Danny Draven is an award-winning director and producer of genre films. After receiving his film degree in Boston, he moved to Hollywood and worked his way up through the ranks until he began producing and directing sci-fi/horror films for genre studio Full Moon Pictures (Puppet Master series, Trancers), where he cut his teeth before starting his own successful production/post-production company. He has also edited over 100 feature films, including films for Lionsgate, NBC Universal’s Chiller TV, SyFy Channel and a series for Lifetime Network TV.
He has worked with and been mentored by Hollywood veterans such as Master of Horror Stuart Gordon (Fortress, Re-Animator), legendary cinematographer Mac Ahlberg (Beverly Hills Cop 3), executive producer Harry Bring (X-Files, Criminal Minds) and executive producer Mark Ordesky (Lord of the Rings Trilogy). He is also the author of three published books on genre filmmaking and a member of the Producers Guild of America.
Alex Ferrari 1:33
Enjoy today's episode with guest host, Jason Buff.
Jason Buff 1:38
We're continuing our interviews with horror filmmakers with Danny Draven. This is one of this this is like a masterclass in horror filmmaking. Danny is not only a horror filmmaker, but he's also the author of the phenomenal horror filmmaking book called The filmmakers Book of the Dead. And it's now in its second edition. If you want to learn filmmaking, horror filmmaking, specifically, go get that I think it's available on Amazon. Check it out, it's full of pictures, it's really like over the top in terms of like, all the value all the great things that are in this book, let me get going with Danny, this is a huge interview about two hours. So I was gonna break it up into two different episodes. And I just decided to go ahead and put it out there as one and you can kind of listen to the first half when you have time. Or maybe if you have a two hour car drive or something, you're gonna get a lot out of this episode, I certainly did. And learn a lot about how the indie film making world works, especially the indie horror film work. So check it out. Hope you enjoy. Like I have all these questions that I've just been coming up with on my own. But what I was thinking we could do was just kind of go through the different parts of the first book, just I mean, going strictly on the the table of contents and just kind of do a brief description of kind of those different aspects of making a horror film and then just kind of go from there, you know, just use that as the framework. And obviously, I don't want you to go, you know, so far into it. I mean, the thing that I found is that usually the more into it you get the more interested people get in, you know, buying the book and like, you know, sure. Anyway, I did have one guy I talked to not too long ago who was like, yeah, um, you know, if you read my book, I'll tell you all about like, Come on, dude. Give me
Danny Draven 3:32
I hear I hear you know, totally, I'm happy to I don't I don't do that. I just you just ask me whatever you want. And I'll tell you, whatever I can, whatever comes to mind, you know, if they buy the book, great. If not, it doesn't, you know, when I get a $20 royalty check in the mail does, you know, it's not about the money. It really isn't. But this this book, um, this the the first edition is actually very soon. I mean, the second edition is just enhancements to the first so the it's only you know, it's about 100 And I don't know 140 pages more than the first edition and a lot of that is just newer interviews and a lot of the information has been updated so the chapters are all really the same I only think I only added really one it's just the information was updated considerably because it was out of date because it was five years old, but and a lot of new, really good interviews with people like Nick Garis and Kane Hodder and all these other dudes and so which is pretty much the big difference and it's got a really good overhaul as far as like a lot more artwork was added like a lot of really cool like Grindhouse art, just just for eye candy really, and stuff like that. So it's a fun, it's the it is by far the definitive best edition of that book, and probably the last and it'll, it'll have a hardcover edition which is which is really cool. And it's a little it's kind of expensive, but it's they do have a hardcover one that which is kind of cool for but anyway, yeah, so it's so whatever we already talked about with the book. It's very Very similar to the second, it's just more updated as
Jason Buff 5:04
Well I mean, that might be a good jumping in point, what what do you consider the major things that have changed from the first book to the second book?
Danny Draven 5:12
Well, technology and distribution mainly because you know, film filmmaking process is really still, it has been kind of the same for, you know, 100 years, it's just, you know, that just the technology has changed. To the point, you know, where, particularly in my, in my book it has to do when I changed was the distribution. Chapters, which is that's different with digital distribution and everything, and in particularly, some of the stuff in the production because because the cameras have gotten better, bigger, smaller and shoot higher, higher quality, you know, so I think it's just mainly the technology. stuff in the book is is the biggest update and, and the interviews because I added about, oh, I don't know, maybe 10 people, I think, but I mean, I mean, they're really good interviews, because these guys are working professional filmmakers. I mean, I got Mick Garrison, I sat down and had a great lunch and we just we we had this like two hour interview and I think in the book, it's like eight nine pages and they're really good insightful questions. I had an awesome awesome interview with big time composer John off and then editor we in that's a like a 10 page interview is really good, though. It's John Debney, the composer John Debney. T board Takus, the guy who directed the gate and spiders 3d And he did a really good one too, because I know and I edited a movie for him years ago for a Sci Fi Channel. And I remember when I was editing it with him, he he was checking his phone and he was making mega snake at the time. And he was showing me some of his show. He was showing me some of his storyboards. I was like, because we were just sitting in the editing room like, Oh, that's pretty cool. You know, this is pretty cool storyboards. So then, like, literally like, Wow, no, it's eight years later, when I decided to interview him. I was like, Hey, man, do you still have those mega snakes? Storyboards? Because now those things are really well done. And I should put those in the book and so so that the there's this one scene where the snake eats this guy, and it's the exact storyboards that they did for the show for the film. So you get his interview, and then you get like, you know, the six pages of these really beautiful storyboards that they did for it, and then you get the frame grabs from the movie when and how they actually shot it. And yeah, just stuff like that. I got a really good interview with some other producers, Mark deskey. And David Fleming from they did exists, you know, the big Bigfoot movie that Eduardo Sanchez did, they were producers on that and, and there's Mike Mendez, he's in there now. Director of big ass spider. And All right, yeah, exactly. He's a he's a great guy, and, oh, boy, Kane, Hodder, Michael Berryman. And I think I'm probably missing a few people. But, but anyway, it's, it's one of the things people one of the things that people really enjoyed about this book is, is the interviews and especially from the first edition. I mean, all the information there is is great anyway, but but the interviews really kind of drove it home for people because you're you're hearing really good advice from people who are actually, you know, working out and working professionals in Hollywood. So it was a favorite in the first edition. So I decided the second one, I just want to add a lot more. So that's what we did
Jason Buff 8:34
You have the same interviews from the first book, as well, or is it like?
Danny Draven 8:38
Jason Buff 8:38
I know you interviewed James one in the first book.
Danny Draven 8:41
Yeah, no, yeah, he's still he's still in there.
Jason Buff 8:43
I think you want to keep him in there.
Danny Draven 8:45
Yeah, he's Yeah. I interviewed actually, I interviewed him. Before he, you know, back when he was making, like, maybe it was the first insidious or something like that. It was a while ago when we when we talked about it, right. So he did a really good interview. And everybody's the same. It's, it's, I think I had to remove one person, because it was just what they were talking about was like, so outdated that I just had to carry but other than that, it's all of a sudden people, plus, you know, 10 or 12 people that I've added. So,
Jason Buff 9:14
Is there anything that kind of sticks out at you and like something that just kind of blew your mind with an interview or somebody who just kind of like, you know, said something to you that you didn't really know beforehand? Or Or I don't know, just kind of like know, sometimes you talk to one of these filmmakers, and it's just like, oh, wow, you know, that's something Yeah, surely.
Danny Draven 9:35
Sure. Absolutely. I mean, we, I mean, you knew when Mike I talking when I talked to say, like somebody like Nick Garis or somebody and I'm asking him specific questions about how he, how he directs actors and what his processes like and all that it's different for everyone, you know, but but, you know, his his answers were very insightful and and, you know, not all of them made them into the book, but the ones that did I thought were the
Alex Ferrari 10:01
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Danny Draven 10:10
Were the most insightful ones and it just, it's just really even as the, the interviewer I mean, I'm like, Oh, wow, that's, that's interesting. That's how you do that's how he works then. And then I see how how somebody like keyboard works or some or or, or, or what what Kane Hodder was thinking when he when he decided to play the character of Jason and what he did to make a scary character and he would answer that question and things like that because you guys usually the guys like Kane Hodder and Robert England and Michael Berryman, and all the guys that have played, you know, monsters, I always ask them what their process was like as an actor to really develop that character. It's funny because it because it's all great horror movie monsters are more than just, you know, Guy sticking a mask on or a guy in a glove, there's a lot more behind it and to understand their process was was very insightful. And that's what I that's what I think you get when you read these interviews in this book is you really see like, wow, Robert England, really, you know, he really had a method to how he portrayed Freddie, you know, and same thing with Jason and same thing with Pluto. Hills Have Eyes, you know, and all that stuff. So so it's a good it's a fun conversation. It's just kind of like two guys out, you know, sitting at a bar having a beer talking about they're making movies and that's kind of the style of the of the interview. But
Jason Buff 11:36
Can you share? Like, what what are just the whole concept of directing actors in a, you know, a horror movie, whether it be the good guys are the monsters or whatever?
Danny Draven 11:52
The whole idea of of directing the monsters for for? Sorry about what you mean, like the
Jason Buff 12:01
Well, what is your approach? And what what did you learn from these people? And what is your approach? And what are some things that you've learned from talking to directors about directing? You know, monsters or directing actors in general? Oh, I see. Well,
Danny Draven 12:16
I think I think it's, it's, it's certainly going to be different for every director, but I think instinct has a lot to do with it. You know, when when when directing actors, you know, it's it's instinctual. It's, it's, it's, you know, not not my styles. I'm very much like an actor's director, you know, I, I don't, I mean, I have the technical background, no doubt, and Oak sweb Post company, and I've been an editor for I've edited more movies than I care to remember. But, but when you combine the sort of technical background with the actors, when you when you understand actors, I think it really can make you a very strong director, because a lot of people they come out of film school, or they come out of the they get into their first film, and they they're, they're scared of actors, and they're scared of, of the process. It's kind of like, okay, well just, they just talk to an actor, like, they're like, they're a puppet, like, Okay, you will you say this line, and you stand here, and then you walk over here, and then the cameras gonna push into your face, and, and then you're gonna walk off screen, okay, you got it, and then the actors like, oh, okay, and then you know, they can, they can, you know, do it, do what you're talking about. But that, you know, that's not really directing, you know, that's just technically, you know, you're choreographing seniors blocking the scene at that point. So, um, so, you know, my process has always been, to really take care with the actors and to really, you know, spend a lot of time with them, and just be there for whatever they need, because, and give them what they need from a director so they can play the scene properly. And, and, and have the technical understanding to communicate that to the crew and to the DP. So that's my, that's my process. It's kind of, you know, a little both, some people just completely technical, you know, it's just like, they hire, you know, the, I'll certainly, it's always good to hire the best actors you can afford. And you just kind of, most of the time, if you hire an actor of that caliber that you don't need to do much at all, it's just sit back and watch it happen because they're so amazing. And they get it, you know, and other times, you know, they need a lot more. And they do need that push and that technical direction, you know, maybe they maybe it's their first film, they don't know how to hit a mark, you know? So, so yeah, so
Jason Buff 14:40
What do you do if you get in a situation where you've hired somebody and everybody's there, you know, the whole crew and everything's lit and the actor just isn't giving the right performance or it's just not working? Is there any like trick you have or what what goes through your mind as a director?
Danny Draven 14:55
Oh, well, well, I think if everything you look if you're on the set everything slit and then the actors coming out. And it's a lot of times it's the first time you use a lot of times there's no chance, especially a low budget movie, there's there wasn't really any rehearsal. It's, it is the first time that you're doing the scene. And what sounded good on what sounded good on paper. What sounded good in your head is certainly not what's happening. And so, you know, you get there and you see him do it. And you're like, oh, oh, Jesus, you know, I mean, I've been I've been in situations where I'm like, I was like, I don't know, I don't even think we asked the right person. So So then you're sitting, you're like, oh, man, okay, but But what, you know, what are you gonna do you already hired them, they're there in front of you, you're you got through and everybody there and you kind of like, yeah, he probably wasn't the right choice. But this is what I have to work with. So let's, let's do the best we can with what we have. You know, so I mean, I've definitely been in that situation. But I think, you know, if you if you're in a situation where they're, where they're not an actor is not giving you what they want, the best thing to do is to pull them aside, you know, don't talk in front of the whole crew, but to pull them aside, you know, and talk to them about what you're certainly do, don't criticize, don't yell, don't be an asshole. But is to set the person aside and just tell them what you're looking for in the scene. And don't over direct them, just tell them what the intention is in the scene, what what how their characters relate to one another, maybe what what the scene is about, you know, and let the actor be the one that interprets what you're saying, and, and adjust their performance based on what based on that the worst thing you can do is to go up to an actor and give them a liner, you know, I want you to hit the line, like, like this natural look at you, like you little douchebag you know what I mean? Like, you know, they're not, they're not puppets, you know, they're not marionettes, you know, there's enough people that you can just, you know, a program, you know, so a good direct thing is, is, is just really understanding the process, their, their process, respecting their process, and being able to communicate to them in the actors language. And if you can do that, you're you'll be, you know, you want one, the actors will love you forever. And two, you're gonna, you're gonna have, you're gonna have a great performance. And the worst thing you can do in that situation is to, is to try to go out there and act it for them is like, no, okay, let me show you how to do it, then you go, No, you come over here, then you say this line, you say it like this, and then you turn around. It's like, right. That's not That's not how it goes. So they I mean, I guess that would be my sort of advice for handling a situation like that.
