This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 043: An Interview Filmmakers Boddy Roe and Zack Andrews.
Ashley: Welcome to episode 43 of the Selling Your Screenplay podcast. I’m Ashley Scott Meyers, screenwriter and blogger, over at sellingyourscreenplay.com. In this episode’s main segment I’m interviewing Bobby Roe and Zack Andrews. They recently wrote and directed a found footage horror thriller script called “The House is October Built”. They shot a really low budget version of their film, got some heat on that version of it and then were able to go shoot a higher production version. It’s a great success story and they go into some real detail about how it all came together so stay tuned for that interview.
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So now let’s get into the main segment today. I’m talking with filmmakers Bobby Roe and Zack Andrews. Here is the interview.
Ashley: Welcome, Bobby and Zack to the Selling Your Screenplay podcast. I really appreciate you guys coming on the show.
Zack: Thanks for having us.
Ashley: So I wonder to start out, I wonder if you can just give us a quick overview of your career and how you got into the entertainment industry and ultimately made this film The House is October Built.
Zack: We’ve been best friends for what’s coming about 20 years now. We both went to Plymouth Senior High in Texas and we played basketball together and then I went on to Baylor and Bobby went out to UCLA to play baseball so we just kept in touch and best friends and we’d spend the summers either in Waco writing and just trying to get our film career off the ground. So that kind of got us to both being in LA and living together when we were in our early 20’s.
Bobby: After getting out of college we got a little bit of heat on the screenplay and ended up kind of going around town when we were about 23 or 24 years old, and it was an experience. It didn’t end up coming to fruition the way we wanted it to, but I think we’re probably all at a better place because of that. I mean, I think the ten years in between that is what’s really built our career. We really understand it, I mean, otherwise it would have felt easy, and we all know that it is the very, very opposite of that. So we’re probably fortunate the way it turned out, that what we’ve learned over the past ten years has been all different capacities of film, being on different sets, having different jobs has really kind of built us into who we are today and trying to attack different stories, different subject matter that we probably wouldn’t have done in the past. But we wanted to just make sure we hit something that the audience really wanted or hadn’t seen before.
Bobby: I think having those failures, we had some low budget horror films come really close to production and they would fall apart, just dealing with that frustration and getting those reps kind of in the screenwriting process helped and it also pushed us into saying you know what, fuck it. We’re just going to go do this ourselves. So I think that as cliché as it sounds, it’s like going through the process and it takes ten years. You know you read all that and hear all that and then you live it yourself. And it’s not so fun, but when you can find some success in the end, you look back and you go oh that’s I’ll just be bored talking about.
Ashley: So I’m curious. What do you guys consider yourselves? Writers? Directors? Actors? You guys have both done kind of everything.
Bobby: I think filmmakers hopefully. It’s kind of we like all sides of it. We didn’t initially want to cast ourselves in the movie, but the style of the film that we made, we needed to make sure that we were directing the actors, we use a lot of real scare actors. We wanted it to be as organic as possible so there needed to be some guidance, some natural guidance on the story that we were telling so the only way to really kind of execute that was us being—and we do have some past experience in it—but it was the initial plan. But I think we just kind of like all facets of it and whenever we can we’d like to at least be in some way involved. You don’t have to have the exact title for it but we just enjoyed the whole movie making process.
Ashley: So let’s go ahead and let’s dig into the House is October Built. You guys—at least on IMDB it looks like you guys made a documentary first a couple years ago and then now you’ve made the found footage fictional version of that. So maybe just let’s take it back to–you know, it sounds like Zack, from what you just said, you guys just went out there and made the first version yourself so let’s start out with that. How did this first version of House That October Built get made and where did that come from?
Bobby: We wanted to think of the world that hadn’t really been shown on film and that wouldn’t break our banks and we’d be able to kind of do it on our own and be able to fund it and things of that nature. We had always grown up, loved haunted houses and loved how we—especially Bobby takes great pride every year in having this hidden Halloween costume that he won’t tell anybody about—but he wants to unveil it on Halloween. We’re really passionate about the holiday. But specifically we love going to Universal horror nights and things like that. So we thought well, why hasn’t there been a movie about these places. You know, forget things about possession and that type of thing. What about actually real places where you go in the dark with these people and they have masks on and you don’t know what could happen. Their job is to scare you so we just wanted to center our story around that world. Once we got that idea we just kind of outlined the way that we saw the progression of the story happening. And then like I was saying we kind of were able to manipulate things along the way when we needed to but it was actually surprising some of the things that just happened organically with what these people were saying and doing.
