This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 316: With Writer/Director Martin Gooch.
Ashley: Welcome to Episode #316 of the Selling Your Screenplay podcast. I’m Ashley Scott Meyers, screenwriter and blogger over at www.sellingyourscreenplay.com. Today I’m interviewing director Martin Gooch about his new movie Atomic Apocalypse. It’s a low budget Sci-fi action film, it looks fantastic. Martin has been on the podcast previously too, so check out those episodes if you wanna learn a little bit more about him and his background. He was on in Episode #17 and also on in Episode #204. So check those out if you haven’t already listened to them, I will link to those in the show notes, but in the meantime, stay tuned for the interview with Martin on his new movie Atomic Apocalypse.
If you find this episode valuable, please help me out by giving me a review on iTunes or leaving a comment on YouTube or retweeting the podcast on Twitter or liking or sharing it on Facebook. These social media shares really do help spread word about the podcast, so they’re very much appreciated. Any websites or links that I mention in the podcast can be found on my blog in the show notes. I also publish a transcript with every episode in case you’d rather read the show or look at something later on. You can find all the podcast show notes at www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/podcast and then just look for Episode Number #316. If you want my free guide-How To Sell a Screenplay in Five Weeks, you can pick that up by going to www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide.
It’s completely free, you just put in your email address and I’ll send you a new lesson once per week for five weeks along with a bunch of bonus lessons. I teach the whole process of how to sell your screenplay in that guide. I’ll teach you how to write a professional logline and query letter and how to find agents, managers and producers who are looking for material. Really, it’s everything you need to know to sell your screenplay. Just go to www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide.
Quick few words about what I’m working on. I’ve got everything ready to launch the Kickstarter campaign on Monday for my horror thriller film called The Rideshare Killer. But if you’re listening to this on the day that it’s published, which is gonna be Monday, February 17th, it means that that is actually the last day of the Kickstarter campaign. So if you haven’t checked it out, please do go check it out now as today, Monday, February 17th will be the last day 2020 Monday, February 17th. So as I record this podcast two weeks before it publishes, I have no idea how it’s going. Hopefully the Kickstarter campaign is going well.
Just to give a quick recap if you’ve missed the last few episodes, I shot a mystery thriller film in December called The Rideshare Killer, starring Eric Roberts and Tuesday Knight and now we’ve got to raise some money for the postproduction through Kickstarter. I’ve got the domain name set up, so check that link out, it is www.theridesharekiller.com. That will take you directly to the Kickstarter page if the Kickstarter campaign is still going on, or if you’re listening to this after the Kickstarter campaign has ended, it will take you to the official website for the film. So either way you’ll be able to learn more about the film if you go to www.theridesharekiller.com. I used a lot of the footage from the Kickstarter video.
That’s one of the advantages to shooting the film before doing the Kickstarter campaign. So I was able to use a lot of stills and also just a lot of the actual footage. At the end of the Kickstarter video there’s actually a nice little teaser trailer, just a little 15, 20-second scene that I cut together quickly just with the actual footage so you can kinda get a feel for what the movie’s actually gonna look and sound like. Any help you can give is greatly appreciated. It doesn’t have to be monetary help either. If you’re not in a position to contribute, no worries at all. But perhaps just pass the link around to your horror fan friends. Aside from raising money, the whole point of the Kickstarter campaign is to raise awareness for the film.
So anyone that you can mention the film to is a big help and it’s greatly appreciated. Anyway, wish us luck. As I said, the campaign is ending today but I’m recording this more than two weeks out so I have no idea if it’s doing well. Hopefully it is. Again, the URL if you wanna check it out is www.theridesharekiller.com. Again, that is www.theridesharekiller.com. Needless to say, that’s the main thing I have been working on over the last couple of weeks.
So now let’s get into the main segment. Today I am interviewing writer- director Martin Gooch. Here is the interview.