Jason Buff 17:39
Okay, now, you know, this, the podcast is primarily geared towards people who are most likely outside of LA and want to make their own feature film, and a lot of people you know, and I also think that one of the best plate ways to get into the industry and have one feature, you know, that actually has some success financially is to try and make you know, horror film, just because there's a built in audience and there's, you know, you don't necessarily need the biggest stars and everything. So what I was hoping we could do is just kind of walk through the process of where things begin, what you need to get started, you know, maybe more towards the producers side of it, you know, when you're coming up with a project? I mean, how much are you? Do you go to, like, somebody in distribution and, like, pitch ideas? Or how does it all work so that you know that at the end of the whole thing, you're going to know, kind of where that production is going to go?
Danny Draven 18:34
Well, that's a great question. I mean, that's, that's, yeah, I mean, every every, every project that you do, I mean, look, if you're if it's your first one one thing you have to understand if you're if you're getting into film and filmmaking in it, period, is you have to understand that it is business you know, it's a it's a, you know, you're there, you're making a picture of it to take with the intention of of it being seen, as a business, it has to be something marketable and sellable and have high quality. If you're now if you're coming out, if you're doing something on your own, and you want to do like a little movie that you're just for yourself, and maybe it's an art piece or something like that, that's fine. You can do whatever you want. But in my in my book, and the stuff that I'll talk to you about today is from an entertainment perspective, from a business perspective of if we're making a movie, we're making it we were making a movie to tell a great story, we're making a movie to to make a cool movie, though, all that is there, but we're also making a movie that it we're able to work to be able to get distributed and seen because at the end of the day, we want people to see and like our work and hopefully make sequels you know after sequel. So with that in mind, you know, your, you know, always think that you're, you know, remember that it is a business. So start out with something that
Alex Ferrari 19:59
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Danny Draven 20:09
You know, a horror is a great genre to start in no doubt, because it's a, it's kind of an evergreen genre, it's, it's something that has is always has always been successful. at the box office, I mean, you know, whether people, you know, turn their nose up to it or not, the fact is, is that horror does extremely well at the box office. And, you know, that can be seen with movies like The Conjuring, or, you know, how many other horror movies that have come out that have just really done well. So, so you know, if you're, if you're starting out, I think that coming up with a one an original, great concept to start with. And you don't, you don't have to, it is a good idea to think about distribution and think about what you're, where you're going to go with it, you know, early on, because you don't want to get too too far into to pre production or production. And so we're not even knowing what genre you're in, you're like, Well, I'm not sure it could be a horror comedy, it could be a comedy could be just or you really want to have a definitive plan. Okay, we're making a low budget slasher film, we're making a zombie comedy, okay, and then you and then you know, what you're making you do your research, you do your homework, you watch, you see all the films that have been made on that subject, whoo, they've been distributed by that sort of thing. And you and you just you really come up with, you really know, what's out there, and what the markets like and, and you make, and you make the film, and I mean, you
Jason Buff 21:45
Now what, let me ask one quick question. Sure. So this just out of curiosity is the primary. Where's the primary place that you do research of that nature? Is it IMDB? Or is it just, you know, do you have some other place that you see, you know, all the different horror films that are releasing? How much you know, who's the distribution company and all that? Is it just IMDB? Or is it you know, somewhere else that you look for that?
Danny Draven 22:08
Well, there's a lot of places that you can look, especially with the internet, I mean, you certainly the IMDB is a great resource. You can read, you know, read the trades. I look, I mean, I read the trades I read, you know, Hollywood Reporter And variety, you know, you know, who's making what they're making what, who's who's remaking what, you know, coming down the line, if you've been from the studio level, you there's a home media magazine, that's a really great resource to see, like kind of what's coming out on DVD what's coming out on Blu Ray, you know, that's a good one to read and see what's performing well, what's you know, on home video, that sort of thing. You know, and the Internet and IMDb, I mean, those are really you don't think you really need to get you don't need to go crazy with it. But you know, if you just get an idea of Okay, are there any zombie movies coming out anytime soon? Or, you know, what, what, how are they doing? And is it? And are they are they being distributed? And if they are who buy you know, that sort of thing? So yeah, you just do your research before you go out and make one because if there's if there's something coming out or something similar again, and happens so, so often, so many people are making movies, that all that guy made that was just like mine, damn it, you know, and, you know, it's so it happens, but it's a good, it's, it's good to, to have more than one idea too. So if you, if you're like, Well, maybe it's not a good time, we could make the film, but maybe it's not a good time to make it right now. You know, maybe we'll make it like next year. And then the meantime, we'll make this other project that we had in mind, you know, let let the, let the let it cool off. Because even with that comes out and, and everybody hates that, that sub genre of horror. I mean, I mean, you know, then, you know, probably not a good idea to go out and make another found footage movie, you know. I made a found footage, film and the whole and honestly, the whole reason we made that I didn't want to make a found footage film. I didn't. I never intended on making the found footage film, not I it was just, it actually was a project that came to me. And it was like, hey, we need to make a found footage film and I like found footage film. I was like, you know, it didn't were a way to do that. Why Why would we make accomplished but Well, no, it's kind of really popular. Right? You know, again, you know, she's, you know, got paranormal and, you know, paranormal activity and what did the wreck wreck movies were and all that stuff. And I was like, yeah, those are great. Those are like, you know, million dollar I mean, not Blair but you know, rock and stuff like that. I mean, you know, they had pretty big budgets for the for those found footage films. And, and it was like, Yeah, but the market was was doing was hot for those at the at that time. And we had some inside, you know, contacts for when it came to distribution. And it was kind of like, hey, you know, we make this found footage film, it's, it's gonna get distributed and it's going to do it's, it's a good time for it. So we ended up making so and that's how kind of really that movie film really for now aka specters was made. And and
Jason Buff 25:10
So did they come with? Did they come to you? Like I was just talking to Scott Kirkpatrick about how they build a project, and then they'll hire, you know, a screenwriter, they'll hire a director and everybody else. I mean, they've already kind of sold the project to the distribution company before they even, you know, put together the screenplay. Is that becoming?
Danny Draven 25:32
No, I don't think it's I don't, I mean, I don't think it's gotten a little bit on the low budget kind of level, I don't think it's that common to really sell the project, like, like, sell the project as far as like distribution, rights, I mean, and then go make the movie. And I mean, I think it used to be like that, maybe back in the 90s. And stuff where they would sell foreign, you know, you sell these pre sales, you know, based on artwork, like fullmoon used to do back in the day, you know, it'd be like, Hey, here's an artwork and a title you guys are interested in, then they'd be like, yeah, we'd love it. And then they would say, you know, advance, advance most of the budget that they would need to go make the film, but these days, you know, especially on the lower budgeted level, it's, it's, you know, especially if you don't have if you don't have a start tag team, forget it. I mean, who's gonna, who's gonna be the distribution company? Who's in it, and they're like, well, nobody, my brother, my sister, they're not gonna, you're not gonna get money from a distributor. Now you can do say, you know, Nicolas Cage is attached to it, yes, you know that, but you're talking about a whole different level of filmmaking at that point. But I'm talking on the indie level with, with, with that's just say, for the sake of this conversation, that there's no stars, and you're just making it with, you know, some talent, talented actors that you find, but there's no, there's no recognizable name in it. Your money is not most likely not going to be coming from your distribution from a distribution company, unless you're self distributing, but But in that case, it's coming from you anyway. So, you know, AI, it's, it's, it's not, it's more, what's more common, is, you. I mean, look, I mean, is the company, the distribution company, is often sometimes on the lower budget stuff, and the distribution company is often the financing company, as well. So it's kind of their own project anyway, but they're the one making the decision on what kind of movie they're making. I mean, like full moon, for instance, filming pictures, I mean, they're, they're kind of their own distribution company. And they went out, especially now, because they have folder in streaming.com, which is where they stream all their latest projects, but I mean, his that whole business model is kind of like, you know, they make their own product, and they distribute their own product, you know, they make a new film, and it comes out through their, their website, their streaming website, and that's a, that's a big thing now, too, with, with like, the, the Vimeo in demand, and all that stuff is you can, you can go out and make a film and put it up on site, like, Vimeo on demand, and people can, you can send people there, and they can pay to stream your movie, or they can pay to download your movie. And it's a great, it's a great distribution. method, but you know, you still you can, you can, you can lead the horse to water, but you can't necessarily make them drink it in. So you still have to have a higher quality product for people to, to want to go there and stream it and buy it, you know, so I'm gonna answer a little bit of your question there.
Jason Buff 28:32
Yeah, no, it's perfect. You know, I just I get obsessed, because I, you know, I always try to put together this magic formula for, you know, you know, I've talked to some people that work in distribution, and they're just like, yeah, man, it's just so oversaturated now, and I know all these people who've lost tons of money, because they went out, and they made these, you know, horror movies for, like, you know, half a million dollars. And then they got to the distribution. And it was, like, they, you know, they just lost everything, because it wasn't like the right thing. So, so one of the things that I tried to help people with and also myself, you know, is like figuring out, you know, maybe we can talk for a second about, you know, budgeting and how much money you know, more or less kind of what things are, you know, should be priced at, because I know, people who go out and make their first movie for, you know, 100,000 $200,000 and, you know, I've heard other people like, you know, just do it as cheap as you possibly can. Because at the end of the day, if you don't get distribution, then you haven't lost your shirt, you know? Yeah. So what what is your take on that in terms of just like budgeting, save somebody in, you know, middle America, whatever, you know, is like wants to make a horror movie and wants to try and like maybe take it to AFM or something or whatever, you know, what kind of advice what what kind of budget range? How should that all be broken down when they're first starting out and trying to produce a film.
Alex Ferrari 29:56
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Danny Draven 30:05
Yeah, sure. Yeah. I totally so but just just to add to, to your distribution, comment, you know, about the people who've made who have lost money. I mean, believe me, I mean, I know so many people that have have have lost a lot, you know, I mean, including myself, you know, when I pulled out the credit cards, and, you know, the massive massive credit card debt for films, you know, for years, trying to pay them off. And for ship that wasn't even my wasn't even fine. It was just stuff I wanted to pay for out of my own pocket to make it better. And I didn't even own the rights to it. And I was paying for stuff. I mean, I mean, it's just really stupid stuff like that early on, but, but I mean, but but but yeah, people have lost a lot when it comes to distribution. So when, when it comes to me thinking that, okay, well, we're gonna spend all this money, but we're, then we're gonna go out and we Yeah, we're totally going to get it distributed. I mean, it especially now, I mean, it doesn't, it's just not like that anymore. I mean, it's, it's, it is absolutely oversaturated it has been for a long time. So, you know, your, your product needs to stand out, if you're going to even have a have a really good chance of have a really good distribution. Deal. And, and, you know, just just going out with some friends and shooting a splash over the weekend, you know, and you max your credit cards out for 40, grand or whatever, you know, you really can't expect to be getting that back, you know, and I and I always say, you know, look, don't don't invest, don't invest more than you can afford to lose, because it's a very, very big possibility that you will lose all of it, or you or you might get it distributed, but you won't necessarily get the money back. I mean, because, you know, when, when a company a distribution company takes over your movie, they might give you a little bit of an advanced, if you're lucky, it give you a little bit of advance, like say, Okay, well, we'll give you two grand for the advance, and then you'll never see another dime ever again. And that's happened to me on on on films that I've done. And that's why we you know, the company goes out of business, and it's like, Hey, would have you know, what happened to those guys? Oh, then they changed the name of their company again, like, oh, well, we need to see statements, we need to see a producer statement now. Oh, you know, we can't do that for you. So all the money that you've seen is you know, the advance you know, and and it sucks for the filmmaker because, you know, at that point your movie has already been distributed, you know, you can get Yeah, sure you can get the rights back and try to repack redistributed and everything at that point. But, you know, it's it's kind of US goods at that point. You know what I'm saying? So, yeah, I mean, yeah, so when you're when you're going out of the gate, I mean, it's, it's just really be careful with the amount of money that you're you're committing to something and and I think you'll you'll you'll live a happier life if something if something doesn't work out the way it's supposed to when it comes to distribution. But coming going back to your your budget question you asked me how to how to what what some what some budget tricks are for for for somebody coming up? Definitely. Well, first of all is is if you're if your is to spend trying to spend as less money as you possibly can I mean, you really have to kind of be don't be annoying Don't be a moocher, you know, just but but it whatever, you have to sit down on a piece of paper and write down all the things that you your friends or family have available that you can use for free, then then what you do you sit down you say okay, well, I have a I have my parents house, I have a lake, there's some public lands that there they nobody cares, we shoot there, there's that old abandoned building that we could totally shoe that, you know, we have a boat, we have a car, you know, we have my, my mom's a teacher, and maybe I can shoot at the school or something like that. So you write all those things down on a piece of paper, of all the things that that you have for free. And it can be other things too, that you can put in the scene, like, Oh, Uncle Bob has a Lamborghini or a, you know, has a has an AK 47 Or so I don't know, whatever it is. You write all these things down. And then what you do is you look at all that stuff, you put it up on a board and you can look at all that stuff and say, What kind of movie could I make with all of these things? What kind of story Oh, maybe I already have a story when so if I already have a story, can I look at all those elements and say how can I incorporate all that into my story? Can my story take place at that house? At that at that on that boat in that car? Can I can I can I you know, can I rewrite it for that? And I think if you can do that and if you're willing to compromise whatever it is to to adjust your story to what you have available. that you can get for free, I think you'll save a lot, you'll save a ton of money. I mean, I was I do that pretty much for every film. But it's, it's, it's, it's a process that's kind of like, you know, Hey man, you know, let's not, let's not spend where we don't need to spend and one of the big one big expense on low budget films is the location, particularly if you're in LA, you know, when you get out of LA, you can pretty much get a lot a lot more for free. I mean, people are so much more. So they're just happy to work on a movie because it's exciting. And you know, you're not taking advantage or anything like that, you know, these people are I believe I shot in like Fresno, and it was like a you couldn't you couldn't tell these but you had to push people away like, hey, no, I think we got more than we need, you know, thank you. They were just, I mean, they were coming out in the, in the hundreds to be extras. And and and it was it was actually overwhelming. I think a lot of times and but in LA and a whole different story. I mean, you're like, you know, you're shooting at a location people are people are being dicks, you know, people are, you know, turning their lawn mowers on. So you'll go over and tell them, you know, to turn it off, and then they'll they then they'll, they'll try to extort money out of you to do it, you know, I'm not going to turn it off unless you pay me and I was like, Okay, I've had people shoot BB guns at me before we were at a location and the ad went over and asked politely if we were shooting a scene in an alley and we didn't have you know, we didn't have a permit to be shooting there anyway, but the the one of the ad is asked them that, hey, would you guys mind just just for just for like, you know, five minutes, we just want you to grab this quick shot, so on so and they just like went totally like Psycho and they're just like, you know, Buck you and but we're not, I can do both. And they got on the roof. And they started shooting BB guns at the crew members. Nice. You know, I mean, tons of stuff like that, you know, I you know, extorting money out of out of us I've had, I've had that happen before I've had, you know, fire departments showing up and trying to threatening to shut us down unless the we paid immediately would pay him like, I forget, like some kind of some kind of fee to get the permit, but like right on the spot. So it's like, you know, that sort of thing. And no cops, neighbors showing up on and telling us that their generator was causing health problems and stuff, and they wanted money. And today, it's just, it's ridiculous. I guess I'm getting, too but um, so anyway, I guess what I'm going with that is that if you're shooting in LA, it's probably a little harder to get certain locations like that for free. And, but when you're, since most people are probably listening to your podcast, or outside of LA, I think you really need to utilize what you have. I mean, you know, the movie making worlds isn't isn't just in Los Angeles, you know, so if you're living in Kansas or Ohio or wherever it is, I mean, there's there's a lot of great locations with with amazing production value that you can get. So you should just just utilize all that stuff. And I think you'll save big in your, in your budget. I think that's one of the biggest money savers on a low budget film is is the availability of of stuff you already have.
