Your upcoming movie Wasteland - in a few words, what is it
Wasteland is about the lead character of Scott, his challenge to
finding normality in a world that's been torn apart whilst he waits for
Beth (the love of his life) to return from London. Does he stay and wait
for her still living in the shadow of the old world or does he leave and
find his place in this new world.
How did the project come together in the first
The project came together as part of a discussion
with the writer, Tommy Draper, during a script meeting for the previous
film we worked on together, a film called Shelf Stackers. Although
it's very different to Wasteland, there is a 'zombie' character and
that sparked the conversation that it might be a good idea to look into
doing a feature length zombie movie.
What can you tell us about your screenwriter
Tommy Draper, and what was your collaboration like? And how did you two
first hook up to begin with?
Tommy got in touch with me
back in 2010, and came to the premiere of one of my previous film Coming
Home. We then met up to discuss if there was a possibility of working
together on a short film. We ended up creating Shelf Stackers and
then as that came to an end we moved straight into Wasteland.
a postapocalyptic movie - is that a genre you can at all relate to, and
some of your genre favourites?
I find human nature
interesting, when you take away all societies rules and expectations, how
do people cope, what do they want in life, is it still to have a family,
and life, what kind of life would that be? It's the human nature side that
I find the biggest pull; if you are interested in the character it
shouldn't matter which genre the film is. With this genre though you are
allowed to get creative and to have a bit of fun with all manner of visual
Of course, we also have
to talk Wasteland's zombies for a bit - so what can you tell us
about your movie's approach to the undead?
We spoke about them being like animals, slow moving when there's
nothing around fast and very dangerous when they are in attack mode. They
were always meant to be part of the background of the world that Scott
usually suggest quite a bit of gore by definition - so how far are you
going in the blood-and-guts department, and was there a line you refused
to cross (for other than budgetary reasons that is)?
We've got some blood and gore, but it was again always meant to be part
of the world that Scott lives in, not the main driving force behind the
movie, although it is a prerequisite for this type of film. It terms of a
line to cross, if it fit into the world that we created then I don't see a
problem. It would only be a 'no no' if it felt or looked like it walked in
from another film. In terms of the budget, it's always fun to find a way
to push the limits of what you can afford and find ways around it. There
are ways to cheat the budget, some ways of doing this are cutting away
from a shot to make the viewer create their own image of what's going on
or using compositing techniques - which we're big fans of.
would you describe your overall directorial approach to begin with?
It was all about getting to know the actors and crew before the shoot
took place. Thankfully, I'd already worked with Shameer and most of the
crew before Wasteland
commenced and so I knew how they all worked;
this made things a lot easier. Whilst we always work to tight deadlines, I
always aim to be relaxed on set to get the best out of everyone involved.
can you tell us about your movie's key cast, and why exactly these people?
lead character, Scott, is played by Shameer Seepersand. I've worked with
Sham on several short films, so we've got a good working relationship. So
when this came up it just seemed like the right fit. I trust Sham to get
the right performance. Some of the scenes the we've done in Wasteland
have been heart-breaking because of his performance.
Shameer Seepersand, Jessica Messenger
Beth is played by Jessica Messenger [Jessica
Messenger interview - click here]. Originally Beth was played
by another actress who ended up pulling out and so we had to recast. This
presented a challenge because we had already started film and in actual
fact we had had to do some re-writes of the script because we were due to
film a big action sequence and had got all our extras booked in and then
we were faced with re-casting. We found Jessica through the fact that she
had auditioned for another film one of our crew had worked on. We liked
her and she liked the script and wanted to get involved. She fitted in
straight away and it was great to see the relationship between Scott and
Then there's Rachel Benson who we found in an audition, she was so full
of energy and really brought a spark to the character of Lolli.
there's Mark Drake, another person out stepped in last minute but who
fitted in perfectly. He was perfect playing someone who enjoyed the idea
of reinventing himselves in the new world order - he was ordinary in the
old world, but in the new world he could be whatever he said he was.
can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
start with, because we were filming all the Scott-alone scenes it became
very claustrophobic and we all went a little stir crazy. It was wonderful
when Jess dropped in. That said, we did become a bit of a family and at
time because there tended to be a week or so in between shoots it felt
like a family get-together! There were times when it became stressful,
too. The sheer amount of filming to get through and the long scenes; we
had a small crew and sometimes we just didn't have enough people to do
what we needed to do. And of course, off the set we all had lives, the
problems of which were often a contribution to the obstacles of the film
being produced. I can only really remember one disagreement on set and
that was me and Sham; but it wasn't a serious issue and it was resolved
very quickly and it derived from both of us wanting to get the best out of
the film and his performance and. Of course, we were feeling the pressure
of time, but overall it was such a great set and everyone who worked on
the film did such a great job whether they were there for 1 day or the
far as I know, you are currently running a fundraiser to ensure the film
gets the polish it deserves in post-production. So what can you tell us about
your fundraising campaign?
