Interview with Producers Tim Finn & Nick Nadel (MESSAGE FROM THE FUTURE)

MESSAGE FROM THE FUTURE played to rave reviews at the April 2021 COMEDY Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Tim Finn, Executive Producer: We started a small company to write, produce, and post humorous short content.

Nick Nadel, Co-Writer/Co-Producer/Co-Voice Director: Message From the Future was originally conceived as a live action comedy short. When the pandemic hit, we changed course and adapted the script for animation. Director/animator Dano Johnson had collaborated with Co-Writer/Co-Producer/Co-Voice Director Kevin Maher on the animated short film Invaders From Above, so he was a natural fit for what we wanted to accomplish with Message From the Future. In many ways, the shift to animation allowed us to do things in terms of special effects, setting, casting, etc. that we wouldn’t have been able to do in live-action. While the pandemic created many complications, the production process for Message From the Future greatly benefited from the shift to animation.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

Nick Nadel, Co-Writer/Co-Producer/Co-Voice Director: The script was written pre-pandemic. But yeah, about five months.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Tim Finn, Executive Producer: Need sanitizer!!!

Nick Nadel, Co-Writer/Co-Producer/Co-Voice Director: Remember 2006?

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Tim Finn, Executive Producer: Getting microphones to our voice actors, who recorded remotely. Sorry, this isn’t a dramatic answer, but with a tiny team, this was all pretty smooth.

Nick Nadel, Co-Writer/Co-Producer/Co-Voice Director: Recording voice actors on two coasts proved challenging. But this amazing thing called “Zoom” popped up around the time we started recording dialogue. What did we do before Zoom? Seriously, what did we do? I don’t remember anything pre-March 2020.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

Tim Finn, Executive Producer: We were thrilled to see a diverse crowd, and happy to get any reaction at all. You spend a few weeks or months sitting in front of a computer typing and animating, mostly alone, and here’s the reminder why you did all that.

Nick Nadel, Co-Writer/Co-Producer/Co-Voice Director: The feedback video was fantastic. It was wonderful and encouraging to get so many heartfelt, genuine reactions. Since we haven’t been able to watch Message From the Future with an audience, it was great to hear that the audience got what we were going for and connected with the film.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you first realize that you wanted to make films?

Tim Finn, Executive Producer: 4th grade. We had a Video 8 camera and the drama teacher let us run around doing whatever we wanted. Those shorts are all terrible, and so they’ll never be made public, but they are safely archived as uncompressed Quicktimes on several back-up hard drives.

Nick Nadel, Co-Writer/Co-Producer/Co-Voice Director: Back in high school, executive producer Tim Finn and I made a 45-minute parody episode of the TV series MacGyver. In some ways, I’ve been making the same film ever since.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Tim Finn, Executive Producer: I saw Princess Mononoke five times during its theatrical release, but you’re probably looking for a funny answer. Police Academy 3 got a lot of rentals back in the day.

Nick Nadel, Co-Writer/Co-Producer/Co-Voice Director: Probably Ghostbusters. Also the MacGyver parody we made in high school.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are your feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

Tim Finn, Executive Producer: It’s great, and I show it to my students every year.

Nick Nadel, Co-Writer/Co-Producer/Co-Voice Director: It’s an excellent resource. Definitely streamlines the often difficult process of submitting to festivals. Plus, if you get rejected, another festival is just a click away.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Tim Finn, Executive Producer: Salmon, rice, steamed broccoli.

Nick Nadel, Co-Writer/Co-Producer/Co-Voice Director: Sushi. I hear they have great sushi in [insert location of festival here]!

10. What is next for you? A new film?

Tim Finn, Executive Producer: Our little company, Atomic Abe, has several hilarious video essays on television in our “Behind the Backdoor Pilot” series in various stages of editing, and some short live-action scripts we’re figuring out how to make in the pandemic.

Nick Nadel, Co-Writer/Co-Producer/Co-Voice Director: You can visit to see the comedy sketches and video essays we’ve made. More animation coming soon!


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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