Ashley: Welcome back Martin to the Selling Your Screenplay podcast. I really appreciate you coming on the show with me today.
Martin: Oh, it’s fantastic to be here for the third time. This is the hat trick.
Ashley: It is. It is. So you’ve been here, as you mentioned twice before. You were one of my first guests on Episode Number #17, and then you were also on again on Episode #204. I will link to those in the show notes. In Episode Number #17, we kinda went through your origin story, your early career, how you got into the business, so I would definitely refer people back to that episode if they wanna kinda learn more about your background. And then specifically in Episode #204, we talked about your film, The Gatehouse. Again, interesting interview, so I would encourage people to listen to those if they think you have a lot of interesting comments here today. So today we’re talking about your film Atomic Apocalypse.
On IMDb I noticed it was labelled as Black Flowers. Is there a title change coming?
Martin: Yeah, when we made it was called Black Flowers. And when I wrote it, it was actually called The Big Oops.
Ashley: Okay [laughs].
Martin: So it started as the Big Oops and then it became Black Flowers. We shot it Black Flowers, we went on the festival route as Black Flowers and we’ve won a load of awards, which is great. And all the awards have Black Flowers written on them. But we’re gonna distribute it, it’s gonna come out and it’ll be called Atomic Apocalypse.
Ashley: Okay. And was that something the distributor thought Atomic Apocalypse would have more sales value? What was the thought process behind that title change?
Martin: Yeah, exactly that. I mean it’s the classic thing. The Atomic Apocalypse is much more immediate. Like if you see that on the poster, you know what the film is about and Black Flowers was, I think I was probably trying to be clever and take that film to a higher level.
Ashley: More impressionistic, yeah. As opposed to on the nose. I got you. Okay. So to start out, maybe you can us a little bit about this film. Do you have a pitch or a log line for it?
Martin: Yeah, in post-apocalyptic North America, one family fights for survival in a world gone to hell.
Ashley: Gotcha. So where did this idea come from? What was the genesis of the story?
Martin: Well, a couple of years ago I was very lucky. I was asked to be a judge at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, I think it was January, 2017. When I was there… it’s right on the coast, so it’s right by the ocean up in Santa Barbara. When I was there, there was a huge storm. It was the biggest storm California have had for 20 years. I was in the hotel and I had a balcony. I was looking out watching all this lightning coming down like it was the end of the world. It was an apocalyptic moment. I woke up in the morning and all the Palm trees were knocked down, there was a hole in the road and I walked down to the beach and the beach was just covered in flotsam and jetsam and it was really apocalyptic. I walked along and there was this poor dead seal that had been bashed around on the rocks. And I thought, “Oh, this is fantastic.” And I took a…
Ashley: Poor seal.
Martin: Yeah. Poor, sorry seal, but good idea. I sat down on a rock and I got my note pad out and I started writing the story. I thought that the interesting thing about the end of days, the apocalypse and everything is even if we as a race of humans nuke ourselves to bits nature will find a way as like in Jurassic Park, nature will find a way. And what’s always interesting in all of these war films and post-apocalyptic thing is what happens to the regular man in the street or woman, what happens to the regular ordinary people. Marvel are out there making incredible superhero films and Star Wars are doing fantastic Sci-Fi films. We can’t copy that. We haven’t the money, we don’t have the resources, we don’t have the advertising, we don’t have the time.
But what we can do is make a tight story about one family of ordinary people and how surviving an apocalypse affects them. That was the genesis of the story.
Ashley: I got you. Perfect. So let’s talk about your writing process a little bit, and specifically to this Atomic Apocalypse script. How much did you spend outlining? So you’ve got your… you’re out there with your notepad, it’s pouring down rain, you have this sort of the genesis idea. How much did you write right then, and then what does that look like leading up to actually opening final draft and typing out pages?
Martin: I was just wondering if I had it on my desk, but that’s another script. I fill up notepads constantly. My desk, if you could see this, it’s like got 10 notepads on it, each one for a different project. And then I write lots and lots of notes in…
Ashley: …and that will go on for a couple months or a couple of weeks?
