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Making the $6000 Feature Film with David Simpson
We have on the show this week, film director, bestselling futurist author, speaker, and actor, David Simpson. You’ve probably stumbled upon his 1.7 million views TEDx presentation ‘Our Post-Human Future’, on Youtube. If not, no worries. This is your chance to get to know the talented storyteller that is David.
He’s written a number of brilliant sci-fi futurist books since his twenties, including the popular ‘Post-Human’ six-part book series, Dawn of the Singularity (The Singularity Saga), The A.I. Chronicles, among others.
As a child, David aspired to be a novelist. So his journey led him to study creative writing at the University of British Columbia where he was exposed to screenplay writing and structure. His structural versatility can be seen so brilliantly in his work visual and technical aesthetics.
On the come up, his first short film project was a really small crew of his wife and a camera assistant, including himself. That humble start is common in our line of business—undoubtedly some of the fondest memories for indie filmmakers.
David recently shifted to film with his debut feature film, Dangerous to Know (2020). It is a psychological thriller adaptation of his forthcoming novel of the same title. The film is told across the intersecting and intertwining lives of three characters, exploring mental illness and how it affects not just the sufferer, but all those that the person’s life touches as well. A troubled young woman recovers from a suicide attempt in a secluded cabin, but when a series of unexplained and terrifying incidents occur, she realizes someone-or something-has a far darker future planned for her.
Meanwhile, his first film adaptation, Post Human was released in 2015. Post-Human draws back the curtain on the Post-Human world where everyone is immortal, has onboard mental “mind’s eye” computers, nanotechnology can make your every dream a reality, and thanks to the magnetic targeted fusion implants every post-human has, everyone can fly.
But there’s a dark side to this brave new world. Surveillance. Every post-human is monitored from the inside out, and the one artificial superintelligence running the show might be on the verge of making its first big mistake.
It was an absolute honor chatting it up with David and going on a tandem about 90s film gadgets.
Enjoy my entertaining conversation with David Simpson.
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- David Simpson – Website
- David Simpson – IMDB
- David Simpson – LinkedIn
- Superhuman (Post-Human Series Book 6) – Book
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- The Complete Indie Film Producing Workshop with Suzanne Lyons (COUPON CODE: IFHFILMPRODUCE)
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Alex Ferrari 0:50
I'd like to welcome to the show david Simpson, man How you doing David?
David Simpson 0:54
I'm doing great. How are you doing?
Alex Ferrari 0:55
I'm as good as I can be in this crazy mixed up the world that we live in. As I say in almost every episode I say now because the world is more and more insane as as we go for but I'm I'm holding you here Yoda is behind me. We're all doing we're all doing good, man.
David Simpson 1:10
Yeah, I need I need a YODA behind me. Yes, I saw that. I thought I need that.
Alex Ferrari 1:16
I didn't know that. I didn't. I didn't know that I needed a Yoda in my life. But yes, you I think everybody needs a life sized Yoda who sits in their office. And I've always said I've said this before. This was a pre pre wedding purchase pre girlfriend purchase. This is a purchase that was done. In my single days back in the late 90s. I think I bought that 2000 I think 99 2000s when I bought that. And this is a different conversation now to have with wife and kids to purchase a lifestyle notice like, you know, it's like the same conversation I'm having with a lifesize Hulk is like he can't first I don't know where to put it. Because it's eight feet. I know which one it is. I know where it is. And it's like six grand, and I can't have that conversation just yet. Maybe once the girls go to school, I don't know what when they leave home. I was like, you know, I think it's time
David Simpson 2:06
to go back and you can do it again. That's cool. That unit. Wow. back then.
Alex Ferrari 2:11
Yeah, I bought eBay, eBay. 400 bucks back then.
David Simpson 2:15
Wow. That's amazing. Yeah, I'm astounded. I really think they had things that cool. Like, I just thought that was something like a recent phenomenon. Well, we have these amazing.
Alex Ferrari 2:25
Well, I will tell you, I'll tell you what it is. It is if you remember the Phantom Menace. And about people don't like to remember it. But we do remember The Phantom Menace because it had some good stuff in it. That was for all the children in it listening. All the Young Guns listening. That was a giveaway at every blockbuster in the country. So there's about 25 100 of them in the US that who knows how many exists anymore. But that's what that was the raffle. So you would have a raffle and one person at every blockbuster would win it. So I bought one off of off of eBay. Buy that's how that happened.
David Simpson 3:03
I love the intersection of the Phantom Menace is there's so much nostalgia there.
Alex Ferrari 3:08
Oh no. But yeah, blockbuster Phantom Menace, Yoda. Like, it's all it's all mixed in. But we're not here to talk about the Yoda. This is behind me. We're here to talk about your film and the incredible things you've been doing lately. But before we jump into your, into your project, man, how did you get into the business?
David Simpson 3:27
into filmmaking? You know, it was I've always loved movies, but I wanted to be a novelist since I was just a little kid. And, and the dream for me was that the that my books would eventually be turned into turned into movies and and the the science fiction series that I do the post human series, that that's the one that's been the most popular and, and when I when I write it, I think I think about it like a like a film. I did creative writing at the University of British Columbia. And, you know, you take different different things. But screenplay writing was where I learned screenplay structure. And I actually had the same I had the same instructor in in screenplay writing, as I did in long fiction. And it was really funny to see that. They that they taught it in a completely different way. And they in the way that they taught it was was for those industries, because again, this was pre pre ebooks and Kindle and everything was around to 2001 2002. And in when you were doing long fiction, they didn't want genre. I mean, they were really trying as hard as they could not to have any structure. And in and then you go into screenplay, and it was genre and you got to get their attention. Gotta be reversals right away. And in what I felt from that was, well, you know, I think these are just great storytelling techniques, I think that's beyond just just something that you need for the business and film. I mean, there's, there's a psychology to this and, and so when I, when I started to write that series, I really wrote the books, but I wrote them with screenplay structure in mind, I wrote them to be easy to adapt. And, and at certain point, I decided to work with a production company at a local production company here to do just a, like a proof of concept. And because the science fiction series I do, it's not set in another galaxy or something, it's it's Earth, it's, it's supposed to really be us, but our future and so, so. So researching technology, and high tech was really important. And because of what I, what I knew, I could see from, you know, seeing the budget and seeing the way that that production company was putting everything together that there's a lot of inefficiencies here. And, and then I, eventually I could, I just decided I can, I could do this, I could do this better and way cheaper. And so I ended up doing the that short film myself, and I had a really small crew was my, my wife, and one camera assistant. And that was it. But it did well, and it got it got some attention. And it eventually got management 360 contacted me and asked for scripts for the, for the first two movies in in a series. And at that time that that manager described to me what what it would be like when she wants you to sell your, once you sell your baby and how little control you'd end up with after that. And, and I just didn't, I didn't really like that. And I thought, you know what I did with this, with this short movie, I felt like I could do that. Minus, obviously the you know, the sets and the costumes and the visual effects, that's where the real money would have to go. But I could do, I could do a thriller, I could do something that was contemporary and, and I could just scale it, scale it up. And, and so the idea was to just do a do a feature for the sake of showing that I knew what I was talking about with film. And, and that maybe that would help maybe my voice wouldn't get so small when that time came. And that was it. That was really, that's all I was trying to achieve with it. And then of course, it just became, it became so much more than that, though.