Jason Buff 38:04
Now, on the other side of that, what are the things that you absolutely can't be cheap about?
Danny Draven 38:09
Oh, well, that goes without saying, there's one thing you don't want to be cheap about is the quality of your film. And what to add, first and foremost, the actors, don't be cheap with your actors, pay them good actors. And you will you will you will not be sorry. Pay for good, good, a good camera. I mean, you know, I mean, look within reason. I mean, not everybody can shoot on the backs. Not everybody can shoot on the red web, you know, but if you have I mean, but now, I mean, look, I mean, the film that Shaun Baker did, that they shot he shot on an iPhone five s with an anamorphic attachment, you know, using using a $9 at or an $8 app, you know, and it got a theatrical release, you know what I mean? I mean, there are other ways to do things, but um, you know, then you have the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera $3,000 Camera you know, you have the Alexa has a mini now, you know, the Alexa mini just came out looking at that this year and that at the NAB Show, and there are other other options, but don't be cheap with your camera. You know, don't don't Don't be cheap with your camera. Don't be cheap with your key crew members. And you know what I mean? But as your DP credibly important for the obviously for the look at your movie. Don't be cheap with lenses. Don't be cheap with the camera. Don't be cheap with lenses, something cheap as a DP Don't be cheap with production design. It put the money on the screen, you know, at all times. I think if you just go into it and say look, if I'm where I'm spending money in this budget, I need to make sure that this money is going up on the screen. So you know if I'm spending money for for silly stuff, you know, see if you can cut that stuff back.
Alex Ferrari 39:48
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Danny Draven 39:58
And redistribute that money into something that the audience is actually going to see on the screen. And that can be anything that I just list I just mentioned, you know, and more, you know, more so, yeah, I mean, it don't, you know, don't don't be cheap on that stuff, it will show it definitely will show and post to don't be oh my god, don't don't be cheap on your post and don't say I'm going to fix them post either because as an owner of a post company for 10 years, it's gonna cost you a hell of a lot more money to fix it in post than it would have been to get it right the first time. And a lot of that has to do with sound. Usually, it's probably the biggest problems that I have coming into my post company, people that just hired the worst sound people known to man. And it's just like a disaster. Usually, so. Yeah, so don't be cheap.
Jason Buff 40:49
Right! Well, that's one of the big things that I think a lot of people don't understand. And I always try to, like kick that over the head, you know, as much as possible in terms of sound, people will be like, oh, yeah, we've got, you know, this amazing 4k camera and whatever. And it's like, it's like, yeah, that doesn't really matter at all. You know, if you don't have good sound, if you don't have a good DP work in the camera, if you don't have all the things, you know what I mean? So I always try to make sure that people understand, you know, and I've heard from some people that like, the sound guy and the catering guy are sometimes the most important guy on the set, you know?
Danny Draven 41:23
Yeah, don't get Don't Don't be cheap with your food, too. I mean, you really don't I mean, you really got to get you know, these people are coming there and working hard and you got to take care of your as a producer, you got to take care of your people. Definitely take it do not the whole like okay, hamburgers for everybody. And there's coke in the thing. That's not a that's not a proper diet for most people, you know what I mean? You have to, you know, spend the money into feeding, feeding people and, and giving people options and to what to eat on set. You know, don't don't take everybody out to McDonald's. That's not catering. You know? That's, that's actually quite punishment. Punishment, you know, but, but I was gonna say something else, too, as you're tracking on something there and I had it in my head, but then I went off on some stupid McDonald's rant. So while you were talking about, well, sound No. Sound sound kidding. But but the DP two, I mean, look, I mean, here's the, here's one of the biggest things I see happening to a lot of times is that these cameras have become so amazing, and so cheap, that oftentimes filmmakers will just say, man, you know, why do I need to dp for just shooting myself, you know, just just point and shoot, you know, we'll just use a zoom lens will point and shoot and I, it looks good to me, I turned the camera on the end of the cameras can can shooting in with a candle on in the room and actually still looks pretty decent. But that's not you know, that's not again, it's not love. That's not cinematography, that's not, you know, real filmmaking, you really want to get, you know, get somebody in there that's dedicated to that department. Right? You know, and not the direct because IVP didn't directly before. So it's, oh, God, it's crazy. But if you but you know, you really want to hire a DP that comes in and can really give you the look that you want and makes the right lens choices and, and, and give you something because it will absolutely show in your movie. When you're done. You can tell you'll look at a movie and be like, Oh, that movie is not bad. But you know, they must have shot it all the zoom lens or they just shot it with some cheap lens or you know that they just kept moving around. And then you see another film that could be the new child, the same camera, but you're like, Oh my God, this looks fantastic. When they do oh my god, they were using like they were they had this amazing set of prime lenses that they were using and a really good DP that actually knows how to light. And that's one of the things I learned from Mac Ahlberg. Mac was a guy that Mac just so those of you don't know Mac Wahlberg was. He was a DP that I worked with on two films, and he shot Reanimator, and house in Beverly Hills Cop three and all these big Hollywood movies, big, big horror movies. He's also worked for us to record in a lot. And anyway, Mac and I were we're good friends and he shot two movies, but I remember for me, and then he shot two movies. And we used to talk all the time about cinematography. And he goes all the way but he was a really older guy. He goes all the way back to Ingmar Bergman. He shot. He shot one of the I think one shot in the seventh seal in leathergoods movie and he was so proud about that. Of course, that's right, and to even be involved in that. Anyway, one of the things he would always I learned from him was he he always would light we went to his first film on digital I think was with me, I made mistake of I think it was with me. And he would like the digital. Like it was filmed. And it would look it would look so good. And he you know, and it wasn't one of those things where he just would flip on the camera and be like, well, we're seeing an image. So yeah, that's great. That'll work. So It was really cool to watch him and watch him work on how he just still lit the digital like it was film and gave it the right exposure and everything. And it just the stuff really looked fantastic. But I mean, you know, to get a guy like that especial, but now I mean, you know, you just got to really make sure that you, you get somebody on board who's gonna, he's going to do a really good cinematography job for you. Because I'm telling you, man, it shows so much. You know, when you when you don't have that, you know? And so yeah, spend the money on that.
Jason Buff 45:31
Now, who are the key when you start working? You know, we're still a little bit in pre production? Who are the people that you really are kind of like your, you know, who do you go to for, like, putting together the budget? And who are your key kind of players? And who do you need even, you know, talking about, you know, lower budget features, but who would be the people that you needed to kind of like to make up your team aside from the DEP for like people like the assistant director, production manager, or, you know, who's sure. Anyway? Yeah.
Danny Draven 46:04
No, I gotcha. Not totally. Gotcha. Okay. Well, one is, and that's one of the things this is another thing that you don't want to be cheap on, and is the the, the management of your crew, or the management of the I'm sorry, the management of your film, you know, upper upper management of your field, you do not want to take on all the responsibilities yourself, believe me, don't do that, you know, Delegate delegate as much as you possibly can afford, particularly when it comes to having having an experienced line producer, particularly when it comes to having an experienced UPM. Like in a production manager, particularly when it comes to, you know, having that I'd say, those two, you have those two, you're you're already you're already doing pretty good at that point. But you know, just, I think it's very important for you to just to install an upper management team, start, you know, starting with your line producers, your line producers really going to be your your, your your, your, your buddy,
Jason Buff 47:07
Can you can you describe those people that don't completely understand what what exactly the line producers role is on the film? Sure, sure. Well, a line producer, just 101
Danny Draven 47:17
Yeah, I mean, they're not, they're not really in a creative role on the film, they're more in the, in the role of, you know, a line producer is more like the guy who, the producer that really does all the work, the grip, the grip, he's the guy who makes sure everybody's showing up, make sure you know, things are, you know, people are getting hired people, you know, things are on, people are moving on schedule, sometimes they deal with the, they deal with the studio, if there's a studio, they, they, they're really the the, the that like the central producing element and the film. So when I'm producing a film, I won't produce a film without a freaking line producer, you know, and producing for me, it's more, it's more more, I want to be more of a more of a creative producer. So it's more like, you know, I can get I get the I can get the I get the the idea, the script, I work with the writers creatively develop the project, I usually get the money, the funding for it. And then once that happens first, one of the first things I do is bring it all at once we were ready to go into production, when the first things I do will bring on a line producer, and the line producer will take that they'll budget it, they'll break down this, they'll break down the script, oftentimes, they'll Bill Bill, they'll hand they'll do a schedule, oftentimes, although sometimes your ad is more involved in that later on. But often the the line producer does the initial budget and initial schedule, they'll deal with sag, they'll deal with all those other elements. So there it's important to get an experienced line producer on board because it'll really help things go especially on low budget stuff. And then you have you know, other upper management like your ad, you know, who's I mean, I've made plenty of movies without an ad because they'll usually the line producers like oh, we can't afford an ad so I'll be your ad and I'm like Right. But to have a dedicated ad is is a real godsend because they really do you know, they help they help you run they help you run the set, and they let allow for you to concentrate on being a director and just just directing and not having to worry about where my frickin actors Why do I have to go find these guys, you know, that's the job of your ad and they do to help you stay on schedule and tell people to be quiet when they need to be quiet and that sort of thing. So you know, those those those upper upper management team is super important to install and quality and get qualified people if you can afford it. The budget allows people who have experience in that level of moviemaking. It's always a good thing too, because they get low budget if they get low budget, they understand like hey, we, you know, we can't be spending you know, $20 on a refrigerator. I mean, I did a friend of mine
Alex Ferrari 50:00
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Danny Draven 50:09
A well known director, friend of mine, gave me a budget one time. And he's like, he's like, you know, you just made this movie for $35,000 in like, you know, this movie that I'm doing. It's like, it's not that much more complicated. The one they did that they just gave me a $350,000 budget. And he's like, can you you think you could look at this for me and see if you could, you know, shave off 100 grand or something like that. So I did it for him. I looked at it. And I was like, I was my eyes were bleeding. I couldn't believe the stuff that they were paying for in there. And I just went through it with him. I'm like, nope, nope, no, no, here's this look at me like, and I was like, no, no, no, no, I was like, Do you have somebody actually budgeted for you to have a to to go out and buy a $200 refrigerator for your production office? Is that what movies? Have you been this guy been working on? His low budget movie? Oh, $200 for refrigerator. I mean, just things like that. It was it was absolutely ridiculous. So I shaved off like 150 grand for him. He was really happy. But yeah, I mean, things like that. You just, it's like, Jewish. So So yes. I hope I answered your question there. But
Jason Buff 51:16
Yeah, so when you're when you start directing? The, how important is it that you can just like kind of be do you have kind of that laser focus on? Okay, we have to get this scene, then we're moving to that scene. And, you know, are you just like, visualizing where the cameras gonna go? Are you? Have you worked it out most of it before you get on the set? Or do you kind of do it while you're there?