Ashley: So was that first version was not a—because on IMDB it’s listed as a documentary. Was it a found footage film basically—
Bobby: Well, I guess this is the best way that kind of we have explained it is that Blare Witch is fake from frame one right? So 1999 that works perfectly beginning at the actual Internet, Internet advertising, marketing, but in today’s time the genre itself is so watered down; we understand that. But what we wanted to do is make something be real maybe until it’s not or I dare you to tell me what part isn’t. Using the real people, using the real environments was our biggest kind of selling point because I think it translates on film as well that you’re seeing the passion and the things that come out of some of these people’s mouths, you couldn’t write on your best day. Like you’re just baffled they said it on film. So yes, it’s a documentary but there are elements—there’s more of a twist to it I’d say, and this version is probably the bigger upscale more studio version of that. So that’s probably the best way to explain it because it still falls under the doc category I think but there’s a little more to it. If you’ve ever seen that, it’s maybe a good analogy I hope.
Ashley: What movie was that?
Bobby: Have you ever seen Lake Mongo?
Ashley: No. No.
Bobby: It’s an Australian film and it may be on Netflix streaming now, but it’s one of the best [inaudible 0:08:35.4] I’ve ever seen, its authenticity.
Zack: You just don’t buy a lot of these films and that was kind of what I think an element of science capturing the haunted house for the first time. The other part was we had shown this movie to people and were getting good feedback but we needed somebody like a heavy hitter to get on board, and I’ll never forget answering the phone and it was Steven Schneider who produced paranormal activity movies and insidious. And one of the first things out of his mouth was “I love this because it’s real until it isn’t.” And you can’t really tell me when that change takes place. And this is the original documentary. With his guidance on board, he was able to say look, this idea and what you guys have done is revolutionary and fantastic, and I’m such a big fan, but we’ve got to make the more studio version of this tale. Then when Bobby and I got our heads back together and said okay, how do we do that? The movies are definitely similar but I think people that love haunted houses could get equal and join both, one is more of arrived and one is more of a documentary.
Ashley: So let’s back it up to right before you guys did this first version of the film, and I think this will be inspiring to the listeners. Just go through some of the nuts and bolts, the logistics of how did you raise the money even to shoot a really low budget version of this and what was that like? Who crewed it? Where did you get all those resources?
Bobby: So it probably goes back to—I’m sure a lot of listeners are the same exact way—it’s probably stuck in all our heads since—whenever that was—93 with Kevin Smith doing [inaudible 0:10:25.8] I mean, I’ve heard my whole life since I was a kid about this guy that put his balls out there and put everything on a credit card and he called and got other credit cards. He really made [inaudible 0:10:36.2] on money he didn’t have but yet owned up to it and took that shot. And that’s very inspirational to us in general, but we were thinking along the lines of okay, we can raise this. But then there was also a part where we’d lose a lot or chip a lot of power so we tried to figure out—and that was kind of when the story developed with shooting arm. Some of these places have $500,000 to million-dollar sets. I mean, that’s what some of these haunted houses are so if you told me anywhere in Hollywood that I could go walk into one of the studios and ask for free access to already-built sets, shoot on there as long as I want, that was kind of the idea to the production value. We were able to do that for free, and that’s unheard of. I mean, if I wanted to shoot one bar scene in LA, it would cost me $1500 minimum, and that’s just a shitty bar, some seedy bar. So using that kind of idea, we obviously did the same thing Ken Smith did. We just put our credit cards together and just started swiping because that was the only thing we could do. We didn’t have the money to back it up but we knew we had to take our shot. It was right at the beginning of paranormal—we actually had the idea right before Paranormal Activity came out, and they went the supernatural route so that was good. And we wanted to take a much more grounded approach. So it’s always fun for us to go and explain how we haunted house because if you say haunted house, people roll their eyes like oh, another ghost movie or supernatural, and that’s something we want to steer clear of because it doesn’t exactly frighten us. What frightens us is what real human beings do to real human beings.
Ashley: After you went to a haunted house and once you guys have several times in your movie the Chain Saw. And I went to one with a chain saw and you’re sitting and thinking is this guy really smart enough to make this safe? And he had actually taken the chain off the chain saw. We found out later, but those things are really scary because the guys that are doing this, they’re sketchy as hell.