Alex Ferrari 7:46
You know, it's so with post human, the post human short one, I was doing research on my on the Blackmagic Pocket camera 1080 p not the four 6k. But the 1080 p the old school, super 16 millimeter sensor, I found your short because I was doing research to see what it really looked like in a cinematic experience. And I don't know if they did, they hadn't done any features yet. Or at least none that I could see. We recently had on the show the cosmos got the guys with the cosmos, that sci fi show and they shot the entire thing on a pocket camera 1080 P. But I hadn't seen that or I don't think they had released anything yet when I was when I was doing on the corner of ego and desire. And when I saw your short, I was just like I was kind of blown away. I was like, wow, this guy really did a great job. It looks fantastic. And you know, I'm a real stickler for production design, and production is production, quality. And that kind of like just aesthetic of taste. And you have it you have taste. That's it. That's something you can't teach can't teach taste. It is something that no one if you don't have taste as a filmmaker, that's what they hire you for. They hire you for your taste, honestly, because you can hire a crew to do the deck. They're hiring you for your tastes. And you had it in the post the post human short, but I love that the way you did it and the production quality and all that stuff that you got out of it. So there was a connection between us that you didn't even know about before, before I shot my film. And I was like, you know what if he did that, and then I did my own test with the camera. And I was like, Oh no, this little camera is amazing. It's just It's gorgeous. And it's beautiful and the image is so great. And it for me specifically was great because I was going for that old like 1990s Super 16 like clerks of mariachi you know, Reservoir Dogs almost like that kind of like grainy. style reservoir wasn't that was 35 but all those kind of like slacker, those kind of films, and I wanted that aesthetic. And I got it beautifully with that camera. So
David Simpson 9:50
that camera I love that camera.
Alex Ferrari 9:52
I'll never get rid of it. I'll never get rid of it. I'll never get Yeah,
David Simpson 9:55
it's it's still it's still really gorgeous still really holds up in this things that you can do. I mean, like the, you can do some so many things when you're filming in progress or filming a raw like, you know, you you you can you can make it look like any kind of film that that you want any kind of film stock like digitally. I've written an article or two about that. And I don't know how many people that are thinking about getting into filmmaking but don't know too much about the technical side or the tech know that that's, that's true. But I mean, you can have your cake and eat it too. Now. I mean, if you're thinking you got to film on film, no, using
Alex Ferrari 10:32
Yeah, that's crazy. That's crazy talk, sir. That's a crazy talk. Oh, shoot. Other than Nolan. Other than Nolan who shoots now I'm joking. Of course, a lot of people feel but that camera specifically, you could buy a package a full package on eBay for 1012 $100. And that's what like a rig. And I stick up a juice box on the top and it runs eight hours. A white eight hours. All Yeah, on not like on off on just let it run for eight hours on a juice box. And it's 100 bucks the juice box. So I bought like three or four of those. And I was like, off off we go. hours, eight hours, man it just does not because it's so small and doesn't take a lot and it's just so great. So and and so you know, I don't know if you had your, your short transferred to DCP for theatrical but I did. I did a 2k blow up and I should and I showed it at the Chinese theatre. And never I had never seen it before in a screen. I'm like, Oh my god, this is gonna look like crap. Oh my god, it looked stunning. Awesome. Danny, it basically looked exactly like it did on my on my my color grading monitor here. I was just like I was blown away. So people who like oh, it's tending to pee, then you got to go up. If you want to go through like Bs, you could so shoot on that little camera has great aesthetics. And for the certain kinds of stories that you're trying to tell. It's fantastic.
David Simpson 11:56
Yeah, most of those things. I mean, the projectors, there's a lot of them that aren't even 2k. Anyway, I mean, HD would be fine, but you can upscale. And that's great to hear I the closest I come to that is when I did my TEDx. I actually had done the short by then. And and because I was doing a TEDx about artificial intelligence in the future. I was able to show little clips, and it was on a big screen behind like that. And it was it. Yeah, it looked, it looked fantastic.
Alex Ferrari 12:23
It holds it holds. It holds the technology's there. So your new film is called dangerous to know. And it looks awesome, dude. And I want to dig into how you made it because you made it for about six or $7,000 production budget. right about that, right? Yeah, yeah, that would be right. Yeah. So I mean, I saw the trailer and the trailer will be in the show notes. As well as I think I'll be able to share the the post-human short, so you guys can see it in the show notes as well. But when I saw it, first of all, whoever edited your trailer, if that was it, was that you? It was me, it was fantastic. I'm a terrible read. I've edited trailers a long time. I love the choice of the music. It was, it was great, I'm assuming you don't have the rights to it. So which is fine, you could do that on YouTube. You just you just can't you just can't can't monetize it, you can't monetize it, but you can throw it up there, see what happens. And if they don't care, you got a very high end trailer with high end music to promote your movie. So that's something that and that's something really quickly, that's something that a lot of filmmakers don't understand is, if you use music that's not without permission on YouTube, YouTube will find will let you know, in a matter of milliseconds a second you upload it. But a lot of times they don't care. And the owners of the copyright will just go We'll just gonna monetize and take all the money. But as a filmmaker, you don't care because you're just trying to promote your movie. So that's something that you could look into. I've done that in the past you just did that was great, great song. But I love the the the thing about the trailer alone in the film, it looks so big. It looks such like a very high production value kind of project. It does not look like a six or $7,000 project, which is one of the reasons why I wanted to have you on the show. So tell me a little bit about how that that project came to be and, and the choice of equipment and things like that.
David Simpson 14:17
Yeah, there's so much Yeah, the The reason I did a I did a psychological thriller is because that's a that's just a genre that I that I love. Some of my favorite movies are our psychological thrillers and and I it's one of those the circumstances where you're thinking, Okay, so what what can what could I do what's what, what practically. And there's a lot more I mean, once you once you're willing to let go, the idea that you're going to do a big budget, science fiction or a superhero movie or something. There's a lot you can do and it's not a period piece. And in so whatever was thinking was, you know, I wanted to keep the cast relatively small. I mean, it's not as small as some as some movies of the scale. But it's pretty small, I just really only eight credited actors and, and most of it focuses on on on three characters but but a big chunk of the movie on just just one Bridget Bridget Graham's character is alone for, I don't know, 40 minutes or something in the in the movie. And, and I love the idea of doing that filming something so intimately like that, because I knew I could make it, I knew I could make it look, you know, really, really terrific. And if I just had the story, story came to me really, really quickly. And I started start writing the script, because all of this happened very fast. It was I did the post human short, and in the summer of 2015. And then it was, I think it was like October of 2015 that we did our launch of that and put it online. And then I think the filmmaker magazine article that came out in I think was like February, immediately, let's management 360 contacted me and, and so I actually adapted the first two books. So that series and then immediately afterwards, or just rolled right into a third script. And that was dangerous to know. And we are shooting by me. So so it came together really fast. We did the location scouting. We got lucky in that we only visited one other scenic cabin, which was also incredibly gorgeous. But we didn't have to travel around too much as the second one was we locked that down. And the the owners of that location were so great. They were these kind of not quite retired, but semi retired, hippie artists that were like, yeah, this is great. And they
Alex Ferrari 16:56
yeah man Yeah, man.
David Simpson 16:58
Yeah, exactly. The best. And they just would let us they weren't uptight at all. And they in fact, we could we probably could have done more and, you know, broken some things that we wanted, but we didn't. But the location is, is just spectacular. And so they didn't charge us anything extra, you know, you had to get insurance but you know, locations. I know this from during the postman short, but that location was really really expensive. Because I listen, Arthur Erickson design house and yeah, it was gorgeous, look gorgeous. This guy, man, the guy, this this fellow that, that I cannot believe I persuaded him to do to let us use the house that day. But I mean, it's right on right on the ocean. You know, it's that's, that's not CG. I mean that there is there is there is visual effects. You know, there's sort of a future city that you see out in the distance, but, but that place that location is is totally real. But it looked very futuristic and I needed something like that. And so it was a very, very, very expensive, but the, the location, the cabin that we use in dangerous to know was just, you know, it's just Airbnb, Airbnb and you just had to, you know, they didn't charge us extra. It was just that price. And so would
Alex Ferrari 18:14
you let them you let them know that you were shooting?
