THANK YOU FOR STAYING was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the October 2021 HORROR Film Festival.
1. What motivated you to make this film?
I had initially written this in January 2020 and absolutely meant to use professional actors. But when the pandemic hit in March, and my wife and I were sequestered up in a cabin in Lake Arrowhead, I knew it might be up to us, solely, to make this film ourselves.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
I wrote it in January. Then in March when the pandemic hit, it took me about two months to organize the shoot so that only two of us would be necessary to make it. I ordered all of our props and wardrobe online, including the killer’s mask. I knew that with the right wardrobe, both my wife and I could play the killer at different times, making it seem like a third actor was present when there were only two of us. I then told my wife it would only be one long night of shooting, but when we began shooting the night stuff, I realized the night vision picked up the infrared lights of every other security camera when shooting multiple angles. So that meant rather than shooting four angles at a time, we could only shoot one angle. So this stretched our shooting to five nights total. By the fifth night, when we were shooting the final confrontation, my wife really took out her displeasure on me with that axe. It took me about two months of post and finalizing the score and the music licensing.
3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
The fact that we only had two minds and four hands. But there were times when my wife would go to bed and I’d stay up, shooting scenes of either my character or the killer stalking around the house. It was pretty magical, working on it by myself in those wee hours. It’s how I imagine Bo Burnham felt when making Inside. Since we recorded it using our security cameras, downloading the footage for review was a challenge of patience.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
Excitement! That was quite nice to hear everyone’s thoughts. My wife and I watched together and it was special for her to hear that kind of adulation. And wow, the fact that we won Best Performances really tickles her, since she is not a professional actor. But I think she did a tremendous job and makes the whole piece work.
Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
Pretty young. My dad had a Hi-8 camera in the 90s, and I would use it to make little, terrible films with my friends. Back when you had to edit in-camera, so that made it especially awful, haha.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
This would be some sort of tie between The Big Lebowski, Caddyshack, and There Will Be Blood
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
I can’t tell you how much we enjoyed hearing the feedback, that was really special. I know you’re asking about what else you can do, but this effort really set you apart.
9. What is your favorite meal?
Zio Johnno’s spaghetti and cheese bread from my hometown Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
10. What is next for you? A new film?
We’re heavy into pre-production on a feature film that is a comedy and murder mystery based around an Air BnB. So somewhat taking this idea and giving it a new twist.