Danny Draven 51:38
Well, I think on this on we, I've done it both ways. But honestly, on the films that I've done, they've, they've been done in such a hurry. That, you know, I mean, I got, you know, look really, really well, I shot in six days. I mean, and you know, we were doing 717 15 pages a day, at Linda Vista hospital, East LA running around this frickin giant hospital, the whole thing, but a 16 a six day movie. And, you know, I think when you're doing something that quickly, a lot of people, a lot of people, and they should they feel like people should be prepared. They want to come in prepare, like, hey, you know, I know every single shot that I'm doing, I'm gonna come in, and everybody's gonna be like, Wow, you're the most amazing prepared director I've ever met, blah, blah, blah. And then they get there. And they're like, and your life just comes up to you say, oh, yeah, the location or says we can't shoot on that floor. Today, there's another crew coming in the deal, we may have a bubble box, so you can't shoot there. And you have to shoot on another floor. And then and then immediately your shot list is gone. It's you just gotta crumbled up, throw it away. You're like, what? Any kind of fucking work here. So now we got to, we got to shoot on a completely different floor, a completely different look. And we have to roll with the punch. So now all that prep you did doesn't matter. So I mean, like really evil like I, you know, I mean, obviously, a lot of the films but particularly really, like I remember because I just was like, just show up and like, okay, what are we doing? It's like, okay, here's the site, and I would, I literally would look at the schedule and just say, Okay, we're shooting, I was shooting that we're shooting that, okay, great. And then I would go, we go in there, I grab the actors, and we I'd read over the scene. And, and I would just start cutting the scene together in my head, like, okay, you know what I mean? I have the experience as an editor. So I go in, and I already know what it's going to look like. So I'm like, Okay, well, you come around the corner and the cameras here to the shoot it this way, and then boom, we're done. So for me, it's very fast. And to the point and we don't waste footage, we don't I don't over cover, I don't shoot too many takes, I know when I got something when I don't cut some but but that comes from a lot of experience with editing. So, you know, I mean, I maybe I can do that kind of stuff, I'm sure other people can do that kind of stuff. But if you're maybe if it's your first project, it's always a good idea to be prepared, you know, I mean, because even if you do the prep work, and you come in with a plan, most of the time you can execute it but not all the time. You can a lot of times you can't shoot that direction or the sun's in the wrong we can't shoot that direction how you planted it, you know, so you have to shoot the other way well, that kind of changes your your blocking plan or your your shot plan, you know, and you just have to be able to roll with it you know, and if you can do that then I think you know you're you're on your way to directing directing a lot you know, because it certainly doesn't always turn out the way you had it on paper.
Jason Buff 54:23
So So what is the key talking specifically Now since this is going to be for our October sky marathon? I don't know what it's gonna be called Scarah THON what what is the key to you know, horror is very different than every other genre you know, because you have to really affect the audience like you have to scare the pants off of them you know, and then if you're successful horror movie you have, you know, maybe not jumpscares but you have to scare people what what do you think are kind of the key ingredients for creating a successful horror film and making people feel like they got what They wanted to out of it, you know, scaring them or whatever?
Danny Draven 55:03
Well, yeah, great, no, great question. I think that, um, I think it comes down to having, you know, having one having characters that you really care about that that are, are compelling, you know, that people that you want to watch people that you're going to, you're going to actually give a shit if they're coming up against a monster or a threat of some kind. You see, so that definitely, number one is your story and your characters, but as far as like, you know, the monsters and what things like that, I mean, yeah, I mean, I mean, look, I mean, monsters like, like, monster but somebody like, like, a leather face. Or, or, or Jason Freddy. I mean, those guys have been around for a long time for a reason. You know, they were compelling. Monster more compelling, more horror movie villains. I mean, that's why they've lasted this long. And I think if you can come up with a monster or a disease or whatever it may be, you know that that that is compelling enough to do a lot of sequels hopefully that they should go with it, you know? But you know, you're really I know it's hard now though, to it is hard, you know, because there's things how everything's seems like everything's been done, but that doesn't that doesn't mean that doesn't mean that you can't do and it certainly doesn't mean you can't go out and make your own slasher. Just because there's been a million flashers made. You just need to go out and make a slasher. That is your own point of view. And is that your own interpretation of what you think a slasher movie should be like? And hopefully that translates into your vision and to your, your aesthetic and your brand and your, your unique style of moviemaking. So I think if you look at it from that point of view, you can't really you know, you can you can you might be able to get inspired and say hey, you know, well, you know, I always wanted to make a slasher on a submarine around just like a slasher in a treehouse or whatever the hell it may be, you know, and I have a unique way that I think we're just going to work for doing it. And, and that's what you should do, you know, and so there really, I mean, there really isn't, I mean, you can you can study, you can study horror movies all you want and you should you absolutely should, particularly the classics, particularly, as well, so many great movies that have been made in the 80s in the 80s in the 70s certainly certainly today too, but I think more so in the in the in the earlier years, you know, but
Jason Buff 57:38
You haven't any specific films that like stick out that kind of really affected you?
Danny Draven 57:43
Oh, yeah, I mean, look when I when I made Stuart Gordon was a big influence for me because he was my kind of my directing mentor really, we made a movie together many years ago. And $35,000 movie called deathbeds to record presents deathbed, we were going to do a whole series of these things to record presents this and that and then hold the boat the first one we made together and he was the executive producer and his name was above the title and the whole deal. And
Jason Buff 58:10
I just watched a bunch of the outtakes from that because it's on YouTube. Behind the scenes footage of you guys shooting that oh, yeah, that's really kind of cool.
Danny Draven 58:18
Yeah, that was a fun one. It was it was a it was fun. But I mean, I learned so much on that film. I mean, it was it was so I mean, we again it was we shot it for 25 grand and it was posted for 10 and we shot it this is pre 24 P So like this is before like the cameras were like they are now this this is when we would shoot on digital video we shoot on DV cam and we would film look it through through After Effects plug in or the company in Burbank called film where they would actually take take it and remove the telephony and try to make it look more like a shot on film. And that's why we were doing a lot of stuff in the in the early 2000s Before the 24 P cameras came out. So anyway, we made this film and and I remember before we made the film, Stewart I went to Western Stewart went over to Stewart's house with Mack Wahlberg or dp and, and we he's like, Hey, this watch this watch some horror movie. So. So we watched one of my favorite classic horror films, which is called the innocence. And that's a really great one for you to watch. And then we
Jason Buff 59:18
I haven't seen that and what is what is that when that?
Danny Draven 59:21
That is? What's the lady's name. That is it's a black and white film. It's got my brag. My brain just completely went blank. Debreu Deb, I think it's Deborah.
Jason Buff 59:32
Oh, yeah, cuz she was the one who was in poltergeist. Oh, yeah. But just okay. I remember. Yeah, that was really good. It's amazing. It's a fantastic. It's like a ghost movie. Yeah, that was amazing. I remember. I saw that last year.
Danny Draven 59:46
Yeah, it's a classic man. Just just I mean, that's that. You can't go innocence. Yeah, okay. And the other film that that I think is very well certainly was very powerful and very, that pretty much Stuart Gordon says it was his horror film school. Rosemary's Baby.
Alex Ferrari 1:00:02
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Danny Draven 1:00:11
And roseworth Baby, the original Rosemary's Baby, I don't know people made a TV series or something, who knows, but you ever
Jason Buff 1:00:17
To pretend there's not another one
Danny Draven 1:00:19
Rollerblades use. Rosemary's Baby was absolutely. I know for Stuart certainly was the was his film school for, and I watched it with him when we watched it together. And he was pointing out things. And I was like that, you know, I never really thought about it like that. Yeah, see what you're saying. So we watched it together and really took it apart. And it was like, it was so cool. Because, you know, here I am sitting with frickin Stuart Gordon, Park, Rosemary's Baby, and it was amazing. So I think, you know, the Rosemary's Baby and the innocence. I mean, there's there's a lot of them. But I think those two in particular, really, certainly stood out. As classics because we were we were specifically looking at sort of more of that style of filmmaking, sort of like ghost stories, and,
Jason Buff 1:01:07
But you can learn so much about directing and screenwriting from Rosemary's Baby, just by itself. You know, because you watch it, you can watch it five or six times and the second time you watch, you've seen the whole thing, and you watch it again. And you see what's kind of going on, like, so much of that movie takes place, away from the camera, you know what I mean? So it's like, you're, you're learning all these things from, you know, the, the neighbors and everything, you know, all these things that are going on, and you're kind of seeing everything through the point of view of a woman who, you know, seems like she's kind of losing her mind. But it's actually you know, it's actually something's actually happening to her, but it's just brilliant that and you know, I always like that and Chinatown. Yeah, Atlantis, because to two movies back to back that were just incredible. Those are like filmmaking schools on there.
Danny Draven 1:01:54
Absolutely. Man. Polanski. I mean, he's a, he's a, he's a master filmmaker. There's no, no, no question about that. I mean, look, in The Shining to the shining is a great example. There's a really good book, actually, I've been reading. It's called. It's called The Shining studies in the horror film by Daniel Olsen, edited by Daniel Wilson. And it's just this big old frickin book about the making of The Shining. And it's just really, really, really interesting if you're interested. So there's also one on the exorcist two studies in the horror film series. That's really good. I mean, of course, The Exorcist, there's no question that that's one of probably one of the best poor films ever made. But I mean, the Shining The Shining, and that one on one film that I actually was talking about last night, was a film called The entity with Barbara Hershey is one of the films that scared of freaking shit out of me. It was really, really, really scary. And the changeling is an amazing not just an Angelina Jolie thing. The Changeling The old the classic one with George. George, God. The guy who played Patton for God's sakes, Georgie Scott, George, anyway. Anyway, so yeah, but he's in this film called the changeling Oh, man, it's such a great, such a great ghost story. Just classy and just authentic beauty. Just AWESOME film. Really amazing, though. But me, you know, I mean, I could go on we could go on all day about that. That's a whole nother podcast, I think. But um, the this the but this, um, this is so important to, to do is to really look at these films and really study these classics. And certainly, Hitchcock, if you ch COC is probably one of the best film schools that you could ever have is to just watch Hitchcock and study Hitchcock. I mean, he's just it's just goes without goes without saying that. That's a good one, too. So, yeah, so
Jason Buff 1:03:46
Let me let's let's move slowly, just so I mean, I know you don't have a whole lot of time. No,
Danny Draven 1:03:51
just whatever. I'm here for you. So just let me just keep okay.
Jason Buff 1:03:55
We'll be here for another four hours. I haven't happened. No big deal. Just kidding. So moving into, well, let me ask you something about just the actual creating of creatures do you go to just like a creature workshop? How is the creatures designed? How does that whole process work? And who owns it at the end of the day? Say for example, you create, you know, you've got a screenplay you've read, you've got this character you have, you know, artists working on it or whatever. Do you own that creature after they created this? Did the company that make it own those rights? You know, how does that all work?
Danny Draven 1:04:35
Well, yeah, it's gonna be whoever owns the whoever owns the film. I mean, because you're you're creating you're creating a likeness of a character so I mean, it you know, you're creating say it's a some kind of weird pumpkin creatures, pumpkin head, but I mean, some kind of, yeah, whoever designs that I mean, if you if it's in the film, I mean, you whoever owns the rights to film is going to own that. Got likeness of that creature? I mean, of course, it depends on how the legal paperwork was all worked out to I mean, maybe they could have Weisen the image of it, they didn't necessarily own it, you know what I mean? But more than the chances are that whoever's whoever made the film with which there's a made the film are the ones that actually own it and can license it out and make T shirts and you know, masks and all that thing, that sort of thing. Because I've actually had masks made from my film Dark Walker, they made two masks out of it to Halloween masks, dark Walker one and dark Walker two, of course, there was never a dark Walker too. But they made a mask called Dark Walker too. And you can look it up actually, if you look it up on it's, it's a it's a fantastic mask. Research, it looks way better than the one in the movie. And it's like, it's like, man, that should have been the creature in the film what happened?
