This is a transcript of SYS 518 – From Police Officer To Filmmaker With Warren Fast .


Welcome to Episode 518, the Selling Your Screenplay Podcast. I’m Ashley Scott Meyers, screenwriter and blogger with sellingyourscreenplay.com. Today I’m interviewing Warren Fast, he just did a cool ad to throw back thriller film called Roadkill. We talked through his career, he was originally in law enforcement started writing and acting and doing shorts, and now has two feature films under his belt. His first film was a family friendly, faith-based film so much different than this current thriller that he just did. So, we talked through all of this, how we got to start, how he was able to get these first two feature films produced, so stay tuned for that interview. If you find this episode valuable, please help me out by giving me a review in 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 mentioned 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 518.

A quick few words about what I’m working on. So, I’ve got a couple of big announcements for SYS. First, I’m going to be closing down SYS Select which is our monthly membership service. It’s been a great service to run, I’ve really enjoyed running it, getting to know a lot of the writers and helping them succeed and move their careers forward. But it just takes a ton of time. And I feel like I can have more impact and help more writers and filmmakers with the contest and Film Festival. So that’s where SYS is going to be spending more of the time and energy going forward. SYS will still offer our script analysis service along with the contest. So, if you need a script analysis at a reasonable rate, definitely check that out. We’ll have the blast service as a prize, but I’m not going to sell that directly anymore. It’s a service that works well for the right scripts, but I’ve got to be much more picky about which scripts I send out through it. Only sending vetted scripts that come through the contest is probably a better way to utilize it, then the producers on the receiving end of this blast, you’ll they’ll know that the quality of the scripts is likely higher since it’s a vetted script that came through the contest. And hopefully that will lead to them being a little more inclined to actually request and ultimately read the script. As part of this effort to rein in SYS a little bit. I’m also going to be cutting down the podcast down to just once per month. Hopefully that will give me more time to spend doing the interviews, preparing for the interviews. So, I can really make the podcast a little more polished, hopefully give a little more value through it to writers. So, keep an eye out for the podcast again. It’ll just be once per month on the first Monday of every month. So, with that said, we’ve officially opened up SYS’s six figure Film Festival and screenplay contest for entries this year. So do check that out. If you have a low budget, screenplay or film, we’re taking features and shorts. You can find all the details on our website at www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/contest. Anyway, so those are some of the announcements. Any questions or comments, you know, I’m easy to get a hold on definitely just drop me a line [email protected]. Anyways, now let’s get into the main segment. Today, I am interviewing screenwriter and director Warren Fast. Here is the interview.

Ashley 

Welcome Warren to the Selling Your Screenplay Podcast. I really appreciate you coming on the show with me today.

Warren Fast 

It’s an honor, sir. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

Ashley 

So, to start out, maybe you could tell us a little bit about your background. Where do you grow up? And how did you get interested in the entertainment business?

Warren Fast 

Thank you. I mean, I’ve been writing my entire my whole life. And just you know, I started with a novel back in 2003, I was able to complete a novel because I just loved writing and writing since I was a kid, inspired by people like Sylvester Stallone, who got his first screenplay, you know, producing all that and when I was nine years old when Rocky movie came out, so that inspired me. But I was able to get a novel published in 2003. And he was a very hard process for me. I figured I think screenplays are much easier to write as far as length goes, not easier and technical aspects but just getting them finished faster. If they could probably an easier to sell of course, but I’d still I wanted to do I really wanted to do that. So, I was able to option a feature script by about 2006 with a Hollywood company and from that, you know, I made contact with an agent in LA and we’ve made some sales here and there shorts and feature options and things like that, throughout you know for two years.

Ashley 

What were you doing like what was your background in 2003 when you decided to write your novel, what was your background at this point?

Warren Fast 

Well, I my main career which in my mind, I’m thinking okay, I can never Um, I can’t really make a living off of this yet. So, I needed to, you know, have something I can fall back on it at least an even pay rent and stuff like that. So, I went until law enforcement. That’s my career. I’ve been in law enforcement for 30 years now.

Ashley 

Okay. Interesting. Yeah. And so, I’m sure that will play into some of the screenplays and stuff that you’ve written, correct?

Warren Fast 

Sure. Yes. Yeah. It helps with having some knowledge of certain areas. Yeah, it did help me.