Martin: No, no, just a couple of days. I’ll just get it out and then I’ll probably open up a Word document and then I’ll just brain dump it down. You know, like… because Black Flowers when I wrote it, I wanted to do something that was outside. So my notes would be as simple as exterior trees, forest, coast. Because the great thing about filming outside, if it isn’t too cold or isn’t raining, you can put the camera anywhere. As soon as you’re filming inside a submarine or a kitchen or someone’s bathroom, suddenly it gets smaller and smaller and you can’t shoot it like a Hollywood film because you can’t put the camera where you want it. Because in Hollywood of course they will make a set and they’ll take the wall out and you can put the camera wherever you want.
So from a purely practical point of view, filming outside is much easier I think personally. Obviously you have to do it where there isn’t a motorway or freeways you can hear. I sort of… I was just thinking of locations I’d like to film at and many, many years ago when I was only 19, I was lucky enough to get a job with the US Forest Service. I was an archeological assistant up in Modoc Forest in North California, which is almost up in Oregon territory. It’s right by Mount Shasta. I completely fell in love with the environment there. It’s so beautiful, and it’s… I was only 19, I’d never been anywhere. I hadn’t even been to Paris, and I suddenly was in this huge epic environment with a desert to one direction and mountains with snow on in another and a forest that way and the ocean that way. It was just spectacular.
I loved it and I thought, “I really wanna come back.” So I wrote… the film was set in that location. And then when I was at Santa Barbara Film Festival, I met these great filmmakers from Montana and they said, “You’ve got to come to Montana. It’s really beautiful.” I said, “I’ve got this idea for a post-apocalyptic film.” And they said, “Hey wow, these guys we know, they own their own bunker from like 1997, the Y2K when they built all these bunkers, they thought the world was gonna end.” And I was like, “That sounds cool.” They said, “Why don’t you come up to Montana and check it out?” And I thought, “Okay, heck yeah!” So I have a friend called Krista DeMille, who’s an actress in New York, and we’d been working on a project for a number of years, I think five years at that point, which hadn’t come to fruition.
I phoned her up and I said, “Hey look, do you wanna come to Shasta, look at some locations, go up to Montana, check out some locations, see if we can find a way to make a movie and we’ll finish writing the script whilst we’re up there?” And she said yes. So I carried on writing the script. Basically I was writing it in bullet points and story blocks. So I would say, this happens and this happens and this happens. I think that’s the quickest way to write a script. I’ve written 21 movies, so I’ve written a lot of movies and you sort of worry about dialogue later and get the story right, get the story right, get the story right, the journey. And then we flew off to Shasta, we saw a huge number of locations, I’ve forgotten how many, at least, I don’t know, let’s say 30. And then we went over to…
Ashley: …all different bunkers or just different types of them. Just some bunkers, some…
Martin: Waterfalls, crevasses, tunnels. extinct volcanoes, fields, lakes, ruined petrol stations, gas stations, empty shops, burned-up houses, everything. And then we went across to Montana and then we went to the bunker in Montana. But we only saw two bunkers in Montana because the first bunker we went to was just spectacular. It was like once you’ve found it, you don’t need to carry on looking. If it fits your vision, stop, because that’s something you’ve done. Tick that box and spend your time more constructively.
Ashley: Yeah, sure. It sounds like there’s a number of things, you were in love with the location and you had this idea, but it sounds like you’ve got a bunch of notepads sitting on your desk. Why did you decide to pursue this idea versus any number of these other notepads that are sitting on your desk or are you just always pursuing multiple projects and for some reason this one got funded ahead of some of the other ones? Like this other project that you said you were working on with this actress for the last five years, it didn’t get any things like why not push in that direction instead of starting a new project?