Jason Buff 1:05:55
But I mean, maybe you can just buy one and make part two real quick. But
Danny Draven 1:05:57
You know, what's funny, is, I was in, I traveled to, I think it was in Indonesia. And I had a I found I found, you know, I'm always interested in I'm very interested in foreign horror, I love for horror films, particularly Asian heart. But I found this film and and I picked it up off the shelf. And it was some Indonesian horror movie. And I was looking, I was like, oh, it's some kind of weird ghost movie thing. So I flipped over to the back. And I was like, What the fuck, they had bought the mask for my movie Dark Walker, and used it in the movie, as if it was if this that was the creature in their movie. And then on the back cover, there's a picture of the mask, the guy wearing the mask, and you know, they just add a little blood on it or something to make it look a little different, had a different suit. And I was like, I was like, Well, what the hell? Yeah, so anyway, I thought, I mean, I didn't care. I thought it was funny, you know, to me, I don't whatever, you know, go do it. They want to do that. It's flattering. I know. But I just thought it was hilarious. I was looking at this movie, like, what? So yeah, I mean, it happens. But in that case, it's certainly in that particular case, certainly, we own the the likeness of the mask that needed it. So but I think as far as as far as how it gets created, that is usually a conversation with the director that the writer can write it one way, but the director might have a different vision of how it looks. So usually, the director talks with the either the makeup artist, and says, Hey, I want it to look a little a little like this, and this and this, and then the makeup artists will usually do a sometimes they'll do a draw, they could do a drawing for you, sometimes you could have an artist do a drawing, and then you just give it to the makeup artists I want you to I want you to do a model this, I've done I've done it both ways. Sometimes the makeup or the especially back Scarab artists would would, would do a mock up for you, you know, and just say you come in and they do they do a, you know, a sculpture of it. And then you can do you know, do some adjustments there. And then once you're satisfied with it, then they they mold it, and then they're they they make the prosthetics that they need to make and you're done. You know, and and you have you have your your new character. So that's kind of really the process with it. It's it's kind of a collab, so definitely a collaborative process. I mean, if you have something super specific in mind, it's a good idea to hire a, an artist to draw it for you to do even if it's just a simple pencil drawing to somebody that draw what you have in mind and hand that to somebody who can execute it as a as a prosthetic or, or whatever, you know, particular effect you're doing. So that's kind of how that that whole thing works. Yeah.
Jason Buff 1:08:35
Now would you say that's a lot more effective? The I mean, not effective, but a lot more economic if you're trying to do a creature, I mean, is there any way you can do CGI or something like that? And these low budget movies?
Danny Draven 1:08:50
Oh, yeah, no, totally. I've done it several times to fix bad makeup. What I've learned I've did it on Ghost month I did it on neural evil, what I just call I call it digital makeup. And what it is is you go you know, I had a situation where, you know, we did some makeup test and I thought it was gonna look better than it did. And then we got to set and then the guy came out. And I was like, What the fuck did they mean it just looks it looks so bad. I mean, it happens a lot on low budget movies happens to me seems seems like a lot and my earlier movies, it was like, a lot of times it would be the first time that I had actually even seen the makeup would be when I'm on set. We only would hire somebody then we just didn't have the money in the budget and the time and it would have just be they would come out and say here's the vampire and I'm like okay, what Halloween store did we go to right? So so I would spend all this energy trying to figure out how I'm going to cover this. How I'm going to not show this person because it looks so ridiculous. So a lot of times there'll be in shadow or you don't stay on on too long and it was just like, you know always like that, but I remember one film it was like
Alex Ferrari 1:09:59
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Danny Draven 1:10:08
The guy came out. And it was like, it was like what? You know, he looks like he looks like powder, you know, the guy from the power, Victor. So you just see this the terrible and it was like it didn't look anything like mine. So I was like, Okay, well well let's change that talk to the DP, I was like, Well, you know, we got I got to shoot this, because there's no, there's no, we're in the middle of the desert, there's nothing else we can do. So we, you know, I talked to him about changing the lighting up and changing the way we're going to shoot it and how I'm going to shoot it and that sort of thing. And, and, you know, they helped. And then when I got it into post, because that's kind of one of my things specialties is I gave it to a friend and I said, Hey, you know, let's do some digital makeup on this guy because he looks ridiculous. So I had his face morph into like a skeleton or, and you know, and I had the other girl's face morph into this weird, like, core PC looking thing, and, and so on and so forth. And it worked great. And after that I was happy because I was like, Oh, good, because it looks a little more supernatural now because their face is actually morphing from some some one one state to another state. So it looked a little bit. It was funner. To to use. But But yeah, I mean, that's happened to me several times I did it on real evil to some stuff where the it wasn't that the makeup was necessarily, it wasn't that the main idea wasn't happy with the makeup on that when it was more that I thought it could be scarier. So we added additional makeup on to it to make it even scarier. So, so yeah, that's, that definitely, definitely happens. If you can roll roll with the roll with the punches with what you got to work with. But sometimes you can fix that stuff like that in post if you have the, the know how,
Jason Buff 1:11:41
Right! You believe in the idea that it's better not to see the monster, you know that it's more scary. You know, I'm a huge fan of jaws. It's one of my favorite movies. I'm always like, you know, and you know, Spielberg's big influence was a movie called cat eyes. And so he, he was like, Well, I don't know how to tell the story of the shark is terrible. So we gotta find a way to shoot this movie without showing the shark. So you know, he was talking about how this movie cat eyes you never ever see. The, the the creature, the monster, the cat or whatever? Yeah. So I would think that's another way to kind of like, you know, and even if you have a cool character to kind of keep it in the dark, you know, until maybe towards the end where you do like a reveal or something like that. Yeah, no, absolutely.
Danny Draven 1:12:27
I think I think I'm a firm believer in that. Absolutely. And it's a closed door is is way scarier than then to not know what's behind that door, or what's in that darkness. But you know, something is there is such a great technique, a horror movie making technique that, you know, that the mind of the, the audience just goes, goes crazy, you know, and, you know, and I think that's, it's a great that those are the kinds of films that I prefer to make, you know, I'm totally like more of a classical or guy, like, I like to make movies like a Rosemary's Baby, or, you know, or the well, the ones I mentioned before, you know, those are the films I like to make. But, you know, when you're making something for hire, or for as a producer for hire director for hire, oftentimes, you don't really have those options, a lot of times, they you know, the companies or the distributors, they want to see a lot more because it makes a great trailer, you know, or it makes a great piece of art, you know, or that sort of thing, you know, which, of course, is obviously completely business related, not artistic related. But, but, you know, I mean, you know, it's entertainment businesses like that, it's the combination of, of art and commerce, you know, and, and you it's just finding a way to still get your vision on the screen, but understanding that you have to walk down a wavy, you know, a sort of a way, the way of trying to get, get the commerce out of it, but still trying to get the art out of it at the same time, you know, and being able to compromise and still get get a good movie made at the same time. You know, it's difficult to do, no doubt. I mean, so,
Jason Buff 1:14:09
Yeah, a lot of the people that I've talked to who are, you know, producers that a lot of them are like, you know, we need to package it in such a way that people are going to want to watch it in the first place. Yeah, but sometimes you have to hide a good movie within a movie that's more commercial, you know? Yeah. So it's like, I want to watch this, you gotta get that initial click, and then it's like, oh, this is actually a good movie. You know, Ken jaws to me is always the perfect example of that. It's like the perfect, you know, popcorn movie, but inside of it, it's an amazing movie I've seen and I mean,
Danny Draven 1:14:36
Totally, man. I mean, absolutely. And that's, that's a great way to look at it. But I think I think I mean, JAWS, of course, was made, you know, 30 whatever year 40 years, I think now right 40 years ago, but and that was a that was such a great time to be making movies back then. You know, but I think now I mean, with the distribution being changed so much. What's happening? I'm sort of look I mean, just happen to on a movie. I just did. So you know, I mean, they changed the artwork and the campaign and everything. But a lot of it has to do with, when it comes, especially with digital distribution, it has to it comes down to like, you only get a moment for somebody to be browsing through their Netflix skewered or browsing through their Hulu queue to stop and say, Hey, that looks kind of cool. You know, the title is good. If it's usually higher up on the higher up on the list, sometimes if it's alphabetical, sometimes it's good to have like, something that starts with an A, or A B, or a C, or a D, you know, versus something that starts with a Z, you know, kind of thing, there's little, little things like that, that are can be taken to consideration. But certainly artwork and trailer are, you know, this is so key to getting people to click on it, you know, to watch it. I mean, and, and in the case of a company, like say who you the filmmaker gets paid per click. So every time somebody clicks on that, they get X amount, you know, so it's important to get people to, to watch it. And if you if that means, you know, putting together an amazing piece of art and amazing trailer, then that's what you got to do, you know, so but but the movie still has to stand on its own to after you get you can get people to click on it, but you can't necessarily get them to watch it. So you still gotta make a good movie. But you can have a good trailer a good movie good art, you know, you're you're you're you're on your way, you know?
Jason Buff 1:16:26
Yeah. It just seems like nowadays, you you know, especially with Netflix, if you go into the horror section. It's like they put all this money into the graphic design of the poster, and then you start watching it. And it's like, oh, yeah, this is terrible. Yeah, it's like, yeah, they just kind of made it. I mean, it must have been bought as part of like, a larger package or something, you know, but the movie just completely there's nothing to it. It's badly shot that you know. So you know, you we've gotten into this world, I think where it's almost kind of like social media, people are trying to figure out how to get more stars on things people are trying to just like, get things shared around. But you know, the quality a lot of times isn't there. You know, you're
Danny Draven 1:17:06
Sure I probably made one of the two of those that you click that mean, no, you're absolutely right. I mean, you'll click I mean, look, I click on this stuff. I'm like, What the fuck, you know, it just That's why I just like to watch classics, my main, but I mean, yeah, yeah, totally. It's in their broadest packages. They're bought as other deals or licensing deals with, got, who knows? You know, there's Vudu, and Hulu and Netflix, and all these other distributors that say Amazon Prime all that stuff? Yeah, so
Jason Buff 1:17:39
One of the things that I try to do kind of with, you know, the podcast is, you know, trying trying to find that kind of line between, okay, there's people, I talk to a lot of people who are just doing purely, you know, art films that are like, you know, stories of tragedy and things that have, you know, I mean, and they're probably going to be really good movie, sure, but they're never going to be able to sell them, right. Yeah, it's never gonna go anywhere. So I'm always kind of like, okay, well, there's got it, you know, like, the stuff that I write is more, you know, in the horror, you know, monster movie kind of thing. But inside of the movie, there's like, stories, characters, and there's like, an actual, you know, hopefully, you know, an actual good movie inside of that, you know, so I always try to tell people, you know, try to do something, I mean, it's good to make a movie about, you know, you growing up in a small town, and this and that, and, but, you know, you have to connect somehow, if you can connect with your own audience, you know, good, good for, you know, go ahead and do that. And that's great. But, you know, you do have to have something that, you know, think about Netflix or iTunes, what are people going to click on?
Danny Draven 1:18:45
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I mean, again, it's art and commerce. Because, I mean, so many people I know, certainly happens a lot with me, when when people find out I'm a producer and director, whatever, that's, and especially if you're not in the business to all the all the sudden, they're like, whoa, go on a story for you. And they start telling me their life story about this and that, and, and, you know, and for them, yeah, it's, it's their own story, but they what they don't understand is, everybody's got a story, you know, but not, you know, not not every story makes a good movie. You know, so, you know, I mean, there's plenty of stories out there, like, yeah, the time that my, my boyfriend did this, wouldn't that make it a great movie? And you're just kind of like, well, not really. I mean, it's deeper than that. I mean, it's a lot deeper than that. And a lot of that has to do, I mean, it's going to it's going to do with the, the certainly the the the premise of it is has to be compelling. And the characters have to be compelling. The story they're telling has to be compelling the writing aspect. I mean, before you even get to all this stuff that we're talking about.
Alex Ferrari 1:19:51
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Danny Draven 1:20:00
I mean, we just you need to rewind and go back to the to your to your, your premise your concept. And then and then if you have a great premise and a great concept, then you you work up a treatment, you work up the treatment, you work out some bugs, you work up the script, you know, then he then you got more time to work on that script, you keep working, you keep chiseling that down to, to the way it needs to be. And if you know kind of what budget level you're going to shoot it on, and you need to limit the locations and limit the amount of people that are in the, in the scenes. And, and then when you once you get that all nice and polished up. Give it to a few people that that don't read scripts for a living and see what they think. And then and then do one more pass on it, you know, and then and then at some point around there, then maybe it's time to start, you know, getting the money to do it and put it in to actually Greenlight it and put it into and put it into production. But I think a lot of people don't spend enough time on the script. So I'm certainly guilty of that. I'm certainly guilty of films that I've made that were just like, yeah, you're just like the scripts not ready. Oh, well, we're shooting next week. Oh, you know, and you try to roll with it, like, oh, maybe there's something I can do to make it better. And you know, and you're like, No, not really. Because if it's not on the page to begin with, it's not only so much you can do with it, you know, so yeah, it's you're trying to you don't want to go into production with something that's, that's not ready. But yeah, I mean, it's, it's such an important it's actually one chat one section of this book that I wasn't able to because it's a whole different book. I mean, they can't I can't write like 25 pages about about screenwriting and storytelling and everything. So I just there was kind of an overview in my book about getting started and how to, you know, combine monsters, you know, stuff to inspire, to get it going. And then the rest is about actually making the film production and distribution and everything but screw the screenwriting aspect of it. It's a whole other book in itself. But if you're you know, if you're starting filmmaker and you're really want to get some really good books on on screenwriting, there's there's so many out there certainly story by Robert McKee is probably one of the best ones. There's an endless amount of a medic been written? I wouldn't say all of them are good, but I would say there's some there's certainly some that have been written on on specifically on horror. I think the one guy wrote one on that genre filmmaking can't remember the name of the author, but but just yeah, just take a look at what's out there. And you'll you'll see, but one of the what I find that's, that's even better than that. It means it's great to do to read it. And you know, if you if you understand it, great. If not, you know that, you know, read read more, but one of the best things to do is to actually read screenplays to get horror screenplays. If that's the genre of your choice. Certainly there are a lot of them available out there, excuse me, on the online is to, you know, to get them and to read them and to study and look at the formatting look at the way that that that it's that it's written and and really, really study the screen the screenplay page. I mean, I'm, I'm a writer myself. So I have an extensive collection of, of screenplays, I mean, I have a whole show, I mean, just just like literally like 1000 screenplays that are on my shelf, and and, you know, and I just go over when I want to and say I'm going to read the script for you turn or I'm going to read the script for knocked up or whatever it is, I mean, there's our horror films, but I mean, I have I have the script for Hellraiser. And, you know, and I have the script for House on Haunted Hill with script notes, you know, that's right. And, and, you know, that's, that's really, I think one of the most powerful ways to learn how to how to how to how to write is to read great, other writers that are really great. And study them, you know,
Jason Buff 1:23:47
Rright. I think it's kind of like through osmosis. In a way I remember, I used to read the alien screenplay all the time, you know, and that's great. And it was just like, I would read it over and over and over again. And then when I would go back and actually watch the film, I would remember kind of how it looked, you know, on this on the page and how it kind of came to life and you really realize how kind of succinct it has to all be, you know, screenplays have to be completely just tight. That can't be one, you know, moment. And that doesn't have a reason, you know, and if you read those screenplays, you know, especially the, you know, the classics or even just good movies. You know, I think you got you kind of just see, you know, you don't have it's not like a book where you have a lot of pages that you know, probably could be left out. Yeah. But um, let me ask you one more thing about that because a lot of screenwriters listen to this. Do the companies where you've worked for the production houses? Do they regularly? I mean, where are they getting their writers and screenplays from? I mean, do you find that they're mostly people that are in town or do they ever like just find people outside of town submit screenplays and stuff like that?
