For our review of Every Time I Die, Click here.
First off I’d just like to say thank you for taking the time to speak to us here at Nevermore Horror. When I got the assignment to review Every Time I Die I had no idea what a wonderful rollercoaster I was getting myself into. I had several questions I wished I could ask once I finished the film that this assignment seemed like the perfect chance to get them answered. However, as much as I wish it was, this is not the forum to discuss and confirm or debunk my thoughts and theories on this remarkable film. Fortunately, there are many other things I have wondered about while watching the film and doing research for my review. So without further ado, let’s get right into those.
As I mentioned in my review, the comments online regarding Every Time I Die show that it is a rather polarizing film. Either people (like myself) love it, or they hate it. As a filmmaker, what do you feel is more important: pleasing the audience or making the film you envisioned?
As an indie filmmaker, I want to tell unique stories in a unique way. I think it is my duty to stick to my vision as much as I can. If I’m going to spend so much time and energy making a feature, I feel there’s no point of doing the same thing we all saw many times before. I much rather try something different and take risks. When it works, it can really get through to people and inspire them in different ways. But of course, it also means not everyone will get it. And some will make sure you know they didn’t get it. That’s fine. If you’re pleasing everyone, you’re probably doing something wrong.
On the topic of online comments, how important do you think the comments and feedback from viewers on websites like IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes is? Do you feel that the words of the critics or the public are more important and do these comments affect your filmmaking in any way?
It’s always nice to get good feedback and to see people appreciate your work. And positive review can defiantly help the film reach more people. Some specific comments are actually helpful when you see them repeating many times. It’s a good way to assess how successful you were in communicating your ideas. But you learn very quickly not to take every random comment to heart. Everyone looks at your work through their own filters and will form their own opinion. All you can do is stay true to yourself and your artistry.
Everyone who creates anything, be it writing, art, music, or film, gets inspiration from other works and creators. Are there any directors or films out there that you feel were an inspiration to you or that you drew some inspiration from, not just for Every Time I Die but as a filmmaker in general?
I can say that an early big influence in story telling is the legendary graphic novel writer, Alan Moore. Books like “Watchmen” and “V for Vendetta” really blew my young mind and opened it up to the possibilities of what you can do as a storyteller: the way you tell and unfold a story is just as important as what you actually say. I’m also a big fan of Chris Nolan’s “Memento” – It’s a master class in how to use the structure of a film to tell it’s story. ‘Enemy” and “Upstream color” are some other influences. I love how they both have complicated stories but the directors don’t tell them. They show them. They trust the audience to figure it out themselves.
You are a man of many hats. You’re a writer, director, producer, and editor. As the writer of Every Time I Die, where did the original concept for the film come from?
For some reason, I find myself interested in exploring consciousness and the human mind. Basically, everything that makes us who we are. My mind always goes to those places. So, when I sat down to write my next project, I came up with the idea of exploring one’s true self through the bodies of other people. After all, if you’re trying to understand who you are, what will be more challenging than to do it when you are not you?
On the topic of wearing many hats, what would you as a filmmaker say is your least favourite aspect of the entire film making process?
The least favorite aspects are everything that happens before the pre-production, and everything that happens after you finish the film. Those are the most frustrating and nerve-racking times, Because first, you don’t know if you’ll be able to make the film. Then, you don’t know how you’ll be able to put it out there. Unfortunately, for most indie filmmakers, that’s where you spend most of your time. But when it happens, and you’re actually there shooting and making your film, there’s nothing like it.
Every Time I Die is an ambitious and well-constructed film. However, it is also very involved and intricate in many ways. What were some of the biggest challenges you faced in making it a reality? Were there any particularly challenging scenes to film or other obstacles?
We originally wrote the idea of this movie with a budget constrain in mind. It was important for us to be able to actually shoot the movie, and not just have a screenplay in hand. So we were trying hard to not include any scenes or set pieces that will be too complicated to shoot or will cost too much money to accomplish. But the mind wanders. And we ended up writing some stuff that was beautiful and integral to the story, but production wise, it was definitely challenging to include in a low budget movie. The biggest example is the scene that takes place underwater. We needed to submerge a truck and make it look like our actors are drowning. On a small budget, that’s a huge undertaking, and I was not sure we can pull it off. We ended up shooting it a few months after the principle photography warped. We found a filming tank in California and got a team of stunt divers to help us out. There was a lot of begging and pleading to make everything fit our low budget. It worked out at the end!
Most, if not all, films have a few scenes or moments that get left behind on the cutting room floor for a variety of reasons. Are there any such scenes for Every Time I Die? If so, are there any of those scenes you really wish could have been included in the film?
There are a few scenes we had to cut out because of timing. In one that I especially liked, we see the main character watching himself sleeping. It’s a dreamy, out of body experience that worked very well on it’s own. But in the context of the entire film, we found it’s too confusing, even for a confusing movie like this. The scene was kind of a metaphor and didn’t really match with all the rest of our flashbacks, dream sequences, and out of body POVs. But, you can see it, and other deleted scenes, on the DVD release!
You’ve worked on everything from comedies to documentaries and, of course, metaphysical thrillers in various capacities. What’s next? Are there any upcoming projects that you are involved in that people should keep their eyes peeled for?
I’m currently writing my next film. It’s another one with a very complicated plot, so will probably take some time to complete. But with the Covid crisis making everything uncertain right now, I feel it’s a good time to take your time and just sit down and write.
Once again, thank you for speaking to us. I know that I myself have certainly added a new name to my “must keep an eye out for” filmmakers. Good luck in your future endeavours.
Every Time I Die has been released on all major streaming and download platforms as of October 26.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.