Andrew Sayre was it always your ambition to grow up and be a film maker or was there something else you really enjoyed?
Well, growing up I always wanted to play second base for the Boston Red Sox, if that counts. I still love watching baseball too. But apart from that, yeah, its kind of always been filmmaking. I never had that angst filled period a lot of my friends had in their mid twenties, when they kind of wandered around aimlessly trying to find their purpose or meaning. With me its always been film. Writing too. I still write non film things from time to time, and I probably always will, as I almost feel at least for me that filmmaking is an extension of writing, just another way to tell a story.
Tell us a bit more about your film “The Song the Zombie Sang”
The Song the Zombie Sang is a story written by Harlan Ellison and Robert Silverberg that I have loved ever since I first read it in high school. Its always been in my head and was a story I always wanted to make some day. In it, you have a young uber-talented musician named Rhoda, who is at the very beginning of her career and is struggling to get recognition and success, and Bekh, the iconic musician who is so renowned that even though he’s dead, he’s reanimated nightly to perform for sell out crowds. And the story evolves around the circumstances that bring Rhoda to confront him one night after a particularly devastating set of events in her life, and the confrontation that proceeds.
The thing that I love about this idea is the comparison of these two people who are on the same path in life, just at different ends of it. And even though they are very different people, where it counts to each of them they are the same- the obsession with their craft is the same, as are the level of sacrifices each can and will make to it. Its a feeling that I can identify with in my own goals, as I suspect anyone who works towards achieving something would, whether it be of an artistic slant or not.
The film is based on a book of the same name. How did you find the process of translating a book into a screenplay?
It was incredibly easy. Honestly. I did not write down a single letter of this until I had secured the option rights to the story, because I wanted to be absolutely certain to be above board on the whole process, and not do a single thing but think about it until I had signed papers in my hand. Which was a little unnerving too, considering I was comitting to something that I couldn’t say with any certainty I would actually be able to write. Going through the whole process of securing the rights only to find the script would not come and died in my head was a big fear.
But I did write it, and it was, again, incredibly easy. I started scribbling out the outline of the expanded story in a notebook, did that for a few days, then typed out an outline on my computer to flesh out some of the key ideas, which was another week and a half or so, then got right into writing out the script proper. That took about three weeks. Then I set aside for a few days to get some distance from it, after which I went back, made a few changes, corrected some grammar, and it was done. Since then I’ve made some changes and improvements and will do more before we shoot, but in essence I had the finished feature script I was going to war with in about six weeks.
I can’t really say for certain why I found this one so easy. Most of the timeanything I write is more like pulling teeth with salad tongs- difficult as well as painful. But again, it wasn’t like that at all with this one. The most I can think is that because I had this one in my head for as long as I did, and had been playing with how I wanted to do it off and on since high school, there wasn’t anything left to stumble over as I had worked out most of the kinks of how I wanted to tell this story years ago.
What is something about the film industry which many people may be unaware of?
That’s difficult. There have been so many films about making films and the industry, so I suppose it depends on just how many people have seen films like Living in Oblivion, Day for Night, or The Player. I mean between those three I think all I know about the film industry so far is covered. Well, there is one thing I can think of about filmmaking that I’ve learned that I don’t think was covered by any of those three- the absolute most important thing for the morale of your cast and crew on set is having a good food spread. Its way more important than hours, or conditions, or even being nice to anyone. You could give each member of your crew right down the lowliest PA their own on set personal assistant, but if the Doritos are stale at the craft services table then everyone will hate you and never want to work with you again.
Outside of film what are some of your other passions?
I love baseball, as I said before. Particularly the Red Sox. I haven’t missed more than seven games in any Red Sox season since I was maybe twenty two. When I still lived in Boston I would go to Fenway to watch a game live about once every three weeks, even though it wasn’t exactly a fiscally responsible thing to do for me at the time. Its the one thing I miss the most about that city, now that I’m in New York.
And I read quite a lot. Always have. When I was younger I’d often read as many as four books at the same time, either reading one for a night before going to bed, another one the next, or reading a chapter of one and then putting it at the bottom of my little stack to read a chapter of the next one and so on till I got tired.
I don’t read as much at the moment, though. I’m too focused so much on the crowd funding campaign for this film and then the production after that. But I still take some time to sit in my favorite coffeehouse as much as I can and sip tea and read. I’m actually re-reading a famous science fiction anthology collection edited by Harlan Ellison called Dangerous Visions right now. Read Philip K. Dick’s story in it called Faith of Our Fathers this afternoon.
How can Cinemaddicts readers help make your film a reality?
We are running a crowd funding campaign for our film right now on Indiegogo, in an attempt to raise the fund necessary to make this film become a reality. There are a lot of ways those reading this can help- telling others about the campaign, sharing the link to it on the various social media outlets, but by far and away the most important thing to do is to contribute to the campaign yourself, whatever amount you can afford. Don’t misunderstand, those other things do help, and I am greatly appreciative of every one who shares the campaign with others, but that only gets us so far; a contribution of any size to our campaign simply does far more to get us closer to our goal then all the retweets in the world ever will.
Andrew thanks very much for your time
Not at all. I enjoyed it. And thank you for taking the time as well.