Patrick Rea Filmmaker Interview

by Phillip Wilcox "Our Movie Demon"

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Dark Comedy
Firstly I would like to extend my thanks to you for agreeing to this! I always like to start from the beginning: Where your love for cinema begin?

 

Patrick Rea
Answer:  I grew up in a small town in Nebraska, so movies were a big form of entertainment.  My parents raised me on a healthy dose of Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Jaws.  I knew pretty early that I wanted to make movies, but didn’t even know where to begin.  I started out just drawing scenes as a kid or acting them out in my back yard.  Eventually when I was in high school, we had a channel that broadcast from the school to anyone who had cable.  That’s where I started making silly videos and airing them for the town to see.

                               

DCP
What film affected you the most at what age, and what was it about that film that affected you?

 

PR
That’s a tough one.  I mean, any of the Star Wars or Indiana Jones films had a distinct affect on me.  I was a kid in the 80s, so those films were a very important part of my upbringing.  As far as horror, the early “Friday the 13th’s and “Nightmare on Elm Streets” were popular, and completely off limits since I was just a little kid, which made them even more appealing to me.  Needless to say, I would ask friends who had seen if they could tell me the gory details.  Then when they would start airing on cable either on Cinemax or edited for television on the USA Network, I would tune in.

 

DCP
Let's talk about "Nailbiter", which is one of my favorite horror films. Where did the idea for that film come from?

 

PR
I was on a plane coming back from the New York City Horror Film Festival in 2006 and the idea popped into my head.  I immediately sat down with co-writer Kendal Sinn and we got a first draft together.  I lived in Lawrence, Kansas at the time, which can get scary around tornado season, so I knew I wanted to film it there.  The basic concept came from a moment that happened to me in 1996 with my high school friends.  We had just gotten out of a movie…ironically Twister was playing at the time, and we got caught in a Tornado Warning.  We had to pull off on the side of the road and run to a house.  After pounding on the door, this elderly lady let us in and we sat in her basement for thirty-minutes until the storm settled.  I often wondered what it would have been like if that had gone horribly wrong.

 

DCP
I thought the casting for the film was fantastic! Can you talk about that process and what it was like to bring together the actresses who were to play the mom and her 3 daughters?

 

PR
We took our sweet time with the casting.  Had several sessions in Kansas City.  We were just trying to put together a family that had chemistry.  We had the mother and the two youngest daughters cast, but really struggled to find the right actress for the oldest, Jennifer.  The very last person to audition was Meg Saricks and I knew right away she was the right actress for the role.  After we put the family together, we made them hang out and go shopping together.

 

 

 

DCP
What was were some of the more fun/challenging things during the making of Nailbiter?

 

PR
Well, working with actors was a blast.  Emily Boresow who played Alice, would pull pranks on me.  The biggest challenge was the weather.  I actually needed stormy or at the very least overcast skies for a lot of the scenes.  Strangely the summer we shot was one of the most calm storm seasons in memory.  When it would storm, nobody would have access to the camera either, so we basically had to be flexible with our schedule on various days.  If we were set to shoot in the cellar location, but a storm was going to roll in, we ran out the door and shot exteriors to take advantage of the weather.

 

DCP
What are some lessons you've learned through out your career thus far as filmmaker that you incorporate into each project you begin?

 

PR
Always be prepared.  I storyboard all my films, which allows me to communicate clearly with my crew.  From the storyboards I create a shot list.  I also rehearse the actors weeks in advance and get the kinks out of the performances as much as I can before we shoot.  That being said, there will always be stuff you can’t foresee that will happen, for example actors getting sick, equipment malfunctions and ‘bad’ or in our case ‘good’ weather.

 

DCP
Who and What inspires you, and your films?

 

PR
Well, I like to read about other indie filmmakers who are working in the business right now.  Hearing their struggles and successes gives me hope and pushes me along.  Filmmakers I do look up to in terms of inspiration are John Carpenter and Sam Raimi.  They are filmmakers who worked their way up from the indie budgets to achieve greater successes.

 

DCP
What are some great pieces of advice and/or wisdom do you have for those aspiring to get into filmmaking?

PR
Always tell a good story!  Also find a story that is  achievable for your budget.  Don’t go and try to make an alien invasion Transformers rip off.  Find a story that excites you and go film it.  People have easier access to gear these days, but I do stress to new talent, don’t skimp on the audio.  Find someone who is interested and or has experience in good audio recording and bring them on your team.  That can make or break a project.

 

DCP
Can you talk a bit about any films or projects you may have coming up in your future?

 

PR
I have a feature length thriller titled “Enclosure” starring Fiona Dourif, Jake Busey and Kevin Ryan that will hopefully be making the festival rounds very soon.  I also have several new short films coming out as well.  One of my current short films “Pillow Fright” was made for “Fun Size Horror: Volume Two” and has also found success on Eli Roth’s CryptTV.

 

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