Sunday, March 6, 2011

EDGES OF DARKNESS: We were wrapped before that Mel Gibson joint was even announced.

Edges of Darkness was my 2nd feature as a writer/director. 

A lot of stuff happened in the few years between Rise of the Undead and Edges of Darkness. After ROTU was released I spent another year in New Orleans working on my writing skills(I finished 4 new screenplays that year). In January 2006 I relocated to Los Angeles in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

I spent most of 2006 shooting and editing projects for other low-budget productions, and completed another 4 screenplays. That summer I met Stephen Kayo, a fledgling producer who was looking to develop new projects. We worked for a few months on my script Moving Day, but the proposed budget was a little out of our grasp. Instead we decided to develop a lower budgeted horror project. It was originally intended to be an anthology, 3 separate tales of terror set against the backdrop of a zombie apocalypse. And I had killer title. “Edges of Darkness.” Each story would be written and directed by a different director. I quickly wrote mine. My roommate and best friend Blaine Cade was slated to do the 2nd (we worked on Rise of the Undead together) and Lola Wallace was going to do the 3rd. Lola and I had previously worked together on her feature debut “Legend of the Sandsquatch.” Lola and Blaine finished their scripts. Stephen and I started pre-production.  Principle photography was set to start in January of 2007.

A week or two after Lola finished her script she got the opportunity to direct her 2nd feature and had to drop out of Edges. Stephen and I decided that I should write another segment to fill the void. With less than a month before production was slated to start, I finished the 3rd story and we sought out a new 3rd director. We did find someone, but  our creative difference were irreconcilable. About two weeks before production, tt was decided that I would direct the new segment. It was also around this time that Stephen started expressing concern about the anthological (is that a word?) nature of the project. He wanted to explore the idea of intercutting the stories into a single narrative. Since they all took place in the same apartment complex and shared many thematic elements, I thought it could work. Stephen also started expressing some concern over having 2 different directors. He was heavily leaning towards having me be the sole director. Blaine was a good friend and had written a cool story, I saw no reason at the time to replace him.

Stephen secured us a warehouse location. Inside, we would build our main apartment set. Stephen was headed up the construction, building most of it on his own with the help of a few friends. He also fully funded the feature on his own, with what I assume were personal funds. I was busy making alterations to the script in order to combine the 3 stories. Our plan was to shoot the bulk of the movie over 3 weekends. Shooting one segment per week with half-day pickups for exteriors and any other locations.

The 1st week we shot my first story, OVERBITE. It was the vampire couple and the young girl. Shoot went well. We got through all of our pages and were feeling very good about what he had captured. Stephen again expressed concern about Blaine directing, but backed off when I assured him Blaine would be fine. ****I must admit here, that I very much wanted to take over directing duties. I was starting to feel that this movie had the potential to be a big hit, an indie-darling, and I was hesitant to share the credit. But, I pushed these feelings aside and kept Blaine on.
The 2nd weekend of shooting was Blaine’s story. At the end of the 1st day we were drastically behind schedule and both Stephen and I weren’t exactly thrilled with some of the creative choices being made. The decision was made jointly by Stephen and I, that I would replace Blaine as director for the duration of the shoot and re-film crucial scenes that had already been shot. In retrospect, I see now that my reasons were selfish and ego driven. I wanted to be THE DIRECTOR. 

No matter what, the movie would still be flawed, but I believe now if we had just left Blaine be and let him complete his story his way it would have been better. But as it stands, I took over his production. The only things we left completely alone were the fx shots. 

Then the 3rd week was the anti-Christ story. Things went smoothly and we wrapped principle production of Edges of Darkness in the final week of January 2007.

I had spent all of 2006 working as a freelance editor and dp. I had no day job at the time. I gave up a bunch of work to complete Edges and by the time production wrapped, I was flat broke. I decided instead of going back to editing, I would work a day job. It just seemed too much to edit for others while editing my own feature. And at the time, I was convinced that “Edges of Darkness” was going to be my “Reservoir Dogs.” This movie was going to make me. ***yeah, it didn’t.

Post on it took FOREVER. First off the stories weren’t really written to go together, it took me months to figure out ways to combine these stories. Plus, I had to sling coffee 30+ hours a week to pay rent. I think I finished my 1st cut around May or June 2007. Stephen was showing signs of fatigue. He just didn’t seem to that into it anymore. I think now, he was the only one seeing the movie for what it was. I was still thinking it was going to be BIG.

We spent all that summer and fall working on the score. We went through 3 composers before finally landing Pakk. Stephen shopped the movie, but didn’t get the results he was looking for. Somewhere between finishing the score and me selling the movie to Shoreline, Stephen checked out. It was also somewhere in there that I began to really see the movie for what it was. It was not my big ticket. I submitted unsuccessfully to a few major film fests. One of which had sought me out. Then I started looking for distributors.

Shoreline Entertainment had come looking for me. I had done some pre-press for the movie. I guess they thought the movie looked like it could sell. Their acquisitions guy contacted me and we set up a meeting. I talked to a few other filmmakers that had sold their films to Shoreline and while they may not have gotten the best deals financially the company had a reputation of supporting filmmakers. “Edges of Darkness” was signed over to them in Early 2008.

I delivered the movie in March and April of 2008 and they started selling foreign territories right away. In late 2008 early 2009, Anchor Bay picked up the movie and released it June 6, 2009 (nearly 2 years after production).
I had already started prep on my next flick “Trap.”

 “Edges of Darkness” may not have turned out exactly how I had wanted, but it did pave the way for my subsequent movies. It also (not necessarily for me) made a lot of money. Given its budget, it was very successful.


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