Friday, January 3, 2014

Interview with the director of the zombie movie "State of Emergency"

Hi this is George Cook the owner of The Dead War Series Blog. I recently watched a zombie movie titled State of Emergency on Netflix and I loved it. So much so that I reached out the director of the independent film and asked for an interview.

Mr. Turner Clay quickly responded with some very thoughtful answers and even addressed some issues that some viewers had with the films pacing. He also has a  insightful answer about how budgets can affect a movie and the story one is trying to tell, I hope you enjoy the interview. 

George Cook: What's your background in filmmaking?

Turner Clay:  I've been working on my own shorts and feature films for about 10 years now and love each new project that I get to work on.

George Cook:   What was your inspiration for State of Emergency?

Turner Clay: The inspiration for State of Emergency came from a movie entitled "Night of the Comet" which was an 80's zombie comedy. I liked that film when I was a kid and just wanted to make something with the same feel.

George Cook: How much of a budget did you have to work with?

Turner Clay: I can't say what the final budget ended up being but can say that it was much less than film school would have been. That was made possible simply because the actors worked for free and did it for the fun.

George Cook:  Do you think that working with a smaller budget forced you to pay more attention to the story and the characters or would that have been your plan regardless.

Turner Clay:  I think that having such a low budget limits ones story telling ability. Especially now a days where not having enough money for props and effects automatically puts you in a "cheap" category and ultimately takes you away from focusing on the story as an audience member.

George Cook: You seem to be going for suspense over gore, was that a choice you made from the start?

Turner Clay:  I learned on State of Emergency that suspense is what most people enjoy about scary movies. Kind of like when you watch a ghost movie, the scariest part is the build up before you actually get to see it. Then once you see the ghost, you're usually like, "that's not that scary". I don't think my strongest aspect is scaring as much as suspense. Definitely something I'm trying to improve.

George Cook: The movie is very character driven and doesn't rush to get where it wants to go. How important was that to you?

Turner Clay:  I wanted the movie to be slow paced but it turned out being slower than I wanted. I believe I was lucky because it was on the edge of being boring I think. But in the end, I was happy with the result because I ultimatly wanted to tell a suspenseful movie with the least use of dialogue.

George Cook: One thing that jumped out at me was that the acting was very good especially for a genre movie. Where did you find such good actors and what was it like working with them?

Turner Clay: The actors were amazing in my opinion because, not only were they talented, but they sacrificed pay for a chance to be creative. It really reminded me of being on a sports team or in war. It was absolute hell to shoot but an experience of a lifetime. I will work with them again for sure!

George Cook: What has been the reaction to the movie?

Turner Clay: Based off of how many people have reached out to us tells me that a number of people really enjoyed the film. The other day, a man at Kinko's noticed me printing off some scripts. (for a future project) He asked me if I have made any movies independently. I said, "I have a movie on netflix called State of Emergency." I was shocked when he told me that he and his wife watch it twice in the same week. I had never met this man but could tell he really enjoyed it. I know its not for everyone, but for me to see that felt awesome.

George Cook: Are you looking at making a sequel?

Turner Clay:  I just finished my next film which is very similar to SOE but not really a sequel. I think this one will blow people away.

George Cook: Where can readers learn more about you and your film / films online?

Turner Clay: I really don't know where people can read about me and my movies. I'm not famous at all. Nobody really knows who I am. Maybe one day I hope:)

You can check out State of emergency on Netflix now here: State Of Emergency

*Although Mr. Clay has no web site he did want this link to his youtube posted. Check it out.