Ashley 

Perfect. So, I noticed on your IMDB page, you did a couple of shorts, one that you wrote and directed Trooper Evans, maybe you can kind of just give us a quick overview of that. You have a short film, your writing, directing it. How did you get funding? How did you find a crew? How did you put this film together?

Warren Fast 

Thank you, that really was my first endeavor. And by the way, you know, I do films with my wife, Stacy, she is a producer and all the projects and we work as a team, it’s just us doing these films. But we did a short was the first one we did. And I worked for an agency. And the agency was the 75th anniversary of agency, and they wanted us to do some kind of entertainment, you know, at our local stations, I said, well, I’ll just make a film. So, I made the film, and it was all volunteer, we didn’t raise any money, because it was a volunteer project, and not for profit or anything. So, it’s a little different than the next one. I didn’t really raise money for that one. But I got a crew together that wanted to be involved, because the message was basically showing the history of the agency with a touching story of just different generations involved in that story.

Ashley 

So, I get a couple questions on your novel. So as someone that’s in law enforcement, you write this novel, what were some of those first steps to trying to get it published? And maybe you can kind of give us… I know, there’s a lot of screenwriters that have a novel, they’re trying to work through some of these things. So just in quick, in a minute or two, just give us your summations. I mean, you must have tried some things that simply didn’t work for you. And then you must have tried some things that worked a little better. And some things that worked pretty well. Maybe you can just sort of tell us how did you once you had this novel written? What did you do to actually get it published?

Warren Fast 

Okay, well, again, this is 2000, early 2000s. So, it wasn’t the same as now with internet is easily now. So, we had to, I had to literally type out all my query letters by hand and, you know, typewriter, whatever, and mail them and all that. So, I had to get a query letter together on the story once it was completed. And back then the steps, something called the Writer’s Digest, I think it was called. It’s basically like an internet and a book, it is about this thick of all the publishers in the country. And I would go through and find out which ones I could target that would meet my story that I was trying to write. And I would target all those and send the query letters out and wait for all the noes to return. And eventually there was one that they wanted to do it and we made a deal. So, in the process was daunting, I’d say that. The writing process was daunting and trying to get it published process was really daunting, because of all the outreach I had to do and I couldn’t just send an email wasn’t like that back then. It was different.

Ashley 

Yeah, for sure. Okay, so let’s dig into your first feature film a little bit and kind of just talk through that. Finding Grace. Again, how did you put this film together? What was your sort of intention? And then ultimately, what did you end up doing with this film?

Warren Fast 

Thank you so much. So, you know, I’ve been a screenwriter, I’ve been making sales here and there options here and there. And every once in a while, they would produce something that I did. And I was happy with what they did, but a lot of the times it would be different than what I’ve written in there, they changed quite a bit of what I’d written, or it wouldn’t be produced at all. That was the main equation was most of the stuff I optioned or sold, didn’t get produced. So, I’m like – You know what, I need to want to get my stuff out there. So, let’s write us a screenplay that I can afford to do. And that’s what I did. I came up with a story. I felt it was, you know, inspired. But I give a lot back to the Lord. I’m, you know, I love the Lord. And it’s kind of… my wife and I. So, I prayed a lot about it. And I think I got an inspirational story out of what I was asking for. So, I got that Story, Finding Grace about a family going through some troubles, and dealing with it by coming together and with faith. And so, I made the budget low enough that we could do it and raise it with a little few investors here and there and get it done. So that’s what we did. And I went searching, I targeted distributors that I thought might be interested and we were able to get a couple little pre sales going with it. So that helped. And then eventually when I had it produced. I got stars attached to it too. That’s one of the things I knew was a formula was to get names attached. So, I sent my screenplay to names that I knew might be interested in it that they’ve done an independent film, that they were very recognizable and they’re very talented. And each one of them really responded well to the story. They wanted to be attached. So, we did that. And then eventually we did a pre-screening and we got distribution. It was award winning to we were able to get the best picture nominations and several nominations for the film.

Ashley 

So, how much just I guess pre planning. I mean, there’s a whole niche in this sort of family or faith-based films that we don’t necessarily hear a lot about. Sometimes I’ve had screenwriters and filmmakers on that work in this niche. But I just be curious how much do you know about this niche? Are these films that you watch? You watch a lot of these faith-based films? You know, I know, there’s the sort of dove ratings that you get that sort of gives you sort of an and maybe you can just talk to that a little bit? How much do you know about it? And then how much did you use that knowledge to actually make this film Finding Grace?

