After reviewing The horror/comedy Devil In My Ride I HAD to hunt down the person responsible for creating such a sly, funny, and entertaining film. Writer/director Gary Schultz was more than happy to answer some questions about his first feature.
LEGLESS CORPSE: After directing many shorts, Devil In My Ride is your first feature film. How did the project come about?
GARY SCHULTZ: Yeah Devil In My Ride is the first feature I ever directed. I’ve done some producing work and still continue to do that. It came about, in all honesty, out of frustration originally. I attempted to make a couple of other features with other people producing, early on in my career. I got tired of people talking about what they were going to do (and not doing it), so me and my writing partner, Mike (Dozier), made this little short film version of Devil In My Ride that’s kind of different than the feature in a lot of ways, besides the characters, which is similar, though their relationships are different. We made this little short on like, nothing, and everyone really seemed to like it. It was really strange because we had made other shorts that were more epic than that and they really didn’t do as well (laughs) but this little short version of Devil In My Ride people really seemed to dig and we thought it would be hilarious to do a feature length version. Obviously we had to change up the story a lot. But basically I told myself it was time to put your own film career on your back. To figure out a way to go and do something, so that’s what we did. I went out and raised my own money, me and Mike wrote the script. I knew I wanted Joey (Bicicchi) and Frank (Zieger) to do it because we had made some different films together and they were fantastic together and they are some of my best friends. Then I pulled in about ten years worth of filmmaking favors (laughs) and we weren’t going to let anyone tell us we couldn’t do it. So it’s inspired by the way Robert Rodriquez made El Mariachi or Sam Raimi did Evil Dead or Kevin Smith did Clerks. Like here’s a guy that went out there and made something really entertaining that had good characters and they did it with very very limited resources and had to be really creative.
LC: From what I understand shooting was pure indie gorilla filmmaking, tell us about the process and how shooting took place?
GS: We were as organized as you can be, we were just a really small crew. So we did a lot of our principal photography in and around Illinois, usually around the south side of Chicago, then we dipped over to Indiana to shoot some stuff there. We tried to do all that stuff around there because I was making films in Chicago, so naturally I had a lot of connections to be able to do stuff at a very very low cost or free in and around the area. Then after we did 14 or 15 days of shooting there, with our small but awesome crew, we jumped in Black Moma and drove all the way to Vegas and back and filmed all the exteriors that you see in the road trip stuff and all of the shots up and down the Vegas Strip and everything that takes place there.
In between the road trip and Principal, Halloween came, and I basically held off the scene with Sid Haig until then, so Halloween 2011 I was making a movie with Sid Haig, how was your Halloween? (laughs). It was pretty cool man I was excited because obviously if you’re going to make a film like this your probably the kind of person that likes the kinds of films Sid has been part of for most of his career.
LC: The production value was high considering the budget. For all the aspiring filmmakers out there, what kind of equipment did you use?
GS: It’s not the tools, it’s the people, man. We went and shot everything on little DSLR camera’s. We had, depending on what size of a shoot day, between two and four of those. We would shot a lot of second camera as much as we could. Hats of to my boy Armondo (Ballesteros) who was our DP and all of my friends and fellow filmmakers who came in to help out. It was all hands on deck on certain days for some of the bigger scenes. We would go out there with fast lenses and shoot it as quickly as possible because when we are trying to do 8 or ten pages a day you really don’t have a lot of time, you try and keep it to two or three takes. Obviously you want to know what you want to get or you’ll just piss off everyone on set and look like an idiot. You want to be as organized as possible, I like to over prepare and then forget it and then try to feel out what’s going on.
The gear was pretty simple and after that we went into post-production. Mike Heffler was our main editor, him and I sat down and cut the film on Final Cut. Then when I came out to LA my partners at Red Band chipped in and Tim Montijo did all the visual effects, and we did all the color correction, then it all came together. You look at Devil In My Ride there’s like 279 visual effects shots in it and most of them are pretty flawless and shooting on DSLR’s, they don’t give you a whole lot of color space to get in there and mess around.
You know a lot of people are just sitting around talking about making films, the only way your going to get better at making them is to go out there and make them.
LC: My favorite character, Travis, is truly the catalyst of the comedy in the film, did you write the part for Frank Zieger?
GS: Definitely. Frank is one of my favorite actors in the world. He’s been a really good friend of mine and he’s one of the greatest character actors I have ever seen. He’s one of those guys that you may not know his name, but you remember him every single time you see him in a film. We wrote it for Frank, Mike and myself, because he is one of the funniest people I know in the world. Joey who typically does more dramatic acting, I wanted him to come and be in this world because he is one of the strongest young actors I know. Putting them together just creates this odd couple we were hoping for.
But Frank’s just hilarious. What he would do to prepare for the role would go and do stand up as Travis and Hank, he’d do both roles (laughs). So he’d go get warmed up like that a couple months before the shoot. The funnest joke in the film is actually the first joke we ever wrote which is kind of ridiculous, I don’t want to spoil it. But Mike and myself take our comedy very seriously. We just do. It’s important to us. I think comedy can be smart when it’s being ridiculous, so we spent a lot of time going over what’s funny, why is it funny, and try to do our best in hopes that it’s something people will be entertained by.
LC: Did you find it hard balancing the comedy and horror elements to fit just right?
GS: Yeah, I think you always find it hard, you generally tend to side with one and to be perfectly honest, with our budget limitations we knew our comedy was going to be strong. So we sided with that (comedy) and throw the splatter in it, for a lack of better words, well I guess that was the perfect word, with horror elements. Given a bigger budget, I would have balanced it a touch more, but then again I don’t know because every time you go into a film it becomes what it becomes. The film just felt so natural, wearing these clothes as a comedy and a horror film that’s wrapped up in a road trip movie.
LC: Is the film going to be a digital release only or will we be seeing a DVD/blu-Ray release as well?
GS: Yeah we are working on DVD/Blu-Ray right now. We’ve had some different offers. We’re trying to find the right company to push it. I found a great company and we are putting together a plan of action to see what the best avenues for DVD and Blu-Ray are because there’s a couple things that have come up recently that have perked my interest, but I can’t talk about them yet. For now we are just focused on promoting the VOD release which is going to be everywhere and we’re excited about. The truth of the matter is, there is a very limited audience that still buys discs, I buy Blu-Rays, you probably do too, fans of movies like Devil In My Ride hopefully still buy them, because we are collectors of our genre. But the masses are wanting to watch films on their television and VOD becomes such a great way for a low budget film to have an outlet and to have multiple platforms that people can click on and watch it. So I’m excited about that because there are so many platforms it will be on and those platforms will continue to grow. Between you, me, and the fans of Devil In My Ride, I can’t wait for it to come out with all the goodies. I got a ton of extended scenes I want to put on there (laughs). We have a lot of outtakes, and funny stuff that myself and the cast and crew are excited to get out there at some point.
LC: What projects do you have up and coming?
GS: My next project is called Vincent & Roxxy, it’s being produced by Unified Pictures. I’m pretty excited about it actually, it’s going to star Anton Yelchin and Megalyn Echikunwoke. It’s not a horror film or a comedy, it’s a drama about this this small town loner named Vincent and this rebellious punk rock chick named Roxxy who’s from the city. It’s about how they fall in love against a very unfortunate landscape that is very violent. I saw unfortunate because at least in America a lot of people relate to how much violence there is around us. Keith Kjarval who I developed it with we just kind of fell in love and were intrigued with this concept and it’s coming to life now. We are starting production at the end of this summer.
Check out our review of Devil In My Ride HERE
And watch it NOW (click image below)
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