Martin: It’s a good question. Like most filmmakers, you have many, many projects or plates spinning and the last one or the first one that doesn’t crash to the ground, that’s the one you go with. I have several projects which I would love to make, one project I’ve been working on for 35 years. So I’m very keen to make that one day, 35 years. And I’ve got another project that I’ve been working on for 25 years. And so I’m very, very…
Martin: Really, really. So I’m very keen for those to go.
Ashley: What’s the hurdle? Are they just too big budget you just can’t quite get the things you need cast, you can’t quite get the right cast in place?
Martin: Yeah. I can’t get the money yet, but I will, but it just takes a long time. And what happened was I’d set up a company to raise money and we were raising money and we’d raised a certain amount of money and then unfortunately the UK government decided to change the tax laws and the way we were raising the money, which was all legal and perfectly legit and everything was fine, suddenly it was stopped and there was no… we weren’t allowed to raise any more money. And I went and I had this awful meeting where I had to go and I sat in a room with the lawyers and the accountants and me and they said… and I’d raised all this money and it was in a bank account and it was ready to make a movie, but it wasn’t enough to make the movie we wanted to make.
And the lawyer said, “You have to give it back.” I said, “But I can’t give it back because you have already had some of it. So I would have to go and earn your money that you’ve had, put that into the pot and then give it back to the investors.” And the lawyers have had their money and everyone’s had their money and I haven’t had any money, but they had all their money of course, because lawyers always get their money. They said, “Yeah, yeah, you’d have to do that.” And I was like, “Oh my God.” I thought I was gonna jump in front of a bridge, in front of a train or jump off a bridge. I mean I could jump in front of a bridge, but that’s pointless because the bridge would just stay there, wouldn’t it? Ha ha.
It was like the worst day ever. Because I had all this money in the bank and I had to give it back, but I hadn’t got enough because we’d already spent it on the lawyers. So I went away and I scratched my head and I thought and I had all these phone calls with the lawyers. It lasted for about maybe a month, we’re trying to work out what to do and all these legal stuff going on and more bills. Then I just phoned them up and I said, “Hey guys, can I use the money to make another film?” And they said, “Oh yeah, yeah, you can do that. That’s fine.” I was like, “God couldn’t you have just told me that?”
Ashley: But they weren’t gonna get the tax incentives. Wasn’t that the crux of this?
Martin: No. The crux was there was no more tax incentive, so anyone else who gave, we could have…
Ashley: Okay. But they made it in under the deadline. I got you. Well, why didn’t it occur to the lawyers to do that? Just go to the investors and say, “Can we switch it to this other movie because the tax incentives have changed?”
Martin: I probably just wasn’t paying them enough. And had I have given them more money then they would come up with that idea. Because in the end I had to pay them for me to have an idea. So there you go, hooray for lawyers, aren’t they great?
Ashley: But the bottom line was you we’re able to use that money for Atomic Apocalypse.
Martin: Yeah. I had to go through a stressful little time and talk to all my investors and make sure they were happy with it and all this stuff. Because the thing about making movies is we love being on set and we love writing scripts and we love working with actors and DPs and grips and all those wonderful people and editors. But the truth is, unless you are willing to roll up your sleeves and learn business and money and finance, you’re never gonna get to make your movies. Because that is the fundamental building block. That’s the foundation stone that your film is on top of. And even when you meet people and say, “Hey, I made my film for $1,” you know that’s not true, because all that work that was there for free is still money. It’s still works.
Someone had to pay for the gas in car, someone paid for the McDonald’s coffee or whatever. Understanding that is very valuable and I think most filmmakers, including myself, don’t want to do that. And so we go…
Ashley: Yeah, I know. I’m right there with you.