Danny Draven 1:24:56
Oh, yeah, sure, I'd be happy to answer. Before I do. I wanted to ask to your your aliens comment on the screenplay. There's there's actually a really cool book if you haven't checked it out. It's called Dan O'Bannon wrote it. It's Dan O'Bannon guide to screenplay structure.
Jason Buff 1:25:11
Oh really? I don't think I've ever seen
Danny Draven 1:25:12
Yeah, he actually wrote a book on on his sort of methodology to how he's how he he he writes particularly alien and he has a very it's an interesting read. He's a very unorthodox way of doing it. But I think I think it for screenwriters that are reading this and certainly for me as a screenwriter, myself, I found I found it really, really insightful to see how somebody like Dan O'Bannon, who of course, wrote aliens, alien it works at night of living dead air Redux, Archie's Nylund dead returning the living dead, he wrote return the living dead to of course. And it's really it's a cool, it's a cool, it's a cool read. You should check it out. They didn't do it. But I'm certainly I think most filmmakers would agree that but one of the best ways to learn how to make movies is certainly to one watch movies, but watch him not watch him. Just to watch him once a once just to watch him but watch it twice to study it, you know, and to really break it apart. And to to to read screenplays. I'm always amazed how many people I meet that that I asked him like, like, what do you have a screenplay? Like we would go? Oh, you want to be a screenwriter and you don't have any screenplays in your house? You don't need screenplay? No, it's just my own, you know? Like, okay, you know, so are you going to be are you going to make your own music, but only listen to your own music? You know, it doesn't make any sense. You have, you know, you have to, you know, if you if you're a screenwriter and you don't have like, either a folder on your computer with a bunch of PDFs, screenplays that you you bought, you know, to read and study or actually have a lot of screenplays in your own personal library, or if you don't even have a personal library and you want and you're a writer or screenwriter, you know, it's like, you know, yeah, kind of might be kind of a good idea to do something like that. I mean, new market presses is probably one of the most well known publishers that publish screenplays, and I would highly recommend checking out that particular publishing company, they publish a lot of that stuff, but there's a lot of that out there that you should, that you should, should get out and study. So anyway, with that said, it's a transition just into the screenwriting question. And I've hired plenty of writers. And my as a producer, as certainly, I hired them for a number of reasons. But usually, sometimes it's because I'm, I just don't have the time to write it myself. Because as a writer, myself, usually I want to write it myself. But I'm kind of like, Oh, God, I just don't have the time. And I need to spend the time on the producing and getting money to even make the thing and that sort of thing. So oftentimes, I'll have I'll have, I'll hire a screenwriter. And it's usually it just depends, you know what it is, but usually on the low budget level things, screen scripts are written as work for hire, which means that the writer actually doesn't own it, you're writing it for me as a job. So you know, you you're getting paid X amount, you know, it could be, it could be it's ridiculously embarrassingly cheap is $1,500 to $4,000 or $5,000, or $10,000. You know, depending on what the budget is usually, usually a writer gets a screenwriter gets somewhere around like 2% of the budget for what for their script. Yeah, I'm just saying in general, is just throwing that around. So 2%. So if you're making $100,000 movie, the writer might may have got two grand may have got for grant, depending on you know, how generous the producer is, me particularly I'm kind of generous, because I'm a writer myself, and I know how hard is to do that, to write anything, and then to have to turn it over, you know, but sometimes you have to do that in order to get get it made. If you're especially if you're an unproduced writer. And sometimes that's the best way to, to get started. I mean, you know, if, if you give me a script, and you have no credits at all, and I'm like, Well, hey, I can make this movie, we're gonna make it for 100 grand, but I can get it made. Yeah, you're gonna get paid a little bit. But you know, the, the production company takes it over, they pay you they own the script for that, but we actually make the film and then that helps you get another gig after, you know, that sort of thing. All right. But, but you know, it just depends, you know, I mean, with the low budget stuff, you know, usually Yeah, it's usually kind of a standard case where it's 2% of the budget or, or, and usually the writer, it's a work for hire kind of situation, you know, and I've hired plenty of different writers of all different kinds of writers and a lot of times they use alias sometimes we'll use aliases, for what we're there for all kinds of reasons. Other times they're, they who knows you know what it is, but and you they usually have a very short amount of time to write it. So usually I tend to hire writers that can write quickly.
Alex Ferrari 1:29:56
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Danny Draven 1:30:05
But with quality, you know. So like, for instance, so I just I hired a writer not too long ago, and I gave him the I gave him a week to work up a treatment. And then we worked out notes on the treatment I think he had, he gave him for three or four weeks to write the first draft. So I think he did three, I think he did three. But I've had people do it, too, you know, and then, you know, and then we would, we would certainly do and do several other drafts after that. But the first draft, you know, because once you work out the initial story and the treatment and stuff, the drafting part of it can come a little quicker but and that's kind of how that that process works, at least with with filled with some of the lower budget stuff at the studio level. It's a whole different ballgame, a whole different, it just ignore everything I say, because it's a whole, you're dealing with, like executives, and you're, you're you're dealing with a whole different group of people. So I'm speaking to you just as an independent filmmaker that has hired people to write films that have been made in the under 100, under $200,000 range and what a typical scenario may be like, so that's, that's what I'm telling you hear. So it's not. So if you're screenwriter, you're like, Oh, well, I can't get up for two grand for the rest of my life be broke, and my Oh, my kid's going to eat that sort of thing. Now, it's not really that's not the case. But if you're looking to get something that you have, that's already, you know, that you think could be good for a low budget situation. Yeah. I mean, yeah, you can do something like that. So. But yeah, I mean, I've had people I get people submitting all the time for scripts. Oftentimes, they're just ridiculously too complicated, or there's just way too many locations and way too many characters to, to execute, you know, it's usually the case. But you know, sometimes people come in with stuff that's just really well, well written, well executed. And it's simple, you know, and those are the ones that I tend to, to like, as far as making on on a on a lower budgeted level. So, yeah, but But you know, if you have something that you're as a writer, though, if you have something that you're you worked on for, like 12 years, and it's like your baby, don't sell it to some producer for two grand, you know what I mean? I mean, I'll be the first one to tell you, I mean, I would, if you gave it to me, and I'm like, Man, this is amazing. And it was like, usually, the guy's like, Dude, I can't give you two grand for this. No, no, I just but I mean, you know, look, I mean, just just, you have something that's like really, your, your, your baby, I mean, it all. Hang on to it. And don't just don't just let let it go for pennies unless you really unless you're part of the project. So oftentimes, I've made deals with writers to where oftentimes they're they they were producers, so they wrote, The deal was that they, they're involved in a percentage of the any profits, if any, usually there's not because movies barely make money. And, and, but they're there, they're more involved in the financial pie if there is a pie, but often, if somebody's always eaten the pie, and there is no pie in there. Oftentimes, there's no crumbs, either from the pie. Right? So you know, but But you know, it's sometimes you can make make arrangements like that sometimes it's 2% plus a percentage on the back end.
Jason Buff 1:33:14
And you think it's a good way for people that are just like trying to get their start and build up some credits can
Danny Draven 1:33:19
I think it's a great way to start? Yeah, I mean, I think it's better if you're, if you're the writer and director because I think like when you if you're just the writer, and you give it to another director, they're gonna have you're gonna remember this is an interpretive art form here we're talking about so so it starts with you starts with the it starts with the idea it starts with the writers starts with nothing but it ends it ends in the editing room with some guy like me that's going well what the hell is all this dialogue? Let's cut this out, you know, it ends with the editor, it ends with the director at the end cut your script down. So
Jason Buff 1:33:53
Let's get rid of this whole Indianapolis page this is
Danny Draven 1:33:57
Tell me about it man. You see, you see the shit that I cut out of movie scenes that they shot and you're just like, this scene is so freakin boring. It's just cut it out. We got to move on. But you know, I think I think if you have the knack for it if you have the personality to be a director and you're and you have a script that you're really passionate about you should consider doing it yourself you know being the writer director or if you do get a production company involved with it that you you you are the direct you in the terms are that you're you get to direct it even though that's that scares producers I honestly it scares them a little bit because especially on this level of filmmaking, because you have to have a first time anybody when you need to pull stuff off in eight to 10 days is very can make the producer very nervous. Because it's like this, nobody's doing that the director behind the camera, that sort of thing. But, but if that's the case, you know, hey, you know, kickstart it yourself or something go out and make it yourself you know, you know I've always encouraged people like hey man, look at you got your you got your own script. And it's great. And you think it's something that you can do for low budget. You know, there's there's, there's nothing that says you can't go out and either what you can do, yeah, Kickstarter, whatever, you know, it's a crapshoot with that too. But, you know, you could try to do some Kickstarter, you could maybe hopefully you're financially well off yourself, maybe you could, you know, sell your your ridiculous comic book collection, because you're in your 50s now, and maybe you don't need to have that anymore and sell your comic book collection, like, I think Kevin Smith did to make clerks and you know, raise the money, you know, and say, Hey, I, you know, look at I can I have a, I have 30 grand that I can put into something, you know, and instead of that, that midlife crisis car, maybe I invest in a in my movie, and you go out and do it yourself, and you put maybe you produce it yourself and you directly yourself and you do it, I think I think for me, that's always been the best way to do it is to kind of carve your own path within. Because certainly it's it's a little bit more sure that it's going to happen. But don't go into it without at least doing your due diligence and research and betting about about, about how to make movies. I mean, I mean, certainly, you know, you can read the books, you can read, you know, all you want, but there's nothing like experience, you know, and and you will get experience doing it yourself that way, believe me. So, so yeah, man. I mean, I don't know, I think that's a good way to start. And so,
Jason Buff 1:36:37
Well, can we can we move into post production? Because I know that your big thing? And I you know, I know you guys talked about it a lot on Dave boluses. Podcasts, I recommend everybody, you know, check that out, too. But I wanted to talk to you about post production. And, you know, what, what are the important aspects of that? And what what do people need to, you know, plan for when they're beginning, you know, one of the things you guys even talked about was, you know, you have to have enough budget to do your post production. And, you know, you can't just put it all into shooting it, and then, you know, expect to just like, do the post production aspect of it, you know, without any money. You know, I think people get kind of stuck with that, you know, that they, they do everything in production, and they get to post production and they've run out of budget.
Danny Draven 1:37:26
Oh, yeah, totally. No, yeah, I can totally, totally give you some good. Good advice on that. Well, I think, I think when you before you, before you get involved in your when you start, when you're ready to start shooting your film, in pre production, you need to start thinking about post production in pre production. Eric is everything you kind of always have to kind of work backwards. I mean, certainly even from distribution. I would say, I always say start start from where you want this film to end up. So if you're like, Okay, I want this film to be theatrical. Okay, well, if you want it to be theatrical, it probably shouldn't be shooting on your phone. You know, you might want to you might want to know that's happened wrong. But if you really want it to be a theatrical release, or even have the possibility of being a theatrical release, you want to start deciding on your, your, your cameras, you know, and say, Okay, well, maybe we should shoot with the Alexa, maybe we need to shoot in 4k, so we can get a 4k DCP that we can take out to screen in theaters, and so on and so forth. So you can start thinking about your deliverables like okay, we want to be able to sell this for end, we want to be able to, you know, do a full delivery on this to everywhere. Well, okay, that's, that's great. Good. I'm glad you're thinking about that in pre production, because what you're going to need to do is you're going to is, like I said, you got to think about what camera you're shooting on. You got to start thinking about your how you're going to, you know, because you need to budget that stuff out, like hey, we're going to need m&e tracks, we're going to need 5.1, we're gonna need 5.1 And then ease, we're going to need we're needed to do the stems, we're going to need to do closed captioning, by the way, you can't even get a movie on iTunes, unless it's closed captioned. And it's on so forth. So I mean, you you really need to start thinking about that kind of stuff early on and budget for it. Because by the time you get to post, if you're like, what you mean, I gotta have that how much is that gonna cost? Oh, I gotta do 5.1 m&e, what the hell is that? I gotta do, I gotta do what I gotta do to see what the hell is QC. You know, that sort of thing? And how much does that cost? Oh, my God, that cost like, $500 to do that. And all of a sudden, you're just like, you're overwhelmed and in your movie doesn't your movie doesn't get finished because you couldn't sell it because you didn't. You weren't able to deliver it. And if you're not able to deliver your movie, you're in trouble, man. I mean, you're gonna spend you know, you're because you know, these guys aren't gonna wait around forever. When you get a district when you get a distributor on the hook and they say, we like your film, and it's really good. We want to make a deal with you. Oh, blah. Then you start looking at the contract. You're like, oh my god, I can't deliver all this stuff.