David Simpson 18:17
Oh, absolutely. Yeah. Cuz they were Yeah, they were all they loved it. They were excited about it. And what an amazing location I you know, that when you when you actually get the chance to see the movie, there's things that are it's not just the house. I mean, there's this incredible hayloft it's not they actually have sold it since then. So this doesn't exist anymore. But they had an old you know, broken down airplane in the, in the shed and it was, I mean, he was just the chances of these things, the way it all looked. I mean, you didn't need to have a set designer and I don't think a set designer could have come up with something
Alex Ferrari 18:51
that would have cost you it would have cost you 10s of 1000s of
David Simpson 18:54
dollars. Yeah, and it just looked so real. I think it looked even more real than the sets that you think are real but when you see this it just had those quirks as personality of the of the people that owned it is big Coca Cola signs old Coca Cola sign up on the wall, it's in so many of our shots. But it was it was perfect for us and it would happen to be very close to this waterfall and you know, we filmed a scene on the on the edge of this waterfall is so spectacular. And you know we did that we just did that gorilla and in it's uh yeah, it was just it was almost like fate got pretty lucky.
Alex Ferrari 19:34
So what kind of what kind of equipment did you use?
David Simpson 19:38
I I had a Blackmagic production 4k and then I brought my pocket with me in case I needed it. And I did shoot some some stuff but there's nothing in the movie with the pocket. And then the camera that I thought was going to be my B camera ended up being my a camera that was Sony. A seven, s two And the reason why I got that camera was actually just because I knew a lot of the script is going to be low light. And I was going to use the pocket for that. Because the pocket with a with a meta bones speed booster on it is it's actually pretty good in low light, but but the ace of ns two was just ridiculous and the lighting in it just made, it made things possible that that just had not been possible before. And so we could, we really could use the available lighting in in a dark interior and get incredible results. So so so we use that, and we did our research and got a Sennheiser mic and a boom and, and in, and just everything, everything that we needed. When I did the short, it was really only just the summer before and we used it glide cam, but finally, an affordable electric stabilizer finally came online. And it was just the the original King TV, which was, you know, it had a lot of limitations. You know, it wasn't great, but at that time it was, it was, you know, amazing for us because it allowed me to film in ways that I'm so glad I had it because I really do not think you know, just having a glide cam with the weights on it. I just don't think it could have got the results. And it was something that when we had the world premiere and the critic site, they were they were talking about the fluid camera shots and and and that was all, all of that was just due to the luck. Because I I didn't even know that existed until just before we started shooting and and then eventually I got ASEAN and yeah, that's Yeah,
Alex Ferrari 21:54
that's the end. Isn't that we were talking earlier there there wasn't there a connection with David Fincher and and his his way of doing things and how you decided to move that move the camera a little bit?
David Simpson 22:07
Yes. You. You said that there was a connection between us with the pocket and, and I also had a connection with you. And, and that's it. Yeah, that's why I was telling you about it right before we got going. Because I had to thank you. So when I was filming, like I Fincher is probably my biggest technical influence, I just love his look. And, and so while I was filming it, there was something that I hadn't picked up on that, that you had, and and that's why when you contacted me about doing doing the interview, I thought like, this is so familiar, this name and I and then I remembered this influence that you had on me because you've done a video about Fincher and and you picked up on something that I hadn't consciously picked up on, which is that he does this very subtle in post these these moves, where he sort of moves the camera with the actor. And, and in that was, it was such a subtle, but such an important observation. So important, because by that point, I think I'd filmed almost all the scenes and in what I was saying to the the actors when I'm using the game TV is, I was saying, you know, I'm helping you guys the way I film it is I want to help your performance, I'm always thinking what how is what I'm doing with the camera, helping to amplify the emotion in the moment that that you're experiencing, rather than just having it on a tripod, you know, off to the side and, and so I think that instinctually I knew that that was the right thing to do. But I hadn't consciously picked up on what you picked up on and as soon as that happened, I went back in all of the whole the scenes that I'd already edited. I started to do that I started to make sure in post just move the camera a little bit in it really makes a difference in and I really think I mean it's it's really amazing. Like, it was so great to get all those those critical reviews and they just keep bringing up the cinematography. They keep bringing up how you answer.
Alex Ferrari 24:14
You're the one that you're that you were the DLP.
David Simpson 24:17
Yes, yeah. And usually the camera man, my wife is other camera man because she would film if I was on camera cuz I'm also in the movie. But yeah, she she knew exactly what we were doing and she would film it with the same style and and you know, she's a big fan of Fincher, she also watched your video too. But yeah, it really did make a big difference. It really does because I I actually think that it like it. It's a subtle thing like I hadn't noticed it, but it really changes your enjoyment for a movie when when you don't have the jitters all the time. jitters are fine for Different styles, but when you when you have something that's just so smooth, you can just get lost in the movie in in what's happening with the characters. And that was something that you really picked up on the way it helps you identify with the characters and effortlessly. I cannot. I can't thank you enough.
Alex Ferrari 25:17
Appreciate that. No, I mean, look Fincher like a huge social network. I mean, yeah, I mean, I mean, seriously, that in turn to call it one of the greatest films of the 2000 10s. I think he said, the greatest film of the 2000 times of the decade. He said, it's a masterpiece, and you look at Fincher and you look at the social network, you're just like, really the way a movie about how Facebook was created. Like, like, that doesn't seem like it's gonna be really entertaining at all. And arguably, you just riveted riveted in it is is. I mean, it's just, it's, you know, what, we can just geek out on Fincher all day. And that's it. Yeah, I mean, you talk you give me started on Fincher Kubrick, and I'll go, I'll go for hours, hours on both of them.
David Simpson 26:05
Bridget Graham was, is that something? Well, we're about halfway through filming. And she turned to her co star, Andrew, Andrew Wilson. And, and I, once again, I was explaining, you know, this, how Fincher would do it. And she says, and one, one thing I've picked up from working on this movie is that David doesn't like David Fincher.
Alex Ferrari 26:27
Exactly. Now, one of the things that a lot of these low budget films, problems that a lot of these low budget films have is audio, and having recording audio on site and on production audio, specifically. And for my film, for my little film up, people are always question they always ask me, how did you get the audio, you were in the middle of Sundance in front of 1000 people? And everyone sounds crystal clear. And I use labs, just really good production, wireless labs. That's it, and just had them walk all over the place? How did you do yours?
