Adam Steigert is busy editing the final cut of a zombie movie called “The Final Night and Day”. He is racing against time so the DVDs will be ready for the first screening. Adam has been heavily involved in all his movies, having shot, co-written, co-directed and edited his first two features “Bitez”, and “Gore”. He has also made two shot two shorter movies “Bitez 2: The Fever” and “The Pigman vs. Gore” (edited and co-wrote). Each movie he has made he has made bigger and bigger in scale. We sat down and talked for a few minutes that took him away from the computer.
You have been involved with two zombie movies before “Bitez” and the “Bitez 2: The Fever” what drove you to make another film about zombies?
I have been involved with making zombie movies for last 3 years… I worked on a spoof called “Bitez” My first attempt with Stephanie Andrews to make a film, after that I took the next year filming / redeveloping the concept of “Gore” which was released a year later after “Bitez”. During this time Mark Mendola expressed interest with taking over a sequel of our first title film “Bitez.” I wanted to help film the movie however nor Stephanie or myself wanted to direct it. So Mark wrote a script and a concept and we gave him the rights of making the sequel. I though at the time it was a good “marketing plan” getting the “DefTone” name out there. The film is yet to be released two and half years after the filming but it is completed. I think when the movie comes out there could possibly be a fan base for it. Then when it comes to “The Final Night and Day” I sit back. I feel strongly that when making independent films one needs to look at all angles. I went to school for marketing and business, so creating another zombie film was originally another marketing plug. This time however Stephanie and I wanted to make sure we did it right.
What makes “The Final Night and Day” different from all the other zombie movies that are flooding the market now?
A lot of ground breaking things have happened to make “The Final Night and Day.” So when asked a question of “why come back to zombies a third time, what makes “The Final Night and Day” different? My answer is to make a successful film one has to write what they know. I feel over time zombies have become “what I know” I think there is a human struggle when faced with a zombie plague. “The Final Night and Day” will show that struggle. Yes! There are zombies, over 1,300.00 zombies counting returning folks, and 1,050.00 as one timer’s. “The Final Night and Day” is different because there are different types of struggles that each character is faced with in his/ her own way.
How was the writing process different as you worked with more than one co-writer this time?
Writing for “The Final Night and Day” wasn’t a huge difference from how I normally write. By no means do I take all the credit for the script; Stephanie Andrews and Mark Mendola were very involved in writing the film. Normally it begins with Stephanie and I saying “Hey lets make another movie.” So for about two months we discuss various ideas and concepts. During this time I begin to write an outline of a script, we make notes and she thinks of cool death scenes. So once the outline is done, Stephanie takes the script and puts the “Stephanie touch” to it, which she edits, spell corrects, and writes her ideas into the script. This goes on back and forth for about maybe three months. We write fast because we want to get a film together and out within a timely fashion. “The Final Night and Day” started being written in December 2009 and finished in March. Stephanie and I have been doing some rewriting back and forth while preproduction went on March 2010- May 2010. During March 2010 I believe is when we opened the floor to Mark Mendola’s input. “The Final Night and Day” focuses on criminals against zombies, and knowing Mark’s work background (in law enforcement) we though it was natural to see what types of input he could bring to the concept.
What was the process of casting the film?
Casting this time around was one of the biggest changes. This time around we actually went out and found actors/ actress that really could hit their marks. I feel strongly that there are a lot of strong actors/ actress this time around that nail almost every moment they are on screen. All interviews we did were filmed and played back to see who we liked the most for each role. However sometimes knowing who we could get for the film in advance we began to write roles for those types of actors/ actresses. The biggest example of this would be Richard Satterwhite, and Michael O’Hear. The character of Marshal Jones was modeled in appearance and attitude that Richard is able to bring to roles. Michael O’Hear is a lot similar to how Richard was cast and the character of Bill is modeled off Michael’s strengths and appearance. Originally his character was a lot bigger in the first draft but knowing that Michael has his own film currently being shot “Dusk” we wanted to still be able to get him so we narrowed his role down, then presented him with the script and informed him of the amount of days needed.
Any funny stories from the filming?
Funny stories there are many but the best story I can remember is the story which featured Richard Satterwhite, myself filming and actor Daniel George who play’s Richard Jennings. The location was the “Old farm house” and we were walking through the shots, Daniel came in just to watch and lend any support he could give, the shot was Marshal Jones finds a shotgun in this abandon room. Richard wanted to go over this shot a couple times because there was a certain mood we were trying to create. Well after a couple times it came to getting ready to shoot, Richard said something along the lines of “lets do it one more time” (don’t quote me on exact words) so he went through the motions and fell through the first floor of the building. He didn’t get hurt but the camera wasn’t rolling, and at that moment I though the day was over with. Richard just looked at me and the three of us started laughing our asses off. If I remember correctly Richard asked me “if I got that” since I was holding the camera at the time of his run through.
The centerpiece of the movie is an entry main street in Angola that is covered with zombie extras by night fall, could you explain how you were able to do this somewhat epic scene on a very low budget?
Angola New York, this was something that I personally NEVER thought would happen. It started off with a statement from a local resident of Angola during a showing from our previous film titled “Gore.” The local informed me that the village of Angola would probably allow us to film there, so I began to write and faxed to the village a press release which I thought I would never get a response from. So the scene which I had written was designed with a backup plan. If we were unable to get the village we would shoot from a special location which our “heroes” would run with the village in the background. However to my surprise a trustee contacted me and asked how serious we were about filming in Angola. The trustee became an advocate for us, eventually it landed a meeting with the board of elected officials in the village of Angola; they all loved the idea not one objected, so we went on to getting film insurance. At the end of the day on June 19th 2010 DefTone Pictures Studios spent less than 1,000.00 dollars and were able to pull off a huge/ epic shot which be a ground breaking shot in independent film in Buffalo, New York. I personally don’t like when someone says “you can’t do that” It only fires me up to make sure I get it. Just remember low budget is only in the mind of the viewer, quality is what determines what “low budget” truly is.
You have a comic book presequel for the film, please tell us some more about that?
The prequel in comic form came from Terry Kimmel a producer on the film, Terry is an amazing artist. I look at it as another marketing plan to get the “DefTone” name out there. I will say its something different that a lot of “low budget films” don’t do. It is kind of gutsy to go out and make a comic when the film isn’t a huge blockbuster. So only time will tell on the outcome of that project, however I have seen drawings from it and it looks amazing.
When is the premierie of the movie? And where will DVDs be available?
The Final Night and Day” will premiere in a big way on March 26th 2011; a DVD release will begin during our trial period of finding a distribution company. “The Final Night and Day” will be involved in two comic con type fests in Angola and in Newburg NY. I feel that “The Final Night and Day” has a lot of promise behind it and I can’t wait for the world to see “The Final Night and Day.”
If you want more information on “The Final Night and Day”, check out their website: www.deftonepicturesstudios.com/The_Final_Night_and_Day
Until Next time sweet dreams.