Questions answered by Matt Patterson Director and Ron Maede Writer of Apartment 413
What inspired you to come up with the idea for the film?
FROM MATT (director of Apartment 413): I actually discovered the script, written by Ron Maede, on InkTip.com. I had gone through a couple years of self-written projects falling apart right before production and decided to hunt for something ready to go that was already out there. I was lucky enough to read the original script for this idea and reached out to Ron immediately.
FROM RON (writer of Apartment 413): Screenwriters are accustomed to having the universe at their disposal, and removing all the typical crutches from the toolbox was bound to be a frustrating exercise. There would be no car chases, no digitized explosions, and no marauding invasions from space troopers. Just two people. In an apartment. And it can’t be boring! That’s where I started. The result is APARTMENT 413. A fun little closed-door thriller that seems like it’s about a guy trying to find a job, but actually it’s so much more.
Why did you want to tell this story?
I was sucked into Marco’s world of paranoia, self-doubt and a desperate need to be loved. And I related to the false-reality men are taught that they have to be tough, self-reliant and never ask for help.
How do you relate to your characters?
I get Marco’s fear of not being strong enough on his own, not living up to the unrealistic expectations that are put on us. I get not wanting to be alone, and making really bad decisions because of fear.
I also get Dana’s desire to help Marco out of his own mess, but not enable him. I’ve been the Dana.
What influenced the visual style of the film?
Honestly, I wanted to make shooting in a single location as interesting as possible. The whole film was an experiment in style.
I played with visuals that no one really notices, like the painting in the dining room changes every time Marco has an incident. It starts as a happy barn in the day, and steadily throughout the film goes through sunset into a nighttime version of the same barn, almost completely black. Stuff like that is fun and adds even if people don’t notice.
What was the most courageous decision you and your crew made during production?
It was pretty brave shoving 20 people into a one-bedroom apartment for 3 weeks! Ha, and stinky, too.
Honestly, it was trusting that we could tell a story that doesn’t end with everything tied in a bow, to leave crumbs along the way for people to follow and trust that in the end if would make sense and be enjoyable, and hopefully reflective. Trusting the actors and team that when we got something good, that was enough and to move on.
What advice would you go back and give yourself before making this film?
I cut a lot of the script during rehearsals with the actors on the day we were shooting that scene. We’d whittle it down until it was tight… sometimes too tight. My advice would be to work more with Ron on the script to tighten it down before we got to the shooting phase, if for nothing else to make sure that we had enough story there to keep going. There were days that we cut 3-4 pages of content because it felt redundant, and then in editing we ended up with a much shorter movie that we had planned for.
What is going to surprise audiences most about your film?
I think there are some great reveals and “Aha” moments. Those are fun, but gimmicks. I hope the biggest surprise is what the audience thinks they’d do in the final scene if it were them. Would they have done the same thing Marco chose to do?
What does it mean to you for your film to be an official selection of the Austin Film Festival 2019?
It means the world to me to have my film at AFF 2019! This is my hometown festival, I volunteer as a filmmaker liaison almost every year, and it’s such an honor each time I get to attend as a filmmaker myself. And for the crew, who put in long hours, to come together in our hometown and share it with an audience, family and friends, this is a dream come true.
Click here to listen to Matt’s On Story Interview
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