David Simpson 27:02
Yeah, I've got I've got a lab on right now. I, you know, it's a it is it, we worked really, really hard on the audio, because the audio is so important. It's, um, and I'm really glad you asked actually, because I and I, we're amongst friends, because we're filmmakers. This isn't, this isn't the sort of thing I'd usually go into with people but just just like your, your tip that you picked up on with the, with slightly moving the camera just a little bit. And because I, I, I have a major major interest in in a reason or motivation to be so interested in artificial intelligence and, and, and sort of reverse engineering the human brain and, and I really think that what you picked up on there, and when I say that, it's effortless is important to the experience, but people don't necessarily know consciously why that really helps. So with the sound, I mean, if if a sound is like just noticeably bad, oh, consciously noticeably bad, that's, that's just, you, no one's gonna like the movie. But if the sound isn't polished, like if it isn't really, really cared for, they might not actually point out the sound, but you notice that their enthusiasm isn't quite the same. And I've sort of run the test where if I don't do this method that my wife thought I was kind of crazy to do. If I don't do it, and I let someone watch a scene and then if I do do it and I let another person watch to see that the difference in the reaction and the enthusiasm was noticeable and it was just a matter of going in and in dialogue editing meticulously and I did that in DaVinci Resolve in their fairlight audio software. And I learned to do it I did their their course to become an accredited and and so when I was when I was doing it, that that that sound design what I would do with the dialogue is I would just really go in and I would make sure that you know microphones when when you when you're speaking people may not realize it but you know they there they may not pick up the end of a cent or even a word a word. Yeah. Yeah. And and so it might get muffled a bit. Now your brain will do the work your brain will sort of filter it in but it after a while after a couple hours that can actually start to be it can cause fatigue. But if you go in and you just manually bring out the end of that end of that word that was a little bit muffled. Not you know, the actor may not have even necessarily done it. It could just be the microphone. But But if you go and you make those words crystal clear, it is amazing what it what it does. It really makes a big Difference takes a lot of time. And I wish there was just a button you could click. And I guess one day there will be, but they're very low. Look,
Alex Ferrari 30:08
I did my mix. I was with my sound designer and, and my son mixer and the stuff that he would do, he would literally bring up buttons. And he's like, here, watch this. And like I still remember it was what we were walking by a construction site, a construction site, walking on Main Street, and all my cat and my characters are talking. I'm like, Dude, what can we do with this? How can we fix this? He's like, hold on a second, he brings up this app, in his thing pops it up. And there's just like this big, not wave, but like, graphical representation. He's like, I see that Clank is here and pulls it out of the waveform, while leaving the rest of the dialogue in there. And I'm like, what's going on?
David Simpson 30:52
Alex Ferrari 30:53
insane. And it just any muffled all the construction sound sound down to a point where you could barely hear it like it was background? And then the dialogue was fine. I'm like,
David Simpson 31:04
Alex Ferrari 31:04
he's like, yeah, this just came out a year ago. I'm like, Jesus Christ.
David Simpson 31:09
Yeah, it is. It's so cool. It's amazing. It's amazing what you can do. There's a there's a story that I only Jeannie and I know this, but here, I'll tell everybody.
Alex Ferrari 31:20
It's just, it's just you and me. Don't worry no one else. It's just, it's just assumed we did it.
David Simpson 31:25
We spent a whole week and I don't want to make I won't call up the actor because it's not that actors fault. But were in every take there was this very subtle. In on the day, I didn't notice it at all, or else I would have made sure there was other other takes. But even even ADR afterwards, did it again. And I guess it's just a strange Quirk. But the word seriously is like the saliva kind of gets caught in the back and it became seriously like that. It could just pop so loudly. And it was like a dramatic moment. And you can't leave it and it's but it's because it's in the word. You know, if it was after the word, but but it wasn't it was right in his his, as the actor was saying it. So we, we spent a week a week to remove that thing. Eventually we did and you can't hear it. And it's just totally smooth now, but but we had to, and it just amazing like doing that instead of anything else. We're just gonna get rid of it.
Alex Ferrari 32:27
When when there's money, when there's money, you throw money hose at that. And you have a team of sound design, sound designers and sound mixers and dialogue editors that that's a specific guy. There's a dialogue editor who goes in Yeah, does what you just did. he'll spend eight hours while the rest of the team is moving on with the movie and they'll just bring it back in. But when it's just you?
David Simpson 32:48
Alex Ferrari 32:50
If you got no money, it's gonna cost you time. If you got money than time is relevant, is relative.
David Simpson 32:56
Yes. Yeah, that's 100% true. Danny and I still like you know, we laugh when we're watching the the sound department in a in a regular, you know, budgeted or big budget movie. And we just see this all the name just in the sound. And we're thinking, Wow, that's a job. That's a separate, that's just one of the one of the things we had to do.
Alex Ferrari 33:17
It's funny, because I'll talk to I'll talk to some, some bigger directors on the show, sometimes in off air, I'll tell them about, you know, a film that, like my thought, and they just, you could see their eyes glaze over. They don't understand how it's physically possible. To talk. I was talking I forgot I was talking to a director who was on the set of avatar with James Cameron, he was shadowing James Cameron on avatar, which is a great place to be I could imagine and, and somebody walked up to him and was talking to James about a low budget film. And, and he and his low budget was half a million. Like it was a half a million dollar movie. And James Cameron looked at him. Like he had horns coming out of his head. He made a whole movie for half a million dollars. Like I don't I don't want that. I don't under I don't understand. I I spent that on my coffee this morning. I don't understand what you're talking about. It's so it's and I've run into this throughout my career. When I do low budget stuff, people just like, I just don't understand how you. It just it's just it's it's hilarious. Actually, it's hilarious.
David Simpson 34:23
Yeah, we've had an opportunity now to talk to some some big directors and and it's, it's like on the one side, it's awesome that they're so far like they've been they've been lovely. I mean, they treat you like you're you're one of them, and they and there's really no difference. But then on the other hand, you realize, oh, okay, I technically know, I technically know a lot, a lot more
Alex Ferrari 34:45
at that level, at that level. Yeah, but but when I
David Simpson 34:50
did what I did there, they've got people to do that. So they don't have to learn the little Fincher, I think does but Fincher does a few features. Now
Alex Ferrari 35:00
Fincher does everything. But the difference is that they might not know how to make a half a million dollar movie or a 5000 or $7,000 movie, but they know how to make $100 million movie and that is a skill set that that is a learning curve. Like if you if right now Kevin Fey he calls you up and like I loved, I loved your movie, I want you to do the next Avengers. And it's we're going to do a little lower budget this time 150 million, David. It was a little lower because we thought that we needed someone who knew budget, so we're going to bring you in. I promise you, after you've crapped yourself a few times the learning curve for something like that is going to be massive. So it goes both ways. And it is a skill set to the politics, how to handle those kind of departments how to do this just does a completely different mindset. I think the only director that I know of, who kind of jumps back and forth like that is Robert Rodriguez, because Robert can do you know, a $7,000 movie and he just did it. He just recently did it just to test themselves if he could do it, but he also knows how to work in the bigger you know, battle battle alita and I lead it was it Lita? Yeah, Lita Battle Angel until Tila, Tila, whatever alita Battle Angel that that movie she just did with James Cameron, which was a big budget sci fi movie. But it's a skill set. That you both ways.
David Simpson 36:25
Yeah, I feel sometimes that the the main thing that has in common, but yeah, that that entire skill set is is a completely different thing, it would almost seem like a totally different job. So the the one thing that holds both of them in common is just what what is on what what are you actually capturing, I mean, ultimately, you're responsible either way. Because, you know, you may have a, you might have a cinematographer, you've got a sound designer, but they you know, people, if a movie is not good, people don't go, the movie would have been good, but who's your sound designer, he really screwed you doesn't say that sucks. It was your fault. That person with whom the name is on the you know, like that, that's who they're gonna blame. So you're, you're, you've got to stay on top of it for sure. So even if you just don't know, the little technical things, it doesn't matter, you'll get the blame. So I,
Alex Ferrari 37:15
I always tell I always tell filmmakers to learn as much about every part of the of the process as humanly possible, because you might not do everything, but you need to educate yourself on everything. Like, the reason why you as a filmmaker, and I'm a as a filmmaker, I'm able to do these low budget films is because we lean on our own toolbox that we've built up over the course of our careers. And the reason why we can you know, get high quality, good production value kind of projects out there is because we, we know how to do that. But we're doing the heavy lifting, as as a filmmaker who doesn't understand those techniques, then you have to hire people or bring people in at these low budgets. Man, it's tough man, can you imagine bringing in a dp who can work under those kind of constraints? Who are going to work? Well, who can get your high quality, they're rare. They're those are unicorns and getting a sound guy in there that really can jump in there and getting a VFX team in there. You know, it's, it's, it's a tough thing. So the more that you can put on your own shoulders at the low budgets, the better it'll be, I think, even when you're even when you're doing $100 million movie, you best know, everything that's going on. That's such a good point. And and let's just be, you know, let's
David Simpson 38:31
be I think we're both me, we wouldn't be making movies the way we do if we weren't both majorly optimists. And so it is keeping optimist here. After we pulled off some something, we pulled off something amazing. And some of the listeners might be dreaming of being able to pull off something that that we've pulled off, but you and you and I would like the opportunity to make 100 It's a small 100 $50 million.
