Monday, July 21, 2008

Exclusive Dead Harvey Interview With Roger Scheck, Director of "Nobody Loves Alice"

When I received a copy of "Nobody Loves Alice" I thought it was just going to be another run of the mill slasher flick that I'd end up fast forwarding after the first half an hour. To my surprise, not only was I drawn into the movie, I was highly impressed. This film has gore, fantastic performances, great directing and a well written script. I was even more impressed when I found out it's director, Roger Schek, made it when he was in school. To say the least, "Nobody Loves Alice" is an outstanding debut that we here at Dead Harvey highly recommend. Keep an eye for Roger Schrek. I have a feeling he's going to be a major talent.

DH: Tell us about yourself. Where are you from and what got you into
making movies?

RS: I was born in Kansas and raised in McAlester Oklahoma. In high school I became interested in still photography. Soon after that a friend of mine introduced me to the idea of making movies. He gave me the movie True Romance and told me to watch it. I took it home and watched it
three or four times. That movie really made me think, “I have to do this”. Right after that the same friend gave me The Last House On The Left, I went home and watched that film about four times that night. After that I realized, “I can do this”. That summer I made my first
short film and have never stopped.

DH: Film school: yes or no?

RS: I attended the North Carolina School of the Arts. I learned so much at NCSA. It truly is an incredible program. In my opinion it's the best film program in the country.

DH: What was the inspiration behind, "Nobody Loves Alice"?

RS: I had written several screenplays before Nobody Loves Alice but due to budget I couldn’t make any of them. I set out to write a script I could afford to produce. I was waiting tables at the time when my boss received a phone call from a woman that said she had been in that day
and he was so sweet to her that she had to meet him outside of the restaurant. Having to deal with customer satisfaction he told her that he was glad she had a good experience and to come in and have a drink on the restaurant. He then proceeded to tell her that he had a girlfriend. Not two minutes later the phone rings again and it’s his girlfriend, she said that the previous call was her friend and that she just wanted to see if he would cheat on her. In that instant I know what Nobody Loves Alice was going to be about.

DH: Are there any directors or movies that influenced, "Nobody Loves Alice"? If so, how?

RS: So many films and directors have influenced me. My biggest influence at the time of making Nobody Loves Alice were Asian horror films, especially films by Takashi Miike. I enjoy the slower evolution of the story. After all it’s about the story and characters, not the splatter
and gore. Don’t get me wrong that is part of it, but it’s not the reason I sit down to watch something.

DH: Describe your directing style.

RS: My style is very loose. I give my actors a lot of freedom to meld the character and make them their own. If I like what they do I let them run with it, but I have no problem letting them know something isn’t working. However some of the greatest moments in Nobody Loves Alice
come from the actors being able to just play with the lines and emotions.

DH: "Nobody Loves Alice" was impressively made on such a small budget. How did you pull it off?

It was challenging but we were very strategic where we spent money. The majority of the money had to go to converting Alice’s room and the blood effects. I had a very talented and resourceful crew that was able to make things look great with very little. We only had twelve
days to shoot the film so that also cut down budget.

DH: The performances in the film are outstanding. Describe your casting process and how you selected the leads.

RS: I worked with Nitzan Mager (ALICE) on a short film entitle Motherhood, you can see that film on my myspace. I actually wrote the part of Alice for her. So, knowing what she was capable of I was able to create a great character that I knew she would be great playing. Philip Ward (ALEX) acted in a film that I was Cinematographer on. I also knew his abilities and created that part for him. Phillip was enrolled in the acting program at Elon University at the time so he was able to bring me a lot of the cast from people he had worked with previously. He was sort of the casting director. He had actually been scene partners with Amanda Taylor (Abigail) in school so they already had a relation ship they could play off and bring to the film.

DH: What did you shoot on and how long of a shoot was it?

RS: We shot on the Canon XL2. In my opinion Canon blows it’s competition out of the water. The image the XL2 produces is a big part of why the film looks so good. It’s build to be lit like you’re working with film. It’s competitors at the time were point and shoot idiot proof cameras and their image quality suffered. We shot for twelve days over our winter break from NCSA. We never went over 12 hours during production except for the last day. That was the final fight scene and Dave Martin, the cinematographer and I had to stage the fight scene. That took about 18 hours.

DH: What obstacles did you overcome to get your film made?

RS: There were several obstacles that could have presented themselves. However, the production went very smooth. We planned everything out so meticulously in preproduction that we had very few problems. It was so smooth that on one particular day I was able to get 48 different camera setups.

DH: How did you secure distribution? Any tips for people trying to get their movie out there?

Distribution is a painful process, especially when you don’t have a named star. There are a lot of sharks out there and all they want to do is steal your film. I had a couple of different offers on the table and when I asked around I found out that they all had tricky ways of accounting for income, ways in which they hide profits from filmmakers. In fact I talked to about 100 people all of which have never seen a penny from these companies. Indie-Pictures is a new company that is changing the face of distribution. I have a substantial voice in all the decisions made regarding the distribution of my film from what festivals we enter to designing the artwork to how we spend money on advertising. My advice for those filmmakers seeking distribution is to ask around about the companies interested in your film. Try to put a named actor in your film even if it’s a small part. Get even a C list actor if you can. But, if I knew then what I know, the most important piece of advice I would give to you is skip the sharks and contact Todd Taylor, CEO of Indie-Pictures he is revolutionizing the distribution process for filmmakers.

DH: What's next? And, last but not least, any plans for a sequel?

RS: I have several projects I am trying to get off the ground in all different budget ranges and genres. As far as a sequel, there are two more installments of Nobody Loves Alice. We are currently working on the scripts and have investors interested. So keep your eyes open for the sequel to Nobody Loves Alice, Somebody Loves Alice.

Roger A. Scheck
Scheck Media

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