Bobby: You’ll enjoy this story then. There was an interview in the movie where we actually get a guy on tape that describes exactly what you’re saying. He handles the chain saw, and he says well, there may have been times that I thought for fun to leave the chain on, and he did. He just left the chain on before and he told us that on camera. I mean, he trips and falls. He’s cutting his leg off or yours.
Zack: He was proud of it. I mean, he really was like I have done a tour with the chain on the chain saw.
Ashley: I want to back up to one thing you said, getting the bar in, renting a bar in LA at $1500. It’s like everybody in LA kind of is very sophisticated and understands so you shot this in Texas and is that sort of the gist of it? You went to some place outside of LA. So you’re able to get those locations for free. I’m curious, I mean, these haunted houses, though, they must have known that they did have something of value, and I’m surprised you were able to negotiate hey, we’re going to shoot a film here. Do you guys mind if we shoot.
Zack: But we’re giving them something of value back. They knew our approach. They knew where we were doing, and the fact is, as long as it’s successful our hope—and I think it’s what I would do being just an audience member—is I would take that haunt tour, the same one we did.
Zack: They’re real places. I mean, you can go to the places and experience the same thing that we did in the movie. We made a point to [inaudible 0:14:09.1] in the movie so people could do that. A magazine just asked us to do an article about haunts because we—not that we ever were experienced in it that much before but the past five years it’s been our life. So we’ve heard of everything around the world; we’ve talked to these people so they wanted us to give their list of where would like to go and where we did go in making the movie. I know if I were 18 years old, I would get in the car and go with my buddies across the south, take four or five days and just go hit some of these places like we did because it was always a dream trip for us, and we were just happy that it worked out and one day get paid to do it.
Ashley: You mentioned paranormal activity which now, it was obviously several years ago so you guys have been working on this for awhile, and I’m just curious what’s sort of been in the interim? And maybe you can take us through some of those steps. Obviously the key moment, Zack, you just mentioned is when Steve called you up and says hey, I really loved this. Let’s take it to the next level, but maybe you can fill us in on some of the details on what you were doing. You racked it up on credit cards, you shot this thing. So then what do you do with this movie for five years as you’re trying to promote it and get it out there and basically get your careers to the next level?
Zack: Just trying to show it to people in the industry that we knew and just could get feedback on it and anybody that could pass it along and that kind of thing. We wanted to keep it pretty tight as well. It wasn’t something that we were just blasting around everyone because we knew there was this bigger version. It was like Bobby was saying more professional sound and things of that nature. So we wanted to be a little bit tight and really when Stevie came on board, then he was able to get it into bigger hands and get that ball rolling. Actually that process has been a couple years so it really wasn’t five years of just sitting with this movie. It was a year of planning it, a year of shooting it and editing it, and then a year of Steven getting it and then another year of doing the reshoots and then another year of re-editing. I don’t feel like there has been down time as crazy as that sounds. When you shoot doc style, you have doc style footage meaning you have hundreds of hours so probably we were at about 600 hours just going through all of that footage to make sure we had our skeletons, we had everything we knew we needed. But there are certain times you find this rare moment where you called cut and the camera’s still rolls, like there are certain things, moments like that, that, you know, maybe in the movie, it’s like filtering all of those it’s just a really long process as opposed to a normal feature to be by the book, you could almost hand off to an editor and he knows exactly what scene to hit and exactly the right coverage, that’s not the same way even though this is a feature, it’s shot in a dark way and we wanted to make sure we had the most footage, we didn’t want to waste any time because a seasonal movie as this is, if we missed anything, there are no real pick-ups because we can’t go back to the haunts; the haunts are closed. There are no patrons; there are no scare actors so we couldn’t be wrong. So there have been some really, really long nights of shooting, but we decided to make sure we had it.
Ashley: So, I just want to touch on what Zack, you were saying about being tight with this film once you kind of got this first version done, you didn’t enter into any festivals, anything like that. You didn’t try and get it out there at all, find a distributor, a sales agent?
Zack: Pretty minimal. We did do a local LA festival called Shock Fest, and we ended up winning the shocker award for the best movie, but yes, for the most part it was more of just trying to–we wanted the big version. We wanted to be able to use this precious as we were and proud of the movie, we also wanted it to be kind of a calling card and entry into the industry.
Ashley: You were clear right from the get-go that this was not the finished version. You wanted to make this version to show people how cool this idea could be.