Warren Fast 

Well, I’ve seen some films in the genre. And I knew what I wanted to do, what I wanted to do with the film was different than what I had seen, not to take anything away from the films, but I wanted to do a film more of like you’re showing the gospel than kind of telling or explaining the gospel. So that was my main effort with the film was to kind of give an illustration of the Gospel by just watching his family go through stuff, and to me, it would be to have more connection with the audience. And you would feel more for the characters in that way. So, I had seen now the process of making the films, I really had no idea really, I just was kind of like, stumbling my way through it. And trying to figure out here and there and I was I started into acting when I did do, one thing I did do to start acting, that was probably 8-10 years ago now is to help my writing, to the craft to get a little to get better at it. And I feel for the for the actors and what they’re feeling if I’m going to direct them how they’re going to feel, and stuff. So that did help me a lot learning the process, because I’ve had networked a lot. And that during that process, you know, did a couple of big films and even in backgrounds stuff, even as a background guy on gigantic films, you learn a lot because you can see your onset, you’re seeing how they’re moving the sets around, you’re seeing the actual director onset and how he talks to the people. So that helped me learn.

Ashley 

So then Roadkill is kind of a 180, from faith-based films. Was there any inclination to sort of lean into that and get known as a director as someone that’s doing faith-based films since that was your first one?

Warren Fast 

Yeah, so you know, my philosophy on writing is, I don’t have any genre that I stick to or anything like that. I just like a good story. And as screenwriters, you can probably understand that, there’s good stories in almost every genre you can, as long as the characters are great, you have a workable story, good plot outline, and you hit the beats along the way. People will be interested and they’ll want to follow along. So, you can take these characters you’ve recreated you’ve created and you can place them in any environment. And they’ll still want to want to follow them. That’s kind of the hook of series, right? Like, people get hooked on the characters not really like the situation, is there anything that like, oh, I want to go watch and see what happened to so and so now in this episode, right? So, that’s kind of my philosophy with writing. So, I love all genre films. And Roadkill was kind of a, it took me back to the 80s because I’m an 80s. Kid, you know, and I love 80s films, and I wanted this to be a nod to those 80s thrillers. And the time, you know, in terms of the action in terms of the story in terms of the characters you had the music, everything that we could fit into it within the budget is what I tried to do with roadkill.

Ashley 

Yeah, yeah. So, we’ll dig into that in a minute. I just have a couple questions about you’ve mentioned that you’ve optioned and sold a couple of things. I assume some of those are the short films that you’ve writing credits on. But maybe you can just talk about that a little bit. How did you get these options? I mean, here at selling your screenplay, we sell services to screenwriters to help them you know, get their script to produce, you know, there’s the blacklist ink tip, just what did you as you were finding your way, what services did you use? And then ultimately, what did you find was successful to actually get some of the script options?

Warren Fast 

Yeah, cool. Thank you. Stuff you mentioned is yes, I’ve used all that. Ink tip is actually one of the most successful ones I’ve used. I’ve had a lot of contacts through ink tip on my own and make good sales through them. I did have an agent early on that we still work with, I still work with him. But really, most of my sales and contacts have been on my own. Because I know he’s working for other guys. You are not the only one. And plus, you know, it’s just I know what I want to sell in the people I want to reach. So, I’m doing a lot of that and have them negotiate certain things. But yeah, it helped me a lot. But ink tip, it was the one you mentioned is probably the most successful one. There’s this there’s many out there that are very good. I think what you can really do as a screenwriter, though, is you have to have the script ready, ready to go or at least in treatment form, right? Good outline to somebody can, because there’s a lot of times I’ll ask for a treatment, not just a screenplay, right? So, if you have the connection, you get the query out there. These companies are looking for what you have. They’ll either ask for the treatment or the screenplay. And you just really got to sell it yourself, you know in an email and if you’re fortunate enough to talk to him on the phone or in person to sell it and be concise and very direct on what you’re trying to accomplish with it. Yeah, that’s I’m what I used to get.

Ashley 

Yeah, Sound advice. Now, you most of them, as you said, a lot of these options in sales were on your own, I assume from your own network. But what does that actually mean? Like, would you go to industry events, or it was just being an actor on set, you would meet people and network that way. But when you say you got a lot of these connections on your own, what does that actually mean?