Martin: … we go into that kicking and screaming and having nightmares about it and not wanting to do it, but in the end you have to do it. And because of that I managed to make a film. So we managed to… we had all this money, when I say all this money it really wasn’t very much money, but it was enough. So I’d been writing, this was all going on whilst I was writing Atomic Apocalypse thinking that we’d do this next. Then when I finally had that moment where I went to the lawyers and I said, “Can we do another movie?” They were like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” I’m like, “We’re doing Black Flowers. We’re doing that.” Because I’ve already got the script, I’ve got half the things. And then I phoned up Krista in New York and I said, “Look, I’ve got some money. Let’s make a movie. Do you wanna go to Shasta and Montana?” She said yes.
Then cut to literally three weeks later we were there doing a recce. Because I thought if I don’t spend the money now something will happen and then it will go. Like the lawyers will change their mind or the accountant will send me a huge bill or someone will die and something will go wrong. And so suddenly, it was very strange because just suddenly we had… the money was available. I don’t imagine that will ever happen to me ever again, but… if I live to be a thousand. So that was a very boring way of financing the movie. We were trying to make that movie, it completely failed so we used it for another movie so we didn’t have to give it back.
Ashley: Gotcha. So let’s go back to the script here and the writing of it. You spend a couple of days in this very preliminary, then you spend some time in a word document. How much time do you spend in the word document and then ultimately, how much time do you spend in final draft actually churning out script pages?
Martin: Well, I’m just trying to think of the timescale. I mean, the thing is with movies, movies are getting longer and longer and longer. I read somewhere the other day that the average length of the movie now is 107 minutes. That’s approximately 107 pages. But as filmmakers, we don’t have a huge amount of money. So really you wanna make the shortest possible film you can make for the money which tells your story you wanna tell. I was aiming for 84 pages, and half of 84 is like 41 and half of that is, let’s call it 20-ish. So I was putting my [inaudible 00:20:30] structures in, so I was thinking, okay, I need to get to page 20, then page 40, then page 60, then page 80 with a couple of pages leeway each way to add up to 84 and then 84 plus your titles and your credits is gonna be enough.
And as a director, I like my actors to improv a little bit. I like to try things out on set and you’re gonna shoot extra stuff as you go along and then hopefully that’ll end up with your nice 90 plus minute movie. So that was planned. I had my structural set out, I started writing the beat sheet, because I do a beat sheet. I put scene one, this happens, this dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. And then you can move them all around until you’ve got the structure the way you want it. I’ll probably spend a couple of weeks on that. I mean if I actually call up all my documents here, they’ll have dates on them. So if you’re that interested…
Ashley: Well, just… I’m just… just ballpark. I mean we’re talking about three months or are we talking about three weeks?
Martin: Probably a month to get the… because I’ve done a lot of… I’ve written a lot of movies, so once I actually get into it, it goes very fast. Because I’ll sit down and I’ll write all of act one and then the first half of act two and the second half of act two and then act three in blocks, like as notes. Then I’ll put it all together. And I’ll just keep going around until I’ve got the plot the way I like it. Then I’ll put go in and start putting in dialogue and stuff. Whilst I was doing all of that I was talking to Krista on the phone, on Skype I mean, and running some dialogue and things like that to see how the it comes together. Also, the earlier drafts had much more characters in. There were several more characters.
Then as you come along, you think, “Well, those two characters are serving the same purpose.” So they meld together and they became one character and there’s… that happened twice. So you’re getting less characters, which gives the actors more to do, which is great. And obviously less mouths to feed, less hotel rooms, less aircraft flights. Then you’re honing it and honing it. And then when we went off on the location recce, I saw a lot of things and I thought, “Okay, so this thing that I’ve seen that’s perfect for this scene.” So we’ll tweak the scene to fit the location. And then we found some artifacts and items and things and I think, “Oh, that would look great in the film’” So we’d change the story to fit the location.
I mean, if you’ve got a huge budget, if you’re Steven Spielberg, I don’t think that happens very often, but when you haven’t got a huge budget, if you see something that’s amazing, then use it in your film, because it’s a gift from God.