Zack: Well, yes and no. I think that what we tried to do, what helps us get a little bit of a jumping-off point was Shock Fest and we were asked to open for Eli Roth because he was getting an award for—I can’t remember what it was for the past decade, and they asked me to open for him as well before they were going to show an encore of Cabin Fever and give him his award. So I think that got a little bit of press and that got something—some of the word out there. And then when Steven called probably a couple weeks after, we made the choice to not enter any more festivals and kind of cool things, to not do that anymore because we were trying to play close to the chest. We did have a little bit a spin and twist to it, and there was no point in getting it out there if we’d already gotten to basically the man that we needed to get it to anyway. That’s the point of these festivals; the point is to get to the next level, and once we had done that there was no reason of passing it around.
Ashley: Okay. And just to be absolutely clear on that because I think these points are always very crucial, you got it to Steve. He basically heard by winning this festival, he somehow heard from it. Did he call up and say can I get a copy of it? Just take us through the logistics of that because that seems like kind of the tipping point for this film.
Bobby: There’s not right way to get it to somebody, and the fact is, how it exactly got to him, I’m not exactly sure as he wasn’t at the festival.
Zack: I think what’s hard is to say—and trust me on that one—I’m someone that reads about filmmaking and would be listening to your podcast and everybody’s looking for a way and I cannot tell you not to enter film festivals. I’m not saying that’s a good path; that would be the worst advice ever. You just have to think about for you what your goals are and try to do as much research as you can and find—I like to think of it as like one big haunted house that’s indoors and there is tons of crazy shit on each one of them. You kind of just want to take some time and really analyze what are you trying to accomplish? What’s behind door number one? What could potentially be behind doors number two and really go that route with it. They’re really, I mean, we have friends that have worked in the industry as assistants. They get tons of contacts so you’re a screenwriter and you’re thinking I’ve got to move to Hollywood and be an assistant. Well, that’s a good path. I mean, that’s worked out with some friends of ours and now they’re writing screenplays and making six figures. As we know 99 percent of the time that doesn’t work out. You’re thinking I’m a writer, I can be anywhere. Well, that’s not exactly—you know—I wouldn’t give that advice either because every day in LA there is a potential for meeting someone and you have drinks with somebody and people I met ten years ago in some form or fashion opened doors with this movie. I would say to you that you should be here and keeping it as close to the chest, but that’s just what worked for us. You could be in Nebraska and blast your script to anyone who will read it and that might be the right way for you. I think the hardest lesson to learn is that because a lot those script s are the ones that we like and the ones that we like to write have hopefully an ending or twist to them. We’ve just always enjoyed those so in that nature we’re [inaudible 0:22:00.6] about a lot of story ideas and stretch. And what’s so hard is you play it too close to the chest, no one will ever find out about it. So I wish I could give like some definitive advice on that because we’ve done that and maybe to a fault on certain things maybe things could have started earlier. But we just didn’t trust a lot of people in this town so we were just very careful who got it. In that way we didn’t get a lot of exposure for certain things because they’re still on our hard drive.
Ashley: So let’s talk about sort of the collaboration of this film. Jeff Larson has a writing credit on this as well so maybe you can take us through just the process of actually writing this script. As you said, there is a lot of stuff in there that you couldn’t write on your best day so what does a script like this actually look like? What was your process for coming up with it?
Bobby: Well, I think we worked with him. He and I went to film school together and a lot of times in film school you look around at a lot of the movies that these students like, you don’t. There are a lot of things I had no problem with mainstream; I just appreciate creativity. Jeff was another guy who was a horror guy.
Zack: Bobby would come back from film school and be like there was somebody pitching some—let’s say a Reno romantic comedy and everyone’s talking about oh, romantic, let’s go back to some of that history and just watch Casablanca which I love Casablanca; it’s one of my favorite movies, but we don’t have to glorify every movie from only if it’s over 80 years old. And so Bobby found this one guy. It was like this guy was kind of like us. We’re in the back talking horror while they’re talking about movies that are more in the history of cinema so we kind of came on board.