Warren Fast 

Well, I’ll tell you like, the good resource for me is IMDB. I just go straight through IMDB. And I could, you know, you could watch the market right and see what films are coming out. You can see who the distributors are for certain films and you say, well, I have this script that fits that, they might be look for something like that, I’ll just reach out. But even you got to spend a lot of time doing it’s probably the hard way around. But I’ll do it. And I’ll send queries all the time. And eventually, every once in a while, I’d be like, it wasn’t good for that. Let’s see what you get. And then I’ll send it in and it will talk and then maybe most of the time, they’ll say no, or most of the time, they don’t respond at all. I mean, it’s really like panning for gold. As I look at it, it’s panning for gold, you’re spending all this time just putting the work in, you’ve got to do it. And no matter how successful you are, you’re still going to have to do that. Because you have people in Hollywood, you have major stars in Hollywood doing the same thing I’m doing, hey, let’s get my script out there and talk to people and they got to meet the right people to do it. I mean, you know, doesn’t matter what level you’re at, I think it’s the same thing.

Ashley 

Yeah, for sure. For sure. You hear the stories of I mean, I’m sure Spielberg, he has to sell himself. I mean, there’s still people, he’s got to raise money, and he’s got to sell his idea and get people excited about it. And these are all the same things that basically we’re doing. So now, and I really liked what you’re saying, you know, you really have to just do the work on the marketing and the sales front, what would you say as a percentage how much time do you spend on actually writing new material versus actually out there trying to sell and market what you’ve already written?

Warren Fast 

You know, I spend a lot of time writing. And I tried to stick to his schedule for right because he doesn’t stick to a schedule and never get your stuff done. Right. And so, I do that, it’s probably go 50% of the time. 50% writing 50% marketing, and trying to get it out there. That’s probably what I did.

Ashley 

And I hope people hear that because I think when I run into, especially newer screenwriters, typically when I start to talk to them, it’s more like 98% time writing and 2% marketing and they can’t understand why nobody’s willing to read their scripts. And I think a 50-50 as shocking as that may sound to a lot of newbie screenwriters, I think a 50-50 break is probably pretty reasonable. Yeah, yeah. So okay, so let’s dig into your new feature film Roadkill. Maybe to start out, you can just give us a quick pitch or logline, what is this film all about?

Warren Fast 

Yeah, so on the outside Roadkill is a woman in peril story, but with a twist, right? So, it’s a young woman on the road traveling alone, you know, lost in the back roads of some County, and you know, she gets kind of lost, and she runs into this Renegade. You know, hitchhiker drifter, guy that he might know the areas in some directions, and it’s the 80s. So, I mean, it’s probably more believable, that she’ll pick up this guy lost in like, humble in the 80s, then you would now I understand that nobody is going to pick it up. But nowadays, so it’s set in the 80s, for that purpose, kind of for the story, too. And so, they, you know, start traveling, and it’s about their journey. It’s really the girl is the driver and her name is the driver that sort of, I didn’t even give her a name, the drivers journey, but they’re together and they things started happening around them, where there’s a, there’s a manhunt going on, and we got to figure out what’s happening around them where these bodies are turning up, and how do we get these people through it, and they ended up in a fight for their lives together.

Ashley 

And what was the genesis of this story? Like, where did this idea come from? Why did you decide to make this story now?

Warren Fast 

Well, one of those short films that I’d had a while ago that had been optioned, you know, as a short film, and people tried to do things with it at a certain point, but I always felt that was a feature, I think this really needs it’s going to explode if I get into the feature level. So, what I did was I took the idea of just these two individuals, in kind of a, they’re both enigmas, and they’re both traveling together, but you don’t know their backgrounds, but they both have these motivations that are subtle and hidden. So, I wanted that in a feature film, I think I could carry it along. And I think the formula I came up with after the rewrites work, apparently, because we had a lot of good success with getting attachments on the film, and then in distribution, you know, interested in. So, I just took the characters I expounded upon them and develop this story from beginning to end with the plot, you know, with the twists in there and the subplots in there, and that’s kind of what I did. So that was how it started. And that’s what we came up with the end of it.

Ashley 

Okay, so let’s talk through your writing process a little bit. Maybe you can just sort of talk about your writing process. It sounds like you have a real routine down. But where do you typically write and when do you typically write? Do you have a home office? Do you go to Starbucks, you need the ambient noise? Do you write in the morning, you write middle of the night? Just talk through sort of your just writing process.