The fundraising campaign is to
help with everything post production. The FX are always a complicated a
difficult area and of course time-consuming. Then there sound and music,
plus the marketing to get the film out there. We want people to see this
movie. I think its going to be a little bit different from what they
expect. The fundraising campaign is currently doing 2 things, 1) helping
us get the film out there and raise awareness of it, and 2) helping us
finish the film.
Any idea when and where the
film will be released onto the general public yet?
going to depend on what happens next and what deal we can negotiate.
Currently we have 15 offers of interest from some very big names in the
world of film distribution. So, our aim is to get the film finished so we
can get some serious negotiations underway for it's sale and release.
future projects beyond Wasteland
you'd like to share?
just been awarded full funding for another feature film from a private
investor. We're delighted! And so, we will soon be recruiting for a producer
and then subsequent crew and cast.
(For anyone who's interested, we're
currently taking applications at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
go back to the beginnings of your career: What got you into filmmaking in
the first place?
Very simple: stories. I always loved them.
I wrote them from a young age, and wrote so many scripts - in fact I still
have them all. I also made films from a young age - simple animated films,
all edited in-camera. My father, who's an incredible artist, bought me Vertigo,
Once Upon a Time in the West and East of Eden when I was
young and it started the bug. I now have over 1,000 DVDs and a home
cinema, and I can honestly say I have been a film-addict for over 25
years. There is no point in my day that I switch off from being at work,
because film is my life; whether I'm in my studio or at the dinner table
with my family. Film is forever!
What can you tell us about your
filmwork prior to Wasteland?
Being shorts, they were
shot over a 2-3 day period. There are a range of themes and genres. Again,
I'm interested in people and why they do things and the impact their
actions have. Emotional conflicts are the most interesting. In Coming
Home the lead character has the emotional conflict of the commitment
to his soldiers and the emotional commitment to his wife. These ideas
interest me because of the questions that are posed? Everyone will have a
different view in terms of the right answers. In The Musician the
lead character is someone who is frustrated by wanting to be better than
they are. Should he give up and accept that he's not ever going to make it
or does he keep pushing and trying? All of my film trailers can be viewed
on our YouTube channel (lightfilmsuk) or on our website www.lightfilms.co.uk.
How would you
describe yourself as a director?
That's a difficult one.
I'm not sure I'm the right person to ask on that one, I guess I'm
ambitious and always looking to better myself. I like working with actors
to find out a way to play the scene that feel truthful and organic. I'd
like to think I'm quite relaxed, sincere and trustworthy - which I believe
are great characteristics to have in order for a number of key things to
happen on set. Firstly these personality traits are important in order to
connect with the actors and the crew; they need to be able to respect you
and trust me. After all, in the low/zero budget world payment comes in the
form of experience and exposure and the team I work with understands that
I'll do my upmost to make sure they get both of a high quality. Also,
actors enter incredibly vulnerable states as they explore their character.
They need to know they can trust their director as a professional and an
on-set friend. This is the best way to get the best performances out of
actors, in my experience.
Filmmakers who inspire
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Christopher Nolan I think is brilliant, Peter Jackson,
the behind the scenes of Lord of the Rings really inspired
me to have my sets the way they are. Hitchcock, just sheer technique and
invention. Spielberg, Scorsese, Scott... The list could go on and on!
Your favourite movies?
many to name, I'm afraid!
... and of
course, films you really deplore?
I don't think I really
hate any movie. Movies that disappoint I find worse than bad films.
website, Facebook, IndieGoGo, whatever else?
Playlist - http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8603DBBA8DDC41D3
Light Films website - www.lightfilms.co.uk
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/WastelandFeatureFilm
Twitter - @wastelandUK
IndieGogo - http://igg.me/at/WastelandFeatureFilm/x/2276057
else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
think that about covers it.
for the interview!