For his first major producing gig, David settled on a movie starring some of the most famous faces of all time… Ed Gein, Jack the Ripper, John Wayne Gacy, The Zodiac Killer and more. We speak to one of cinema’s rising up-and-coming behind-the-scenes men to learn all about The Butchers, hitting DVD and VOD in November.
How early did you get onboard The Butchers, David?
Pretty well from the beginning. Eighteen months ago at a Christmas Party, a bunch of my friends were sitting around lamenting the fact that no one would make their movie for them. Stephen Durham, my partner in producing, had a script which turned out to be The Butchers. He said, “Why don’t we just do it ourselves, why wait on anyone to give us something?” The script had the elements we thought would work. Action, pretty girls, scary guys. The director Steve Judd said, “I’ll do it, sounds like fun.” The stunt coordinator Patrick Gallaway was also on board and a couple of actor friends that were at the party were thrilled at the chance. So we said, “let’s do it.” From nothing, we put together everything you need to make a movie and started filming in April. It seemed easy enough – it wasn’t. Anyhow, that’s how I became involved – a bunch of friends getting together to make a movie.
This is your first major film as a producer, what were the differences working on the short film you did to working on a major film?
Technically there isn’t much difference. What really separates a short from a feature is the incredible volume of things that have to be done.
I guess the role differs from movie to movie, but what did you do – as a producer – on The Butchers?
Well, I guess my role is probably the same as most low budget film producers. Everything from hauling diesel for the generators to cooking meals. On this film I had duties that I guess are a little out of the ordinary, like making sure the mice didn’t eat all the craft services food and keeping our sound guy full of coffee so he didn’t fall asleep.
Producers are the unsung heroes of movie productions, and they’re one of the few crew members that are onboard a production from start to end. How long has this journey been for you?
Honestly really pretty quick. From the first moment we talked about it to when the first DVD hit the shelves was about 16 months. We plan on making 3 or 4 films a year so we’re getting pretty aggressive. We’re starting a cool spooky scary film called Abbey Grace in a couple of weeks.
How did you go about seeking distribution?
We knew a guy who knew a guy. It’s really a great concept so we had a lot of interest. We settled on Uncork’d and am very happy that we did.
Have you screened the film for an audience yet? How did it go down?
We had a screening at the Laemmle’s theatre in North Hollywood. It seats about 300 people and it was totally full. The reaction was wonderful and just like we hoped. The Butchers really isn’t a classic horror movie, it’s a lot of action, some horror and a lot of humor. The audience really was in tune with that and laughed in all the right places and covered their eyes when they should have.
The movie’s title changed from Death Factory to The Butchers for its DVD release. Were you involved in that decision? What’s your take?
It strikes me as pretty funny that the title was changed. Seems like Death Factory was a little too violent but The Butchers was just fine. It was mostly an Uncork’d decision which is just fine with me as they know a lot more about this sort of thing than I do.
Having now produced a feature, what would you say is the most difficult thing a producer has to do?
Aside from the obvious money situation, it’s really just making sure everything happens as it should and that you have a backup plan for every backup plan. You never can tell when one of your key actors will get a great new job on a network show the day before shooting pickups. We’ll talk about that one after the movie is released.
Is there anything you’ll do differently on the next production?
Definitely learned a lot. There is no film school that will teach you more than a month or two of making an actual movie. We’ll be better prepared this time around with our set design, wardrobe and details like that. Also, I’ll make sure that the Honey Wagons have plenty of toilet paper.
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