Warren Fast 

Well, thank you. Yeah, it’s evolved over time. But now. Now, you know, my wife would say, I would be I have to have complete silence, can’t have any noise, can any music, I don’t deal with music, anything that’s all distracting to me. And I’d rather add. So, I’ve got to have be focused. So, I need to have the time then when I sit down to write, I tried to do it for like five hours straight. So, I will because you know, as you start to write, it’s kind of a graph like your start, here I am. And now you get it go up, and you start to reach a peak and you’re writing, and then you’ll start to like, okay, well, I’m not really pulling out what I need to pull up, and I’m going to end. And so, to me, that’s about a five-hour process. If I can set aside five hours, I’ll do that. And so, what I tried to do, ideally, is like two days during the week, five hours, like I work regular jobs, like being home, and I’ll write for five hours if I can do that. And then on Saturday, and one of the big weekend days, I’ll do that process during the weekend. Sometimes I go longer on the weekend, because I’ll start early. And earlier is better for me. I’m obviously more fresh than then in the evening, sometimes. Yeah, I’ve fallen asleep writing before. And, you know, it’s like, that’s the process. And before, I don’t know if I just go further, but before I even write a script, I’ll have the outline done first, I’ll do my outline, which is the scene, every scene, sometimes I go down to individual shots before I start writing. And I’ll do all of that. And then I’ll write a treatment out of it. And then I’ll go to the screenplay.

Ashley 

Gotcha. And then how much time do you spend in the outline stage, and then the treatment stage and then the actual writing stage, I just like to get a sort of a sense of the scope of just where a lot of your time is spent.

Warren Fast 

It really depends on the story. Because you know, I encountered writer’s block, like a lot of us, right, as writers, we hit that and I’m working on multiple screenplays at a time. So right now, I’ve got, I’m working on three, well, two, right now back and forth. And then I’m rewriting another one. Well, I write slow for one thing. So, once I get to the actual writing of the screenplay, phase, I only go about in a page an hour, I don’t know if anybody’s different than me. But that’s as fast as I can do it. And because that compasses also the rewrites and stuff, so I’ll write for a, say I write for 10 pages in one sitting, which is astronomically fast for me, I would say, well, like five or six pages, at a sitting, sometimes I’ll rewrite three of those pages. So that that process of writing the script is usually about 60 days, I can do that, once I started the script, it’s about 60 days. And then the outline process could take longer, obviously, because I want to that has to be really good before I even start that. So, I would say maybe three to four months of the outline treatment stage before I start writing in. So, when you think about it from when I first think of the idea to the final drafts, five, six months, maybe like five months, something like that. But now some go faster, like finding grace, my first film, I wrote in six weeks, which is very fast. But again, I think that was I feel it was kind of divinely inspired a little bit to help me with that one, Roadkill took a little longer. Yes.

Ashley 

So, what is your development process look like? Do you have some actors? It sounds like your wife is a producer, I assume she reads the script, give you some notes. But maybe we can just talk about your development process a little bit. Who do you have, that you get notes from? And then how do you take those notes? If you get different types of notes from different people? How do you sort of meld those together? Just maybe talk a little bit about your development process.

Warren Fast 

Sure. Thanks. I sometimes get notes from outside and other peers sometimes rarely, though, but my wife has the main one. What I’ll do is when I finished the screenplay, sometimes when I do even part of the screenplay, but definitely when I finish it, I’ll read the screenplay to her and I’ll do all the parts, all the voices, and everything. So, I do that. And I see her reaction, and I get any feedback and notes from her at that time, and then then I move forward, and rewrites and then I, as I’m doing that, I’m hearing it, I’m seeing it in all that and then I can go back look if I make any adjustments. I can do the polish after that. And I’ll do it that way. That’s the end.

Ashley 

I think so yeah, yeah, I think so. And I’m curious how do you approach screenplay structure you know, there’s the Blake Snyder Syd Field where they have you know, the ACT breaks and the midpoint the inciting incidents, but how do you approach screenplay structure what is your take on sort of that paradigm or template that a lot of people use?