Alex Ferrari 1:39:59
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Danny Draven 1:40:08
I didn't shoot onset stills or I didn't shoot, I didn't, I didn't I didn't do this. And it doesn't pass QC, because it has to, you know, normally has to pass a QC process. And you have all these post issues, you know, with God knows what you know. And they they're like, hey, you know, look, we were interested in your film. But if you can't pass QC, and if it's not, if you don't, if you can't deliver what the contract says that we need as a delivery, we can't we can't take your film. I've seen that happen several times with people, you know, they their movies, just undeliverable. It's not bad, it just they couldn't deliver it the way the distributor wanted it. So the distributor had to pass on it,
Jason Buff 1:40:45
What would cause a film not to pass QC?
Danny Draven 1:40:48
Oh, so many things. So many, they actually, it's one of the things I have a really good chapter, probably one of the only ones that are in print, I think in a book about the about the whole sort of the process of delivery, you know, mastering and delivery and all that stuff. And I have a little bit in there on QC and QC for those of you don't know is estates quality control. And it's a process. It's a very subjective process. And what happens is, your movie goes to a lab, let's just say like, like, I don't want to mention any lab to talk to me after this, no, your B goes to a lab and use it for QC process, what they do is they take the master, and they run it through the wringer. They, they they look at the video, the levels, the gamma, all all these things, they run through a machine and they run it through this machines machine, I'll say all this movies out of the gamma does this and there's there's dead pixels on these shots. And there's the shot is out of focus, or there's a there's a there's a C stand in the shot. I mean, I mean, literally stuff like that, like there's a C stand in the shot, you have to that's that's a QC flag, or a dead pixel, which can happen, you know, on digital cameras, sometimes it's just a dead pixel in the middle, very hard, you know, to get rid of those. Sometimes, if you're shooting on film, it could be film scratches, you know, all the way to stuff being out of focus. And so it's a it's, it's graded, like a by a number system. So you have like, one, a one, two, and a three, like a one is like, kind of there just letting you know, kind of thing. It's not it doesn't won't cause you to pass too. It's kind of like, not really enough to it's bad, but it's not that bad. Three is like absolutely, you have to fix this kind of thing, you know, so it's graded on a scale. And in my book, I put in, I think two examples of what a QC report actually looks like. And ones that have passed and ones that have failed and they'll they'll pick out all kinds of stuff audio chess particularly audio they'll they'll pick out things like the Foley is off or she has a bracelet on but we're not hearing the bracelet you know on the m&e track, I mean, stuff like that lip smacks, you know, I mean, just the most ridiculous stuff that you're just like, Oh, my God, you know, what is wrong with these people? So, yeah, but it but it's a very real and a very important part of the selling of the film process. So it's,
Jason Buff 1:43:20
It's like, if there's just too many things in there, then you fail the QC checks.
Danny Draven 1:43:24
There's only two outcomes to QC. Okay, pass and fail. There's no in between. If you fail, forget about your distribution. I mean, you have a chance to fix it. They'll say, Okay, well, it failed. So you need to fix all this stuff. But if you go back and like I can't fix it, there's no there's no way I can fix it. Well, you're probably not going to get the distribution deal at you just you try to get because nobody, no distributor wants to take a movie that's failed QC. And certainly for TV for television, you know, like my film goes smart. premiered on NBC Universal chiller TV, he has a main television network. So see, you know, but it had to pass a QC. And it did because I shot it on 35. And I did the post. So I made sure it passed. But it you know, it had its its sheer fair problems, but I was able to fix it. And they weren't. They weren't too horrible. But you know, is there?
Jason Buff 1:44:10
Is there any way to test it yourself? Before you send it over? Or? I mean, are there ways
Danny Draven 1:44:16
Not really because it's subjective, because you're giving it to a lab that's got some dude in there that's getting them, you know, eight bucks an hour to sit there, run it through a machine and watch it into say whole? Oh, yeah, it's the levels or the there's really not 100% way to say, you know, yeah, this is definitely going to pass QC because I did it myself. But you certainly you certainly can look out for things like and I can tell you firsthand, you know, if your shot is ridiculously out of focus, it's probably going to get flagged, if you have a C stand in the shot, it's gonna get flagged if you're if you're not if you're one of the most common things as the levels are falling out of the legal you know, so or the legal zone for levels. But oftentimes that can be fixed with filters and Final Cut or Adobe Premiere and stuff like you can add a filter to that. And you can get those levels back into a elite or what they call an illegal illegalized. area. And titles around a title safe zones, that sort of thing. You said there are some there are things that you know a lot about post production that you can look out for, like I can look in a movie and tell you if it'll pass QC, usually, from visually audio not not not as much because you have to really they really have to listen to it. And really QC like the m&e tracks and make sure like, there's footsteps filled in and although there's fully where it needs to be that sort of thing. There are different different labs or you know, sometimes, you know, I've had stuff that they've told me to fix. And I went back and said, Yeah, I fixed it. No problem. And I didn't fix it. I was just bullshitting. And then they passed it. You know, and I happened like two or three times, because I'm like, oh, yeah, I fix that. Yeah. Well, that pixel that you said, yeah, I totally fixed it. And then they come back, and they go, okay, great. And then they pass. So that's why I'm saying it's a very subjective process, you can have it go, you can have it passed one QC house in the United States. And then you can give it to a foreign place that that que sees it and you'll get a whole other list of problems that they didn't pay. So it's a really weird, a very frustrating process for a filmmaker to to get past that stage. But, but I will say is one of the big hang ups for people, especially on low budget, movies, because you don't really, a lot of times have the money to get it fixed. So that's one thing you really need to be careful with and watch out for. Okay.
Jason Buff 1:46:41
So can you walk us through the process? Okay, you know, just editing the film and everything like what? What the process is, you know, are you typically editing as they're shooting? Or? Can you give me just an idea of how that all gonna come together?
Danny Draven 1:46:56
Yeah, quick idea. But I mean, it typically, typically, no, I'm not, not not really editing as they're shooting. It depends. I mean, if I'm full moon, sometimes we used to do that when we were making Puppet Master 10. And stuff like that. Sometimes I would be editing as they're shooting, they would give me because I was just the editor, they would have Charlie bandwidth to give me the material on like a daily basis, I'd be cutting as we're going and that sort of thing. So so that that can certainly happen. But sometimes, if it's your own picture, you're not really thinking about that, right? Now, you're probably just more concerned about getting a shot. So usually what happens is, after you get it all shot, then you then you, then you meet you either, if you're not editing it yourself, you'll meet with an editor. And excuse me, you'll you'll go over with it, you'll go over with the editor, you know, kind of what what's going on, the editor will, you know, of course, get the script usually what's called a line, a line script that they had, if you had a script supervisor on set, and they'll get an idea of what the coverage is like and what takes you like that sort of thing. If you even had one, a lot of times a little budgets, they don't even have a script supervisor. And then and then it's pretty much up to the editor. At that point, you have a conversation couple conversation with the director and these things start cutting away. And then he just goes through a process of you know, an assembly and director's cut, and producers cut oftentimes, until you until you get it locked. And then once you get it locked in the new you head on to sound from that point forward. But the editing process though, one thing I will tell you and this is another area that you really should spend the money in, is, look if you're a great editor yourself, fine. But if you're if you're just you know, a guy that cut a few commercials together a few car commercials together a Doritos commercial is not a feature film editor, you really got to look at who you're hiring as an editor because editing is is so important to the process. And I've added so many features to helmsman over I think I'm like 100 and something now feature films. Now. I mean, a lot of them are just black, but I mean the the one I mean where I edited for Sci Fi Channel edited for people and it's just important to the editor
Jason Buff 1:49:20
I'm losing you a little bit. I can't really hear you. You're dropping out a little bit. Are you going through a tunnel? Yeah.
Danny Draven 1:49:28
Yeah, it's better to I was saying it'll be on on a experienced editor because in the long run, it'll really save you it's just got a really good DP or anything else because a really good editor can make or break your movie they can they I can cut a scene 18 different ways and get completely different meanings every time in the scene. But, but you know, so so that's what I'm saying. I mean, as an editor is just important. It's not just a matter of slinging together a bunch of coverage.
Alex Ferrari 1:49:57
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Danny Draven 1:50:06
That's not editing, editing is a craft, like anything else, just like, you know, cinematography just like production design. And it's, it's the end part of your film here, you know, so it's everything, it's timing, it's, it's, it's performance, it's whether or not to show the knife yet, or to show it at the end, if I cut a scene, and I show you the knife too early, the scares gone, the scare might be gone. But if I show it at the end, you know, the scene could play a completely different way. So that's an enormous amount of power to have over a movie as an editor. So that's why that's why I'm just really, you know, saying like, hey, you know, is an important part of the process and, and really get somebody that knows how to cut feature films together. And if it's yourself, great, but if it's just somebody with no experience, you know, I would really advise against it. So feel like you edit after you get that done, and you you beautiful edited thing together, then you can move on and you lock the picture, which means no further changes to the to the to the picture. And then that can be given at that point over to the sound department and the sound starts into it. And that's also when the composer usually starts and CGI and everything else starts at that point titling and all that.
Jason Buff 1:51:23
So are you able to have like composers for these? I mean, is that simple? Yeah, it's within the budget.
Danny Draven 1:51:27
Yeah, absolutely. Well, my wife is a composer. So I'm lucky.
Jason Buff 1:51:31
That's right. I forgot about Ashley.
Danny Draven 1:51:33
She's She plays for guitar for blue band group. And she's also a composer, film composer. She She scored a lot of Mine, mine films and everything too. So it's convenient. Definitely a convenient relationship. Right? So yes, come in. Let me let me tell you here too, because this is also extremely important. One of the one of the things that's very, that's seems to be like a plague these days, because that's what
Jason Buff 1:52:04
Dan are you there? I can't hear you. Made sure to call him back. Hey, we're back. Just keep going
Danny Draven 1:52:15
You want me to call you back, is it okay?
Jason Buff 1:52:16
He's gonna connection. Okay. Yeah, the connection is good. You were you were saying the one of the plagues.
Danny Draven 1:52:21
Okay, maybe plays not a good word. But one of the one of the real mistakes, I think that that I see some filmmakers doing these days is, is the, the use of music libraries in place of an original film score. Now I'm talking, I'm not talking about trailers. And I mean, look, I mean, if you trailers or documentaries, or whatever you need, they find you need to pull a piece out or a song out or whatever, okay, fine. Because they, you know, those libraries can have their uses for certain for certain things for certain, you know, corporate videos, or, or commercials and, you know, you know, that, that, that that's great, but but this is, of course, my personal opinion on the on the matter. But for me as a filmmaker, like I would never pull out music from a library, absolutely not. And there's a reason for that, I mean, amuse a film is an original piece of work, you know, I mean, it's like a painting, you know, I mean, you're you want to have an original composer come in and do an original score to your film, because your film is unique, it flows a certain way, it's edited a certain way. It's, it has a certain aesthetic, it has a certain sound to it, it has certain instrumentation that you want to enhance the performance of the characters, you're not going to get that from a library, you know what you're going to get from a library, you're going to get the same cue that 19,000 Other people just used in a car commercial and a feature film and something else that people just are using over and over again. So it's really to your advantage as a filmmaker, to hire a composer on your feature film, and get an original score, the audience will love you for it, you'll love yourself for it. And there are lots and it's not, it's not expensive, lots of composers out there that are hungry, looking for work that I'll even do that'll even do it for experience. Just to to work on it sometimes, you know, I mean, just you just need to find those people and reach out to those people to do an original score to your movie. It is absolutely worth it and do not cheap out on the music. Because I mean, even George Lucas will tell you, that sound is 50% of the movie. So you know history because you know, we see with our eyes and we smell with our nose, but we hear with our ears. But since we're not in smellivision, you know, seeing and hearing so it's like kind of a 5050 experience. So sound and sound and music and all that stuff is such an important part to your film. don't cheap out on it.
Jason Buff 1:54:50
Do you use a temp track when you're editing or whatever?