Ashley: Yeah. What was it like shooting in Montana just in general? Like you mentioned that you found like an abandoned gas station. How do you shoot… like in LA there would be a certain, you really would probably wanna get permits and contact the landlord. What is it like in Montana? There’s a burned-out gas station; who owns it? How do you just show up there and start shooting?
Martin: Well, I mean I live in London and if you think LA has a lot of paperwork, then come to London because we’ll beat you because we’ve got more. I was filming up the road, I live… I’m in London right now as I talk to you, and I was filming up the road for some pickup shots for The Gatehouse a few years ago. We were in a wood called Hampstead Heath and we were filming there and the police turn up with dogs and ask us what we’re doing.
Ashley: And you’re in the house?
Martin: No. We were in the woods, up the road. And this is London and we’re in the woods and there’s no one there and the police turn up with dogs and tell you, “You can’t film here.” But luckily we had a permit. But that was full on and you’re like, “well, what would’ve happened if I hadn’t got a permit, would they eat me? Hack my leg off?”
Ashley: Probably. Well, how does it compare to Montana?
Martin: Well, I mean, first of all, we filmed up in Mount Shasta, California. That’s on the border with Oregon. It’s very beautiful there.
Ashley: You just went to Montana for this bunker?
Martin: No. And some exteriors. Yeah, I mean the Montana Film Office were very helpful. We got in touch with them when we were driving around doing the recce, reconnaissance… the location scout. They said, “Come and have a meeting.” So we came and had a meeting and they offered their location scout servicing for free. And the great thing is, if you go to a place where there’s not many people, I mean, in the whole state of Montana, there’s only 1 million people. So if you go somewhere where there’s not many people, no one cares if you film. In LA, people don’t want you to film because they want to make money out of you, but they don’t really care that you’re filming.
Whereas you go to Montana and people are excited that you’re filming. So people will turn up to help and people would turn out to be extras and people will… if you say, “We’re looking for this, any suggestions?” People will come back and say, “Hey, well my friend has that. Why don’t you film there?” It’s another way of filming. That’s like when we did The Gatehouse, we went and filmed in the West of England in a place called Somerset and we filmed in the woods and no one stopped us and no one complained. And when we said, “Can we film in your shop?” people would say, “Yes, you can film in our shop.” It’s a totally, totally different experience. And if everyone was lovely… I mean, the truth is, it’s a funny old thing.
Making film, as everyone knows is hard work, it’s not like necessary work, it’s not like saving the planet or anything like that, but it’s hard work. We’re all very superstitious and you don’t wanna jinx it. You never want to say things like, “Oh, that was easy,” until it’s over. And now it’s over and we shot it two years ago, I can say, “Nothing really badly went wrong.” No one got electrocuted, no one got drowned, no one… you know, all those great things, no one did any of that. And the atmosphere on set was great because we were working with people who wanted to be there, who were happy to do the work and a bunch of very talented actors who had, as they say, threw down and worked hard and in the cold and the rain.
Well, it wasn’t actually that rainy but in the cold. Yeah, it was a great experience. I would film in Montana again at the drop of a hat.
Ashley: Okay, perfect. And so with this screenplay, I’m curious did you approach any sort of genre requirements? I mean, certainly the post-apocalyptic, it’s sort of a sub-genre, I guess, of Sci-fi, Mad Max. I mean, there’s a history of these movies. Did you go back and review them? Are there any takeaways from these movies? Are there any things you tried to do differently, some tropes from these post-apocalyptic movies that you may be leaned into or didn’t lean into? I’m just curious sort of just what your genre requirements were, how you approached the genre in general.
Martin: Yeah, sure. Totally. I mean, I thought Mad Max: Fury Road that came out a few years ago, I think that’s one of my favorite films of the last 10 years. I think it’s brilliant. The fascinating thing about that is people say it hasn’t got much story in it. What they actually mean is it hasn’t got much dialogue in it. It’s got so much story in it; it’s got tons of story in it. I thought it was brilliant. And I just really got the post-apocalyptic vibe and Mad Max 2 was great. So I went and watched Waterworld, The Postman, Book of Eli and The Road. I watched all those again and everything. The vast majority of them are a bit miserable. Like The Road is very depressing. The Book of Eli is pretty depressing and The Postman’s a bit boring.