Alex Ferrari 38:55
It's just a small 100 50 million. I mean, I mean, I don't get up for less than 175. But I'll do 150 that's just me.
David Simpson 39:04
Yeah, it'll be a challenge. But
Alex Ferrari 39:06
it'll be a tie. No, no coffee.
David Simpson 39:10
I guess maybe. But it is it I think the thing that that is so similar between those two, like you're, as you're saying is that, you know, if you ultimately all of those jobs, that those key jobs are so important, and those are the things that really are going to be noticed by the audience, even if they've not necessarily consciously noticing it so so you are responsible. And so if you don't understand it, on some level, you could be taken advantage of when you get to the big the big time by someone who maybe just doesn't have the passion necessarily for your project and that that you have so you do have to stay on top of it doesn't mean you got to be a jerk or anything but God it's important for you to technically understand and if you need to step in yourself, you actually could probably do that. And in. And so that's, I think something that, you know, Fincher understands that for sure. But another way to get some advice I guess for for people who are in the spot where they're trying to get to, you know, just where we are, where they're, they've made a feature film on a low budget, if they're thinking that they need to have someone who will choose. I mean, you have to be so lucky to be able to find someone who will just be a dp, I mean, that's a huge job, but who will just be a dp and has the same passion that you have for this thing, because you're trying to direct something. And then someone else is like, well, I want to break in and sound and that they're all just as passionate and, and have that talent and the drive and everyone will work together because you're only as strong as your as your weakest link. So when you're getting into making that kind of movie, I think, if you could, if you can take on the responsibility yourself. It's like you're avoiding a weakness. Like there's something a chink in your armor that is just not going to be there. Because you know, you didn't have to depend on on someone else.
Alex Ferrari 41:07
I wouldn't. I would, I would agree. And if you look at any director, any famous director, any well known director, any legendary directors, that anyone listening has looked up to Fincher Nolan Spielberg, Cameron, whoever, Scorsese Coppola, all of them. They are all technical directors, all of them. All of them understand the technology, some more than others. But when Scorsese's doing his notes, and I've seen him do it, he's he's giving you the the lenses he wants for the shot. He's selling you how to move this stuff there. Cameron, obviously is one of the most technical directors on the planet. And he's an anomaly. Fincher is another one, Nolan Spielberg, who's not known for being a technical director, quote, unquote. But I promise you from and I've talked to people who've worked with Steven, he knows everything about everything about the moviemaking process, and and that's your job as a director and as a filmmaker to learn every and now even more. So because the technology so cheap, and you could do so much and things are I mean, DaVinci Resolve is free, essentially. And all of this kind of stuff. These cameras are two $3,000 Are you kidding me? They're nothing. That's nothing in the world of what we do. And you have to understand all the technical knowledge, because if you think you're going to walk on set, like that old image of the director with the monocle, and the bullhorn and sit down and just yell, action and cut, which by the way, I've known that I know those directors, I, and they don't go far. They don't they don't, they rarely have a long career, they might hang for a bit, they might do one or two movies. And then they're done. And I think, and I'd love to hear what you think, I think that budgets are starting to drop lower, and lower and lower, because the content is becoming so hard to sell. And to make money on that unless you're a studio with major backing or on a major IP, you gotta have to make a movie for 15 million or 20 million. And I know that's that people like what I'm like, in the studio world, that's really low budget. And now more so even five to 10 million and $4 million, and those kind of budget ranges. That's what, that's what Hollywood is looking for. And that's what investors are looking for. If you'd be able to create high quality content at a low cost, relatively speaking, and you can't do that if you don't understand that technology is a fair statement.
David Simpson 43:40
Yeah, it's, it's, it's, it's funny, when when I did it, and I started in 2016, you know, that they, the tech guy, like I was so grateful for what we had, but I mean, the difference between a seven s two and a seven s three, you know, like there's just thinking how much time how many takes would I not have wasted had had I had that, that level of focus and it's, it's just a lot in post production to just in you know, I people don't need to do this but you know, 2016 2017 if you just do a Google search the the complaints about how Apple had left their IMAX behind and the you know, they they really hadn't given them enough power. Now, it's definitely not the problem, that it's not a bottleneck at all. In fact, they're actually kind of you know, they're ahead of the software. Now the hardware is very strong. So like it's, it's, it's becoming easier. Now, Sony just dropped the FX three today, I guess. It's um, it's an incredible camera. It's cheap.
Alex Ferrari 44:51
Blackmagic just dropped. There's like a couple days ago, the 6k the new 6k which is light books and say 2500 bucks.
David Simpson 44:58
It's amazing. Amazing. was in it's funny to think I mean, five years sounds like a lot of time. But like, when we go back to that when I did the post-human with the pocket, and you're thinking, I would love all of that stuff that is there now, all of it and, and, and now filmmakers who haven't made their their first, their first, we'll call it like passion short, like a really they really made a short or, or a feature. And they're, they're thinking they can't it's you know, it's still really hard, but it's getting easier all the time. So as you're looking forward into the future, I think you're I think you're right, it's, you're gonna become people will have the tools. And so they actually have the passion, it will become, it'll become easier. It's it's like, the smarter the software gets. The smaller a group of people, you need to make something incredible. And that's, that's, that's a it's not fully positive. But it's a, if you're looking to break in and create something and you're just really passionate, you want to make a great movie that is a positive for sure.
Alex Ferrari 46:08
And it is a positive and the negative just like the good news is all the cameras are super cheap. And anyone can buy it. The bad news is the cameras are super cheap, and anyone can buy it. Yes, that's essentially what we're dealing with. Because now people who really don't have, you know, what it takes to make to be a filmmaker? And that's something that they will discover on their own? And who am I to judge if they can or not. But bottom line is, you know, if you can't, can you make a living doing what you're doing. So a lot of people who are just looky loos or people who are just flooding the market with, you know, less than less than best quality of of product is diluting the marketplace to the point now, where now it's so expensive to make any money, it's so difficult to make any money at all, with an independent film or any kind of content because it's unless you've got a big star in it. Unless you're on an IP, it's really a difficult process. So, but at these budget ranges, if you make a $20,000 $15,000 movie, you can't make your money back, you're in the wrong game, then you you obviously are not doing what you're doing on the post world and you really need to figure something out. Which brings me to my next question, sir, your distribution plants or how are you planning to get this out there in the world?
David Simpson 47:24
Well, it's interesting that you mentioned cosmos. And you know, I didn't know. I think that interview of yours just came
Alex Ferrari 47:33
out last week,
David Simpson 47:34
I think Yeah. Yeah. But yeah, we we've been following that recently. Because what we did was, and I think that's how you you, you found me was through my article.