Bobby: That’s my favorite thing to do. I like to walk into people’s living rooms for the first time and judge them by their DVD collection. You can tell a lot about a person and if they sit there and just have AFI’s top ten, I think they lack creativity. They’re doing what they’ve been told 30 years before they were alive and that’s their favorite movie. It’s very tough. I always appreciate it. I love the history of film, and I go back all the way to the 20’s all the time. There are so many things that we watched a movie that could have been a snuff film not too long ago. I was, I think, 1929 and just little things like that. And you learn from it, and so I think that whole process is great but then you’ve got to also surround yourself with people that have the same ideas and kind of outlook on certain things. So that’s kind of how we did that. Then nobody really appreciated horror. Horror was also a genre where you don’t need A-list celebrities to make the movie, and I think that’s the big key here is that you can tell creativity through story and not just through showing this. Once we had Jeff on board then Bobby and I and Jeff kind of wove this story together, and then we needed a cast. We knew we needed a girl that (1) Would be able to put up with us for weeks in an RV going around the country, but then also had that look, and we really feel like Brandy personifies that. She’s a guy’s girl. She went to our same high school, and she went to USC and studied dance and acting and so we thought she was a perfect fit to come on board and be a part of this and really, I think she just really hops on screen. It couldn’t have worked out better from her attitude and just being down for everything but then also having that look that I think a lot of the fans are going to have a crush on her. That was actually a funny story that a lot of people that have known her for years—well, Tex, Bobby, and I really do this for any single. It’s like dude, you’ve known it for ten years. It’s like why your ad just because you saw the movie. I mean, I can see what she looks like on screen. I think people kind of fall in love with her and have a little crush. What we want is to steer clear, too of the blonde bitch. We don’t because you just would have seen us coming a mile away; that’s what it would have felt like. It would have felt like a stereotypical horror movie, and we didn’t want to do that. She’s very disarming and the things that she gets some of these people to say are just answer in a very real way, an honest way, is baffling. She makes people forget the camera’s there and that’s not a trait everyone has. We were very fortunate with that.
Zack: Mikey is the other character in our ensemble, and Mike’s actually Bobby’s brother so it was an easy casting choice. Really, it’s not about his brother. If he was anything like Bobby personality-wise or me or Jeff, it wouldn’t work. He does really have his own style and look. He’s the comic relief to the story because he’s on point with so many things and knows how to push Bobby’s buttons. So that really got some good and strange chemistry.
Bobby: Well, he was good too. He has his own show on Travel Channel. He’s had two and so he knows the lay of the land of a lot of these places. It was just nice to even have too for restaurants after we were done shooting. So he has a lot of experience from—I wouldn’t say Travel Channel is the same as a feature, but it’s not that far off in style. It was an easy fit, and I said we needed a lot of people to kind of put themselves in our hands. It was the only way to do it, and I think you see the chemistry on film which I’m glad.
Ashley: No, you can tell you guys were all friends in real life. I think that absolutely did come across. So you guys were all in the original version that you made and then all of the same actors you used in the second version, how much other crew is there on a film like this aside from you five?
Bobby: In the version that’s coming out October 10?
Bobby: I think over a hundred.
Zack: It was crazy to really look around, that when we would be remembering back when we shot the original, it was a crew of five to seven, depending on how many people we could get a set to help besides the five of us every night and then, like Bobby said, over a hundred. You’re doing the same thing, you’ve got the same RD. You’re doing your ad hoc and looking around you, oh, my God, look at all these people that it takes. You really want to make a professional look and sound and all that.
Ashley: So let’s just touch quickly, what is a script like this look like? I mean, obviously there is going to be some ad libbing and impromptu stuff,. What did you guys start with at the beginning, the first day of shooting. What did you guys have?
Zack: We had, say, probably twenty to thirty pages less than a normal feature just because there are certain times there is a generalization of where you need to go. We have written-out scenes. We have the screenplay that any interview questions are obviously in stone and a lot of the script part of it is written in a fashion of how we saw the scene going but also while we’re sitting there, Zack and I, being on the set as the cast as well, we were able to lead people. So I kind of always described it as when you make these kinds of movies, the only way to make it for the audience to buy it is you need to let them go a little bit with their character or it’s going to have a cadence that’s not correct for real life. Movie cadence and real-life cadence is different and so if you get from A to D to G and you fill in the in-between as long as you get to that place, then we’re good. So as long as we brought them back in case people strayed off—and sometimes they tell us some weird story but it’s actually very relevant—all that stuff works really well with the story but yet we bring them all the way back to where we need to go in the script. So certain scenes are by the book what we wrote and then certain scenes, you know, you let them ad lib and go and just make sure that you’re again where you need to be.
