Hot off a career working on video games, Dave Zani has set out to become the next Roger Corman or Charles Band. He talks to us about his sexy horror-comedy efforts Shark Babes and Scared Topless, and his plans for the future.
LEGLESSCORPSE: So, Dave, what is it that attracts you to making films like Shark Babes and Scared Topless?
DAVE ZANI: Being creative and trying to use that as a tool to forge my way in the world has been a theme in my life as far back as I remember. Using visual mediums to tell a story, entertain people and provide en escape for both myself and the audience, I have been doing for ages. In terms of working, I started out as PA at 17 for a film called “Who is Alan Smithee?”, I worked my way up through different positions and projects like GTA V and decided to go off on my own and create something.
LC: Did the contacts you made in the game industry help you get into film?
DZ: As far as contacts for my film, No. I did, however, meet a lot of cool people while working at Rockstar Games like Janet Hubert (Aunt Viviann from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) who portrayed Franklin’s Aunt in GTA V.
LC: What did you learn from working on video games that you applied to working on film?
DZ: I learned a tremendous amount about time and resource management, working with large groups of people on time sensitive projects and how to initiate user involvement in story development with working in a sandbox atmosphere.
LC: Did you have a business plan for the film production company? Any companies you strive to be like?
DZ: Sort of. From my previous experiences working with Jim Wynorski on these late-night sexy cable movies I knew how much funding I needed to have a shot at putting a project together. It was a risk, I did it mostly for myself – I will say this was not endeavour I mulled over with lawyers or advisors. I had wanted to make a film since I was a youngster and I had an opportunity to do so, using this erotic format and the guidance of the great Jim Wynorski, I left my job at Rockstar Games and established Old Mill Entertainment.
LC: Is it fair to say Roger Corman may have influenced the tone of these latest two movies?
DZ: What gave you that idea? (laughs ) Yes! of course. Jim Wynorski is one of Roger’s top directors and has been working with him since the 80’s. The story style and tone of these films is very much-so a tribute to Roger Corman from me — I am fascinated by him and his body of work! While producing Scared Topless I had the honor of meeting and chatting with Mr. Corman at his office at New Horizons Picture Corp — it felt like Scared Topless was being blessed by one of the Shamans!
DZ: I honestly love both of them equally because I find strengths in each one of the productions, they fit together like book ends to me. This was a period early in my career, I made these 2 films (when I look back in the future) and I am so very proud of their creation and success.
LC: How many hats did you wear on the films?
DZ: As a producer you tend to wear many hats. This is what I love most about the job, following a project from the smallest seed of conception, to planting it in the garden, tending to it with water and sunlight and watching it grow.
LC: Tell us about some of the people you had supporting your vision?
DZ: On a personal level, my father is my biggest fan, supporter of my work, facilitator of my ideas, shoulder to learn on and also my business manager! Since I was a very young boy he championed my work and always told me to push on and never give up. He is a man of great courage, strength and has a very warm heart. On a more professional level I would say my mentor, Jim Wynorski, has been a great motivator and instructor, I will always look up to him. Jim is as great of a filmmaker as he is as a person.
LC: Why do you think you gravitate towards making sexy horror movies?
DZ: I made these films because it was an opportunity to make a low budget film and get it out there for people to see on Cable TV, streaming and on DVD! It was the next step in my career from working on someone else’s project to helming my own. I do not have any current plans to develop more erotic content – right now I have an animated piece in the works. I am driven to tell stories and give people a sense of escape – Scared Topless and Shark Babes do that in their own way but I am excited to create different things!
LC: We certainly wish you the best of luck with your work! Thanks so much for taking this time to chat with us!