Danny Draven 1:54:52
Yeah, that's fine. Yeah, totally. I look if you're editing, you're editing and you're you're using Alvin Alan Silvestri temp track because you just want to give the composer an idea of something. Yeah, that's fine. But I'm just saying at the end of the day, you know, you have to certainly a temp temp tracking is very common. Yeah, you people just putting in music just to get an idea, you know when they're cutting, but the end result is something completely different. So that's, that's, that's, that's obviously a good way to to do it. But when you I have a whole chapter in the book about the music of horror films and I interview, I interviewed some amazing composers, you know, in there, I mean, John, John Altman, John Debney, you know, it just, you know, some great folks. And they, I really get into it with him about that stuff. And I think it's very insightful for you to, for the readers to read that chapter on music and sound, it's really it's really a good one. It's actually one of my actually, I think it is my favorite chapter in the book, it's, it's actually quite extensive, do the interviews. But but you know, music though, too, I mean, you know, it's there, there are just so many elements to it. Between instrumentation and, and, and the overall feel of scenes and everything music really helps the audience. It really helps direct the audience to the emotions that they want to feel in a scene and for you to just like, pull something out of your hat. You know, it's a shame it's too bad. You know, and I think it can be at you can really improve yourself if you if you hire a composer so
Jason Buff 1:56:24
So did they come in during as the you know, you liked the picture? It goes over two sound posts, they're doing the, the, you know, fully in the designing and everything, does the soundtrack come in at the very, you know, after all that happens, or is that kind of going on at the same time?
Danny Draven 1:56:41
Well, sometimes, sometimes you can have, sometimes you can get it depending on your relationship with the composer, sometimes you can get if you're married to. Nobody, sometimes if you're if you're like, before you even, like unreliable, like I had, I had the music, music ideas before we even started, I had them, you know, like, as, hey, you know, I want this kind of style. And it was able to start kind of getting going on the music early on you before we even shot the film. So I mean, I think sometimes you can, if you have that kind of a relationship with a composer, you can say, hey, I'm kind of thinking I want to do this kind of thing. You know, we could be stuck coming up with some ideas. And then they can start doing that early on. But, but what normally happens is this, you you shoot the movie, you cut the movie, you lock the movie, and then what and then it goes to the soundstage, the sound is down. And not an actual soundstage. I mean, the sound, the sound editing process, so the music process stage of production. And what you the director does what the director should be doing at this at this point, after after the picture is locked as you need to, you need to sit with usually three different kinds of people, usually, your sound designer, your composer and your, your CGI artists, if you have one, which a lot of times you don't, but sometimes you do, and you'll need to sit with them and talk about the special effects shots that you need to do. But more commonly, you're probably on low budget, it's probably going to be just your sound and your music. So what you're gonna do is you're gonna sit with, you're gonna hire a sound, a sound designer, and a sound editor, and they're gonna, you're gonna, you're gonna do what's called spotting, you're gonna spot with these guys, you're gonna, you're gonna watch the film from beginning to end. And you're gonna give them notes, you're gonna say, this scene, I would like to hear metallic sounds coming from there. And I want more of a bobcat growl on the monster, and I want this. And they'll just make notes as you're going along, and you'll vote it, believe me, they'll thank you for it, because it helps them saves them time saves you time, that everybody's on the same page of what kind of sound design you're looking for. Then you do a spotting session with your composer. And it's the same sort of process, but you're talking more in terms of music, you're saying I'm I'm thinking more like, you know, you know, depending on how detailed they they get with you and what your understanding is of music and how it works. The conversations can be very detailed, and they can be very generic, they can be very much like Well, no, I think there should be some music here, but I'm not really sure what. And then the composer will say, okay, cool, I'll do something there. But I have a I have a little bit of a music background. So when I talked to my wife and about composer, we have like a nice conversation about like, I don't know about the you know, the horns, and maybe the D minor is better, maybe some piano work here, that sort of thing. So it's a little bit more detailed. But I think in general, when you're talking to a composer, it's better to give them give them the emotion that you're going for in the scene, like this scene is sad. This scene is scary. This scene needs this scene. This is a really big moment. And I don't want to hear any music at all until we see the knife at the end. You know that kind of direction for your answer. And again, the composer will thank you for this. And they have a clear idea of clear direction of where they're going with that. And then same thing happens with the CGI you do the same thing.
Alex Ferrari 1:59:59
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Danny Draven 2:00:08
I sit with them and you spot it and you tell them what kind of special effects you want, you know, I want it to glow, and I want the guy's face to morph into a wizard or whatever it is. And I want it to be green and that sort of thing. And, and that and that's really kind of in the in a really quick nutshell, the entire part four of my, my book and that's kind of what your what you got to do there at that stage? And
Jason Buff 2:00:31
Are there any typical mistakes that you see? Like if people want CGI in a scene? Are there any things they need to write? Make sure they have for you to do that?
Danny Draven 2:00:40
Absolutely. And that's that's the last chapter actually, as far as a post production, and there are many, but to answer that specifically, yes, the oftentimes, like I did, a lot of movies that I had come in, had one of their biggest problems is shooting the wrong plates. You know, like, they think that oh, well, we'll just remove the background, and then we'll just throw some green, some green shit behind them, and then we'll take it out and After Effects, and it'll be great. And then they come in and and then I mean, I've had that stuff come in to me. And it's like, yeah, just take out his take out the background. I'm like, Guys, you didn't like the frickin green screen, right? You just put up you just like, put some green cloth behind the guy. You got in too close to it. He's casting a shadow on it. How am I supposed to pull him out of that background and make it look believable? You know what I mean? Like that sort of stuff that happens all the freakin time. Or, you know, somebody will be in front of a green screen, but they're wearing like a green shirt. You know, it's like, shot this right? You know, it happens, man. I mean, in the little things like that, you know, there's a, and there's, you know, there's plenty of books out there on green screen, too, if you're if you're doing green screen work. But that's one of the big things I see coming in is people that are wanting to do green screen work on the low budget level, but they don't shoot it, right. They shoot it very, they think just because it's green, that's good enough. And it's not believe me, there is there is a very special way to do that to get it looking good. And you know, it can be a million other things too bad sound is also a very common thing. And it just you just had bad sound on set, and nobody seemed to notice. And now the big problem. Or if there's voiceover make sure you get it recorded on set, if you can, because the last thing you want to do is to be having to bring back actors, because and especially if they have to do ADR and replace their dialogue over back over badly recorded dialogue. It looks terrible, first of all, most of the time, and oftentimes they you lose the original meaning of the performance. That's what I'm saying. Right. So, I mean, I think it was Kubrick that didn't do ADR at all because he was like totally opposed against it at least I think that's what I heard from full metal jacket or something like that. They wouldn't do ADR and you know and I'm with him when I'm if I'd say because it's like man, you know, ATR socks as I know there's a match that happened on set and when you have to replace it in the studio is it's not it's not the same it means not the same. Yeah, so you get it so yeah, so I mean there's there's other things you know, slating is a big issue a times for you know, people that just horrible, horrible people that just don't sweat you know? And like what's wrong with you? slating is is just inexcusable, you really need to do a good slate, a part of the editor and for your own sanity. And there are apps on the iPad and the iPhone. I can't remember I mentioned in my book, but I can't remember what it's called off the top my head I think it's called Movie slate or something like that. Just look at the iTunes store and I think it's like 20 bucks or something. And it's, it's just, it's amazing. You know, it's just an iPad, an iPad or an iPhone app and you just put the iPhone in front of the camera, and you just click a little button and it goes dTT click like that and it's slated for you, you know, so it's a good high tech way to do all that stuff.
Jason Buff 2:04:06
Now when you're when you're dealing with these higher end cameras, I do you have a high end audio track that's going into the camera that you've got or are you still just having to sync all the audio.
Danny Draven 2:04:19
Well, what I do this is what I do is I make sure that my sound people are doing two things that one one they're running a line into the camera. Okay? So you're getting recorded on camera but they're also running it to a backup, a high quality backup. That is usually running into a recorder that is that can record it that way high quality way higher quality than the camera actually can. So usually the audio sounds better on their recorder than it does on the camera. So what I do is I actually resync I resync the film so I bring it in I use the the the audio that they that they did that they recorded on their their their high end recorder At higher bit rate higher like I usually do, and I need to do like 96k 24 bit recording, super high quality audio, right? And then I resync it with the material that way now, is that the most common? Wait, no, most people just take it right off the camera. And oftentimes, that's fine. So you but if you take it right off the camera, it's always a good idea to have a backup too, you know, because if the audio is fucked up on the camera, I had a movie that came in one time, and I kid you not 50% of the movie, they thought they had the audio on the camera. It was all distorted because somebody didn't set the level right going into the camera. So he was monitoring, he was monitoring it Okay, through his mixer, but the output from his mixer going into the camera, the camera was set at a different level. So it was distorted everything that was being recorded when the camera was restarted, and there was no backup. So every came in it was like that the whole time. And they were they were totally devastated. totally pissed. fired the fucking sound guy. And, and it was we had they had to ADR like 50% of the movie, and it looks terrible. It's dreadful. And because you couldn't even hear what the guy said to begin with, because you couldn't even tell what he was saying. You had to look at his lips, you know, versus like, normally ADR at least if it's bad audio, you can kind of hear what they said to match it. So, so yeah, I mean, that's a big problem. Sound is a big problem in post, so pay a lot attention to that, and you won't be sorry,
Jason Buff 2:06:36
Do you typically have a love on every actor and the boom? Or How's that, like,
Danny Draven 2:06:41
One of the most difficult found job sound shows that I directed was really evil. And the reason for that is like they're swinging around 360 running down halls. It was it was it was actually one of the most difficult technically to shoot at and a lot of that has to do with the camera the sound the audio and we I was hiding and drawers and bowls and laying on grant the ground. I mean, I was hiding all over the place. But sound on that was very difficult. And I knew it because I have the post experience. So I told the producers and so I said hey, man, we you got to hire the sound guy, this one sound guy I've used before and I said, you know, he's got the gear, we need the lab, all these actors, you need to run the audio into this mixer and all this stuff. Otherwise, we're gonna have we're gonna have a clusterfuck and post soundwise Luckily, they listened to me and we so yeah, really evil when you know, we everybody's got a lab on there running around the sound guys ducking around in rooms and whatnot. And that's kind of how that was made. But usually it's usually it's just a few labs and a boom you know and and that's that's plenty for what you're doing. But you know, when you're found footage is a little a little harder to make because you're because of the you're not shooting in just one direction. And then you can move the cast and crew and video village all the time, you know, you're swinging around 360 And now see and everything. And it was also a waiting challenge too. So yeah, labs Labs is always a good idea.
Jason Buff 2:08:12
In that, do you have to light the whole thing like I mean, you've light everything and just like start shooting or do you actually light individual stuff, individual shots?
Danny Draven 2:08:21
Well, since we were we were shooting in a practical location and actually abandoned hospital, we couldn't light from above, you know, wreck, the movie wreck that that whole house, that whole building that they're in, that was a soundstage. That thing they did like a two storey soundstage that they lit from above, so they could swing around no problem because they had lights already rigged. Now in our case, we're shooting in practical locations, so we had to hide the lights a lot of times. And then there was some story element like there was this film crew shooting so we left the lights around and so on so forth. And that was one of our sort of cheap ways to try to leave lights in the shot and that sort of have some sort of meaning why they're there. And and but you know, for for our but now we have this pre locked the scene so we can see 360 as much as we wanted. And that's how most of that movie was was shot. But it was it was a difficult shoot, technically speaking for a lot for those reasons. So,
Jason Buff 2:09:21
Okay, let me ask you one more thing about post production. And when you're talking about budgeting, if we're saying okay, let's say for example, we're trying to shoot a $50,000 film, how much of that is going to be needed for post production? Like how much do you need to have to have, you know, an editor sound mix and you know, a score. I know it's always different, but just to give you kind of an idea,
Danny Draven 2:09:51
A $50,000 budget.
Alex Ferrari 2:09:55
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Danny Draven 2:10:06
Yeah. Well, I would say, I'd say somewhere maybe around. I don't know, maybe, maybe, maybe 7030, maybe 70. For your, for everything, your production, actors everything, and then maybe 30 for your post budget, and possibly somewhere in that range, maybe 35, maybe even 40, depending on what you're doing. But I would say that say somewhere around 7030, maybe it could could work for you. Because
Jason Buff 2:10:36
You said ridiculously low or is it like on par? I mean, I don't even know where that fall.
Danny Draven 2:10:40
It's not. It's not I wouldn't say I guess this is this is gonna be everybody is gonna be a different answer on that. Because I mean, I have a lot of resources for posts, too. So I, it just depends kind of what you have, you know, what you have to work with, you know, I mean, editing software is incredibly cheap these days. But it's not the software, it's the person the operating it. So, you know, you could buy Final Cut for 300 bucks, but you can't really get a good editor for 300 bucks, you know, so. But if you're already a experienced editor, and you can cut the film yourself and save money, yeah, you're gonna save five grand in your budget or whatever it may be. But I would say 50 grand, you know, you're not your 50 grand budget, you know, you're not paying, you know, you're probably paying somewhere, you know? Yeah, I would say somewhere maybe in maybe like 60 40 to 70 30 30 and 40 being the post end of things. It shouldn't push and be as much as your production budget, I guess, is what I'm saying. You know, production is going to be the chunk of the money is gonna go to the your production.
Jason Buff 2:11:43
All right, that's gonna do it for today's show. We the phone kind of got funky there. And we were having some technical difficulties. And then we talked for a little bit more, but it wasn't really part of the show. So I'm just going to end it there. I want to thank Danny Draven for coming on the show. Don't forget to check out his book, The filmmakers Book of the Dead absolutely the Bible of horror filmmaking, the you know, go to Amazon and get it today because it's a really if you want to be a horror filmmaker, there's like, just tons and tons of information in there. Okay, so thanks, guys.
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