Zack: And there was a lot more as far as—I would say when it’s inside the RV, that’s definitely where it’s more—where we were able to cut and let’s tell that story again. Let’s have a different tone here, you jump in here and kind of give more direction. And then when we’re out at the haunts, we don’t want these cuts because we want these people to feel comfortable that they are in a documentary style-type thing where they can kind of take stories where they want to go. We’re not going to have somebody tell a couple-minute story and then go okay, cut. Can you tell that again? That just didn’t feel organic to us but inside the RV was more where we could do okay, let’s take one—let’s take two—let’s take three. Somebody could mess up and we could go back and we have all these hours of driving time as well. You can see it in the movie that Jeff’s actually driving the RV. So we do have these blocks of time to shoot these kinds of character-building scenes and amping up the drama.
Bobby: Did you mention the story about the non-actor, it’s so hard having him repeat it. It’s very cardboard and so you just have to make sure you kind of go with the flow with that so it’s kind of tough.
Ashley: So maybe you can give our audience some actual dates. You said the movie comes out October 10 or 11, give us the dates and tell us how people can potentially see this.
Bobby: Yes. October 10 and it’s going to be in AMC Theaters in ten markets, Detroit, Chicago, LA, Houston, Dallas, Orlando, Philly, and Atlanta. And we were excited each time we do this. It will be playing in Times Square which is very fun for us together.
Ashley: And then it will be released on video on demand soon after that?
Zack: The same day and date so you can see it on-demand on October 10 as well.
Bobby: No matter who your cable provider is or if you have satellite.
Ashley: Perfect. So what’s next for you guys. This movie is getting released here shortly so I assume you guys are already working on your next project. What do you guys have coming down the pike?
Zack: We’re repped at William Morris and they’re just sending us tons of scripts every day and sending out the trailer and getting people excited about seeing the movie and then I think, because it’s so close, we’re basically saying okay, watch the movie and then we’ll up it. That’s why you have a good agency. Let them line up a couple things that you might be interested in and then you kind of whittle down. I mean, it’s crazy to think how many scripts we get sent from them because people want to—it’s engaging and figuring out interest levels. Okay, we’re interested in you guys a little bit based off your trailer so why don’t you read this script and see if you might be interested in us. And then a handful of the ones we say, you know, hey, we think we can do something with this. It’s like okay, great. Now our interest level has peaked and then [inaudible 0:33:05.3] goes back to them and says okay, the guys are interested and let’s set up a meeting. You’re feeling each other out and seeing what makes sense.
Ashley: Now why are they sending you guys scripts? You guys are writers yourselves. Would you just direct them, act in them?
Zack: I thin k some of it is just greenlighting right away. This whole post for us has been very arduous and very long and very kind of we’d like to not wash our hands, but we’re so ready for the next project, I think there might be something to cleansing, even our brain palate of looking to somebody else’s project that we really appreciate and like and then diving back into one of ours. The past three months we’ve been also working, writing a script with Tyler Ward and so once that is completed, that’s something we’d like to tackle probably next year, but if there was anything in between, I think it will give us a little bit of a break. I’d like to see somebody else’s vision on something that really executes the story well and it would probably be easier on us until we kind of recharge a little bit.
Bobby: I think, too, a big thing, at least from the agency standpoint of something that already has funded. So a lot of these scripts that are coming in are saying hey, they’ve got XYZ millions of dollars to do this, we’ve got the producer, we’ve got the script; everybody’s happy with it. They want a green light; they want to get this project off the ground. They just need somebody to take the reins and do it.
Ashley: So you guys would produce and direct it is the idea.
Ashley: I see. Perfect. Well, what’s the best way for people to keep up with you and potentially just follow along with what you guys are doing? Are you on Twitter, Facebook. You mentioned those.
Bobby: Zack and I both are—I’m at bobbyroe1 on Twitter and you’re at andrewzack.
Bobby: The real problem is the still photography we have for the movie is actually been really nice to go through and go back to because when you’re picking out posters and when you’re going through that, we probably have two thousand images so we started an Instagram just not too long ago, probably only about a month ago, but just started throwing it out there so that’s at housesoctoberbuilt, but I think it’s a fun different kind of Instagram account. I’ve never had one before, but what I’ve tried to do as we updated it about 11:30 at night so it’s the last thing you see before you go to bed. Most of these images are not exactly what you want to see when you close your eyes.
Zack: Of course, Facebook as well.