Warren Fast 

Okay, so that’s interesting to me, I’ve watched a lot of films that don’t have that don’t have their very unique kind of structure I love unique structure but I tried to structure, I tried to stick to save the cat kind of stuff but you know what, the inciting incident and you know, the ones that the and especially the third act where it breaks it down into all his last time and all that very good stuff. So again, in my outline process, I do try to plug in the story into like a beat sheet, you know, and that helps me but I don’t always get that done before I’m ready to write So I’ll go back and forth back and forth between the beat sheet and the script. Because sometimes it’s fun when you’re writing a screenplay. And I get to a point where the characters pretty much take over by the end of the first act, and I don’t have to really write the screenplay anymore the characters are writing it. And that, that if I’ve done my homework enough on the characters, that’s magic, and that’s when it goes fast.

Ashley 

Gotcha. And how about genre requirements? I mean, you mentioned this was sort of a throwback to these 80s grindhouse genre movies. And maybe you can talk about that a little bit. What are some of the genres? Like if someone is sitting there thinking, Well, I’m going to write one of these types of movies? What are some of the things you need to have? I mean, for instance, you have a sexy girl, you know, that’s sort of the opening of your trip. You know, it’s but there are these sorts of requirements. You have the mysterious guy that she picks up hitchhiking. I mean, I think Rutger Hauer did one of these similar movies in the 80s. You know, there’s a lot of this sort of tried and true things. Maybe you can speak to that. What were some of the movies you watch to prepare for this? And then ultimately, what are some of those genre requirements that you sort of want to lean into?

Warren Fast 

Thank you for that question. That’s awesome. Because, yeah, there’s a lot of nods, and it’s going to seem like that you just mentioned Howard’s the Hitcher. That’s really the probably the biggest influence in this one. Not the same story, obviously. But it’s just a nod to how the film was presented and so forth. Even First Blood, you know, First Blood was the first random booth with you know, with it, the look of the hitchhiker and stuff like that, that kind of was kind of a requirement and put the biggest requirement I had for this film be an 80s genre film was the score, it had to have an 80s type, score and music involved in that we didn’t have the Hollywood level licensing budget, but we did our best with the music, for example, we have there’s a band called The Velvet tears. And I can’t praise them enough. They are an up and coming band. I say up and coming. They’re already established. They’re amazing. But their music is so timeless. I mean, you’ll see the theme for Roadkill is in the film by the volunteers. And it’s called Death X. It’s just an amazing song. It’s really cool. It sounds like 80s, but it’s a modern song. So, and then our, as far as our score goes, we John Carpenter is like my favorite music from the 80s. As far as movies go, I wanted this to be a nod to him. And so, we were thankful able to secure Daniel Davies. Now Daniel Davies works with John Carpenter. He’s actually his godson, and he has the same kind of sound like is influenced by that John Carpenter type sound. But he’s an amazingly talented guy on his own. He just scored Halloween ends Halloween. What’s it all for? The two Halloween? Yeah, he did. He just scored though that was his score, he did the fire starter reboot one, we were able to secure him for Roadkill. So, he’s the Desportes rookie on original heart pounding score and score that that gives a nod back to the 80s as well. And so those kinds of things and images and some of the cinematography we wanted to do in the film process is a nod back to the 80s we use rear screen projection a lot, which was used back in the 80s. That kind of thing.

Ashley 

Gotcha. Now, in terms of I just talked to a screenwriter yesterday who has a script sent in the 80s. And that was one of the first questions I had for him is does this need to be set in the 80s? I mean, you could have definitely done a throwback to an 80s film set in the year 2023. And I’m just curious, how much do you think that affected your budget production value? I mean, it’s a double-edged sword it’s going to cost a little more but I think it also does set you a PSA. It sets you apart from other low budget independent films having to things but you got to get the cars, you got to do the hair differently, the clothes, you know, there’s a lot of production things that go along with an 80s thing. So maybe you can talk through that decision. How much more do you think it added to the budget? And do you think ultimately was it worth going through that, that adding to the budget and having that that 80s Look and Feel?

