According to Jeff, shooting began the last week of May, 2001. “We went pretty much every day through June, and three weeks out of July, then a few days in August. Probably about two-and-a-half months of shooting. To a small degree (we were working around other schedules). ‘Monster Dave’ Droxler occasionally had another acting gig during the day. But most of his shoots were night shoots.”

“Then there were a few problems, as we said before,” says Steve, “the kid falling through, we had to rearrange shooting, we had to juggle a few jiggles. We were inventing it on the spot essentially. Shooting the film was essentially me on my recliner after shooting, doing emergency rewrites for the next day.”

“I think that really made the film what it is,” says Jeff. “Gave it that crazy edge. We got to use what we already had and play up some of the strengths.” The other two nod in agreement.

There were a couple on-set hiccups as well. For a period of about two weeks, the actor playing the Project: Valkyrie robot was unavailable – a few times without telling the producers about his unavailability. Because the character of Jim is such a loser, people in the film take great delight in beating him up. This resulted in a few minor injuries on Steve’s part.

“During the shooting of the film, we kept adding things for me to get hurt by,” Steve says, while the others giggle. One stand-out sequence has Anne hit Jim in the face with an iron about half-a-dozen times. “Basically, the catalog of injuries, and I want this for posterity: I suffered a concussion, I dislocated my shoulder, I blew a knee…”

The attitude of most low-budget filmmakers is, if stunts go wrong and only the principal filmmakers are injured, it’s a good stunt. Keeping your actors safe and sound is the priority. It’s a cockeyed idea, but a universal one in the independent community.

According to the trio, as far as shooting went, they ‘really kicked it out’. Three months, on and off, is a very impressive schedule to complete such an extensive and complicated story. Thanks to the ease of digital filmmaking, the team would be able to edit the entire film in probably the same amount of time. If it weren’t for the film gods again.

“We had two hard-drive crashes when the edit was sixty-percent done,” Steve says. “After that happened, morale was way down and it took us a while to get back on the horse. It was kind of traumatizing to Jeff, certainly. And by proxy, it was traumatizing to us.”

The cost of the equipment was a set-back as well, according to Nic. “We had to buy the editing equipment. We were supposed to have a hook-up. Someone was going to let us use their computer and that fell through at the absolute last minute. Then we had to go out and buy an iMac. I have to give props to the computer because it was not designed to do what we did with it.”

“It was definitely not designed to do that workload, but God bless it. It needs more recovery time than I did,” Jeff says. “We’re going to treat it to a nice cleaning when it’s all over.”

Steve nods in sympathy. “The thing that sucked, though, was editing the film was essentially a one-man job anyway, using Final Cut Pro. So Jeff pretty much got stuck – he wanted to do the editing but there was no way for any of us to relieve him. So Jeff got stuck in front of the computer, with me going ‘you sure that cut works?’ and Jeff going ‘Shut up!’ When we were up for a really long time, we came up with some really strange things.”

In May, 2002, Steve, Jeff and Nic traveled to L.A. to attend the Hollywood Underground Film Festival. Despite its name, not an easy fest in which to get a project accepted, and people from all over the world enter movies for consideration. Hollywood actors-turned-filmmakers with genuine budgets enter their projects into this festival. “Project: Valkyrie” was not only accepted, it won an award for Best Genre Film.

“That was our first festival experience,” Steve says, grinning and smoking away. “All of us went out naively hoping that we’d be distributed right from there. We pretty much knew that was unrealistic. It was pretty cool to have other filmmakers talk to us about it, and understand what we were doing, picking up some of the subtleties that the less-initiated would just think were editing gaffs. It was also just nice to watch it with an audience. I know it’s a cliché but it’s a world of difference watching it in a theater than it is just watching it at home. Just seeing the people during the first twenty minutes not knowing how to react to it at all, and then once the robot shows up really start to get into it was nice. Seeing which jokes got laughs and which didn’t was nice. And we snagged an award! And we all got to talk to Wil Wheaton (there promoting the David Latt/Kim Little vehicle Jane White is Sick and Twisted). He didn’t see the movie, but he dug me thanking him for saving the Enterprise during my acceptance speech. And he dug Jeff’s Britney Spears watch.”

“That watch was the entire introduction to our film,” Nic says. “The four of us stood up there for about five seconds. Jeff played his watch (which beeps “Oops, I Did It Again”) into the microphone. We stood there for three more seconds, then we sat back down. Didn’t say hello, didn’t say anything about the film. Nothing. And I think that’s what made people think ‘What the hell’s going on? What’s this going to be?’”

Steve explains: “We just got tired. For five days, everybody had these badly-rehearsed “Mad TV”skits (to introduce their movies). One guy would say something, then another guy would have a clever retort, then the other guy would say something. We just decided to anti-introduce our film.”

Get the rest of the interview in part four of “PROJECT: VALKYRIE” VS. THE WORLD>>>

Posted on June 25, 2004 in Interviews by


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