Alex Ferrari 47:49
Yeah. Yeah. was an article. Yeah.
David Simpson 47:52
Yeah, it was during the Kickstarter, and the Kickstarter was, you know, this is just just before the pandemic get started. And so we were thinking, you know, 2020 would be a normal, normal year. And we'd we do the festival circuit, and, and, in, everything changed so quick. So, so the Kickstarter was really, to fund you know, traveling around and going to, not just for fun, literally, just to take the movie around. And, and it's still it's still funded, submitting and, in, in, things worked out well. With, with sending the movie around, but, but it's, we feel like it, that's pretty much over now. And it's time to find a home for it. And that's when we found that Cosmos actually was was doing that research. But also through getting into Fright Fest in London. We met a lot of directors, and obviously, I think we might have been the only movie that didn't already have distribution actually. And so we we get to talk to this other directors and, and find out their story. And, and so we're, we're, we're following in their footsteps now. But we're just starting now. So so they're the rights or the rights are available. But we're, we're putting together our materials, they're almost ready. And we're just about ready. We've got the list of everyone that we're going to be contacting and yeah, we're excited about it. And I think that there's that the movie had its premiere. And because it streamed I guess a fair amount of people got to see it that that day, but it's still not out there and people have been waiting for a long time and they've seen this trailer and right. They've seen clips from because we had a bunch of clips when we were doing that Kickstarter that that we put out and, and they're excited they want to see it and we want them to see it finally, as well. And and and we especially Want Hollywood to see it because really, that was the point I was the introduction to, to me and my stories and my storytelling and and to get them to understand that we, you know, know how to tell a story.
Alex Ferrari 50:13
So I think at the end of the day too, for you, it might not be an please correct me if I'm wrong. Sure, it's not as important for you to make an obscene amount of money with this film as more important to maybe get more exposure for you. And for your projects and lead to something else. So that could be your end game, as opposed to, I need to make $100,000 $200,000 with this is that is all you want. I mean, obviously want both. But, but choosing a partner, you might choose a distribution company that will get you everywhere, and might have a little bit more cachet. But chances of you getting paid or making any money is going to be nil to none, or go with a smaller distribution company that will get you paid, but they don't have the reach. Or they were the cache at the other of the other one to kind of get you seen in other places. I don't know, what do you think?
David Simpson 51:06
Yeah. It's what what I value the most definitely is making sure that a lot of people can see it in. And that doesn't just mean that it's available to a lot of people because it can be available to a lot of people. But if they can't find it, I mean, visibility is everything that somebody I know really, really well from the, the E book game, and having my my books out there for so long. If I mean, the book can be fantastic, you can get amazing reviews, but you can't get on that front or second page of sci fi on in. And I mean, that means I think it's like 12 depending on what device you're on, there's like 12 books that are on that front page. And, and so if you're not in that top 24 you're not selling enough to make a make a living. And I've been fortunate enough to be on that front page, a fair amount. But once you fall to the third page, you know, you're what you're still top, whatever your top 4040 book out of in science fiction, we're talking, you know, probably half a million books, that's amazing. You must be rich in you're not you like you just eat, whether you're on the third or the 300 page, you sell the same and that's what visibility is all about. So with, with dangerous knowing, I've got to get that visibility and, and so that's what I'm looking for more than anything else. Because I do trust people get trust, they just trust the audience. And it dangerous knows, like, you would have a similar audience to I think, you know, the girl the Dragon Tattoo or Gone Girl, I mean, it's a pretty big audience, but it's not necessarily that everything audience is not necessarily say not and there's nothing wrong with this at all. But like it, it's not that, you know, billion dollar audience for this particular thing. Yeah, but the post-human series are some of my science fiction may be wood but but this one, it's a it's not a super small audience is pretty big. But it's it's a you know, it's very intelligent, you can really see, you know, the, the director of frightfest. Like, his his history is, like, his profession is he's a psychologist, and he's well educated. And it was, you know, it's no surprise then that when when he saw it, you know, he loved it. And it's that it's that kind of movie. It's, it's not too difficult for people to understand at all. But you know, you have to enjoy that you have to enjoy not necessarily having all the answers and trying to figure out what the answers are and and if you get a thrill out of that, then that's good in in, that's a big enough audience, so I got to be able to reach them. And if I can do that, then the rest I think takes care of itself. But that's it. That's I mean, it's easy to say it's like
Alex Ferrari 53:56
yeah, it's all you need to do is get a Netflix deal get a che then call up. Call up. Paul of Disney tell him I want to make my sci fi movie for Disney plus, and you know, just give me 100 million. That's all you need to do. It's It's not hard, guys. This is simple. It's simple. It's super simple. Yeah,
David Simpson 54:15
I like about this.
Alex Ferrari 54:16
Yeah, on the show a bunch of times I've talked. I've said things like that. Like, I haven't said things like that, but I've had guests say like, Yeah, all you need to do is find your audience. Call it you know, build your audience up and then sell your product to your audience or your films to your audience. That's all you really need to do. And and it sounds so straightforward. It sounds like it's like sound it sounds like building a house. Because building a house is as straightforward as you can get you get the wood, you get the concrete, you get the blueprint, and and there's a way to go about it. And at the end of the day, you'll have a house, in the film industry, in the in the product creation and the in the getting it out there in the world, no one that it is the only business in the world that You could spend $100 million on a product that is worthless. It is the only it's the only industry it's the only industry that you could spend millions of dollars. And if you do it incorrectly, it is literally worthless. Yeah. You know, it's it's, it's crazy. Yeah, you
David Simpson 55:20
gotta you really have to, man, it's it. Maybe we were crazy. We are
Alex Ferrari 55:25
no, no, no, let's just put that the system state that we are all nuts. filmmakers are crazy. We're, we're not. And unfortunately you and I have been bitten by that bug and we are going to be in sick for quite some time with this filmmaking thing that it will never go away ever, ever, ever. I've seen it. I've seen 70 year old show up and like, you know, I got bitten by the bug when I was in my 20s. But I went and became a doctor now I'm now on my my 60s and I went to direct. It never goes away.
David Simpson 55:52
Yeah, yeah, you know, it, I think it got me I've always I've always loved movies, but it was actually the things that you're talking about that made me just my mind didn't even really go to the idea that I'd ever direct anything because of the way it was the, you know, how, how impossible it seemed to break in and didn't, that didn't appeal to me. And so it was when the tech made it possible. And I could see that, that's when Well, I love everything else about it, I'd love to make a movie if I could. And, and so and so that that's really why I got in because it became something that it was something that was possible to do. But the I mean, that's, I think that's really important. advice is like if you if you you've you do have to, you have to trust yourself. You know, it's totally normal to be nervous, if you're going to make a movie. Totally normal to go. I've got to have an open mind someone might know somebody I don't know. And that could be valuable to me like when I saw your your tip on on post production with moving the camera that you know that I'm not an idiot that was brilliant spoke to me, I used it but but you do have to, you really do have to trust yourself. You got to feel like I can do this. Because behind you know, when you actually people watch movies, you're seeing the best take, you're seeing it after the audio has been put in musics been put in. It's it just really gorgeous. But it always looks kind of when you're actually on this set. Like it doesn't look like it should be so good. So someone's just standing off to the side, they might think this can be a disaster, because who knows what take they saw, they're not hearing the sound, right? Maybe it's echoey. And they're going to change it they have to with ADR or something. But you know, it can you might be the only one who knows it's gonna work out. So you have to, you know, trust yourself.