I liked Waterworld the best actually. That was great. And I thought, again, we can’t out Waterworld, we don’t have that size budget. So the genre tropes, I wanted to have all of those things. They’re walking along a road and there’s no one there. People have built their own costumes out of artifacts and there’s a couple of nods to the role-playing game Gamma World. Like when we were kids, we used to play DND, Dungeons and dragons. And there was a post-apocalyptic version, which was called Gamma World, so we used to play that.
Ashley: I remember it, yeah.
Martin: And I’ve got two nods to Gamma World in the film, so if there’s any Gamma World fans out there, which I doubt, but if there are, then they will see it and they’ll go, “Oh, yes.” And so I got all… I had that in it and I thought the thing we can bring to the post-apocalyptic world that no one else is really doing is one, a female led story, because I can’t find any post-apocalyptic films that are female led with the possible exception of Mad Max: Fury Road. But even Furiosa is the secondary character, not the lead. So we thought, okay, let’s have a female-led story and also let’s put some humor into it. It’s not a comedy, but there are humorous moments. And also let’s make it positive.
So at the end it’s good for humanity rather than a terrible miserable ending. Like most apocalyptic things are terribly depressing. And I thought, the news is depressing enough, I don’t need my entertainment to be depressing as well.
Ashley: I’m curious, so when you took this movie to market, whether it be film festivals and then ultimately distributors, how did you find the reception in terms of the genre? I mean your last film was sort of a horror thriller. And then how did you find a post-apocalyptic Sci-fi movie? Just the reception. Were distributors more open, more interested in a post-apocalyptic Sci-fi or were they more interested in a horror movie? And same thing, even just fans and film festivals.
Martin: We’ve done very well at the film festivals, because we’re still a small budget indie production company. But we played… we had our world premiere at Sitges International Film Festival, which is fantastic. It sold out, 450-seater, big audience. Then we had our UK premier Sci-fi London and Berlin Sci-fi and we had our US premiere, the World Fest in Houston. We get consistently great response from the audience. They love it. They really, really… you gotta like Sci-fi. If you’re going there and you want to see, I don’t know, something really depressing about people in costumes from 19, 1800s then this is the wrong film. But if you want some Mad Max meets Thelma and Louise, then this is the right film.
And the audiences you come along to Sci-Fi festivals and things like that, they understand genre and they… we’ve had on the whole very, very, very positive experience. Lots of people coming up and saying they thought it was a great film. Because it’s an unexpected film. We’ve taken the post-apocalyptic genre and we’ve just twisted it a little bit to make it interesting. Because if we’d just done the same as everybody else, then we’d just done the same as everybody else. And as a director, it’s very important for me to make films that only I could have made. So I don’t think there’s any other filmmaker in the world, whether you like my films or not, I don’t think there’s any other filmmaker in the world who makes films like I make films.
It’s like being a painter, because my degree was Fine Art. When you paint a painting, you want it to look like one of your paintings. You don’t want it to look like everybody else’s painting, even though it might sell more.
Ashley: Well if you put it that way I don’t know if it’s such a bad thing. So in any event though how can people see Atomic Apocalypse, do you know what the release schedule is gonna be like?
Martin: Yes. It comes out on the 4th of February, so we are days imminently. I’m coming back to America for a little tour. We’re gonna have five screenings in California, in Montana, and then we’re gonna have a screening in LA at Magicopolis in Santa Monica on the 13th of February. And that’s open to the public. Anyone can come along and we all be there. Crystal will be there, some of the other actors and crew will be there and they have a bar and we’ll stay there until they physically remove us from the premises.
Ashley: Good to know. So people can show up late. Perfect. And what’s the best way for people to keep up with what you’re doing? Twitter, Facebook, a blog, I will round all that stuff up for the show notes.