Warren Fast 

Yeah, I think for this story, it had to be it, because I don’t think you would have got the same feel on a modern take with it because for one thing it’s kind of a small reason but I mean cell phones I mean, you can get directions off your GPS drive around, you know, why do you need to stop with this guy. That’s not the main reason but I just think this the way that the story develops with the characters involved in the small county and the sheriff’s departments there and all the people in the people you meet along the way it just had to be 80s, it wouldn’t have the same feel. So, it was it did it but as far as budget goes it is double edged because in some ways it’s less expensive in some ways. It’s more you have to be aware you have to find 80s things, you know, cars, clothes, all this stuff you have to do make sure that’s rather than just pulling off the rack, right. But it’s kind of a world setting too. So that makes it a little easier. Some of those sets are not, you know, we don’t have gigantic crowds or anything or we don’t, you know, have like big parking lots full of cars. So, in that way, it wasn’t that bad. But yeah, you have to be aware of it. And you have to be more aware in every scene like your continuity person has to be oh my, that’s got to get pull that out of the frame. That’s a 90s a cup, or whatever it is, you know, that kind of thing. So, you got to be aware of those things. Production value production design had to be yet on top.

Ashley 

Gotcha. So okay, once you had a version of the script that you were happy with, it sounds like you and your wife were already knew you were going to go and produce this, as opposed to trying to re or dry and sell it to somebody else correct this, you wrote this one, and in an effort to go out and produce it?

Warren Fast 

Well, I’ll tell you what, every script I write, I always try to sell it first. Yeah, you know, why not? So, I tried to sell it. And then the next level is co-produce, if I can do that. But then that again, a patient focused, for example, our first film Finding Grace, I wanted to sell it first. And couldn’t do that. It was unknown. Nobody knew who I was at all, we still didn’t really, but back then they really didn’t know. And so did any problem. But then I found one company was willing to co-produce, but they didn’t co-produce fast enough. So, I was like, I’m going to do it myself. So, I just went ahead and did myself. I figured I can get out there faster. So again, I’m impatient sometimes so. But the goal is always yes to self-write, every script I write no matter what. Now, I say that, but there is one I’m working on. I really want to do, at least I want to direct it for sure. If somebody picks it up, that’d be great. But I want to be involved in the direct directory stuff. So yeah.

Ashley 

So, how did you guys… okay, so you had a script that you like, how did you go about trying to raise the money for this? What was your…?

Warren Fast 

For the Roadkill you’re saying? Yeah, so for Roadkill, we were fortunate that we made funny on our first film, we got a full distribution on our first film, that was such a blessing. And we waited a little bit of time, and we, it contributed to the funding of roadkill and then we put our own money into it Roadkill as well. We looked at investors, but we weren’t sure we weren’t wanting to do that. Because we figured, you know, we could probably cover the budget with what we’ve got, let’s just do it ourselves. At least we’ll have this one film that is completely ours. You know, it just comes back. I don’t have any answers. Listen, anybody about what to do it, you know, the story or anything? Or, like… so I just didn’t we completely funded ourselves, we were able to keep the budget low enough to do that.

Ashley 

Gotcha. Gotcha. Okay. So then once you had the film finished, what was your strategy to get distribution? Did you go back to the same company that distributed Finding Grace? And then did you go to film festivals, maybe talk through that process a little bit once you had a finished film?

Warren Fast 

Yes. We, of course, I always give first right of refusal to whatever company I worked before with, you know, but it just so happens that this film is not really in the brand of the one. So that’s fine. It’s great. But so, they we went expanded on that, and we searched a lot of companies, we started trying to target ones that would be conducive to the film and would want to film and we didn’t do the festival route. Because I’m not knocking festivals. I’m sure they’re awesome. But I’ll target festivals for each individual film. I won’t send a lot of them like Finding Grace for just put it in one festival, because it was I didn’t want to, because we had pre sell distribution on already. So that hurts that you can’t really do that. So, Roadkill we knew that it was we didn’t want to do the festival route. We were fine. Again, I’m impatient. Because festivals you have to wait right? And you have to put it in and wait for somebody. Yeah, maybe I could have done that. I just I decided not to I just went straight to distribution. And we settled on a very good distributor. We’re very thankful when we got, we had a couple at the end that we’re not kind of giving us different deals. And I decided on the one we went with because they gave us a better deal. And we have a great deal now with it. And it’s in theaters. So, we’re thankful for that.

Ashley 

Yeah, yeah. So, a lot of films from uncorked entertainment have come through you guys are with uncorked, correct?

Warren Fast 

Yes, that was a final we settled with.

Ashley 

Yes. Yeah. So, a lot of films have come through there. And then I’ve actually had Keith Leopard on the podcast to talk. Yeah, yeah. And he has a good reputation and I’ve always heard good things about him. So just in general now if you get something you meet a young person they come up to you and they say I want advice to get into the business to be a writer to be a director, just what is your advice these days to young people trying to get into the business?