Alex Ferrari 57:46
And we'll come back to the what I said at the beginning taste. It's all about taste. They hire you for your taste, because in your mind, it's how it's going to come out. And sometimes it's your job to share that vision. But I took a look when I was shooting my film. Nobody thought it was going to be anything. Like all the actors are like we're just here and having a good time. But when I actually had people like when they came in to do a test screen, they're like, Oh my god, it's a movie. like yeah, it was a movie. Like you guys didn't even believe I was gonna be able to make a movie and like, no, but like it. It looks like a real movie. And like, it sounds like a real movie. I'm like, yeah, that's what I shot. But so I'm gonna ask you, I'm gonna ask you a few questions ask all my guests or what advice would you give a filmmaker trying to break into the business today? Oh,
David Simpson 58:35
okay, well, I think I think there's different ways to get in and in like with with a lot of things, you know that I'm not gonna say that hey, I've got the I've got the right way. You know, I think I got the cosmos directors are are terrific. I really love what they're doing and I have a lot in common with them. But there's probably a little bit of a little bit of difference in the philosophy not much actually pretty similar. But there's other people who feel you know, no, like I'm when I make it I want to have a larger crew. And that isn't necessarily bad. There's other ways to get in. But I do think that if you're having a tough time with that, or maybe if you have made some short films and you had a crew and you tried to make it with you know, red epic and you know like an Alexa and all of that type of stuff and you had the professional gear and it just it still didn't really work out. You know, I would really consider looking into how actually how powerful the, the affordable tech is like you actually own it, become proficient with it. And, and and make that make that movie I mean, if he does stuff that's the that has just come online recently that we talked about that that new Blackmagic that Sony today, the a seven s three. We don't need a camera beyond that to make a movie. It is absolutely gorgeous. I mean, I just had my movie come out critics, you know, real critics, real directors, big directors have seen it. And including Alex Ferrari. And
Alex Ferrari 1:00:12
Wow, thank you. Thank you, sir.
David Simpson 1:00:14
Yeah, but it's you know, you know, Mike, Mike Flanagan, same thing as your production values is great. And movie looks great and, and, in the reviews kept talking about the gorgeous cinematography, but there's no airy election, it's not that I mean, an Alexa could get, there's nothing stopping that those movies can look fantastic. But if you think that you can't, because there's a limitation with that tech. It's not actually true, it's you could do it. So if you've got the passion, you've got the story, I would say, you know, make something, make something as good as you can. And then and and then go from there. But if you if you show that you can make something he show you got some talent, then people be really interested in, in having you as a as a director, or at least having you maybe be a cinematographer or something. Because you got the technical skill.
Alex Ferrari 1:01:09
Now, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life,
David Simpson 1:01:15
I still have to keep teaching myself, this one, this one fits really nicely, actually, is a just don't, don't, don't give other people don't don't place other people that are in important positions on on a pedestal. I think that's really important. And, and I have to keep reminding myself that there's so many times that I may not have thought I could do something, just because I think that this other person has a special quality that I don't have this special ability to think that I don't have and and there's, there's it's amazing how many how many dreams that'll kill before they even you know, really get going. So I think it's it's important not to do that, again. You know, we've been talking about Fincher, we've been talking about Tarantino and you know, all those directors, I still I love their movies, I have so much respect for them. But being able to make a movie myself means that I feel and I love this about being able to just, you know, talk to Mike Flanagan's, like so far ahead of where I am in the business so much success. But when it comes right down to it, he just, he's just like, Yeah, I was where you were. And He never says, oh, maybe you'll make it. He's just like, you know, when you get to where I am, it gets I love that. I just love that. He's such a, he's he's like, he never changed. He's still he's still like in India at heart. And I think I'll, I think there's no way I won't be, I'll always be in your heart No matter where I go in the industry. So yeah, don't be, don't be afraid.
Alex Ferrari 1:02:55
I'll tell you, I'll tell you this after talking to some of the biggest directors in the world. And, you know, and continuously, I'm humbled by able to have conversations, long conversations with some of these directors. I just realized that we're all filmmakers, man. Like, you know that, you know, yeah, you have three Oscars. But, but when you were starting, you know, you did what you had to do to get going, you know, you were a PA, you were you learning this stuff. And you're like, yeah, you know, I did this movie, and I was crap. But I learned a lot. And here, yeah, it's the same path that all of us are taking Sure. They had different times, at different times in history, they had different circumstances, they were right place, right time, you know, all these kind of things. But the core of the experience of being a filmmaker is not different. No one is just born and thrown on to $150 million set. That doesn't happen. And I know a lot of people think that happens or like you just went to film school, and boom, you're done. And now you're doing Avengers. Like, no, no, it does. Everyone. Everyone struggles. Everyone works their way up. Everyone has to hustle. And a lot of times, you know people like like, like perfect example. I think like Mike Flanagan and you like, you're probably farther ahead than he was at that time in his career, purely because in tech and the things that we had available to like I would have I would have killed to have this kind of tech when I was in my 20s I would have killed right like we had to like shoot I mean, I shot my first short my first big short on a dv x 108 you know and and edited on Final Cut four, you know, and that was like, you know, film look, remember the film? Look, that was a great game. Yeah.
David Simpson 1:04:42
Like Nolan Christopher Nolan's following, right. I don't know if he's actually worse. But that's like such a great I knew I knew, you know all about that backstory, but just when I think that that's only just the
Alex Ferrari 1:04:53
90s he took him it took like a year, like a year. I think it was like he just kept on the weekends and Going and it's just like being prepared for when that rocket ship takes off is, it might never take off the way you want to. And I promise you won't take off like you want to, that I can promise you. That's one thing I've learned in my own career, my own life and talking to all these amazing filmmakers over the years. Is it never is exactly how you planned? No, no one knows, I promise you that Spielberg did not expect to spend 180 days on the ocean with a shark that didn't work. And that turned into the biggest movie of all time. Like I promise you, that was not the path he was expecting.
David Simpson 1:05:35
And I had this professor once that had the saying, I just I love the saying I love the idea of being able to make this a little bit more famous, because he said it to me once it was just about an essay, it wasn't a film professor, it was it was English Lit. But what he said was, I was I was, I had a lot of trouble with just with the beginning of the of the paper. And, but in the end, I got a, I got a really good grade. And I told him I just said, like I was had, I was worried about that, because I was really struggling with the beginning. And he said, even from the most difficult and bloody births can come a beautiful baby. And that's what with your career. You know, it can make it seem like such a struggle, and it can seem like you went completely off route. And then you look back after and you're like, actually, you know, I didn't like this is everything is working out the dots are, are are aligning it just it just the path you're not expecting though,
Alex Ferrari 1:06:27
dude, if you would have told me when I was starting out to like, you know, one day, you're going to be host of a podcast, and you're going to talk to some of the greatest filmmakers of all time. And you're going to you know, be friends, some of them and hang out with them and, and talk and ask the craziest questions you've ever wanted to ask, you know, an Oscar winning director. And I'm like, I would have never in a million years thought that this was the path I've taken. Oh, and by the way, by get by doing that, you're going to be able to do whatever you want as far as your own filmmaking career, and go off and make small movies and, and my story is still being written. It's just never, ever what you expect it to be. It's, it's insane. It's it's an insane journey. But that's life. That is Yeah, that is that is life. And last question, sir, three of your favorite films of all time?