Ashley: Facebook. Yes. Perfect. I’ll track down all those links and I’ll put them in the show notes so people can just click directly over to them.
Well, guys, this has been a great interview with lots of great information. You guys have a very, very inspiring story.
Bobby: Thank you very much. I appreciate you having us on.
Ashley: I’m going to be running another online class called How To Make the Opening Pages of your Screenplay Awesome. This is probably my favorite class to teach. I actually learn a lot by preparing for these classes and reading the various scripts we’re going to cover in them so hopefully you’ll learn a lot too. It goes without saying how important the opening pages are for your screenplay. If your opening pages don’t hook the reader, there’s very little chance that the reader will continue to read the script so it really doesn’t matter how great the rest of it is. If the opening pages aren’t good, no one will ever know how good the other pages are. I’m going to be breaking down the opening pages of a bunch of great screenplays including Natural Born Killers, Shashank Redemption, and Legally Blonde and a few others too. This is the third class in the series which is going to guide you through the entire screenwriting process from coming up with a marketable concept, outlining, to writing it to actually marketing it. If you missed the first two classes, that’s not a problem. I recorded them and put them in the SYS Select Forum for you to listen to at your leisure. This class is going to be on Saturday, November 15 at 10:00 Pacific Time. If you’d like to learn more about this class, go to www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/classes. Also, if you’re listening to this after the class has taken place, no problem. I will record this class as well and put it in the Sys Select Forum too as well. In fact, all of the classes that have been taught are recorded and are in the forum for Sys Select members to listen to whenever they want. There are more than a dozen classes in there now. To learn more about Sys Select, just go to www.sellingyourscreenplayselect.com.
In the next episode of the Selling Your Screenplay podcast, I’m going to be interviewing John Suits. John is a writer, director and producer. He’s doing low budget genre films and having a fair amount of success with them. We talk extensively about how he got his start and how he’s been able to maintain a successful career so keep an eye out for that episode next week.
There are a lot of great lessons. Just want to wrap up today just by talking about some of the things that I learned from interviewing Bobby Roe and Zack Andrews. First, hopefully you found this story inspirational. It’s a group of guys just going out there and making things happen for themselves. They had an idea that they believed in and they took action. I really believe more than anything else, that’s the most important thing you can do to succeed in this industry. Just go out there and take action. One thing I would like to talk a bit about is this idea of putting the financing on credit cards. Outside of Hollywood you only hear of the ones like this one where they actually succeeded and it seems to have worked. But I’ve lived in Hollywood for a long time now, and I’ve seen countless people try this and fail. And trust me, it ain’t pretty when it fails. So I get a little worried when people do this sort of thing. Really look at what the guys did that I just interviewed, too, and be realistic with yourself. This wasn’t just a bunch of guys from Idaho going out there and shooting a movie using credit cards to finance it. They had been working in the industry for quite a while. They had some successes with some of their screenplays. This sort of thing is always risky but I would just like to emphasize if something like this is going to work, these are exactly the sorts of guys who can make it work because they’ve basically been on the verge of success. And this just pushes them over the edge. So if you’re out there thinking about trying something like this, I would advise that you spend a few years working in the industry like these guys did hopefully having some small successes like these guys did and then eventually when you’re ready to try something like this, you can at least mitigate the risk as much as possible because you will be a professional in many ways. Also, I would really advise you to check this movie out. It’s very well-crafted from a story point of view. Aside from the good production value, the pacing is really solid. Every time things start to slow down, they throw in a nice twist and get that horror thriller angle going again. Watching the film you really get the sense that it’s a pretty polished piece of work. A lot of these sort of very, very low budget films, especially very, very low budget film footage films, they seem to really drag at times and this is not the case with this film. These guys did a really good job keeping the pacing up, and again, I think that’s because they have been working in this industry for a while. They really had a pretty good sense of story and screenwriting and pacing.
I’ve mentioned this before on the podcast and hopefully you heard what they were saying too. One of the reasons I think this film worked for them is because they had really thought through their concept. It’s a solid concept of a horror film and especially a found footage film, and I think there’s more to it than just a good story hook. Logistically it was a solid concept as well. You heard what they said. They were able to shoot at these locations for free so they got a tremendous amount of production value for basically no money and this is a big thing. One thing that low budget films usually really suffer from is a lack of production value so when you’re considering your own concepts, put on your producer hat and really consider the concept from the producer’s angle too.
Anyway, that’s the show. Thank you for listening.