Warren Fast 

To be a writer?

Ashley 

Yeah, to be writer or director.

Warren Fast 

Oh, writer or director. So, for I would say get on as many sets as you can get on whether or not you’re acting or not whether you’re a PA or whatever you’re doing get on as many sets as you can do. Sometimes you don’t work for free before on work for student films. When I first started out, just get on and get the experience network with other people you can meet be as professional as possible, have thick skin take criticism, you know, you know warranted criticism, not just people bashing you. But you know, listen to those, you know, and if you find mentors here and there, they’re good. But really practice your craft, whatever you’re trying to do like if it’s writing, write, just write a lot read a lot of screenplays do that, that helped me a lot. Just reading screenplays, and then writing, having ideas and writing, even if it’s not great, just keep writing and writing, I never throw anything away I write no matter how bad it is, I’ll save it somewhere and I can go back and I could maybe tweak a little bit out and pull it to use somewhere else. That kind of thing for directing get on films. That’s why, you know, even if you’re a PA on the smallest of films, you’re going to see what their processes and you’re going to see what’s good and bad. And you’re going to take what’s good and discard what’s bad. And you can use that in every experience will help you win each time. And you can start where you can start develop your own process. And that’s the main reason we did this short film, The first time was to get on set work with individuals. And when it’s only for like, two or three days, right, and I can see what our poor is like, what schedule is going to be like, what foods going to be like, what wardrobe, all the little things that you don’t think about sometimes when you’re, when you’re writing a script, and you’re thinking I have this, I can direct this because when you start producing a film, there’s so many things involved. So many things about it. One is just like for example, in our case, meeting my wife, it is so taxing to get it done. So, pre-production is very important. But I would say for somebody starting out, yes. Get on set, talk to people.

Ashley 

Yeah, excellent advice. What have you seen recently that you thought was really great? HBO, Netflix, Hulu, anything you’ve been watching recently that you thought our screenwriting audience would enjoy?

Warren Fast 

Oh, as a screenwriter I loved on Netflix. I happen to turn on and it was this show called Maid. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, but it’s on it hit and it’s just a series and limited. So, I like limited series because that way, it’s a beginning middle end. I don’t really get in too much into the series and go on and on. But maybe it was a limited series. It was eight episodes, I think and it was about a single mom, you know, leaving a ‘quasi abusive relationship’, trying to make it on our own, trying to find herself. It was it’s just the greatest written story in my opinion. I’ve seen in a long time. I loved it.

Ashley 

Yeah, that’s a great recommendation. Yeah, I’ll have to, I have not heard of that. So, we’ll have to check it out. It’s MADE or MAID?

Warren Fhast

MAID, that’s on Netflix. She becomes a maid to try to, you know, here and there. It’s part of the plot little bit. Sub story, but yeah, great movie, touching.

Ashley 

Gotcha. Perfect. I’ll put that on my list. How can people see Roadkill? What’s the release schedule going to be like for that?

Warren Fast 

Roadkill is released January 5th in theaters nationwide. It’s a limited release. So, you got to check your cities and your theaters in your area. If you don’t see it, maybe ask or it will also be VOD. So you can preview VOD, it’ll be across there and you honestly you can also pre order it I think now on VOD. And then after that, of course, it’ll make the other VOD platforms you know, at a certain time, we hope.

Ashley 

And what’s the best way for people to keep up with what you’re doing? Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, anything you are comfortable sharing our roundup and I’ll put in the show notes.

Warren Fast 

Sure. Thank you. I’m just worn fast on Facebook. You can find me we have our company’s mythic pictures on Facebook the same thing. Okay, we have a website for the film www.roadkilfilm.com where you can find a lot of updates there as well. Okay, we have a Roadkill Facebook page as well. Okay. So yeah, it would be Mythic Pictures Official would be the Roadkill.

Ashley 

Perfect. Yeah, I’ll round all that up and put in the show notes so people can click over to that. So well, Warren, I really appreciate you coming on and talking to me today. Good luck with this film and good luck with your future films as well.

Warren Fast 

Thank you so much for the time, it was an honor. Appreciate it.

Ashley 

Thank you. Thank you. We’ll talk to you later. Bye

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