Martin: Yeah. I’m on all of those. Twitter… I mean I’m just basically Martin Gooch on everything, so I’m easy to find. I’m terrible at Twittering. I just tend to like other people’s stuff. I’ve got to get better at Twitter. Instagram, I find incredibly dull, because I’m so bored of looking at other people’s lives. I don’t wanna see what they’re doing. I don’t care.
Ashley: Yeah. I’m with you. One follow-up question that I thought of that you were talking at the top of the interview, you mentioned you were a judge for the Santa Barbara Film Festival. I’m curious now, you’ve seen it from both sides of the equation as a film maker submitting films and going to films and now you’ve been on the other side as a judge. Are there any takeaways, any advice you have sort of parting advice for filmmakers now that you’ve seen it from the judge’s perspective and from the filmmaker perspective?
Ashley: Yeah. Don’t make boring films. We have to sit through them. Yeah, if your film’s more than an hour and a half and it’s an indie, honestly, cut it down. Phone me up and I’ll come around and I’ll just edit your film for you. I’ll cut it out like every third scene, I just cut it.
Ashley: Well, it’s funny you give that advice because with screenplays it’s the same thing. I get emails all the time, “Hey, my screenplay is 150 pages,” “Hey, it’s 180 pages.” And that’s my first piece of advice is like, “Listen, it might be The Godfather, but it’s probably not, so you probably need to get it down to that 90-page threshold.” So anyways, good advice. Well Martin, always good to talk with you. Good luck with this film and I look forward to having you on as a fourth time guest in the future.
Martin: Yeah, yeah, yeah. More movies to come.
Ashley: Exactly. So Martin, take it easy. We’ll talk to you later.
Martin: Thanks man. Cheers.
Ashley: Thank you. Bye.
Ashley: I just wanna talk quickly about SYS Select. It’s a service for screenwriters to help them sell their screenplays and get writing assignments. The first part of the service is the SYS Select screenplay database. Screenwriters upload their screenplays along with a logline, synopsis and other pertinent information like budget and genre, and then producers search for and hopefully find screenplays they wanna produce. Dozens of producers are in the system looking for screenplays right now. There have been a number of success stories come out of this service, you can find out about all the SYS Select successes by going to www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/success. Also on SYS podcast Episode #222, I talk with Steve Deering who was the first official success story to come out of the SYS Select database.
When you join SYS Select you get access to the screenplay database along with all the other services that we’re providing to SYS Select members. These services include the newsletter, the monthly newsletter goes out to a list of over 400 producers who are actively seeking writers and screenplays. Each SYS Select member can pitch one screenplay in this monthly newsletter. We also provide screenwriting leads, we have partnered with one of the premiere paid screenwriting leads services, so I can syndicate their leads to SYS Select members. There are lots of great paid leads coming in each week from our partner, recently we’ve been getting five to 10 high quality paid leads per week. These leads run the gamut.
There’s producers looking for a specific type of spec script to producers looking to hire a screenwriter to write up one of their ideas or properties. They are looking for shorts, features, TV and web series, pilots all types of projects. If you sign up for SYS Select, you’ll get these leads emailed directly to you several times per week. Also, you get access to the SYS Select forum where we will help you with your logline and query letter and answer any screenwriting related questions that you might have. We also have a number of screenwriting classes that are recorded and available in the SYS Select forum. These are all the classes that I’ve done over the years, so you’ll have access to those whenever you want once you join.
The classes cover every part of writing your screenplay from concept to outlining, to the first act, second act, third act as well as other topics like writing short films and pitching your projects in person. Once again, if this sounds like something you’d like to learn more about, please go to www.sellingyourscreenplayselect.com.
Anyway, that’s the show for today. Thanks again for listening. And please again, if you have a minute, please do check out the Kickstarter campaign and again, that is www.theridesharekiller.com. Thanks.