David Simpson 1:07:19
Aye, aye. I'll start with the matrix. Because of the sci fi and the philosophy and I love that I just love it, it also looks just gorgeous. It's done technically, so well. But the, but it's just such a, it's, um, it fits with what I try to do with my with everything I do, which is to try and create something that's deep, but you don't necessarily have to sacrifice enjoyment for that. And I think that that's one of the things that in academia, you know, with literature and with, like, you know, high art, sometimes they forget that, that it doesn't have to be grueling, it can still be if you can have your cake and eat it too. You know, something, this means something to me, it's not just fluff. But an audience can just watch it and just really love it, enjoy it. And usually what ends up happening is it becomes very, very memorable. And they and they really do love it is the matrix really taught that to me, I love that one. And then I'm gonna say Fincher for last talentino is, I think my, my biggest influence for screenwriting. And in when I was making dangerous to know, I watched an interview with him about how he he loved writing these dialogue scenes because of being an indie. That was the that was the easiest thing to film
Alex Ferrari 1:08:47
David Simpson 1:08:47
You can Yeah, it's cheap, right? You can set up the cameras and you can really work on the art and you can run it again and again, with the actors and and, and so, you know, you look at the opening scene. This is one of the greatest scenes, I wouldn't put any scene above it. It's just there's other scenes that are probably around equal in the history of film, but the opening scene of inglorious past,
Alex Ferrari 1:09:10
you read my mind. Yeah.
David Simpson 1:09:12
And I was trying to I was trying to reach that I every time I wrote one of those scenes so dangerous to know has these moments like that, where I'm, that's where you're aiming. So if you if you aim for that, and even if you fall short of it, you probably wrote a pretty good scene is that scene. It's incredible. And so I would have to say Inglorious Basterds that's a big big influence. And then and then it's this, this is going to be a strange choice considering the social network and seven, and fight club and all the other perfect movies that this guy has made, but I love I love David Fincher his version, the American version of the girl, the Dragon Tattoo, and it just, there's something about that movie that really, really speaks to me and I think that that one, like personally, that one influenced me more than anything else. Some dangerous no dangerous no isn't like that as far as the story goes or necessarily like it doesn't have you know similar characters but it's the something about the spirit of it just the just just the experience that you have when you watch it it did to me it was just a really really enjoyable movie cared about the characters and it just was like for people like you and me but I think also general audience but but especially for people like you and I, Alex's and the people who are listening to this just candy in every way for the visual mind
Alex Ferrari 1:10:34
and the posters remember that poster? Oh, I posted that they did with like one was nude and one was not nude and and I just remember that he like printed it on like silver or like metal that were metal versions of. I mean, Fincher is just nuts, man. I love I love David man. He's just absolutely nuts. And I've actually geeked out with other big directors about Fincher on the on the show, which is hilarious like, Dude Fincher, man. Did you see that? You see? bank? Oh my god, what did you do on manque? Jesus great. It's just like, it's, it's hilarious. When you're the director that other directors look up to, like, currently, like we all look up a Kubrick and you know, everyone's like, it's cooperia he's legendary. But when you're a living director, everyone's goes like, Wow, dude. Like Cameron. Like what the hell man? Like there's not another human being on the planet that could do what camera does literally, you know and Nolan and what he and and and like, what like what's up like Nolan and Fincher both, but Nolan is specifically he's swinging for the fences. On like, Tennant. Tana was a big swing. Some people say he missed, some people say it was it was it was hit a homerun. But he's taking those swings at that budget level.
David Simpson 1:11:47
Alex Ferrari 1:11:48
there's nobody like that. That's Yeah, awesome.
David Simpson 1:11:52
It is really awesome. I love seeing those kind of movies. I always hope that they're gonna do well.
Alex Ferrari 1:11:58
Yeah. So we can more of them.
David Simpson 1:12:00
Yes. So you can thread thread the needle? Because if you can get those you read my mind again? Yeah, exactly. Like if I felt bad that Blade Runner 2049 didn't do better at the box office because I don't want I don't want them to stop trying, doing something like that. Because we all benefit from from a movie that the scale of it and the visuals I i understand why, you know, some people didn't like it. You know, same same situation as 10 other people absolutely loved it. I've got a digital copy of it. I bought, but but I I just don't want them not to I don't want I don't want them to go, oh, let's not make another one like that. Because we just be robbed because I did you know, the next one could be a huge commercial success. But, but what a beautiful, beautiful movie. So inspirational. It gets there's so many about that visually that
Alex Ferrari 1:12:58
I actually love. We saw that in the theater when it came out. And I was just sitting there watching deacons work and you sit there just like oh my god, this is just gorgeous. Like, how is this out with the guys? It's great. I love I love Blade Runner. 2049 I think it's fantastic. They are making a series of it. By the way. I don't know if you know that or not. They're they're going to make a series of Blade Runner series. It's
David Simpson 1:13:19
in who's doing it is it I think it'll be
Alex Ferrari 1:13:22
it's not Netflix. I think it'll be an HBO max because Warner's owns it. So so it'll be that's it just got announced that they're gonna do a blade runner series, so
David Simpson 1:13:31
I didn't know that.
Alex Ferrari 1:13:34
I'll see that. So yeah, they're gonna mind as much stuff as they have and not taking the risks as humanly possible. That's what they do. They're just gonna take as much IP people are like, we've heard of Blade Runner, let's do a series about that. So, but hey, for us, fantastic. Now where can people find out about you your work and other projects you're doing and find out when they can see the movie?
David Simpson 1:13:58
Yeah, I you know, my YouTube channel. So it's David Simpson and you can search it and it's pretty easy to find my trailers on there. And you know, Alex is gonna post that in the notes the trailer and also the digital two minute version of the short that I've just recently done so I kind of made that post even shorter so I got a little two minute trailer and and like a teaser, I guess. But that's right now that's where I'd like to gather people as much as I can because it's hard to it's hard to reach people on on Facebook you've got this page in there it's almost like they're all stuck behind jail unless I paid a boost post so so that's the place to do it. And then I've also got my websites that's post human novel calm. And yeah, all my all my info and links to my my clips and books and audio books and everything I'm doing on on there.
Alex Ferrari 1:14:53
David thank you so much for for coming on the show brother and and sharing your your journey on making this movie and And hopefully inspiring some filmmakers out there to get off off their butts and stop making excuses and hiding behind they don't have the right camera or the right this or that. I did that for a long time. And I finally just said, I think you might you might feel me on this. I woke up I was 41 I was like, I can't I can't keep doing this. I got a chemical makes something and I just got up and made it and and once that door opens It's fantastic.
David Simpson 1:15:23
And you don't you know you're we're all getting we just talked about being robbed if they don't make these these types of movies like Blade Runner 2049 like hopefully they'll keep doing it. But you know, we're getting robbed if, if your listeners don't make their movie, I mean their voice. Incredible. And we don't get to see that. And you know, yeah, if you if you've got that passion and it's been bugging you, and it's your I mean, if you're watching this, you almost for sure are pretty obsessed with being a filmmaker at some point. Either you are or you're obsessed with doing it.
Alex Ferrari 1:15:54
Go for it. And it is your responsibility as an artist to get your art out into the world. How you do it is up to you. But it's your responsibility because you never know what a movie or a book or a blog post or a video youtube video, how that will affect someone else's life just like you watching that David Fincher thing. It was just put out into the ether and all of a sudden it changed the scope of how you did things. And that way.
David Simpson 1:16:22
So in the movies better. I'm not kidding. This is not just him talking to you, right?
Alex Ferrari 1:16:27
No, no, no and I but I'm just using it as an example. It's like you never know when someone hears a podcast or reads an article you never know. So get out there and do it. Thank you again, my friend. Thank you.
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WATCH A FREE 3 PART LOW-BUDGET FILM PRODUCING VIDEO SERIES
Taught by veteran award-winning film producer and author Suzanne Lyons. The filmmaker behind over a dozen profitable low-budget feature films.