Your upcoming movie Passenger - in a few words, what is it
going to be about?
Long story short, it's the tale about a mysterious lone
driver in the night, whose past might be catching up with him.
What were your sources of inspiration
when writing Passenger?
Passenger is actually inspired
by two sources. The first is the old urban legend about a driver in the
middle of the night who picks up a spectre. The second is a 1950s radio
drama that adapted that story, which got me to consider adapting it
as well, but adding a few twists, of course!
You plan to make Passenger
into an 80s style horror movie - so what fascinates you about especially
that era, and how will you go about bringing it to the screen?
I was born towards the mid 80s. Even by the 90s I was still
growing up on those old films, which by then started premiering on TV. As
far as horror goes, it was an era that - despite technical and budget
limitations - wasn't afraid to actually show their monsters etc. As a kid, that was worth staying up past my bedtime for! We don't
get as much of that in the age of found footage, plus the music and style
back then was so much cooler! Hopefully we can recapture that magic!
can you tell us about your movie's overall approach to horror (as in
suspense vs sudden shocks, atmosphere vs all-out gore and the like)?
saying too much, all of the above! Mostly it'll be atmospheric but you may
get to see a "monster" or ghost, at least...
what I've read, quite a bit of the action of Passenger takes place
in a car, your car I think - so how will you go about this, and where do
you see the challenges there?
Yes, my beloved Toyota Celica! That's partially for practical
reasons, which attracted me to this story; most of the movie taking place
in the car means we can shoot hopefully a lot quicker than with a dozen
locations as well as making any potential reshoots easy.
That being said, there will be about three locations, which
could be challenging. One is outdoor on a quiet riverbank, which should be
fine, and we've already got permission to shoot in a really cool
80s-tastic bar. But another (brief) scene takes place at a petrol / fuel
station. This will be a tough one as we want to go for an 80s aesthetic
but there aren't a lot of these places left that haven't been updated and
modernised! We're still looking, but we almost always have
contingencies planned, heh.
What can you tell us about
your key cast and crew, and why exactly these people?
Edward Fisher (aka Benni Venutti)
I hired my old
school friend Edward Fisher (aka Benni Venutti) to come onboard to be the
Bruce Campbell to my Sam Raimi, ha. He has the least experience of the
cast but I've known him long enough to know I can direct him into giving
the right performance - especially as the role is, for lack of a better
term, quite minimalist, in a man with no name sort of way.
producing as well, he was pretty instrumental in finding most of out cast
and crew. Edd found the amazing Autopsy Boys, who are doing the
soundtrack. The lead singer, Lee Brunskjill, suggested his actress
girlfriend when we were struggling to find the right leading lady. That's
how we found the lovely Danielle Parton. She's quite funny and has done
comedy webseries but she will creep us out on camera for Passenger!
The last cast
member I won't mention by name as he's only unofficially
confirmed. But he's a great local actor who we met at the premiere of his
last short film, in which he was terrific. So he was the natural choice.
Producer Edd's best friend, Robert Wingfield, is a professional
sound recordist/sound designer who has worked on many indie films so we're
delighted he's offered his services!
At the moment it's a pretty skeletal crew with just a few other
people but we're hoping to have a few more join as we go along.
As far as I know, you're currently running a fundraiser for Passenger
- so do talk about your campaign for a bit?
Yes, we just started our first ever IndieGoGo campaign last week,
so check it out! We're trying to fund through local investment and out of
our own money as much as possible, but we thought we'd go through
IndieGoGo as a contingency. It's the first time we've used crowdfunding, so
we're a little nervous about it, but we're hoping enough people will find
us there and join us in making the film happen!
Once the budget's in place, what's the schedule? And even if it's
waaay to early to ask, any idea when and where Passenger will be
released onto the general public yet?
We're currently planning to shoot end of May/beginning of June
(so any and all contributions are welcome!) with post production carrying
on over July and August. If we manage to fund the film fully, our backers
should get to see the film around 19th August before we hit the film
festivals, in particular the horror ones. Everyone else will have to wait and see so keep checking back!
Any future projects beyond Passenger you'd like to share?
Despite loving horror, I'm usually more of a sci-fi guy when it comes
to writing, so expect something completely different from Passenger! I
love dramas and thrillers with a slight sci-fi edge (think Monsters,
Safety Not Guaranteed or anything like that where the sci-fi elements are
only incidental), so without telling you about the story, expect something
in that vein - though I'm hoping Passenger won't be my last attempt at
got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal
training on the subject?
As a young child, I grew up on the Superman, Ghostbusters
and later the Jurassic Park movies. One day I dreamed I'd figure out
how the filmmakers did all that wizardry. When I figured out how, I was
persistent in trying to do it myself!
That curiousity led me to my degree in Media Studies, which I
probably would've failed or dropped out of if video production wasn't
the prime focus. There I got to build on my existing experience with
cameras and edit suites. During this undergrad, all my friends were busy
partying whereas - for the only time of my life - I spent all my
time doing homework, so you know I love this stuff!
What can you tell us about your
filmwork prior to Passenger?
I've made short
films at and leading up to university. Mostly terrible stuff whilst
learning. Unfortunately, the next almost-decade I wasted time trying
to find a "real job". That didn't work out as well as it should
have. So I ended up becoming self employed and shot music videos,
promos and private events. That's when I thought I'd like to make
something for myself rather than clients.
How would you
describe yourself as a director?
Same way I'd
describe myself in general: easy going! I like everyone to have their say
and give input where possible. I try to live by Jimi Hendrix:
"knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens."
Other than that, when creating I have a vision and I just try to
find the best way to make that a reality.
Filmmakers who inspire
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
It's often a
long list, but I'll try keep it brief!
Not just because he made us believe a man can fly, but also because he was
one of the main producers of the amazing Tales From The Crypt series.
imagination, creativity and outside-the-box approach, Robert Rodriguez.
His 10 Minute Film School series reignited my passion for filmmaking even more
than his actual movies!
crazy concepts and treating them with respect rather than making them
forgettable blockbusters Christopher Nolan.
Spielberg. He's this generation's master. What's more to say?!
Your favourite movies?
Again, a long
list but to keep it brief: Superman, Ghostbusters, Drive,
Evil Dead, Ferris Bueller's Day
could go on, but I don't want to bore you!
... and of
course, films you really deplore?
As I grow older, I
grow more mellow and deplore less! But as a horror fan I deplore found
footage movies. Even in 2016, how many reasons can there be for characters
to keep filming even when their lives are in danger?!
website, Facebook, IndieGoGo, whatever else?
For Twitter: @PassengerShort,
@Haqlins, @danielle_parton, @autopsyboys.
else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
If you know people into horror and 80s flicks, please tell them
about us! I think that's it!
for the interview!