Sundance 2012: V/H/S Directors Q&A Transcript
Here at Dread Central we realize that not everyone can make it to the lunacy that is the Sundance Film Festival, which is why we do our best to bring you all of the sights, sounds, and reviews you're hankering for. Next on tap for you? The Q&A session for Bloody Disgusting Selects' V/H/S (review here)!
Being that such a wealth of director talent was on hand, it was hard to keep track of who was saying what as the mic was passed around about 100 times. Therefore, here it is in question and answer style!
In Attendance: David Bruckner, Glenn McQuaid, Radio Silence, Joe Swanberg, Ti West, Adam Wingard.
Q: Why did you place the wrap-around segment where you did, and whose idea was that?
A: That is actually a difficult question. We shot the wrap-around before anything else was filmed. Brad Miska oversaw most of this project, and it was originally going to kinda be a TV series where people find tapes with evidence of supernatural activity, and then the plot came forward with collectors of these things, which I was never able to fully wrap my head around. What you just heard was my full understanding of that plot. At the time I was watching a whole bunch of YouTube videos and saw a lot of shocking videos on the Internet, and we just felt it would be better with a bunch of hooligans who think they have been hired to steal a tape when really they have been hired to create one. And who would think that a collector would be stupid enough to hire people to steal a tape from a rival collector and have them tape breaking into the house? That is really as far as we got with that idea. I am not a big fan of wrap-arounds; I have always felt them to be a missed opportunity. Adam, do you have anything to add to that? No.
Q: What inspired the story, and did you guys sit collectively in a room and decide which story you were going to do, or are you guys all friends?
A: Ummm... we can barely tolerate each other (laughter). Some of us are friends, some of us met through this project, and we all get along. I already spoke about the wrap-around.
1. We were working on our android piece, and we wanted to do something with porn and sexuality. And that sort of started the idea around that. We wanted to maybe implicate everyone’s guilt or something like that. So a POV opportunity came across and kind of naturally you say POV, you think video. It’s hard not thinking about propagating a sexual context if you acknowledge that. So we thought we’d make some kind of porn video.
2. Mine came about by trying to find a tolerable way to do found footage. What seemed scary to me is people filming you while you sleep. I just met some of these guys but have known some for quite some time. This was the perfect opportunity for us to work together. We actually did our part as a road trip in Arizona. I found getting to see the Grand Canyon as one of those “great experiences”. We all got to collaborate together, and that is something I was very excited about.
3. For me it was suggested that I do a one-page sort of treatment, a slasher idea, so the slasher segment kinda came to me. I wouldn’t be the most knowledgeable about slashers, the ones I love are sort of from the 80’s like Friday the 13th Part 6. So it was my job to make that kind of stereotype characters with a cheerleader and a jock and so on and to get that into a reality-based format from found footage.
4. I did the Skype one, Helen Come on Up. So Simon wrote the segment I directed. I guess I can talk about some of our intentions. As this technology kinda becomes more prevalent, we thought we could have found footage coming off a computer webcam with a long distance relationship idea. And then we actually took it one step further in that we actually shot what you saw with a laptop. It was in real time. We wanted to introduce something alien/ghostly.
5. Like some of the others, we were kinda given an assignment to do. I guess the premise was we wanted to make something about “good dudes” who just kinda end up getting screwed in the end. It was really that simple; we wanted to tell a story about guys that were kinda like us, and in fact they were so much like us they even look a lot like us. We wanted to tell about them going off on a really simple adventure on Halloween night and put them in a situation that they are absolutely not equipped to deal with to see how they would navigate that. Then right at the halfway mark they realize that there is not a party. Then to act through the second half and see what the outcome was.
Q: Why was the haunted house portion put after the wrap-around?
A: Whenever we were hanging out with the producers watching all the segments, they were assembled in a different order, and we originally only had 3 or 4 shorts, but we ended up with 5. When we watched the final cut, it originally ended with a different short and then the wrap-around, but when we saw the intensity of the train coming at the end, I immediately turned to the producers and said, “The movie ends right there”. Plus it helped us manage the in-between moments after the wrap-around. We just felt it had the most momentum. It just felt like the right ending.
Q: Why did you choose VHS?
A: We just thought it was the cool thing to do and it would keep it off the internet if the people were considered collectors…like old-school collectors.
Q: Not a question - I just wanted to say thank you. It is not very often we get this much talent in one place.
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