7 questions with Jeffrey Kills a Guy director, Doug Lane at the half-way mark.
Thursday, May 11th, 2017
1Hey Doug! Thanks for being a part of our festival. First, what was the initial seed that inspired you to make Jeffrey Kills a Guy? Thanks for interviewing me! I'm stoked to be a part of this festival.
Depending on the day, I'll tell you one of two things that inspired it. One, I've always loved making people laugh at uncomfortable, taboo, or otherwise unfunny subjects. There's no better way to confront these things than through laughter. Two, I've always been intrigued by people who act far beyond the conventions of society, for better and for worse. Murder is the strictest taboo there is, and I wanted to challenge myself to get an audience to laugh at it.
2You wrote this script as well. What was your writing process like and how long did it take you to write it? I wrote the first draft in a couple of hours in one of those furious writing sessions a few months before production. The entire sequence with the robber was initially planned to be completely different, but it was re-written only a couple of days before shooting. Throughout the writing process, I got a lot of great feedback, and the script took on many forms pretty much right up until the last minute.
I'm embarrassed to admit that writing the character of Jeffrey was easier than I am comfortable with. I was working the most soul-crushing job in retail, and I had found the second Burger King cup filled with urine on a shelf in my section of the store in two weeks so my faith in people was really low. The store had a bathroom, who does that?! It was probably the most frustrating and terrible job on earth, which made it easy to understand how stupid, minor inconveniences can actually be the straw that breaks the camel's back.
3This is a pretty hilarious idea. What is it that draws you to the comedy genre? Comedy is the best therapy. I think comedy is one of the most versatile art forms there is. You can tackle important issues with it, you can use it to complain about something, it can help you see your fears and anxieties an entirely different light--or, you can simply enjoy laughing. If it's funny enough, people will pay attention to whatever you're trying to say.
4I cracked up when he said, "I have a gun and I'm taking you out into a field. Haven't you ever seen a horror movie!?" What scene makes you laugh the hardest and did you know it would be as good when you were on set, or was it shaped more during editing? A lot of credit here has to be given to our lead actor, Bryan Patrick Stoyle. He IS Jeffrey. The line you referenced was actually an ad-lib, and it was so good I had to keep it. We had an exceptional cast and crew, but I knew we had the potential to make something fantastic when he was cast. I would say that we averaged only about 3 takes per scene because everyone understood their characters so well. All we had to do was find their best moments and make sure they made it into the cut.
The scene that made me laugh the hardest was *SPOILER* Jeffrey's moment of discovery about the identity of his target. His reaction to a pair of whitey tighties made me laugh so hard that I think I cried a little bit behind the camera.
5Can you share a war story from the shoot? It's not so much of a war story, but on the first day of production we were shooting near a railroad when a cop car pulled up. We were afraid that we might be trespassing or something, and our fears were compounded when a second cruiser showed up. We told them we were shooting a short film, and the second cop rolls down his window and says, "that's awesome! You guys wanna see my SAG card?" Probably the strangest experience I ever had with a cop in Rochester, New York, but they just told us to be careful when trains come through.
6What's the film that made you want to become a filmmaker? My parents exposed me to a lot of Spielberg when I was a little kid, so I think the idea was implanted in me at a very early age. I had always flirted with the idea, and I made a lot of videos in high school, but I think the film that set me on a course to becoming a filmmaker was Dr. Strangelove. It defied everything I'd ever seen in a comedy, it exposed me to Kubrick's brilliance, and I saw it around the same time when I realized I probably wasn't going to college to play baseball.
7What's next? I'm working on getting funding for a virtual reality sex comedy... let's face it; if VR is going to be the next technological frontier, it's going to catch on in the bedroom first.
About the Interviewer: Ben Hicks
Ben Hicks is a writer/director and co-founder of Fandependent Films. Ben is currently working on making Fandependent Films awesome and is finishing up his first feature film entitled Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time. The film is about the evolution of a couple's relationship, and was shot in three different countries over the course of a decade.
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