm up the extras. Rick answered all our questions
and concerns without hesitation. We felt a lot more safe with Rick and his
crew. There were times we ran up on bears or a cub and Rick, Randy and
Bobby would handle the situation. We wouldn’t tell anyone what just
happened we’d clear the area and begin shooting knowing Rick was there
watching our backs. One of the best days on set was during our firing range scene where we had 60 extras, fire pits, ATVs circling and it was
COLD. I had a PA run out an get everyone food while Rick whipped up a
military song for everyone to join in and sing. I think everyone had a
great time making I
can tell us about audience and critical reception of your movie yet?
it’s been about four months since we've released I
Am Alone out into the
world and so far it’s mostly been very positive. People have been
gushing over Gareth & Gunner's performances which make the film stand
out. We’ve started to win awards at festivals such as Scare-A-Con and
Fright Night Film Fest as well as RIP Fest and I think when that starts to
happen you just can’t ignore a film like I
Am Alone. Festivals and comic cons have both helped further the success of
Am Alone and we have many
more to play at. We have a long road ahead of us and a specific plan for I
Am Alone and would like our film to reach an even wider audience.
future projects you'd like to share?
first and foremost we’d love to continue the I
Am Alone world. The first
film is a cliffhanger and we’d love to show our fans where the story
continues. Rob and I have already plotted out the second film. We also
have another horror story we’d like to tell called The Patch which takes
place on a pumpkin patch. And switching genres we have a fantastic
crime story called A Four Gun Conclusion we’d love to tell.
What got you into
filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on
know I think my love of films got me into filmmaking. I have no formal
training except to say I went to films not filmmaking school. I moved out
to LA in 1999 and started working almost immediately in commercials and
music videos, learning everything I could on every set I was on. But I’d
say 1989-1995 was a very impressionable time for me. Rob showed me the
movie Do the Right Thing which showed me a world I was not used to seeing.
Jaws and Indy to me were the perfect films till I saw Carlito’s
experienced Apocalypse Now, Reservoir Dogs
& Pulp Fiction, The Professional, True Romance and
Natural Born Killers. Citizen Kane and
everything Hitchcock blew my mind. You can make movies like these, hell I
wanted to make movies like these. Even today I own over 3000 movies. I'll
never stop being a fan of film and I think it’s what makes me a better
What can you tell us about your filmwork
prior to I Am Alone?
been heavily working in commercials, music videos and realty TV trying to
learn every facet before moving into making my own short film. I had made
a short film called Waking that placed top 25 on the
reality show On the Lot by Steven Spielberg. I had worked with
Rob on his People of Earth short film. Worked on a pilot for a TV show
called Unconventional. But I really found my love of editing and started
to work for a post house working on commercials and films for Apple all
the way to Michael Bay and his Transformers movies.
movies, you've also made your fair share of reality TV shows - so do talk
about those for a bit, and how do making them compare to making narrative
cinema? And to what extent have they influenced your approach on I
in reality TV for five years heavily prepared me in creating the world for
Am Alone. I’ve working in both post and camera departments for shows
like Forever Eden, Paradise Hotel, The Ultimate Fighter &
Pimp My Ride. The pace we needed to shoot at, how to shoot and how to mold it all
into one story this is where the reality TV in both Rob and I shines
through. Reality TV does a great job in that they shoot for thousands of
hours and can create hundreds of storylines if they want to. So Rob and I
both knew that with our background in reality TV that we could easily
serve the story of I
Am Alone both with a bit of improv and sticking to
the script. We shot with 5-7 cameras rolling ALWAYS. In reality TV it’s
much the same as you usually have a teams of four or five shooting at once
as well as stationary cameras shooting the surrounding areas. This is what
Am Alone is about. I
Am Alone is reality.
Writers, filmmakers, whoever else who
a huge fan of innovation so when I see filmmakers like the Wachowski’s
or James Cameron, filmmakers who can literally change a whole decade of how
films are made, they inspire me. ILM inspires me. Brian De Palma is a huge
influence in both writing and filmmaking, Scorsese, Kubrick, Tarantino,
Coppola, Michael Mann, Michael Bay and Oliver Stone. I really love the
films of James Mangold, PT Anderson and Darren Aronofsky their catalog of
filmmaking is a class unto itself. Right now I think the filmmakers to
watch are Jeff Nichols, Rian Johnson and David Michod. I find a lot of
inspiration in the poems of Flannery O’Conner or the works of Hunter S. Thompson. But sometimes my inspiration comes from people I see on the
street, people I’ll never meet. I just watch them in their element, I
Your favourite movies?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
list has flip flopped around but these movies are my favorites - True
Romance, Apocalypse Now, Carlito’s Way, The
Matrix, Citizen Kane, North
by Northwest, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Animal Kingdom,
Goodfellas, Top Gun,
Bad Boys, There Will Be Blood, Heat, The
Wrestler, Jaws, Alien,
on Elm Street and Lock Stock and Two Smoking
Barrels. It’s tough I feel
like I can make a list of 1000 movies I like.
and of course, films you really deplore?
hate sequels to great films. All the Jaws sequels. Exorcist sequels. Some
are decent if the entire cast and crew and director are back but even then
with The Matrix sequels, were they needed? No. I wish sometimes we’d just
let a film stand the test of time, no sequels, no remakes. But my most
deplorable film was the sequel to Carlito’s Way, WTF happened there. Why
was that movie made. Someone thought a sequel to Carlito’s Way was
needed with P-Diddy! We’re talking about one of the best crime films,
filmmaking films to date. That’s like saying hmmmmmm we’re going to
make Heat 2 starring Drake and 50 Cent. People should just stop when they
have that thought, I mean look what happened to a fantastic filmmaker Jim
Sheridan after Get Rich or Die Trying, 8 Mile was a film, Get Rich or Die Trying was a
film trying to get rich. Movies should not just be made to make money.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
Festival Trailer: https://vimeo.com/125647292
- @manonfire07, @iamalonethemovie, @cinerob58
@IAMALONEmovie and @cinerob58
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
just like to thank everyone who helped out on
Am Alone, this was truly a
team effort from everyone who pledged to our Kickstarter to the Town of
Montrose to our entire crew and to Rob. This was an experience I’ll
never forget and I’m super proud of. Thank you.
for the interview!