Blog by: Jules Vincent
What inspired you come up with the idea for the film? Why did you want to tell this story?
We’re both big lovers of classic horror films, however, we both get a little squeamish when the blood and guts start flowing. So we wanted something to fit the classic horror angle that our favorite directors like Hitchcock, Carpenter, Friedkin, and Cronenberg might tell while still maintaining a contemporary feel. Then strangely enough, while brainstorming ideas, a commercial for a major sports league – which we’re sure we don’t have permission to mention here – was running on the tv in the background and highlighting their “ultimate player” which in turn triggered our eureka moment. Of course, it took us a lot longer than a thirty-second commercial spot to actually write the script.
We wanted to tell this story because we believe it puts a fresh perspective on a tried and true tale.
How do you relate to your characters or subjects?
There are a couple of ways in which we relate. For starters, Jules went through a rather unenjoyable battle with cancer so he’s now got an understandable aversion to hospitals and medical procedures. On top of that, we’re both husbands and fathers with a deep connection to our family. We tried to put that same strong connection (sometimes for good and other times for bad) into all three of our main characters. Hopefully, the audience relates to those themes.
What aspect of the story changed the most during writing and production?
The gore factor. In spite of our squeamishness for blood and guts on the big screen, when it comes to our writing we didn’t seem to have the same misgivings. Our first few drafts were pretty gruesome. That being said, we didn’t want to wallow in nothing but a world of torture when we felt the dynamics of the characters, their relationships and the overall arc of the story could stand out. So even though we went to the end of the block and back with the crimson corn syrup we reeled it back in considerably in subsequent drafts. Additionally, once our director stepped in and the actors started bringing these characters to life, they discovered relationships among them that we wanted to explore as much as possible which forced us to add or subtract a whole number of lines as we went through production.
What was the most courageous decision you or your crew made during production?
Without a doubt, the most courageous decision we made was in casting. We’d landed the always incredible Angus Macfadyen and brought in an ultra-talented and rising star in Tom Cocquerel, so we needed a female lead that could go toe to toe with them in every scene. The casting process can be arduous and we had a particularly hard time finding that completely fearless actress who we knew wouldn’t give up an inch to those two. Thankfully our director, Rob Grant, and producing partner, Michael Peterson, had an existing relationship with Camille Stopps. She responded to the material, we flew her into Calgary less than 24 hours after she said yes and then started production the very next day. We can’t say enough about how lucky we were to get her.
Were there any risks that you faced during production and how did you find a way to embrace them?
Our biggest risk was probably going into production in the first place. We had not secured our full financing by the time we went to camera. We had a strong feeling that we would. We were close. But we weren’t fully there and didn’t know for sure that we would be. Ultimately, we decided it was better to stick to our production timeline rather than risk losing our actors, director, producing partners and keys to other projects.
What influenced the visual style of the film?
Like we said before, we love classic horror. When we spoke to our director, Rob Grant, and our cinematographer, Charles Hamilton, we focused on the look of our favorite films, particularly John Carpenter’s earliest work. As luck would have it their vision matched ours. They’d been raised on the same classics we had and wanted to give the same nod to them that we’d hoped to.
What risks did you take to tell your story?
It’s never easy to put yourself out there. To have people evaluate your creative effort can be difficult and the collaborative process of filmmaking requires a thick skin if you want to improve your work and create the best possible product. We think the risk everyone faces in any creative endeavor is failure. People might not respond to it, might think it stinks, or might just think it’s not even worth their time to look at. But if you want to make any progress towards fulfilling those dreams we all dream you’ve got to risk failure for a chance at success.
How would you encourage others to tell their story or manage through the process of screenwriting or film producing?
It may sound trite but you have to just keep writing and working. You have to accept that a lot of what you will do will, in fact, be really bad because you must to wade through the bad before you can get anywhere close to the good. You have to be accepting of well thought out criticism and you have to learn how to hone in on the constructive criticism which might help get you closer to your goal. Finally, don’t get married to anything that you’ve written, no matter how brilliant you might think it is. They are just words on a page and if you came up with extraordinary words before you will be able to do it again.
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